By Bruce Meadows
Bill Carson represents Wine Country Golf Group, which includes Windsor, Rooster Run and Adobe Creek, all popular 18-hole layouts.
But Carson, director of operations for WCGG, has a good feel for the bigger picture when it comes to promoting golf throughout our community.
He recently filled me in on what WCGG is doing these days, but while he obviously is primarily concerned about the success of his three courses, he is an altruist when it comes to wanting golf to prosper throughout Sonoma County.
He talked about introducing advanced tees for beginners and children, typically about half the length of the white tees, explaining “we want to encourage beginners and make it more fun to play for everyone.”
Bill would like to see the once-popular First Tee program return to the county and is currently involved in preliminary discussions with some people and is researching “what we need to make this happen.”
Carson is also helping develop a “range game,” which would involve developing nine target greens that a player can shoot at on the range. “It will involve the use of myriad clubs and we will establish ‘par’ for hitting targets.”
There will be a scorecard that the person uses to track how many shots it takes to hit all the targets. There will probably be a “pro par” for someone like Windsor pro Jason Schmuhl, who as Bill sees it, “might take 18 shots, while a hack like me might take 35.”
WCGG is still developing the concept and how it will be implemented.
Bill has also volunteered to serve on several tournament committees to help them be more successful. He wants to assist those that are struggling to fill the field and get sponsors and so far results have been good.
“When I offer my assistance, I promise that they will improve their bottom line and if they don’t, I will only charge what they paid at the previous location,” explained Carson. “So far I haven’t had to reduce any rates.”
He has been working with Ben Stone, Executive Director of Sonoma County Economic Development Board, and striving to form a county recreation coalition “to promote outdoor recreation in our county as a tourism draw.”
The project is still in its “infancy stages, but should be making headway in the fall,” reports Bill.
So while some people sit around and bemoan the loss of players and revenue, Carson confronts the issues and sets out to do something about them. You can complain about it or you can try to do something about it.
Santa Rosa author Stephen Altschuler has scheduled three readings of his new book, “The Mindful Golfer — How to Lower Your Handicap while Raising your Consciousness,” the first reading Monday, June 8, at Copperfield’s in Montgomery Village at 7 p.m.
Two additional readings — all free — are Tuesday, June 16, at Books Inc. in Town and Country Village in Palo Alto, 7 p.m., and The Book Passage in Corte Madera, Monday, July 20, 7 p.m.
“The Mindful Golfer” is “filled with personal experiences, anecdotes and chunks of wisdom” as Altschuler takes readers through his own struggles, showing how golf can be not only fun, but healing.
A golfer since 1960, a mental health counselor since 1967, a journalist since 1969 and a Zen practitioner since 1975, Altschuler discovered that “golf and life intersect in a number of key areas.”
He covers many of the challenges a golfer must confront to overcome his or her main obstacle: the human mind, and all its desires, hasty decisions and responses to failure and success.
Altschuler, who also writes a blog called “The Mindful Golfer,” explains the many processes of the golfer’s mind and how to avoid the pitfalls, and how the Zen approach keeps you in the present moment, treating each shot as a mutually exclusive event, a way to meditate and play golf at the same time.
He integrates Zen techniques with practical instruction and how to learn to play better golf and become a better person. He also includes some personalities and history of the game.
Other books by Altschuler include “The Mindful Hiker,” “Hidden Walks in the East Bay and Marin” and “Sacred Paths and Muddy Places.”
Oldies but goodies
The Sonoma Wine Country Senior Games once again drew a large field of athletes this year, including golfers.
Women’s winner in the 18-hole format was Linda Walsh, age 65, who shot an overall gross score at Windsor GC last week.
In the 50-54 division, winners were Katy Spryka, 54, who shot a gross 83, and Cheryl King, 53, who had a gross 95. In age 55-59, Mary Seggerman, 59, shot a gross 75, while Conci Mack, 56, carded an 87.
In 60-64, Cynthia Lindgren, 62, shot an 85; in 65-69, Nancy Dempsey, 69, won with a 69, while Walsh, 65, had a 75; Patricia Young, 66, a 75, and Betsy Wittjohn, 66, a 76. In age 70-74, Charlotte Temple, 71, shot a gross 85, and 70-year-old Linda Morriss a 98.
For the men, 59-year-old Steve Spanier was overall gross winner with a 72, with Scott Spryka, 53, winning the 50-54 division with a 74.
In 55-59, Ken Rhodes, 58, won with a gross 66; Randy Mack, 57, shot 70 and Spanier, carded a 72. In 60-64, Joe Parris, 63, won with a 73. In 65-69, Jon Steward, 65, shot a gross 61, Tom Osipowich, 69, a 64 and Andy Wittjohn, 69, a 71.
In 70-74, Orm Aniline, 73, shot a gross 77, James Temple, 72, a 77; Harold Russell, 71, an 83 and Robert Morriss, 73, an 85. In 76-79, Tony D’Agosta, 78, shot gross 73, and in 90-94, Wendell Freeman, 93, carded a gross 99.
Your toughest shot . . .
A few columns ago, I asked you to send me what you feel is your toughest golf shot. We had some good ones, but one we forgot to include came from Dave Fowler in Danville.
Dave’s simple response: “The hardest shot is the one that means the most to you.”
We ran a lot of “toughest shot” suggestions, but if you still want to send me your choice, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your favorite courses?
I have my own favorite golf courses, but I would like to know what courses you like best . . . they can be in Sonoma County or anywhere. Let me know which courses you enjoy most, and why you feel the way you do.
We want to get the word out
If you have a tournament coming up, a golf clinic scheduled or any golf-related event in the works, let me know what it is and I will get that information out to our readers.
I would also like to start compiling a list of young players who are either competing at the college level or will be doing so next year.
What’s on your mind?
Do you wonder why courses continue to charge regular rates a day after they have aerated their greens or why they charge regular fees even when the weather is bad and the course is nearly unplayable?
I have often wondered and over the years have asked that question of course operators, usually getting an honest answer. We want to applaud the good courses and question the ones that aren’t so forthcoming.
If you have questions like this, or about anything involving golf in our area, email me and let me know and I will attempt to get to the bottom of it.
At the same time, it you have some kind words for a pro shop staffer or somebody who treated you well – or not so well — at a local golf shop, let us know and we will acknowledge your comments.
A women’s list of ‘OK’ things in golf
Golf for Her,“ a popular women’s golfing web site, recently published a list of things that are OK to feel or do when playing golf.
Some of the better ones:
It’s OK to not keep score.
It’s OK to play from the shortest tees or start at the 150-yard marker.
It’s OK to play a scramble with your group — scrambles are very popular.
It’s OK to just chip and putt on a hole when you feel like it.
It’s OK to pick up in the middle of the hole and enjoy the outdoors and scenery.
It’s OK to skip a hole if you need to take a break.
It’s OK to play golf in your sneakers. Be comfortable!
It’s OK to get enthusiastic! (High fives, fist pumps and big smiles are encouraged)
It’s OK to talk on the golf course — enjoy a nice conversation or tell a few jokes.
It’s OK to bring your kids to the course whether they are 5 or 35.
It’s OK to remember friends more than your scores.
It’s OK to turn OFF your cell phone while on the course.
It’s OK to PLAY GOLF JUST FOR FUN! Play the tees that make you the happiest.
No wonder women golfers seem to be having more fun most of the time ! If you have any “OK” things to add to the list, let me see them.
Let’s hear from you . . .
I love to write about golf, but would also love to write about how you feel about golf.
If you have a good golf story to relate, send it to me and I will take it from there. We are also on the lookout for interesting golf feature story ideas, so if you have a suggestion, let me know.
Additionally, we are grateful to people such as Bill Carson of the Wine Country Golf Group (Windsor, Adobe Creek, Rooster Run) and Strong’s Golf in Santa Rosa for supporting GOLF 707 in the form of sponsorship.
We would love to have you join them in helping promote golf in our community. If you’d like to find out about sponsorship, email me at email@example.com and I will get you details on how to do it.
The success of GOLF 707 on ysn365.com and our ability continue it depends in large part on your contribution of golf items and story ideas as well as sponsorship. If you would like to find out more about sponsoring GOLF 707 or know someone who might be interested, please let us know.t us know.
Good to hear from some of you, but would love to hear from more. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
IF Bill Carlson and WCGG really want to get more people golfing they need to address the tough issues-time and cost. They need to make 9 hole tee times more readily available for those who cannot carve 5+ hours out of their day. They also need to make discounted tee times more readily available. There are plenty of times and days that they could benefit from more golfers at a reduced fee.
patrick . . . if you care to discuss your ideas, email me at email@example.com