Inside Comments: Steve Turcotte

Northwest Pro-Am: The perfect chance for embarrassment on the course

Don’t think for a minute that I didn’t know what I was getting into when Dave Hobson at Twin Lakes Golf and Country Club asked me to partner up in the Northwest Pro-Am. I had been down this road before.

This was event that we had partnered up before in Astoria. A two-day Pro-Am where the amateurs are not just some random high handicappers looking to win a gift certificate. This was a Pro-Am put on by the PGA Northwest Section and featuring some of the top professionals and amateurs in the Northwest.

So what the hell was I doing there with my 10 handicap you might ask when most of the other amateurs in the field were major championship winners and owners of handicaps of two or less? The reason was two-fold: It was a chance to play Palouse Ridge over a long weekend and the chance to see if I had any game whatsoever.

And one more thing: Our goal was not to finish dead last in the tournament.

The end result? Some good, some bad, some ugly. Very ugly.

I knew I was in trouble from the opening tee shot. I sprayed it right into the tall junk. The two professionals were long and straight, the other amateur was long and straight.

It was humbling right from the get-go.

“I can’t believe I am putting myself through this again,” I told my partner as we headed down the first fairway.

At least I came clean and said that I was a double-digit handicap to the guys on the tee box. So when they started to see the three jacks, the slices and occasional blade runner chip shots, they wouldn’t be totally surprised. Only a bit amused.

After the first day, we were right where we didn’t want to be – dead last in the best-ball format. In the second round, it was more of the same. The other professional and amateur were both solid players and my game somehow refused to show up. But again, I showed no signs of embarrassment. I told the guys I hope they like playing with the highest handicapper in the field and not to laugh too much when they saw shots that didn’t belong in a tournament like this. I’ll give the pros I played with Nathan Vickers of North Bellingham and Troy Rodvold of Bellevue plenty of credit for putting up with my game. They were both solid. And their amateurs were just as good. My game ….. not so much.

I will say I did have high hopes. During the practice round I birdied the first hole. Driver, 7 iron, 15-foot putt. During the first round, I made a crowd-pleasing double with a three-putt. And so it went.

A little embarrassing at times but still good competition to see how the other half lives. Maybe someday the handicap will get there. Hmmmm, probably not. But at least I can dream a little.

Steve Turcotte is editor of Inside Golf Newspaper. He can be reached at sdturcotte@comcast.net.