The Eagle has Landed – January 25th

Winter Classic 2013 (5 of 71)It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I just thought of that line myself. Pretty creative eh? I would hate like the Dickens to plagiarize the works of others.

Friday’s match saw the good, the bad and the ugly (another original). It was “beat the pro” day and nine players accomplished the task. Nevermind that Matt Anzalone had to use his gross score while his competitors, some with as many as twenty-one strokes, tried to keep up with one of the finest club pros in Arizona.

I had the pleasure of partnering with Matt and was pleased to witness something I’ve never seen and never heard of – three eagles in a stretch of seven holes. As if that feat wasn’t spectacular enough, our playing partner, George Stelmach, threw in his own eagle on the next hole.

Matt’s first eagle came on the par 5 #9 Lakes. A conservative tee-shot found the middle of the fairway. A 6-iron landed about six feet from the hole. He then used his putter to open the cash register drawer. Two holes later on the par 4 #2 Dunes, Matt’s drive dropped cozily four feet from the hole. Kaching – eagle number two. Four holes later on the par 5 #6, Matt ripped a monster drive down the middle of the fairway. His second shot came to rest about seven feet past the hole. The next sound we heard was the ball clicking off his putter face and rattling into the bottom of the cup a second and a half later.

Holiday Classic 2012 (198 of 212)I hadn’t seen so many eagles since my last trip to Alaska. Enter George Stelmach stage left. An excellent drive on #7 Dunes was followed by a crisp iron shot that found the hole for the group’s fourth eagle in eight holes. Obviously, the game is too easy.

Despite the spectacular show put on by these denizens of Gainey golf, Matt’s putter betrayed him a couple of times and he ended up carding an even par round on the day. This opened the door for Jim Woods, Dennis Kildare, Jim Gabriel, Ken Vlah, Don Coolidge, George Stelmach, Joel Temple and Bruce Partridge to eke out a victory with net scores in the red numbers.

The day was characterized not only by these awesome performances, it was also a day of some nightmarish holes. I personally showcased my skills by going eleven over par over a three hole stretch from #1 through #3 Dunes. It was small consolation that I played the last six in even par. The round was one for the toilet bowl. At least I’m not the only one (or two) with a nine on his card. But who am I to point the finger? Full results here. Oh and who was it that said, “Obviously, the game is too easy”?

The Men’s Day Massacre – January 23, 2013

attila the hunThey rode up to the first tee with daggers in their teeth and fire in their eyes. They attacked the course. They pillaged and plundered. They took no prisoners. The team of Rick May, Howard Garr, Brian Laks and Jim Woods must have been in a foul mood. They butchered and dismembered the competition. The picture is believed to be that of Rick May addressing his putt on #14.

The overall Men’s Day match was extremely competitive and close if you ignore the marauders in first place. The second place, third place, fourth place and fifth place teams all turned in scores of 110. The cannibals in first place shot 103. General Custer would have thought the slaughter a little excessive. You can see the complete results here.

Skins were sparse. There were three gross and four net skins. Gross winners were: #7 Arroyo, Kurt Saulnier 3, #9 Arroyo, Steve Ellingsen 4, and #9 Lakes, with an eagle. Net skins went to: #3 Arroyo, Greg Luce 2, #9 Arroyo, Steve Ellingsen 3, #3 Lakes, Brian Laks 2, and #9 Lakes, Dan Hellman with a net double-eagle.

The casualties within the Kildare Group were extremely high thanks to May, Garr, Laks and Woodsy. Same song, second verse. By virtue of the fact that the Kildare game counted two balls rather than one on the par threes, the second place team was that of Howard Jones, Jim Mantle, George Stelmach and Mike Wentrup. After watching the booty taken by May, Garr, Laks and Woodsy, members of the second place team felt like they had taken their sisters to the prom. It just didn’t feel the same.

JHoward 1949ones won low gross in the Kildare Group. Jones won low net in the Kildare Group. Jones had a couple birdies, but none stood up for skins. Jones’ team finished one stroke out of the money for the Men’s Day Group. Jones left with a $5 profit from his team’s second place finish in the Kildare Group. Jones lost a ball that cost him $4.25 plus tax, i.e., $4.59. In other words, he played reasonably well and made a net profit of 41¢. That’s why he looked like this at the end of the round. Complete Kildare results here.

One for the Record Books – The 2013 Winter Classic

Winter Classic 2013 (11 of 71)There’s a reason it’s called the “Winter” Classic. This year’s event was held in the midst of a record cold spell in Scottsdale. We thought golf carts might be required to have snow tires and chains. Fortunately, no one spun out rounding curves that were blanketed with ice even late in the day. Gary Graham looks like he just came in from the ski slopes rather than the warm southwestern desert. It was so cold, Howard Jones actually considered wearing long pants for the event. It was so cold, Marty Howe didn’t tee off; he faced off. It was so cold, Carie was actually seen without a smile on her face. It was so cold, the Canadian geese flew south. It was so cold, the cart girls were selling beer warmers. It was so cold, balls were cracking. Some said Hell actually began to freeze over.

Winter Classic 2013 (40 of 71)Speaking of Hell freezing over, the big winners of the tournament were none other the Bruce Partridge and Jim Woods. They smoked the field racking up 69 highly modified Stableford points beating Brian Williams and Mike Steele by three. George Stelmach and Rick “Go Green” Hurula finished in third place seven points behind. They made strong moves in the race for the Gainey Cup.

Complete photo coverage of the event can be seen here.

A bit of a controversy did ensue in the wake of the event. A couple of teams were penalized for turning in “incorrect scorecards”. With an irresistible urge to provide editorial comment, I must cry “foul”. In one case, Don Coolidge and Gary Anazalone were penalized three stroke because their scorecard had indicated a score of “2” Stableford points on the eleventh hole. However, the actual gross score box had not be filled in with a “4” representing the par which Coolidge actually made on the hole. I maintain that the “2” Stableford points are equivalent to a par on the hole and that the score had actually been recorded when the “2” was written in the box on the card designed for the points total. After all, there is no other way the “2” points could have been earned unless a par had been scored, therefore, the gross score had been recorded when the “2” was entered upon the card. If the gross scores had been written as Roman numerals, would the card been rejected? “IV” is in fact equivalent to “4”. What if the scorer had written the word “four” onto the card? Its significance would have been pretty clear. When the “2” Stableford points were written on the card, it was the absolute equivalence of a gross score of “4”. There were no other explanations. There was absolute equivalence. There was no ambiguity. Ah, but the tournament officials had to make the tough calls and that was one of them. I told you it was cold that day.Winter Classic 2013 (66 of 71)

Wild Week and We’re Just Getting Started! January 9, 2013

Cap BrownIt has already been an eventful week at Gainey and it’s only half over. Cap Brown finished his 17th hole Monday and suffered a heart attack on the course. His teammates did everything they could as they waited for emergency crews to arrive. The ambulance arrived quickly and took Cap to the hospital where he remains as of this writing. He is currently on life support and the family and medical teams are evaluating their options. Our thoughts, prayers and warmest wishes go out to our friend Cap and his family members during this difficult time. Cap has battled back before and we’re hoping he can do it again.

The more mundane events of the day involved a good turnout for Monday golf. Golf scores were again high with Sandy Wiener and Jim Stamatis sharing low gross honors. Jim Woods, Jim Mantle and Steve King finished in second place one stroke back.

Low Net

  1. Jim Woods – 63
  2. Bruce Partridge – 64
  3. Jim Mantle – 67

Low Gross

  1. Sandy Wiener and Jim Stamatis – 83
  2. Jim Woods, Jim Mantle and Steve King – 84

Complete results.

The team game was the same format as will be played in the upcoming Winter Classic, i.e., a “highly modified” Stableford.  Jim Woods and Jim Stamatis ran away from the field Raoul Encinas and Howard Jones finishing five strokes back in second place. Steve Bartha and Bruce Partridge finished third ten strokes behind the leaders.  Full results.


Wednesday, January 9th – Men’s Day: Another big turnout and a day full of excitement. Here are the results of the full men’s day group.

1st Place – John Goesling, Steve Bartha, Doug Dewar and Bernie Katchen – 119

2nd Place – Sandy Wiener, Howard Jones, Jim Mantle and Jim Woods – 120

3rd Place – Jim Stamatis, Pat Collins, Jim Speck and Bruce Partridge – 124

4th Place -Ted Akiba, Dan Hellman, Don Donovan and Dale Fitzhenry – 124

5th Place – Joel Temple, Dan Hourihan, Ken Vlah and Brian Laks – 124

Low Gross

1. Bryan Noonan – 73

2. John Herold – 75

Low Net

1. Greg Luce and  Bernie Katchen – 64

The Kildare Group also had some spirited competition on a number of fronts. With a good turnout, Joel Temple garnered another low gross award with a 78. Howard Jones, Gary Anzalone and Sandy Wiener tied two strokes back for second place. Low net honors went to Howard Jones with a 67. George Stelmach and Sandy Wiener were one shot back.

Low Net

  1. Howard Jones – 67
  2. Sandy Wiener and George Stelmach – 68

Low Gross

  1. Joel Temple – 78
  2. Sandy Wiener, Howard Jones and Gary Anzalone – 80

The nonsensical (but true) statistic of the day: a full 25% of the Kildare Group participants Wednesday were named “Jim”. All scores.

The team game was two best balls of the foursome. The team of Sandy Wiener, Howard Jones, Jim Mantle and Jim Woods took first place with Pat Collins, Jim Speck, Jim Stamatis and Bruce Partridge three strokes back. Third place went to Joel Temple, Dan Hourihan, Ken Vlah and Brian Laks. Match results.

The day’s excitement reached a high when one of the winning team’s golfers pulled a drive left on #3 Lakes. It clicked a tree limb which directed the flight further left – apparently way further left. In fact, it seems it went far enough left so that it found the windshield of a vehicle parked adjacent to the course; at least that’s what an out-of-control gentleman claimed. As luck would have it, the owner of the car seemed to have been a “less than calm” gentleman with a criminal record related to an apparent inability to control his temper. He bolted onto the golf course, golf ball in hand, and began confronting golfers in an extremely threatening manner. He was so completely out of control that at various times, he aggressively approached golfers with overt threats of physical violence. He physically prevented golfers from hitting their shots. He ranted and raged seemingly without end. Fortunately for all concerned, he called the police. After shadowing the foursome for two entire holes all the while making physical threats, the police arrived and managed to at least get him off the golf course. Unfortunately, by now the course was backing up as an officer “detained” one of the golfers for “questioning”. By now, a police helicopter had arrived and hovered over the war zone for the better part of twenty minutes. It was entertaining and most bizarre. I’ll refrain from mentioning his name to save him the embarrassment (despite that fact that one of his more recent threats involved foisting public embarrassment upon one of the golfers). We wish him well in resolving his current criminal indictment and hope that he has settled down sufficiently as to avoid yet another one. Tiger Woods has difficulty retaining focus when he hears the clicks of cameras. Yet the winning team endured attacks from an uninvited trespasser, detainments by the police and helicopter surveillance as they lined up their putts. Take that Tiger Woods!

2013 Week One in the Book

Jones with MuleThe last day of 2012 saw the course bring golfers to their knees. Chilly and breezy conditions on Monday resulted in scores rising like hot air balloons on a cold day. Averages exceeded 92 gross strokes per round. Low gross was high. Low net wasn’t much better.

Low Gross

  1. Howard Jones – 82
  2. Sandy Wiener – 83
  3. Dave Inman – 88

Low Net

  1. Howard Jones, Skyler Irvine and Sandy Wiener – 71

Seven Lakes again claimed toughest hole honors yielding only one birdie while giving up more triple-bogeys than bogeys and pars combined. Complete results.

January 2nd was the first Men’s Day of the New Year. Overall scores haven’t been sent out by the club yet, but judging from the scores of the players in the Kildare group, no records were set. Scores averaged slightly over 90 for the day (90.2) and birdies only appeared once in every two rounds. Winter is making golf tougher despite good course conditions. There’s also been a long overdue push toward putting the ball into the hole rather than picking up the unmissable “gimme” putts. Golfers are once again discovering it is more than possible to miss 18 inch putts.

Jim Stamatis ruled the day with a gross 77 for a net 65.

Low Gross

  1. Jim Stamatis – 77
  2. Joel Temple – 79
  3. Howard Jones and Cris Caruso – 85

Low Net

  1. Jim Stamatis – 65
  2. Dan Hourihan – 69
  3. Don Coolidge, Dennis Kildare and Jim Woods – 71

Complete results.

Dennis Kildare, Jim Gabriel, Joel Temple and Pat Collins won the inter-group match beating Jim Stamatis, Jim Speck, Jim Woods and Sandy Wiener by a couple of strokes.

By Friday, the course was a little more cooperative playing at an average score of 86.8. We had to bring in the big guns to whip it into shape. Bryan Noonan fired a 75 with Mike Miller right on his heels.

Low Gross

  1. Bryan Noonan – 75
  2. Mike Miller – 76
  3. Rick May – 78

Low Net

  1. Sandy Wiener – 67
  2. Pat Collins and Dennis Kildare – 68

Complete results.

Pat Collins and Don Fruchtman won the team match. Dave Inman and Tom Hansen finished second three strokes back while Gary Anzalone and Jim Woods took third place. 28 players competed, the biggest Kildare group ever.