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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Come On! Let's Just Get In A Quick One!

Wes has dropped in for a quick Christmas visit, tucking me in between a stop in Florida and his Virginia holiday blowout.  I had a short list of chores only a son can complete ready for him, and he had a short list of things I needed to help with, including a particularly delicate shopping assignment, but then the sun peeked out.  You know what happened!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Cold. It's Raining. It's Saturday. I'm Golfing!

What's with this golf obsession?  The weather outside is frightful . . . and I'm planning on teeing off at my usual Saturday morning time.  What am I thinking?  There are three shopping days remaining until Christmas.  My shopping isn't finished! I can't imagine that any other Star Fort Ladies Golf Association members will be teeing it up on this cold, west Saturday morning.

My list of undone tasks is way too long -- pay bills, change the parrots' papers (a healthy parrot poops every 15 minutes, around the clock and there are five healthy parrots in my life happily pooping in concert), shop for stocking stuffers, get the guest room comforter off the shelf and into a duvet cover and onto the bed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why Not Front Page News? Some Thoughts on Ben Martin, Shanshan Feng & Laetitia Beck

Ben Martin's putting clinic at Shriners Hospital fort
Children-Greenville, SC.  Photo credit: Scott Chancey,
Greenwood Index-Journal.
As November has segued into December and 2014 begins its rollover into 2015, we've been bombarded with a wave of devastating and horrifying media images ranging from videotaped beheadings to mass protests difficult to distinguish from the freedom marches of the 1960s to the wholesale destruction of Syria, town-by-town, to the slaughter of a school full of children and their teachers in Pakistan.

The 24-hour news cycle has made it possible to follow, almost shot-by-shot, the search for a crazed cop-killer in Pennsylvania and the attempt to liberate a cafe packed with terrified customers being held hostage in Sydney by a crazed jihadi, or was he?

Have I omitted something?  Probably.  It's been almost too much to absorb.  Am I getting desensitized to mass violence?   Or am I, in the golf season interregnum, just more attuned to the 24-hour news cycle blood and guts filler?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Time With Mickey Wright & Harvey Penick, A Guest Post by Sam Adams

Sam Adams, Essentially Golf
I met Sam Adams through the Google+ Golf Community (if you love golf and aren't a member of the Community you're missing an opportunity to connect with others who share your passion) and discovered that while we've never met Sam's living and teaching golf within about 30 miles of my home base.  As our conversations unfolded I also discovered that his approach to teaching draws on his friendships Mickey Wright and Harvy Penick, golfers I admire enormously.  

Mickey Wright played on the LPGA Tour from 1955 to 1969, was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1964, has been named all-time top woman golfer by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, and penned Play Golf the Wright Way, a book I return to again and again as I continue to refine my relationship with this pesky, humbling, befuddling game that so engages me.  I was more than a little impressed when Sam shared with me that he's actually played a round or two with her.

My son Wes introduced me to Harvey Penick and his little red books several years ago when he tucked a couple of the volumes into my carry-on bag at the conclusion of one of our golf matches and said, You'll enjoy reading these on your way across the country at 32,000 feet.  Wes was correct.  I've read them all now, but my favorite is For All Who Love The Game: Lessons and Teachings for Women.  Although he's best remembered as Ben Crenshaw's coach (it's said Harvey continued to provide guidance to Crenshaw from his deathbed), like my current swing coach, Tommy Pendley, Harvey Penick had that rare capacity to nurture the golfer who lives inside many women and his writings speak to me and inspire me.  

How could I go wrong with a guest post from a fellow South Carolinian who's learned his trade from these two golf luminaries?  I couldn't.  So here's Sam's guest post on the wisdom and the inspiration he gained from Mickey Wright and her coach, Harvey Penick:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Bethel Wars: Round 3, Wes By 5

ASU Karsten Golf Club, 8th fairway
The fat lady did not sing for me in our final round of the 2014 Thanksgiving edition of the Bethel Wars.  David Bates had picked the ASU Karsten Golf Course for our third round.  It's a links-style course carved out of the Sonoran Desert and quite frankly I struggled from my first drive to my last putt.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Bethel Wars: Round 2, Mom By 1

On the way to the 1st tee at Dinosaur Mountain
We went back to Gold Canyon Golf Resort and played the Dinosaur Mountain track for our second round.  Wes had forewarned me.  His knee was ready for action.  I had a foreboding of what was in store for me as I watched him warm up on the driving range.  He was still limping but he was transferring his weight and his shots were flying long and straight.  His drive was back and I knew before we teed off that the second round was going to challenge me.  I can't beat Wes off the tee when he's on his game.   But I can generally beat him when we're inside 100 yards and wielding our flat sticks if I stay in the short grass and hit straight until I get to the putting surface.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Bethel Wars: Round 1, Mom By A Lot!

Wes and me at the turn, Gold Canyon Golf Resort Sidewinder
We played the 2014 Thanksgiving edition of the ongoing Bethel Wars in the Phoenix metro area.  Why Phoenix?  With good winter weather and good golf, why not Phoenix?

We hadn't been in town 24 hours when Wes and I left the other Bethels still settling into our rental and took off for the first round of our 3-round Thanksgiving match at the Gold CanyonGolf Resort Sidewinder course on a beautiful Arizona Tuesday afternoon.  ( If you're in the area and looking for a course, check out my Discount Tee Times review of Sidewinder. ) 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Bethel Wars: Thanksgiving 2014

We're going to Phoenix for our Thanksgiving match play 3-round series.  I am so ready.  My clubs are tucked into their traveling case, the pups and parrots are going respectively to Dog Came and Bird Camp for the week, and I'm going to take on Wes while the rest of the family chooses sides and functions as our personal gallery.  And all this is going to take place under sunny skies and 70-degree mid-day temperatures!

Friday, November 21, 2014

There's An Elephant On The Tee Box!

I've always been grateful that my self-esteem isn't linked to my handicap or my scorecard, but I must confess that there's simply no better feeling in the world than a perfectly executed golf shot.  Whether it's a long, arcing drive that flies up over the middle of the fairway, landing with that forward bounce and leaving me with an unobstructed target for my second shot, or a putt that curves along a break on the green and drops pleasantly into the cup, there's simply no better feeling to be had.  I live for those rare and fleeting moments of perfection.  But what about all those other not-so-perfect shots?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My Fantasy Foursome

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty waited two years for her
Augusta National membership invite.
Photo credit:
With IBM CEO Virginia Rometty's invitation to join Augusta National Golf Club, the Dynamic Duo, Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, has been transformed into a Terrific Threesome and it's time to start dreaming about the next step in Augusta National's amazingly slow progress toward joining the rest of us as we bravely go forth into the 21st Century.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ted Bishop Take-Aways

How we talk about things is most certainly a lens into how we think about those things.  Yes?  No?  Well, perhaps not always.  Perhaps it only counts if we put those things in writing, yes?  Because if it's not in writing then we could be misquoted, or misunderstood.   Yes?  No?  Does it count if we delete those offensive things, like from our Twitter and Facebook accounts?  Yes?  No?  I'm confused.  When does it count?

Ted Bishop has suggested it doesn't count in his case because both his children are female and they've both made their careers in the golf industry and he's always been "a great advocate for women and girls in golf."

Feminist psycholinguists tell us that when men resort to gender-loaded insults there's more than a hint that those men not entirely comfortable with women as equals, but I'm not confident that the psycholinguists are widely read outside fairly narrow academic circles.

Still, is calling another guy a "L'il Girl" or saying he sounds "like a little school girl squealing at recess" insulting?  And if it's insulting, who's being insulted?  The guy who got called "L'il Girl"?  Little school girls?  All women?  All men?  The cosmos?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Wrong With My Game? Or Is It My Attitude?

I've found myself over the last couple of weeks more often than not leaving the golf course feeling frustrated, vaguely dissatisfied, irritable -- not the kinds of feelings I want to be having at the end of a round of golf.

I've been blaming it on my game.  It's not been good enough -- I'm in a slump.   I've had too many 3-putts.  I need more distance off the tee.  My chips are coming up short and off-target.  The litany of my inadequacies had gotten way too long.  I was overwhelmed.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cold Balls - Warm Heart

Living in South Carolina, where fall comes later and spring comes earlier than many other parts of the US, I'm still playing in shorts but I know we're edging up to a change in seasons because I'm now taking a sweater with me to the golf course.  Although I'm only wearing it on the range and through the first three or four holes, and although I'm still a little bit sweaty at the end of my round, I know cold weather's coming and with it cold hands, cold knees, cold nose, and cold golf balls.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect

Me (far right) and my instruction group and our very pregnant
instructor (center) at the LPGA 1-Day Clinic,
Druid Hills Golf Club, Atlanta
Several rounds ago something strange happened to my swing.  I started sending my balls off to the right and the left of my target, into clusters of trees rather than keeping them in the short grass where they belong.

It was a problem that just popped up, and I struggled with low-lying limbs and poorly placed tree trunks as I tried to get back to the fairway.

One of my playing partners, who's fairly experienced at navigating through trees, suggested after the round that I needed to develop an effective punch shot so I could get myself out of tree trouble.

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
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:
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: 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.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tiger, Monnie & Me: Rule 25-2-Embedded Ball

Monnie at the 2014 SFLGA Spring Tournament
At the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association we pick play groups for our regular play days by drawing colored poker chips from an old, tattered, mildly dirty Crown Royal bag.  There's some flexibility to the process -- you can always negotiate a private chip swap -- but for the most part we take what we get.  I'm always pleased when Monnie and I are in the same group.  I consistently enjoy the time I spend with her on the golf course.

Let me describe Monnie: she's the Lexi Thompson of the geriatric golfer set.  She's strong, has a powerful swing, and is always nicely put-together, with a seemingly endless supply of matching visors, gloves, shirts and shorts.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Almost A Great Shot (Except For The Bad Bounce or The Errant Pine Cone)

Heartbreak.  Photo credit:
Along with thousands other women's golf fans I was riveted to Golf Channel late Saturday afternoon when Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson gave it everything they had to save Team USA's place in the Sunday Showdown lineup at the International Crown.   They couldn't pull it off.

Friends who neither play nor follow golf and who do not share my passion were waiting for me to join them for dinner.  I texted -- order some appetizers and have a drink -- I'm going to be late -- must see this hole to the end.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rule 13-3/3: Building A Stance

Sun-Ju Ahn, 2014 RICOH Women's British Open
Photo credit: Images
While there are only 31 of them, the Rules of Golf are rather like the Rules of Life.  They're complicated, thickly textured, and not always entirely clear.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Magical Golf Shots: An Eyewitness Account

Annette Walker, @TinkWalker
For those who love the Game of Golf there are places -- Musselburgh Links, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Pinehurst No 2, Pebble Beach -- and people -- Old Tom Morris, Francis Ouimet, Babe Zaharias, Arnold Palmer -- that anchor our collective memory and give meaning to the game.  And whether we play the game of golf or simply love it from behind the ropes, we savor and share our golfing stories about places and people in much the same way that families tell stories at holiday gatherings. The memories created by those stories bind us together.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Bethel Wars, Summer 2014 Edition

These dollar bills just keep getting passed back
and forth, properly dated & tagged!
It's taken him two years to do it, but Wes has finally made a clean sweep of our most recent two-round series in the Bethel Wars!  He thoroughly enjoyed out-playing me and I had a terrific time getting out-played.  What more could be said about two rounds of golf with one's elder son in the sweltering heat and humidity of mid-summer in the Carolinas while Arthur was gathering strength just 200 miles to the east.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wes Is Coming - Game On!
Wes Bethel, fully kilted and ready for battle,
The Links at Bodega Bay, California

Wes Bethel takes his golf very seriously and he's rolling in Monday evening for another 2 or 3 rounds in the ongoing Bethel Wars match play.  I wonder if he's bringing his kilt?  He's sort of cute in a skirt!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday at Pinehurst Belonged to Michelle Wie

Michelle Wie teeing off Sunday at the US Women's Open.  Photo credit: USGA
The 69th playing of the US Women's Open has taken its place in golfing history.  It's an Open that belongs now to twenty-four year old Michelle Wie, once a teen phenom who labored at her craft for a full decade in order to achieve the Sunday afternoon pinnacle victory.  It was a well-played and truly-earned win.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Moving Day at the US Women's Open

Saturday at the US Women's Open, the galleries are swelling
Photo credit: USGA
I was sitting in the stands watching Stephanie Meadow and Karrie Webb warm up on the range this morning.  Behind me, a thirty-something thoughtful and patient daddy was identifying golfers and explaining the nuances of pro golf tournaments to his endlessly curious 10-year old daughter --
. . . that's Catriona Matthew, she's a mommy too and has little girls your age . . . and that's Michelle Wie, she might win the Open tomorrow (it was actually Azahara Munoz), and that's Karrie Webb, she's very, very famous because she's won so many golf tournaments, and that one in the pink shirt with the ruffles on her skort, that's Stephanie Meadow -- she's a college student . . .

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Walk Around Pinehurst No. 2

US Women's Open Trophy
In many respects Lucy Li and I are polar opposites -- she is young and I am old, she lives on the West Coast and I live on the East Coast, she is an amazing golfer and I struggle to occasionally break 90 -- but on one core matter we are rookie sisters.  This is our first US Women's Open, and as I walked the course today, beginning my day by following Laura Davies, then turning to Lucy's group for a time, and finally picking up Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, and Emma Talley, I reflected on the extraordinary power emanating from the tee boxes and fairways and greens at Pinehurst No. 2.  Perhaps this is an artifact of my rookie blogger status, but I think not.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Mighty Lucy: Lucy Li's Very Big Day

Lucy Li.
The sun was still low in the eastern sky above the North Carolina Sandhills when The Mighty Lucy, oblivious to the debate among players and pundits and aficionados that has swirled across the ether for days about the wisdom of allowing an eleven-year old to compete in the grande dame of American women's golf competition that is the US Women's Open, current darling of the press corps, teed off promptly at 7:07am Thursday morning for her first round.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Thanks, Making Birdies!  Let's keep it all in proper perspective!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

US Women's Open: The Grand Vision

LPGA Founders & Pioneers.
Photo Credit:
They don't appear very dangerous or subversive, these thirteen women who challenged prevailing notions about true womanhood and athleticism more than half a century ago.  They could have been any group of club women -- bankers' and doctors' wives, perhaps -- gathered for a group photo taken with somebody's box Brownie after their Thursday golf round at the local country club.  The sweater sets are a nice touch.

To be sure, there are thirteen personal stories behind this snapshot, brought together and united around an extraordinary and thickly textured vision that has shaped and continues to define opportunities for women to participate in competitive athletics at many different social levels.

US Women's Open: Remembering The Babe

Babe Didrikson Zaharias, 1911-1956
In 1954 the United States was in the grip of the Cold War and being held in thrall by Joe McCarthy's Red Scare, and it seemed like only Edward R Murrow and Fred Friendly were going to take exception to McCarthy's madness.  Love was in the air and so was radioactivity: Monroe married Dimaggio and the first hydrogen weapon exploded over the Bikini Atoll.  The nation was poised on the brink of a cultural revolution, pondering but not yet able to envision the post-Brown v Board of Education social landscape.  Texas Instruments launched the transistor radio and Burger King launched its proletarian hamburger challenge.  The first issue of Sports Illustrated appeared on newsstands.

This was the year Babe Zaharias won the US Women's Open for the third and final time, defeating Betty Hicks (for the second time) at the Salem Country Club in Peabody, Massachusetts.  It was her 48th and final victory on the links.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Own The Shot -- Good or Bad

Stacy Lewis, 2014 ShopRite LPGA Classic Champion, wins
after an embarrassing 3-putt on the par-3 17th hole on Sunday.
Having watched soon-to-be world #1 Stacy Lewis three-putt from inside two feet on the par-3 17th hole on the Seaview Hotel Bay Course at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Sunday afternoon, I'm feeling a bit better about some of my own golf gaffes.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Dreaded Yips

The cartoon in my previous post aside, I have been fretting about my short game.  Everything related to my golf game had been going along swimmingly for a couple of months, until about a week ago, when a couple of early warnings suggested that something was changing.  First my trusty flop shot got a little unpredictable.  Then my putts were all short.  Some other small things began to get tangled and my scores began to creep up.  But the real crisis occurred on Thursday at the Newberry Country Club Sandlapper's Tournament.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Maybe It's Not My Short Game

I've been fretting about my short game for the past week and am trying to write about the situation, but this makes me wonder if my problem might lie elsewhere.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Golf On!

"While our skill levels may vary, we here at Bagram Airfield find it relaxing to use the mine fields outside the base to practice our driving skills. Unfortunately, the ability to retrieve these balls is obviously limited. They do however provide great motivation for distance and accuracy!"

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Keep Calm & Golf On - Golf & The Battle of Britain

Ena Squire-Brown leaving her bombed-out home on the
day of her wedding.  Photo credit:
On this Memorial Day, as we remember and honor those who have fought and died in war, let's also pause and remember that even as peoples endure the horrors of warfare life continues.  People laugh and cry, love and marry and have babies.  Children attend school, and golfers play on, and on, every act taken in brave defiance of the destructive power of war.

Friday, May 23, 2014

On Laura Davies and Lucy Li

There's something magical about a competitive sport in which a seasoned, experienced 50-year old professional athlete and an 11-year old amateur can meet on the playing field as equals.   That's the nature of golf, and that's the nature of the US Women's Open.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Take On the "Ownership" of Professional Athletes: Basketball vs Golf

I've been watching the Donald Sterling debacle unfold on national television over the past two weeks with amazement and with deep sorrow.  The Sterling-Clippers mess is, in many ways, the natural and logical culmination of the commoditization of basketball and basketball players, and could as easily have popped up in the pro football and pro baseball arenas.

April 27, 2014. LA Clippers protesting Donald Sterling's
racist rant by wearing their shirts inside-out, hiding
Clippers logo and name.
The tragic subtexts in the Sterling-Clippers scandal are neither subtle nor symbolic: How, in the 21st Century, in an enlightened and civilized society, can an 80-year old oligarch "own" a group of athletes collectively valued at something north of $500 million?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lessons From Cut Day at Stoney Point

Joanna Klatten leads by 2 shots going into the weekend
at the SRH Women Health Classic.
Photo Credit: Scott A Miller.
I've been so enjoying my time at the Self Regional Healthcare Women's Health Classic at Stoney Point.  For two days I've been stationed on the par-5 6th hole, which has a blind tee shot, as a spotter.  The hole has always befuddled me and I looked forward to the opportunity I'd have to study the pros' techniques for navigating the bunker and playing the hole.

From the forward tees, a short hitter like me tends to try to shave the left edge of the fairway bunker and then proceed down the fairway with a couple of decent shots, two-putt, and walk off happily with a bogey.  But an errant tee shot, and I've had many, will either put me in the fairway bunker, out-of-bounds on the right, or into a tree-poison ivy-snaky hazard that runs the full length of the left side of the fairway.  I more often go in the bunker or right and out-of-bounds.  Both are expensive mistakes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ready, Set, Go! Who's Coming In Hot?

Women's Health Classic Leaderboard, off the 18th Green
at The Links at Stoney Point
The scene's set and everything's in place for the Women's Health Charity Classic at the Links at Stoney Point.  The leaderboard's up and waiting for the players, who are rolling into town now and have a practice round Tuesday morning.  The party tent's ready for two days of Pro-Am events and festivities, and the course is ready for the Thursday tee off.  And if you're in the Mother's Day mood on Sunday, you can take Mom to Sunday brunch at the event's party tent before the final round tees off.  Follow this link for the tournament schedule.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Not Everybody Plays Blitzkrieg Golf

Greats of Golf Scramble, 2014 Insperity Invitational
I was feeling just a little bit crabby about the foursome of old guys playing in front of me yesterday.  They were taking their time getting in and out of their carts, chatting amiably with each other between shots, and generally just not at all concerned with the pace of play.  The women play ready golf.  Actually, we play Blitzkrieg Golf.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Big Southern Welcome for The Symetra G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised In The South)

The Elephant Topiary, The Links at Stoney Point
It looks like a circus is coming to town at The Links as Stoney Point.  Well, if not a circus, something that looks big and involves the elephant topiary we local folk know and love as one of the centerpieces at the Festival of Flowers.  There are party tents, a huge leaderboard between the 18th green and the clubhouse, viewing stands for important people, cross-cut fairways, and greens that are, well, lush and green and, according to a couple of golfers I chatted with today, holding the line and rolling true!

Stoney Point's hard at work preparing a huge Southern Welcome for the Symetra Tour players, staff, and fans.  They have about two and a half days to finish getting the sidewalks edged, the tables inside the party tent set up, and tend to all the other little details that make a big party simply perfect.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Aussies are Coming to Town!

I've been checking the LPGA/Symetra web site daily for the last week, waiting for the Women's Health Charity Classic field to be announced.  Finally, it popped up last night and I got my first peek at the golfers who are going to tee off next week at The Links at Stoney Point.  We're in for a treat!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's Spring! That Means Tourneys, Tourneys, and More Tourneys!

The Links at Stoney Point, Greenwood, SC
Signs of spring: Two weeks ago the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association held it's season-opening Spring Fling Tournament.  Lexi Thompson has taken the traditional winner's leap into Poppy's Pond and Michelle Wie has danced the victorious hula at Ko Olina.  Last week it was the first Interclub Tournament of the year at Greenwood Country Club.  This week is was the first Sandlapper's Tournament of the year at the Links at Stoney Point.  And in less than three weeks the Symetra Tour will be in town.  We girls are swinging our sticks with renewed vigor at every level of the game.  I'm positively awash in golf pleasure!