Host club for 2001 U.S. Senior Amateur awarded its second USGA championship
The 2017 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur will be conducted Oct. 7-12 at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Fla.
Norwood Hills Country Club, in St. Louis, Mo., has been selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as the host site for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship.
Scheduled for Sept. 22-27, the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur will be the second USGA championship contested at Norwood Hills; the club previously hosted the 2001 U.S. Senior Amateur.
“The USGA looks forward to returning to Norwood Hills for the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and is thankful to the club for its enthusiasm and support of this championship,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “Norwood Hills has hosted several high-caliber golf events, and we are very pleased the 32nd U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion will be crowned on such a worthy course.”
Founded as North Hills Country Club in the early 1920s, the club’s two courses – East and West – were designed by Wayne Stiles. The West Course, which hosted the 2001 Senior Amateur, will also be used for the Women’s Mid-Amateur. True to the 1920s style of course architecture, the West Course features undulating fairways and contoured greens.
The 2001 Senior Amateur was won by Kemp Richardson, the first of his two Senior Amateur victories. Norwood Hills also hosted the 1948 PGA Championship, won by Ben Hogan; PGA Tour events in 1972 and 1973, won by Hall of Fame players Lee Trevino and Gene Littler; several LPGA Tour events, whose winners include Hall of Fame players Louise Suggs, Kathy Whitworth and Sandra Haynie; and numerous state amateur events, most recently the 2014 Missouri Amateur.
“On behalf of the membership of Norwood Hills Country Club, we are honored to host the 2018 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship,” said Dennis G. Hennessy, club president. “Having hosted many prestigious events, we are confident that the accomplished golfers vying for the Women’s Mid-Amateur title will enjoy our Wayne Stiles-designed course. We look forward to working with the USGA again in 2018.”
The 2018 Women’s Mid-Amateur will be the 22nd USGA championship and second Women’s Mid-Amateur contested in Missouri. The Show Me State hosted this year’s U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, and will also host the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta.
First played in 1987, the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur was created to provide a national championship for female amateurs age 25 and older who own a Handicap Index® not exceeding 9.4. The championship features 132 players who compete in two rounds of stroke play, after which the field is cut to the low 64 scorers for match play. The winner is determined by an 18-hole final. Julia Potter won her second Women’s Mid-Amateur at The Kahkwa Club, in Erie, Pa., last month.
The old adage is to win a select shot golf tournament, you need: a good driver, a good iron player, a good putter, and a good cheater.
Select shot tournaments – you know the ones – where everyone hits a shot and then you pick the best shot and so on, until the ball is holed out. These tournaments are a great way to introduce new golfers to the game and a lot of fun for golfers who just love to play occasionally.
These tournaments are also an outstanding way for organizations and charities to quickly raise funds for important causes, such as the Annual Patriot Day Golf Tournament at my home course here in Michigan on Labor Day.
However, the outcomes of these tournaments have also earned the reputation as some of the most suspicious and skeptical in the game. In every one of these tournaments – and I mean every one – of the hundreds I’ve played in, there have always been whispers of cheating, the “no way” assertions when low scores come in, and sometimes (especially after alcohol is introduced) even outright accusations of cheating.
DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY CHEAT?
But, the real question is, do people actually cheat?
There will be a lot of “YES” answers to this question, but I’m thinking the answer, almost all the time, is a resounding “No”.
Believing everyone is honest in life (even golfers), I still have to admit I find myself having doubts at times when it comes to select shot tournaments. I wonder why myself and other golfers are so quickly pulled to the conclusion that everyone else does?
Is it because those golfers aren’t as good as us? Is it because no one can shoot that low, putt that good, or drive that far? In all these years, I haven’t found the real answer, but MOST importantly, I’ve also never found anyone who had actually cheated. The “everyone cheats” facts just aren’t there in my opinion, so maybe it’s simply the type of format itself that leads to all the suspicion.
Keeping in mind most select shot tournaments are for fund raising or charity, they are also very unique in trying to raise additional money through golf additions. We’ve all seen it … string, mulligans, foot wedges, throws, front tees, special clubs, long drives, closest to the pins, etc. These oddities are part of what makes these events special, but it also makes scoring hard to predict.
Because of this, select shot scores can vary widely, which is why I believe the acceptance of cheating has taken hold. Personally, I’ve seen 18-hole winning scores from the upper 40s all the way to the lower 60s. That’s quite a spread and is affected greatly by how the tournament is organized.
Select shot tournaments many times will also put the winners on the wrong side of the “you cheated” bandwagon. I’ve finished on winning teams where you can feel the burning hatred of the crowd when you post a low score. The unbelievable 51 on a par 72, the 58 without string. Anyone who’s played in a lot of these events knows exactly what I’m talking about and it’s tough on either side of that accusation.
You find yourself knowing you didn’t cheat, but it doesn’t matter. You know the real truth is your team’s putting got hot, or you stiffed a ton of irons, or chipped in for an eagle. You’re proud, but only for a minute, because you know your integrity and honesty are being questioned – even if silently.
Nonetheless, even after managing your way through all of that, the very next tournament, you’ll still find yourself overhearing the group who finished in the money (just ahead of you) talking about how this is only the second time they’ve played golf this season … and you walk away – disappointingly suspicious.
So, if the select shot format is so fraught with suspicion, why play? Well, it’s fun! It’s a different way to play golf … flat out, aggressive, and with little consequence to your game or your ego. In fact, it can be an ego boost if you’re the one hitting good shots or sinking that crucial putt.
So instead of carrying the burden of suspicion forward any longer, I decided to share some perspectives and a few stories of select shot tournaments to hopefully help in gaining back the trust and acceptance this format needs.
Understand that because of the format, scores can and will be low. If string, mulligans, etc. are involved, scores will likely be low – REALLY low.
Accept that teams can get hot. If a team putts well – maybe even gets en fuego with the putter – their final score will probably be lower than even they would have predicted.
Three-person teams have a significant advantage if “cycling a shot” is allowed. It’s essentially like getting a mulligan every 4th shot. These three-person teams will win many tournaments and will absolutely draw the anger of many who don’t understand the extreme advantage of cycling a shot. *Many organizers no longer allow teams to cycle a shot because of the known advantage.
Enjoy the tournament, congratulate the winners, and if suspicion arises, tamp it down. Remember, you didn’t cheat, so trust that they didn’t either – it was just their day.
Don’t forget that most select shot tournaments are for charity or fund raising, so even if you’re not the winner, your money went towards a great cause.
If you’re the winner … first, CONGRATULATIONS … second, try to enjoy the victory and don’t go silent. If anyone accuses you or questions your score, try not to get defensive and share with them how well you played. Most golfers want to believe you, but some will need to be convinced more than others.
No matter how much we’ll try not to, we’ll all probably still be guilty of being somewhat on guard and suspicious when we play in these events. They’ll always be “that team” in our minds that had no way to shoot the score they did without cheating. The world’s not perfect, but hopefully when we do have those thoughts, we can fall back on the fact that since we didn’t cheat, they didn’t either, and we can congratulate them on their success.
LESSON LEARNED: Living and playing golf in San Antonio – an awesome golf city by the way – I played in a number of select shot events. Playing in one event, my team got beat by a team sponsored by a local bar. To be fair, these guys didn’t look like they could do much of anything in golf and they would always come in with ridiculously low scores. After a particularly hot day and perhaps a few beverages, one of my teammates directly accused the other team of cheating. I knew one of the local guys and he didn’t take too kindly to the accusation (and maybe had had a few beverages himself). After breaking up their UFC press conference, we all parted ways.
The next day, I saw the local guy at the gym (he ran the gym) and he let me know he was still upset at being accused of cheating. I told him the other guy was a good guy, but we just didn’t get how their scores could be so low. So, he invited me to come out and play with them in their next outing since their normal fourth player was moving away.
The first tournament with them answered all my questions. Not overly awesome at anything, but they were great at everything – especially putting. We came in during our first tournament (string, mulligans, front tees) at 48 (yes, -24). The looks that came our way, the “no way”, “BS”, and other colorful whispers were there and quite honestly, bothered me.
I knew we didn’t cheat, but it didn’t matter and it soured the victory. I’ve done my best since then, to not sour anyone else’s.
HONESTY PAYS: Playing in a very recent select shot tournament, our team was absolutely on fire. We had some advantages with our two older guys getting to hit from the Gold Tees – well, because they’re old – and I mean old – like Moses old.
Anyway, we were taking advantage of their drives, sinking putts from off the green, knocking fairway shots to tap-in range; it was quite a display of golf. However, as we began to get lower and lower into the red numbers, one of the guys became concerned about all the crap we’d have to endure in the clubhouse with a score this low.
However, just as his remorse was overtaking him, he perked up and said, “I’m glad we’re playing with Larry today, because everyone will know if he’s on our team, we didn’t cheat.” It was such a matter of fact statement, that it took me off guard and was one of the highest compliments you could pay to anyone … and it also proved to be true. There were initial whispers and suspicions when we turned in our score, but after seeing Larry’s name on the board with ours, it was just congratulations.
We should all hope to live our lives in a way to have something like that said about us one day.
BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter: @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.
To most, golf is still largely thought of an “old man’s game.” Images of pants hiked up well past belly buttons, stodgy cigar filled rooms with off color jokes, and noses turned down to outsiders, fill the minds of many when asked to describe a “golfer.”
On the positive side, the game is changing – S L O W L Y – yes, but indeed changing, as the new energy of a younger generation is beginning to make its impact on equipment, fashion, attitude, rules, and many other areas of the game from all directions.
As for me, I’ve played golf now coming up on 30-years. I’m not as good as I once was (as the song goes), but I’m also better than I was when I started. Traveling and living all around the world during my active duty military days, I’ve seen the sport and game from the eyes and cultures of many peoples and many countries.
From these experiences and perspectives, I’ve found there are core golf “truths” that are common to golf and golfers from all over the world.
The observations below come from my thoughts only. As you’ll see, many are dripping with sarcasm (which is my type of humor and view of the world). I hope you can take many of them as they are intended to be presented … from one man’s perspective and from one man’s experiences.
Because WE LOVE golf, golfers forget not everyone else does. Golf is a game, which requires a decent amount of money to play. Initial “start up” costs for a golfer are some of the highest of any game or sport. It’s a difficult game to get into and an ongoing financial investment to keep up with.
Golf always fluctuates in popularity and will typically follow economic up and downs. Even at its most recent height in 2003 (where 30.6* million people were playing), golf was still a game played by less than 10 percent of America. Numbers in 2014 showed a decline to 24.7* million and a concerning 1/3 drop in participation from ages 18-25. *National Golf Foundation Statistics
Golf is HARD. Hard, because golfers measure themselves against Par with most never having any real chance to beat “Old Man Par.” The average score for the majority of golfers is still somewhere between 90-100 strokes.
Golf is filled with rules, many of which are hard to understand, and many of which are hard to learn without experiencing them first hand. Most golfers, even seasoned ones, are unfamiliar with many of the rules and adaptations of the rules are passed down.
Mulligans, “breakfast balls”, gimmees, “just give me a double”, and winter rules (all year) are golf oddities seen all over the globe. Everywhere I’ve been and everywhere I’ve played, these types of workarounds are not only used, but are also used by a majority of golfers.
Your driving, your short game, and your putting are all critical elements of your golf game. Getting all three of these parts firing on all cylinders, at the same time, is like seeing a unicorn.
If you miss a short putt, and rake it back to try again … there is nearly a 100% chance you’ll make it. That’s called “2nd Team All-American.” My second teamer is REALLY good.
There is never enough coverage of Tiger Woods in the golf media. In fact, I think if you say his name 3 times, you’ll make birdie.
Golf can be a slow game. Especially slow, right after every Major, or right after the PGA visits a town near you. Pros are not the models to follow for playing a faster round of golf.
Many new golfers (and many seasoned golfers as well) have never learned the customs and courtesies, which make a round of golf move faster and make our game special.
Flags/Pins on the Green
It is customary (generally) for the golfer closest to the hole to pull the flag and set it out of the way on the green.
It is customary (generally) for the golfer who holes out first (even a gimmee) to retrieve the flag and place it back in the hole after the final golfer holes out.
Every golfer should carry a ball marker. However, when thinking of pace-of-play, carrying two markers (or one marker than can be broken into two) is a good idea to assist others in marking a ball and allowing them to put away clubs, etc. while others putt. *This situation happens more than you’d think.
Playing “ready golf” even onto/around greens is a great time saver. The Rules of Golf say the golfer farthest away from the pin plays first (even if others are off the green). However, most groups and golfers will fall into a pattern of letting everyone get on the green, so the flag can be pulled and will then proceed.
Golf is a game of tremendous ego, tremendous internal passion, and tremendous outward expression. No matter where you are in the world; there are club throwers, cursers, jerks, cheaters, sandbaggers … and yes, also great people.
Every golfer has a story to tell of a club thrower, a curser, a jerk, a cheater, a sandbagger. Sometimes, we forget to tell the stories of the great people.
The internal competitive nature of golf forces us to deal with our expectations, our fallacies and ourselves. Sometimes WE are very hard on ourselves and as the Golfsmith® commercial says, maybe we should, “Go easy on Steve, Steve.”
If I had a dollar for every guy who tells me they drive it 300 … well, I’d be rich! Driving a ball 300-yards one time doesn’t mean you do every time. It’s sort of like being able to play the riff on a guitar to Smoke on the Water and telling people you play guitar. *I’m sure I dated myself a bit there, but Google “Smoke on the Water guitar riff” and you’ll see what I mean.
If I had a dollar for every guy who tells me they drive it 300, and has to wait from 280 out on a Par 5, because they “can get there,” well, I’d be even richer.
There will always be a guy who feels they can tell you exactly what is wrong with your swing, your putting stroke, and your life (if you let him). This guy is especially “helpful” if he sees a woman on the range or on the course.
The first birdie of your golfing career will almost always have occurred with you as the only witness. And your friends will put “birdie” in air quotes as they say, “Sure, sure … you chipped in for birdie.”
The mathematical probability of getting your ball picked up by another golfer is directly related to the ratio of the ball’s value. Expressed in different terms; if you have a ProV1 in play, YES, it’s getting picked up … ratio = 100. If you have an old Top Flite, ratio = 50/50.
This same mathematical ratio remains constant in the order of play. Put a brand new ProV1 in play and odds of it hitting it OB or in the water are greater by 10x than losing an older ball you found in the woods 3-years ago.
When you have to be somewhere at a specific time, that will be when you’re behind the slowest group in the history of golf.
The group that jumps in front of you at the turn will always be surprised at your frustration, as you watch them grabbing tees out of their bag, and searching for a ball to tee off with. They will also be surprised that “so many people are out here today.”
There will always be a guy, at every course, after his sixth beer, who is more convinced his game is better when he has a few beers in him. This same guy also thinks the cart girl finds him attractive.
The group that convinces the starter that “they play fast” so they should go in front of another group, is the same group that will duff their opening drives.
Even if you are under par when the group in front waves you through, you can bet on that hole, or the next, here comes a double bogey.
The golfers who bitch the most are usually the ones who play the most, spend the least – and expect Augusta conditions year round – but not with their $$$.
FAIRWAYS and GREENS
These are just a few of the common “truths” I’ve found during my time playing the great game of golf. I’m sure there are thousands of others, which you as fellow golfers have observed.
PLEASE feel free to share your “golf truths” with us in the comments below in a continuing conversation about the great game of golf!
BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter: @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.