Don Thames: New experiences, lifelong friends

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British Senior Open

Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club's golf pro, has filed occasional pieces about the experience of playing in this week's British Senior Open. Here are two pieces – before and after Friday's round. Photos are by Carole Thames.

By Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club golf pro

Friday morning

Bridgend, Wales – I have been especially struck with the complete global nature of this event. Even though English is the universal language here, the various dialects are difficult to understand. I met a Scottish lad from the qualifying and he has become a caddie for another player. Billy’s brogue allows me to understand about 40 percent of what he says. At nearly 63 years of age, I am also taken aback by how young some of these 50-year-olds appear. I read earlier that there is a 1,000-pound bonus for low super senior (60+) after 72 holes. This is only a small incentive for me to make the cut. Spending two more days playing tops the list of reasons to stick around. Read more » Read more » about Don Thames: New experiences, lifelong friends

Don Thames: A day both bitter and sweet

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Wind-blown flags

Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club's golf pro, is filing occasional pieces about the experience of playing in the British Senior Open, which began Thursday. Photos are by Carole Thames.

By Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club golf pro
Bridgend, Wales – Today’s round at Royal Porthcawl was definitely near the top of the list of the most difficult scoring conditions I have ever faced. Unfortunately, my time of 11:10 was played with eight holes of rain. The later pairings did not get a break from the high winds, as the breeze of 30 mph was constant all day long. I played eight to ten two-iron shots and many of them were approaches to four pars. On some of the crosswind holes, I had to start the ball 75 yards left of the center of the fairway. This is a fearful complication when the sea is on the left marked by an out of bounds fence. It was an extreme example of trust if a player endeavored to hit the fairway. The approach shots were no different. The short side of the green is always guarded by pot bunkers that any faint shot is funneled into. I played a six iron 50 yards left of the flag on one par three. I found playing directly into the wind preferable to playing the treacherous cross breeze. Read more » Read more » about Don Thames: A day both bitter and sweet

Thumbs up for Don Thames!

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Thumbs up!

Dozens of Murietans gathered at the Country Club Wednesday evening to wish good luck to club pro Don Thames, who's teeing it up Thursday morning at the British Senior Open in Wales. (Click photo for larger image) Read more » about Thumbs up for Don Thames!

Don Thames: Rough, bunkers and rainy skies

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Second hole

Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club's golf pro, is filing occasional pieces about the experience of playing in the British Senior Open, which begins Thursday. Photos are by Carole Thames.

By Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club golf pro
Bridgend, Wales – Royal Porthcawl is a beast. Yesterday we played our first practice round and found perhaps three breather holes, for lack of a better phrase. The rest were long, with most seeming to play into strong winds. I hit several four- and two-iron approaches to par fours and one three metal into a four par converted from a five. Matters are further complicated by the fact that the fairways are lined with fairly thick rough of fescue, gorse and heather. I will endeavor to not visit these areas. Read more » Read more » about Don Thames: Rough, bunkers and rainy skies

Don Thames: 'It was way too good to be true'

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Leaderboard

Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club's golf pro, writes about the experience of qualifying for the British Senior Open, as he did Monday. He will post occasional stories this week. Photos are by Carole Thames.

By Don Thames, Rancho Murieta Country Club golf pro
Bridgend, Wales – Other than a few 36-hole affairs, Monday's Senior Open qualifying was the longest single day of golf in my competitive career. We started at 7:50 a.m. and left the Southerndown Golf Club in Wales at 9 p.m. In that we shot 71, we had to wait until the 1:10 pairing returned before we knew our position. After three-quarters of the scores had been posted, we were on pins and needles hoping for an opportunity to be in a playoff. In the end, the playoff materialized, with nine blokes competing for three spots. Read more » Read more » about Don Thames: 'It was way too good to be true'

Don Thames qualifies for British Senior Open

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We got word Monday from Wales that Don Thames, the Country Club’s golf pro, qualified for the British Senior Open Championship. The event, featuring names like Fred Couples, John Daly, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Bernhard Langer, takes place later this week at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales. Read more » about Don Thames qualifies for British Senior Open

Club deal off the table, but maybe not dead

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Country Club

An issue with the pension fund for 22 club employees kept the Country Club sale from happening.

After a hopeful beginning 17 months ago, both sides announced Friday that a deal to sell Rancho Murieta Country Club to a Southern California golf exec is now off the table. Still, they made it sound like the deal is not necessarily dead. Read more » Read more » about Club deal off the table, but maybe not dead

Country Club sale is threatened by union fee

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The agreement to sell Rancho Murieta Country Club to a Southern California golf executive, which expired at 5 p.m. Friday, got a two-week extension at the last minute. But that was not good news. Read more » Read more » about Country Club sale is threatened by union fee

Club buyer says he's still in the deal

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The Country Club’s prospective buyer says he’s willing to continue beyond a May 30 deadline for the deal – provided the union pension fund that’s holding a $3 million debt over the club’s head will cooperate on a settlement. Read more » Read more » about Club buyer says he's still in the deal

Country Club sale faces $3 million obstacle

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Country Club meeting

Country Club President Vince Lepera, right, and General Manager William Armstrong talk about problems closing a deal to sell the club.

Leaders of Rancho Murieta Country Club spoke for an hour Saturday morning about the lone remaining issue blocking the effort to sell the club – an underfunded union pension that has become a $3 million problem for the club. Read more » Read more » about Country Club sale faces $3 million obstacle

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