“On The Tee”: Miramichi Golf Report

It`s Saturday evening and it`s been a busy two weeks at the Miramichi Golf Club . The weather, as you know, has been hot and humid and it has done some damage to our greens and tee boxes but they are coming back beautifully with some hard work by Tom and the crew (and some rain). We had problems with leaks in the irrigation pipes on the front nine but they are again in full operation . It`s a time consuming task and has to be a priority .

I attended the Fishermen`s Pow Wow a couple of weeks ago at Waterford Green and ,among the hundreds of people , I thought I recognized an old and rather famous face . I moved closer along the railing and sure enough , there was Bill (Spaceman) Lee chatting animatedly with a couple of visitors . I had seen Lee talk in Douglastown at Charlie (Cracker Barrel) Driscoll`s roast . I had also watched him play with the Boston Red Sox and the Moncton team in the N.B. Senior League a few years back. I took a chance and simply said ,” hi Bill “, in passing but he immediately responded perhaps surprised that anyone would still recognize him .

He shook my hand and we had a brief chat . He mentioned Greg Morris and Ralph Chambers , informed me he was still pitching and coaching a University team in Vermont and loved the people and the fishing in N.B. He looked well and still had that “joie de vivre ” that he always demonstrated in his lifestyle – on or off the diamond . He is also a pretty good golfer ,so he says, but I`m not surprised , a true athlete and a fine gentleman with his unique philosophy on life .

The Moosehead Light League is entering week 7 and we have two teams with the maximum 18 points – Gil Blais /Joe Hawkes and Brian Doak/ Bill Underhill . Billy says he`s been carrying Doak for the past 6 weeks and Brian , of course .responds that he`s been lugging Underhill for the past 6 years . Take your pick on that one …Eric Hamilton /Everett Goguen is at their heels with 16 points . John O’Connell /Harvey Matchett and Ricky Marquis /Bernie Keating are hanging in there with 15 big ones .The teams who had no points at time of last writing took our advice and picked up 3 points each . Now everyone is on the board . Good luck needs no explanation .

In Match Play we are into the semi-finals. The perennial champ, Pat Flanagan, is facing the steady Teddy Carroll and Eric Babin goes up against Kevin McAllister .
In Handicap Match play Paul Daigle takes on the multi-talented athlete , Mike Gabba. The boys in the Pro Shop, Dapper Dave and Cool Randy, come up against each other in a very interesting match that we`re sure to hear about from Derek.

Congratulations go out to our own Morgan Matchett for repeating as N.B. Junior Girls` Champ and qualifying for the N.B. Ladies` Amateur Team and to Sharon Case for making the N.B. Senior Ladies` Amateur Team . We were also represented in Sussex by Paula Flanagan , Karen Flett and Claire Babineau . I was told that all these ladies played well and it was one of our most successful years at this event . Congrats to all these golfers and thanks from the members for a great show .

Our Junior program is in full swing with tournaments at home and in Pokemouche . We have 4 age classes for boys and girls competitive golf in N.B. : Bantam – under 12 as of august 1, Midget – under 14 as of August 1 , Juvenile- under 16 as of that date and Junior – under 19 as of August 1 .

I have some highlights from the Miramichi Junior Invitational : First low gross , midget division was Zach Newman shooting a 77 .
First low net Juvenile division , Logan Tucker at 67 . The second low net in the same group was Luke Silliker with a 69 . A special tip of the old fedora to Luke as he shot a hole-in-one off # 5 tee . Low score for the nine holes from the junior tees was Devon Gionet .

Zach Newman and Morgan were the club`s only representatives at Sussex for the N.B. Junior/ Midget Championship . Morgan , of course , won her division but not to be forgotten was Zach who , in his first midget tournament at 12 years of age , placed ninth in his group . Lloyd Burbidge told me in a game the other day that Zach drove the 18th green i.e. hit the ball from the tee over the green which not too many of our golfers can do .. We definitely have some budding stars in our membership . Congrats to all golfers in our Junior program – you do us proud .

The senior men were off to Restigouche (Campbellton ) last week on the second leg of their tour . A great time was had by all on this charming but hilly course and a delicious ham/scallop supper followed the round . The next stop is at Pokemouche in August .

Speaking of seniors , Bev Bawn , Bernie Donovan , Willard McKay and I took a day and travelled through the Plaster Rock/ Renous Highway to play in Aroostook . Interesting links – you play in both Canada and the USA. A storm of five minute duration, I was told ,blew down hundreds of large trees a couple of weeks previously . Greens were bumpy and below the usual standard but a beautiful and difficult course . Great hospitality was provided by the staff .
! I was delighted to see three rabbits on the Renous as I haven`t seen a rabbit in 3 years around here . We left in daylight and arrived home in the same . A pleasant and fun filled trip . Bernie`s putting was off ( which is unusual ), Willard scored the best , Bev was close and I , as usual , made everyone feel like they were better golfers than they are ..

A Ladies Scramble was held Tuesday past with a shotgun start at 5 P.M.. Shaun Murphy ( visiting pro ) held a short – game clinic from 3 until 4 P.M. Shaun works with our junior program as well. A reminder that our Junior Program is open to all young people in the region and we would be delighted to have them enroll .

Our club will be featured in the next issue of Golf Canada magazine . We won this recognition by having the highest % of members in N.B. registering their Golf Canada cards . It is an excellent article written by Miramichi native and former member , Gary Bernard , who is the CEO of PGA Canada . We are proud of your achievements in the sport Gary , keep us in mind and continue with your great work .

The opening dinner and dance raised over $ 1000.00 to be used only for future banquet hall upgrades . Tom and Marion are packing in the ladies and the men for dinner on their respective nights ( Tuesday and Wednesday ). Last week`s lasagna ( with apologies to Dut ) was probably the best many of us have ever had the pleasure of eating .

The executive of the playing club is looking at implementing a 5 year plan for course improvements and will be establishing priorities with input received from members . Please express your concerns and/or recommendations to the appropriate people .

I plan to play a round or two with visitors attending the Irish Festival this week . Please extend to your guests for any of our summer festivals an invitation to try our course , pro shop and restaurant . We would make them very welcome and appreciate their business .

And keep in mind you golfers who don`t practice your game , ” depend on the rabbit`s foot if you will but remember, it didn`t work for the rabbit ”

Until next time – stay well and be kind …