If golf is a good walk ruined, as Mark Twain seemed to believe, having to carry a 30-pound bag around 18 holes is simply adding insult to injury.
However, that was not the case at the 14th annual One Club Wonder at Mountain View Golf Club on Saturday.
As the name indicates, golfers in the tourney had just one club to carry and use for the tournament’s 18 holes.
“So far as we know, we made it up,” said tournament director Patrick Michael. “What might be unusual about it – I suspect other places might do one-club (tournaments), but they allow the use of a putter. We don’t; you stroll the course with only one club.
“Part of it is just having a stroll. So often people are out there struggling with their bags.”
With his trusty seven iron, club pro Jeff Wiggins hit a 39 on the front nine and finished with an 81 for the lowest gross score, earning himself the honour of wearing the winners’ golden cardigan, the equivalent of the green blazer at the Masters Tournament.
“I saw that’s what everybody else was using, so that’s why I chose it,” said Wiggins of his club choice.
“I’m pumped, this was awesome – I finally got the yellow sweater!”
Taking second in low-gross was Ken Taylor with a 90. Defending champion Blaine Tessier, who also won the tournament in 2006 and 2007, set the tourney’s low-gross record of 80 in 2007, finishing third with a 91.
Four-time winner Vic Istchenko, who last won in 2008, finished 10th with a 95.
According to Wiggins, who shot a 95 at the tournament two years ago with a six iron, playing with a limited bag can be a good way to sharpen some skills.
“It’s more beneficial for a person to go out with just a couple clubs instead of 11 or 12,” said Wiggins. “It’s easier to figure out things with one or two clubs than 10 and 12. It can get you to swing a little bit better, know your yards a little bit better and get a little bit creative.”
“When you have just one club, it makes it a different game,” said Michael. “It brings it back to what real golf is, because today there’s just so much technology involved.”
The most common weapon of choice at the tournament is the middle-of-the-road seven iron, which allows distance while still having a club face open enough to provide loft for the short game.
Also using a seven was Derek Wirth, taking in the lowest net score, hitting a 93 with a 20 handicap for a score of 73.
“It’s a couple worse than it should be, but considering it’s with just one club it’s not that bad,” said Wirth.
“I used to be a not bad player, so I never really focused on low net. Now that my handicap is getting worse and worse, when I do have a decent round of golf, it pays off.”
Finishing strong, Wirth birdied hole 16 – a par three – landing his tee-shot a foot from the hole for an easy tap-in.
“That was my best shot of the day, for sure,” said Wirth.
“I went with the six-iron the last couple years and it obviously didn’t work out for me.
“I was actually pretty good around the greens and on the greens.”
The seven iron’s drawback? It left Wirth with “too much distance on those Par 4s,” he said. “There’s no chance of getting there in two and you’re leaving yourself with double-bogey-situations there.”
Wirth was also the winner on the greens, needing only 25 putts over his round, one less than Wayne McLennan, who was second in the putt-count, and two less than Wiggins, who was third with 27 putts.
“It looks like a hybrid would be good for putting, but I found where to connect the ball on the club face and I was able to keep it consistent enough,” said Wirth. “I left myself with a lot of nice chips that I was able to put close (to the pin).
“I was hitting half way up the ball instead of where I should be. I was hitting it like a putter but my stance was like I was chipping.”
STANDINGS score handicap net
Jeff Wiggins 81 0 81
Ken Taylor 90 10 80
Blaine Tessier 91 3 88
Wayne McLennan 92 12 80
Jeffrey Hunter 92 4 88
Derek Wirth 93 20 73
Dan Moore 93 6 87
Gareth Howells 94 8 86
Sheldon King 94 7 87
Vic Istchenko 95 9 86
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org