Keep Your Head Down And Your Heart Up

Over the last few years a dedicated and very talented group of women have represented Canada in a way we can all be proud of both with their excellent play and the manner in which they have carried themselves while wearing the Maple Leaf abroad. A fairly regular member of this most worthy contingent has also taken the time to share some of her and her countrymates' experiences as they competed in the Irish and British Senior Women's Championships. They may have also taken in the odd historic site and partaken of a pint or two along the way. They are Canadian after all. - ed.

 by Karen Pultz

My name is Karen Pultz and I am a proud golf member at Peace Portal Golf Club in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Welcome to the 2013 British Senior Ladies Amateur at the venerable Dunluce championship course at Royal Portrush, September 17-19, 2013.

This is my 4th time participating since 2008 and I have placed from T-4th to missed cuts. All memorable experiences.

We are in Northern Ireland at the very, very northern tip in County Antrim. You can see, hear and smell the sea.

Spectacular cliff views abound and this week features a raging sea that splatters our car with sea foam when we venture out.

There is golf, golf and more golf. Big name courses and hidden gems never heard of. You must come!

Seven of us from Canada rented a self-catering house called Seascape in Portballintrae, a 6 minute commute to Royal Portrush. Our Canadian flag hangs proudly in the window.

Would a links golf experience be complete without talking about the weather, well - no - it wouldn't!

The British Senior Amateur is comprised of a 96 player field with 3 days of stroke play and a 2 day cut to the top 40 and ties. Rainwear of the finest quality is a must. A sturdy character is also required.

Primarily though, a sense of humour, mixed with determination and grit is paramount. And who wouldn't throw 'crazy' into the equation? I suppose many would!

"Blowing a Hoolie"
The Scottish definition: "That's serious wind, that in mid-swing, can blow you off your feet"

A 'hoolie' wind begins at 30-40mph...yeah, no kidding, that is what I said, no, she was not kidding. Your golf process can feel like survival - sometimes you do, sometimes you don't.

It is about your shot choice and ability to commit. Then it is all about the bounce. Some are good, some bad and they do not necessarily have a relationship to the quality of your shot.

When it's breezy - swing it easy. If you try and muscle it, or try to overpower your shots they will simply balloon and be taken by the wind, literally taken, gobbled by fescue, never to be seen again. Your goal is to hit it solid, accept the result and move on. Verbally abusing yourself will not help the next shot. Be nice to yourself, please!

The rules have thankfully been changed. If you have addressed your ball and the wind moves it, there is no penalty. You play your ball from its new position.

Sometimes closer and sometimes further - much closer or much further - depending on where your ball started - the slope - and the wind direction. HELP my BOAB (translation: "help my head")

DAY 1:
Making the cut was my first goal. I teed it up in the 2nd group at 8:11am and came away T-23. A lovely 4 hour 10 minute pace in a 3 ball.

DAY 2:
I was on the tee of number 8 when we barely heard the 3 short blasts of the horn....suspension of play.

LGU (British Ladies Golf Union) REPORT:
"Winds gusting up to 50mph have reduced the Senior Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship from 54 holes to only two rounds. Play was suspended at 2:10pm as reports of balls being blown about on some of the more exposed higher greens started to come in. Contrary to weather forecasts the winds did not abate. There will be no cut and all players will play the second and final round tomorrow with the same draw."

DAY 3:
Tee time again: 12:28pm
The morning draw saw wind and as the morning progressed the wind got stronger until it approached 'hoolie' proportions. The difference today was that the greenskeeper did not cut the greens and only very lightly rolled them. That meant balls were not moving much! So that means we keep playing!

Observations made re: HOOLIE WIND
Hurts my ears
Do not drop your scorecard
Challenges your shot committment
Nice hairdos too
157 yard par 3, into a 'hoolie', Driver! SHORT!
Conversation is difficult because you have to yell to be heard
Flagstick instructions tend to be by hand signals!
Wind mixed with rain? Now that hurts. Free face peel anyone? You and your golf bag do the "whirly twirly" as you walk in the wind.

Since you have read this far you are probably wondering WHY on earth are we still playing? Well, we are not quitters and unless you were injured, no one, not one person - quit. When it's all said and done it is fun. Only here do they say, "Oh, it is a beautiful rainy, windy day"

Kudos to the fearless and hardy Seniors, I say!

It can take some time to recognize a good friend because we were all so bundled up! Toques over ball caps. Mitts and multiple layers. Our U.S. friend MK counted off her layers during our 2nd day "wind" delay - we lost count!

Putting downwind is hard. A 30-foot downwind, flat putt that needs 20-foot pace is hard. A 30-foot downwind - downhill putt is even harder. A 2-foot putt downwind, sidehill - at 40mph, is the hardest.

There are principals and preferences in golf technique. One important principle of great putting is "centerness of contact" - meaning, you need to hit the ball squarely with the centre of your putter face, consistently.

When the wind is blowing a hoolie (there's that damn word again), putting is hard. Since wind comes all the way to the ground in Links golf, it moves you and the putter shaft and putter face. You get it!

(Note to self: set up your shots to the greens so you are putting into the wind. Easier said than done!)

Knock Knock - who's there? "The human rain delay"

The sad part is, slow players never believe they are slow, just ask them! The saddest part - given a bad time at a tournament checkpoint they speed up. Great! The entire game they may monitor the clock, barely keeping up, then someone, maybe her, gets in trouble and the buffer is gone! The other players rush and the slow player is oblivious. Great. Okay - I feel much better now!

What I do not hate is golf with respectful, fun, unselfish, supportive and competitive players. Players who have passion, determination and love of the game, no matter their skill level. That is what brings us together for Club, Zone, Provincial, National and International events. The British required a 4.5 index or less to qualify and it was an impressive International field.

Bobby Jones said, "There is golf and there is tournament golf. "They are not the same! I live this in my amateur golf life. I am a single digit handicap golfer - not a hall of fame golfer. I love to compete even though my nerves get frayed! I am a fast-paced person with great desire, passion and intensity for the game.

I have won, lost and tied. I have prized trophies, toasters, golf shoes and gift cards. I have played mediocre, brilliant and poorly. I have choked, smoked, laughed and sputtered - all in the name of this game of golf.

I would not have missed playing in this "shite" [sic] for anything. It's like a wedding, if everything went perfectly, what would you remember! Score is golf's measure, but it will not define us...good and great players crashed and burned, others scored despite the conditions, that is golf in difficult conditions.

Myself and the 16 other Canadians will remember this week, along with the record 34 Canadians who played in the Irish Senior the week previous.

We will remember, giggling, almost crying, certainly crying with laughter and shivering uncontrollably. Eating great food and drinking better beer with old and new friends. Cheering our girls on and hugging the distraught. Congratulations and condolences to us all.



The Champion:
Ann Lewis, Wales. A worthy winner with a birdie from the bunker on the Par 5, 18th hole to win.

Top Canadians:
Jackie Little, B.C. T-6 and winner of her age group 50-56
Diane Williams, ALTA T-7
Holly Horwood, B.C. T-10
Karen Pultz, B.C., & Teri Deluis T-12
Diane Dolan, QUE, T-13
Kathy Pilkey, Ont T-16

(I love Mary's Irish Golfism...KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN AND YOUR HEART UP)


If you a interested in participating in an upcoming Irish or British Senior Amateur please see the websites below for 2014 information.

2014 at Dondalk Golf Club, Ireland

2014 at Royal Dornoch, Scotland

Other articles:

Article from Irish Senior Amateur 2013, Castlerock, Northern Ireland.

DONALD TRUMP Article Trump National in Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Dune-Right Spectacular

Karen Pultz
You can reach Karen Pultz at
Rule Your Own Game - Golf Rules and Etiquette for you or your group