If you have a question about golf rules, ask a woman Female golfers know the game better than the men

GOLF

May 17, 1992|By George Taylor

WESTMINSTER -- Thelma Richards, veteran teaching professional at Bear Creek, was saying that women are more familiar with golf rules than men.

Take the story of Glena Wirtanen, an amateur from Hunt Valley in Baltimore County.

Almost immediately after taking up golf, Wirtanen set out to learn the rules. It did not take her long to realize that they were complicated, almost impossible to absorb in their entirety.

Still, she persisted. And today, by anyone's standards, Wirtanen is an expert on golf rules.

Because of her newly developed knowledge, Wirtanen accepted a dare to enter a magazine-sponsored contest on rules and rulings of golf. All but a few entries came from men from all over the country.

"The questions were unbelievably difficult," said Wirtanen. "Much to my surprise, however, I was notified that my answers were accurate enough to win first prize."

If there were such a thing as having an advantage in the contest, it resulted from Wirtanen's familiarity with rules and regulations at horse shows.

"I have served for many years as a rules official at various national shows, and those rules are as intricate as those in golf," she said.

Richards said women not only know golf rules better than men, but generally are quicker to abide by them.

"If women notice that an opponent or fellow competitor makes a rule infraction, they will make the error known immediately," said Richards. "Too many men let things slide by."

Earlier in her golf career, Richards captured seven club championships at the Country Club of Maryland in Baltimore County, won the Greiner Cup three times and was three times runner-up in the Maryland State Women's championship.

In addition to a superior record in golf, Richards was a contender for national trapshooting honors. She won seven state crowns and once was runner-up in the All-American Trapshooting championship.

At one time, Richards held the Maryland trapshooting women's title, and her husband, Claude, was state men's champion. After many years of teaching golf, Richards says the most important thing for women golfers to learn is more use of their hands.

"Too much emphasis has been placed on 'swing with arms only,' " said Richards. "Women can't get enough head-speed into their swing unless they apply some hand action."

The third annual Thelma Richards women's golf championship is set for June 22 at Bear Creek. The event is in honor of Richards' 58 years in golf.

The format will be a four-woman team with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The cost is $40, covering greens fee, cart, prizes and buffet luncheon.

*

The men's two-man team competition at Piney Branch ended with a three-way tie last weekend. Tied with scores of 65 were: Bill Brown and Tom Hastings, Harry Hastings and Paul Staub and Harry Schmale and Dick Cormier. Dan Farrington and Wayne Smith placed next, with 66.

*

Leighton Thomas and Gary Witt won low gross in the men's league tourney at Wakefield Valley, scoring 39. Low net went to Ellis Lawson and Bob Barnhart, with 34.

Leaders in the couples league were Henry and Pat Lichtfuss, with 31, and Tom and Mary Ann Zaorski, 32.

*

The Western Maryland College Alumni golf tournament will be played on May 29.

The field includes alumni from as far back as 1943.

The College invitational tourney is scheduled for July 11.

* UPCOMING SCHEDULE

May 18-19: Green aerification at Piney Branch.

May 20: The American Cancer Society Tournament at Bear Creek, 876-GOLF.

May 21: Ladies Spring Invitational at Piney Branch, 239-7114.

May 23: Stableford Point System Tourney at Bear Creek, 876-GOLF

May 23-25: Memorial Day events at Wakefield Valley, including a shoot-out, 876-6662.

May 24: Mixed tournament at Piney Branch, 239-7114.

May 24: Bear Creek Memorial Day Tournament, 876-GOLF.

May 25: Memorial Day Tournament at Bear Creek, four-person scramble, 876-GOLF.

May 25: Tentative opening date for Oakmont Green Golf Club in Hampstead.

May 29: Pro-Am at Piney Branch, 239-7114.

May 29: Piney Branch in Mason-Dixon women's match at Chambersburg, 239-7114.

May 29: WMC Alumni Tournament at Western Maryland, 857-7667

May 30: Grace Community Church group at Western Maryland, 857-7667

May 30: Stableford Point System Tourney at Bear Creek, 876-GOLF

May 30-31: Man-Lady Tournament at Piney Branch, 239-7114.

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