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Before Thanksgiving meal, Baltimore golfers can aim for birdies and eagles at Turkey Shoot

Paul McDaniel, 74, plays golf several times a week at Pine Ridge golf course. He will be taking part in the annual Turkey Shoot golf outing on Thanksgiving. This will be his 28th year playing on the holiday.
Paul McDaniel, 74, plays golf several times a week at Pine Ridge golf course. He will be taking part in the annual Turkey Shoot golf outing on Thanksgiving. This will be his 28th year playing on the holiday. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Before carving the bird Thursday, Paul McDaniel will try to make some birdies. Playing golf on Thanksgiving is a tradition for McDaniel, 74, of Timonium, who’ll tee off at 8:30 a.m. at Pine Ridge Golf Course — one of four public links celebrating Baltimore’s 22nd annual Turkey Shoot.

Mount Pleasant, Clifton Park and Forest Park will also participate in the outing, where duffers play a round in the morning, then head home for dinner. Each course features a shotgun start, meaning all golfers begin at the same time on one of 18 holes. Everyone is done by 1 p.m., leaving the rest of the day for family fare.

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Paul McDaniel, 74, plays golf several times a week at Pine Ridge golf course. He will be taking part in the annual Turkey Shoot golf outing on Thanksgiving. This will be his 28th year playing on the holiday.
Paul McDaniel, 74, plays golf several times a week at Pine Ridge golf course. He will be taking part in the annual Turkey Shoot golf outing on Thanksgiving. This will be his 28th year playing on the holiday. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

McDaniel has competed in the Turkey Shoot from the first. He rises early, grabs his clubs and leaves the house as his wife, Barbara, stuffs the turkey.

“What else would I do in the morning, just sit around and watch her cook?” McDaniel said. “The house smells good when I get home. She does a better job in the kitchen than I do on the golf course.”

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The Turkey Shoot was the brainstorm of Jim Deck, head PGA professional at Pine Ridge. Years ago, while in Georgia to visit relatives, “I saw a golf course doing this and thought, ‘Man, that’s genius,’ ” Deck said. “We’d always been open on Thanksgiving, but with starting times all day, so we’d have to chase people off the course by 4 p.m. The shotgun start lets everyone [a maximum of 120 at each course] start together, so all have their afternoons free.”

When Kent Mosmiller, 62, of Perry Hall takes the greens early Thanksgiving morning at the Clifton Park — Baltimore's first public golf course — it will be the start to a tradition that dates back 18 years.

The cost ranges from $40 to $60 at each site and includes a buffet breakfast. In addition, Carroll Park will host a FootGolf outing, where participants compete to kick soccer balls into king-size holes. Attendance is limited at each locale. To register, call the pro shop at a particular course or go online at www.Classic5Golf.com/2017-turkey-shoots/.

Moreover — at Pine Ridge, at least — golfers might see wild turkeys in the rough.

“I saw one, about a month ago, walking across the driveway as I drove up to the pro shop,” McDaniel said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

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Deck confirmed that turkeys have been sighted on the course.

“They may be ‘eyed up’ more closely now than at other times of the year,” he said.

On July 13, Clifton Park will celebrate its 100-year anniversary with a reunion outing -- replete with hickory-shafted clubs and replica turn-of-the-20th-century golf balls -- the first of three commemorative events over the next three months

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