Nor’Easter whacks Cape Region golf courses
October 28, 2005
I recently heard some Cape Region folks wondering when the leaves would start to fall off the trees, because the recent spell of relatively warm weather seemed to slow up the onset of autumn.
This week’s nor’easter helped a lot of trees catch up with the regular schedule, but not in a good way.
In fact, more than just leaves fell in the aftermath of howling winds, driving rains, and the flooding of the inland bays.
Along the 10th fairway of Old Landing Golf Course once stood a large tree whose trunk was about 2 feet in diameter at chest height. Now it’s only about one foot thick, and a good candidate for total removal. The wind snapped the tree trunk nearly down the center, and about half the tree now lies on the ground, aimed toward the 18th hole.
Rob Marshall, the owner/operator of Old Landing, seemed fairly resigned to the alteration in his previous plans for the next week. “We’ll just have to trot out the chain saws and haul off the debris. We lost some limbs off of other trees, too. We’re saturated with all the rain, and we’ll have to be closed for a day or two. But it will all drain,” he said.
At The Rookery Golf Course, one of the trees left a little present near the driving range. Head golf professional Butch Holtzclaw said that a large tree limb fell on top of the shed where the range ball dispenser stands, and crushed it. “We’ve got a lot of tree limbs to pick up.”
Major storms like this one sometimes cause a remarkable change in an area’s appearance, in just a few hours. Some of these trees that lost limbs are now at increased risk of contracting diseases and other troubles, thanks to their fresh gashes. Area golf superintendents will most likely be monitoring the damaged trees on their courses, and selecting some for either modest pruning or total cut-downs over the winter.
Some golf tournament formats aren’t often used, but can be a lot of fun.
Shawnee Country Club recently held its Closing Day men’s tournament. The event was a shamble–not a shambles, a shamble.
It’s similar to a scramble format. The club’s computer slotted the players into four handicap groups, A, B, C, and D, and assigned each team a player from each group. The low-handicap A players teed off from the back tees. The B and C players teed off from the middle tees, and the high-handicap D players used the forward tees.
After each player’s drive, the team selected the best result. From that spot, each player finished the hole on their own ball. The team scoring was based on the two best scores per hole, on a gross and net basis. For the Closing Day event, handicaps were discounted to 80% of the normal value. My 17 became a 14, for example.
My team included Travis Warnock (6), Paul Pelen (14), and Parker (Zeb) Turner (21), and we had a great time together.
Warnock hit several booming drives that we often used. Turner found himself shooting par on nearly every hole on which he had two handicap strokes, which came in very handy for the team. Every one of us contributed to the total score. On the other hand, our eventual -21 net turned out to be pretty modest compared to some others.
The winning team in the net category included Cape Region golfer George Merchant, Billy Martin, Jack Hammond, and a blind draw to round out the foursome. They shot a startling -29 for the day. Former Cape Henlopen High golf team standout Bobby Croce played with his dad Joe, along with Don McLamb and Ed Jackson, taking second place at -25 on a match of cards against two other teams.
Another Cape Region golfer, Jim McCaskill, led his foursome to a first place finish in the gross category, on a match of cards. Rick Elton, Mike Cavanaugh, and Keith Pusey joined with McCaskill for a three over par total for the day.