Will winter never cease?

March 21, 2014

March 20, the day before this column appears, is the first official day of spring.

The Cape Region now knows what that date means for the folks who live in Green Bay, Wis. - a nice gesture, but unaccompanied by any sustained signs of warmth for a good while.

For the golfers around here, it’s obviously a bit frustrating. Last Sunday, Rich Collins, owner of the Good News Natural Foods store on Rehoboth Avenue, joined me for a pleasant round of golf at Rookery North. The temperature was a “balmy” 41 degrees, accompanied by a breeze to remind us to remain bundled up against the chill.

Nonetheless, those conditions are what we’ve been used to seeing during rounds in mid-February, not mid-March. That may be why we almost had the golf course all to ourselves.

It didn’t help matters when the next day brought another 6 to 8 inches of snow to re-blanket the area.

The white stuff continues to wreak havoc on the practice schedule for Cape High’s golf team. I contacted head coach Claudio Smarrelli, and he said this week the team is forced to wait for exposed turf.

Smarrelli was glad the Vikings were able to practice at American Classic Golf Club March 14 and 15, and he said, “The players are striking the ball well. We need to hit balls from mid-fairway to greens.” He also emphasized the need to work on chipping and putting, both of which skills are often the slowest to return after a winter layover.

The predicted weather for next week may also take a toll on the Vikings’ schedule. Some weather services are predicting another storm with a few inches of yet more snow, which could lead to a rare postponement of the team’s March 26 opening match against Polytech.

Smarrelli also said the team very much appreciates Jim Ever’s recent donation of two sets of golf clubs and several dozen golf balls. If anyone wishes to make similar donations, please contact Cape’s athletic director.

What to do while waiting for the snow to melt?

Now would be a good time to contact your local pro or the folks at Ruddo’s Golf and arrange for your clubs to be regripped for the season.

Regripping is relatively inexpensive, and a great way to start the new golf year, whenever the weather warms up enough. Take the time to make sure the grips you are using are the correct size. You may be pleasantly surprised at the improvement in your game.

If you haven’t already, you can also begin working out at the Sussex Family YMCA or one of the other fine Cape fitness centers. After all, re-establishing your swing mechanics is much harder to do when you are doubled over in pain or too stiff to move.

“The Golf Doctor” (MacMillan; $14.95), by Bill Mallon, MD, is a handy guide to golf exercises and other ways to avoid common golf-related ailments. Make sure your doctors clear you for anything really strenuous, of course.

Why not just use a golf towel?

A recent USGA Ruling of the Day dealt with a golfer who apparently decided his golf towel was just too nice to actually use:

“May a player clean his ball by rubbing it on the putting green?”

Long experience must have informed their response, however, which went beyond a simple “yes.” They also noted that the player’s motivation makes a difference, by warning that “the act [may not be] for the purpose of testing the surface of the putting green.”

In recognition of the reasonable suspicions of competitors, the USGA also recommended “the ball be cleaned in other ways to eliminate any question as to the player’s intentions.”

Situations like this one must make the folks at the USGA just sigh.

NOTE: Last week’s column missed mentioning Karli Crispin, one of the Cape golf team members who was seen in the accompanying team photograph.