Book of poetry; golf’s toughest achievement

I see by the U.S. mail…

One of the perks of sitting in this chair (there are many) is the receipt of books in the mail.

Along comes a lovely book of poetry from Helen Corrigan Iekel. A poet from Wisconsin, she passed away in 1998 in New York. She was the mother of four sons, one of whom (Rick Iekel) sent me the book. Another son is a familiar figure in Sheridan, former state legislator Jerry Iekel, a social worker and counselor. (Rick wryly notes the name “Iekel” means the inability to say “no.”)

What’s neat about Ms. Iekel’s book is how often the poetry is accompanied by a narrative by Rick Iekel, explaining the inspiration, or the backstory to the poem.

It’s a keeper.

••••••

Hardest achievement in amateur golf?

Hole in one? Nope. Double eagle? Nope. Difficult, yes, but there’s a lot of lucky stuff involved.

Shooting one’s age (or better) is the paramount achievement. One has to play well over the course of 18 holes, the pressure building toward the final hole with the grip getting a little tighter, the swing a little bit more off sync. And then there’s the fact that the player — in his or her late 60s, 70s, or 80s — just isn’t the player they used to be. Age, as we all know, diminishes a good many things. In other words, you have to be in good shape both physically and spiritually.

There are three “age shooters” recognized at The Powder Horn in Sheridan.

• Homer “Scotty” Scott: He shot 73 on Oct. 1, 2011.

• Dave Latini: He shot 75 on July 10, 2012.

• Ken Richardson: Ken shot 73 on Oct. 28, 2012.

There are quite likely others in the Sheridan area so let us know.

••••••

The legendary golfer and gentleman, Byron Nelson, before he died in 2006, was asked what was the most transforming invention in golf. The reporter believed he would say the golfers’ equipment — bighead drivers and titanium shafts, “hot” balls or even the physical fitness trailers that follow the pro tours.

Instead, Nelson replied simply: “Lawnmowers.”

Better greens keeping equipment, and better-trained personnel geared toward agronomy, is providing the necessary maintenance to keep the game fun and attractive and lower scores.

The next “big thing” in the game that is making a lot of noise is water. There’s less of it and it’s increasingly costly. Some golf courses in the U.S. have a million dollar water bill annually that is unsustainable. Ergo, there is increasing development of grasses that don’t demand as much irrigation.

One last item. At the PGA stop in Dallas, the tournament that bears Nelson’s name and pays homage to him, there were some long drives. Some 520 tee shots were measured at 350 yards or more; there were 19 drives that came in at more than 400 yards.

••••••

Quotable

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”

Cicero, 100 B.C. – 43 B.C., Roman philosopher, statesman, orator.

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