Wow!!! Those who know me will assure you that it is a rare occasion when I’m left speechless. Chip Nelson created one of those instants Wednesday when I was handed his group’s scorecard. Chip had just obliterated the existing course record for the Ambiente course by shooting a 60 from the Verde tees.
It was a warm day. Winds occasionally gusted to ten knots. The course was in good shape. The stage was set for an 11:10 a.m. tee off in a group with Dr. Jack Summers and Captain Lee Mitchell. The opening hole on the Ambiente course sets the tone. It’s a challenging dogleg with both fairway and green guarded with cavernous sand traps. Chip carded a birdie three.
Chip birdied the second hole and stood on the tee box of the 504 yard par 5 third hole. He was already two under par. He carded an eagle on the third to go four under after three. After another birdie on the fourth hole, Chip just missed the green with his drive on the par 4 fifth. That didn’t appear to hurt him because he chipped it in for another eagle. After five holes, Chip was seven under par!
I pen this missive to encourage today’s competitors to not commit suicide. Yes, it was horrible. Yes, you looked like someone that isn’t ready to play on the big course, like someone who should be sticking to the course where putting through the witch’s mouth is nirvana, where you’re a hero if your first shot gets past the blades of the windmill. Most of you (like I played well) should have been putting with a white cane rather than a $300 putter. But sometimes, that’s the way the cookie bounces. And besides, the way you played today, even if you tried to shoot yourself, you’d most likely miss anyway.
The course seemed to play a little tougher – or should I say, less easy – than it did Wednesday. There were only nine birdies in the group. Bob Ewing accounted for one third of that total. Summers, Jones and Bob Kennedy claimed the rest. The scores returned to normal with players averaging three strokes over handicap. The weather was perfect. The course is in great condition. And smiles decorated the faces of all the participants – even Sandy Wiener’s!
It defied explanation. Fifteen Camelback golfers decided to bring their “A” games to the course all on the same day. Scores averaged more than three strokes below what would have normally been expected. Forty percent of the field posted scores in the 70s on the Ambiente course. Some golfers played very well; others played better than that.
Ron Dobkin rode his well-earned 21 handicap in route to a gross 79, net 58. He was eleven strokes under his handicap. It was his best round in two years. Interestingly enough, the competition was so tough that Dobkin’s net 58 only got his team a tie for second place. Regardless, it was a spectacular effort.
Dr. Jack Summers took medalist honors with a fine one-under-par 71. Bob Ewing was another competitor carding a super round five strokes under his handicap. Seven of fifteen golfers shot below handicap. Statistically, a golfer normally shoots three strokes over handicap. I’m not sure what virus had infected the field, but if it could be bottled and sold, there would be an insatiable market.
It was indeed an unusual day. With only fifteen golfers, it’s notable there were twenty gross birdies. Every single hole on the front side yielded at least one birdie. The third hole gave up four of them. There were eleven net eagles and one net double-eagle. Ron Dobkin had a net one on the challenging ninth hole. More than eighty percent of the scores recorded were net pars or better. The average gross score was 82! If I were to pick one word to describe Wednesday’s play … Wow!
Everyone is back. Everyone survived, but not from a lack of effort. Great dining, super weather, outstanding golf and a party or two (or three or … ). Our trip to Puerto Peñasco was a wonderful event … actually a series of events.
We enjoyed golf at The Links at Las Palomas. The course was in good shape. The layout was interesting and fun. The views were awesome. Matt Flores brought his “A game” and carded a 66, but only because he missed a few putts that could have easily brought him a few strokes lower.
The following day, the group played the Jack Nicklaus designed course at La Vidanta. The course was in immaculate condition. It was an absolutely spectacular layout that offered some real tough golf. I must assume Jack was fighting with Mrs. Nicklaus when he was designing that course and redirected his anger toward us. Scores weren’t as low as they were the previous day, but the experience will not soon be forgotten.
The dining experiences were top notch with (obviously) some great Mexican food, super Italian, German breakfasts, and marvelous sea food. Rocky Point is a shrimping village and we made a serious dent in the fleet’s catch. How fresh were the oysters? We watched as the fisherman hauled them directly from the ocean and put them on our plates. That’s pretty fresh.
Here are a few images from the trip. Others will remain private unless the subjects miss a payment. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)
Camelback Golf Club’s Ladies Champion for 2015 is Gail Kennedy. She lit it up with a two day gross of 159 to capture the crown.
Diane Hunter won the Championship in the Low Net category. Her two day total was a scorching 136. It was a super event. A tip of the hat to Matt Person for coordinating another great Camelback Golf Club tournament.
Here are some pictures of the action. Clicking on any image will enlarge it and put you into the “slide show” mode. Clicking on the “x” in the upper left corner will close the slide show.
Brad Sinclair captured the 2015 Camelback Club Championship by firing a seven over par 151 over two days of great competition on two of the Valley’s finest courses. He shot 75 on the Ambiente course in Friday’s round and carded a 76 on the Padre course Saturday. He all but took ownership of the three pars winning three out of the eight possible “closest to the pin” contests. Dave Allen and Ross Yeo finished in a tie for second place.
Frank Bogacz took the overall low net championship shooting an eight under par 136 edging out John Elick by a single stroke. Doug Hunter finished two strokes back while Dave Towers ended the tournament three back. It was a tight, extremely competitive match and everyone (except Bogacz) could look back with the “if only that one putt would have fallen” memory. Alright, maybe not everyone. I’m thinking I would have been in great shape if only about fourteen more putts would have fallen.
The Camelback Golf Club team of professionals and all of their staff again proved they’re the best in the business. The tournament was run without a hitch. The food was fabulous and the wait staff turned in another all-star performance. My only regret is that I didn’t join Camelback years ago when I first came to the Valley of the Sun. A special thanks to Shiloh Hagey for his tireless efforts and outstanding performance.
Enjoy some pictures from the 2015 Club Championship. Rudi provided us with some great golf “expressions”. The riddle of the day is “Who is that Championship Flight playing from the bushes and behind the tree?” Thanks also to Liz McCarty for taking six hours out of her day to take some super photos.
Jeff Clark – premature smile?
Scott Schneider takes it to the hole.
Roland Eckert tends the pin.
John Elick – The envelope please.
Roland Eckert – the twist.
Dave Allen waits his turn.
Brad Sinclair makes the turn.
Rudi Barich – Apparently not the shot he had planned.
Phil Ortez follows the flight.
Scott Schneider waits his turn.
Championship Flight golfers aren’t supposed to be in this!
Dan Barlett’s second shot on #18 Padre.
Gene Anderson – no mulligans.
John Elick – for the want of but one stroke.
Ross Yeo looking for birdie.
Dave Towers goes after the green.
Sure, I’d grin too if I’d just finished second like Mr. Elick.
Dick Reid follows his putt.
Frank Bogacz holds the prize.
In the hole!
Scott Schneider successfully out of the trap.
Rudi takes it to the hole.
Scott Schneider from the #18 bunker.
Dick Reid follows through.
John Elick’s granddaughter celebrates with Grampa.
Dave Towers optimistically watches.
Pat Canavan watches the ball.
Frank Bogacz – expressive.
Sam – Just one of our champions.
Great staff – another perk for Camelback members.
Dan Bartlett – get in the hole.
Rudi – Had better days.
Jeff Clark strikes his putt.
Steve Finberg (I hope).
Dan Bartlett tries to change gravity after a shot on #18.
John Rae – played well.
Dave Allen champion’s form.
Ross Yeo – finished second.
Jeff Clark – Get in the hole you ####.
Ross Yeo – his day is done.
Towers takes the scenic route.
Hans Schuetz – fine form.
Dave Allen – Get in the hole.
Dan Bartlett – English is his first language.
Hans’ wins the award for “most charming”.
Hans Schuetz – follows through.
Ross Yeo bringing it home.
Howard Jones – still knows how to thrown the knuckler.
Shiloh passed out money to everyone but me?
The Champion – Brad Sinclair
Scott Schneider on #18 Padre.
Rudi’s working on something.
Frank Bogacz – Championship form.
Dick Reid with a long putt.
Dave Allen collects in winnings
Roland Eckert’s signature swing.
Bogacz – the form of the low net champion.
Everett Davis – “Go Baby Go!”
Frank Bogacz – low net champ with Brad Sinclair – low gross champ.