From The Editor
by Terry Moore
With some of the best golf yet to come -- a.k.a. fall golf -- it's hard to believe that this is the final issue of the year for Michigan Golfer. That's the bad break of the golf publishing game: there's lots of golf yet to cover next month but who wants to advertise his or her golf course in October? By then, owners and managers are either thinking Florida or skiing. So, we bow out when the leaves start to turn and the temperatures begin to fall. And even though there's a wealth of fine golf in the weeks ahead, it's time to look back at the 1997 golf season. Here's what I liked this year:
- I liked being at the winter golf shows and watching how fired up Michiganders get about their game even in dreary February.
- I liked listening to Dr. Deborah Graham, the sports psychologist, talk about the mental side of the game: "Focus your efforts on those things you can control. Yourself."
- I liked waiting a half-hour for Tiger Woods' tee shot at Augusta's par-five 8th hole this year at the Masters. The power and penetrating flight of his rifle shot, that effortlessly flew the famed fairway bunker, will last in my memory all winter long.
- I liked playing a round at venerable Kent CC as guest of my old high school classmate Mike "Reggie" VanderVeen. First time I've ever tried to make a birdie putt in a hail storm. (That gives you a good idea of spring golf in Michigan.)
- I liked the new friendlier designs offered by such layouts as Thornapple Pointe, HawksHead, The Heathlands, Gleneagles, Mistwood's new nine, etc. Keep 'em coming.
- I liked the little rituals in preparing for competition: imagining the course for the right selection of clubs; the regimen of pre-round practice; the marking of one's balls; visualizing the first crucial drive; the futile netting of 'butterflies.'
- I liked hearing another captivating golf story from Glenn Johnson, the legendary and six-time Michigan Amateur champ. This summer Johnson related an invaluable match play tip he received once from famed amateur Billy Joe Patton. When Johnson mentioned his qualms about raising a possible breach of rules to his playing opponent, Patton sagely advised him, "You can't let a situation like that eat at you in competition -- you must throw it back on your opponent. Let it eat at him!"
- I liked the amazing development in the cart computer/satellite systems. At first, it seemed a novelty; now it's serious business for courses and a great amenity for golfers. The benefits of two-way communication are obvious: weather warnings, leaderboard-like updates, wisecracks for outings.
- I liked the impressive English Tudor-style new clubhouse at St. Ives. The ever-popular layout now has a fitting clubhouse to welcome guests and members alike. Sorry to say, but my good friends at Treetops North should do the same.
- I liked watching a clinic by Dave Stockton to hear him talk about the mental quirks of the game. He said the best attribute for a golfer is sense of humor. "Off the course, Larry Ziegler is a laugh riot; but on the course, he's way too serious and hard on himself. He'd play better if he'd let his humor come out on the course, like Trevino or Chi Chi."
- I liked my new "Tight Lies" fairway club and how well it performed -- just the way it's touted on the infomercials. (And no, I haven't ordered the "Titanium Moisturizing Kit" on the Home Shopping Network.)
- I liked listening to Georgia's Master pro Charlie Sorrell give a lesson: "I want you to hinge and sling!"
- I liked talking to some of the club pros at the Michigan Open and have them recall some special Buick Open moments -- like Tom Gieselman's back-to-back eagles in '96 on 13 and 14 at Warwick on his way to an inward 29.
- I liked switching to a new putter, a STX mallet with a super-soft face, and finding a reasonable stroke again without going cross-handed or cross-legged.
- I liked playing Bay Harbor's newest nine -- which is composed of six woodsy holes in the Preserve and three holes in the ruggedly beautiful Quarry section of the 27 holes-to-be layout. But let me tell you: that original Links nine is still something wonderful.
- I liked the energy and hospitality of Jim Ankebrandt at his proud new course, The Timbers.
- I liked reading letters of thanks and gratitude about stories written in the Michigan Golfer.
- I liked playing with 'Big Al' Arend of the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium to hear him crack about his crooked drive, "I hit a shillelagh."
- I liked interviewing Shaaf Hameed, the proud and hard-working "shoe shine man" at Egypt Valley CC, to hear him sum up the boiling pot of race relations thusly: "It's as simple as realizing we all need one another."
- I liked playing a round at Ann Arbor's unsung Barton Hills CC, a terrific Donald Ross design that will host the Women's U.S. Amateur next summer.
- I liked making an 18th hole birdie at Boyne Mountain's Alpine course, another under-rated layout that is a pure pleasure to play.
- I liked playing in a scramble event at The Meadows to help raise funds for the Corky Meinecke Scholarship Fund at GVSU. "We didn't win but we still enjoyed the day," a pretty good motto for the late, good-hearted sportswriter from Grand Rapids and Detroit.
- I liked playing at pristine Wuskowhan Players Club and seeing four Blue Herons soar above the 16th tee.
- I liked writing about the many good things surrounding golf and suddenly running out of space.
See you next year,
From The Editor
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