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Rub of the Green

September 2, 2012

RUB OF THE GREEN: "Fair Joe" known expects rules to be followed in local hunts

TERRE HAUTE — Fair Joe is the name and golf is the game when referring to Joe Bukovack, who has sponsored hunts in Terre Haute as well as throughout Indiana during the past 25 years.

The “Fair” in Joe’s title refers to the fact that players who wish to participate in Bukovack’s competition must be willing to follow the rules of golf to the letter, otherwise they will not be invited to participate.

Perhaps it’s because golf is such a difficult game that some players resort to ignoring the rules when they tee it up. Some may hit the ball five times, yell “fore” and write three on the scorecard.

A few years ago, this writer asked a local player who had a reputation for chicanery on the golf course, “Why do you cheat?” His answer, “Because everyone expects it of me!”   

On another occasion, I watched a ball sail out of some high bushes and stop just a couple of feet from the cup. It would have been a good shot if the culprit had hit the shot with a golf club — something he had neglected to even remove from his golf bag.

At any rate, such goings-on have no place in Fair Joe’s group. They play for a prize pot that may vary from a $5 game up to a $320 game. Teams are rewarded by carding low scores on the front and back nines as well as being low for the total score.

In that recent outing in early August, three teams were playing and all three teams shared the prize money, which brought a smile to “Fair Joe’s” countenance as he reminded all within earshot, “See I told you this is a ‘fair game.’ ”

Golfers who play in “Fair Joe’s” game from time to time include Gary Turner, Joe Bridwell, Mike Webster, Tim Tennant, Steve Nicoson, Gary Fears, Mike Wagle, Kenny Bosc, Lee Shipley, Frank Perry, Carl Swalls, Willy Whalen, Herb McConnell, Tim Clements and Jerry Sears. Also the Alumbaughs — Al, Bum, Chick and Billy — as well as the Pollocks — Sam, Will and John. Others are Pappy Poore, Devon Klutey and Joe Goda.

Hunts tend to forge strong friendships among golfers and deaths at times sadly deplete their ranks. Popular players lost to the Bukovack Hunt include Kent “Cosmo” Robertson, Dale Andrews, Bernie Pollock and Mike Wilson.

Traveling to various courses throughout Indiana is a highlight of “Fair Joe’s Hunt. Some courses are visited on an annual basis. They include Sultan’s Run in Jasper, Country Oaks in Montgomery, Christmas Lake in Santa Claus and French Lick Hill Course in French Lick. Certain tournaments are viewed as “Majors”. They are the Marshall Open, Terre Haute Seniors, Casey Open and the Brazil Two-Man.

Bukovack’s group rarely takes more than 3 hours to negotiate 18 holes at The Landing.

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Ken Bosc is probably one of the city’s best putters. He’s seldom guilty of leaving a putt short and he makes far more than his share of 30- to 35-foot putts.

Much of that is due to a bold stroke, which enables Kenny to play less break on his putts.

This allows Bosc to record some low rounds such as a 68 and 71 in a couple of his last outings

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Golf is and always has been “a rich man’s game.” Is that statement true or not? Definitely not true, according to the National Golf Foundation. Their figures show that there are 26 million golfers in the United States, and only 10 percent play on private courses.

The average cost per 18 holes on weekends on a public course is $43.

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Tip of the Week: The putter, just like the irons, should accelerate as it gets closer to the ball during the stroke. Just as important is planning ahead to determine where you want the putt to stop, and then figure what type of putt you have next.

In other words, leave yourself uphill putts if you want to be known as an outstanding putter.

Take Rea Park for example. If you leave yourself uphill putts on holes 2, 5, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 17 you will certainly save yourself some strokes.

Remember, an old saying from many years ago is still true today, “The player who is a good putter is a match for anyone.”

Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.

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