Competitive season ending for local clubs

October 7, 2011

The season for competitive tournaments at Cape Region golf clubs is coming to a close as fall settles in.

The Kings Creek Ladies 9-holer group played their final event of the year Oct. 3, with a game based on using only three clubs and a putter.

Susan Spence won first place, and Sue Eisenbrey took second. Kathy Nave finished in third place, and Noreen Buzerak earned her fourth-place finish.

Spence also won closest-to-the-pin honors, with an approach to the eleventh hole that ended up only seven feet five inches away.

Shawnee Country Club held its Tournament Players Championship in blustery conditions on Oct. 1. The qualifying field for the TPC is made up of those golfers who earned any prize money in the Shawnee tournaments for 2011, including the closing day tournament held in the fall of 2010.

I managed to avoid winning any money this year in any club event, so I didn’t qualify for the TPC.

Apparently I’m all about helping others achieve their potential.

This year’s competition used a Stableford scoring format, and it took four playoff holes for Brett Warren to squeak past John Chadderdon for first place overall.

Tim Gallagher won the first flight, while Chadderdon took first place in the second flight. Jim Loescher won first place honors in the third flight.

The Shawnee Ladies, both 9- and 18-holers, have their closing day tournament on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Shawnee finishes up its competition season Oct. 23, with its closing breakfast tournament. It’s a team event, so if I play there’s a chance I might qualify for next year’s TPC - if my team members come through for me, of course.

Other October highlights

October is the last month for Cape Region golfers who maintain USGA handicaps to post their scores for handicap purposes. In more Southern climes, posting takes place year-round, but the vagaries of wintertime golf around here don’t support the practice in the Mid-Atlantic and points north.

Some folks who may be more competitive than completely honorable may find it awfully tempting to, shall we say, falter a bit on the last few holes of their remaining October rounds. That might just raise their handicaps a stroke or two, which they might believe will come in handy from November through March.

These kind of golfers bear watching.

October also brings with it a far more pleasant aspect of fall golf, thankfully, in the form of the Leaf Rule.

It’s not an official Rule of Golf, but most golfers I know swear by it for their regular games.
For my newer readers, here’s what I wrote about this rule during this column’s first October:

Suppose a player hits a drive and can trace its trajectory to a spot in the rough or fairway. Nonetheless, after a diligent search for the required five minutes, neither the player nor the playing partners can find the ball among the orange, yellow, and brown leaves covering the turf. Under the strict Rules of Golf, at this point the ball is to be declared officially lost. The player is supposed to return to the original spot and try again, with a penalty stroke added in, apparently just for spite.

On the other hand, it’s hard to find anyone who actually follows the Rules of Golf under these circumstances.

Instead, the player announces in a loud voice that the Leaf Rule is going to be used, drops a new ball in the approximate location she believes it actually landed, and plays on without a penalty stroke.

The creator of the Leaf Rule was a genius.

After all, golf was first played along sand dunes and bogs. There simply weren’t any trees around. Once it was decided to play in tree-lined park settings, an adjustment such as the Leaf Rule was needed to keep golfers from going crazy.

In the interests of general sanity preservation, therefore, consider using the Leaf Rule during your own fall rounds. You’ll be glad you did.