When Kent Mosmiller, 62, of Perry Hall takes to the greens early Thanksgiving morning at Clifton Park Golf Course, it will be the start to a tradition that dates back 18years.
Mosmiller, along with his two sons, Derrick, 33, of Graceland Park in Baltimore and Mike, 34, of Edgemere, have played in the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp.'s annual Classic Five Turkey Shoot for several years. Five municipal courses traditionally hold the event.
However, it wasn't always a family tradition. When the Turkey Shoot started in 1996, Kent Mosmiller didn't play with his sons; he did so with a group of regulars who played the course each Sunday.
"It's pretty much a family tradition now," Kent Mosmiller said. "When I first started playing, I played with a group; we were the first ones to tee off [at Clifton Park] every Sunday morning. … And then my sons [started]. It's quality time with my kids."
Clifton Park's Turkey Shoot will begin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday with a buffet breakfast, followed by an 8:30 shotgun start.
But Kent Mosmiller will be up much earlier than that preparing for the evening's festivities.
"I wake up, make the turkey, put it in the oven and come here and play golf," he said. "I go home, take it out and we go to [Derrick's] house. It's just a fun thing. … It's a bit of a scramble, though, because you have to get here and play, and you have to get home."
Not every Turkey Shoot is the same, however. Sometimes there's snow, sometimes rain and wind, and other times the conditions are perfect.
One of the oddest moments for the Mosmillers came in 2010 when Mike won the straightest drive competition.
"The ball bent probably 40 yards [off course] and then bent back the other way," Derrick Mosmiller recalled.
"It was headed for the road," Kent said with a chuckle.
"You see the craziest things out here. You see people get beaned, shots going sideways; you see balls in the roads, balls hitting cars in roads," Kent continued.
Since its inception, Kent and Derrick have seen the Turkey Shoot evolve into the tradition it is today.
"It's been fun over the years watching that thing grow," Kent said. "The first year, maybe half of the field was filled. Now, if you don't get in early, you're not getting in."
The Turkey Shoot has several competitions, including for the longest and straightest drives, as well as a "four closest to the pin" event. There are first-, second- and third-place winners, and prizes that include turkeys, putters and drivers.
Kent Mosmiller has been a regular at Clifton Park, Baltimore's first public course, since he began golfing with his father in the late 1950s.
"My dad was a very good golfer," he said. "I would come, and I was not much older than [Derrick's son] Connor is — 6 years old or so — and climb the trees. But when I was 8 years old, I became a little more serious."
In high school, he also ran track and played football; he would go on to play the latter at Kentucky.
He says his competitive nature has kept him with golf for nearly half a century.
"This is a game that you play against yourself more than you play against the golf course," Kent said. "This is a game where if you catch the bug and you're a competitive person, you just want to get better at it.
"I grew up in a very competitive house; everybody was an athlete. The smallest thing would start a fight," Kent said. "[Golf] is the kind of game that just grabs you like that."
Like his father, Derrick Mosmiller began golfing at a young age. He said he started playing for a simple reason: "to be with my dad."
At age 15, he began playing competitively for Patapsco High, where he won the state championship twice.
He has stayed close with one of his high school teammates, Daryl Kalb of Perry Hall, who is the fourth member of the family's group for the Turkey Shoot.
"He's like one of my kids. He ain't any different," Kent Mosmiller joked. "I give him the same amount of crap I give my other kids. He has to listen to it, too."
Kent is thinking about extending the family tradition next year and adding his daughter, Lindsey, a 19-year-old sophomore who played golf for Catholic.
"Maybe next year we'll put her in the group on the ladies' tee and get an advantage here," he said. "She can bust the ball pretty good."
Where: Pine Ridge, Mount Pleasant, Clifton Park and Forest Park golf courses
When: Thanksgiving morning
Who: Golfers of all ages and skill levels