September 8, 2000
This week’s column covers some news and views as the Cape Region golf season starts to wind down.
Conlon wins club championship
On August 20, 2000 Kevin Conlon of Rehoboth Beach won the club championship in the net category at Kings Creek Country Club. This stunning result proves that sometimes nice guys finish first.
Conlon readily admitted that his victory surprised himself as much as his competitors. He maintains a completely honest but persistent 25 or 26 handicap.
On the other hand, Conlon is frequently an absolute putting genius. Using his trusty mallet putter, Conlon hit a hot streak in the two-day competition. Putts of 10, 15, and 25 feet dropped in with stunning regularity, and he won by several strokes.
I’m happy for him, but there’s no way I’ll give Conlon the usual 4 strokes a side the next time we play. Three strokes per side, tops, and that’s my final offer.
What tees you off about golf?
I obviously disagree with Mark Twain’s description of golf as “a good walk spoiled,” but some aspects of the sport are admittedly annoying.
Mandatory carts, cart path-only rules, and blind shots on public courses.
I played Back Creek Golf Club recently, a well-maintained public layout near Middletown, Delaware. During this round I hit the trifecta of things that tee me off.
First, the course required the use of carts. I understand the economics of public golf well enough to know that this is common, but I don’t have to like it.
Second, the course required the carts to remain on the cart paths. Few rules will stretch out a round of golf like this one. Golfers first must decide who will walk to their ball first, and who will bring the cart along. Then there is the decision about what club to use for the shot, after walking 30 to 40 yards from the cart to the ball.
To speed up play, golfers should take three or four clubs with them for their next shots. If they guess wrong about the club selection, however, they still face the prospect of slogging back to the cart, or trying to manufacture a shot with a club they already know is probably not up to the task.
Third, this course forces several blind shots over the mounds that are the principal design feature of the layout. If Back Creek were a private country club, the members would eventually gain enough course knowledge to play it well despite the high mounds.
For a public course, however, these blind shots are frequently frustrating. Back Creek should do itself and its guests a favor and shave down some of these mounds. The re-shaping will not unduly harm the look of the course, and it would both speed up play and make it more enjoyable.
Ball marks on greens.
On almost every course I’ve played this year, my playing partners and I found ourselves repairing several more ball marks than those we made ourselves. Unthinking, inconsiderate golfers leave behind these ball marks.
It takes very little time to fix these indentations on the greens. The faster they are repaired, the easier it is for the turf to recover.
Foot prints in bunkers.
For most golfers, bunker shots are hard enough without the disheartening prospect of swiping the ball out of a size 12 footprint two inches deep.
Making sure that ball marks are repaired and bunkers raked seems like a good reason why golf courses should use rangers with the power to banish thoughtless golfers off the course. Or is that too harsh?
What do you think? Send in your comments, and we’ll see if there are any common themes and suggested solutions.
In addition to Conlon’s net championship, the other winners in the club championships at Kings Creek Country Club on August 20 included Chase Brockstedt in the men’s gross category; Joe Comorat for seniors’ gross and Dave Bradley for seniors’ net; and Luanne Zabytko for ladies’ gross, and Katherine Lawrence for ladies’ net.