Lipsh enjoys “greatest golf experince of my life”
Walsh County Superintendent of Highways Sharon Lipsh wouldn’t have had the opportunity to endure what she calls “the greatest golf experience of my life” had it not been for a tournament policy that prohibited golf carts. That policy caused one member to have to drop out due to medical issues, which opened the door for Lipsh to partake in the 9th USGA Women’s State Team Championship.
The three-day tournament took place in Savannah, Georgia at the Landings Club on Skidaway Island. “In most states you have to qualify to take part in the tournament, but in North Dakota you volunteer,” said Lipsh who golfed with fellow North Dakotans Theresa Burns and Mary Adams.
The trio of golfers traveled to Georgia on the first of this past October and enjoyed a five day stay. While golfing took up a great part of the trip there was still plenty of time for the three to engage in leisure activities.
Luckily, for Lipsh and her teammates they found a host family to stay with who used to live in North Dakota. Paul and Jacqy Soderberg were nice enough to help Team North Dakota out and showed them around throughout their stay. “They (Paul and Jacqy) were some of the most awesome people I ever met,” said Lipsh.
On the first night the Soderberg’s made a nice meal for the team and everyone chatted and got to know one another. The next day the trio registered for the tournament and had their first practice round in the morning.
After the practice round finished up the ladies went on a tour of the island led by Paul. “It was a lot of fun. We actually saw an alligator on one of the golf courses,” said Lipsh. “The island was beautiful and the weather was nice the entire time we were there.”
That night there was a banquet with food galore, and a flag ceremony in which every state was introduced and brought up their state flag. Adams had the honor of bringing up the North Dakota flag and after the ceremony commenced D.J. Gregory spoke. Gregory, a sufferer of cerebral palsy, and author of the book “Walking With Friends” gave a motivational speech to all of the tournament participants.
On Monday–a day before the tournament began–the team shot one more practice round and then went around to different pro shops in the area before heading out to an evening social at The Landings Club. There, the group munched on hors d’oeuvres throughout the night and relaxed before the tournament began.
When Tuesday finally came, so did the beginning of the tournament. Lipsh and Co. started out just fine, but after three holes they got put on the clock, which meant that they only had 14 minutes to complete each hole.
“It was a very difficult course and the pressure of being put on the clock rushed us,” Lipsh said. “We were literally jogging down the fairway after we hit our shot to get up to the ball as fast as we could.”
The inconvenient rule and narrow fairways didn’t play to the strength of Lipsh whose ability to drive the ball a long ways was hindered out of fear of ending up in the rough. Yet she wouldn’t let the difficult course ruin her time in Savannah.
“The atmosphere was amazing. On the second day of the tournament we were the first to tee off. We warmed up under the lights and it really felt like a professional tournament the whole time we were there.”
After the second round was finished the group of ladies grabbed a quick bite to eat and did a bus tour of historic downtown Savannah. That night they enjoyed a couple drinks at a Bohemian hotel restaurant rooftop bar before eventually heading down to the basement for dinner.
The final day of the tournament brought a 10:30 tee time for Team North Dakota. Burns shot the lowest score of the entire tournament for North Dakota with an 87. But it wasn’t enough to keep North Dakota from finishing in last place for the tournament.
Despite finishing in last it didn’t stop the ladies from wanting to golf one last time. “We decided that we wanted to play once more for fun at another course,” said Lipsh. “It’s kind of funny but my only birdie came on the last hole I played in Savannah.”
Once the group finished their final round they went to a grocery store to buy a cake for Jacqy, whose birthday it was. After decorating the cake in the parking lot, they went back to the Soderberg’s where they celebrated Jacqy’s birthday. The next day the trio of ladies had to head back home.
When asked to sum up the experience one last time Lipsh reiterated what she said earlier. “It was the greatest golf experience of my life.”