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Golfing is better if it helps, too

May 8, 2008
Jeff Fishbein
    I don’t golf.

    That doesn’t mean I haven’t played the gentleman’s game, or at least tried. But I don’t golf.

    I’ll give you a laugh and explain why, but first I’d like to tell those of you who do golf a good way to enjoy both the sport and the beauty of courses throughout the Keystone State, and also how to help a good cause in the process.

    It’s the American Cancer Society’s 2008 golf pass, a perfect gift for graduation day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or any other day. For a minimum donation of just $30, the golf pass provides a free round or discount at more than 100 participating courses throughout Pennsylvania.

    The pass is a perfect gift for the golfers in your family, from the most avid player to a recreational duffer.

    The golf pass is valued at more than $3,000. Passes can be ordered through local offices of the American Cancer Society, or by calling toll-free (888) 227-5445. You can also get one for free by selling the passes on the society’s behalf.

    Participating courses in the region include the Lewistown Country Club, Lost Creek Golf Club in Oakland Mills, American Legion Country Clubs in Mount Union and Newport, Huntingdon Country Club, the Freestone Golf Course in Port Matilda, Nittany Country Club in Bellefonte, the Penn State golf courses and the Elks Country Club in Boalsburg.

    Dozens of courses in Central Pennsylvania take part, but that’s just the beginning. The pass allows you to enjoy the courses in all four corners of the state, including popular golf destinations like Seven Springs Resort, the Poconos and the suburbs of Philadelphia.

    There are a few restrictions on use of the passes, so make sure you schedule your round at an appropriate time. And there are only a limited number of passes available — once they’re gone, you can’t get one.

    Now, while the golf pass may be the perfect gift for you, let me explain why it’s not something I can use.

    Several years ago, a golfer friend of mine decided he was going to teach me the sport. We went to the driving range, where I learned how to get the ball off the tee. We went to the practice green, where I learned the difference between a real putt and the kind that involves a carpet and a moving windmill.

    After a couple warmup games at a local par-3 course, we — well, he — decided it was time for me to hit the links for real. Off we went for an afternoon at Shade Mountain, the public course in Middleburg.

    Shade Mountain, in many ways, exemplifies all that is good about golf, even for a non-player like me — the stunning beauty of nature on display, with a chance to move peacefully throughout the outdoors, enjoying a day with friends.

    It’s a tough course, they tell me, but I don’t know for sure. I can tell you the tees are pretty challenging — it was all I could do to drive the ball to the ladies’ tees on many a hole.

    Final score: 109. On the front nine. I think my best hole was a triple bogey (and that was a par 3).

    Enjoy the beauty of Pennsylvania’s golf courses, and do it at a good price while supporting the fight against cancer.

    Just don’t be surprised if you don’t see me there.


    Jeff Fishbein is Sentinel sports editor. He can be reached at


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