The 2014 Gainey Ranch Golf Club Desert Shootout is in the book. The Member-Guest was a raging success with a course that was in nothing short of spectacular condition and with weather that only an Arizonan can take for granted. Over a hundred competitors dueled for two days (not counting practice rounds) and when the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, long time member Jerry Whalen and his guest, Dave Stewart reigned supreme. This was Jerry’s first trip to the top of the metal platform in the annual event.
The format was interesting and challenging. It brought out the best and the worst from the players. The most interesting part of the challenge (and the part that truly separated the men from the boys) was the nine holes of alternate shot golf. It wasn’t a contest for those who could make the great shots. Anyone can make a great shot. It was a contest for those who didn’t make the lousy shots. A slight mistake could and did cost teams three and four strokes on a single hole. But (as of this writing) no one died and most team members are still speaking with each other even if with a hint of acrimony and contempt.
One of the highlights of the tournament came when Head Golf Professional, Matt Anzalone, slipped an exploding ball onto the tee box just before Duke Nguyen took his swing in the “Sink or Swim” chipping competition. As you can tell by the expression on Duke’s face, he wasn’t expecting the blast. Unlike golfers such as Anthony Arvidson, Duke was caught completely off-guard by the explosion. (Arvidson has grown accustomed to the phenomena – about a third of his drives explode upon impact or disintegrate in mid-flight.)
Judging from the smiles on all the faces of those watching the tournament photo presentation on the big-screen after the awards dinner, everyone was thrilled with the event. (More photos here.) With the possible exception of a couple of non-golf related issues, the tournament was as close to perfect as could possibly be imagined. Kudos to all of those who made it happen.