Ex-Midshipman creates computer link to sport Program serves as analysis tool


February 28, 1993|By John W. Stewart

Dick Whiteside, a Naval Academy graduate living in Annapolis, is putting his computer background to work on the game of golf. Actually, he's putting it to work on the game golfers play.

Larry Ringer, former head professional at the Naval Academy Golf Club and now at the newly named Country Club of Woodmore (previously Prince George's CC), draws an assist, for it was he who, as head coach of the Navy golf team, went to Whiteside for statistical help.

Ringer was an assistant professional at Congressional CC who followed a Middle Atlantic Player of the Year season (1972) by going on the PGA Tour for a year. He returned to be an assistant and later head professional at the Naval Academy GC, and subsequently at PG.

"As a tour player, I soon learned that some of my skills occasionally deserted me for no apparent reason. Trying to solve the problem was something that required a lot of trial-and-error work.

"As a result, I began keeping detailed records of my individual rounds, then could look back at them, see my strengths and weaknesses, and determine what part of my game needed extra work."

He used this system when he became Navy's head coach, but using an adding machine and a calculator to compile figures for a team of some 15-20 players turned out to be a time-consuming job.

Whiteside, who had spent 18 years in the Navy and was a Naval Academy Golf Club member, also was an electronic engineer with a computer science background. He saw Ringer laboriously working on his charts one day and they talked about the idea of a computer program.

"We got so we could run a list of players with their statistics for various categories -- fairways and greens hit in regulation, sand saves, putts, penalty strokes, that sort of thing -- and I started thinking the program had potential for a lot of similar uses," Whiteside said during a recent conversation.

"I know if I'd had it before, I would have found out trouble off the tee was costing me eight-12 strokes a round. Just thinking about frustrates me."

The end result is a service called GolferPro Analysis System, a software program directed at organized teams (results by individual players, courses, or tournaments, for instance, can be processed), teaching and touring professionals, and low-handicap amateurs.

"Little or no on-course work is required -- most good players can go through their round afterward -- but this is not a shortcut to instant success," says Ringer. "It is an analysis tool for the good player to get better. The occasional or high-handicap player cannot realistically expect to profit from this program."

New GCSAA director

George Renault III, golf course superintendent at the Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, has been elected a director of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

Top pro shops

Manor CC (seventh time), TPC-Avenel (fifth time), and Andrews Air Force Base (new) were among the facilities selected by the eighth annual list of "America's 100 Best Golf Shops" by the publication Golf Shop Operations. Business performance, service, appearance, and promotion strategy are used in the determination of the best 20 in each of five categories.

New MAPGA positions

Among the changes in Middle Atlantic head professionals since last fall are Greg Long, Willow Springs GC in West Friendship; John Lyberger, WestWinds CC in Frederick; Charlie Staples, Patuxent Greens CC in Laurel; Fred Christian, Mount Vista Greens GC in Bradshaw; Ed Lorenz, Marlborough CC in Upper Marlboro; Mike West, Lansdowne GC in Loudoun, Va.; and Marty O'Rear, Cedar Crest CC, Fairfax, Va.


Geri Vartabedian, of Bowie, a redshirt junior at the University of Georgia, tied for 47th with a 54-hole total of 262 in the recent Lady Gator Invitation tournament at the University of Florida. Teammate Vicki Goetze was a six-shot winner with 218. . . The annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Golf Association will be held Friday at Columbia CC in Chevy Chase. . . The annual Mid-Atlantic Golf & Travel Show will be held March 13-14 at Reckord Armory on the University of Maryland.

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