Final days

Birch Ridge report

Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2006

It’s sad but true — our golf season is coming to an end. The days are getting shorter and cooler. So on that rare occasion when the sun comes out, why not grab your clubs and come out to play another round of golf at Birch Ridge? It might very well be your last chance this year to enjoy the course with all the beautiful fall colors.

The course will remain open daily on real greens until Mother Nature shuts us down for the season. Final tee time of the day is presently 6 p.m., with the clubhouse open every day at 9 a.m.

The Cold Weather Classic was held this past Saturday and probably should have been re-named since it really wasn’t very cold at all. With the golf course in pristine condition and the Norwegian candles burning on each tee box, 56 golfers (28 male/female couples) spent a beautiful fall day playing the Scotch doubles format (each player hit their drive, picked the best of the two and alternated shots into the hole).

While most of us were just trying to keep our playing partners out of trouble, a few couples took the opportunity to shine in the final tournament of the year. Paula Crowley and Mark Mataresse shone the brightest, taking the low gross prize with a score of 75. Tied for second-place low gross, each posting a score of 81, were the teams of Tom and Judy Walsh and John and Jane Tongen.

The low net winners had to really work for the honor. The team of Al and Rhonda Dettmer beat out the team of Pat Bird and Gary Effenbeck after a three-hole playoff. Both teams posted a gross score of 89. After taking their combined handicaps of 28 for each team, the net result was a 61, which resulted in a tie and required the playoff. The Dettmer team finally won. Whew!

Other notable performances came from Tim Cowan (closest to the hole on Nos. 6/15) and Mark Mataresse (closest to the hole on Nos. 8/17).

When we finally called it a day, no matter how we played golf, I’m sure we would all agree that we had a great time, enjoying the weather, the company and the chili and barbecued beef sandwich feast provided by Myrna Cowan and family.

The Wednesday Night Men’s League on Sept. 20 might very well have been the final night for the men. Five golfers showed up to participate in what turned out to be Paul Zimmerman night. Along with teammates Daniel Cabrera and Dave Geides, Paul won first place with a 4-under par score. He also was the closest to the hole on No. 6 and No. 8 and had a pure birdie on No. 5. However, Roy Bird managed to out-drive Paul and everyone else for the longest drive prize.

Looks like the Seniors may be the last of the leagues to finally hang it up for the season. This past Monday, 15 players showed up to play. Darell Jelsma had the low net with a 32 and was closest to the hole on No. 6. Steve Hammarstrom was closest to the hole on No. 8 and Don McGhee had the longest putt. I’m sure the seniors will continue to show up every Monday morning until Mother Nature finally turns out the lights.

And was this week the grand finale for the Tuesday Night Couples? If so, the Tongens (John and Jane) managed to have the final word with yet another challenging format. Each of the five couples played their own game, keeping their net scores. In the end, the couple’s combined net scores for each hole were tallied up, throwing out the three worst holes. Two couples tied for first place. The standard card-off determined the winner with the Hoaglands (Del and Sally) taking first place over the Keatings (Dave and yours truly).

And although the lights didn’t go out completely during play, they sure were dimming as the final couples made their way to the clubhouse (where the lights never go out until we have all enjoyed each other’s company, heard another John Tongen joke, and shared golf stories and other fun stuff). Weather permitting, we will play again next week, but will need to tee off at 5 o’clock to be able to finish before darkness sets in. Final conclusion? Call John and Jane (260-5265) or the pro-shop (262-5270) to find out what’s happening next Tuesday.

Don’t forget to attend the annual association meeting to be held on Oct. 26 at Froso’s. This is your opportunity to find out what the association has done this year, and to vote on two new board members to help carry out future plans.

SHARON’S FINAL THOUGHTS: I just can’t believe that the season has gone by so fast and that this is my final report for the year (although Pat Cowan will continue to report on activities until the final putt is made for the season).

I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts on golf as well as reporting the results of everyone’s accomplishments this year (on in my case, lack thereof). And I’ve learned an awful lot about golf and golfers in the process. For instance, I’ve finally figured out how I can score 1-under — with one under a tree, one under a bush, one under water ... you get the idea.

And finally, with winter coming and not being able to get out and exercise as much (also known as golf), some of us are beginning to think about dieting. My favorite diet is known as the “golfer’s diet,” which is really simple. All you have to do is live on greens as much as possible. So ... Palm Springs, here I come!

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