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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Captains Choice With A Twist: But Was It Real Golf?

I'm always open to a new golf adventure and my golf pal, Pat Ellison, has never given me bad advice or suggested an out-of-town tournament that disappointed, so when she forwarded an entry form for Puttin' On The Ritz, a tournament that promised "captains choice with a twist," I knew I needed to take a close look.  After I looked I wrote a check and blocked out the date on my calendar.

With 92 participants, Puttin' On The Ritz might be the biggest golf event I've ever played.  I could feel an electric excitement as I made my way through the breakfast buffet.  I felt like I was in the middle of a flash mob on the practice green.

My team was the first wild card at Puttin' On The Ritz and it was a very fine draw!  As the round unfolded I was equally in awe of Ginger -- my 90-year old teammate who played a steady, consistent game right down the middle of every fairway and who reminded me with every shot she took that I have many, many years of golf ahead of me -- and of Karin -- our A player whom we elected to captain our team while we waited for our turn at the first tee -- who brought the added value of a leadership style that combined technical skill with the ability to bring out the best game all of us carried in our bags to our team effort. We played a round of golf the likes of which I've never before experienced, carded 60 and took runner-up on a scorecard playoff.  I'm on for next year!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Girls & Boys & Sport

Team USA Members Celebrate Their 2014 Evian
Championship Juniors Cup Win
September's been a busy month for sports fans.  In golf, the co-ed Team USA rallied to defeat the Czech Republic squad and for the second year in a row win the Evian Championship Juniors Cup at Evian-les-Bain, France.

St Andrews Follows Augusta National

It's official! After 260 years, The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has voted by an overwhelming margin to admit women.  The Home of Golf has finally stepped into the 21st Century and on behalf of all us women who love and play the Ancient Game I applaud them.  Here's the response of one Women's Golf Association:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rule 4-3b: Damaged Clubs: Repair and Replacement or GolfRage

So Yeon Ryu
So Yeon Ryu is the 5th ranked player in the world of women's golf.  Ryu's no rookie and at 24 she's not a hot-headed teenager.  She's been playing pro golf since 2008.  She's a six-time winner on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association she's held an LPGA Tour card since 2012.  She's the 2012 US Women's Open Champion and LPGA Rookie of the Year.  

Ryu's recorded 38 top-10 finishes on the LPGA, three of them victories.  She's recorded 282 sub-par holes and fired 280 birdies this year -- 3rd best among Tour players for both categories.  She's an experienced pro and she's better-than-average, much better, on the putting surface.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Golfing on Labor Day

Used courtesy www.golfdigest.com
Happily, while the swimming pools close after Labor Day, the golf courses will remain open. But there's something about the official End-of-Summer that induces a moment of frenetic madness in American culture.  Golf courses aren't immune.
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventure Golf: Playing Beyond The Short Grass

The Great Search. Photo credit: http://www.mindgolf.net/598
Golf's a game that's meant to be played in the short grass and the best golfers I know generally manage to get from tee to green without venturing beyond that relatively easy path to the target.  The trees, the dirt, the stones and sometimes the boulders, the storage sheds that others avoid all call out to me from time-to-time.

I once asked Alma if she didn't get bored with hitting the ball into the fairway, hitting it again, still in the fairway, putting it on the green, and then dropping it into the cup.  She's one of several regular playing partners who seem to deliver the kind of game fairly consistently that I've always secretly envied.
Where's the challenge? I asked her.
 Don't you understand that the challenge is to stay in the fairway, she'd responded.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Athletes & Celebrities: Lydia Ko, Michael Phelps & Mo'Ne Davis

Mo'Ne Davis. Photo Credit: People.com/Gene J. Puskar/AP
Mo'Ne Davis, the little girl with the fast arm who's leading the Taney Dragons from Philly to what's increasingly looking like a victory at the 68th Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA this week, has grabbed the attention of New York Times sportswriter Jake Flanagin and Glamor's Megan Angelo, among others.  What kind of future, they muse, does "a 13 year-old, 5-foot-4 girl with a mean throwing arm" have as a professional athlete?  Oh my goodness! What an interesting question!  Let's unpack it, starting with a quick look at the difference between professional athletes and sports celebrities.  Or are these categories so overlapped in our culture that there's no difference?

Monday, August 11, 2014

On Champions and Championships

Bonnie Bell,
2014 Star Fort Ladies Golf Association Champion
I had a heavy dose of championship play on Sunday and I got to take a good look at some champions and near-champions as well.  First I played my own Sunday round at the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association annual championship and shared a celebratory meal with the field of contenders, then rushed home to watch what I assumed would be Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen battle to the finish of the Meijer LPGA Classic.

I'd just settled in and adjusted to the fact that Pettersen had dropped back and there was a rookie in the mix at the Meijer --  Mirim Lee was playing at the top of the board alongside golf's Serene Queen -- when my Facebook chat went wild.

Matt Hooper, St Andrews Golf Magazine editor and Les Bailey, ProGolfNow editor, were yelling at me:
You're missing a classic . . . this is the matchup we've waited for . . . and no Tiger!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Shot of the Day

On the whole, I didn't play a memorable round of golf today.  I was a little slow getting out the door this morning and didn't have time for a proper warm-up before the women teed off.  Various parts of my old body were complaining and resisting in one way or another.  I fumbled my way through the first hole, which just isn't the way to start a round of golf.  It was slightly too hot and slightly too humid to be pleasant, except when I could take temporary refuge in the shade and let the breeze function as my personal air conditioner.

But I had some good shots to tuck into my memory bank and I had one shot out of a bunker that was downright terrific -- it would have qualified for a Golf Channel replay!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meet Me At The Diner: A Conversation About Golf & Golf Blogging


About eighteen months ago Charlie Bethel -- my younger son who does not play golf but with whom I share a passion for the written word, and who was working on his own writing project while he was visiting me -- suggested that I start writing a golf blog.  Over a pleasant alfresco lunch on my deck we talked about that suggestion.  Quite honestly, I'd never considered blogging.  I'm a writer of books.  But I followed Charlie's suggestion and found an intellectual, literary, and spiritual home in blogging.  It's a dynamic form, offering an almost instantaneous connection with my readers, providing a venue with an embedded feedback loop, a virtual conversation.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Anne Eller, host of the WCRS award-winning "Meet Me At The Diner," about my personal and public transformation from sociologist to golf blogger.  Anne's an amazing interviewer and extracted from me a coherent narrative of how I became a golf blogger and my assessment of blogging as a form of communication.

You are crucial partners in this ongoing conversation that I enjoy so very much.