Cape Region Golf Year in Review

December 30, 2011

This week marks the end of this column’s 13th year.  2011 was a busy and eventful 12 months in Cape Region golf.

January - A steady onslaught of white stuff puts an early damper on wintertime golfing opportunities, leading to the next best thing - reading about golf. PGA Tour journeyman Mark Wilson picks up another victory, and his charitable efforts also gain notice. Other pros gain unwanted notoriety due to unusual rules situations, highlighted by eagle-eyed TV viewers.

February - Sussex County lawyers request urgent advice - about how to play Monkey in the Middle and/or Nines. A new movie about "The King's English" calls to mind a favorite golf writer, P.G. Wodehouse. LPGA Pro Kris Tschetter pens a fond memoir of Ben Hogan.

March - The first invitations for the 2011 charitable golf tournament season begin to appear. Dave Inglis, a Coast Guard vet, looks forward to his first season as the new golf coach for Cape Henlopen High School. Physical conditioning is emphasized as the golf season approaches. The Vikings win their first match of the season, against Smyrna High.

April - Cape wins its second and third matches of 2011, defeating Sussex Central at Sussex Pines and Milford in a home match at Rehoboth Beach Country Club. I play my first-ever tournament of the Golf Writers' Association of America, in Pinehurst, N.C. Cape’s golf team defeats Laurel and Polytech, but loses to Sussex Tech and Caesar Rodney. The annual golf trip south goes to the Outer Banks in the immediate aftermath of a tornado.

May - The Vikings are on both sides of single-stroke matches - a win over Delmar and a loss to Dover. Steve VanSant, longtime golf coach for Lake Forest High School, dies after an extended illness. The Vikings beat Seaford and Lake Forest, but lose to Indian River for a season record of 10-4. The USGA and PGA of America announce their Tee It Forward campaign.

June - The Cape golf team finishes 15th in the state tournament, thanks in part to a scheduling snafu. Cape’s Devin Medd wins the top scholarship award from the Delaware State Golf Association. Junior golfers descend upon the Cape Region for the Rehoboth Beach Junior Open. Local club tournament results start to fill my email inbox.

July - The summer heat wave provides another opportunity to discuss prevention and treatment of heat stroke and exhaustion. Playing opportunities are announced for the first Eleanor Soltner Memorial Golf Outing at Shawnee Country Club. A spot of skin cancer inspires a column on prevention and treatment of the condition.

August - The passing of Tom Derrick provides an opportunity to tell a good story about him. The fall charity golf tournament season begins. An unusually strong earthquake raises a golf rules question about the little ball moving when the big ball also moves. Local golfers continue to report club tournament results.

September - Cape Region golf courses participate in the Patriot Golf Day fundraiser. A Ruling of the Day answers a nagging question about when to switch golf balls during a round. The Village Improvement Association holds its annual golf tournament Sept. 19. Teeing It Forward will not fix a dodgy swing.

October - The competition season for Cape Region clubs begins to wind down. The Leaf Rule also begins to be invoked. The Iron Mike DeStasio tournament is set for Oct. 26, to benefit his family and the MDA/ALS Hope Foundation. The new edition of the Rules of Golf comes out. Several changes reduce the influence of those eagle-eyed TV golf watchers.

November - Several Cape Region golfers play the Battle of the Bell Tournament, benefiting the Steve VanSant Memorial Scholarship fund. I accept a nomination to once again become president of Shawnee CC, proving that I ain’t had enough fun. A Ruling of the Day reminds us that it’s usually the player, not the piano.

December - Recent court decisions reveal Delaware’s surprising influence in golf matters. This year’s dubiously distinctive Christmas golf gifts include a golf bag aquarium and a Penn State golf towel.

Thanks for reading! I look forward to another year of writing about Cape Region golf.