Rory McIlroy to Play in Inferno Cup Event! No, Really . . . Sort of . . .

roryThe Inferno Cup joins forces with the PGA Tour (without the PGA’s knowledge of course) to play in the “PGA Gainey Challenge” event Saturday and Sunday August 9th-10th. Normally, Saturday morning play is Inferno Cup eligible. This time, Saturday and Sunday will qualify for the points.

Pick your partner and have fun with this great event. You can pick a fellow Inferno Cup player or a non-Cup player. You can even bring a guest and still participate in the event AND earn your Inferno Cup points.

Here’s how it works . . .

Friday, August 8th – 6:30 p.m. – SELECTION PARTY

The teams meet in the Member’s Grill where they select two players from those that have made the cut in the PGA Championship. They are now on your team for the next two days. The combined scores of the four of you determine your finish in the event.

Saturday, August 9th – 7:30 a.m. – SHOTGUN START

Teams tee it up in a best-ball format. The event will be followed by a buffet lunch and the scoring party.

Sunday, August 10th – 7:30 a.m. – SHOTGUN START

The final round will be played using a two-man scramble format. These finishes are always fun and exciting. Another magnificent buffet lunch and scoring party will follow. My partner and I will graciously accept the first place awards and give a tip of our hats to the second place and following teams.

Let’s support the club in this one and show them we appreciate all they do for us. Email if you’re looking for a partner. I’m playing, but second place will still be available.

Here’s a link to the flyer put out by the club.

Hot Sticks, Wet Putters and the Loch Ness Monster

NessieThat’s a wrap. Day two of the Inferno Cup provided some good golf, some excitement and some bizarre events. Anthony Arvidson put on another golf clinic as he fired 68 (34/34) on the Arroyo/Lakes course combination. You might conclude that he won low gross on the day, but if you did, you’d be wrong. Anthony’s friend Ryan Dillon carded a ho-hum 32 on the Arroyo course and shot 34 on Lakes to finish the day with 66. They just edged me out of the winner’s circle by only one stroke (per hole). When you look at the card, you see only one five (#5 Lakes) and a total of eleven threes. That sounds like my total for the year.

Low Gross

  1. Ryan Dillon – 66
  2. Anthony Arvidson – 68
  3. Kris Rosser – 73

Low Net

  1. Raoul Encinas – 65
  2. Mark Ramser – 68
  3. Marty Howe, Kriss Rosser, Mike Forde, Dan Hourihan and Bailey Ogrin – 69

There were seven skins paid out. Again it would be reasonable to conclude that the “big boys” won them all. After all, when a gross 73 doesn’t even finish in the money, the competition’s a bit formidable. Assume as you will oh gullible ones. Tiz true Arvidson, Dillon and Rosser claimed their shares. But three of the seven went to Skyler Irvine and Nate Sanders. Skyler shot 94, but still squeezed out a skin. Nate’s moon was rising. He captured high gross with a fine 102, but left the building flush with a handful of double-sawbucks after winning two of the seven skins. Raoul Encinas won low net and dropped three birdies in the cup. He won no skins. Sometimes, life just ain’t fair.

The team competition was won by Encinas, Scott (the birthday boy) Hull and Howard (how did he miss that putt) Jones. Kris Rosser, Mike Forde and Bruce Partridge finished second, two strokes back. Complete Inferno Cup standings are available on the menu bar above.

The highlight on the day came on the eighteenth hole when someone sighted what appeared to be the Loch Ness Monster. The furor subsided when it was discovered that club champion Bailey Ogrin had dropped his Scotty Cameron in the lake. Although Bailey is reputed to have more money that Bill Gates, for a three hundred dollar putter, Bailey’s going fishing. Into the lake he went. Nessie Ogrin spent his afternoon swimming.

51 Cup events still remain with your best 14 counting. Still lots of time to sign-up for the season. It runs through the end of September.

Ignition. We have lift-off.

Ramser-MillerThe 2014 Inferno Cup is underway. The inaugural event was a rousing success. When the ship had left the launch pad, Mark Ramser and Mike Miller were at the helm finishing first and racking up 286.5 Cup points when the day was done. They tied the team of Gary Reibman and Marshall Block, but put a lock on first place with a scorecard playoff. Both Ramser and Reibman birdied the last hole, but Miller’s par edged out Block for the victory.

With Reibman and Block leaving town for the summer, their second place finish in the race for the Cup was assumed by the following team. Bruce Partridge and Dale Fitzhenry moved into second after defeating George Stelmach and Tom Hansen in another scorecard playoff. Mike Nichols and Loren Molever snatched fourth from Howard Jones and Ken Vlah in another scorecard playoff. It was a very tight and competitive field. Complete standings and Inferno Cup point totals can be seen by clicking on the menu at the top of the screen.

Low Net

  1. Mike Nichols – 67
  2. Mike Forde, Dan Hourihan, Marshall Block and Gary Reibman – 69

Low Gross

  1. Mike Nichols – 74
  2. Mike Miller – 77
  3. Gary Reibman – 81

Clearly another day when the name “Mike” gave golfer’s some magical powers. Although the course is in its summer transition condition, it remains in fairly good shape. If there are bad spirits living on the course, they live on #9 Arroyo. #7 on the Lakes course gave up its customary role as toughest on the track. It was replaced by #9 Arroyo, a hole that brought the field to its knees. With twenty golfers in the field, #9 gave up not a single birdie. The average score on the hole closer to double-bogey than it was bogey. Twenty percent of the field scored triple bogey or worse. There were three nines on the hole. There were enough balls hit into the water to raise the level of the lake an inch-and-a-half.

There were ten skins paid out. Ron Dobkin and Marshall Block won two each. The other skins were shared between Mike Miller, Mike Nichols, Pat Collins (gross eagle #9 Lakes), Howard Jones, Loren Molever and Don Fruchtman.

It’s not too late to join in the race for the Inferno Cup. There are 52 Cup events left. The next Inferno Cup play is Friday May 30th. Sign up by emailing


Five, Four, Three, Two . . .

rocketThe Inferno Cup competition begins Wednesday, May 28th. Come aboard for some great fun and super competition over the next four months.

The Inferno Cup is for everyone. High or low handicap players are welcome. Flexible play dates mean anyone and everyone can fit the game into his schedule.

Sign-up or request more information by contacting the tournament committee at

We have listened to you and spent many hours reviewing the previous Inferno Cup format. We have discovered we can make great improvements. Here they are.

• Inferno Cup play now includes Saturdays. Can’t make it Wednesdays or Fridays? You can now play Saturday mornings beginning June 7th.

• Greater game selection. The size of the field will usually dictate team size and game format. We’ll have a greater diversity of game formats while keeping the field level, fair and fun.

• Point allocations for events have been reworked to eliminate inequalities. A system has been designed that guarantees a fair, equitable and predictable distribution of points. Everyone that plays will stand a realistic chance of winning.

We will have a much larger field this year, but there will be more opportunities to compete. We have a lot of new faces and some outstanding players. It will be exciting and fun. It’s not too late to sign up. If you have golfing friends at the club that have yet to join us, please encourage them to sign up. Now with Saturday golf, even those with nine-to-five jobs can be competitive and join in the fun.

For complete Inferno Cup guidelines and rules, go to and select Inferno Cup from the menu or click here.

The Hunt for The Cup is Coming

detectiveYou’re invited . . .

Last year’s Inferno Cup was a great success. This year’s will be even better. Please consider joining us.

The Cup competition runs from the end of May through the end of September. Play is on Wednesdays and Fridays. Play is fast and the field is fun.

This year we’ve made some great improvements to the event.

• Play as many or as few rounds as you like. No limitations.
• There will be much greater emphasis on making certain the playing field is level. There will be no advantages given high or low handicappers.
• There will be a great diversity in game formats to maximize opportunity and enjoyment.
• We’ll have the lowest of the low handicap golfers and the highest of the high handicappers.
• 100% of entry fees will be paid out in prizes – all based upon your ten best finishes.
• Guest friendly when possible.
• No need to wait in the grill for results; they’ll be posted on the web site the same day.

Golf is a gentleman’s game. Gentlemen, join us for a great season of fun and camaraderie.

Entry fee: $100 payable prior to your first round of play.

Contact: Mike Nichols (, Anthony Arvidson ( or Howard Jones ( to throw your hat in the ring. Play starts May 28th.

Details and rules may be found by clicking here.

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.