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Mon, Sep 22, 2014 04:16 PM
Issue of September 17, 2014

Read Ross
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Read Ross
County government gives beat writer Ross Schulz so much to write about, it can't ALL possibly fit in the newspaper, so we've made room here for that and whatever else he wants to blog about.

‘Quadrants and conifers’: Sights and sounds of an Alabama golf trip

August 28, 2013 | 10:08 AM

It was a tight match on the closing day of competition when one of the participants buried a 25-foot, downhill putt to take a one-up lead on the 16th hole that would hold until the closing hole. On the 18th, a difficult par-4 that forces a lay-up for the less-than-perfect drive, the opponent played the lay-up shot well and then drilled a 15 footer for par to win the hole and secure a half point for his side, which helped lead to an overall victory.

This wasn't the Ryder or President's Cup, but it was similar, only with a lot less talent, fan following and discipline from the participants.

Each August, a fairly large group of North Harrison High School graduates make the trek to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama for three days of (mostly) friendly competition.

The teams for each year are picked well in advance by the two captains and co-creators of the trip, Charlie Pitman and Brent Martin.

This year, each team consisted of eight players, with team Martin coming out on top for the second year in a row, matching Pitman's wins in the first two years of the trip.

The group, which has been as small as 10 and as large as 16, has played seven of the 11 sites on the trail, or 243 out of 369 championship holes.

The courses are all quite unique, diverse and pristine, making for the best possible trip of its kind.

Jones and Jones Jr. loved to design courses with greens massive in size and diabolical in undulation, causing golfers to consider the correct area of the green to land and the courses are built in hilly, wooded areas that include tall pine trees and an array of bodies of water. It's not uncommon to hear usually strange comments like "Stay on the right quadrant!" or "Knock it down conifer!"

More than a great golf destination trip, it's also a good time for old and new friends, close and distant friends or best friends to catch up with each other.

Golf, more than anything else, is good for that, since you're stuck with the people in your group for four, sometimes five hours, with everyone taking their own unique and often crooked path to the 18th green. I guess that's why they say golf mirrors life. Everyone begins and ends in the same place, but what goes on between is yours, and only yours. Unless of course, it's a team game, in which case you can judge, admonish and scold all you want.

Groups of all ages such as this one exist all over the country, with a traveling trophy or cup, and many choose the Robert Trent Jones Trail as the host.

Such is the case for the Ryder Cup-style event with the former North Harrison Cougars (and one adopted New Albany Bulldog) that, hopefully, will continue until it's physically impossible.

Ross Schulz


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