Golf Report: Labor Day weekend gives golfers a chance to hit the links at Birch Ridge

Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010

Is it really September? Moose hunting is underway, duck hunting starts soon, one week left of the Alaska State Fair. This weekend is the last long weekend of the summer season, Labor Day. This Labor Day when you are out on the golf course keep in mind those who helped make Birch Ridge possible, the Smiths, and those who keep it beautiful -- Pat, Myrna, Tom, Bill, Mike, Nolan, Jessie, Rita, Chris, Aaron, River, Josh, Callum, Vic and Jane. Thank you for the labor of love and giving us such a special place.

* The golf season is winding down, but there's still time to get in at least one more really FUN tournament this year ... AND help Birch Ridge win the travelling trophy for the first time! This will be the third year for this friendly competition between the Birch Ridge and Bird Homestead Golf Associations. The first two years Bird Homestead has managed to prevail, however, this year Birch Ridge will be coming in with a winning strategy.

The competition will be held on Sept. 12. Check in at Bird Homestead Golf Course around 8 a.m. with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. After you play nine holes at Bird, grab your sack lunch, your clubs and head to Birch Ridge to play your final nine holes.

The format is a four-person (A-B-C-D player) teams. You can either put your own team together or sign up individually and we'll put you on a team. At each course play will be as follows: Holes Nos. 1-3 will be a "Shamble," Nos. 4-6 will be a "Waltz" and Nos. 7-9 will be a "Scramble." The entry fee includes green fee and two meals -- a sack lunch at Bird Homestead and a barbecue at Birch Ridge.

* Senior League -- on a cool 45-degree day, the last Monday of August, 11 seniors braved the cloudy morning. It was a good day for Ray Hamby, who won with a net 31 and took honors on No. 6 with a hot 24 feet, 6 inches from the pin. Don McGhee had closest to on No. 8 at 7 feet, 7 inches while George Collum had the long putt on No. 9 at 10 feet even. With next Monday a holiday, Labor Day, the seniors will meet on Tuesday with a tee time at 9:30 a.m. so they won't conflict with the Tuesday Morning Ladies.

* Tuesday Morning Ladies League has continued to play these past few weeks after the year-end party. Five ladies came out on another rainy day on Aug. 17 with Denise Cox and Carol Hussey having low team net for the day. A week later Chiya Bazan and Tanya Boedeker prevailed in a game of bingo, bango, bongo. This week, in the pouring rain, seven ladies were not dampened by the weather coming out to play their own game. As long as the course stays open, the ladies will continue to play. Check in at 9:30 a.m. with tee off at 10 a.m.

* Tuesday Night Couples played the five-four game. Each person played their own game and at the end of the round the team used the five lowest net scores for the man and the four lowest net scores for the woman to get the team score. And the twist, everyone had to use "a wood" to putt the hole out. A card-off was used to determine the winners with Tom and Tanya Boedeker vaulting over the eight other teams. Carol Hussey partnered with Earl Mathis to take second.

* In golf we have those great shots that provide for memorable moments bringing us back to the game of golf. Val Ischi had one of those memorable moments recently when she picked up the first birdie of her short golfing career on No. 4 at Birch Ridge. Congratulations, Val, and here's wishing you many more birdies!

* Ladies Birch Ridge Cup will be having the year-end get-together on Sept. 24. Contact Carolyn Schaefer to let her know if you are going to be able to attend.

* Alaska Golf Trivia -- the northern most golf course is in Coldfoot, Alaska. This three-hole course has a driving range and rental clubs are available.

* Erin's Tip of the Week -- compliments of Erin Bell, PGA assistant pro, Big Spring Golf Course

"Head down, easy swing, follow through."

-- Lisa Parker

More Tips from Erin:

* Try not to use just one club around the greens, you will find the 5-iron or even a hybrid club can produce similar results.

* Your brain does not process a negative -- so if you are thinking, "Don't hit it left," you are actually saying to yourself, "Hit it left."

* A solid pre-shot routine is very important to consistent golf shots. If you are focused on doing the exact same thing before you hit each shot, the more likely that you will be more relaxed and ready to hit a successful shot.

* If something doesn't feel right before you hit the shot (for example, maybe you don't feel like you are aimed correctly, or have too much club, or just feel uncomfortable over the ball in general) don't be afraid to back off of your shot and start your routine over again. Being comfortable goes a long way! There are those days when nothing feels comfortable -- those are the days to go back to focusing on the basics.

* Visualization is also a good key to hitting good shots. I always picture a "mini-movie" in my head of the ideal shot I want to hit before I hit it -- especially with short game shots.

* Finally, sometimes a good, deep breath before you hit your golf shot will not only help relax you mentally, but it will improve your posture and grip on the golf club!

* This Week's Events (Check in at least 15 minutes prior to the time shown below): Tuesday - 9:30 a.m. - Senior League (due to Monday, Labor Day); Tuesday - 10 a.m. - Tuesday Morning Ladies; Tuesday's - 5:45 p.m. - Couple's Night; Wednesday - 6 p.m. - Men's Night; Thursday's - 6 p.m. - Ladies Night

* Upcoming Events: Sept. 11 -- Serenity House Alumni Tournament; Sept. 12 -- 3rd Annual Bird & Birch Combined Tournament; Sept. 25 -- Cold Weather Classic - Couples Scotch Twosome

Birch Ridge Golf Course can be reached by calling 262-5270 or visit the web site at

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