This is the story of a few guys that decided to build a golf course. Here’s how they put it:
“Some Guy’s Backyard believes golf can be fun, free, and approachable. We want to take back what the American Country Club model took away from golf. To prove it’s possible, we are building a golf course in the backyard called Brough Creek National. Using only the resources the golfing community can muster, we are building the most fun short golf course we can. If you want to help our project along, we will give you a lifetime membership in exchange for your efforts – however big or small. Follow along as we build Brough Creek National. By the community, for the community. The grass is browner over here.”
Here are the four (4) guys behind Brough (sounds like “rough”) Creek National.
After raising money and putting in a couple of years of hard work, the course opened in 2020. The video below shows the whole course. What an exceptional job.
You can learn more about Rough Creek National at their website, which includes information on how to support the home grown course and has videos of the construction process, tournaments they have held, and even the first hole in one. Enjoy.
Our incredible run of great November weather continued yesterday at the Creek. Eight players, 80% handicaps, better ball two man teams selected by a blind draw at the end was the game. The Sheriff, Mr. Robel’, Boteler and Dewey were in the first group out. Always looking for a little action, the Sheriff brought his “Lucky 7” poker chips and reintroduced this fun betting game to his foursome. Our pal Nooch, currently in Florida for the winter, had schooled us on the game earlier in the season.
Lucky 7 is a betting game where players earn poker chips for specific positive and negative shots. Each chip has an agreed upon dollar value. Positive shots can be one putts, birdies, etc. while negative shots can be triple bogeys, balls out of bounds (OB), 3-putts, etc. Official rules can be found here: LUCKY 7 GOLF BETTING
Our boys had a good laugh at the end when adding up the positive and negative chips and found that they had all pushed – no money changed hands. Sorta like kissing your sister.
The second group out was your Hack, “Senator” Cummings, Hagen and Jimmy D. – who for some reason is nicknamed “Trust Fund”. Your Hack will have to investigate this and report back.
Given the make-up of our foursome, Wolf was the game of choice. $5 Wolf, increasing to $10 from #16 on, when the biggest loser becomes the Wolf. You’ve hear me describe Wolf in previous posts so you can search the archives for previous game descriptions. My hope is that I can convince the guys to play the “most dangerous” version – WOLF HAMMER. Check it out below.
The Senator (see below) and Jimmy D. drew first blood on #4 after Hagen and I doubled the bet and proceeded to both 3-putt the par 5 for bogeys. Steve and I were again partners on #5 and we able to claw back a little when Steve made a nice putt for par to salvage a win after I made my 2nd 3-putt in a row. Jimmy D. and I were partners on the 6th hole and doubled after both of us hit the green. Steve was behind the trees on the right and the Senator in the hazard – they both had to chip out.
The front 9 ended on a tough note for your Hack. After hitting the green in regulation, I doubled the bet. Rolling my first putt about 3 feet beyond the hole, I watched Steve make his par and announce “Triple“. No problem, I had an easy tap in for par to halve. You can guess what I did – yep, missed it. My partner was the Senator and he was a little shaken. I would have been shaken as well if I shot 48 on the front and was down $25 after 9 holes.
With only a little back and forth to begin the front, which included yet another 2, 3-putts from your Hack, we came to #14. I was the Wolf and heeled a driver into the marsh. Only Hagen stroked so I was not in good shape. I picked Steve as my partner after he laced a beautiful drive into the middle of the fairway, but he elected to “go Wolf”. A bold, but ultimately fatal move. After a solid 2nd shot, Steve was about 140 yards out and proceeded to skull a wedge or 9 iron into the shit. “Triple!” we announced and he conceded the hole, dropping $10 to each of his opponents.
The tees were up on #15 and I was able to drive the green, although the ball rolled through onto the right fringe, pin high. I elected not to go Wolf after watching Hagen get trashed on the previous hole and based on my poor chipping and putting performance over the prior 14 holes. True to form, I chunked the chip onto the green and missed my longish birdie putt and the hole was halved.
So we came to the 16th tee with the Senator as the biggest loser and Jimmy D. leading the pack. I was even and Steve was only down a little. The Senator announced a $10 bet and choose Jimmy D. as his partner after my shot landed on the bank of the left bunker and Jimmy’s landed on the green. Steve then stroked a beautiful iron shot onto the proper level of the green, pin high. Our opponents had doubled prior to Steve’s shot. It looked to be a push after I chipped up to 3 feet and made (unbelievably) my sliding downhill put for par. Jimmy D. had a similar downhill put, but we safely tripled the bet – no blood if he makes. Unfortunately, his putt slid out of the hole, putting Hagen and I in the lead and killing the Senator’s chances of buying the next election. It was about to get worse however.
Another $10 bet from Mike on the 17th tee and he chose Hagen as his partner, after Jimmy D.’s tee shot landed in the left bunker. Their double bet off the tee looked good as we approached the green. Until, the Senator sliced his approach into the water and Hagen topped his wedge about 30 feet and then proceeded to dribble it onto the bank of the hazard. Jimmy and I tripled the bet at that point and the Senator conceded after looking back to see his partner try this . . .
I attempted to film Steve’s shot, but was evidently in his line of “expected” flight. As I was moving to a better position he slashed and splashed the ball and I missed it! Anyway, we moved onto the final hole with your Hack in a comfortable lead and the Senator in pain. Hagen and Jimmy D. were both slightly positive for the day.
On the 18th tee, the Senator attempted to stop the hemorrhage by upping the initial bet to $20 for the hole. We all agreed and watched him knock it into the trees on the right. Jimmy also hit a weak fade into the right rough, while I hit my best drive of the day to the left side of the fairway, about 170 from the green. Mike couldn’t pick me as a partner on this hole because I didn’t get a stroke, while Hagen did. Luckily, Steve hit a nice drive into the left rough and had a chance to reach the green.
No one hit the green, but Mike placed a nice approach to about 12 feet for a par and the win (the bet had been doubled). Here’s what happened.
Sad, but true. The Senator, obviously worn down by a long day trying to break 90, hit his mark but left it short. That left my partner – the so-called “Trust Fund” – a 3 foot putt to halve the hole. He made.
Heading onto the back patio to do the blind draw and shout out skins for the day, I was struck once again how you can sometimes play poorly and still come out on top in a Wolf Game. I had 6, 3-putts over the course of the day and was lucky enough to make some good shots when needed and have great partners when it mattered. It’s a fun game.
No skins for your Hack and my draw and I came in last among the four teams. Congrats to the Sheriff and Dewey to 1st place in the blind draw.
A new week is starting and I hope you have good weather to play and that you keep it in the short grass. I’ll be working on my putting.
It was a team game on Friday at the Creek and the Hack’s bunch leaked oil all day before the engine completely seized up on the back nine. The game was one low net/one low gross each hole, except for the par 5’s where all scores counted toward the team total. Thanks Mr Robel’. At least there was a skins game as well.
Three (3) 3-man teams competed over the beautiful November afternoon which featured low 60’s temperatures and fairly light winds. The greens had been verti-cut and and lightly dressed with sand which lowered the speeds only a little. Your Hack was paired with Tim “Hurricane” Hastings and Don Boteler. Mr. Robel’, Glen “HRD2” Reid, and Jimmy “Trust Fund” Donnelly followed. Hagen, the Senator and the Councilman brought up the rear. We had a surprise showing by our Senior Club Champion – Paul Dillon – who joined the final group playing only in the skins game.
My team led off and proceeded to go 6 over on the first three (3) holes. Only the sweet swinging Don Boteler was able to make a par on these holes. Your Hack offered no help to his team by going bogey, bogey, double to start the round. A small glimpse of hope was seen on the par 5, 4th hole. I was able to fade a cutting 3-wood to the back of the green from 235 yards out and made a 2-putt birdie that was paired with a steady par from Boteler. It was only to be the first glimpse of hope that was to be brutally shut down this day.
On the very next hole, all three (3) of us were sitting in the fairway on the long par 4, 5th hole and both Boteler and Hurricane stroked. As often happens though – both Hurricane and I three-putted for bogey and another dropped shot. We then dropped additional shots on #6 and #7 to bring the team to 8 over for the day.
We call Tim the “Hurricane”, not because of fast hands like the boxer, but because of the wild action of his feet. There is not really an “eye of the storm” in that action. His shot above would, however, result in a great par. Not to be outdone, both Boteler and I missed short par putts.
As we left the 8th tee, I told Don that I was making birdie – we needed to do something to turn this around. We looked over to the group behind us and figured they had to be the ones to catch. The pin on eight was tucked in the lower right – Club Championship position – on the wild green. I hit wedge to 2 foot and made my 3. Don had a net par and we picked up a much needed shot.
The 9th hole presented another opportunity and I hit a nice drive to the right side of the fairway, avoiding the left bunker (you can see the Hack’s action below). Both Don and I made pars and, with his stroke, we brought the team back to 6 over at the turn.
The front started well (another glimpse of hope?) with Don making a birdie and Hurricane throwing in a par to pick up another shot. We were now only 5 over. But there were storm clouds building. Your Hack 3-putted for bogey on #10 and then missed a 4 footer for birdie on #11. Evidently brain dead, I followed this by making double bogey on each of the next 3 holes! My partners couldn’t make up the difference and we dropped 6 more shots to par. We stood on the 16th tee a brutal 12 over par.
Holding steady on #16 thanks to Don’s terrific par, net birdie we went into the last two (2) holes frankly just hoping to get some redemption. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Don finished double, double to shot 85 for the day. Hurricane finished double bogey, bogey to post 94. Although I finished par, par and both were stroke holes, I ended the day shooting 85 and our team was at the loser’s table at 14 over par.
As we had thought all day, the winning team was right behind us. Reid, Donnelly and Robel stormed in at 2 under after blitzing the back nine.
Hagen’s team placed second, but all the money went to the winners. His partners didn’t show in the bar afterward, but we were blessed with Steve’s presence for shouting out the skins. Luckily, my two (2) birdies held and your Hack got paid for his efforts. Sadly, the overall performance was bad, just bad. On to Sunday. We have nine (9) players again and I’m running the game. I’ll post an update soon and in the meantime, keep it in the short stuff and don’t hit it past the hole.
When your walking off the 18th tee and your Wolf partner (a scratch player) for that hole has just driven it OB – a really big right miss – and your opponents have doubled the $10 wolf bet . . .
The “Senator” is not real happy that his scratch partner just blew one out of bounds.
It was cold and windy at the Creek yesterday. Temps were in the low 40’s and the wind blew 20+ at times which prompted a bunch of our guys to bail on the Wednesday game. Only your Hack, “Senator” Cummings, Hagen, and our assistant, Ryan has the gumption to play. Can you say $5 Wolf?
Once the playing order is established, the first player (the Wolf) tees off. Player #2 then hits and the Wolf can elect to choose him as a partner or pass. The same option continues through players 3 and 4. If the Wolf does not choose a partner, he goes Wolf and the bet on the hole is doubled. If the player elects to go “Wolf” before teeing off, the bet on the hole is tripled. At any point during the hole, the team may elect to double (turning the $5 bet into $10) and the opposing team could then triple (turning the $10 bet into $20), and so on.
We had a little fireworks on the first hole, as the Senator and I doubled the initial bet and won the hole, when I made par. A push on #2 and then on the par 3, third hole our opponents tripled the bet (after we had doubled on the tee) and I was left with a 4 footer to make par. Naturally, I missed and put Hagen and I in a bit of a hole. Another push on #4 and we turned into the wind on the 407 yard par 4. The Senator and Hagen were paired against Ryan and I and they both stroked. I made bogey from the middle of the fairway, while they made an outstanding par.
After some back and forth on the remaining holes we ended the front with Ryan even, Hagen and your Hack down $20 each. The Senator played well and was up $40.
The back nine was more of the same. After some back and forth, and a bunch of missed putts, we approached the 15th green. Ryan, partnered with Hagen, was looking at about 15 feet for birdie. I had 12 feet for the same and it looked like another push on a doubled bet. However, Ryan made and I missed. Ryan was now +$20, I was still down $20, the Senator was +40, and Hagen was the biggest loser – down $40.
On the 16th hole, Hagen (as the player losing the most) was the Wolf and had the option to increase the bet. As he was getting a stroke on #16, he increased the bet to $10. Hagen picked Ryan as his partner, after my partner left his tee shot short left in the rough. I hit my shot OB, leaving the Senator to fight off the other team who had doubled on the tee. Hagen made a par/net birdie, cutting his deficit to $20 and increasing mine to $40 which made me the new Wolf on #17 tee.
After halving #17 with pars, we went to the final hole with your Hack as the Wolf one last time. I hit a good drive to the right fairway and Hagen was next and, after another solid drive, I choose him as my partner and we doubled the bet. That left the Senator with Ryan by default. As you read earlier, he unfortunately had the big right miss come into play and left the Senator alone. He’d dropped from being $60 ahead to standing on the tee only $20 ahead with a partner out of bounds. No wonder he was a little steamed when I caught him on video.
Luckily for him, both Hagen and I could only manage 5’s and the Senator made a sterling up and down from the back fringe to halve the hole and end the match. Not the greatest day for the four of us – the wind and cold made conditions tough. But we had a nice friendly match that didn’t really get out of hand. Regular readers will remember some Wolf games that have! See an old post below . . .
Your Hack was finally able to get out and play on Sunday. Yes, it was blustery and the course was wet from the rains we had at the end of last week. But after 3 days of constantly watching the Masters on 3 or 4 screens using the awesome Masters App, I was ready for some real “hack” golf. A large number of our regular crew was down in Myrtle Beach, playing Caledonia, True Blue, and Pawley’s Plantation on an impromptu Masters weekend golf trip.
This left a reduced cast of characters for our typical Sunday game. Steve Dewey, Doug “Councilman” Hudson and I teed off around 10:15, followed by Mr Robel’, Jeff “Cookie” Mumford, and Mark Browne. As there was no organized game, my threesome elected to play a game of 9 Point and I had no idea what the other guys were playing. As is my standard, I started with a bogey and quickly followed with 4 pars that included 2 missed birdie puts of 8 feet or less. The greens still had some fire after the rain last week and our grounds crew had decided to put some of the pins on slopes, which I’m sure was done to prevent your Hack from making any birdies. They were successful, as I missed 2 more make-able birdie puts on #8 and #9. All in, I was 4 over after the front and leading the 9 Point game by a large margin – plus 16 over the Councilman and + 11 over Dewey.
The wind, “cart path only” conditions and quick greens were evidently slowing play considerably in front of us, and our two threesomes joined together on the 7th hole and played in as “unlawful” six-some. We were all walking and no trouble staying in touch with the groups in front and were never caught by the group behind. After a 2 and 1/2 hour front nine, we finished the back in – I mean second nine (in deference to Augusta National) in 2 hours. The highlight of the day was Cookie draining a 35 foot birdie put on #8, up and over the ridge, that hit the pin at ramming speed. “My first birdie of the year!” exclaimed Cookie.
Your Hack’s back nine devolved into a nightmare. A drive into the hazard on #11, a drive out of bounds on #14, and missed birdie puts from inside 10 feet on #10 and #12. But, that was followed by a high, drawing 4 iron into the wind on #16 that ended up 6 feet below the hole. You can obviously guess what happened with my put.
Dewey shot 39 on the back and recovered in the 9 Point Game, leaving the Councilman reaching for his wallet in the bat after the round. We were able to watch DJ tap in for his remarkable Masters’ victory after being forced to follow the round on our phones during the round. Congratulations to DJ. He played 4 rounds of proper golf and blitzed the field, setting a new scoring record. I won’t get in to Tiger’s 10 on #12, but am astonished that he was able to regain his composure and birdie 5 of the final 6 holes and move from 53rd position after #12 to a T38 finish.
As I mentioned earlier, a bunch of our guys were down in Myrtle for a quick golf trip. One of my favorite golf content producers are the guys from No Laying Up – Solly, Tron, Big Randy, Neal, and DJ. One of the golf series on YouTube that they produce is “Tourist Sauce” and they did a series in the Carolinas that aired in February, 2020. Here is the episode that featured Caledonia and True Blue. Enjoy!
Again, say hi to the folks making the trip to Myrtle this past weekend. I hope to have more specifics later in the week, but for now I’ll just leave it at this.
We had over 4 inches of rain since yesterday afternoon and the course is closed – water everywhere. It’s probably a good thing since my play yesterday was absolutely pitiful. I started the day with a par on the first and ended with a birdie on the 18th. In between, it was a disgusting display of shanks, tops, 3-putts and various shit shots that resulted in an 86 – probably my high score for the year. It got me thinking about old guy golf. Enjoy.
We older golfers could use some rule changes next year to make up for all the deficiencies we have to deal with. Your Hack was provided with these revised Rules of Golf by an anonymous source.
Rule changes for immediate implementation…..For Golfers Age 65+
Rule 9k.34– If a tree is between the ball and the hole, and the tree is deemed to be younger than the player, then the ball can be moved without penalty. This is so, because this is simply a question of timing; when the player was younger, the tree was not there so the player is being penalized because of his age.
Rule 1.a.5– A ball sliced or hooked into the Rough shall be lifted and placed on the Fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the Rough with no penalty. The senior player should not be penalized for tall grass which ground keepers failed to mow.
Rule 2.d.6– A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed NOT to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree, and play the ball from there.
Rule 3.B.3– There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, thereby making it a stolen ball. The senior player is not to compound the felony by charging himself with a penalty.
Rule 4.c.7– If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The Law of Gravity supersedes the Rules of Golf.
Rule 5. – Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in. This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the Hole. No one wants to make a mockery of the game.
Rule 6.a.9– There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds”. If penny-pinching golf course owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. The senior player deserves an apology, not a penalty.
Rule 7.G.15– There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float. Senior players should not be penalized for any shortcomings of the manufacturers.
Rule 8.k.9– Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment. Since this is financially impractical for many senior players, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.
Please advise all your senior friends of these important rule changes and keep multiple copies in your golf bag. Those not following the rules need to be provided a copy.
Golf is…above all…a game of integrity. Have fun out there today and try to keep it in the short grass.
I’ll leave you with this on this Thursday at the Master’s . . .
The Hootie 2020 came to a stunning conclusion yesterday afternoon. The final round was played in absolutely beautiful conditions for early November as the temperature hovered in the high 60’s to low 70’s, the wind was negligible, the sun was shining, and the greens were the best we’ve seen this year. To say they were hard and fast is a bigger understatement than saying this year’s winners played well.
Blistering the field, the course, and reality, the winning team of Glenn Reid and Don Dzedzy posted an astonishing 2nd round of 57, which combined with their opening round score of 66, resulted in a 123 total. They won the event by a remarkable 9 shots over the 2nd place team of Mark Decker and Doug (Councilman) Hudson. These guys only shot 65-65 to LOSE by 7. Amazing!
3rd place was snagged by tournament director Don Boteler and his partner, Joe Donnelly who posted a 132 total. (I have to go back though – 57 is 14 shots under par at Cripple Creek on the fastest greens of the year and some “tucked” pin locations. Crazy.)
The winning teams rounding out the field were: 4th Place – Dillon/Miranda. 5th Place – Connell/Schaffran. 6th Place – Diehl/Dream.
Luckily for your Hack and Hun the Handicap, the event paid eight (8) spots. Our relatively ugly 67 on Sunday got us to 139 (3 under par) and we won the match of cards tiebreaker to secure 8th and take home some cash. I’d like to give a special shoutout to my buddy Mike (Mr. Robel’) Robel, who you’ve heard about in this blog before. Mr. Robel’ and his partner, Neal Leary (pictured below) were able to secure 7th place, shooting 68-69 for a 137 total. Want another dose of astonishment? Mr. Robel’ played Sunday without hitting his back with the club on his follow through – nope, not once!
We played with Matt Bensen & Simon Stater for the second day in a row. Of course, they were a pleasure to play with and had a real shot at some money, until they both crashed and burned on #17. Both Simon and Matt could do no better than a net double bogey and it took them out of the money by one shot. I guess I should thank them as we picked up four (4) shots over the last 2 holes thanks to this collapse.
Your Hack’s partner improved his play on Sunday, contributing 4 net birdies over the back nine. He told me over a beer after the round that he’d “changed his grip on #12” and he hit the ball better. Really, I said – “Why didn’t you change your grip Saturday morning before we started?”
All in all, it was a terrific weekend. I had a blast with my partner and our playings partners over the past two (2) days. All of the players seemed to have a great time and Cripple Creek did a wonderful job for the celebratory dinner I’m told. (Sue and I did not attend the dinner – just hard to be indoors with a group of people during these times.)
And, now it’s on the the REAL Master’s tournament this coming weekend. Can Tiger repeat? Will Bryson bring Augusta to its knees by taking lines not seen before? Will Rory finally break through and get his career Gran Slam? Or, will Jordan emerge from the dead and reclaim glory? Who knows, but I’ll definitely have money riding on at least one of these players.
The Hootie kicked off at 9:00am on Saturday with the Hagen/Stokes and Cummings/Condo Hudson teams off first. It was foggy for sure, we could see about halfway down the 1st fairway. A little bitching and moaning was heard, but we played. Luck of the draw, right? As you’ll see, the fog didn’t stop one of these teams from shooting the 2nd lowest score of the day!
Tee-times ran from 9 am through 10:20 am in order to get the 18 teams out for round one. The format was better ball net, with the “A” player from the White tees and the “B” player from the Gold tees.
Tee Times and Pairings – White Tees (g) Gold Tees – (#) Handicaps – Partners have same format
Stokes (g) 12
Frog (g) 17
Jimmy Donnelly 10
Condo Hudson (g) 13
Vallese (g) 11
Joe Donnelly (g) 14
Statter (g) 11
Sunderlin (g) 10
Hunsberger (g) 20
Dream (g) 21
Leary (g) 13
G. Hudson 10
Miranda (g) 16
Ski (g) 13
Browne (g) 11
Witmer (g) 10
Councilman Hudson 12
Decker (g) 10
Dzedzy (g) 10
States (g) 14
Schaffran (g) 15
Saturday Tee Times
Your Hack went off at 10am with his partner, Tom Hunsberger, and was paired with Matt Benson & Simon Statter. I had great expectations from Hun the Handicap as he was getting 20 handicap strokes from the Gold tees. Unfortunately, we both started poorly and were 3 over by the time we reached the 4th tee. Our playing partners were steady, making pars on the first 3 holes.
The sun had come out by then, burning off the fog and everyone was on the course. My highlight of the day would occur on the 4th hole, a 485 yard par 5. After a good drive into the left side of the fairway about 203 yards from the front pin, I drew a solid hybrid onto the green about 6 feet below the cup. The resulting 1 putt eagle moved our team back to 1 over. Things were looking better after our sloppy start as I stroked on the next hole. After a solid drive on #5 into the middle-right of the fairway, I hit a laser straight 9-iron to about 7 feet. As your Hack often does, I missed the putt and we settled for a par, net birdie and were back to even for the day. Little did we know that would be all we could do.
Statter and Bensen made the turn at 1 over after Statter made a terrific up and down par, net birdie on #9. We ended the front at 3 over after bogeys on #6, #7, and #8. On the back, Statter and Bensen were once again steady adding 2 birdies on #14 and #15, but dropping back to even for the day after an ugly 17th hole – Bensen in his pocket and Statter hitting his approach into the water fronting the green. My partner and I made a small comeback on the final nine with Hun the Handicap sinking a bomb on #12 for a birdie, net eagle and I added a par, net birdie on #17. Unfortunately, it was only good enough to get us back to 1 over for the day.
You wouldn’t have known it from our experience, but there was some very good play on the course for the first round. Two (2) teams shot 65’s and four teams came in with 66’s. Here are the Day 1 results:
After applying the “Tie-breaker” rules – match of cards from #17, then #6, then #18, the Win, Place, and Show victors for Saturday’s pari-mutuel betting were determined.
Win: Boteler/Joe Donnelly
Place: Decker/Councilman Hudson
So, your Hack and Hun the Handicap are 6 shots back going into the final round. As you know, I’ve been there before, although it seems like I’m always there. We tee off at 10:10 this morning and it’s currently very foggy again at the course, but it should clear by the time we start. Everyone is looking forward to Day 2 and the celebration dinner at the club to close out the Hootie for this year. Play well guys!
I’ll be posting a final recap of The Hootie 2020 this evening – stay tuned and thanks for following the adventures of the Retired Golf Hack.
Your Hack played in the Rookery Pro-Am yesterday (Wednesday) benefitting the First Tee of Delaware. I joined the team of Ryan Diehl (Cripple Creek Assistant Pro), Andy Hewitt, and Mike Robel as the entry from Cripple Creek. Each team competed at 85% of handicap, two (2) best balls of the team. The event was played at Rookery South a 6,500 yard (back tees) public course located just north of Lewes, DE, directly adjacent to the Route 1 highway. As the course website describes it . . .”2004 Senior British Open winner, Pete Oakley and course visionary superintendent Chris Adkins, have teamed up in designing a water laden, golfer friendly challenge just off the picturesque Broadkill River.”
With 109 players (27 teams), we knew it would be a slow trek over a course that had received over seven (7) inches of rain in the past week. Surprisingly, the course was in relatively good shape, although the fairways were soft and the greens a little bumpy, but faster than we would have thought given the recent rain. Kudos to great work done the super to have the course in such terrific shape.
Your Hack was tired after working the polls at the Indian River High School polling location from 6am to 8:30pm on Election Day. Arriving at the Rookery late and stiff, I managed to warm-up by hitting 5 balls with my 7-iron on the range and putting for 2 minutes on the practice green. Then we were off, starting on the quirky 402 yard 5th hole, a dogleg right par 4 with trees guarding the front of the green unless you hit your drive far enough in the right side of the fairway past the dogleg. I didn’t and only managed to get 20 yards in front of the green in 2 and then making bogey with a poor pitch shot. I had an eerie feeling it might be one of “those” days. Our team only managed a single par, so we started the day one over.
The team played well over the next 3 holes and managed to get to 3 under par going into the short par 3 ninth hole. All four of us hit it close. I was about 15 feet for birdie and Robel was a little under 6 feet. Ryan and Andy were close as well. Guess what happened? We left the green still 3 under, lamenting so many missed putts over the first five (5) holes of the tournament.
We added two (2) more birdies (1 was net) on #10 taking us to 5 under. My routine par left your Hack at 1 over for the day and my mental goal of scoring within the Top 7 professional scores (as an amateur) seemed to be in reach. Well, not really. I proceeded to make four (4) straight bogeys, two (2) of them from the fairway with pitching wedge in my hand – sad. My putting was ok, but I had trouble hitting greens and chipping was off.
The team overall continued to generate multiple birdie opportunities but some lackluster putting only allowed us to pick-up a few more under par. Robel – “the world’s best putter” – finally made a putt for birdie during this stretch. Andy hit some of the most unbelievable shots I’ve seen in a while, but his putter remained cold. Ryan, after a strong start as our pro, lost his swing mid round and stacked a couple of bogeys to negate some early birdies.
Your Hack finally made his first birdie of the day on our 11th hole of the day draining a mini-bomb from about 25 feet. I closed out the back nine with 3 straight pars and we made the turn again to finish the first four (4) holes on the front. Another par and then a bad bogey on a par 3 left me 5 over for the day.
Our final two (2) holes were short par 4’s. Andy drove it through the green on the 305 yard #3. Ryan was just short of the green, Robel was about 60-70 yards out in the left rough after hitting 3 wood and I was 20 yards short with a good look at the flag. Robel’s wedge flew to about 8 feet, I spun a little lob wedge to about 5 feet and Andy chipped back to 10-12 feet. Ryan tried to hit a low, spinning chip a groove low and it careened off the flag stick ending up 15 feet from the hole. He calmly drained the putt for a birdie. Andy and I also made birdie and the team was 8 under for the day.
The last hole is a 285 yard, short par 4 that requires a carry over a pond in front of the green. Ryan and Robel laid up, my drive was pulled left and landed 20 yards short, but carried the pond. Andy drove the front of the green causing the group in front of us to ask for a drug test when we got up to our shots. Unfortunately, only one birdie resulted and we ended the day 9 under. Your Hack had his only 3 putt of the day and ended the tournament at 5 over – shooting 76. Goal not accomplished as a 72 would have been needed to place within the Top 7 professional scores for the day.
Our 9 under score was out of the money. The winners came in at 20 under taking first place by 4 strokes. The top 7 teams were paid and we finished out of the money by 2 shots – we can only look back at the number of really makable birdie putts that we missed over the day. And, unfortunately, Robel’s 5 foot 8 inch shot on #9 was edged out for “Closest to the Pin” by 6 inches. Nothing special all day for our whole team except that we had a blast playing – even if it took 4 1/2 hours.
Your Hack finished the day with 33 putts, hitting 54% fairways and 61% GIR. 2 birdies, 9 pars and 7 bogeys left me 5 over for the day. The good news? The tournament raised over $4,500 for the First Tee of Delaware.
It’s the Hootie 2020 Tournament this weekend at Cripple Creek and I’ll be back Saturday evening with an update. ‘Til then – keep it in the short grass.