Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Spirit of the Spirit Cup

Last week I played in Talking Rock Golf Club’s annual ladies’ invitational golf tournament, the Spirit Cup. My handicap is high, my partner was a stranger to me, and I was pretty bound up with trepidation about the whole event. But I had set myself a goal to compete this year, and I am pretty stubborn about meeting my self-imposed goals.

The biggest hurdle in my mind was whether my partner and I would be compatible. After playing a practice round with her last Thursday, my concern was quickly dispatched. Although a much better golfer than I, we got along famously, enjoying the course, the beautiful weather, and each other’s company. She has had quite a bit of tournament experience, and I appreciated her knowledge about the formats (Best Ball and a Scramble), and the finer points of the rules and regulations.

On the first morning of the tournament, a party atmosphere reigned. The theme for the Spirit Cup was “Wild, Wild West”. Carts were decorated accordingly, and the creativity was impressive. We had several stagecoaches, a saloon, a jail, and a chuck wagon, among others. Some ladies had coordinating golf attire, or even costumes such as pigtails and Indian feathers, ponchos and six shooters, and saloon girls with feather boas.

Both days of golf included 18 holes of play, with 9 holes of a Scramble, and 9 holes of Best Ball. These formats take a lot of pressure off us lesser golfers, as your partner can save you if you have a bad shot or a bad hole. Of course, you still want to feel that you have contributed, which I did – hitting some good drives, some great pitches onto the green, and a few really good putts to close out scoring on holes. My intimate knowledge of the geography of the course was also a big help to my guest, who was unfamiliar with it.

We played respectably, and could hold our heads high as the top teams went on to the high-pressure Shoot Out for the championship. The Shoot Out drew a gallery of club members and guests that moved progressively from the 14th hole to the 18th, where the champions were determined by a Chip Off after a tie between the finalists on 18. Congratulations to Kim Dornan and her guest for their big win!

The trophy presentations were accompanied by food, drink, laughter, and hugs, among a large group of happy people. As the sun set, washing Talking Rock with golden sun, we relished our celebration.

I am most pleased that I pushed myself outside my comfort zone to take on a new challenge and have a wonderful new experience. My hope is that more of my golf buddies will take part next year in this event that is a great confidence-builder.

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