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Pressure's on: It’s club championship week

Time to shine the golf shoes and buy a sleeve of expensive balls. Maybe re-grip the putter, maybe do a little stretching, maybe eat a salad instead of a cheeseburger.

It’s club championship week around the Carolinas.

Showtime.

Three days without mulligans or gimmes, or excuses. Three days under the stern glare of the scorecard, just sitting there waiting to be defaced with the graffiti of your double bogeys.

Member-guest tournaments and pro-ams are to club golf what the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is to the PGA Tour, golf lite. The club championship, on the other hand, is golf on the rocks.

The battle will commence on Saturday and rage through Labor Day, at which time someone will get their name on a trophy and feel like they won the US Open.

Practice ranges will see heavy traffic this week, members honing their swings. At most stations, this will not be a pretty sight, but in every loop and lunge there lives hope.

Friday will be a busy day. Members who play the course regularly, in some instances five or six times a week, and who know the lay of the land better than they know their own yard, will want to play a practice round.

And that’s okay. This is the club championship, not some Saturday morning $2 Nassau. This is serious, sort of. A time to wear your best looking golf shirts.

There’s an awful lot of talking during the tournament, lots of lamenting, way too much stroke-by-stroke: "Geez, I was in good shape, four over after five, and hit a good tee shot on six but then I came out of my second shot, topped it into the water and wound up with an 8. Ruined my day. Just set me off on a streak of double bogeys"

It’s hard to get a word in edgewise, even if your story is the saddest of them all.

Kidding aside, club championships are good for us, even those of us who have no shot at winning anything. It’s good to get that scorecard in your hand and see that first fairway stretching out in front of you and feeling a little nervousness. It’ll wear off but for a moment, we know how the pros must feel. Quiet please. Now on the tee

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