Learning about golf #110; again

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 7, 2007

I had the opportunity to cover the Tarheel Independent Conference (TIC) golf tournament held at Beechwood Country Club last week.

While I don’t play golf, I enjoyed spending an afternoon walking the course and shooting the tournament.

Beechwood golf pro Eddie Pinnix and host Ridgecroft School put on a great tournament. The course was in good shape and club members were gracious enough to give up their course for the afternoon so the students could take their time on the fairways.

Ridgecroft’s Athletic Association was kind enough to cook supper for the teams, who earned their steak dinner after more than four hours on the course. It was a great way to cap off the awards program, which saw several local golfers garner recognition for their performance during the season.

Since most of the story on a golf match is written from rankings and interviews after the tournament, I spent the day walking the course and shooting pictures.

This sounds like a safe venture, but not once, not twice, but four times I was almost hit by a golf ball. One hit a tree just behind me. Recounting this story I was told to stay out of the way, but I thought standing in the trees was out of the way.

Next time I’ll go stand by the flag. That way, if I get hit, at least the ball will be on the green.

I like shooting golf because if I miss the picture I’m trying to get, I have 17 other holes to get the shot.

You may be thinking, “How hard is it to get a good golf picture?” Sometimes the camera just doesn’t cooperate and sometimes the operator doesn’t either.

I enjoyed watching the camaraderie these young men and one woman displayed. I shadowed several groups and with each group I was impressed to hear players point out the location of a rival’s ball, complement them on a shot, or urge their ball to drop.

Even opposing coaches were complimenting players on their shots. You don’t see that in most sports.

The TIC should be proud it has four of the top five golfers in the state for 1-A schools. That’s a phenomenal accomplishment for schools in our area that often struggle at the state level in other sports.

Northeast Academy enters the tournament ranked fourth.

They won the state tournament in 2005 and two members of this team, Ryan Davis and Drew Pinnix, were members of that state championship group.

These seniors, ranked second and third in the state respectively, know what it takes to bring a state title home.

I suspect that losing in the tournament after going undefeated in the regular season will give the team the hunger going into states.

Coach Scott Emory has said all season that it takes four good scores to win and Northeast has players that can deliver.

As much as I enjoyed covering the tournament, I also appreciated all the coaches and players patience. Every year I have to get a tutorial on golf because I forget from year-to-year the difference in a birdie and bogey and an eagle.

Golf is unique in that not only do the top teams advance to the states, but the top players as well. This gives players that have low scores the opportunity to win an individual title; without this rule many good players would have to stay home.

Even though this is an individual sport, it’s still a team sport.

It’s just the team extends beyond school colors. I’ve talked about teamwork before and I saw it demonstrated last week by the players and the adults.

Heather Odom can be reached by emailing sports@r-cnews.com.