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Turkey Mountain hosts tournaments, league play

Thursday, August 9, 2012

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If you're not fishing or boating, this is the time of the year that golf is the go-to sport for those who want to stay active.

The golf course on Turkey Mountain in Horseshoe Bend is among area golf courses that are busy with daily hours and special tournaments. Turkey Mountain attracts all sorts of crowds from many different places. On July 26, the course played host to the weekly men's league game, but also had visitors from Pocahontas and Alabama.

Shawn Ashcraft, from the Randolph county seat, brought two friends and his son, a young man visiting from Alabama, to check out the course. Ashcraft said that he and his friends typically play on a course in Pocahontas that is flat for the most part, so playing on a mountain was a real change of pace.

"It was challenging, but we really enjoyed it. Hole number one really let us know what to expect. You're up on top of a mountain when you start," Ashcraft said.

Dorthy Batley, president of the women's league at Turkey Mountain, said golfers should play on different courses sometimes just to stay on top of their game.

"[People] like the change. They are more receptive to a new course. If you only play on one course, then you're going to know how the fairways and greens run," Batley said. "We don't have sand traps at the course. But you have to be careful not to get the ball in the rough. At our course, you don't have to worry about that."

Ashcraft said his group will be planning another trip to Turkey Mountain, when the temperature drops a little. The group started playing at one in the afternoon, in nearly 100 degree heat, and did not see any other golfers foolish enough to play in the heat of the day.

Ashcraft said, despite the heat, the course was in good shape.

"They have done a good job of keeping up the fairways and greens," he said.

Batley also said the course has been kept up well.

"The course looks wonderful. It's well trimmed, and the greens look wonderful. I was recently at the South Course in Cherokee Village, and Turkey Mountain is in much better shape," Batley said.

Batley said she is from Milwaukee, and appreciates the women's league for the social contact it provides.

"Milwaukee had more activity than here. We do what we can to keep ourselves entertained. The women's league is a social club more than anything. When you play outside of the league, you have your favorite people to play with, but it gives us a chance to get to know each other while improving our games," Batley said.

For those who enjoy playing golf, but aren't a member of a league, Batley has a message for you.

"If you are at all interested in golf, leagues are a great way to improve, and you will love it. Call the clubhouse at Turkey Mountain, and they will be happy to give you all the information you need," Batley said.

The men's league currently has around 80 members, according to league secretary Jim Frey, and around 40 play in the weekly events. Batley said the women's league has dropped in numbers since she joined 12 years ago. At that time, Batley said there were around 80 members, but the women's league is down to 45 members.

Turkey Mountain golf pro Chuck McNeight said the leagues do more than just get golfers together for a little competition.

"They are very active in the community. They're the mainstays of the course and are very well run," McNeight said.

One of the programs the men's club started encourages youth to get and stay involved with golf. Since 2010, club members have donated their winning certificates to students at Izard County Consolidated and Salem High Schools. The players from each school's golf team that improve the most receive gift certificates to play the course.



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