Links to Love: Group meets for Golf, Companionship

By Deborah DiSesa Hirsch
Special Correspondent,
The Stamford Advocate

Stamford – July 30, 2006

There's the click of golf balls. A woman furrows her brow in concentration. The man beside her whispers advice. Another woman swings and screens her eyes with her hand to see where the ball went.

A man spotting another reaches out to shake hands. They discuss playing 18 holes in the morning. A woman leans her head back for a kiss, confessing she practiced for three years before having the courage to venture onto a course. It's a beautiful Friday night in Stamford at the driving range at Sterling Farms.

Everyone here loves golf. And oh, by the way, they're all single.

It's the monthly meeting of the American Singles Golf Association, Fairfield County chapter.

"I'm the oldest member," brags George Emmons, quickly correcting it to, "well, the longest, at least."

Members range in age from 30 to 70, with most falling in the 40s and 50s, says co-president Greg Walker of Stamford, who puts himself in the 50s range. "One thing we have in common is golf," he says. "You get to have people to play with; you can go to different courses. It's great."

Skill ranges from good to, well... no one here will win any championships, but that's not the point. "We're here to have fun," says Walker, shaking his mop of pencil-straight silver hair.

"It's tough - I haven't played golf in 20 years," says Elliott Whitney of Bridgeport. "But it's the companionship."

"I've been playing golf a long time," says Emmons.

"More than 55 years?" says Don Anderson of Norwalk, coming up to the group.

"Let's just say, I've been playing at golf," laughs Emmons. "Coming here gives you something to look forward to."

Some members are divorced, others widowed. Marge Chase never married, though she's been golfing "for years and years."

She tells Walker she just joined the club "without meeting anyone."

"Wow," he says.

"I had a friend who said I'd be interested in meeting other single people," says Chase. "I hate playing golf with ladies. They nitpick."

Walker admits he didn't see the allure of golf until relatively recently. "My father was an avid golfer and he used to drag me out. I didn't understand it, I thought it was silly. But then I started playing with a friend and... "he holds out his hands, indicating, here I am.

Very few seem to take the game that seriously, except for one slim, attractive young woman, who doesn't want to stop to talk to a reporter. She's driving balls with a male friend. "Probably her boyfriend," says Walker. Apparently, there's no prohibition against that. "She's very popular."

Although it's a subtle undercurrent, no one mentions why they're all really here. Says Walker, who says he's "not looking": "Every once in a while people hook up. Someone got married, it happens. A couple met in a chapter near here and are purposely not getting married so they can stay in the club."

"It's not like being single when you're 20," says Aline Goetz, who's divorced. "It's very low-key." She comes all the way from Irvington, N.Y.

Adds Walker, who says he's currently "not looking": "It's not like you're leaning against a wall, waiting to ask someone to dance."

"It's not pressure," says Goetz, who is membership chairman, even though she joined just last year. "It trips a lot of different things in you. You end up with more things than you can possibly do. Hey Don." She tilts her head to receive a kiss from Whitney, then a minute later, Anderson.

The group does more than play golf. Once a month, on first Fridays, the members also meet for dinner at the Pepper Mill in Westport and in the summer, on third Fridays, they come to Sterling to drive balls, then grab a quick bite to eat. There are also actual golfing events where members meet to play nine or 18 holes, and during the winter, they have a Christmas party, go to plays and continue to meet for dinner.

And when you're traveling, you can hook up with other chapters across the country. "You have a bond all over the country," says Goetz.

For more information about the Fairfield County chapter of the American Singles Golf Association, visit www.asgafairfield.org or e-mail asgafairfield@gmail.com

Copyright © 2006, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.

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Board Members

President OPEN POSITION

  Chairman of the Board Jane Price

  Golf Chair Linda Woodruff

  Social Chair Linda Woodruff

  Membership Chair Deirdre Campbell

  Communications Chair Jane Price

  Treasurer Karen Rumsey

  Secretary Greg Walker

  Publicity Chair Deirdre Campbell

  Meet-Up Administrator Chris Ulisse

  Web Masters Susan Dallas

Elliott Whitney