Let's start the week on a positive note, shall we?

For us casual golfers it's not a big deal if we ground our club in the sand, improve a lie with the 'ol Nike wedge, execute a double-hit or write down a 5 when we really took a 6 (or 8 - hey, it happens).

But in competitive golf that's not the case. Rules and etiquette matter. It's up to you - and often only you - to be the referee. And a fair one at that to keep it an honest sport.

Golf has been called the gentlemen's game. In this case, one Minnesota high school girls' golfer is drawing some positive attention for giving up a golden opportunity in the name of sportsmanship.

Here's the entire post from the Minnesota State High School League Facebook page:


The following email was sent to the MSHSL on Thursday...

I am the head golf coach of the Renville County West Jaguars, and I would like to share a great story about what happened at the Section 2A finals at Benson Golf Club.

They say that sport is often used to build character. Well, I would like to share a story about how golf has this amazing way of revealing character, more so than building it.

On Wednesday, May 27, I was able to be a part of the most honorable act that I have ever witnessed. I have been a PGA member for seven years and have been looking for the honesty and integrity that golf once had. Well, yesterday my HOPE was restored.

Ortonville's No. 1 girls golfer, Hope Hasslen, restored my heart for the next generation of golfers. When Hope finished her round she went into the scoring room and signed for what everybody agreed on ... a 90. A few moments later she informed her coach, Roger Sandberg (also part of the rules committee), that she got a 9 on the last hole, not an 8 for which she had signed. The ramifications of this act was that Hope in essence disqualified herself from the state tournament.

I immediately thought, "How many other kids in this field would have done that?" Hope, knowing or not knowing, disqualified herself from the state tournament. She didn't have to say a word, she could have kept quiet, accepted her medal and started preparing for her trip to the state tournament at Pebble Creek Golf Club in 10 days. But no, her integrity and doing what was right meant more to her than participating in the state tournament.

You see, a 90 (exactly what she originally carded) would have made her state-tournament bound. A 91 (what she really scored) would have put her in a playoff for a state tournament berth. She got neither. Instead, what she does get is the respect and admiration of those of us who were lucky enough to witness such an honorable act.

If there were a purple heart medal for golf, Hope would be the greatest recipient of such an honor. She was wounded on the battlefield of golf, and when the pain goes away she will have a scar that she can be proud of because she did what was right.

Hope, thank you for restoring my faith in the integrity of this great game.

Greg Snow
RCW golf coach

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