Smith finds hole-in-one is ultimate motivator GOLF


August 15, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

Every hole-in-one has its story, but some are better than others. Consider the one being told by Shelley Smith of Ellicott City.

Smith, in her first season of play, was making her first attempt at an 18-hole round of golf when she struck a 6-iron shot at the 110-yard 10th hole at the Tryall Golf Club in Jamaica.

"I wasn't playing well, and had decided to quit after nine holes and walk the rest of the course," Smith recalled the other day.

"When I hit the tee shot at 10, I thought it was horrible, but then I thought, 'Oh, good; I hit the green.' I turned away, but then my husband and the couple with whom we were playing began yelling, and I turned around in time to see the last couple of turns as the ball fell into the hole."

An "amazed" Smith went on to birdie No. 12, and finished with a score of 106.

Smith, with a background of being a very good tennis playertook up golf more or less in self-defense last year, as her husband, Barry, a senior vice president for marketing with Choice Hotels International, got her involved.

A member at Rolling Road Golf Club, he has been playinseriously about six or seven years, carries an 8 handicap, and had a hole-in-one of his own about a year ago.

For Shelley, there was a series of lessons with Joan Lovelace, teaching professional at Hobbit's Glen Golf Club, but that was it -- lessons and the driving range. "That was all I did. I wasn't interested enough to practice," Smith said.

Of her pupil, Lovelace says, "It took awhile to get her to play. I think she thought it was too intimidating. She was uptight. She's a good player who needs to play. She needs the confidence.

"Last year, after her lessons, she said she didn't feel she could play well enough to get on the course. I told her to stick around and watch some of the women play, and I think she realized she was just as good.

"We enjoy our sessions, but she needs to learn to take her driving-range swing to the golf course. I'm trying to get her to think 'target, not mechanics, to just go out and have a good time."

It hasn't been easy. As Smith explained: "Once, I went berserk on a driving range, and threatened to quit. The only problem was my husband said, 'I'm not letting you quit.' Now, I'm starting to get more motivated."

A hole-in-one can do that to people.

Justifiable pride

Brian Slevin can be excused for feeling more than just a sense of pride and accomplishment in qualifying for the U.S. Amateur to be played at the end of the month at the Champions Golf Club in Houston. There was some added incentive.

Last year, in sectional qualifying at Indian Spring CC, Slevin haa 36-hole total of 149, but darkness forced a suspension of play, with several players returning the next morning to complete their rounds. At the time of suspension, one official told Slevin the 149s did not have chance for a possible playoff, so he did not return in the morning.

There was some confusion about the morning procedures, buthe rounds were completed, and a playoff held for the final spot. The problem for Slevin was that the playoff was at 149! More than enough motivation to come back this year primed and ready.

He admitted he was a little out of shape, but he had spent the past several weeks away from golf, getting his physical and mental batteries recharged. The effort paid off when he returned 69-74143 at Wakefield Valley Golf Club to get one of four available spots.

Prior to taking time off, the Arnold resident had had a good season as a member of the University of Georgia golf team, although there was disappointment in not making the NCAA tournament.

However, Slevin was named to the U.S. team chosen for the 18th U.S.-Japan Collegiate Championships in Ishikawamachi, Japan, about six weeks ago, and played well in the three-day competition for men and women, won by Japan, 2,694 strokes to 2,698.

"It was the greatest experience of my life," Slevin said. "The team was picked by the [NCAA] coaches association. We were all All-Americans, but the golf was only part of it. There had been some bad experiences with some of our players in the past, so our roles as goodwill ambassadors entered into it, too."

At the Amateur, he will be joined by the other Wakefield Valley qualifiers, Pat Tallent, of Vienna, Va.; John McClure, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Justin Klein, Phoenix, plus five from the Bretton Woods qualifier, Tripp Shreves, McLean, Va.; Shane Patterson, Derwood; Claudio DeLuca, Washington; John Price, Centreville, Va.; and Stu Strange, Silver Spring.

Charity events

The fifth annual tournament for the benefit of Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, will be held Aug. 23, at Rolling Road Golf Club. Information from Pam Griese (410) 233-4367.

* Qualifying for the Mark Calcavecchia Pro-Am to benefit SuddeInfant Death Syndrome will be held Aug. 30, at Hunt Valley GC, with appearances by PGA Tour players Tommy Armour III and Mike Donald. Information from Hunt Valley Golf Shop (410) 527-3304, or Ray Daue (410) 337-4120.

This week's schedule

Monday--Middle Atlantic PGA Pro-Senior, Willow Springs GC, 8 a.m.; USGA Mid-Amateur qualifying, International Town & CC, 8 a.m.; Free State Seniors, Turf Valley CC, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday--Middle Atlantic PGA Women's championship, Evergreen CC, 9 a.m.; Women's Golf Association, Eagle's Nest and Woodholme CC, 9 a.m. Friday--Middle Atlantic PGA American Cancer Society Pro-Am, Indian Spring CC, 8 a.m.; Middle Atlantic Juniors, Manor CC, 8 a.m.; Baltimore Municipal Junior Inter-Club, Forest Park GC, 10 a.m.

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