Day 53 - Tuesday, October 11 - Mississippi << Index
Anticipated: Play golf at Shadow Ridge Golf Course in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Travel:
  Itinerary:
Leave motel for 9:00AM tee time at Shadow Ridge Golf Course. After golf we will drive to friend, Wilma McMorrow's home in Ft. Walton Beach to spend the night. Wilma is a long-time friend of Pat and Jim. casino
  States/Provinces Played:
Web: Shadow Ridge Golf Course - Hattiesburg, MS
Actual: (Photos and text)
Click on the photos below to enlarge

Welcome to Mississippi sign and the Shadow Ridge clubhouse.

Jim with James Ray Carpenter, Director of Golf, and (bottom) Two pro shop assistants, Adam Russell and James Slade.

(top) Jim with newspaper photographer, Matthew Bush; (middle) Jim with newspaper reporter, Kareem Copeland; (bottom) Matthew Bush with club member Pat Mantooth.

Scenes from the golf course. (Upper left) trees destroyed by Hurricane Katrina (Lower left) Pat attempting a 3-foot putt for a birdie.

On the east bank of the Mississippi River on I-20 lies the town of Vicksburg. Vicksburg was of strategic importance during the Civil War, as its high bluffs overlooking the river meant that whoever had control of Vicksburg also controlled the river. Control of the river also meant control of the transportation route from the north to New Orleans. General Grant laid siege on Vicksburg and it finally fell on July 4, 1863, and that was one of the turning points of the war.
As mentioned yesterday, there were no motel room vacancies within a radius of 100 miles of New Orleans because of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We were lucky to get a room at the Sleep Inn in Jackson, Mississippi last night. We left the inn at 8:00AM for our 53rd day of golf, which was scheduled for Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

When we were about 40 miles northeast of Hattiesburg, we came upon our first glimpse of the terrible destructive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina (8 weeks ago). Thousands of trees were broken off at their trunks with much of the debris still at the roadside waiting to be hauled away. Practically all the roadside billboards were completely destroyed. Bear in mind that we were 80 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico where the storm came ashore as a category 5 Hurricane.

We arrived at the golf course about 9:30 AM and were able to tee off immediately. Even as we approached the golf course we could see that we were in for a great day of golf. The golf course is built on rolling hills amongst pine forests. It was just beautiful to look at for the full 18 holes. The hurricane had destroyed over 600 trees and the maintenance crews were still in the process of removing the debris. Even so, broken trees and all, the golf course had picture postcard beauty. The course was firm because of a dry summer and fall (in spite of the hurricane), therefore, the shots were rolling for extra yards. This made the course play shorter than the listed yardage. The course was in great shape and there was no need to play preferred lies (winter rules). The greens were excellent but very fast. There were water hazards on about half of the holes and the pine trees crowded the fairways making shot accuracy a premium. We enjoyed the golf course immensely. Jim shot a pair of 44s for 88 (yardage = 6359) and Pat shot 99 (yardage = 4804). NOTE: This was Patís best round of the 53 played so far.

Matthew Bush, a photographer for the Hattiesburg American newspaper came to meet us on the 10th hole. Pat Mantooth, a golfer who plays Shadow Ridge several times a week drove the cart while Matt took many various photos of us hitting and putting the ball. After they left (after the 13th hole) Kareem Copeland caught up with us on the 16th hole. Kareem is the reporter for the Hattiesburg American. He told us that the article would be in the paper in a day or two. It should be available on www.HattiesburgAmerican.com/

A very pleasant surprise was learning that James Ray Carpenter is Director of Golf at Shadow Ridge. In fact, he was present and in his office in the clubhouse. J.R. is a former president of the National PGA, but even more important, he was president of the Mississippi PGA when Handicomp (our family business) signed a contract with the Mississippi PGA in the late 1970s, to compute golf handicaps for all the golf clubs in Mississippi. This was a relationship that lasted for over 20 years. We were always grateful to J.R. for the opportunity he gave us. We had a good conversation talking over old times.

Those of you from Grand Rapids know Buddy Whitten, the Director of Golf at Blythefield Country Club. Buddy has won just about every tournament in Michigan as well as the National Club Professional Tournament. Buddy played as the number one golfer for the University of Southern Mississippi golf team when James Ray was the golf coach. J.R. says he has never forgiven Buddy. It seems that Buddy broke his leg playing softball during the college golf season, which disabled him for the entire season. Buddy, if youíre reading this, do you remember it? J.R. says Hello.

After golf we left on a southeasterly course through Mississippi and Alabama to Fort Walton Beach where we will be spending the night with a long time friend, Wilma McMurrow. We havenít seen her in about 18 years and are looking forward to the visit.