Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sports staff picks 18 scenic holes within 18 miles

The Monterey Drive stretches 17 miles and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful golf courses like Pebble Beach. While central New York does not have the Pacific Open for a backdrop, nor the cliffs and mountains that frame its courses, there are plenty of picturesque holes for local golfers to enjoy.
Most are found on the private courses that dot the landscape, but those are not available to the players of modest means. The Dispatch sports staff of editor Perry L. Novak and assistant David M. Johnson have selected their favorite 18 holes within 18 miles of the Dispatch that are as affordable as they are scenic.
Each week there will be a report about how they played three of the holes. You are invited to predict their score (they’ll play from the white tees) of the holes listed below. Johnson is relativly new to the sport and his best nine holes this year is 47 while Novak has yet to play, though his best nine-hole round last year was a 40. That should help readers have a better idea how to predict their scores.
The courses they will play are Rome Country Club, Beaver Creek Golf Club, Foster Ponds Golf Club, Pleasant Knolls Golf Club, Westmoreland Golf Club, Barker Brook Golf Club, Crystal Springs Golf Club, Heron Creek Golf Club, Casolwood Golf Club, Poolsbrook Golf Club, Woodcrest Golf Club and The Ridge Club (formally know as Skyridge). The 18 holes selected match actual hole number except for nine hole courses on the back nine. For example, Pleasant Knolls is only nine holes so we will play the ninth for number 18.
There will be two winners each week based upon who can most closely predict the scores. The winners win free rounds of golf at some of the courses featured in the contest. Winners will be drawn out of a hat in the event of a tie.
That’s a pretty nice prize for any golfer.
Hole                     Course                          Par
Hole No. 1: Rome Country Club                4
Hole No. 2: The Ridge Club                       3
Hole No. 3: Westmoreland Golf Club        3
Hole No. 4: Casolwood Golf Club             5
Hole No. 5: Barker Brook Golf Club         5
Hole No. 6: Beaver Creek Golf Club         4   
Hole No. 7: Woodcrest Golf Club              5
Hole No. 8: Heron Creek Golf Club           3
Hole No. 9: Westmoreland Golf Club        4

Hole No. 10: Heron Creek Golf Club (1)    4
Hole No. 11: Rome Country Club               5
Hole No. 12: Crystal Springs Club (3)        4
Hole No. 13: Woodcrest Golf Club             3
Hole No. 14: Poolsbrook Golf Club            3
Hole No. 15: Foster Ponds Golf Club (6)    5
Hole No. 16: Casolwood Golf Club            3
Hole No. 17: Rome Country Club               4
Hole No. 18: Pleasant Knolls    (9)             5

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund certainly are characters

After talking to "Irish" Micky Ward and his brother Dicky Eklund, the Grand Marshalls of this year's Parade of Champions in Canastota, it's easy to imagine how a full length feature film was made out of their lives. The real-life boxers from the movie The Fighter are two down-to-earth guys who are quick to crack a joke that you can't help but laugh at. That is - if you can understand their thick Massachusetts accents (they're both from Lowell).
"Christain Bale says talking like Dicky is like putting a frog in boiling water," Eklund said of the actor that won a best supporting actor for playing him.
The movie portrayed Eklund and Ward going through some of the most difficult times of their lives and spares none of the embarrassing details. 
Eklund, however, has no problem talking about his past addiction to crack cocaine or incarceration.
"I was talking to a judge the other day," Eklund said of a recent conversation in Lowell. "He was sayin', 'everyone knows you're doing well. I had to lock you up one time and your mother wasn't happy with me.' I said, 'I was.' It was pretty sad that I was looking forward to getting locked up. (Now) I'm no better than everyone else I'm just better than I used to be."
The movie also stars Ward's colorful mother, Alice Ward who was portrayed by Melissa Leo, and sisters who were very involved with his boxing career. Alice saw Leo win a supporting actress Oscar for the role this winter, then died at the age of 79 in April.
When asked if any other family members were going to make the trip to Canastota Ward joked, "they don't want to see them."
Ward participated in the Nate The Great 5k race last year and plans to enter again in 2011. Eklund doesn't think his knees can handle running after two knee surgeries. Running forward that is.
"I ran five miles backwards," Eklund said.