By Tom Rohrer
The game creates and further deepens social bonds and friendships regardless if one puts up a triple bogey on the long par 4.
Golf has certainly provided such a service for Mid and Pat Parmley of Lacey.
The couple, who have been married now for 45 years, are just two of many who will be participating in the golf portion of the Washington State Senior games next week and weekend.
While the Parmley’s will certainly shoot for their best score in the contest, their final standing and distance above or below par is of little concern to the couple.
“It’s all about who you play with, who you’re out on the course with,” said Pat Parmley. “That’s the main reason we play this stupid game, to spend quality time with quality people.”
“If you’re not out there enjoying just being outside, being with close friends and great people, then you won’t have a great time,” said Mid Parmley. “It’s a challenging game, so you need to relax and have a fun attitude”
It will be the fourth time the couple has competed in the event, which will be held at the Links Course at Hawks Prarie Golf Club on Thursday, July 25. Luckily for the Parmley’s, it will be a short trip, as they live in the Jubilee neighborhood that borders the Links Course.
The Parmley’s moved from the Kent area in 2004 after retiring and were the fourth house in the Lacey neighborhood.
One of their neighbors and close friends are Larry and Marlene Stranz, who are the commissioner(s) of the senior game’s golf portion. The two couples have traveled to South America and other international locations together, and every year following the senior games, they and other Jubilee neighbors get together for a social gathering at the Parmley household.
“All of the Washington State Senior Games have been at Links Course at Hawks Prairie and I guess half the people who participate are Jubilee residents,” said Pat Parmley, who worked at Boeing for 37 years before retiring. “We usually get about ten couples together at our house after and are there until early in the morning (laughter). It’s a great time.”
The Parmley’s credit the popularity and high level of participation in the event to the efforts of the Stranz.
“They are the drivers of the event,” Mid Parmley said. “They are always trying to get the word out, reminding people that (the tournament) is coming up. Without them, I’m not sure you would see the same enthusiasm.”
The efforts of the Stranz’s, along with Parmley’s, who helped run the event for three years prior to playing in the tournament, has led to a diverse collection skill at the Senior Games. This wide range of talent is something Pat and Mid enjoy.
“There’s people who are 30 handicappers down to people like 7 and 8, so you’ve got the whole gambit,” said Pat Parmley. “It’s great that everyone is out there having fun.”
“It’s the same with the women,” said Mid with a laugh. “You’ve got the high level players, and then the rest of us.”
The Parmley’s play the Links Course many times a week. Their familiarity with a course is a key to tournament success. However, this hasn’t been the case for the competition in the past.
“You know, it certainly should help, but the caliber of golf most of us play, a good golfer can tear up this course and run away with a competition,” said Pat Parmley. “The Gold Medal isn’t usually going to the people who are from the area.”
The golf club’s experience hosting tournaments allows for competitors to enjoy the event.
“It’s an Oki course and they do a lot of tournaments so they have this figured out well,” said Pat Parmley.
Playing at a course like those at Hawks Prarie Golf Course can make even a poorly shot round fun. But again, for the Parmley’s, it all comes back to who you play with.
“If you’re lucky enough to get out and play with friends, then you’ve got it made,” said Mid Parmley. “That’s why we play the game and the occasional great shot doesn’t hurt either.”