LACONIA – Does teeing off on a golf course by under-handing a tennis ball from the tee with a racquet and then trying to hole out by putting with the same racquet sound a little strange? Should the perfect shot be called a hole in one or an ace?
The answer to those questions will be revealed this Saturday as teams of four players each compete in the inaugural White on Jade TennisGolf Tournament at the nine-hole Mystic Meadows golf course next to Tavern 27 on Parade Road.
“It's the world's first tennis-golf tournament,” said Lakes Region Tennis Association tennis instructor Kamal Gosine, who has been active along with association president Robert Ronstadt in trying to bring a tennis program back to Laconia High School.
“It's a fun thing to do. I think people will really enjoy it,” said Gosine. He thinks it will be so popular that it will become an annual event.
There was some discussion of enlarging the holes at Jade Trace course so that they could accommodate the tennis balls, which are larger in diameter than golf balls, but it was decided to leave the flag poles in the holes and count the ball as being "in" when it hits the flag pole.
“I'm hoping we get a big turnout,” said Ray Simanson of Tavern 27, who said that all proceeds from the event will go to the Advantage Kids program run by the tennis association, which over the last several years has introduced the sport to many younger players through free tennis programs in Laconia, Franklin, Gilford, Meredith and Tilton.
As a pilot program last year the association tested the opportunity to run tennis programs in all of the Boys and Girls Club organizations in New Hampshire. Geared to ages 5 to 12, Gosine coached players and provided instruction.
"Each day that went on, we had more and more kids join in," he said.
Ronstadt described the LRTA, which is accredited as a "community tennis association" by the United States Tennis Association, as a "facilitating organization" that provides qualified coaches, with experience and success teaching tennis to young players and imparting a lasting enthusiasm for the game. "We teach tennis etiquette as well as the basics of the game," he said. "We're teaching tennis differently," he explained, likening the approach to Little League baseball. "We use smaller courts, smaller racquets and low compression balls for the younger players."
Registration for Saturday's tournament starts at 7 a.m. with play getting underway at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start. The tournament will have a best ball format with prizes awarded to the top three finishers.
A continental breakfast will be available for players and there will be a barbecue at the awards ceremony following the tournament.
To register or for more information contact Leslie Lovely at 293-5787.
Robert Ronstadt, president of the Lakes Region Tennis Association; Kamal Gosine, tennis instructor; Leslie Lovely, operations manager for the association, and Ray Simanson of Tavern 27 at the Mystic Meadows, practice putting with their tennis racquets for the first ever TennisGolf charity fundraiser which will be held Saturday at the nine-hole Jade Trace course at Mystic Meadows in Laconia. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
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