By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Sure, I can play the part, looking relaxed and care free while sipping an adult beverage, but inside I have a difficult time detaching completely from work.
To avoid that anxiety, I thought I’d spend an afternoon doing something that I enjoy: watching professional golf.
I crossed the Hood Canal Bridge, took one of the final spots on the ferry and spent a couple of days playing tourist with friends in West Seattle before heading to the Boeing Classic at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge last Friday.
Along for the afternoon was one of my good friends, Brett Black, a former All-Olympic League and All-State basketball player in his day (1995-99) for Port Townsend.
Black’s a nephew to North Olympic Peninsula golf royalty, longtime Chimacum golf coach Mitch Black, but he’s never seriously picked up the sport (he’d be a natural).
After seeing the traditional opening of the tournament: a Boeing commercial jet completing a low pass over the course and clubhouse, we parked just outside of the gate and headed inside.
It was Black’s first trip to a pro golf event, so we started where any golf newbie should: at the driving range.
Good timing there, for what Seattle-born player should happen to stroll to our edge of the range? That’s right, the hometown hero, Freddie Couples.
We stood transfixed as Couples’ irons slid through the ball on each stroke, no motion wasted each time he made contact.
I’ve seen him before at the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, and I’ve seen players perform better than him at these events, but Couples has the best golf swing I’ve ever seen in person.
And it’s not even close.
Other highlights from the range included Tom Kite and his Panama-style hat, Fred Funk and his amazing name, Rocco Mediate and his chatter; and an on-range meeting between Craig “The Walrus” Stadler and Couples.
Before I pointed him out, Black asked me if “that walrus-looking guy” was Stadler.
With his white-frosted facial hair, Stadler looks more and more his nickname with each passing year.
When players were announced on the first tee, we began to mosey over, first watching Blaine-based teaching pro Jeff Coston practice sand shots out of the practice bunker.
Coston has been working with Sequim’s Alex McMenamin for over a year, and from what I saw of his sand saves, she’s got a solid teacher in Coston.
We found a good spot down from the first tee and watched players like Couples, Bernhard Langer, John Cook, Mediate, Mark Calcavecchia and more attack the par-5 first hole.
Then it was time to walk some of the rolling hills of the Jack Nicklaus-designed TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge layout.
Those hills aren’t gently rolling, more vertically-climbing, so after making our way around to watch some different holes on the front nine, we made our way back to the clubhouse for water and to rest our weary legs.
TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge boasts an ampitheatre-like lawn behind the 18th green, so we found a good view of the hole and settled in for a couple of hours of sunshine and birdies on the par-5 hole.
High atop the ridge with the Snoqualmie River valley laid out before you, the 18th really makes for an absolutely gorgeous finishing hole.
Black enjoyed the day, saying early-on that the ever-present movement of people reminded him a bit of a fair or a concert festival.
For those curious, Scott Dunlap (-16) won the tourney on Sunday, besting Mark Brooks on the first playoff hole.
Organizers said the 10th annual event set attendance records on all three days, with 27,000 fans on Friday, 29,000 on Saturday and 33,500 for Sunday’s final round.
SkyRidge Golf Course in Sequim will hold a Three-Person Scramble tourney with a 9 a.m. shotgun start on Saturday, Sept. 13.
Cost is $90 per team ($30 per player), with a $20 per player honey pot available.
Each player will be responsible for four drives in the 18-hole event.
Gross and net prizes are planned, and lunch will follow after play.
Team KP’s and long putt prizes also will be contested.
Carts are available for $15 per seat.
For more information, stop by the course or phone 360-683-3673.
Drive for the Cure
SunLand Women’s Golf Association (SWGA) and SunLand Lady Niners are joining together to host their annual fund raising event, “Drive for the Cure” Golf Tournament and Luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 25.
The golf tournament is open to all and welcomes men to play, have lunch, and donate to the cause.
Prices and conditions are the same for men and women.
This event will benefit Olympic Medical Center, with all donations to this event are directed to pay for breast cancer detection for women in need here on the North Olympic Peninsula.
It is suggested that each participant donate $25.00 to OMC Breast Cancer Prevention.
Once again an anonymous SunLand couple will donate $1 for every $3 donated for the cause.
It is anticipated that the donations will exceed last year’s total of $5,200.
This is the third year this event has been very fortunate to receive the matching funds.
The featured luncheon speaker will be Dr. Rena Zimmerman, who will speak about 3D mammography and breast cancer in men.
Shotgun time for the 18 hole competition is 9 a.m. and the nine hole game will shotgun at 11 a.m.
The cost for Sunland members is $16, and nonmembers can play a full 18 holes for $36 and nine holes for $26, with lunch included.
Those hoping to attend the lunch can attend for $12.
In addition, a minimum donation of $25 is suggested for the OMC Foundation.
Magic putts and mulligans will be on sale for $1 each.
Many prizes will be raffled during the luncheon following play, with a major prize a golf screening by Anytime Fitness valued at $300.
Many lovely gift baskets will also be raffled.
The deadline to sign up is noon on Tuesday, Sept. 23.
For more information phone the SunLand Pro Shop at 360-683-6800 and ask to have either Pennie Dickin or MJ Anderson return your call.
Golf columnist Michael Carman can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or firstname.lastname@example.org.