94th Season Starts in the Fairway!
If one thinks of the entire season as a round of golf, the Island Country Club’s 94th season has just teed off of #1. And, if you’re an optimist (not an easy person to be these days), you’re sitting in the middle of the first fairway, just left of the bunker, with the green clearly in view. In your mind you see a short iron flying high and true, sliding down the slope, settling just below the pin.
Opening Day 2022 followed the pattern of what passes for Spring this year. It was cool, it was foggy (though folks who aren’t from here might have called it “rain”), and the modest breeze was from the sou’east, adding a raw tone to the morning’s and season’s first rounds. It’s not a harbinger. Your editor checked the Opening Day newsletters for the past several years. Five of the six noted similar weather. Each of those seasons turned out wonderful (even with the intervening circumstances of the pandemic). Whatever the weather, a new season brings with it a sense of renewal as well as a lot that will be truly new. As John Updike wrote, “For the hours and days it has taken from me, golf has given back what Ralph Waldo Emerson would call a new me, a life enhanced, lengthened into a new dimension.”
Opening Day was also Grounds Superintendent Keith Hoover’s Birthday. While you’re at it, celebrate that, too.
News of the Clubhouse:
Fin & Fern for Lunch … and soon more. During the winter, your editor stopped in at the then closed Fin & Fern because, walking by, I saw a friend I really needed to talk with, and he was talking to the owner. As soon as I said “hello,” Andy Chappell, Chef/Owner of Stonington’s top restaurant, looked straight at me and said, “I’d love to do something with the Country Club.” Over the winter and early Spring, we talked. Tuesday of this week, Phase One of our relationship with Fin & Fern begins: Daily Lunch – a selection of pre-made sandwiches and salads, displayed in the Pro Shop, and on offer at very reasonable prices. Chips with that? We have them. A soft drink, beer, wine, coffee, tea? We have those, too. Annie will be monitoring sales and ordering fresh deliveries as needed. Take your selections to the Great Room, patio or porches – enjoy.
Fin & Fern for Dinner at the Club – COMING SOON. The first Club dinner will be a Pasta Night, Tuesday, June 14. Pastas are Fin & Fern’s most famous and loved dishes, and Andy promises us something special for our Flag Day celebration. There will be a starter and dessert as well, all prepared under the direction of this great Chef. The details are coming.
Your favorite sports apparel brands are now stocked in the Clubhouse. Men’s and women’s golf and tennis shirts, fleeces, pullovers from such brands as Nike, Columbia, Charles River and the fishy brand of a retired Australian white-haired golfer who has lost his mind (yes, Editorial Comment). Members are receiving Club Opening discounts up to 20% off full retail prices. Get your selections now, before the hordes arrive. Annie has also stocked a nice supply of top name golf balls, tees, markers other accessories, as well as wine tumblers, water bottles and other gift items and mementoes of your time at the Best Little Country Club in America.
News of Golf:
Fix Your Ball Marks! Fix Your Ball Marks! Fix Your Damn Ball Marks! And if you didn’t make a Ball Mark, Fix Someone Else’s! We have green repair tools in the Pro Shop, as well as diagrams of how to do it correctly. It’s too early in the season to ruin our beautiful greens.
The Trifecta will be the first tournament of the season, Sunday May 29. This is an 18 hole, two person event for men, 9 holes for pairs of Ladies. All teams start from the First Tee. Men play 6 holes of Scrambles, 6 of Best Ball, 6 of the dreaded, game wrecker Alternate Shot – in that order. Ladies play three holes of each, also in that order. Entry fee is $25.00. You can sign up in the Pro Shop or call Annie at 348 2379. The first tee time will be 9:00AM and then each 10 minutes thereafter. First come, first served to get the time you want.
Scrambles begins this Friday, May 20. Commissar Mimi Gerstell reports that this will be the first of these events, held every Friday during the season (and often beyond). You must sign up in the Pro Shop or by phone by 3:00PM Thursdays. Gather at the Clubhouse at 8:45AM Friday to learn your teammates and starting tee. Entry fee is $5.00 cash money.
Billings League play began Thursday, June 12, Club VP/Chief/Brush Cutter Extraordinaire Ryan Hayward reports. This is a two person team League playing a Scrambles format with teams usually staying together for two years. There are weekly and season prizes, with the lowest number of points winning the season long event. Results for Week 1:
1st- Vito Corsini/John Thompson* E
2nd- Connor Morey/ Andy Pratt E
3rd- Baren Yurchick/ Jim McDonald +1
4th- Hugh Reynolds/ Greg Sanborn +1
5th- Keith Hoover/ Peter Grindle +2
*sub for Ryan Hayward
NO PINS this week.
1st- Ryan Hayward/ Vito Corsini 0 pts.
2nd- Connor Morey/ Andy Pratt 2 pts.
3rd- Baren Yurchick/ Jim McDonald 3 pts.
4th- Hugh Reynolds/ Greg Sanborn 4 pts.
5th- Keith Hoover/ Peter Grindle 5 pts.
6th- Will Morey/ Cory McDonald 6 pts.
Men’s Golf will be played Monday and Wednesday mornings at 9:00AM, Thursdays and non-tournament Sundays at 8:00AM. Gather on the asphalt behind the First Tee at 845AM or 745AM to organize play for the day.
Twilight League is looking for more participants. Commissioner Ken Wilberg has provided the following description of this season’s two sessions, the format and other requirements: Twilight league will be starting June 6th and running to July 25th. The 2nd season will start August 1 and run to September 19th. Each session is 8 weeks with the championship taking place on week 8. Back by popular demand the format will be modified Stableford system. Scoring will be net scoring.
Eagle = 3 pt.
Birdie = 2 pt.
Par = 1 pt.
Bogey = 0 pt.
Double Bogey = +1 pt.
Triple Bogey = +2 pt.
Anything over triple Bogey will be capped at +3 pt.
Also back by popular demand we will be using a rotating tee schedule week to week.
Each season will have a one-time entry fee of $15 per person applied for season ending prizes. A weekly fee to be determined by how many players we have will be collected for the weekly pay outs for 1st, 2nd & possible 3rd places along with closest to pin prizes.
Current handicaps are required for Twilight League. And, Ken adds, “teams will be drawn from a hat, probably by one of my kids.”
Post your scores! Post your scores! Post your scores! Almost all play at the Island Country Club uses Course Handicaps based on your USGA GHIN Handicap Index to keep play competitive and fair. Handicap and Rules Chair Dick Dunham can help you sign up for a handicap if you have not done so through the Club’s Membership Form. Handicap Indexes and Course Handicaps are updated daily and the list will be posted prominently in the Pro Shop. You can post using the tablet next to the Manager’s Officer or on your home computer or tablet – BUT POST EVERY DAY YOU PLAY!
News of Tennis:
Tennis court resurfacing is now scheduled for the last week of May, hopefully prior to Memorial Day weekend. The resurfacing cannot be undertaken until the new fencing is in place on Court #1, which is expected to be completed this week. Keith and the crew will move quickly to ready the courts once the new surface is in place.
New posts installed to support new, finer netting
Editor’s Note: I had a particularly difficult time yesterday as I began to write this week’s newsletter. I found it unmoral to be writing about a season of golf, tennis and fine meals on a day when 10 fellow human beings were slaughtered because they were Black Americans who just happened to choose to go grocery shopping on a beautiful Sunday morning. Slavery is America’s Original Sin. In his most theological Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln wrestled with whether there was a Divine purpose to the Civil War. He could not find one, but he expressed his hope that the scourge of blood on both sides might expiate the sin for which all were responsible. It didn’t. And the real tragedy of yesterday, and of so many mass murders directed at so many minority American communities, is that the scourge of blood remains a reality not for the sinners, but for the sinned against. In all respects, enough.
Co-President and Editor at Large