My #100HoleHike – The Recap

What a day at the Creek! As my friends at the DSGA said, “The #100HoleHike, has become the #100HolesHiked!”

Thanks to my readers, my golf buddies, my friends, and the members at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club, I raised just over $6,000 for Youth on Course, and the DSGA total surpassed $13,000. All of this money, 100% of it, will be used for subsidized golf course access to kids in our state. Awesome stuff.

We literally started the day in the dark. At 6AM, Andy Hewitt, Laura Heien and I rode out to #3 to begin our quest to play and walk 100 holes. My buddy, Glen (the Sheriff) Hudson drove one cart and acted as forecaddie for the day. Mark Glodowski, DSGA staffer and 100 Hole Hike participant at Bear Trap Dunes last month, rode with us and provided the social media content, including the Twitter post below – click the link to watch the launch (and turn up your volume).

Mark Announces the Start of our Hike

Using LED golf balls and glow sticks, we played the 3rd hole – a short par 3 of 130 yards – 15 times in the dark. It took me a while to get loose (remember my 66th birthday was on Sunday), but Andy started off hitting the green on his first shot. It was amazing how fast the greens were that early in the morning and in the dark. I found it hard to get going. Try hitting and putting in the dark and you’ll get the idea. It took me about 5 tries before I hit the green, but Andy made a few birdies and Laura almost holed one out – the ball stopped short about a foot from the pin.

Sometimes it was a Group Effort to Find our Balls when the LED Died

I have to say that the highlight of our start was the whole maintenance crew, led by Glen MacDonald, walking out from their equipment shed with flashlights to welcome us to the course. It was quite a site.

As you can see below, we worked hard to fix all of the ball marks on the green, even in the dark. I only wish all of our members and guests would be as concerned about leaving the course as they find it every day they play our gorgeous layout.

Andy Fixing a Ball Mark – Even in the Dark Fellas!

By 7:15, we had enough light to move on to the 4th hole and begin the hike in earnest. After trekking back and forth on #3 those 15 times, our shoes and socks were soaked – hard to see all the puddles that had developed with the rain the previous day and overnight. With no one on the course, we blitzed through the rest of the front nine. Also, our legs were still fresh and that helped the pace, even with a damp, soggy conditions.

At 7:48 we had completed 21 holes and started off #1. We cruised through the course and on the 18th hole we decided to play the back nine again, as all of the players on the course were still on the front nine. It was very energizing to be greeted by many of the members living on the course when we passed their homes – shoutouts from windows and doorways, and even applause from Mr. and Mrs. Dieste at 7:30AM from their back deck.

I wanted to give a special shoutout to my wife, Sue, for supporting me throughout this crazy effort. She was even on the back porch of our rental every time I passed #16 and even caught his early on.

Your Hack Still Feeling Loose Early On

At the midway point, I’d changed my socks and golf shoes once, lost only 1 ball and was actually feeling pretty good. I had a light walking bag and only carried a 3-wood, 3-hybrid, 5,7,9, irons, lob wedge and putter. We mixed things up teeing from the forward tees on some holes and were basically just walking up to the ball and hitting – not worrying about score, just hydration, food intake, and not collapsing. The pain was coming but we didn’t let that overshadow the moment.

Andy, Laura & I Celebrating the Halfway Point – 50 Holes

The DSGA was awesome documenting the Hike on their Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Laura Heien Walking and Talking the #100HoleHike

The course was starting to get more crowded and the Sheriff was busy, driving up to groups ahead and telling them what was happening. They always stood aside to let us through and it was much appreciated. We only had to play through less than 10 groups overall during the day, probably because of the overnight rain, wet conditions and the “cart path” only requirement in place for play that day. One group we went through came up to Mark in his cart and gave him a cash donation for the Hike – how about that!

As the day progressed, a bunch of my golf buddies came out to watch and give me some much needed support. Paul Dillion, Tim Hastings, Mark Decker, Don Antonucci, Mike Farrar, Steve Dewey, and Don Boteler – I really appreciate your guys coming out and cheering me on. If I forgot anyone, please accept my apology as I’m a little foggy on some of the details.

#14 – 75 Holes In

It was about this time – 75 holes in – that my legs and back really started to feel it. The combination of wet, soggy turf, walking close to 20 miles, and taking 300 or so swings was killing me. Still, we had 25 more holes to play and I couldn’t let the young ones show me up. Remember, I’m 66 and Andy and Laura are in their twenties.

We skipped 15 and 16 in the penultimate round because of traffic on the course, and moving directly to 17 and then the 18th would leave us exactly 18 holes to go. The final round was a blur to be honest. I lost another ball in the water (can’t remember which hole) and the bones (every single one in my body) were aching. Somehow, we made it and finished on 18 – my favorite hole at the Creek.

Putting Out on the 100th Hole!

Perhaps the best part of the long day was walking off #18 and seeing a bunch of my friends smiling and whooping it up. I then heard something shouted down from the patio behind the clubhouse. “What can I get you . . .” said Andy Beebe (F&B manager). If you know your Hack then you know the answer.

And so it was complete at 5:40PM – 100 holes, 50,000 steps, 2 lost balls, 26.3 miles, and $6,000 raised for a great cause. Thank you again everyone.

[Today is a day of rest for your Hack. I had to get up every 10 minutes or so while working on this post to walk around and prevent even more stiffness in my legs and back. I’m back at it tomorrow with the Contractors for a Cause golf tournament at Ocean City Golf Club. Hope I make it through!]


My #100HoleHike – Realtime Updates

5:40 PM. We just finished our 100th hole. Done, we did it! Almost 12 hours later, 50,000+ steps and a 24 mile walk. That’s a lot of walking. My feet still hurt.

10:50. Just finished our 45th hole and the legs are getting tired. Nothing worse than bogey yet so that’s something.

8:45we are playing our 29th hole. Going strong and almost 1/3 complete

7:10 am – on our 17th hole- finally have some light. We played #3 15 times in the dark

4:45 AM: It’s go time. Having a cup of coffee and hoping the course is not closed because of the rain yesterday and overnight. Heading to the club in an hour.

October 25, 2020 –

My 100 Hole Hike starts tomorrow at 6:00 AM at Cripple Creek. Together we’ve raised $5,785 for Youth on Course. If you would like to add to the total – click here: Jeff’s 100 Hole Hike

I’ll be joined by Laura Heien, Executive Director of the DSGA, and Andy Hewitt, UMES PGA School student and Assistant Pro at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club. I’ll be live blogging during the day tomorrow and I hope you’ll follow along.


Your Hack Wins The Double

Storming to the front of the pack with ugly bogeys on the last 2 holes, your Retired Golf Hack and his partner – Glenn (the Sheriff) Hudson- shot 74 to win the Closing Day Member Member Tournament at Cripple Creek. For those of you with good memories, you will recall that the Opening Day Member Member Tournament back in June of this year was won with a 70, posted by Harry Steele and myself. It doesn’t seem to matter who partners with your Hack does it?

Seriously, we had a beautiful day yesterday for the official closing day tournament at the club. The course was in great shape about 5 weeks after the Fall aeration and the greens were running fast. We had 104 players this year, the largest group ever according to our Head Pro, so we had a full tee sheet starting on both #1 and #10. Unfortunately, the size of the field and the difficulty of the course led to a 5 hour and 10 minute round – it was ugly out there.

Andy was the 10th tee Starter and Lunch Order Taker

Here’s how the tournament played – holes #1-6 were better ball of partners, holes #7-12 were alternate shot, and holes #13-18 were a scramble. The field had a Men’s and Women’s Division, further divided into flights based on team handicap. Technically, this is a Net Score tournament, but your Hack doesn’t play for Net prizes as you know. The Sheriff and I were in it to win the low gross score.

We started on #10 and had to play alternate shot right out of the shoot – you know – “never say you’re sorry golf”. I have to admit that I almost said “sorry” to my partner on the 10th green when I gunned our birdie putt about 8 feet past the hole – did I mention the greens were rolling pretty good? The Sheriff missed the comeback putt and just like that we were 1 over after the first hole of the day.

Paul Dillon (right) and Mark Decker filled out our foursome

Fortunately, we settled down making easy pars on #12 and #13 – missing 15 and 12 foot birdies putts respectively – before abruptly shifting to the scramble portion of the match after only 3 holes. The Sheriff and I both hit the ball well during the the scramble, but couldn’t make any putts when we had birdie chances and couldn’t get the ball close enough to the hole when we had great opportunities. Rather than going low, we cruised through the 6 hole scramble making 5 pars in a row, leaving a couple of putts on the edge of the cup. Unfortunately, we made an ugly bogey on #18 after both of us missed the green left from 155 yards. Back nine complete – 2 over par.

Only slightly frustrated by our seeming inability to make birdie putts, we crossed over the hole #1 and started the better ball portion of the match. The Sheriff just missed the green from the right rough leaving a tricky putt, downhill and curling to the pin. I hit a sand wedge to 8 feet and was ready to get back the ugly bogey from the previous hole. After grazing the right edge and tapping in for par, I guess that in hindsight I wasn’t ready.

After I made a good up and down for par on #2, the Sheriff made a terrific birdie on #3 to get us back to 1 over. On the par 5, 4th hole my drive ended up only 188 yards from the pin in the left rough. My partner was in good shape in the fairway, but hit is second shot left into the pine straw short of the green. I tried to run a 5 iron up the front entrance to the green, but tugged it left about 5 yards and it stopped in the rough about 10 feet short of the green. My chip went a little long and I had 8 feet down the hill for birdie which I promptly missed-it never touched the cup. Two more pars on holes #5 and #6 and we ended the better ball session 1 under, making our score 1 over par overall.

The last 3 holes would conclude our alternate shot session and our goal was to make just one more birdie to get to even par 71 for the tournament. Like most of my goals, it was nice but unachievable. My partner hit a beautiful 7 iron about 15 feet below the hole on the par 3 – 7th hole. My putt dried up 6 inches short and left of the hole. Then the fun began. My drive on #8 was in the left rough leaving my partner with a downhill 9 iron to the green from a sketchy lie. The ball came out squirting right and ended up in the gnarly rough just off the right of the green. I chipped to about 6 feet, but Glenn missed both the hole and the putt – bogey.

On the tee of the final hole of the day (#9), we sat 2 over par and had the feeling we might lose this thing. Pumped up after a short pep talk about just finding the fairway with the drive and I would hit it close, the Sheriff took a mighty swing with the driver and smashed a wipey fade into the right rough. When we got there, I walked out to the fairway and say the yardage marker saying 185 middle. My partner shot the pin with his laser and said “197 pin”. Now, I always stick to my yardages by sight, aided by on course markers. This is from my caddie days and I’ve never used a range finder. Unfortunately, I didn’t stand fast at this moment and two things happened, neither of them good. One, I went back to bag and pulled my hybrid rather than the original 5 iron. Second, I hit the ball just right of the green and it careened off the cart path and ended up 30-40 yards past the green.

The Sheriff – Glenn Hudson in white. My Partner.

Bogey! Yes, we bogeyed the final 2 holes and ended the tournament with a 74. Happily, the rest of the field was worse and we ended the day with the lowest score. Like I said in the beginning, in reality this is a low net tournament as far as the Club is concerned so I wanted to pass along my congratulations to the Low Net winners – the brother’s Donnelly. Jimmy & Joe shot a net 67 as only a couple of sandbaggers from Columbia Country Club can do. Well done boys!

Real congratulations go to Natalie Wisniewski and Jean Otter for winning the Women’s Division with a 76. Natalie and Jean also won the Opening Day Member Member tournament, just like your Hack.

Remember, my 100 Hole Hike is tomorrow. I’m playing and walking 100 holes at Cripple Creek and raising money for Youth on Course. If you are around the Creek, we start at 6AM on the 3rd tee. Definitely going to need my LED golf balls at that hour. I’ll be live blogging all day – stay tuned.


Stuck In A Rut

Sometimes golf can take you to unbelievable highs, but mostly it knee-caps you off that higher precipice. You can make 2 or 3 birdies in a row and be sitting in the fairway with wedge in your hand, licking your chops, and then walk off the green with a double. That’s GOLF as a friend of mine would say. That’s a recurring nightmare I would say.

Lately however, I seem to be stuck in a rut. I’ve played eight (8) times in October and shot between 76 and 79 six (6) times. I did shoot 74 mid-month, but also posted an 81. I guess the range is reasonable given my current index of 5.0, but I can look back on every round and see where I’ve gotten things going only to be knocked down a peg by an untimely double, a 3-putt, or a big right miss OB. Gotta clean that up.

Today is our Closing Day (officially) Member/Member Tournament at Cripple Creek. I’ll post a write-up tomorrow, but let’s talk about yesterday’s round. We had 16 guys in our group for our regular Friday afternoon match. I was teamed with Nooch, Mr. Robel’, and the Sheriff (Glenn Hudson) and we were playing 1 gross/2 net team score against the other 3 groups. Somewhere around even to 2-under is a good score in this game.

We finished the front 2-under and felt reasonably happy with our position. Mr. Robel’ and I both shot 37 on the front, Nooch had his typical issues with our lush rough and the Sheriff was steady. On the back nine, Nooch began hitting fairways with a passion and the Sheriff decided that his putter really did work as intended. While Mr. Robel & I added a birdie here and there, our other partners provided the sauce and we ended the round 6-under – good enough to beat the field and take the money. The other teams ended at 2-under, 2-over and 10-over.

I posted another 78 which featured 2 birdies, 2 vicious lip-out birdie puts, and a chip-in on 18. Unfortunately, it also featured 2 missed four footers, a 3 put, and 2 balls blown way right into hazards. The driver remains an issue as I only hit 3 fairways. However, 30 putts were better than my “normal” 34-36 putts per round.

As I said earlier, the Closing Day Member/Member Tournament is today. The Sheriff is my partner and we lost by one last year. This year will be different I think. I’m planning to hit 3-wood off more tees to find the fairway – we’ll see how it goes.

Watch for a tournament summary tomorrow and note that I will be blogging during my 100 Hole Hike on Monday – stay tuned.


Playing Golf With This Guy

Because the Cripple Creek clubhouse was closed over the weekend due to an employee testing positive for Covid-19, only 4 of use showed up to play on Sunday. The clubhouse has been professionally cleaned and employees tested, but the staff was not working. Walking only, no carts and no club pull-carts. Planning for my 100 Hole Hike, I only carried 8 clubs and left the driver at home. If I’m going to walk 100 holes playing golf, I need to lighten the load as they say.

On the first tee, we decided to play a better ball Nassau match, Dr. Gerard and myself against Fran and Steve. Unfortunately on the first tee, I also lost the match. Fran hadn’t played in a month and I agreed to give him 6 shots – oops! Steve got 5 and Dr. Gerard got 7 shots.

Off we went with zero warmup as there were no practice balls on the range. My partner and I bogeyed the first two holes and were lucky to remain even. Over the next four holes, Steve was everywhere on the planet. He’s just come back from 4 days down south at golf school and he’s a poor student. He told us he couldn’t “just concentrate on one swing thought.” I parred the next 4 holes and we were one down, as Fran made a series of pars and bogey/net pars and on #6 made a 4 net 3 to win the hole against my par. Dr. Gerard and Steve were both struggling, leaving me to hold off Fran who’d evidently found his game after a month off.

I won 8 with a par to bring the match back even, but 3-putted the 9th for bogey to lose the front – 1 down. After making what I think was his first par of the day on #10, Steve looked me in the eye and said something about a 36 coming on the back to go with the 45 he shot on the front. Sure Steve, you do that all the time. Although, with his music blasting from the iPhone in his back pocket, I might have not heard him right.

Well, I was wrong again as he ground out 4 pars in a row to match me and the back nine remained even through #13. My partner was also beginning to come alive and he won the 14th hole when I made a mess with a double. That put us 1 up on the back and even on the overall match. A win on 15 with a par, put us 2 up and even on the first press of the day.

Hole 16 is a tough par 3, long and into the wind on Sunday. Steve hit is drive into the front left bunker (the pin was back) and his partner yanked a shot left into the water – out of the hole. My partner was short right, while I hit a 3 hybrid through the wind onto the middle of the green. Dr. Gerard hit his chip a little too hard and ended up 20 feet beyond the pin, while Steve hit a really good bunker shot to about 8 feet – I guess he found his swing thought on the back 9! I rolled my birdie putt about 4 1/2 feet beyond the cup and my partner – who was getting a stroke on the hole, missed his par net birdie attempt. Steve calmly, well as calmly as Steve can act, knocked in his bending 8 footer for a great sandy par. Both my partner and I made, so the matched remained 2 and 0 on the back.

Everyone, except your Golf Hack, stroked on 17 and 18 which are the hardest holes on the course (#1 and #3 rated holes). Hole 17 is a long par 4 with the approach shot over water. I hit the green in regulation and was about 25 feet below the cup for birdie. My partner hit two into the drink and was out of the hole, while our opponents were both on in regulation and would surely make a 5, net 4. I hit my birdie putt at full ramming speed – luckily it hit the flagstick dead square and dropped in for birdie. My partner and I remained 2 up and even on the back.

As you might have guess, the scenario was similar on #18 – everyone stroked except me. I hit my 3 wood in the middle of the fairway and was 182 from the front flag. My 5-iron was right at the pin, but hit “a groove low” as they say and ended up about 2 to 3 yards short of the green. Our opponents made bogey, net par, while I make a poor chip and then missed an 8 footer over the left edge of the hole.

The overall result, we lost the front, won the back, tied the overall and lost the press 1 down – $10 out of my Venmo account to Steve and a reminder that he’s just a better gambler than I am.

(Steve, Dave and I at Casa in 2019)

Steve wasn’t right about shooting 36 on the back nine, but he was close enough. The whole round was classic. After a miserable front nine, he found his game and gave me fits on the back. He picked the right partner on the first tee and Fran won the front and kept them in the match. It’s one of the reasons I love playing golf with this guy. He’s got a big heart.

As I said at the beginning, I left driver home. Using my 3 wood, I hit 64% of my fairways and the “big right miss” was nowhere to be found. Although I hit 56% of green, I had 35 putts and ended the day shooting 77. A double bogey, 5 bogeys and only one birdie – 6 over.


Playing Golf With A Bum

My Pal Bumly (last winter)

I played a round of golf with a Bum yesterday, more specifically “Bumly”. Mike is referred to at the club by various nicknames – Bumly, Judge, The Atomic Bum, The Atomic Judge, or simply Bum.

A retired administrative judge for the NRC, Bumly used to play the game fairly well. A single digit handicap in the early days of the “Group”, time has shorted both his length and attention span. At 80 years of age, our Bum now carries a 17 handicap playing from the Gold (senior) Tees. Playing with him as a partner is always interesting and fun. We paired together in the recent Chowder Cup alternate shot match last Saturday afternoon and were able to barely obtain a tied match after a parade of snipped drives, missed short putts, and approach shots that always seemed to come up short.

Somewhat depressed by his self-perceived sub-par performance, Mike wanted to partner up again yesterday and take on Cookie and the Mister Robel’ in a 2 point match – one point for the better ball each hole and one point for the lowest team total. As befit his cheapskate image, our Bum was attired in a 2002 Chowder Cup vest and proudly announced the stakes at $5.

While he may not be much of a strategic partner in a match, Mike is a truly authentic and genuine person. But, as we like to say on the practice tee, he has a big brain, but there’s not always a lot between the ears. Poor Mike takes quite a bit of good natured “abuse” from our golf group, but he takes it well and is quite often quick with a response that can strike the heart of the matter with precision.

Graduating at the top of his class from Notre Dame law school, our Bum is very intelligent. I like this because he counts my dual Chemistry/Philosophy major wife -Susan – as one of his few friends that can hold up her side of a conversation with him. Mike adores Susan, which makes me very happy. He is also the kind of person that will go out of his way help anyone in need, showing a high level of empathy toward others. I like that as well.

The Bum started our match with a heeled drive that carried at least 75 yards. He uses a white ball on the 1st and 9th tees because these holes straddle the practice area, which is commonly filled with his preferred yellow colored golf ball. It was a good thing, because his drive ended in a spot in the thick left rough surrounded by at lest 15 yellow practice balls. He then proceeded to top a 3 wood about 30 more yards, before floating another shot that landed, and stopped, about 30 yards short of the green. Ultimately, he got up and down for Bogey which allowed us to tie the total score.

Unfortunately, that terrific chip and one putt, was not an indicator of his future play as my partner. Luckily, our opponents played worse on the front nine and we ended up taking the match – a heady $5 for my piggybank. Cookie was so disgusted by his poor play, that he went home halfway through the 10th hole, ending the team match.

Unburdened by the weight of carrying his partner for 9 holes, Mr. Robel’ decided to go on a heater, birding 10 with a downhill 10 footer and then birdieing 11 with a chip in from the fringe. After missing 2 makable birdie opportunities on 13 and 14, and a bogey on the tough par 3 16th hole, Robel’ birdied 17 and finished the front nine with a sterling 35 – 1 under par.

Unfortunately, it was paired with a 43 from the front nine and resulted in $0 in winnings for the man who always cashes in our Group games. Your Retired Golf Hack was his usual 3 over par through 13 holes and then proceeded to bogey 14, 15, and 16 and then blow his drive out of bounds on 18. The resulting double bogey 6 ended the round at 79. Two double bogeys, 35 putts, 10 GIR and only 9 fairways hit. I couldn’t expect anything more these days.

A final note: 1 or 2 employees at the Club tested positive for Covid and the clubhouse is now closed through Sunday for a professional cleaning and employee testing. No carts will be available for the next fews days, but the course will be open for walking only. We are rained out today, but have a game planned Sunday – wonder how many of the guys will show.


The 2020 Chowder Cup

Hurricane Delta threatened to cut short the Sunday singles session, but we got it in! The weather was actually great – calm winds and moderate temperatures – which lead to some strong play. The forecasted rains did not arrive until after play was completed. By then, players and spouses were enjoying the awards dinner.

Let’s get something out of the way first. Congratulations to Mike Cummings who is the Mens Senior Net Champion Golfer Of The Year for 2020 as a result of his stellar play this past summer in the Senior Club Championship. (He also won 3 points for my team in the Chowder Cup – thanks Mike.) The ridiculous trophy, complete with netting, was presented to Cummings today by the 2019 MSNCGOTY, one Mike Robel. Congrats Mike and well deserved.

Mike Cummings – happy with his new trophy. Standing with Paul Dillon, the real Senior Club Champion in 2020

Back to the ChowderCup. The Red Team, captained by Tom Fallon and Mike Robel, jumped out quickly in the Scramble Session 4 1/2 to 3 1/2. OT Gibbons and I halved our match, while Cummings/Donnelly and Statter/Decker both pulled out victories for my White Team. My guys came back in the Better Ball session, winning 5 points to 3. Our session victory was highlighted by OT making 3 birdies in a row on 11, 12, and 13 en route to a 4 and 3 victory over Dewey & Dillon. Robel/Hudson and Sunderlin/Valesse added victory points for the Red team, but were offset by victories from Varasco/Farrar, Boteler/Benson, and Statter/Decker for my White Team.

RedPaul Dillon5
WhiteOT Gibbons0
RedSteve Dewey7
WhiteJeff Baxter (Captain)5
RedMike Robel (Asst. Captain)9
WhiteMike Cummings8
RedGlen Hudson9
WhiteJimmy Donnelly10
RedNick Stanisic9
WhiteDon Boteler10
RedDoug (Councilman) Hudson12
WhiteMatt Bensen11
RedTom Fallon (Captain)13
WhiteMark Decker14
RedTim Hastings13
WhiteSimon Statter (Asst. Captain)15
RedDrew Sunderlin14
WhiteDon Dzedzy14
RedFrank Vallese15
WhiteMark Browne15
RedNeil Leary16
WhiteHarry Stokes17
RedJoe Donnelly18
WhiteDoug (Condo) Hudson18
RedMike Sasada20
WhitePaul Schaffran19
RedFrank Miranda20
WhiteTom Hunsberger26
RedDick Moore13
WhiteRandy Varesco14
RedClaude Bernier17
WhiteMike Farrar16
2020 Chowder Cup Roster

My Team White held a slim 13 to 11 point lead at the conclusion of play Saturday, winning 2 of the 3 sessions. Pairings were made for Sunday Singles and we hoped we’d get it in before the weather arrived.

The Sunday matches started at 9AM with my Assistant Captain, Simon Statter, playing Tim Hastings and Don Dzedy playing the Red Team Captain, Tom Fallon. Both Simon and Don were victorious. Simon played strong – 5 up after the front 9. My match was 2nd off. Paul Dillon, our current Senior Club Champion shot 1 under on the front to have me 1 down after I missed a 4 foot birdie putt on 9. Unfortunately for me, Paul continued his stellar play and was 2 under par when he closed me out on 15. I was 2 over. My partner, OT Gibbons, beat Steve Dewey with a combination of long drives and steady putting. Steve put up a good fight, but was closed out on 15 as well.

Mike Cummings and Don Boteler both added victory points for the White Team and played great over both days. Mike added 3 points to our White Team total and Don added 3 1/2 – congrats to both. They were my players of the Cup for sure.

On the Red Team side, Mike Robel played exceptionally well defeating Jimmy Donnelly. Glen Hudson held off Matt Benson while Drew Sunderlin, Frank Valesse, Niel Leary, Mike Sasada and Joe Donnelly each added needed victories for the Red Team.

In our Gold tee grouping, both of my guys – Mike Farrar and Randy Varesco defeated their opponents to keep us in the overall match.

The final match of the day pitted Tom Hunsberger (White) against Frank Miranda (Red). We held a small – lead 20 points to 19 points – as this match entered the 17 hole with Tom 2up. Frank won 17 to narrow the margin. After both players made a mess on 18 and were each lying 5 just off the green, Frank magnanimously offer a “good-good?” to Tom. Of course, Tom accepted and my White Team won the 2020 Chowder Cup 21 points to 19 points for the Red.

Congratulations to all the players and especially to Tom Fallon and Mike Robel, captain and assistant caption of the Red Team. Special thanks to my assistant captain, Simon Stater, who helped guide our selection strategy and pairings which resulted in our ultimate victory.

And so ends the 2020 Chowder Cup. We are all looking forward to playing The Hootie, the final major of 2020, which will be held November 7-8, the weekend prior to this year’s Masters.

Read a history of The Hootie by clicking here


The Chowder Cup Primer

The 2020 Chowder Cup at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club starts tomorrow (Saturday) morning. I thought a brief review of the original match would be of interest to all.

Lary Larson, “the Commish”, and I created the Chowder Cup in 2002 as one of the “majors” for The Group at Cripple Creek. The other two (2) are the Closed and The Hootie (click here for a short history of The Hootie). We missed The Closed this year because of COVID-19 and The Hootie will be contested this year the weekend prior to the Masters.

The Chowder Cup was envisioned as a Ryder Cup style tournament pitting two (2) teams of Hack golfers against each other. We struggled through alternate shot and better ball matches, followed by Sunday singles matches to determine the winner of the non-existent “cup”. We alternate the Cup, matching the Chowder Cup against the year the Ryder Cup is played and the Peasant’s Cup opposite the President’s Cup. The Ryder Cup was scheduled for this year, but ultimately postponed. We’ll have to see what we do next year.

The original Chowder Cup in 2002 featured 28 players. The Corn (Chowder) Team was captained by the infamous Chris Nacrelli and featured appearances by professionals Bob Crowther and Mark Kopp. The Clam (Chowder) Team was captained by your Retired Golf Hack and featured the pros, Sean Fishbeck (may he rest in peace) and Eddie Quick. The full team rosters are shown below, nicknames included.

Inaugural Chowder Cup Teams

I was fortunate enough to captain a team with character disorders galore, including the Dog, Doc and Gonzo, so I rightfully was awarded an outright victory based on their awesome play. We were men back in the day and played 18 holes of Better Ball, followed by 18 holes of Alternate Shot on Day 1. Day 2 featured the 18 hole Singles matches. Sadly, 18 years have passed and there are few of us left, both physically and as members of the Creek.

The current version of the Chowder Cup has been watered down to 9 holes of Better Ball, 9 holes of Alternate Shote, and 9 holes of Scramble on Day 1. The full 18 hole Singles matches remain a fixture (thank goodness!). It is interesting to note that the 2020 version of the Chowder Cup include only 4 members of the original match – Mike Cummings, Mike (Bumley) Farrar, Claude (The Frog) Bernier and Jeff (Retired Golf Hack) Baxter.

Captain’s Prize 2002

I’m proud to Captain a team for the 7th or 8th time over the past 18 years. We no longer name the “chowder” we are playing for . . . we use colors. I captain the White Team and my opponent, Tom Fallon, captains the Red Team. Shirt colors are much easier with white and red compared to corn and clam. We completed our team draws last Wednesday and the matches are all set. 32 players this year and I’m proud that both Mike Cummings and Bumly from the original group are on my team. I’m even partnering with Mr. Farrar in the Alternate Shot game on Day 1. The Frog is on the Red Team this year, but I wish him the best regardless.

Looking forward to a fun and competitive weekend, I’ll be updating the blog with results as we play, and I hope you all found this reminiscence of some value.

Keep it in the short grass.


My 100 Hole Hike

It’s been a while since I updated the blog . . . so here goes.

For the last couple of years, I’ve played “marathon” golf on my birthday. For example, I turned 65 last year on October 25th and played 65 holes at my club – Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club. It was a blast and our pro, Brian Trout, and superintendent, Glen MacDonald, went out of their way to let me enjoy the full experience.

My Birthday Cart – 2019

This year, I decided to change things up a little. Well maybe a lot, to be honest.

With the support of Cripple Creek and the Delaware State Golf Association (DSGA), I’m going to play (walking) 100 holes of golf from dawn to dusk to raise money for Youth on Course (YOC). This is called the 100 Hole Hike and I’m attempting to raise $5,000 for YOC. Team Delaware has four (4) participants and has raised a little over $10,000 currently, including the contributions to my Hike. Two (2) of our members completed their Hike at Bear Trap Dunes in late September.

Why is Youth on Course important? Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, YOC is providing a much needed boost to young people across the country. Golf is one of the few sports kids can safely play–and they are really playing. Subsidized rounds are up 65% compared to the same date last year (more than 270,000 rounds so far this year!) and membership is up 55% to over 98,000 boys and girls. Now in its 14th year, YOC serves over 98,000 youth members by providing them subsidized rounds of golf for $5 or less at more than 1,400 facilities, meaningful employment opportunities as caddies and interns, and access to college scholarships.

The big question is how to do this? I’ve been walking for exercise for the past year – losing 50 pounds in the process – and currently walk 4 to 5 miles daily, 6 days a week. I also walk when I play golf about 95% of the time. So physically, I think I’m good.

Daylight is my concern. I’m planning to start at 6AM on the 26th and go for at least 12 hours. That means I have 720 minutes to pay 100 holes – about 7 minutes per hole. Can I do it? Let me know what you think . . . .

If you are interested in making a donation toward my 100 Hole Hike, click on the link below. And, thank you for all the support.

Donate to the Retired Golf Hack’s 100 Hole Hike


A Love Letter to Golf

One of my favorite golf “follows” on YouTube is Erik Anders Lang. Erik only started playing golf 7 or 8 years ago, but it’s changed his life. Funny thing is . . . his approach to golf and his videos have changed mine. I’ve been playing golf for about 56 years and this young man, through his filmmaking, has helped me appreciate something I love even more. And, I hope he’s making me a better person.

Here is my favorite video – Dear Golf, I Love You. He just published it yesterday on his EAL channel on YouTube. It’ll only take a few minutes to watch.

This next, shorter video Is a great watch before your next round of golf. Enjoy and think about it.

Let me know what you think and subscribe to Erik’s YouTube channel for more great content.