Originally created 07/12/98

Courses suffer drop in play



No, golf courses in the area aren't closing up shop during the mid-afternoon hours. It just seems that way because they are so deserted during the heat of the day.

The brutal summer heat, which arrived earlier than normal, has taken its toll on business.

"We get our play early in the morning and in the late afternoon -- mainly in the morning," said Persimmon Hill head pro Mo Mullinax. "There's nothing in the mid-afternoon. Even the members don't come out."

"People aren't coming out in the middle of the day," said Forest Hills head pro Robby Watson. "Of the people who are playing, I'd say 80 percent of the ones who normally walk are now riding."

Watson has been keeping something of a "heat watch" going at his course. He's been recording the high temperature each day off a thermometer on the club's porch.

"From June 22 to June 30, it was over 100 degrees every day," Watson said.

During that stretch, Watson says he had even less play than last week when the temperature hit 103 degrees on Wednesday and Thursday on the porch.

"The heat has hurt our play a lot, but it's not totally down," Watson said. "This summer it's been hotter for a longer period of time."

Across the street, at the Augusta Golf Course, play is down between 45 and 60 percent, according to shop attendant Butch Lord.

"The weather has really killed us," Lord said. "I don't remember a period where it got so hot so early. It's been this way since early in June and hasn't let up. It normally doesn't get this hot until July 4th."

It's the same story in Hephzibah at Pointe South Golf Club.

"Our business is dramatically off compared to this time last year," said assistant pro Robbie Ducey. "We just had a group come in. They were going to play 18 holes and they said `let's just go nine' because it's so hot. We're getting a lot of that."

FOREST HILLS: Long-time club starter Beanie Morris, 75, shot his age for the first time last week. The round was witnessed by Jim Eakle, Ernie Booten and Dan Moyer.

AUGUSTA GOLF COURSE: Nathaniel Wells scored a pair of eagles on par-5s in the same nine-hole round recently. He did it the hard way, holing out shots from the fairway instead of making eagle putts. On the No. 1 hole, Wells holed out a 4-wood shot for his eagle. Then, on the sixth hole, he holed out a 5-iron shot. The witnesses were Larry Harris, Clement Gardner and Jimmy Holmes.

COASTAL TOUR: John Penn of Hephzibah won the 16-18 age group in a Coastal Youth Golf Tour tournament at Laurel Island Links in Kingsland, Ga. In the 12-15 age group, Bryan Riddle of Martinez finished third after shooting an 82. The Coastal tour makes a stop in Augusta this week for a tournament Tuesday at Forest Hills Golf Club.

WEDGES AND WOODS: Openings remain for the third and fourth sessions of Wedges and Woods' Summer Junior Golf Program. The dates for the third session are July 14-15-16-21-22-23 while the third session will run from July 28-29-30, Aug. 4-5-6. Each day's session runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and are conducted by Alex McNeil and Gregg Hemann. For the $75 price of a session, golfers receive 12 hours of instruction, unlimited range balls and on-course supervision at the Augusta Golf Course, a co-sponsor of the program.

GREGORY CLASSIC: Applications have been sent out for the third annual W.M. Gregory Classic, scheduled for Aug. 22-23 at North Augusta Country Club. Golfers can pick up applications for the Cadillac Cup event at area clubs or by coming by the North Augusta Country Club.

POINTE SOUTH: Bob Fanning was the men's winner and Mary Oglesby captured the women's title in a Flag Tournament. Dane Moore was the men's runnerup, followed by Regis Costable. Rhonda Byrnes was second and Natalie Johnson third among the women.

Holes-in-one

JONES CREEK: This one falls under the believe-it-or-not file. Rod Luce has had three aces at this course in the last month. First, he aced the sixth hole twice in a five-day span, then later in the month aced the 135-yard 11th hole. Luce used a sand wedge for the first ace, a pitching wedge for the second one and a 7-iron for the third one. James Brantly witnessed the first ace, Clint Jones, George Compton and Tom Compton witnessed the second ace and Travis McCormack, David Youngblood and Jeff Moe witnessed the third one.

HOUNDSLAKE: Richard Penix aced the 165-yard fourth hole on the Azalea side with a 4-iron shot. The witnesses were George Weaver and Steve Bryson.

Mike Funderburk aced the 165-yard third hole on the Dogwood side with a 5-iron shot. The witness were Roy Funderburk.

NORTH AUGUSTA CC: Phiny Davis aced the 185-yard 14th hole with a 3-iron shot. The witnesses were Walt Cybart and Jim Krys.

Roddy Godwin also aced the 185-yard 14th hole with a 5-iron shot. The witnesses were Craig Godwin, Bo Glover and Jeff Cunningham.

AUGUSTA GOLF COURSE: Randy Sconyers aced the 275-yard par-4 fifth hole, knocking in his tee shot with a driver. The witness was Kay Sconyers.

George White aced the 145-yard 14th hole with a 8-iron shot. The witnesses were Bob West, Robert Bailey and William Fennoy.

Suk K Choi aced the 145-yard 10th hole with a 9-iron shot. The witness was Ok Soon Choi.

WEST LAKE: West Lake husband-and-wife members Doug and Deanna Clepper had aces on a recent trip to Fripp Island. Doug aced the 164-yard 12th hole at Ocean Creek Golf Club. Two days later, Deanna aced the 81-yard second hole at Ocean Point Golf Club.