Dr. Paul Racicot, president of medical staff at LRGHealthcare; The Golf Club at Patrick's Place Manager Dan Wilkins, and Maureen Wilkins, manager of donor relations at LRGHealthcare, are offering a tournament through the month of March to benefit a planned renovation of the LRGH Emergency Department. It will be the third charity tournament hosted by the indoor, simulated golf facility this winter. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
By ADAM DRAPCHO, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — The iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links, bathed in California sunshine and lapped by the Pacific Ocean, seems like another world when compared to New Hampshire's February landscape. But, thanks to the three sophisticated simulators at The Golf Club at Patrick's Place, teams of four will be able to experience the closest thing to Pebble Beach without buying a plane ticket. The simulated, indoor golf tournament is now the third fund raising tournament this winter to be held at The Golf Club at Patrick's Place.
Dan Wilkins, club manager at The Golf Club, said the facility opened four years ago, occupying a second-floor space above Patrick's Pub and Eatery. The club held its first fund raising tournament last winter, for the Laconia Rotary Club. It went well enough that the Rotary Club held the event again this year, as well as a fund raiser for a Pub Mania team, which in turn donated its proceeds to the Greater Lakes Region Children's Auction in December. The Pebble Beach tournament, held during the month of March, will benefit a planned renovation of the Emergency Department at Lakes Region General Hospital.
Why an indoor golf tournament? There are several reasons beyond the obvious, that it allows players to golf when there's a foot of snow covering local courses. The indoor tournaments are convenient, because they allow a foursome to play any time they choose within a given time frame, while conventional tournaments are played on a single day. Simulated tournaments make it possible for players to try out some of the world's most prestigious courses, such as Pebble Beach, for a fraction of the cost of the real thing. And then there's the social angle – because of the more laid-back atmosphere, and with only the other members of one's team watching, beginner or casual golfers feel more comfortable in a simulator than they would teeing off in front of a large crowd.
The trio of simulators at The Golf Club at Patrick's Place are made by aboutGOLF, a brand endorsed by the PGA Tour. Players stand inside of a three-sided booth, looking at a 15-foot screen showing the hole they're playing. They strike the ball into the screen, while a high-speed camera above and slightly behind them records the velocity, trajectory and spin of the ball, then shows the ball traveling down the course and, the player hopes, toward the fairway or green.
"It knows everything about that ball," said Wilkins. "This can be just as frustrating indoors as outdoors, the good thing is that you don't lose any balls."
Wilkins said that The Golf Club, over the course of a month, can accommodate as many golfers as could a conventional tournament held on one day. Four-person teams will pay $160 to participate in the Pebble Beach.
Maureen Wilkins, Dan's wife and manager of donor relations at LRGHealthcare, said proceeds from the event will further the campaign to give Lakes Region General Hospital's Emergency Department a much-needed overhaul. "The hospital has gotten on sound financial footing, they're looking at the services they need to improve."
The plans for the renovation are still being finalized, but Dr. Paul Racicot, president of medical staff, said medical practices have changed since the last time there was a renovation to the Emergency Department, which, during the summer season, is the second-busiest department of its kind in the state.
"In my eyes, it's the front door of the hospital. It's a new era for infectious disease," Racicot said. The old way of managing patients, by keeping them all in a large room, separated by curtains, has been left by the wayside. In its place is a philosophy that every patient should have a private room, and that different services should be segregated into different pods, so that a child with a cut on her finger doesn't have to be treated in the same space as someone suffering from a psychotic crisis.
"For all hospitals, profitability is razor-thin, if at all, so projects like these are going to have to come through philanthropy," said Racicot.
Maureen Wilkins said that teams will be playing for prizes such as dinner for eight at The Local Eatery, the prize for the Open Division, while teams in the Senior Division will be competing for a foursome of golf at the Laconia Country Club. There will also be Closest to the Pin prizes for each of the holes, and raffle prizes.
To sign up for the tournament, contact Dan Wilkins at 603-387-2597.
Dr. Paul Racicot attempts to find the green on a simulated version of Pebble Beach's famed seventh hole at The Golf Club at Patrick's Place. The indoor golf simulators use high-speed cameras to read the speed, trajectory and spin of each shot, then project how the ball would travel down the course. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun)
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