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NH Golf: Tourney season has begun in NH

Tournament season has begun.

The New Hampshire Golf Association and New Hampshire Women's Golf Association tournament schedules kick into full gear this month leading into the state amateur championships.

The men's 12th NHGA Four-Ball championships are contested over 36 holes next weekend, at Canterbury Woods on Saturday and Owl's Nest Golf Club in Campton on Sunday.

The women participate in the Tri-State championship with golfers from Maine and Vermont at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, Maine on June 18-20.

Junior championships for both boys and girls are at the end of the month.

The boys are at Campbell's Scottish Highlands in Salem from June 24 to 26.

The girls compete on Thursday, June 27 at Intervale Country Club in Manchester.

The State Amateur for men stops at the Golf Club of New England in Stratham for the first time on July 8-13.

"We met with the folks from the course and it's all up to speed," said John Jelley, tournament director for the NHGA. "They're looking forward to having us. I think we're going to have a great event. It's such a hard golf course. We're going to have to watch ourselves when we're setting it up that we don't make it too difficult. We could make it that nobody could play it."

The NHWGA championship is set for July 30 to Aug. 1 at Nashua Country Club.

Dana Harrity, out of North Hampton and Abenaqui Country Club of Rye, won her 15th women's championship last summer at the Hanover Country Club by a stroke over Tara Watt of Derryfield in Manchester.

Harrity won her first title in 1982.
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Jelley said he has little doubt that anchoring a putter will no longer be allowed in NHGA events come Jan. 1, 2016. That's the date the USGA said the practice will be banned in a ruling announced just under two weeks ago.

"I expect we'll go along with the USGA rules of golf, whatever they are," Jelley said. "As for right now, it's fine with us. Folks can anchor. But I'd be very surprised if we went against the rules of golf. Even if the Tour did, we wouldn't. We're affiliated with the USGA and we're going to stick with whatever they do. I can't see that we would ever try to buck the USGA on something. They have greater minds than ours and they write the rules and we apply them."

That said, Jelley didn't see the necessity for a change in the rule.

"As a rules guy, I'm OK with it and they make the rules and that's what it is," Jelley said. "But I didn't personally feel the need for making that change. From where I sit, I don't think anybody gets a big advantage from it. A few use it and do very well with it, but in the bigger picture I don't see anchoring with a big putter as an advantage. If you're a good putter, you're a good putter, to me."

While discussion continues over whether the PGA Tour will honor the rule, Jelley thinks the organization will comply as well.

"I think in the end they will probably go along with it," Jelley said. "There's no advantage for them not to. They won't be able to use it in at least three major tournaments. The Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open are certainly not going to allow it."

The bottom line is, Jelley hasn't heard a lot of anchoring debate.

"Folks have talked about it, but I wouldn't say it's been a big subject," he said. "From my standpoint, I think I tried it once and had no feel for it. I can see where if someone had the time and could devote it to getting comfortable, they could maybe be a better putter. But the average recreational golfer, I don't know if they have the time to put in on the putting green to make it feel good."

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The 10th Northeast Delta Dental International Symetra Tour event is also on the July schedule. The tournament for aspiring LPGA players, featuring a $100,00 purse, is set for July 19-21 at Beaver Meadow in Concord.

Jenny Gleason won last year's tournament in a one-hole playoff.

alessels@unionleader.com


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