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Bemused, I read the e-mails of the golf results sent to me Sept. 5—the day Tropical Storm Hanna hit the area.
My thought: Perfect British Open weather. Wish I were out there playing, too.
At least four leagues completed their rounds that day, just before the heavy rain and gusty winds smothered the county. And I suppose they were thinking the same thing I was: So this is what it’s like to play in the British Open. Great.
And some good scores were turned in. With threatening weather encroaching, Matt Beairsto shot a gross 75 at Cypress Bay. At Carolina Shores, there were three chip-ins: Kathy Hahl at No. 4, Kay Craig at No. 12 and Teddy Altreuter at No. 13.
Those were just some of the highlights from the day of Hanna’s arrival.
I was not surprised by the number of golfers getting in their rounds before the storm struck. I don’t golf as much as I used to, but I know we golfers will play in all kinds of weather. Part of the reason is the persistent desire to work on the latest tip that will make every drive straight or the eagerness to use a new putter that will end those three-putt greens. It has to be done today. Can’t wait for tomorrow. Now.
But the other reason, as corny as it may sound, is comradeship. Mark Twain famously said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled,” but the sourpuss obviously never had any golfing buddies. He never met anyone like Alan Hughes.
Hughes is the golf pro at Rivers Edge Golf Club and Plantation, and he makes sure golf is a game unspoiled by difficult holes or high scores.
For example, on Sept. 3 he arranged an outing for the Sundowners League. Thirty-four golfers participated in the nine-hole match.
What made the event special was the format: every hole had a different rule. For example, on the first hole, all players had to putt with a driver or a fairway wood. On the third hole, everyone had to tee of with a wedge. On the sixth hole, each player chose one club with which to play the hole. On the eighth hole, the team had to play a shot from the bunker. On the final hole, shots from 200 yards on in had to be played with a putter.
Hard-core golf purists may consider this, like Twain, a good walk spoiled. And these were not the rules you saw last week in the Ryder Cup.
But when playing with friends or family, this is one way to level the playing field. Golfing with my brothers and nieces, we have similar rules on certain holes at our favorite courses to give everyone a chance and to have a good time. Golfing with his niece, one of my brothers recently played a nine-hole course using three clubs: a hybrid, a wedge and a putter. It was his way to practice before seriously playing a couple of 18-hole courses.
Apparently, the unusual rules for the Sundowners did not hamper the golf. The winning team shot a 4-under-par 32. I guess the rules were too easy. Next time, maybe they should putt one hole with their eyes closed . . . or begin one hole using one of my tee shots.
MICHAEL PAUL is the sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at email@example.com.