An Update on One of Our Boys – Jim Speck

Jim Speck grillMany are wondering how Jimmy Speck came through surgery. It appears his golf game will be dramatically improved because he’ll be wearing a cervical collar for the next few weeks. He’ll finally keep his head down when swinging. This should take a few strokes off his game.

Here’s the update sent by Denise.

Jimmy’s surgery started at 7:00 a.m. Saturday and lasted 5½ hours. It took longer than expected, but he is doing well. They (Dr. Paul Gause and his team) went in thru the front LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01of the neck and had to fuse the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th vertebrae in the neck. At this point, we don’t know if the nerve damage is permanent, but we are keeping positive. Jimmy will be in a cervical collar for six weeks and NO driving! He is supposed to start walking right away and hopefully get his strength back.

I want to thank everyone for their concern. Jimmy was very touched by the support from his friends at Gainey and it actually made him smile to think that so many people sent him good wishes. Thank you all.

Good luck Jim. See you back on the course soon. (We’ve got a spot open next Wednesday.)


Men’s Day Goes Big

Greg Luce gets hot, but not bothered.
Greg Luce gets hot, but not bothered.

It was the biggest field of the year for Men’s Day. Ninety-four golfers combined to create forty-seven teams on a day where the weather made us the envy of the world. Mark Weidner and Garry Hall captured the top spot. Barry Talley and that perennial favorite, Blind Draw, finished a stroke back. Dick Reed and Phil Graham were two back. Rickie Currens and Duke Nguyen fell three off the lead for fourth place.

Skins paid handsomely for Nguyen, Talley, Tom Hansen and Robert Martz. Each earned $137.50 with gross/net combos. Garry Warner grabbed $75 with a gross skin on the seventh hole of the Arroyo course. Jim Mantle and Gary Graham took home a net skin for $67.50 each.

It appears I inadvertently put a curse on the golfers in the Kildare Group when I mentioned a couple weeks back that they held the top fifteen spots on the Men’s Day prize money list for the year. It seems that’s about the last time any of them have finished in the money. Duke Nguyen has played in only two Men’s Day events this year, but has escaped with just shy of $400.

Former club champion Greg Luce nearly returned to form with a net 62 to beat the field by three strokes. Garry Warner’s name once again appeared at the top of the low gross list.

Low Net

  1. Greg Luce – 62
  2. Sandy Wiener, Gary Graham, Gerry Hall and Duke Nguyen – 65

Low Gross

  1. Garry Warner – 75
  2. Mark Weidner – 76
  3. Robert Martz – 77

Martz finished strong with an eagle on #18 (Lakes). The average gross score was a smidgeon over ninety while the average net score was 73.1, about a stroke higher than would normally be expected on the Arroyo/Lakes course. There were fifty-one birdies, three quarters of them coming on the Lakes side.

All Hail Encinas and Hoeg

2014 Member-Member (290 of 310)
2014 Member/Member Champions – Harold Hoeg and Raoul Encinas

Raoul Encinas and Harold Hoeg captured the 2014 Member/Member crown with a gritty performance in the season’s richest tournament. Many teams would have thrown in the towel after a particularly rough start in Saturday’s final round, but these guys dug deep and pulled it together and earned a one stroke victory. You can see pictures of the champions and a hundred other competitors by clicking here. Click on the individual pictures to enlarge them.

Anthony Arvidson and Tom Hansen shared second place honors with Don Coolidge and Joel Temple. The full leaderboard is shown below.

The weather was great. The course was in excellent condition. Play was slow. The food was great and the atmosphere was festive. With the exception of a few little glitches, the tournament was a great success.

Some people had expressed concern that the number of teams would be down from last year due to the implementation of USGA recommended rules on handicap allowances that made the competition more equitable. It appears the reverse was true. The number of teams competing rose 31% over last year. The amount of money bid in the team auction was up by nearly 70%. By every measure imaginable, the event was a grand slam homerun.

One other interesting statistic offers further proof that a more level playing impacted the play. A comparison of last year’s scores with this year’s totals stands out like a beacon of hope. In this year’s event, the difference between the winning team and the team finishing dead last was twenty-eight strokes. Last year, the difference between first and last place was forty-four strokes – 57% higher than this year. The MGA board needs to be commended for taking the sometimes difficult steps necessary to bring greater equity and fairness to the field of play. A fine course, great food, good friends and a fair field – what more can we want?

Viva Encinas and Hoeg!

2014 Member-Member (310 of 310)

Tales from your Handicap Committee

If you’re not a “math guy”, this may be of little interest. Unless that is, you’re interested in reading a simple “how to piece” on how to manipulate your handicap. Before I get started, let me point out that there are those – on and off the Handicap Committee – that don’t believe the “numbers” can reveal anything. What follows is an example of what the numbers can tell us. You be the judge. And yes, this is very real data for a very real golfer at Gainey. It may have been moved to slightly to mask the identity of this golfer, but it is real.

John Doe DifferentialsThis particular member plays a fair amount of his golf on courses other than his home course. The chart below shows his posted differentials for a substantial (read: statistically significant) period of time. The blue diamonds show his differentials when playing on Gainey Ranch G.C. The red squares are his posted differentials when playing at away courses.

A couple of things immediately jump out at you. Home differentials are clearly randomly distributed around roughly thirteen. The actual number isn’t the important thing; it’s the distribution that is significant. You can see they range from a low of around seven to a high of roughly twenty. If you analyze the distribution, it is what you would expect for someone in this golfer’s handicap range, i.e., standard deviation of around three strokes. Ninety-five percent of the differentials should (given the laws of statistics) fall between approximately seven and nineteen. What an amazing coincidence – they do!

Now look at the away scores. Their average is closer to sixteen, nearly three strokes higher than those recorded at Gainey. Does this fact imply handicap manipulation? Maybe – maybe not. It can certainly be argued that Gainey Ranch’s handicap doesn’t “travel well”. I’m confident there’s an element of truth to that. You can also make a case that a golfer isn’t as familiar with away courses and a lack of course knowledge results in higher scores. Perhaps this is true, but how many times can that excuse be used? After all, once you’ve played a particular course four or five times, you should have a pretty good level of familiarity and that excuse tends to evaporate into the morning mist.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s temporarily accept that a three stroke difference in the scoring average is acceptable. If that’s the case, shouldn’t the entire grouping of data points move up approximately three strokes? For this golfer, it does, but . . .

The “randomness” disappears! It’s as if the entire bottom half of the distribution is missing! Could it be that the scores weren’t posted “properly”? Hell yes. That’s one possible explanation. The standard deviation of away postings is approximately one stroke! This seems to be statistically “improbable” (for those of you not paying attention, this is called a gross understatement).

An average differential of sixteen with a standard deviation of one stroke means that ninety-five percent of this golfer’s away differentials fall within the range of fourteen and eighteen. This is well within the “you must be joking” range of statistical probabilities.

There are possible explanations. For example, it could be that by playing a more difficult course with which you have no familiarity whatsoever magically makes you a much steadier and more consistent golfer than you are at home. To me, that’s like saying the more you drink, the better you drive.

There are a couple of other explanations. I’ll sit back and see if any of you come up with them and post them as comments here. In the meantime, I continue to do battle with those who say numbers don’t prove anything and I’ll watch to see how this golfer performs in the upcoming Member/Member tournament. This golfer isn’t alone. He has company. I’d love to say, “If you don’t mind, I don’t mind”, but I do. It’s my job.