MAY 27, 2008 3:18 PM EST

“The #2 Savannah Amateur Championship golfer is my neighbor…… I wonder if he’d spot me a stroke a hole……” ~ Wilfong

“Will Smith beats Mark Silvers in playoff to win City Amateur.”  That was “Inside” headlines, in The Savannah Morning news, yesterday.

Talk about “community”.  We strolled down the street the other day, to catch up with The Savannah City Amateur Tournament.  The Savannah Amateur attracts some of the top amateur golfers of the South. The 11th Hole of “The Old Course” is on the street on the backside of our house.  To play, we always drive up the street a couple blocks, around the corner for another three-four blocks, left for another three-four blocks right into Bacon Park for a 1/2 mile or so, and you’re at the club house. 

Or, you could do like our neighbor Jack used to do when he was young.  He’d take his golf clubs, cross the street, get on the 11th hole, and play to the club house, then pay whatever he needed to pay. He’d then proceed to play the rest of the course back to the street and after the 10th hole; he’d call it a day.  Jack lives two doors down, in the house that his folks owned, until they died.  His friend, Jim, lives immediately across the street from the 11th hole.  Jim, who turns 90 this year, has lost his passion.  And, Jack, in his late 70s hasn’t had the passion for some time.

As they were telling me about the past history of the golf course, this group came wheeling up to the 11th tee, to wait their turn, as the preceding group was finishing up.  One young man walked by, and started up our street.  Jack called out “Where you going Mark?”  “Going to get something to munch on.”   He came back a few minutes later, they teed off, and swoosh…they were gone.   The older guy in the group laid up.  Mark and this other kid, drove the green, or just off to the side of it.

To appreciate this you’ve gotta see it.  The hole is only 305 yards to the center of the green.  But back where the champions play the tee box is to the right side, with a big overhanging tree right in the power alley for we draw-shooters.  If you try a low hook under that tree, there’s another huge tree 70 yards or so down the right.  For you fade shooters; there’s a clump of woods, just behind this little stream that meanders along the narrow fairway. 

Those woods love to attract balls and dump them in the stream below.  Now, for you straight-shot shooters, this hole is made for you.  But, as Jack Nicklaus once said, “Straight, is the hardest shot in golf for most of us to hit.”  One day I drove that green, and got an eagle.  But, I was hitting from the white tees, 60 yard ahead of where these young boppers were hitting from.

The final day, I walked about five holes following a set of threesomes that had the leaders in them.  Turns out that after I left and walked up the street to our house, these two young men Mark Silvers and Will Smith played a sudden death playoff.  Turns out that Will Smith, a senior at South Carolina made a birdie on the18th hole to beat his good friend.  I didn’t know it at the time, but that nice young fella who went to get something to munch on is Mark Silvers. 

The #2 Savannah Amateur Championship golfer is my neighbor…… I wonder if he’d spot me a stroke a hole……

The struggle continues, until we succeed-and we shall-YES WE CAN!!!!


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