By Bruce Meadows
The wait will be worth it . . .
Other than those of you – hopefully a very few — who have disregarded the thoughts and pleas of healthcare professionals, I am spending a lot of time at home these days.
The golf course where I work, Fairgrounds GC, is shuttered as are other courses in the area as well as all over the state and the country. Some chose to stay open a bit longer than others but fortunately made the decision or were pretty much forced to close up shop for a while.
I’m still not sure why some courses opted to pretty much game the system by instituting “restrictions” to make it seem OK to stay open.
There were “restrictions” such as no carts, or one person to a cart; don’t touch the flagstick, etc. I suppose some courses were responding to their players, hopefully trying to do the right thing for all involved.
But as far as I’m concerned, golf, despite the fact so many of us love and enjoy the sport, if for no other reason than being able to get out and get some fresh air and exercise and spend time with friends, is not truly essential to our lives.
Important, yes . . . essential, no.
I have read articles about what to do while we wait for this insidious coronavirus to be under control, something nobody knows for sure, not even the experts and certainly not politicians or political pundits.
I have read about giving your clubs, your golf bag and all your gear a thorough cleaning and/or repair, something probably only a small percentage of golfers do with any regularity.
I have also read about re-gripping your own clubs – if you have new grips or can find a way to get them. There are numerous videos online to show you how to do that.
You can practice putting or chipping on the rug if you don’t happen to have one of those “putting greens” offered in stores or online.
When the weather permits, you can practice chipping in the backyard if you have a lawn or a suitable spot.
Some friends of mine have built their own “driving range” with plastic pipe and nets.
There are a lot of great golf books and movies available. I chose to re-read Dead Solid Perfect by Dan Jenkins, and there are many others, such as Tommy’s Honor; The Greatest Game Ever Played; Golf in the Kingdom; A Good Walk Spoiled; Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book; Ben Hogan’s Lessons: Modern Fundamentals of Golf) and so many others. There are also a lot of outstanding golf movies.
Design your own indoor course . . . the only limits are your imagination. In my case, keeping our young golden retriever, Molly Rose, from grabbing rolling golf balls might be a challenge.
You could create a course in your house, garage or front or back yard. There are a lot of suggestions for building your own layout online, including videos. There are even “kits” you can buy.
There are many video golf games available. Sure, it’s not the same thing, but you won’t lose as many balls as you usually do and some allow you to “play” courses you might never have a chance to play. There are interactive games that allow you to swing a club.
There are golf instructional videos that also give you a chance to get some exercise and possibly even improve your game.
LPGA golf pro Jessica Reese Quayle is offering instruction on such things as golf posture, and putting, and will no doubt continue to do so as long as this pandemic goes on.
To find out more, email her at [email protected],
HAVING time to think about “things” is both good and bad.
I think about positive, helpful things I have done in my life, but also decisions and actions I have taken that have hurt people, including people I love. As Frank Sinatra sang: “Regrets, I have a few.”
I think about the rewarding experiences I can relate to my involvement with golf, primarily as a golf writer for so many years.
I’ve been able to play a lot of great courses and write about most of them. There are a few – Augusta, St. Andrews, etc. – still on my list.
I’ve been able to cover a lot of events, including U.S. Opens, PGA Championships and more Crosby-AT&T tournaments than I can recall. I have covered tournaments at Harding Park and The Olympic Club, both memorable sites.
I fondly recall getting a chance to play San Francisco Golf Club, which is like a step back in golf history. I was a guest of former Chronicle Sports Editor Art Rosenbaum . . . we even had a caddy!
The Pebble Beach event was originally known as the Bing Crosby National Pro-Amateur, or just the Crosby Clambake. After Crosby’s death in 1977, the tournament was hosted by his family for eight years. The Crosby name was dropped after the 1985 event, and the AT&T Corporation became the title sponsor 34 years ago in 1986.
I remember watching Tiger Woods win at Pebble Beach, a tournament in which it was – as many writers opined – as if he was playing a different course than the rest of the star-studded field. He finished at 12 under par . . . the next best score was 3 over !!!
I remember watching Tom Watson chip in from off the green on No. 17 to propel him past Jack Nicklaus on the way to an AT&T title.
I fondly recall watching an aging Johnny Miller defy the odds to capture an AT&T championship
I’ll never forget following Bill Murray as he delighted the crowd while at the same time unsettling some purists and tournament officials.
I remember watching our own Charles Schulz and Bennett Valley pro Bob Borowicz take on the courses at Pebble Beach.
The tournament was first held in 1937, an 18-hole event. It went to 36 holds in 1938. It has been limited to 54 holes in 1974, 1981, 1986, 1998 and 1999 due to bad weather.
In 1998, weather conditions prevented the tournament from being finished on schedule (9 holes were played Thursday, 9 on Friday, 18 on Saturday, rain Sunday and Monday). The third round was delayed until August to prevent cancellation similar to 1996 . . . 43 of 168 players withdrew rather than return for the final round.
I‘ve experienced every kind of weather, including wonderful sunny, windless days but have also seen my share of rain and hail and wind that lifted golf umbrellas and launched them all over the course.
I never got to see the snow that fell in a tournament long before I started covering the event, a time when it was mainly Bing Crosby and his friends and not corporate execs.
This “time-out” has also given me a chance to look back on what – to me – were memorable moments in my own golfing life. More of that in the next GOLF 707.
If you have any golfing memories, thoughts about what do to when you can’t play golf, etc. email me at [email protected]
What are your golfing favorites?
From time to time, when I wrote a weekly golf column for the Press Democrat, I would ask readers to take part in a very unofficial survey.
I wanted to know – and wanted our readers to have some knowledge – about what local golfers like or don’t like about golf in our area.
It’s been a while since I did this survey, so I figured I would toss it out to readers of my online column, GOLF 707.
I would like to know what you think, and local golf courses and golf-related businesses would no doubt like to have some idea what local golfers think, too. Those courses and business who get good reviews can continue to do what they’re doing, and those that do not show up on our survey might want to take a look at how they can do things a little better.
So check out the following list and let me know your thoughts. I would prefer an email to [email protected] so I can compile a list and keep a running vote total.
And while you are handing out praise, feel free to take a shot at golf courses, businesses or pros or whatever you feel need some improvement.
Include your name and city with your email if possible. And if there is a category you feel I missed, feel free to create one. You can respond to the categories that interest you, but respond to all of them if you wish.
Here’s the list:
Best Par 3
Best Par 4
Best Par 5
Best 18-hole Course
Best 9-hole Course
Best 19th Hole
Best Pro Shop
Friendliest, most helpful Pro Shop Staff
Best Golf Instructor
Best Junior Program
Best Women’s Program
Best Senior Program
Best Golf Course Food, Drink
Best Driving Range
Best “Bang for your Buck”
Best Practice Facility (putting green, chipping green, etc.)
Best Golf Shop (well-stocked, sales, etc.)
Best Golf Repair
Best Maintained Course
Let’s hear from you . . .
Thanks for your comments, questions and suggestions. I appreciate getting them and would like to get as many as possible. If you have information about anything golf-related, including upcoming clinics, activities, tournaments or sales, let me know. And if you have questions, complaints or compliments about golf in our area, I want to hear them.
If you have a golfer – pro or amateur — you know who you think would make an interesting story, tell me about it and I will take it from there. Having trouble with your game? Let me know what it is and I’ll try to get an answer for you from a local pro.
We would be proud to include you as one of our sponsors – thanks to Bill Carson at Wine Country Golf for his continued support – so if you care to get some details about being a sponsor of GOLF 707, email me at [email protected]