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SMGA season ends, 2014 membership drive; greens at Harding

By Richard Davison

The Sonoma Men’s Golf Association braved the record cold temperatures last Sunday and headed out onto the frozen fairways and greens of Adobe Creek Golf Club in Petaluma for its final event of 2013. After the early morning freeze melted enough for the 24 players to get onto the course an hour later than scheduled, those in attendance found a course in excellent condition under clear blue skies.

Leading the way in the net division was Martin Bajuk, who toured the course in a fine round of 64, including an impressive back-nine 30. Tying Bajuk, but losing in a card-off, was Bob Jennings with his own 64. Paul Groft’s 67 was good enough for third place, while Tony Enz managed to work his way into fourth place with a 69, and Ron Sharek closed out the season with a fifth-place finish at 71.

In the gross division, Richard Davison rode eight birdies to a round of 68, while Steve McCarthy took home second place with a 79, aided by a 1-over-par 37 on the front-nine.

In closest-to-the-pin, Davison’s 54-degree wedge from 97 yards on the fifth spun back to within 2 feet, 9 inches of the hole, while Mike Lucas conquered the tricky eighth with a shot to 8-5.

Davison grabbed that familiar 54-degree wedge on the 12th and almost duplicated his shot from No. 5, this time the ball coming to rest 4-9 from the hole.

No one could out-do “Pipeline” John Dennis on the 16th hole, however, as he hit his shot to just 28 inches from the hole.

After the round, the club awarded its season-long points competition prizes and Nick Blonder took home the top spot with 82 points for the year, while Jim Lybrand earned second place and third place went to Sharek.

The SMGA will now take it’s annual holiday break before relaunching in February of 2014, with the membership drive currently in full swing and anyone interested in joining can do so for $125, which includes membership in the NCGA.

Tournament sites for 2014 include Yocha DeHe at Cache Creek, Paradise Valley, Poppy Hills and a few private golf clubs yet to be announced. For more information, contact Richard Davison at 321-9379 or rwdavison@yahoo.com.

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If you’re planning on traveling to San Francisco and playing Harding Park in the near future, be prepared to play on temporary greens.

For the second time in 10 years, the greens at the famed course are being redone, at the tune of $1.2 million.

The PGA Tour, which took over Harding’s day-to-day operations in 2010, is paying $400,000 of the cost and hopes that a new strain of tyee bentgrass will help eliminate the invasive poa annua growth that plagues all California coastal courses.

If all goes well, look for the Tour to bring one of their major events to Harding in the very near future. The project is supposed to take four to five months.

For those looking for a bargain, the green fees for Bay Area residents drop from $90 to $45 during the week and $105 to $50 on the weekend.