Irvine Tops Monday’s Golf Ghouls

Our Monday golf group struggled in the wake of an “event” that was given course access during our normal tee times. I haven’t a clue as to what the “event” might have been, but based upon the pace of play, I suspect it was a contingent of the AQGA (American Quadriplegic Golfers Association). The unalterable “cart path only” rule had to be tough on those guys.  We members had tee times going to a quarter past one in the afternoon. With winter solstice less than two months away and slow play in the heart of the field, we finished at the time the night stalkers hunt for their prey. As we finished, we could see the glowing red eyes of Jimmy Gabriel in the distance behind the last green.

Skyler Irvine had one of his best rounds ever and beat the field with a net 65. Here’s a picture of Skyler making a sixty foot putt on the final hole to cap his great round. It was his third sixty footer in a row. Of course, we had to rely on his word because no one had actually seen him since the 15th hole when Nick De Santis lit a match briefly casting some light on the tee box.

Howard Garr finished second with a net 69 and Nick De Santis came in third at net 71. Mike Forde was lost in action. We heard the sound of an angry goose and something flailing about in the lake, but we assumed that if it was Forde, he was a good swimmer in college and he’d find his way home.

Nearly all of the money went home with Irvine and De Santis. A paltry sum escaped with Howard Garr, but the rest of us were net contributors. Sandy Wiener won the coveted “Sponsors Trophy” as the largest loser contributor.

Friday, October 26th – Tough Day at the Office

As the first Gainey Cup event looms less than two weeks away, Gainey Ranch golf is back in full swing. Friday’s Kildare Group had a full complement of golfers playing the Lakes/Dunes combo. Gary Anzalone took first place in the gross division and net divisions (75/67). Howard Jones was on his heels in second place in both gross and net with a 78/68. Harold Hoeg tied for second place in the gross field while Sandy Wiener took third in the net competition with a 70. There was one eagle in the field when Dave Kopp dropped a short putt for a three on the par five sixth hole on the Dunes course.

Low Gross

  1. Gary Anzalone – 75
  2. Howard Jones and Harold Hoeg – 78

Low Net

  1. Gary Anzalone – 67
  2. Howard Jones – 68
  3. Sandy Wiener – 70

View complete results.

The course played a little tougher than normal with scores averaging more than 87. The Lakes #7 absolutely brutalized the field averaging a just under double-bogey. It gave up no birdies and 75% of the field scored bogey or worse on the hole. Half the field shot double-bogey or worse. The pin was in the middle of the green. The wind was barely noticeable. The course was in great shape. It begs for an explanation. Halloween is nearly upon us; you don’t supposed it’s haunted?

All in the Name of Charity and Fun

The 6th annual Clubcorp Charity Classic was held Thursday, October 25th. Four person teams played a scramble format intent on having a fun day and helping generate funds for a number of worthwhile charities both at the national level and locally. The event appeared to be a success on all counts. I did not ask for nor did I receive any accounting of event. I don’t know who won. I don’t know who won any of the various lotteries, drawings, side-events, side-shows or the tournament itself. In other words, I’m writing this while wallowing in near complete ignorance. I was, however, present. Hence, I can do what any good reporter has done, i.e., make it up. I will tell no lies. I will retain “plausible deniability”. But I may be forced to interpret the limited number of facts I possess knowing that with time, these “facts” will morph into truth. I will divide my report into three brief, marginally accurate sections covering golf, fund raising and dirt.

GOLF: I don’t know who won although I heard that Jason Sample and his anonymous mask-wearing teammates finished at the top of the heap. I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the best team in the field was that of Mike Miller, George Stelmach, Bruce Partridge and yours truly, Howard Jones. I submit as irrefutable proof the photograph of our four approach shots on #3 Lakes. This is not a doctored photo. It is in fact an image showing our four balls, lying after two strokes, next to the flagstick. The furthest of the four is six feet from the hole. The next photo shows George Stelmach putting, the ball poised next to the hole preparing to jump in for one of our many birdies on the day. Now I ask you . . . If a team has the amazing ability to do that on #3 Lakes, how is it possible they could finish in any position below first place. If we didn’t win, a recount is in order. I’m sure you agree.

CHARITY FUND RAISING: I’m guessing there were roughly 80 players participating in the event. At a hundred dollars a whack, you’ve got eight grand right out of the chute. Throw in fifty bucks a head for partner’s dinner and we’re up to twelve G. Once the first ball was hit, the real fund raising began. Every other tee had some form of a carney barker showing that nothing was up the sleeve while the other hand was in my pocket. “If you donate $500”, he would cry, “you’ll get two mulligans, a back rub, two shots of whiskey and a sleeve of balls” (which the cute little assistant in the short-shorts had pilfered from the bag of the participant in the group in front of us). After four or five of these toll-booths, I would just approach the tee box, throw my money on the ground, tee it up and strike the ball. I would then turn around and pick up any money that might still remain. Some of these guys actually took credit cards! The holes in between were manned (if you considered twenty-two year old girls in tight tops and shorts “manning”) by helpers passing out samples of a variety of rums, wines and whiskeys. These swing lubricants helped mitigate the pain the “giving” on the next hole.

Based upon my observations, the on-course fund raising was very successful. So successful in fact that by the time I’d finished 18 holes, I personally qualified as a needy person in the eyes of many of the charities we had been supporting. It all went to a good cause and I’ll do it again next year.

THE DIRT: Well frankly, I don’t have a lot of it (that I’m willing to share). The nearly twenty thousand dollars raised didn’t come without incurring some expense. Chef Jeff put on his customary display of a great spread of culinary delights. Obviously, there was a cost incurred. The dinner was in the parking lot so we saved the cost of renting a dining room. That must have helped. The event was replete with celebrity. Tour pro Billy Mayfair played. He received 18 holes of golf lessons from Tom Hansen and Dave Kopp. Jim McMahon, the renowned quarterback of the Chicago Bears was present. I was there. Elvis was seen late in the evening. And just before midnight, many witnessed a Partridge in a pear tree. To the best of my knowledge, there were no arrests made during the tournament or at the subsequent dinner. There probably should have been.

All in all, it was a fun day and a great event. But just in case I didn’t mention it before, we were the best team in the field. See you next year.

Men’s Day #1 – October 24th

Wednesday saw the first official “Men’s Day” at the club. There was a fine turnout on a near perfect day for golf. In that the club manages the overall scores, I can’t report on them this week. I have contacted Adam and asked if he can provide me with the overall results so I can post them in this forum.

The Kildare Group – as always – played within the Men’s Day group. Low gross honors went to Ed Nafus with a 77. Low net honors went to Ken Vlah eight strokes below his handicap for a net 67. The competition was stiff with the Kildare Group having a full complement of 24 golfers.

Low Gross

  1. Ed Nafus – 77
  2. Joel Temple – 77
  3. Dave Kopp – 78

Low Net

  1. Ken Vlah – 64
  2. Jim Gabriel – 65
  3. Pat Collins – 66

View complete results.

The course played at an average score of 84.75 with a total of 16 birdies. The toughest hole – as almost always – was #7 Lakes with an average score of slightly over bogey.

One of our regulars came off the injured reserve list and another went on to it. Joel Temple played his first round since early September when he underwent foot surgery. Based upon his score (77), his recovery is progressing extremely well.

Cris Caruso will be out for a while with a damaged ACL in his knee. Those of us that have enjoyed that injury know two things: (1) it doesn’t feel very good, but (2) with a little effort, you can come back fairly quickly and as strong as ever. We look forward to seeing Cris on the course in the near future.

Woodsy Skins the Field – Monday, October 22nd

Monday’s Nassau group found Woodsy ravaging the field. Jim Woods shot a net 63 and took home the lion’s share of the pot in the round-robin Nassau competition. Dave Inman (net 67) and George Stelmach (net 68) were the only others taking home the cash. All other golfers were net contributors. The Sponsor’s Trophy went to both Howard Jones and Mike Forde who tied as the largest contributors to the prize fund.

Some golfers don’t yet know how a round-robin Nassau works. Here’s the story. A typical dollar Nassau means two golfers are playing against each other in “match play” for the front nine, the back nine and the eighteen hole total. If golfer “A” wins one more hole than golfer “B” on the front nine, he wins the nine and a dollar. If golfer “B” then beats golfer “A” by two holes on the back side, golfer “B” now wins the back side two-up and also wins the eighteen one-up. Golfer “B” nets a one dollar profit.

Anyone that has played in a foursome where everyone has a Nassau against everyone else in the group knows score keeping can get messy. Throw in presses and it can require a team of accountants to settle the scores. However, with the creation of computer software that instantly resolves all matches, it not only becomes easy, it becomes easy to calculate the results for a large number of golfers all of which have individual Nassaus with each and every other golfer in the field. That is the essence of the round-robin Nassau; everyone has a dollar Nassau with every other golfer in the field.

In theory, if there are ten golfers in the field playing a one dollar round-robin Nassau, an abysmally poor round of golf could result in a loss of as much as $27 (three dollars to each of nine competitors). No one in our group has yet to lose all bets (although a couple of us have tried). You could – in theory – also win all bets and take home $27. It’s even possible that someone could win $27 while nine others lose no more than three dollars each.

It’s a fun game and tends to keep the golfers focused. A putt for a triple bogey could conceivable be important if a competitor in another group took a quadruple bogey on the hole. Giving three foot putts could prove to be costly to the person giving the putt.

One other comment on our Monday round-robin involves the “Sponsor’s Trophy”. The person who loses the most money wins the traveling “Sponsor’s Trophy” which is a two-dollar bill which has been signed by all previous trophy winners. If you’re so honored, not only are you immortalized with your name on the bill, you can legitimately go home after getting skinned on the golf course and tell your mate with a perfectly straight face that you won money on the course that day. Why quibble over the details?

Fishing Season at Gainey – Saturday, October 20th

The big fish were on the Lakes Saturday. The regular irregular skins game brought the big sticks to the tee box. Some of the club pros, some of the new members with tiny little handicaps and some of us that figured “What the hell – I might get lucky” came out of the woodwork with the lure of a $50 skins game. Dave Yarns took home $330 with one of the sweetest swings in golf and a 67. New Gainey Ranch employee Andrew Silverman took one skin for $110 and Scott Thompson won the other.

It’s exhilarating to play with a bunch of guys where the competition rises to such a high level even if you go home empty handed. It may not be a great consolation, but I guess I can view my entry fee as the price of admission to watch some excellent golf.

The next skins game for the high rollers is scheduled for November 17th. With a $50 buy-in, you might just go home with a pocket full of cash.

October 19th – Kildare Group

The club is coming alive. The Member’s Grill was filled with faces that have not been seen over the summer months. The regular golf groups have waiting lists and the course isn’t wide open as it has been in recent months. The Friday Kildare group was topped by Howard Jones (hallelujah) with a 75 gross score. Pat Collins took home low net honors with a 63. Seven golfers shared the net skins pot. Dennis Kildare went home with two skins while Jay Yourk, Mike Miller, Pat Collins, Laurence Rosen and Jones took the others.

Low Gross

  1. Howard Jones – 75
  2. Pat Collins and Mike Miller – 77

Low Net

  1. Pat Collins – 63
  2. Laurence Rosen – 64
  3. Howard Jones – 65

View complete scores.

The Lakes/Dunes courses are looking better and better. Kudos to the greens keeping crew for its fine work. The courses were golfer-friendly with an average gross score of just slightly over 83. As usual, #7 Lakes presented the toughest challenge for the field playing at just over bogey. With one eagle and five birdies, #9 Lakes played the easiest averaging exactly par on the day.

All Hail King George

Since the creation of the golf management software we use to track and manage our competitions, no one had ever broken the 1,000-to-1 score probability barrier in a “postable” round of golf. George Stelmach has finally done it. He was as steady as a rock in shooting a great round of 74 (net 60) with his 14 handicap. His consistency was so amazing that he was without a single gross or net skin in the competition. He posted 14 pars along with a birdie and three bogeys. Scott Thompson and Cris Caruso also posted fine 74s, but their combined handicaps were still three strokes shy of Stelmach’s 14. All hail.

King George took home low net honors as well with Bruce Partridge falling one stroke back.

Low Gross

  1. George Stelmach, Scott Thompson and Cris Caruso – 74

Low Net

  1. George Stelmach – 60
  2. Bruce Partridge – 61
  3. Dave Inman, Laurence Rosen and Ken Vlah – 66

View all scores.

The team of Stelmach, Laurence Rosen, Dennis Kildare and (blind draw) Gary Anzalone took first place in the team game with a score of 120. Partridge, Howard Garr, Caruso and Mike Forde took second place with a 121. The third place team came from the remaining groups of mere mortals. Jim Stamatis, Ken Vlah, Steve King and Vinny Sollitto were nine strokes out of first with a 129.

Net skins went to Gary Anzalone (2), Bruce Partridge (2), Cris Caruso and Ken Vlah. Gross skin were split evening between Scott Thompson, Cris Caruso and Gary Anzalone. Average gross score on the Lakes/Dunes course was just over 84.

Monday – October 15th

It was like playing golf on a freshly installed carpet. Both the Lakes course and the Dunes course were in plush, green and luxurious condition. Monday’s golfers took advantage of the splendor with more than 80% of the field shooting below net par. Sandy Wiener and his guest, former member Mel Shadowens, posted net 66 while Howard Garr and George Stelmach finished one stroke back with net 67.

Sandy Wiener took low gross honors with a 78. Howard Jones was a stroke back in second place while Gary Reibman finished third two strokes behind Wiener.

Low Gross

  1. Sandy Wiener – 78
  2. Howard Jones – 79
  3. Gary Reibman – 80

Low Net

  1. San Wiener and Mel Shadowens – 66
  2. Howard Garr and George Stelmach – 67

View complete results.

The group game was a Modified Stableford. Mel Shadowens fleeced the field with 15 points and a $60 purse. George Stelmach and Sandy Wiener tied for second place. In the optional round-robin Nassau, Stelmach and Wiener were the big winners. This week’s “Sponsor’s Trophy” went to Steve King. The field thanks him for his generous contribution. Bruce Partridge gets an “honorable mention” for falling only one dollar behind King.

Gainey Profile – #4 Dunes

You must admit, we’re fortunate to have a course that offers such beauty in the middle of the desert. Obviously, Gainey Ranch isn’t as tough of Pebble Beach or Medinah or the other courses of that class; we wouldn’t want it to be. After all, the suicide rate is high enough without having to stare over the precipice of #8 Pebble Beach every day (although I used to do that and I’m still alive).

Here’s a glance at our #4 Dunes. It’s a great hole. From the tips, it’s just shy of 200 yards and has more sand than the Sahara desert. It can challenge the best golfers. I had the good fortune of being present and watching as George Stelmach’s ball floated upward from the tee box and made its way directly into the bottom of the hole for an ace. I’ve also seen and experienced more than enough double-bogeys on the hole to last a lifetime. But no matter how you slice it, #4 Dunes is a scenic hole.