By Kent Dolezal
by Kent Dolezal
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 14
Its fun. The camaraderie. The competition. Getting outside amongst friends.
Those are all phrases Hi-Line golfers use to describe why they play in the areas golf leagues.
With four leagues currently in operation in the Havre/Chinook area, golf league is one of the regions most popular summer activities.
The Beaver Creek Golf Course provides three nights of league, while the Chinook course currently offers one evening of league play.
Beaver Creek has mens league on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, with the ladies hitting the links on Thursday night. Both mens leagues at the Havre course are running at full capacity, 20 teams of four players each. The womens league has 10 teams, but would like to get more players.
Chinook runs its long-established mens league on Wednesdays. The Chinook league currently has 19 teams of four players.
Friendship and social interaction are the main reasons golfers cite for their desire to participate in the leagues.
Its nice. The girls all get a night out a week, said Moe Coryell, president of the Havre womens league. We compete for points, but it is not a competitive league. We go out and have fun.
I enjoy the camaraderie, said Steve Mulonet on the tee box of the No. 6 hole at Chinook. I like coming out, and getting together with guys, slapping the ball out there and making fun of each other. That is the fun of it. That is what league is all about. If you come out and get serious about it, it is no fun then.
Poking fun at their fellow golfers is a highlight of the evening for many participants, easily witnessed by the many good-hearted jibs overheard during the course of play.
They cheat like hell, but they are fantastic, Steve Burstock said before he hit the Beaver Creek links to begin his round. Biggest bunch of sandbaggers youll run into. Me, Im honest, of course.
Burstocks admission of his own honesty was greeted with laughs from his fellow players.
With all the fun being had on the local courses, why arent all area golfers members of the leagues. Perhaps it is because they believe that their game is not good enough and they would be embarrassed.
The level of play is from beginner to more experience. There will always be someone worse than you and someone better than you, Paula Sheppard said to the local linksters who may have some hesitation about their skill level not being up to par. Someone shouldnt have fear. It is not a cutthroat competition. We encourage people to come out.
It is mainly to enjoy yourself and have fun and maybe get a little exercise, said Ed Parisian, who is in his third year in the Havre league. That is what we do. Most of us dont get too excited about the scores. Generally, We try to have a good time and not worry about the scores. At least I dont.
When I first started, I was apprehensive. I didnt feel that I would be good enough, they are such a fun group, said Liz McIntosh, who has just started her fourth year in the league. It is nice to get out here, and they are fun to be around.
Nobody in Havre is ever going to make a dime playing golf, so join the club, Burstock said. If you are thinking about making a living at it, you might as well kiss that off. Just have a good time, that is main thing. If you go in there with that attitude, youre going to love it.
The Havre mens league is currently full. Chinook has enough full teams, but is always looking for substitute players.
Jim Kato of the Beaver Creek course said the course would like to fill the roster in its womens league. However, the course is thinking about having a fun league that would tee up after the last flight of the ladies has teed off. It is something that the course has done in the past, he said.
Chinook is also thinking about increasing its league offerings. Aaron Johnson, the courses events coordinator, said the course is considering a team league. This league would have teams competing against each other and could feature playing formats, as in best ball and scrambles. The team league would also be open to mixed gender teams. The course would like to hear from area golfers who are interested in perhaps starting this new league, he said.
If a person is interested in the possibility of playing in either the Havre fun league or in Chinook team league, or subbing for its mens league, they should contact the respective club.
Kato said that a prospective league golfer doesnt need to have their official handicap before she begins league play. If they know what they shoot, we can assign them one until they get an official one, he said. The official handicap will be constructed from the league score cards.
Although the golfers agree that their main motivation for playing is having fun, the competitiveness of the sport is also a critical element.
I think it is an added bonus, Tim Rosette said about the competitive aspect of league play. It is a good one-on-one competition with who ever you are playing with that week.
During league play, two golfers are paired to square off in a match play format. One point is earned by winning a hole, and if the players tie, then the hole is halved. One point is also awarded to the player that wins that match, making each individual match worth 10 points.
There are four players on each team, therefore the maximum team total would be 40. Players handicaps are taken into account, with better golfers surrendering strokes.
Whether a person is a scratch golfer or a 25 handicap, they can still enjoy their company, the competition, and through much of the summer on the beautiful Havre and Chinook course, the great views of nature.
I was golfing out here with a guy from New York a couple a weeks ago and he looked up. We had these big fluffy white clouds. He said in New York all they have is this gray blob. I said thats smog, said Mike Seymour of the Chinook league. We (Montanans) take so much for granted.