Don’t Jump! Life Is Worth Living!

hangmans-nooseI 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.

I am a mathematician. To me, statistics have always been more exotic that any porn I’ve yet to see. Today’s statistics were true hard core. Here they are!

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At first glance, they are merely numbers, cold, hard, uncaring numbers. But look closer. Note the following …

The average “differential” was 11.0. “Big deal,” you say? Consider this; the average differential is normally on the order of 3.0 strokes. As a group, we were nearly four times the average today.

The average score was 91.1. With the handicaps carried by the group, the average score should have been roughly 85. The average was six strokes higher than expected!

Under normal circumstances, the average score to handicap is plus three, i.e., three strokes over the difference between course rating and gross score. Generally, about one in five golfers will shoot his handicap or better.

Here are the facts …

No one, not a single golfer shot better than four strokes over handicap today. One golfer (name withheld to protect the guilty) shot 24 strokes over handicap. Another was 19 over handicap.

Why did this happen? Because the course (Padre) was in a bad, very, very bad, mood. The greens were lightning fast, the fairways were as receptive as my first wife with a headache, the wind was constantly changing. I haven’t seen the golf gods this pissed off in years.

Now the up-side …

Everybody had to compete on the same course. If you had a bad day, so did everyone else. The field was level. Quitcherbichen.

Many moons ago – in my days of climbing the big mountains – I learned  that when the mountain’s in a bad mood, she’s not going to have any guests. On other days, she embraces even the novice climbers. Such is the case with a golf course. The Padre was not accepting guests today. If you survived, you did well.

There were some great shots hit out there today. In fact, on one hole (#2), I had six of them.

Wednesday’s another day. Suck it up. Play well. The field is level. If it’s tough for you, it’s tough for everyone. Oh my! I say that, but I’m going to quit golf altogether if I don’t do better, a lot better.

Kennedy’s Flourish Before Winter in Winnipeg

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Bob Kennedy kicks in a putt

After Wednesday’s torrid competition, it wasn’t surprising to see scores fall back into the statistically “normal” range, at least for most of the golfers that is. The big exception was Bob Kennedy. Bob recorded a net 63 with an outstanding round on the Camelback Ambiente course. Given his handicap, that’s a better than 200-to-1 odds round of golf. It really paid off in the day game, especially after his partner, Maddie Levy, posted a 10-to-1 odds round. They walked away with half the pot for winning the front side and then escaped with the other half of the pot by winning the back side by one stroke over Jack Summers and Jim Funk.

Speaking of Jack Summers, he continued to play with a hot hand with a one-over-par 73. When his handicap hits bottom, it will probably be the lowest he’s seen in ages.

Low Net

  1. 63 – Bob Kennedy
  2. 67 – Jack Summers
  3. 68 – David Harbour

Low Gross

  1. 73 – Jack Summers
  2. 81 – Maddie Levy
  3. 82 – Bob Kennedy and Howard Jones

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!

Cooler Weather – Hotter Golf

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Ron Dobkin – eleven below handicap

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.

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Dr. Jack Summer – gross 71

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.

Low Net

  1. 58 – Ron Dobkin
  2. 64 – Bob Ewing
  3. 65 – Jack Summers

Low Gross

  1. 71 – Jack Summer
  2. 72 – Matt Flores
  3. 76 – Mike Smothermon

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!

In the Spirit of the Season – the Gift of Camaraderie

Bob Sznewajs' team takes first place
Bob Sznewajs’ team takes first place

Camelback golfers teamed up with golfers from Gainey Ranch in a fun event Friday. The competitors played on the magnificent Ambiente course at Camelback Golf Club. Not only does Ambiente offer a spectacular Scottish links style course, it is in immaculate condition. Unquestionably, it’s the finest course in the area.

Van Ark wins low gross
Van Ark wins low gross

When the last man walked off the course, the team of Bob Sznewajs, Roland Brendel and Howard Jones had conquered the field. Playing a Modified Stableford format with the team’s best ball, they were exceptionally strong racking up 36 points. The team of Mark Van Ark, Pat Collins and Howard Garr played extremely well scoring 33 points. On any other day, that would have probably been good enough to easily beat the field. Ron Dobkin and David Harbour both played well, but didn’t get the support needed from their teams to climb to the top.

Low Gross

  1. Mark Van Ark – 76
  2. Roland Brendel – 78
  3. Howard Jones – 79

Low Net

  1. Howard Jones – 63
  2. Mark Van Ark – 66
  3. David Harbour – 69

Everyone finished with a smile. With absolutely perfect weather, a fabulous course and great company, it was a wonderful day to be in Scottsdale, Arizona. There were no snow shovels, no mukluks and no signs of frostbite. Some place better to tee it up? I can’t imagine where that would be.

Here’s a look at the “net scores” turned in on the day. We played from the forward tees (equivalent in slope and rating to the middle tees at Gainey) so the course was far gentler than it could have been.Stats20141219

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble . . .

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Ogrin speaks with the mortals while standing on water.

Men’s Day, one day before Thanksgiving:  If you were wondering who the turkeys were and your names are not Nichols or Ogrin, then look in the mirror.  On a day when the course beat up 95% of the field, the team of Mike Nichols, Bailey Ogrin and guests from the law firm of Caprio & Crown won a “no contest” verdict with a nine point thrashing of the rest of the field.  Not only did they eat our dinner, but most of the desert as well with Bailey gobbling up five skins, Nichols & Crown one each leaving two left overs for Vlah and Hourihan.

As for the mere mortals with team scores clustered between 130 & 135, they were only 9 points behind the winners at 121.

Continue reading “Gobble, Gobble, Gobble . . .”

Maybe Mantle Missed the Memo!

Mantle started strong and finished stronger
Mantle started strong and finished stronger

Jim Mantle was the only golfer to come close to shooting his handicap in the Pat Collins Men’s Day East event Wednesday on the South Course of Talking Stick. Mantle managed to card a round only three strokes over his handicap to capture low gross honors. Talking Stick brutalized everyone else in the field with lightning fast greens, nearly impossible pin placements and bad karma. A dozen players were more than ten strokes over their handicaps. Ken Vlah was twenty!

Nonetheless, it was a fun filled field where everyone was united in sharing their common miseries of sky high scores. Mantle teamed with Dennis Propp to capture first place in the team game. They beat Heard Broadrick and Howard Jones by four strokes. Laurence Rosen and Mike Forde fell one stroke back in third place. There were eight skins paid, two each to Jim Mantle and Howard Garr. Jim Speck, Scott Hull, Laurence Rosen and Mike Forde ran with the others. Continue reading “Maybe Mantle Missed the Memo!”

The Inferno Cup’s Beautiful Ending

King BaileyIt was a storybook ending. The young prince slayed all the dragons and ascended to the throne. Bailey Ogrin added another jewel to his golfing crown by winning the 2014 Inferno Cup. He came into the final day with a comfortable lead, but he didn’t let up on the field. He and his partner on the day, Anthony Arvidson, blistered the course to win the day’s event and earn another 340 points toward his crown. Ogrin carded two eagles in route to a nearly flawless 66. Arvidson did his share by shooting a 67. Together they put on a golfing display that will long be remembered. Bailey is a true gentleman and no one is a more fitting and deserving champion.

The other top eight finishers collected their envelopes after a wonderful season ending meal. Chef Jeff again proved his championship standing.

The other money winners finished in the top three in the “average points per event played” category. Anthony Arvidson finished in third place with 140.3 points per event. Skyler Irvine took second place with 142.8 points per event. He was unable to attend the banquet and seemed stunned with his win when I ran into him at The Coffee Bean this morning and shared the good news. The $500 first place went to Matt Bintzler with an average of 147.9 points per event. Continue reading “The Inferno Cup’s Beautiful Ending”