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There are dozens of golf activities for people of all ages in Brunswick County.
Clubs with memberships run tournaments, guest days, member-member events, club championships and mixed events. The Elks, the VFW and various special interest and/or friendship groups sponsor leagues. The Carolinas Golf Association has an active tournament schedule. Most churches and charitable organizations have fundraising events each year.
One of the best opportunities to play golf in Brunswick County is sponsored by the Brunswick County Parks and Recreation Department.
Khrystye Haselden, senior programs coordinator, runs a year-round senior golf schedule open to anyone living in Brunswick County 55 and older.
Khrystye is a pretty, vivacious brunette who enjoys working with seniors.
“Our seniors are an amazing group,” she said. “Nothing stops them. They are getting older, but that doesn’t get in the way of their competing in sports, making new friends and having fun. I’ve been running senior golf for seven years now, and the group is growing as more people retire into this area and the population ages.”
“Harvey Hatchfield is 87, a retired physician from Southport. He’s the patriarch of the group,” Khrystye said. “Margaret Wood of Brierwood is our matriarch. She’s completely computer literate and is an inspiration to us all. These folks are vital and interesting and fun to be with, no matter what their age.”
Competition in senior golf is without handicap and within age groups as follows: 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89, 90-94 and 95-99. Seniors wishing to compete can make up their own group or sign up individually.
“It’s not necessary to play with people in your age group,” Khrystye explained. “We list the competitors’ names in their age category on the scoring sheets. When the tournament is over, golfers simply post their gross score under their name. There are no team events; it’s just individual scores that count.”
With nearly 100 golfers competing in each senior golf tournament, slow play can become an issue.
“Golfers must pick up after double par and record that score,” Khrystye explained. “We don’t want to be out there forever, especially during the summer months.”
The cost of this year’s senior golf tournaments runs between $28 and $45 and typically includes cart and greens fee, tip for cart attendants and prizes. Payment must be in cash or check (payable to the course being played) during the one-hour sign-in before the tournament. Credit cards are not accepted for entry fees at any senior golf event.
Khrystye urges foursomes or groups to gather their money together and have one person make the payment for everyone.
Men ages 55-69 usually play from the white tees. Men 70 and older play from the gold tees and all women play from the red tees. Tee colors may vary from course to course, but there is usually a designated “forward” or “women’s” tee, a “senior” tee and a “men’s” tee at all golf courses. Prizes are awarded in each flight, even if there is only one competitor.
“We don’t ever group ages together,” Khrystye said. “It isn’t right to put an 83-year-old lady with women in the 75-79 division. If there’s only one entry in the flight, that person is the winner of the flight.”
Prizes are golf balls, tees, towels, ball markers and other items useful to golfers.
“This is an exciting year for our senior golfers,” Khrystye explained. “Each year, one of our competitions is designated The Brunswick County Gator Senior Games Golf Tournament. This year it April 15 at Brierwood.”
“This tournament is sanctioned by the North Carolina Senior Games. Those who place become eligible to compete in the state finals to be held at Tanglewood Golf Course in Winston-Salem in October of this year. The Senior Nationals are in 2011, so this year’s state finals are the qualifying vehicle for Senior Nationals, which will be held in Houston, Texas, next year.”
Registration for each golf tournament begins the Friday after the current month’s tournament and continues until the day before the next tournament or until the tournament is filled. Early e-mails or calls are not accepted.
The Gator Games tournament at Brierwood is an exception to this rule. Competitors who want to compete must complete a Brunswick Gator Senior Games registration packet and get it into the Parks and Recreation offices by March 12.
So, ladies and gentlemen, sign up and play in our senior golf events this year. It sounds like a lot of fun. The schedule for 2010 senior golf is as follows. All have 8 a.m. sign-ins, except for the Feb. 9 event, which has an 8:30 a.m. sign-in.
Feb. 9 at the Oak Island Golf Course, March 3 at the Founders Club at St. James Plantation, April 15 (Thursday) at Brierwood Golf Club (Brunswick Gator Games tournament, pre-registration required), May 11 at Magnolia Greens, June 2 at the Players Club at St. James Plantation, June 23 at Brierwood Golf Club, July 13 at Tiger’s Eye at Ocean Ridge, Aug. 25 at Lockwood Folly Golf Course, Sept. 14 at Meadowlands Golf Links, Oct. 6 at The Lakes, Nov. 16 at Panther’s Run at Ocean Ridge, Dec. 14 at Rivers Edge Golf Club.
To register, e-mail your request to Haselden at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at (910) 253-2677. When you call for a group, please have all the players’ names and ages, plus a telephone number where you can be reached to confirm the entry.
For more information about the North Carolina Senior Games, go to www.ncseniorgames.org or call (910) 253-2670.
GOLF GAB GROANER
The meeting room in the hospital was full of pregnant women and their partners taking a Lamaze class. The instructor was busy teaching the women how to breathe properly during childbirth and instructing the men on how to be supportive during this stage of birthing.
“Ladies, please remember that giving birth is a natural event and prior exercise is very beneficial,” the instructor said. He turned to the men, “Gentlemen, it wouldn’t hurt you to take the time to go walking with your partner!”
The room was very quiet and then a man in the middle of the group raised his hand.
“Yes?” said the teacher.
“Is it all right if she carries a golf bag while we walk?”
Elsa Bonstein is a golf columnist for the Beacon. Reach her at email@example.com.