While the cream of the Buffalo district golfing population was doing battle in the final round of the men’s individual championship, a select group of golfers took part in a scratch better-ball event, the WNYPLGA’s Bill Boyle Memorial. The venue? Sheridan Park…one of the entrants? None other than BuffaloGolfer’s Mo’ Golf. This is his story.
If you and your partner don’t make any birdies, you’re in for a long day. We didn’t make any birdies, so we supplemented birdies with humor and par celebrations. We ended up with 14 pars and 4 bogies and didn’t finish last.
It’s no wonder that Sheridan regulars have no fear of any golf shot, anywhere, in western New York. Sheridan Park’s back nine presents every razor’s edge shot known to mankind. There’s the long iron or hybrid into a fairway-grade green (#10), the lay-up to a blind landing area (#11), the short iron over water to a bunkered green (also #11), the long carry over a double hazard (trees and water, #12), the approach that must stay left or risk tumbling down a slope toward certain death (also #12) and on and on. The back nine of Sheridan criss-crosses Two Mile Creek over and over. Thanks to technology, tee shots on 12 and 18 must carry trees or run through the fairway. In other words, want to learn to be a ball striker? Play at Sheridan.
My 77 on my own ball reminded me of one thing: it’s tough to have it all on one day. From tee to green, I was most satisfied. On the greens, I made a bunch of par-saving putts from 8-12 feet. No birdie putts fell on this day, although I did come close to holing a sand shot or two. What failed me most was the ability to snuggle long putts close to the hole. On at least three occasions, I left 40-60 feet putts 10-15 feet short. Two or three resulted in three putt bogeys…you can’t have it all.
Kindred spirits must partner. Either you and your mate are hard-core competitors or you are laid-back, enjoy the day combatants. It’s impossible to mix and match. Fortunately for us, we were of the latter ilk, so the total absence of birdies didn’t phase us too much. After a while, it became a bit humorous.
There is no doubt that a scramble is an easier format for amateur golfers to play. You always have a plan B, another shot at the first shot. In the better-ball format, one inaccurate shot places the burden of par squarely on the shoulders of the other teammate.
Glen Gast and Jeff Frey, to tournament directors for the WNYPLGA, are in their second year of tournament administration. By all accounts, they have elevated the quality of each tournament and created a sense of fellowship among competitors. Here’s hoping that the 2012 appearance in the Boyle won’t be Mo’s last in WNYPLGA play.