The Local Knowlege

My Usual Game

Up the road from the Open: ordeal by asparagus, death by bacon and the Formby Hippo

Less than an hour up the Lancashire coast from Royal Liverpool Golf Club, where the 2014 British Open was held, is the village of Formby, which is the home of two terrific courses, Formby Golf Club and Formby Ladies Golf Club. (It's also the home of a forgettable Florida-style golf course called Formby Hall.) Formby Golf Club abuts the Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve, one whose attractions is a small plot on which farmers grow asparagus, a once significant local crop.

A man I met during a trip to the region last year told me that banquets for area golf-club captains held at Formby Golf Club had once been "ordeals by asparagus," because diners had to be careful not to drip butter onto their red-silk tailcoats. I visited the Ainsdale dunes one afternoon between rounds, and, among other things, studied an informative historical display.

I also bought a cup of coffee at a mobile stand, which was operated by a middle-aged couple.

The man, whose name was Phil, noticed my golf cap and invited me to play golf with him and his son, Sean, at Southport & Ainsdale, a few miles farther up the road, where he was a member. We played a day or two later. The course is one of my many favorites in the area.

Phil is a retired Merseyside policeman. At lunch after our round, I asked him what his toughest case as a cop had been, and he told me about a 43-year-old woman who had died under mysterious circumstances. “I attended her autopsy,” he said, “because she was from a tough neighborhood and there was a presumption of foul play.” The pathologist was baffled, but then, as he was finishing up, he noticed something odd in her throat and gripped it with a clamp -- like that scene in “Twin Peaks” in which Special Agent Dale Cooper finds a typed letter “R” under Laura Palmer’s fingernail. Phil said, “It was a piece of bacon rind, six or seven inches long. She had choked to death on a bacon sandwich” -- an unsettling thought, since that’s what I was having for lunch, and since bacon is pretty much the No. 1 nutrient of the Sunday Morning Group.

Incidentally, Formby has foxes in addition to asparagus.

And Southport & Ainsdale has rabbits.

And Formby also has the Formby Hippo -- about which I may have more to say later.

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My Usual Game

Up the road from the Open: the Hitler Trophy and the Hitler Tree

Hesketh Golf Club is an hour’s drive up the Lancashire coast from Royal Liverpool, where the Open is being played. It’s near the northern end of the resort town of Southport, and it has an enviable street address:

In 1936, the president of the German Golf Union was a brother-in-law of Joachim von Ribbentrop, who later became the foreign minister of the Third Reich. (Ribbentrop was executed for war crimes in Nuremberg in 1946.) In August, ten days after the close of the Summer Olympics, in Berlin, the golf union held an international tournament at Baden-Baden, in the Black Forest. According to English golf lore, Hitler believed that a German victory would soften the multiple humiliations that Jesse Owens had delivered during the Games. Seven countries participated, each represented by a pair of golfers. The format was 72 holes of stroke play over two days; each team’s score was the aggregate score of both its players. The English competitors were Tommy Thirsk, from Ganton Golf Club, and Arnold Bentley, from Hesketh:

After 36 holes, the Germans led by three strokes. According to a recent history by Derek Holden, Hesketh’s president, “Ribbentrop rashly notified Hitler that there would be a German victory. Elated, the Fuhrer set out for Baden-Baden to present the trophy to two members of his ‘master race.’” But Thirsk and Bentley dominated the final two rounds, and in the end they beat the Germans by twelve strokes and the French by four. Holden continues: “Ribbentrop then raced off by car to intercept Hitler and break the bad tidings. Hitler was furious, ordering his chauffeur to turn the car round.”

The tournament trophy -- a silver-gilt salver inlaid with faceted amber disks that from a distance look like egg yolks -- eventually ended up in private hands, but was put up for auction in 2012. Hesketh acquired it for roughly £20,000, raised from members, after outbidding a German golf organization. Last year, Holden told me that he had been worried, initially, that Hesketh would have to compete in the auction with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which had sent a representative, and with collectors of Nazi memorabilia. But Hesketh prevailed, and the trophy is now displayed in the main grillroom.

Bentley’s winnings at Baden-Baden included a small potted fir tree. He gave it to the club, which planted it on a small rise in front of the clubhouse. During the Second World War, members named it the Hitler Tree and used it as a urinal. You can still see it, if you visit Hesketh. (It’s now quite large, and is seldom -- but not never -- used as it was during the war.) The course isn’t one of the Liverpool area’s greatest, but its fourteenth and fifteenth holes are two of my favorites anywhere. Here’s the fourteenth, looking back from just beyond the green (with the clubhouse in the middle of the picture and the golf shop on the right, under the flagpole):


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My Usual Game

Pink flags, black raspberries, and a surprise party for Hacker (real name)

On Friday afternoon, all the flags, flagsticks, and cup liners were pink, because that morning the women had held their nine-hole member-guest tournament (with a field of ten). Nine of us teed off at 2:15, when it was safely over. This spring, Gary, our superintendent, switched us to red, white, and blue flags, to show front, middle, and back hole locations, and some of the guys were confused, at first, by the pink flags, which from a distance looked red. The cup liners were a pulsing, electric pink, and they were so bright that they drew my putts into the hole, I felt. But some of the other guys experienced a repellent effect.

Growing near the lower tee on our fourth hole is a big wild-black-raspberry bush:

A longtime member of our club, whose name was Ed, used to pee there regularly, to discourage poaching, but he’s been dead for several years now, so it’s safe to eat them. They’re rich in antioxidants, and so forth.

Our round was timed to keep Hacker occupied while his wife and daughters, against his wishes, made preparations for a surprise seventieth birthday party for him in the clubhouse. We made the turn exactly when we were supposed to, and we merged two of our threesomes into a sixsome when it seemed that we might finish before the guests had arrived.

The only close call came on the fifteenth tee, when Joe and I realized that we could hear Hacker’s wife giving directions to her helpers on the clubhouse porch. (She used to be a gym teacher, as did Hacker, and she knows how to make herself heard.) But Joe and I drowned her out by making a succession of stupid remarks, and the danger passed.

Hacker figured things out as we were coming down the eighteenth fairway. A large group of non-golfers was standing on the terrace above the green, and he realized that the people who for some reason were watching us play golf included his daughters, his wife's siblings, and all four of his grandchildren.

The party food, which had been planned by his wife and daughters, included french fries, miniature cheeseburgers, and make-your-own ice-cream sundaes -- all Sunday Morning Group staples.

There were also sausages, shrimp on skewers, pigs in blankets, big platters of antipasto, and lots of other things. (On one table there was a platter of vegetable-type items, but I believe they were decorations.) Hacker had thought that we were going to order pizza from Nancy's restaurant and play night golf, so the party surprised him even more than it might have. But the night golf happened anyway, as soon as it got dark, so everything worked out.

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My Usual Game

Sunday on TV: two great U.K. links courses, two great golf trips

The Scottish Open -- that is to say, the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open -- is being played at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, in northeastern Scotland. My friends and I played two rounds there there in 2008. Here some of the guys are on the first tee:

St. Andrews is just 80 miles to the south, but you could skip it and still put together a terrific golf trip, playing only courses within bicycling distance of Aberdeen. Maybe start at Carnoustie, on the northern side of the Firth of Tay. Then Forfar, a heathland course, definitely worth the twelve-mile trip inland:

Then Royal Aberdeen, which you can study on TV on Sunday (the Golf Channel in the morning; NBC in the afternoon):

Then Murcar, which is so close to Royal Aberdeen that players on one course sometimes accidentally play onto the other. Here you are looking toward Murcar from Royal Aberdeen:

And here you are looking toward Royal Aberdeen from Murcar:

Then Trump International, which I haven’t played yet but which I walked when it was nearing completion. Then maybe Newburgh-on-Ythan, where I played with two other guys named Dave. The course isn't the greatest, but if you like to walk you can drive a couple of miles up the road and hike into a nature preserve whose many fascinating features include some enormous sand dunes, which are visible from the course:

You can also explore the remains of the village of Forvie, which was swallowed by blowing sand in the 1400s. All that’s left are some piles of stones and part of the village church, which was built on high ground:

Then Cruden Bay, which is one of my favorite courses anywhere:

Then maybe Peterhead (where I played with the pro), Inverallochy (where I accidentally set off the clubhouse alarm), and Fraserburgh, whose first and last holes could use some work but is otherwise terrific.

There you go: a great golf trip, and you've put barely 100 miles on your rental car. And if there are non-playing spouses along you can stop for occasional sightseeing without driving more than a mile or two out of your way:

Meanwhile, in England, the Women’s British Open -- that is to say, the Ricoh Women’s British Open -- is being held at Royal Birkdale, in northwestern England. (You can study the course on ESPN2.) My friends and I visited Birkdale in 2010 and I returned in 2013. Here's Ray in 2010:

Birkdale lies near the center of what may be my favorite golf trip, the route for which runs along the Lancashire coast from Royal Liverpool, where the British Open will be played next week, about an hour to the south of Birkdale, to Royal Lytham & St. Annes, where the Open was played in 2012, about an hour to the north. I have an article about that trip coming up in a future issue of Golf Digest. In the meantime, I can tell you that in 2010 nine of us played fifteen rounds in eight days on eleven of the courses between Liverpool and Lytham, and at dinner on our last night in England the nine of us named eight of them as the one we’d most like to play again.

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My Usual Game

World's best golf-based bathroom reading

By David Owen

A recent study proved something that most of us either knew already or could have figured out: people who have smartphones spend more time on the toilet than people who don’t. Not long ago, I discovered another bathroom-stay-prolonger: the latest edition of "Decisions on the Rules of Golf."


"Decisions" is a heavily annotated version of golf’s rule book, published every other year, in which the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews attempt to “clarify matters that may not be entirely clear” from the rules themselves, based on issues they've adjudicated for golfers and rules officials. For example: “Is a worm, when half on top of the surface of the ground and half below, a loose impediment which may be removed? Or is it fixed and solidly embedded and therefore not a loose impediment.” Answer: It’s a loose impediment, and you may remove it. (Decision 23/8) 


Reading "Decisions" makes you appreciate the challenge that rules officials face. It also painlessly increases your knowledge of the rules while providing an agreeable exercise in schadenfreude: “After a player putts, the flagstick attendant removes the flagstick and a knob attached to the top of the flagstick falls off. The knob strikes the player’s moving ball and deflects it. What is the ruling?” 


You can easily picture the situation: the clumsy moron tending the flag; the brilliant 50-foot putt that would have dropped if the detached knob hadn’t struck it; the ensuing screams. And the answer is that the knob, once it broke off, became an outside agency rather than a part of the flagstick, so the player incurred no penalty under Rule 17-3a. Instead, “the stroke is canceled and the ball must be replaced.” (Decision 17/9)

Here’s one more: “A player misses a shot completely and, in swinging his club back, he accidentally knocks his ball backwards. . . . If the ball comes to rest out of bounds, how does the player proceed?” 


The answer is in Decision 18-2a/22, but you’ll have to look it up yourself. You can do that by ordering a spiral-bound paper copy for your own bathroom, or by consulting the online (and easily searchable) version of the "Rules and Decisions," on the U.S.G.A.’s website.



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My Usual Game

These are the best golf beverage bottles, and I'm not kidding

By David Owen

Usually, the “tee gift” you receive for playing in a golf tournament is something you either don’t want or already have a dozen of, like a bag that isn’t the right size or shape to hold anything you want to carry in a bag, or a vest. Of all the tee gifts I’ve been given over the years, just three stand out: a Club Glove carry-on suitcase, from my brother’s member-guest (now sadly broken); a belt with a beer-opener buckle, from my own member-guest, which is almost the only belt I ever wear; and a Hydro Flask water bottle, from a local tournament last year:


Several of my friends also played in the same tournament and received the same water bottle, and they love it, too. It holds 24 ounces and has a screw-on top with a ring thing in it. I like mine so much that I recently bought a second one, just for coffee. It holds 18 ounces and has a wide-mouth with a “flip lid,” for sipping:


As of this week, I own a third, a 32-ounce model, for carrying water on really hot days. It’s big, but it fits in the beverage pocket on my golf bag, and I got it with both a regular screw-on top and a “straw lid,” which lets me drink from it like a baby bottle:


If I hadn’t quit drinking alcohol a decade ago, I would immediately buy a fourth Hydro Flask, called the Growler, which is even bigger, and holds 64 ounces of beer:


There are several guys at my club who could really use Growlers. If men ever bought presents for other men, I might get them one, if only to prevent them from doing what they do now, which is to fill old beer bottles with new beer from the Kegerator in the clubhouse storeroom and carry them in their golf bags. They use old beer-bottle tops to reduce spillage:


Among the appealing features of all my Hydro Flask bottles are the finishes, which are tough and non-glossy. They also come in great colors. And unlike the black finish on my four Thermos coffee mugs (which, because of their shape, inevitably pop out of the cup-holder on my pushcart) they don’t chip off:

thermos chipping.JPG

I love all three of my Hydro Flasks. A golfer would pretty much have to be crazy, I think, to carry a liquid in anything else. There are lots to choose from:


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My Usual Game

Reader's trip report: Askernish Golf Club, South Uist, Scotland

Askernish is on the island of South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, off the coast of northwestern Scotland.

Askernish satellite view.jpg
I first visited in 2007, on assignment for Golf Digest, and I went back late the following year on assignment for The New Yorker. Getting to South Uist requires determination. In 2007, I flew from Inverness to Benbecula, which is one island to the north and is connected to South Uist by a half-mile-long causeway: 


In the air, I looked down, through breaks in the clouds, on the fjord-like creases that rumple Scotland’s west coast and on the waters of the Minch, the stormy channel that separates the Outer Hebrides from the Scottish mainland. The only other passengers were the day’s newspapers and two guys accompanying a load of cash for ATMs in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis, where we stopped first. Here are the newspapers, in containers belted into the seats:

newspapers on plane.JPG

In 2008, I took a ferry from Oban, which is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Glasgow. The ferry sails three or four times a week and makes a brief stop at Barra, another island. I actually could have flown to Barra, although the flight schedule depends on the tides, because Barra's runway is a beach:

Thumbnail image for Barra runway.jpg

The South Uist ferry trip takes about six and a half hours in good weather. We passed the islands of Mull, Coll, Muck, Eigg, Rum, Sanday, Sundray, Vatersay, Hellisay, Gighay, and Stack, among others. We also passed this lighthouse, on a tiny island called Eilean Musdile. It’s just off the shore of a larger island, called Lismore, which has a population of 146. The lighthouse was built in 1833:

lighthouse from ferry.JPG

Until 1974, cars on the South Uist ferry had to be loaded and unloaded with a crane, like freight; nowadays, you drive on and drive off. The ferry docks in Lochboisdale, a few miles from Askernish:

Lochboisdale harbor.JPG

The original course at Askernish was laid out in 1891 by Old Tom Morris. At some point, probably during the Second World War, most of Morris’s holes were abandoned, and until roughly a decade ago they were essentially forgotten. Since then, a plausible version of the old course has been restored, by a group that included Gordon Irvine, a Scottish golf-course consultant; Martin Ebert, an English golf architect and links-course specialist; Mike Keiser, the founder of Bandon Dunes; and Ralph Thompson, who used to be the manager of the island’s main agricultural supply store and now works full-time as the golf club’s chairman and principal promoter. Here are Irvine and Ebert, discussing the routing in 2008:

Irvine & Ebert.JPG

My New Yorker article about Askernish caught the attention of David Currie, a reader and retired investment banker who lives on a small farm outside Toronto. He first visited Askernish in 2010, and since then has joined the club and returned two more times -- most recently in June, for the first annual gathering of its “life members.” (I’m one, too, but couldn’t make it.) Here’s part of the group, on the clubhouse steps. The architect Tom Doak was there, too, but isn’t in the picture. Currie is front-row-center:

life members.JPG
Currie also sent two photos of the course. Here’s the eighth hole:

And here’s the sixteenth, Old Tom’s Pulpit, which is one of my favorite holes anywhere:

Askernish sixteen.JPG
Currie writes:

I had always known that my roots were in the west coast of Scotland. Although my paternal grandparents came from the Glasgow area, I was aware that the Currie DNA was scattered along the coastal shores north of Glasgow. (Apparently, my ancestors slept around.) Other than that, I had little family history to go by. In 2011, Ralph Thompson mentioned that a Robert Currie had traveled to South Uist from New York to meet with the local council about erecting a memorial cairn acknowledging the contribution of Clan Currie to the cultural development of the island. I was present at the dedication of the cairn, in 2012:


MacMhuirich was our original name centuries ago. And here’s a shot of my opportunistic wife, Liz, who never could resist a handsome man with his own whiskey bottle. Actually, the handsome man is Alasdair Macdonald, the owner of the croft where the cairn was erected:

macdonald whisky.JPG
The Life Members Challenge was a Stableford. Currie came in second, one point behind Doak’s associate Eric Iverson.

currie victorious.JPG
Currie continues:

The initial six holes at Askernish can cause one to question what the fuss is all about. They are certainly quite nice, but nothing unusual or special. However, the WOW factor kicks in as you climb the dunes from sixth green to seventh tee and you stand there gazing out over the Atlantic Ocean. I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but I wasn’t about to allow that to happen, at least until I finished my round!

If you visit South Uist, drive carefully. Most of the roads are single-lane, and you have to share them.

Askernish sheep.JPG

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My Usual Game

Rangefinders, Ivan Lendl, lawyer feet, a lazy 30-year-old, a hole-in-one, and vegan burgers for dinner

My ancient laser rangefinder, a Bushnell PinSeeker 1500, finally stopped working. The low-battery warning began flashing and wouldn’t stop, even though I replaced the battery, twice, using fresh spares from my golf bag. As soon as I got home, I ordered a new Bushnell Tour Z6, for $300. The Z6 is quite a bit smaller than the PinSeeker, and it weighs almost four ounces less -- a potential advantage in competition. 

two rangefinders
The day after the Z6 arrived, I was rummaging in my desk and came across an unopened package of the kind of batteries the PinSeeker used to use. Out of curiosity, I popped one in, and -- what do you know? -- it worked just fine. I guess that carrying two 9-volt batteries in your golf bag for more than a year isn’t a good idea, as far as the batteries are concerned. So I now have two perfectly functioning laser rangefinders, and I’ll thank you not to mention that to my wife.

tour z6 viewfinder.jpg
I used the Z6 for the first time on Friday, in a match at home. The match was Addison and me against Ray and our Close Personal Friend Ivan Lendl, who belongs to a couple of clubs in our area, including our Enemy Club. I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that I had a short birdie putt on the eighteenth hole to square the match, and missed it. But Addison had a slightly longer birdie putt to do the same thing and made it, so good for us. We’re all square for now, and we will play a rematch at a time and place to be determined.

lendl hybrid.JPG
In the photo above, Ivan is using his own rangefinder, which is Bushnell’s “hybrid” model. It has a laser, like mine, but it also has a GPS unit, which is sort of grafted onto the side. I asked him whether he ever used the GPS part, and he said he didn’t because the GPS part (like all GPS yardage devices) is so power-hungry that if you use it you have to recharge it after every round.
bushnell hybrid.jpg
About 30 minutes after our match was over, Addison and I played again, in the Friday-afternoon edition of the Sunday Morning Group. During that round, several unusual things happened. First, Other Gene joined us late and played without shoes or socks, giving the rest of us a close look at something you don't see on a golf course every day: lawyer feet.

lawyer feet.JPG
Second, Austin, who is thirty years old and was the second youngest person playing that afternoon, took a cart after nine holes:

austin cart.JPG
Third, on the third hole -- a 185-yard par 3 -- David W. hit a gorgeous 4-iron shot, which landed on the green, rolled toward the flag, and disappeared. Nobody in our group, including David, could see well enough to be certain what had happened, but we had a feeling.


Because this was an S.M.G.-sanctioned outing, David will receive $250 from the Slush Fund. If he’d done the same thing on a Sunday morning, he’d have received twice as much. 

burger mix.JPG

That evening, my wife, Ann Hodgman -- who has written several cookbooks, and is currently writing one for strict vegetarians -- made vegan burgers for dinner. They contained chick peas, barley, leeks, and other stuff. (That's the mixture, in the photo above.) They didn’t taste like burgers made from beef, but I liked them. And when I got home from playing golf the next morning I ate two more of them, right out of the fridge.

vegan burgers.JPG

Now who's a good husband?
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My Usual Game

Solstice marathon: 101 holes in 15 hours, all walking

To celebrate the official arrival of summer, my friends and I played golf on Monday from can to can’t -- from when you can see until you can’t. Seven of us teed off at 5 a.m., when it was just light enough to follow a ball most of the way to the dogleg in the first fairway, and about 30 minutes later we were joined by Peter A., who had just discovered that he didn’t know how to set his alarm clock. He played by himself until he had caught up. Here’s Hacker (real name) getting ready to hit the day's opening drive:

hacker first hole.JPG
We had to play around the sprinklers for a while:

Gary, our superintendent, stopped by to see how things were going, and we tried to talk him into joining us: 

gary sixth.JPG
After the first 18 holes, we drove to the coffee shop on the village green for breakfast. After the next 27, we made ourselves cheeseburgers and hot dogs on the grill in the parking lot next to the clubhouse. We also stopped occasionally to change socks, shoes, and shirts. I flipped my socks every time we passed the clubhouse, so that they would dry evenly:

drying socks.JPG
The day was hot, humid, and mostly windless. Several guys came and went. Tim played the first 18, then went home and worked, then came back and played the last 11. (He said that the unusual parts of a solstice marathon are the beginning and the end, and that he already knew what it's like to play in the middle of the day.) Here’s Tim, during the final nine, carrying a golf bag with the logo of the Sunday Morning Group’s unofficial marathon golf-shoe provider:

tim bag.JPG
We played on foot, and we played fast -- my threesome averaged an hour and ten minutes per nine all day long -- but I never felt that we were hurrying. The key is that we didn’t fool around: no practice swings, very little ball-marking, no obsessive putt-reading, no brooding about yardages on holes we play all the time, no standing around waiting for someone else to hit. When you play that way, you don’t have time to get in your own way, mentally. And, as is usually the case, everyone played extremely well. My second round was my best of the year so far (72). Addison was 8-under, gross, for the day. Here’s one of Addison's tee shots on No. 9, a short par 4:

addison eagle.JPG
We finished at 8 p.m. Addison, David W., and I managed 101 holes, all walking. (That was roughly 66,000 steps, 270 flights of stairs, and 35 miles, according to my Fitbit.) Hacker achieved his goal of “walking and carrying my age,” which is about to be 70. He switched to a cart after 72 holes, played 9 more riding, and followed us to the end in the staff cart, with Mike A. driving:

staff cart.JPG
The competition was a ringer tournament, in which a player counted only his best net score on each of the 18 holes -- a format that gave an appropriate advantage to those who played the most holes. David W. was first, at -17; I was second, at -16; and Addison was third, at -15. Here’s my scorecard for the day (the pink spots are Powerade):

Owen solstice.jpg
While we were eating lunch, we got to watch one of the later stages of another golf marathon, featuring our club’s oldest member. His wife had brought him over, and had had a great deal of difficulty getting him from their car to the practice green. She had brought his putter and a Ziploc bag containing about a dozen old balls, which she placed on the green near his feet. Putting the dozen balls took him a long time. When he was finished, I helped her get him back to their car. Then they drove home.

Postscript: Patrick Kroos, a German golfer and blogger whose main current project is persuading non-Swedes to travel to Sweden to play golf, wrote me to tell me about a German tournament called the HundertLochPokal, or HuLoPo, which means "Hundred-Hole Cup." He wrote:  "One of my golf friends made a nice video of the 2013 edition. Even if you do not understand German, you can see the agony." You can watch the video here.

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My Usual Game

The ideal scorecard for a tensome, plus a record turnout

By David Owen

We had 30 guys on Sunday, which was both Father’s Day and the final round of the U.S. Open. Thirty is a record for us, so we took a photo:

SMG record.JPG

We chose teams the way we always do, by drawing numbered poker chips from a hat, but we had only 24 chips, so we had to fudge things. That evening, at home, Rick made us 6 more.

numbered chips.JPG

I was on the lookout for guys who hadn’t been able to play because it was Father’s Day -- a sore point for me -- but according to my informal investigation there was only one: young Dr. Mike, who was said to be absent for reasons related not only to Father’s Day but also to his wife and tennis. Reese and Addison weren’t there, either, but they (along with Addison’s brother, Harris, who works in the golf shop part-time) were in Pittsburgh visiting their father/grandfather, also Reese, who is 92. He can’t play anymore, but he rode in the cart while his son and grandsons played, so no one missed any golf: 


Addison and Harris’s other grandfather is also a golfer. In fact, he was the No. 1 player on the golf team at Wake Forest at a time when the No. 2 player was Arnold Palmer. His name is  Ray, and he still plays. Here's what he looked like in his prime:

Ray Harris.JPG

Because Sunday was the final day of a major, the Sunday Morning Group used the scorecard from the course where the major was being played, Pinehurst, instead of our own. I won a skin on No. 18 because on the Pinehurst card I get a stroke on that hole, and the stroke turned my miracle eagle (approach shot into the hole) into a miracle net hole-in-one.

Pinehurst card.jpg

So good for me. (Pinehurst, like a number of clubs, assigns handicap stroke indexes in a dumb way, and I will write about that at some point.) This coming Sunday, we’ll be back to using our very own, brand-new Sunday Morning Group scorecard. It was designed mainly by Hacker (real name). Here he is, studying a proof:


Our new card is much smaller than our old card -- just 3.25 by 5 inches once it’s folded in half -- but it has enough spaces for a tensome, or for a fivesome playing five simultaneous games:


The cards were created for us by PrintWorks, a small graphic-design and printing shop in the next town. This is Doug, who runs the shop with his mother. He cheerfully put up with dozens of picky last-minute design changes:


Doug gave us such a good deal on our scorecards that everyone who reads this should be sure to have something printed at PrintWorks this year, to ensure that they’ll still be in business the next time we need scorecards, business cards, letterheads, envelopes, flyers, brochures, posters, postcards, or any of the other stuff they specialize in. (Doug also printed waterproof scorecards for us, for rainy days, and I’ll tell you about those soon.) Our new scorecards have our rules printed right on the back, for easy reference:

Scorecard rules.JPG

Incidentally, that record score, at the bottom of the card, is nine over par net. No one in SMG history has ever played worse.

SMG Sunday.JPG

Scorecard name-001.jpg

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