Sports Columns

July 14, 2014

A Look Ahead: State golf coming to Nob North

My history as a golfer can be summed up with some well-known words from 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes — “nasty, brutish and short.”

About the time my high school friends and I acquired driver’s licenses and cars, quite a few of them also picked up golf clubs and a sudden interest in spending their Saturday morning chasing a little white ball. Peer pressure worked in this case. Pretty soon I had my own clubs (a $50 second-hand set), a cheap bag and a few blisters from the practice range.

Finally, it was time to actually play. Our group of six broke into a more experienced foursome that left me in a twosome trailing behind. And I took the trailing behind thing to heart.

Halfway through the round we’d been scolded by the course marshal for failing to replace divots (nobody told us), my stock of reserve golf balls was thinning and I’d lost count of my strokes while trying to cross a pond. (I guess my inner Phil Mickelson — even if I’d never heard of him at the time — wouldn’t let me lay up.)

With our friends out of sight, my playing partner and I took a rain check for the final nine holes. I don’t know about him, but I never went back to finish the round, and that’s where golf and I parted ways. I enjoy watching the Masters and have met a lot of nice golfers while covering tournaments over the years, but the game and I made a mutual decision that it would be best if I stayed on the cart path or in the gallery.

I never could get used to that interlocking grip anyway.

There are many in the Dalton area who have kept up the good fight, though — some are even winning — when it comes to the links, and hopefully they know just how lucky they are in terms of quality options when it comes to golf courses in northwest Georgia.

This is normally where The Daily Citizen’s resident golf nut, sports writer Chris Whitfield, would step in to catch you up. But as I write this, he’s in the land of shrimp and sand gnats — and he very well could be teeing it up on a coastal course — so you’re unfortunately left with a sports editor who sticks to the kind of golf where you have to avoid windmill blades and line your putt up with the clown’s mouth.

With the Georgia Amateur Championship behind us, the golf focus this week turns to another Peach State competition as the Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) visits Nob North Golf Course in Varnell for its state tournament.

The Dalton Parks and Recreation Department will host Tuesday’s competition, which will have divisions for several age groups — 7-8, 11-and-younger, 13-and-younger, 15-and-younger, 18-and-younger and 19-and-older. All age divisions but the two youngest will play 18 holes; those two will play nine.

The tournament tees off at 9 a.m., and while the registration deadline has passed, those not in the field still have the chance to go out and support the area golfers making a bid to finish as the state’s best.

And it’s just the latest big event for a local golf course. Nob North will have the chance to keep our area prominently on the state’s golf map again later this summer when the Georgia State Golf Association’s Public Links Championship is played there on Sept. 13-14.

• Not too far from our area, the Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course in Johns Creek will host the United States Golf Association’s U.S. Amateur Championship on Aug. 11-17.

Dalton’s David Noll Jr. is among those who will try to qualify for the tournament Tuesday and Wednesday at Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, and two other former Dalton High School golfers — Chase Miller and Will Morrow — will have the same objective July 22 in Louisville, Ky.

Keep an eye on future editions of The Daily Citizen for information on how things go for that trio. If you’re planning to take part in a qualifying tournament (or know someone who will) please send a note to chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com, along with any other golf notes of local interest.

• I’m not sure exactly when this happened, but sometime in the past 30 years, the calendar shifted to the point that July 4 became the last day students could safely avoid back-to-school reminders and advertisements.

Well, I hate to add to your anguish, kiddies, but that first day of school for 2014-15 is closer than you think.

The good news, sports fans, is so are “fall” athletics. Official practices for Georgia High School Association cheerleading, cross country, football, softball and volleyball teams can begin on Aug. 1, and regular-season contests for those sports start soon after. (Football teams, in fact, can begin conditioning on July 25.)

I mention this because just as those teams must prepare for the season, so must we in the sports department here at The Daily Citizen. Middle school and high school coaches in Murray and Whitfield counties, we’re looking for your schedules and rosters for fall sports. Although it may seem early, we’re eager to get ahead and appreciate your help in sending that information to sports@daltoncitizen.com.

You’ll receive a reply within 24 hours after your schedule and/or roster is received. If you don’t, please call us at (706) 272-7732, 272-7734 or 272-7742.

Marty Kirkland is sports editor of The Daily Citizen. He doesn’t have to worry about having his good walk spoiled when he’s covering tournaments at The Farm. Do you have something you think he should highlight in “A Look Ahead”? Write to him at martykirkland@daltoncitizen.com

1
Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Whitfield, Chris.JPG Chris Whitfield: Football fans may lose, but Mora will win with decision

    Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to see some of the finest athletes this state has ever produced. From professional athletes who went on to the NFL, MLB and the NBA to college washouts who still rank as the finest high school athletes I have ever seen, I have been blessed.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Larry Case: Camping a sure cure for the big city blues

    In case you haven’t noticed, we are looking right down the gun barrel at winding down on another summer.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chris Whitfield's Fairways & Greens: Nob North prepares for 'big date'

    Like anyone getting ready for a big date, golf courses get dressed up when it is time for a major event. But while a woman may put on a little makeup and a man may add a spray of cologne, Nob North Golf Course in Varnell is getting something more akin to Botox.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7on7 day 2 '14 17 mlh.jpg Devin Golden: Friday signals gridiron days’ official start

    Seven-on-seven football was a good placeholder, but it’s time to begin talking about the real thing.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Golf now in era of McIlroy after Open

    Royal & Ancient officials, under whose auspices the Open championship is conducted each year, were blessed with a sun-kissed start of the final round of the 143rd playing of this historic event.

    July 21, 2014

  • Loran Smith: McIlroy at his peak at Hoylake

    HOYLAKE, England — It’s the setting which enraptures those who appreciate the things that accompany a championship, The British refuse to let a downpour or two, intermittent and inconvenient, to make them fret.

    July 20, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Change is needed for major titles

    HOYLAKE, England — This is a good time to be Bubba Watson — long off the tee which brings golf aficionados through the gates, two Masters titles which puts him in the pantheon of the greats at Augusta, deal-makers hovering about, more perks than a palace prince, exempt status to the end of the decade and a cash flow that resembles a raging river.

    July 19, 2014

  • Loran Smith: Harman is living his childhood golf dream

    HOYLAKE, England — One thing about golf that has remained constant since Young Tom Morris won his fourth Open in a row in 1872 — when Ulysses Grant was president of the United States and Brigham Young was arrested for bigamy (he had 25 wives) — is that a little man can play the game.
    Football players are becoming bigger — often illegally — and basketball players are growing taller, but a golfer can excel at any dimension if he hones his skills enough to get the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes. Golf is not a behemoth sport; there are no concussions, no strikeouts and no fistfights. Let the game prosper.

    July 18, 2014