MICHAEL CARMAN’S GOLF COLUMN: Getting back on the course

By Michael Carman

Peninsula Daily News

GETTING BACK INTO the swing of things after time away from golf can be difficult.

A few weeks away from the course can cause complications, months can create doubts and years can wash away any previously existing level of comfort and confidence entirely.

Recently, a reader emailed and opened with flattery, which elicits the same response out of me as a pet dog or cat getting their ears rubbed: full, undivided attention.

She wrote that reading my column made her wistful about playing more golf.

It had been more than a decade since she had been out for a round and she feels a little intimidated about walking onto a course again.

The reader also has a friend who is new to the game and wants to play but lacks confidence in her game.

The reader had played most of her rounds in Texas and didn’t have a good idea about what courses are friendly to new or rusty golfers here on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Short answer: all of them would be able to help in this regard.

Every golf course worth its salt (and they are all worth their salt here on the NOP) is interested in helping new players learn the game or easing returners back to the course.

I would suggest booking an hour with any of the teaching pros at area courses.

They can provide an expert look at what positives you have going for you and will give pointers on any mechanical issue they notice in watching your swing.

They’ll also provide instruction with setup and alignment to help get things going in the right direction.

Right now, with winter looming, practicing golfers are pretty much restricted to hitting balls off of artificial mats at driving ranges — I’m not 100 percent certain that every course has closed off the natural grass portions of their ranges, so phone ahead if this is a deal-breaker.

Peninsula Golf Club in Port Angeles has the only covered range stalls around if you are interested in getting out of the elements.

All area courses have practice putting greens, some with chipping areas and some with practice sand traps.

This is where all golfers should spend the majority of their practice time if you believe the oft-cited conventional wisdom of 60 percent of shots coming within 100 yards of the flag.

The reader also asked about what days and times are best for inexperienced golfers.

Right now, with limited daylight, I would avoid early mornings and instead play around lunchtime, teeing off somewhere from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This would give plenty of time for 18 holes and just enough time to get a well-paced nine holes in.

Other good times are when other sporting events are occurring: courses can be pretty sparse during Seahawks football games on Sundays.

In late spring and summer, take advantage of twilight times — afternoon and evening golfers are usually more relaxed.

On occasion you may run into a serious handicapper playing after work but just let them play through if you feel you are hindering them.

‘Tis the season

Discovery Bay’s Men’s and Ladies’ Clubs will co-host their annual holiday gathering Friday.

All golfers, their children, significant others and friends are welcome to this convivial event.

For more information, phone the clubhouse at 360-385-0704.

Pre-Christmas golf

SkyRidge Golf Course of Sequim will hold its pre-Christmas 27-hole golf tournament Saturday.

The tourney will play nine holes of Better Ball from the green tees, nine holes of aggregate shot from the silver tees and nine holes of scramble play from the black tees.

This is a smaller tournament, with only 28 two-person teams available to sign up.

Cost is $80 per team, and includes greens fees, range balls, food and competition money.

A honey pot is $20 extra per person and carts are $15 per seat.

For more information, phone 360-683-3673

One-person scramble

SunLand Golf & Country Club of Sequim has cooked up a fun one for area golfers: a One-Person Scramble sponsored by Price Ford on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Player response has been solid: 36 of the 72 spots in the event are filled.

SunLand pro Tyler Sweet asks: “Have you ever wondered how well you would score if you could have those one or two shots over? Well this is the tournament for you.”

Players will be grouped in threes, and each player will hit two consecutive shots and choose the best one just like a regular scramble.

Men will play from the white tees, seniors 70 and older will play from gold tee boxes and if eight ladies can form a division, women will play the red tees.

The tourney has a 9 a.m. shotgun start (barring frost) and entry is $40, which includes golf, lunch, prizes and proxies.

A $1,280 prize fund will be available based on a full field.

Entries are available at the SunLand Golf Shop or email tyler@sunlandgolf.com.

For more information, phone Sweet at 360-683-6800.

Toys For Tots event

Port Townsend Golf Club will hold its annual Toys For Tots Christmas Scramble on Sunday, Dec. 16.

It’s an 18-hole blind draw handicap scramble.

Cost is $25 per player with $10 green fees for nonmembers.

Port Townsend’s Holiday Player Appreciation Party and Merchandise Sale will follow play (spouses encouraged to attend).

The course’s Christmas tree is up, decorated and contains gift tags that players can use to purchase Christmas gifts for less-fortunate families in Port Townsend and Jefferson County.

Port Townsend will also host a Holiday Blues Scramble on Saturday, Dec. 29.

Winter rates through February are $13.50 for nine holes and $17.50 for 18 holes.

Port Townsend’s 2013 rates will be announced shortly.

Stop by the clubhouse or phone the course for more information on any of these items at 360-385-4547.

Weekly winter skins games at the course begin at 11 a.m. on Thursdays; the cost is $10 plus greens fees.

Eighteen-hole Saturday skins games are available all day, with a $10 entry fee and reduced $15 greens fees.

Stop by the clubhouse or phone the course for more information on any of these items at 360-385-4547.

Year-end columns

My annual year-end columns, one covering the year in golf from January through June, and from July through December, will run on Dec. 19 and Dec. 26.

I’m open for submissions of notable golf events here on the North Olympic Peninsula, around the U.S. or worldwide. My contact information is below.

______



Golf columnist Michael Carman can be reached at 360-417-3527 or pdngolf@gmail.com.

Last modified: December 04. 2012 5:52PM
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