COMMUNITY: Putting through the pandemic
Despite trailing his opponent by several strokes after the first nine holes, short-game specialist Ed Smith was unconcerned and remained focused on the task at hand.
The 92-year-old Nevada County resident found his lines and the bottom of the cup down the stretch, finishing his round with a flurry of clutch putts to edge out his head-to-head competitor by two strokes and advance to the next round of the 2020 Spring Ponderosa Pines Putting Tournament.
The tourney is a long running tradition at Ponderosa Pines Mobile Home Park in Grass Valley, and one of the few sporting events to forge on through the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Everybody loves it,” said Smith, who was a driving force behind the putting green being installed nearly 20 years ago. “Everybody plays and it keeps growing.”
Played on a nine-hole putting green located in the park, the tourney features 35-40 of Ponderosa Pines’ residents competing across three different flights and is complete with player handicaps.
The double-elimination tourney is such a hit, dozens of park residents line the putting green each day offering “oohs” and “aahs,” applause and some good natured ribbing, all at a socially responsible distance.
Ponderosa Pines resident Dennis Prudencio said the tourney is a good way for people at the 55-and-older park to get some fresh air, stay connected and socialize at a safe distance during the pandemic.
“It’s a popular event,” said Prudencio, who has won the first flight championship the last three years. “It gets people out of the house and brings people together.”
Every year there is a spring tourney and a summer tourney. The champs from each season then face off, with the winner getting their name added to the “Ed Smith’s Wall of Fame” plaque which hangs in the park’s community room. It’s all capped with a barbecue and awards ceremony.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4232.
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