A bit of cut throat competition

Melissa Stagnaro

On Thursday nights I golf in a ladies league at Canasawacta, or at least I do when the weather is for us rather than against us. (Thursday seems to be Mother Nature’s favorite day to let it rain, let it rain this summer.)

Last week, however, it wasn’t the weather which prompted us to go on hiatus, but rather the Country Club’s annual Member/Guest Tournament on which my coworker, Pat Newell, diligently reported.

Not wanting to give up our normal Thursday bonding time, to which we are extremely dedicated, our little crew held a little tournament of its own instead. Instead of heading up to Canasawacta as is our norm, we trooped in the opposite direction instead. Our destination was the Aurora Country Club, a.k.a. the DeMellier’s backyard.

The course superintendent (OK, Mary Ann’s husband Mark) had meticulously groomed (mowed) the 9-hole, par 27 course in anticipation of our arrival. After a few appetizers and libations on the deck, we drew names and divided into teams for competition. Which was captain and crew of course.

We weren’t allowed caddies or even carts, but I could have used a bit of assistance. Sure I only had my trusty nine iron with me, but it was tough to juggle it plus our team’s score card, my day-glow orange golf ball, a writing implement and my glass of wine. My teammates (Mary Ann, Melissa and Lisa) had their hands full as well and weren’t much help.

Our foursome teed off on hole 1, a fairly long (maybe 20 yards) par 3 with something of a water hazard to the right of the “fairway,” a term I use lightly in this instance. I know farmers who bale anything that long. I’m not going to lie. We struggled, and ended up with a bogey. Luckily my pen didn’t work and I didn’t have to record it.

We faired better on hole 2, a 15 yard dog leg right. A rather fortunate bounce put us in birdie contention, and, thankfully, we were able to seal the deal to bring us back at even par.

Our success made us perhaps too cocky, and despite a well placed first shot on three (a long, straight up-hill), we failed to birdie the hole. It went down hill, literally, from there. Three fourths of our squad overhit on four, hitting well into the woods, while our anchor failed to even come close to the “green.” Another term I use loosely, since it was in fact two concentric rings around the flag. (A chip into the inner ring allowed for a stroke to be deducted.)

Not wanting to take the chance of hitting our safety shot into the woods as well, we decided to play Lisa’s ball, which was perched atop a cute little hunk of fluffy moss. Unfortunately, it was also under a low pine tree, which meant we were hitting from what would basically be considered the prone position. Somehow, however, we pulled it off. It might have taken us three to get it in, but we made it into the inner circle, thus marking a birdie for the hole and putting us one under.

We faired well on five as well, despite the water hazard (pool) on the left and the vegetable garden, which was out-of-bounds on the right. Thanks to my superb drive, if I do say so myself, we birdied again, moving to two under.

Six was another tough one, requiring a shot over the cart path (driveway) and a stone wall, but somehow we managed to birdie that as well.

It started to get sticky on seven, though, and not just because we’d missed our chance to replenish our on-course beverages when we’d passed “the shack.” We were once again shooting over the driveway, I mean cart path, plus we had to hit low to avoid taking out an overhead cable. And did I mention that we were all parked just to the right of the green? We all cringed when Lisa hit her “drive” way right, believe me. Thankfully, the flower bed was a free drop and we managed to pull off a par, but just barely.

We thought for sure we’d redeem ourselves on 8, but to no avail. We ended up with another par, but only because we were lucky enough to make it into the inner circle once more.

We’d gathered a couple of spectators by the time we reached nine, because most of the other teams had already finished. (Hey, don’t look at me. I wasn’t the one taking all those practice swings!) The added pressure brought out the best in us, I guess, because we birdied once more to finish up with a respectable 4 under.

We felt pretty good about it, too. Until, that is, we discovered that first place was an 18, nine under par.

I’m pretty sure they cheated.

I don’t feel hard-done by though. It was a good time. And I’m definitely looking forward to trying the course out again next year.

A special thanks to the DeMelliers for making us all feel so welcome, and to all the Lady Gophers, of course. Just for being awesome.