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MISGA gives seniors more golf opportunities

June 08, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Next week, another candle gets wiped out on my birthday cake. No cheers, no parties, no hurrahs needed.

The number associated with this birthday is personally poked at with some fun by myself, but it does have a measure of meaning ... maybe hoping that it brings back some of that eternal fountain of youth.

When a PGA Tour player turns 50, he becomes eligible for the Champions Tour, golf's home for senior players.

Now I'm certainly not one who carries the credentials to even dream about that type of competition, but I am looking forward to my new eligibility in the Maryland Interclub Senior Golf Association.

I had become familiar with the association working at Holly Hills Country Club in Frederick, Md., which hosts clubs every Wednesday. That was back in August 2002, and I knew I would have to wait since I was not a member at any club and not close to that ripe age of 55.

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There are two requirements one must have to be eligible for MISGA, and the toughest one is accepting the fact that I am about to become 55. Well, maybe not that tough, because it will provide additional opportunities to play a wider variety of golf courses and meet more fine people who play the game.

Granted, none of us are Gil Morgan, Hale Irwin or Dana Quigley, nor is there even the slightest notion that there is money to be made.

I'll be playing at Beaver Creek Country Club, which has been a member of MISGA since 1977, when it joined with 25 members.

Since then, Beaver Creek's membership has grown to its current level of 93, and statewide to more than 4,000 members at 59 clubs. Each club has a day during the week when it hosts clubs and scheduled "travel" days when it plays, all determined by a preset schedule.

"Beaver Creek has one of the largest single number of members of any club in MISGA," said Terry Gossard, who has served as Beaver Creek's MISGA representative since 2004.

Since the member clubs stretch throughout the state, Beaver Creek is easily the western-most club, the nearest being Glade Valley in Walkersville, Md., and Holly Hills.

"Our membership is healthy and participates and we usually average 60 players at home matches," said Gossard. "It's a credit to our membership that consistently travels even being so western as we are."

MISGA has even allocated money from its funds to make donations, including one it made when a Sept. 11 Relief Fund was established and more than $18,000 was donated to The New York City Disaster Fund.

"It's a unique association that provides opportunities to meet other golfers and play other courses at reasonable prices," said Gossard.

I'm looking forward to including MISGA as part of my golf routine, more so than accepting the fact another year is about to turn on the age calendar.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com.

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