No Tees allowed

Dave Bowles setting up for the tour

Dave Bowles setting up for the tour

John Burkholder, 9MGA Communications

You’ve been look’n for fun in all the wrong places if you haven’t joined the fun on Dave Bowles Golf Par 3 Tour. The tour tees off every other Wednesday (almost) evening between 4:30 and 5 p.m. as a shotgun start from challenging Wildhorse or Mustang par 3 only tee locations slyly selected by Dave Bowles himself. The selling proposition of the tour is good old late afternoon fun on the course, which of course it is, but the reality of the tour is nine holes of concentrated practice for chips, pitches and putts.

As we all know so well, it’s the extra chips, pitches and putts that really add up on the score card. They’re the parts of the game that require the most skill and practice, yet receive the least attention. It’s lots more fun to go to the driving range and swing away with your brand new TaylorMade M1 or M2, Callaway Big or Great Big Bertha, Cobra King F6 or F7, Ping G20 or G25, etc. You get the picture—big swings, high flights, long distances—the exhilarating hits in golf. But as one of the most repeated golf sayings goes, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” And that’s the proposition of the tour: chip, pitch and putt practice in fun, friendly, quasi-competitive surroundings.

Dave conceived and started his tour in early 2015 as a fun, short-time commitment golf outing for his many golf lesson students I counted among that group. What began as a small core of between 12 and 20 participants has grown into a large and rapidly growing tour of 46 players as of the last outing on April 19. Yes, 12 foursomes counting Dave playing the tour with one of his high school students just for good measure. The tour started in early April and generally runs through the end of fall, but Dave has committed to running it year round assuming there are enough participants come this winter who want to continue through the colder months.

Plus there’s more than just the practice involved. The cost of tour participation is just $2 per player per outing. Not a big nut for sure, but Dave pays out all collected fees to the top four finishing teams in a Grill get-together immediately after the last group finishes. For the April 19 top four teams that meant splitting $88. Just enough to buy beer for all!

See y’all in the Pro Shop at 4 p.m. on May 3 for the next tour round!