By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
For most recreational, amateur golfers the only time to go out and be a part of a competition is to play as a member of a two or four man scramble.
There just aren't a lot of opportunities for stroke play events for the recreational golfer and when you are 50 years old and older, the chances might become even more limited.
Enter the Summer Senior Series, a stroke play, individual golfing experience that should fill that need for seniors to hone their play against their peers and to get those competitive juices flowing again.
The Summer Senior Series is hosted by Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Choctaw. Mark Powell, who is the resident PGA professional at the club, said the idea for the series came to him after a friend of his in Baton Rouge, La., began a series a couple of years ago.
"I copied many of the things he is doing down there and so far it is gaining popularity with the senior golfing community," Powell said. "We are very pleased with the response but like anything, there is no such thing as too much of a good thing so we are always welcoming in new players."
And talk about a good deal!
The normal fees for playing one of the two award-winning courses is about $100 per player. The Summer Senior Series costs only $40. That is a good deal on anybody's scorecard.
The $40 rate includes the cart, a gift certificate prize pot, senior series handicap, optional skins game and range balls.
Powell said players are scored using their handicap and then taking the net at the end of each round. The handicaps may change from week to week depending on how good or bad a day the player has on the course.
"Plus, the handicap gives the so-so golfer a chance to beat a scratch golfer," Powell said. "We had some events won last year by golfers with double digit handicaps so the chances are there."
Powell said a special season ending championship will be held Aug. 29. He said if you have entered six of the 10 events the the entry fee for the championship will be waived. Most of the events will be each Thursday, beginning tomorrow, and will have a shotgun start of 10 a.m. on the Oaks course. Registration time deadline is 9 a.m. on the day of the event but Powell urges all golfers to register early to help facilitate forming the groups.
Another plus to the events, and Powell said this is to make the tournaments more fun, is the "Tee It Forward" initiative. Powell said the Oaks will play on average about 600 yards less than normal.
"We have moved all the tees up so everyone will have a chance to shoot good scores and to have fun," Powell said. "Fun is what this event is all about and we wanted to help with that."
Preferred lies will also be in force in the fairway cuts only and there will be no club limit. Powell said to help with keeping the pace of play smooth and orderly there will be a two-bogey maximum for scoring purposes. Putters will be marked at 22 inches for "gimmies".
Prizes will be based on the number of golfers playing each event with the approximate payout at 30 percent of the field, Powell said. Powell said on average 70 golfers played in each event last season. He said there are 170 golfers in the Series data base. One place will be paid for each event. All golfers 50 years of age and older, men and women, are eligible for the events.
Powell said golfers from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to North Mississippi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast come to take advantage of the low fee and the chance to match their game against others. He said the Oaks is in immaculate condition which reflects the pride the club and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians have in the property.
"We just had some guests from Canada come down just to play the courses," Powell said. "That tells you that you are doing something right."
For more information or to enter the events contact Hayward Bell at Hayward.email@example.com.