MODESTO — Ben Hogan sometimes believed putting, not his strong suit or his passion, should be treated as a separate endeavor from the rest of golf.
He would have liked what's soon to happen in Modesto.
The first Modesto Putting Championship has been scheduled for June 1, on the practice green at Creekside.
Don't bother with the driver, 5-iron, wedge or even a golf bag. All you need is a putter, a ball and a sweet stroke. A scratch player, in fact, could be beaten by a miniature-golf practitioner on his or her best day.
Sue Fiscoe, the owner of FM Golf which operates the city of Modesto golf facilities seeks exposure for city golf and a good time for all entries.
"We're using the putting contest at Haggin Oaks (Sacramento) over the years as our model," Fiscoe said. "All we're trying to do is gain a little exposure for city golf and have a good time with this. I think it will be fun."
The Creekside green will be set up as a putting course, and the low scores for the "round" will win prizes. Competition will be divided into junior, senior and women's flights.
"Bob Quintella (the retired deputy director for the city's parks, recreation and neighborhoods department) suggested the idea a few years ago," Fiscoe said. "We're hoping for a nice turnout and something that we can build on."
Sign-up sheets are available at Creekside and Dryden and in a future ad in The Bee. The fee will be $5, which includes a hot dog and a soft drink.
And you don't need Hogan's classic swing to win.
THE SHAG BAG Long Beach State freshman Shawnee Martinez, the three-time Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champion from Enochs High, is off to a good start with the 49ers. She has recorded two top-20 finishes this season and, this week, was tied for 10th (79-79) after the first two rounds of the windy Big West Conference Championship at San Luis Obispo Country Club. Long Beach was in second place behind UC Davis. Last week, Martinez shot three straight 76s at Copper River Country Club and tied for 25th while her team won the Fresno State Lexus Classic. ...
The 31st Modesto City Championship is scheduled for June 8-9 at Dryden and Creekside. ...The greens at Muni and Dryden have recovered from aeration treatment, while Creekside which was aerified last week should be OK by this weekend. ... The inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, announced by Augusta National, features regional competition leading to the finals at Augusta in 2014 on the Sunday before the Masters. It looks, however, like there will be no regional competition in Northern California. The closest venue will be in Southern California. Visit www.DriveChipandPutt.com.