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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!

On the surface it doesn't seem like this ongoing match play between Wes and me would be a fair competition, but the forward tees go a long way toward balancing out the playing field because when you get right down to it, the bulk of the game is played within 100 yards of the cup and so long as my knees hold up even a little old lady like me can move the ball forward 100 yards.

Phoenix is an interesting choice.  It's home ground for none of us, but the granddaughter (who's making some noise about taking up the Game, herself) suggested it as a compromise rendezvous location.  Given the golfing opportunities Wes and I backed her up enthusiastically and then everybody else got in line and booked their flights.

Golf aside, there's a certain allure to gathering for a holiday on nobody's home turf, promising a balance in the playing field of extended family dynamics.

So what do you do about tee times in a place that's unfamiliar to everyone?  I had the edge on this one because I occasionally write for the Discount Tee Times blog, so I asked my boss, David Bates -- whom I've never met but with whom I have a lovely, digital world working relationship -- to help us out with some recommendations and suggestions.

David is never short on recommendations and suggestions.


David, and by extension Discount Tee Times, has the inside track on who's who and what's what in golf throughout the southwest.  He was more than up to the task.  We're looking forward to an exciting 3-round series, playing both the Sidewinder and Dinosaur Mountain tracks at Gold Canyon Resort and the Arizona State Karsten course -- three totally different layouts that are going to offer three different sets of challenges.

Sidewinder's first.  The course going to take me into the desert and give me a chance to navigate around some of those huge saguaro cacti.  Dinosaur Mountain is going to present some environmental challenges that this girl who likes to golf play in the coastal areas of the southeast rarely experiences.

I'm looking forward to playing the ASU Karsten because it's a links-style course set in the middle of the desert -- now how did they do that?  And Arizona State has one of the best collegiate golf programs in the country, so I might get to see some very (athletically, not sexually) hot young golfers in action.

I'll let you know how the series unfolds.  Wes reports that his game is better than it's ever been, that he's adopted a zen approach and is driving the ball 300 yards.  He hasn't said whether or not his ball lands in the short grass.  He probably needs to keep in mind that my putter's hotter than his!

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: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
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: