Richard Wiens, The Triplicate

I don't know why it took me three-plus years to get out to Del Norte Golf Course.

Well, yes I do. I'm a hack golfer, sometimes willing to go years between outings to spare myself embarrassment. My standard line of self-deprecation: Only if the mistakes that cause a slice and the mistakes that cause a hook are in balance do I hit my shots straight.

And before you go telling me that I could cure all that with practice, consider this phenomenon: The more I golf, the worse I get. The first couple of holes always constitute the highlights. The lowlights spread out over the rest of the round, manifesting themselves in so many incompetent ways, from worm-burner, Mulligan-inspiring tee shots to errant trajectories off irons that threaten fellow players in my party and adjacent fairways.

It's the same story at the driving range: a few encouraging shots

early on, then it gets gruesome. If I hit a bucket of balls before

playing nine or 18 holes, the good shots are long gone by the time I

take to the first tee.

All this made for tight competition Saturday with my playing

partners. They were accusing me of being a ringer after the first hole,

but soon relaxed into the realization we had brought similar skill sets

to the local links.

We teed off under gray afternoon skies that promised rain but never

delivered. The rest of the golfing community had seemingly played

earlier. There were plenty of people in the clubhouse, but we had the

course almost to ourselves.

Which brings me to the point: If you haven't golfed here, you should.

Nine well-maintained holes stretch out in a lush, wooded setting. The

greens were so fast we could have been golfing at Pebble Beach - not the

one in Crescent City, but the sun-splashed one they'd been watching on

TV back at the warm, welcoming clubhouse.

I'm not going to call it a diamond in the rough, because there are

already too many bad golf jokes out there (myself and playing partners

included). But folks, Del Norte Golf Course is a somewhat hidden gem off

just off Highway 197 near the redwoods and the Smith River. Don't wait

three years to try it out.

On other matters:

andbull; Saturday's Triplicate may have been the first edition in recent

years to feature an international story on the front page. Our normal

news judgment leads with Del Norte first, then state news - a point one

reader criticized in a Friday morning e-mail. I responded that stories

from other countries would make the front page of the local newspaper

only when they were "monumental."

Minutes later, I pulled up the wire news and read that the Egyptian

street protests had actually toppled a dictator. That qualified.

andbull; Okay, the only prom I ever attended was back in the '70s, so maybe

I'm just unfamiliar with how such events evolved over the next decade.

Perhaps it's not unusual that Planned Parenthood's "Back to the '80s

Prom" fundraiser being held in Eureka next Saturday will feature "condom


At my prom, the only thing that off-color was my bright yellow tux.

andbull; In a press release about a false tsunami alarm that shook some

people up in Gold Beach on Thursday, the Curry County Sheriff's Office

took pains to explain various notification methods.

Sirens, such as the one that had gone off accidentally, are the

alerts for tsunamis generated by faraway earthquakes. For fast-arriving

tidal waves triggered by nearby earthquakes, the Sheriff's Office

explained, the warning is the ground shaking.

The latter notification system sounds downright foolproof.