Golfing Game Produces Competitiveness Between Friends By John M. Williams
Errnie Els' autism foundation benefits
Laura Rollins is approaching the 6th hole. Even though the temperature is in the high eighties, she is not sweating. She picks her club and approaches the ball. She’s eyeing the ball carefully. The hole is 394 yards away. She takes several practice swings. She’s ready. Her eyes are hypnotized on the ball. She is determined to get par this time. Her five previous holes are less than memorable. She has a triple bogie, two double bogies, a bogie and one birdie.
Rollins swings her club. Her swing is flawless as she drives the ball 288 yards. The crowd cheers and Laura smiles and says to her neighbor and competitor Josie Howard, “I’m going to par this hole and when I do, I’m getting myself another brew.”
Josie smiles and then laughs. She is leading Laura by three strokes. Like Laura, Josie is not sweating. . Like Laura, she is determined to win. She pared on holes 1, 2 and 4. She had a double bogie on the fifth hole. She readies herself by taking two practice swings. She has decided to drive the ball straight away. She is ready. Her eyes are honed in on the ball. She puts all her strength into her swing. and drives the ball 300 yards.
“Beat ya,” Josie says to Laura who smiles.
Laura focuses on the ball again. She prepares herself mentally. She takes her time getting ready. She knows if she hits the ball with all of her strength she may double bogie. She measures her swing and then takes it. She watches the ball soar through the air and land a few yards away from the hole.
“I got ya,” Laura says to Josie.
Josie approaches the tee with confidence. When she’s ready, she swings, “Damn,” she says as she watches the ball go left and land in a sand trap.
“Not so cocky, now,” Laura says as she approaches her ball. She’s nine feet from the sixth hole. She’s smiling. She looks at the hole, looks at the distance between the hole and herself and taps the ball. Bull’s eye!
“A birdie! A birdie!” she shouts as the crowd claps and roars with their approval. “Another brew,” she says to Josie.
Josie bogies the 6th hole.
When they complete nine holes, Laura is two strokes behind Josie. They decide to take a break. They get up .and walk to the kitchen. Laura and Josie have their beers and decide to call it a day.
“I enjoy playing My Golf Game,” Laura says to Josie who raises her right thumb to show her approval.
Laura is 60-years-old. A passionate and avid golfer since she was 10, arthritis in the knees has reduced the amount of times she can golf outdoors. Before arthritis became a major hurdle, she golfed three times weekly with her husband Thomas Zapata Manning and friends and family.
“I know my knees could not have supported playing nine holes at the club today,” Laura says.
As a substitute for outdoors golfing, Laura has discovered computer golfing.
“I passionately enjoy playing golf on a computer,” Laura crows. While not as physically and psychologically challenging as real golf, computer golf games raise her competitive spirit.
“People who love playing golf, love playing My Golf Game,” says Chuck Bergen, president of VTree LLC, who created the game.
My Golf Gamehas three levels of play. Level 1 offers players a chance to improve putting, driving, chip shots and escaping from sand traps. Laura stays away from Level 1.
“Level 2 affords players an opportunity to pick from among eight players to play and the opportunity to create either a male or female golfer. Laura and Josie create women golfers.
Level 3 gives the players five well-known courses to play. They are Pinehurst, Wentworth, West Chester Country Club, Firestone and Brandon Dunes.
Players control the golfer’s movements with a mouse, joystick, touch screen or other technologies. Laura plays using a touch screen. She feels as though she has more control over the players using a touch screen rather than a mouse.
“My Golf Game was developed by disabled veterans who wanted something fun to do,” says Bergen.
When Laura plays My Golf Game with her husband and her friends Josie, Karen and Marcia, they play 18 holes. Tom holds a 19-10 win advantage over Laura. Josie has a 15-12 advantage.
“I get in the rough too many times and lose,” says Laura.
Laura’s husband Tom bought the game several months ago at a conference in Washington, DC.
“I’m glad he bought the game,” Laura says. “It makes me feel as though I am almost playing on a real course.”
Laura has organized golf tournaments around My Golf Game among her friends. Four to six players play. The two players with the highest scores buy lunches for the two people with the lowest scores.
“The game is easy to play and it took minutes to install,” Laura notes. She says playing the game improves her hand-eye coordination and concentration.
An advocate for equal rights for women, Laura would like to see a famous woman golfer on the cover of the My Golf Game box instead of professional golf’ champion Ernie Els. She suggests Michelle Wie.
Els’s autism foundation receives a donation from every My Golf Game purchased,