Just like the Masters, we played our 2nd Hootie tournament in less than six (6) months due to Covid. On the weekend on April 17-18, a group of 36 players from Cripple Creek competed over the beautiful creek course in almost perfect April weather. [You can read about the 2020 Hootie here and here.]
This year’s Hootie tournament, run by Mr. Robel’ and Striker Dewey, was a hybrid model. Day 1 featured individual net stableford play in 3 groups – White tee, White/Golf hybrid tees, and Gold tees – all based on handicap groupings. Day 2 featured better ball of partners where the spouses of the lowest 18 handicap players drew partners for their husbands from among the highest 18 handicap players.
Cripple Creek’s greens were fire this weekend. Kudos to Glen and his staff for double cutting and rolling our beautiful greens on Saturday and then cutting them again Sunday morning. Your Hack was paired with Ryan, Striker and Mr. Robel’ Day 1. After 37 putts for the round that included three, 3-putt displays, I ended up with only 25 points. Adding my handicap of 5 resulted in only 30 total Stableford points, tied with Mr. Robel’ in our foursome.
Overall, Group 1 (White Tees) was boat raced by the Silent Assassin, one Don Boteler with 33 total points. The Assassin has been on a strong run lately raking greenbacks from the pockets of other players in our group. Well done! The Senator placed 2nd with 31 points while Haines, Mr. Robel’ and your Hack split the paltry 3rd place prize.
Group 2 (White/Gold Hybrid) was won by Lefty Vallese with 37 points. Decker – who remains on handicap watch – placed 2nd with 36 points and Witmer took 3rd with 34 points. I’m happy to report that Decker has a new nickname – The Poet. Questions? Just Google “Mark Okey Decker“.
Group 3 (Gold Tees) was taken by the Big Dog with 36 points, while Doc and Ski took the place and show prizes with 35 and 32 points respectively.
We ended day one with 68 players and spouses gathering at the Club for drinks and dinner and the draw for Sunday’s partner matches. It was great to see everyone together at the club, even though we were separated into tables of 4 and not able to gather in the bar for drinks. As was indicated earlier, the lowest 18 handicaps were listed on the draw board and their spouses drew their Sunday partners names.
As you can see below, Mrs. Hack drew Hunsberger as my partner. I offered $100 to Tom if he would let his wife play in his stead, but the offer was rebuffed by Cynthia who demanded the money for herself. Sharper readers will recall that Hun the Handicap was Hack’s partner in the 2020 Hootie, where we came in 8th.
Sunday was an almost perfect day for golf. The wind stayed under 10 mph and the sun was out with temperatures into the mid-60’s. After my performance on and around the greens on Saturday, I spent my entire warmup on the putting green and an additional period on the chipping green getting used to the speed. No full swings at all.
The field was setup with three (3) groups on the 17th, 18th, and 1st tees for a shotgun start and we all knew we were in for a long day. Hun the Handicap and I were paired with Ramrod and the Big Dog as the first group off the 17th tee. All players were using the White/Gold Modified tees for the day which reduces the course to a little over 5600 yards. The day started ugly when I hit a drive left on 17 to about 210 from the green but in the first cut. Unfortunately, I ended up playing the wrong ball on my second shot which resulted in a 2 stroke penalty and I though I was out of the hole. When my partner then rinsed two (2) balls into the water, we decided to go back and play my original ball and see what happens. I hit my 3-hybrid onto the green about 40 feet above the front pin. If you know the 17th green, you’ll know the putt is faster than fast. I hit my putt about 5 feet and watched it slowly roll on a good line and creep to a stop about 18 inches from the cup. A tap in for a 6, net 5 and we were even par – lucky! But we had definitely missed a huge opportunity as a birdie or net eagle was available on that hole. In fact, the eventual winners made a 4, net 3 eagle on the hole gaining 2 shots on the field average of 5.
Hun the Handicap and I ended up have a great day shooting 66, but Ramrod and the Big Dog struggled to a 1 over par 72. The Hun made a great par, net birdie from the front bunker on #3, our 4th hole of the day. I added birdies on #8 and #10 and net birdies on #6, #14, and #18, but our card was hurt by bad bogeys on #5 (3-putt) and #11 (bad chip from fringe). Still, 5 under was strong given the toughness of the greens and we felt good as we waited for scores to be posted. We didn’t have to wait long . . .
Doc and the Poet turned out to be the overall winners. Starting on 18, Doc made 3 net birdies and a net eagle on his first 7 holes before calming down. Even though the team was 5 under at this point, I heard from his playing partners that the scowl never left his face. The Poet added a net birdie of his own on #9, but they’d made a couple of bogeys in the interim and followed with another bogey on #10. After just cruising for the next few holes, they came to the 16th tee (16 & 17 were their final 2 holes of the day) just 3 under par. The pin was back left and the Poet hit his shot to the front left of the green, sank the 45 footer for a net eagle. Not to be outdone, Doc made birdie, net eagle on 17, their final hole of the day. Yes, that’s right. These guys made 3 net eagles on the day, plus 5 net birdies and finished 7 under, 64 to take the 2021 Hootie. Well done fellas.
Here are the final standings for the teams in the money.
I added the chart above, because Mr. Robel’s chicken scratches in the picture below made it hard to follow what’s what on the leaderboard. Special shoutout to Hurricane and Cookie for their masterful 78 to finish DFL. The Councilman and Camp Master Browne also had a tough day as the only other team above par.
My special memory of the day was Lefty Vallese on #6. He was trying to hit his second shot near the fence surrounding the gray house on the right. The new owner’s dog was jumping up and down, barking at Lefty as he stubbed his shot right and over the fence into the dog’s yard OB. I was watching from the 5th fairways while we were waiting for the green to clear. It was awesome!
Everyone had a good time on the back patio while scores were posted and lies were told about about how well or how poorly we all played. It was the perfect ending to a great couple days.
Your Hack was disappointed by the format of the Hootie this year. I had lobbied hard for a 2-day individual Stableford format taking us back to the glory days of the early Hootie years. Most of the other events we typically play as a group are events with teammates – the Three Man Scramble, the Chowder and President’s Cups, etc. and I wanted the Hootie to go back to the days of individual play and thought the Stableford format would work better than strictly a net score. Over-ruled sir! We went with Day 1 Stableford and Day 2 Team Net Better Ball as described and had separate prize pools for each day. The result, smaller prizes overall and less reward for overall play for the two days. At least, we didn’t see an incredible blowout like last year.
With such a wide variety of handicaps from 0 to 20 something and players used to playing alternate tees, the organizers felt this was the best approach. I have to say that they did a fantastic job with the event overall. Everyone seemed happy over the two (2) days and that’s what’s important. It’s nice to see the old group and new additions together again.
Thank you Mr. Robel’ and the Striker for a fine job . . . .
The next Group event will not be until the Chowder Cup this Fall. In the interim, your Hack will continue to blog about his golf game, tournament events, and anything golf related that comes to mind. Keep it in the short grass!