Cripple Creek, Golf

New Year’s Eve – 4 Club Tourney

Happy 2021 everyone – I guess “Hindsight” really is 2020 now.

It’s been a couple of weeks since your Hack posted, so I thought I’d bring you up-to-date. December has been relatively wet and cold in Delaware this year and I’ve only gotten out to play a few times in the past 2 weeks. The Creek is soggy and we are hitting of mats on each of the Par 3’s and the 1st Hole and will probably be going to a temporary green on the 14th Hole in a few days.

Before we get to our New Year’s Eve event, I need to talk about a couple of matches I’ve had recently. The Senator, Hagen and I have played several matches over the past two weeks and I’ve come out on the losing side pretty consistently. While these defeats were hard to take, what happened last Wednesday was beyond belief. We played as a fivesome – Horton, Hagen, Pip, the Senator and I – in fairly nice weather, sunny and 40 degrees with little to no wind. The game was $5 skin carryovers with validation, but Hagen and I AND the Senator and I also had Nassau matches with automatic 2-down presses and a Texas Bet on the second nine. As there was some pretty serious cheese in play, my focus was steady play. And, we all know what happens to your Hack when he gets serious . . .

I was the only player to hit the first green in regulation, but I proceeded to 3 putt. Another 3 putt on #2 was quickly followed by a “shanked” wedge out of bounds on the 3rd hole and a drive out of bounds on #4. Good start. Not wanting to show any sign that I really did know how to play golf, I shanked my approach on the 5th hole out of bounds. Suicide watch had begun. Your Hack was 9 over par after 5 holes with 2 3-putts, 2 shanks OB and a big right miss drive OB.

Coming back strong with a par of #6, I thought I may have a chance to get back into the match, but it only tied Hagen’s bogey/net par. Yet, it was at least a little progress. Unfortunately that was that for the front nine and I made the turn with no skins, lost 3 ways to the Senator, and luckily, only 1 way to Hagen. The good news was that I was up 3 on the Texas bet to the Senator and up 1 on the Texas with Hagen. What followed on the back nine was in many ways worse – 2 balls in the water on #13, a drive OB on #14, 2 shanks in a row – including one from the bunker on #15 – and I ended up getting smashed on all bets. It was so bad, that I went into the bar for a Jack Daniels after the round and nobody joined me. It was as if karma had decided I was too dangerous to be around.

At least my buddy Hagen was understanding. He sent a text to our group the next morning suggesting the 4 clubs I should use for our tournament – a shovel, ball retriever, rake and a gun!

New Year’s Eve morning kicked off with a memorial on the back of the 13th green for a beloved friend, Pat McCrae who’d recently passed away. Pat’s Story was covered in my post “Fore!” Heaven. About 30-35 members gathered on the green to celebrate Pat’s remarkable life and give him a 21 shot salutes by hitting balls into the Indian River.

Fare Thee Well Pat

Several friends spoke about Pat’s life and told stories like the one from The “Monsignor” below:

Shots Heard Around the Creek

The New Year’s Eve 4 Club Tourney was organized by Mike “Mr Robel” and held to benefit the 1st Tee of Delaware this year and we were able to raise a little over $4,000 for this wonderful operation. Specials thanks go out to Mike Cummings, Frank Miranda, Steve Hagen and Harry Stokes for their very generous support.

The tournament was individual gross and net play where each player was limited to 4 clubs and a putter. We had a Men’s Division, Gold Tee Division and a Women’s Division compete for prizes and closest to the pin awards. Rather than simply adopt Hagen’s prior suggestion for my armament, I went with 3-wood, 5-iron, 7-iron and lob wedge. This turned out pretty well, except that I had to “chip” 7 irons from between 100 and 135 years which was out of range for the lob wedge. In a strong about face from Wednesday disaster, I was only 3-over after the first 12 holes. Unfortunately, I ended up making a triple bogey on the 14th hole and added a couple more bogeys coming in to finish in 4th place gross.

Congratulations to our winners:

Closest to the Pin – Ski (#3) and Doc (#13) for the Gold Division and Vallese (#3) and Sunderlin (#13) for the Men’s Division

Gross Score: 1st -Robel 76 (on match of cards), 2nd – Pip, 3rd – Morgan (on match of cards), and 4th Your Hack. Doc took first in the Gold Division and Ski took second.

Net Score: Ramrod, Fallon, Miranda and Browne in the Men’s Division and Neil Leary and Dick Moore first and second net places in the Gold Tee Division.

Our thanks go out to “Mr. Robel” for another great event and it was announced that going forward, the tournament will be held annually on New Year’s Eve and be renamed the “Pat McCrae 4 Club Challenge for the First Tee” and will be run by Harry Stokes and Glen Reid.

Cripple Creek

The Senator is a Killer

Mike “Senator” Cummings has been on a run over the past couple of months. His chipping and putting has gotten sharper and better. And, he is gaining yardage off the tee and hitting fairway after fairway. He’s become a “killer” looking for his next victim. All this, with that perpetual, disarming smile on his face.

It was Sunday, the day after the Holiday Step Away Tournament, and it was time for a money game at the Creek. Your Hack partnered with the Sheriff and took on Hagen and the Senator for, let’s say, somewhat higher than our normal Nassau stakes. It was agreed that the Senator and I would play even up and the Sheriff and Hagen would get 2 strokes a side. Little did I know that I was to become his victim.

The Senator (and Hagen) About to Commit Murder

The match started in a typical fashion as both the Senator and I had 4-5 footers for par on the 1st. He made and I missed – 1 down. Pars had halved #2 and #3 when the Senator flagged his approach shot to 3 feet on #4 and made birdie – 2 down and even on the press. Hagen made par on #5 to our bogeys and then made bogey, net par on #6 to win that hole as well – 4 down, 2 down, and even. Some would say it was getting ugly with our opponents hamming and egging it to perfection and the Sheriff and I leaving our balls in bad positions and missing putts. “Was getting ugly . . .” is not the right phrase – it was ugly.

All four of us managed pars on #7, but then Mike made par on #8 and Hagen made par on #9 to make the ugly official – 6 down, 4 down, 2 down. We lost the front, 2 presses, were 6 down on the match and 3 up on the Texas press which would be an added bet on the back nine.

The “ugliness” continued on #10 when I left my 40 yard wedge short of the green and couldn’t get up and down. Of course, the Senator made par which put us 1 down on the back and 7 down on the match with only 8 holes to go. We fought back to even on the back when your Hack made a nice downhill putt for birdie on #12 – my first birdie of the day. The Senator struck back with a winning par on #14 and #16 to push us back to 2 down and even on the back – we’d lost the overall match bet by that time as well.

The Sheriff on #13 Pondering a Comeback

It was at this point when the Sheriff decided to step in and clean up the town. After three (3) solid shots on #17, he drained a 25 foot put for birdie, net eagle to beat the Senator’s birdie – we were now 1 down/1 up on the remaining bets and had won the Texas press. On the final hole, the Sheriff was short left after two (2) shots when he hit a spinning chip that collided with the flagstick and stopped 2 feet from the hole. The conceded par, net birdie clipped the Senator’s par and we’d clawed our was back to take the second nine and the press. All told we only lost 4 ways and it felt like a victory.

The Senator shot a beautiful 73 – 2 over par – against my 80. Hagen and the Sheriff stood at 82 and 81. Of course, all these scores included a bunch of conceded puts – remember it was match play. However, the Senator’s score was real as we were reluctant to give him any putts that day. He made everything he looked at all day long. It was a real pleasure to watch Mike play. But let’s not forget his partner. On the two (2) holes where Mike made a bogey, Hagen came through with a par to win or halve the hole. They play almost perfectly as a team. Well done boys – there will be a re-match in the near future.

The weather looks bad all week so I doubt there will be any golf played until next weekend at the earliest. In the meantime, stay safe and, if you play, keep it in the short grass.

Cripple Creek, Golf

3 Man Holiday Step Away Scramble

After the weather knocked us out last weekend, the revised teams were finalized by our tournament director, one Mr. Robel’. The tournament featured a shotgun start and kicked off at 10AM on Saturday. The weather was perfect with temperatures climbing to over 60 degrees – not bad for December 12th. We had 16 teams of 3 players each slotted into groups jumping off tees 12 through 18 and hole #1.

There were quite a few cancellations because of the revised date and also new additions to the field. Mr. Robel’ needed to make last minute adjustments to the teams that basically invalidated last week’s draw and killed the pari-mutuel – bummer. As he indicated: “With all the cancellations and additions to the field, there was no way I could get teams close to being competitive with the wide disparity in handicaps. In other words I threw out the draw. I took all the handicaps and separated them into three groups. I went top to bottom in the A group, bottom to top in the C group and took the B group from the middle and separated them to the top and bottom of the A group. All teams are now within 4 strokes of each other, except one. That being said, at this late date and the changes being made, there will not be any para mutual betting.” Whatever that means Mike!

The teams and starting holes are shown below:

1a-Diehl-Nangle-Legge
1b-Piperno-Vallese-Clarke
18a-Baxter (Hack)-Statter-Creager
18b-Dewey-Witmer-Gonzo
17a-Boteler-Leary-States
17b-Haines-Hudson,D-Howett
16a-Walsh-Moore-Mumford 
16b-Baker-Donnelly,Joe-Skibicki
15a-Roth-Dzedzy-Ruggiero
15b-Cummings-Hastings-Frog
14a-Hagen-Browne-Miranda
14b-Sanderson-Bromley-Sasada
13a-Donnelly,Jim-Stokes-Thompson
13b-Morgan-Decker-Dream
12a-Robel-Martin-Hunsberger
12b-Hudson-Schaffran-Duerbeck

Our tournament director went through last minute instructions – all putts must be holed, use the most upfront tees on seven (7) of the holes, use the matts on the par 3’s and hole #1, etc. The 3 man step-away scramble format goes like this. All three (3) players hit from the tee and the best drive is selected with the person hitting that shot “stepping away”. The remaining two (2) players hit from that spot and the player whose shot is selected then steps away and the last player makes the third shot. If the ball is not holed, all three (3) players on the team play the fourth shot and the step away begins again.

As you can see above, your Hack was paired with Simon Statter and Tom Creager and we started on the 18th hole. I hit a drive over the trees and left my partners 145 years to the pin. Tom’s shot went left into the collection area and Simon’s shot came up short. Simon made a wonderful chip from Tom’s ball position and left us a couple of feet for par. We turned to hole #1 where we ended up with Tom having a 20 foot putt for birdie that was left and above a devilish pin position on the back right section of the green. After a careful survey of the situation, Simon and I point to a spot about 5 feet directly above the hole and told Tom to put the ball to that spot. The man takes instructions well. His ball hit the spot at stall speed and trundled down the slope, dropping into the cup on the last rotation for birdie. One (1) under after two (2) holes and we were looking solid.

My Partners – Tom on the 2nd Tee and Simon Waiting to Hit

As we stood over our approach on #2, a “roar” erupted on the third green – “LFG!” We looked over to see Matt (Pip) Piperno pull his ball out of the cup. A hole in one on just their 3rd hole of the day. They were stoked and 2 under par. Congratulations Pip! Well done.

Pip! First Hole in One Ever

All of the excitement must have gotten to us as we 3-putted the 2nd hole for a bogey. Another bogey on #4 pushed us to 1 over par and it felt like the wheels were coming off only five (5) holes into the tournament. Hagen/Browne/Miranda were also 1 over at that point. Piperno’s team was 1 under, as was the Diehl team. Most of the other teams were sitting at 1 or 2 over.

We righted the ship over the remaining holes on the front 9, but couldn’t make any birdie puts. A couple of burned edges, but that was about it. We were a little over half way through the tournament and still sat at +1. The leaders – Diehl’s team and Pip’s team were at -2. Three (3) teams were at even par – Hagen’s, Cummings’, and Haines’ – while Donnelley’s and Hudson’s teams were tied with us at one (1) over par. Four (4) more teams were 2 over, one (1) team was 3 over and the Walsh and Robel teams sat at 5 over par after tough starts. Robel’s team tripled #17 and followed with bogeys on both #1 and #2 for example.

The final nine (9) holes of the tournament saw the leaders slip back and the Hagen team charge forward. Diehl’s team, which was 2 under and tied for the lead after nine (9) holes and got to 4 under through #13, finished the round with a double on #14 and bogeys on #16 and #18 sandwiching a birdie on #17. They finished at 2 under and tied for second. The other leaders, Piperno’s team, bogeyed the par 3, #16 and finished tied second at 1 under. The Haines team was able to birdie #13 and finished at 1 under, tied second.

Your Hack’s team was able to make an easy birdie on #12 as my drive ended up on the front fringe about 15 feet from the hole, but we had bogeyed #10 from 45 yards out and ended with a bogey on our final hole, #17, to finish at 2 over. Luckily, this would ultimately be good for 7th place and a small cash win.

The strongest moves over the final nine (9) holes came from the Boteler team and the Hagen team. Boteler’s guys were able to birdie #9 and #13 to bring their score back to even par and finish 5th. The ultimate winners were Hagen’s team who birdied #5 and #7 to finish at 1 under par. It was good enough for a 1 shot victory over the three (3) teams tied at 1 under.

Final Leaderboard

Most of the players gathered on the back patio at widely separated tables to watch the scores come in and enjoy a boxed lunch prepared by the Cripple Creek staff. The Holiday Scramble was played to support the staff of the club and we added to that by holding a 50/50 for additional tips. The lunch was great – our Pro and Andy, who manages the house, bought everyone’s first drink. Pip’s hole in one also added to the free drink total. As you can imagine, we had a blast.

Crab Soup and Wrap for Players

Our Tournament Director summarized it best: I would like to thank everyone for participating in today’s Step Away. We able to tip all three groups (bag staff, wait staff, grounds crew) almost $200 each. It was a fun and challenging day. Kudo’s to the team of Hagen-Browne-Miranda. Great playing guys. Everyone should be proud of themselves at Cripple Creek. We are a special group of guys. 

Thanks Mike and well said. We appreciate all you do Mr. Robel’!

So ended the Men’s Holiday Step Away Scramble. I have a money match on Sunday with some of the boys and our next planned event is a 4 Club & Putter Tournament on New Year’s Eve. Keep it in the short grass.

Cripple Creek, Golf

Bookends Baby! Catching Up on a Sunday

Rain, rain and more rain. We got our Friday game in before it literally dumped rain on the Creek overnight and more rain and wind hit us on Saturday. Of course, the course was closed Saturday after that thrashing and our 3 Man Holiday Step Away Scramble has been postponed until next Saturday.

Your Hack was slightly depressed (thinking about writing up his summary of the Friday match) and then got this email early today from the Creek’s Pro.

Sunday December 6, 2020
The storm that effected our area Friday night into Saturday morning dropped just under 4 inches of rain at the club.  There was standing water everywhere throughout the course, and while some of that has receded, we continue to have large areas under water.  As you can imagine the ground is totally saturated and needs more time to dry out before allowing any play or practice to resume.  Therefore the course and practice areas will remain closed ALL DAY today (Sunday).  

So great, nothing left to do but collect my thoughts, blog a little, place some bets on the final round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic and take a chance on the Browns at +5. I’ve got tickets on Justin Thomas (+700), and Viktor Hovland (+275) that I bet live this morning before the start of play. Max Homa had a strong day yesterday and was at +50000 to win. Why not take a $5 flyer to win $2,500? I’ll probably find out this evening why not, but I did.

Walking the course this morning from 8am to 9am, I took a few videos of the large amount of water being moved around via the club’s irrigation system. It was pretty impressive. There were also some spots of deep standing water on #4, especially to the left between the approach to the green and the 8th tee. It was a good thing the course was closed.

Fronting the 17th Green
Pond Between 6th Fairway and 7th Green

Prior to the walk, I spotted a little friend crossing the 15th fairway in back of our rental and searching along the natural area for a bite of breakfast. Giving up, he calmly crossed the 16th fairway and onto the vacant lot adjacent to the 16th green. Here’s my little buddy – actually not so little for a fox in this area.

iPhone is not so Great at Distance.

So, I mentioned earlier that I was slightly depressed thinking about writing up my Friday match. I’ve struggled to explain how I could make 3 birdies, be 2 over par for the round on the 14th tee and manage to limp in with an 80, lose the team match, lose a Nassau 1 down to the Senator and lose a back 9 team bet to Hagen & the Senator. Then it hit me – I’m so unbelievably inconsistent that I really am The Golf Hack.

Bookends Baby!

Our Friday game was Bookends. Two (2) or four (4) net on all holes except the bookends – #1, #9, #10, & #18 – where all four (4) balls count. Good game selection by Mr. Robel’ whose text popped into my phone that morning announcing the game format:

11:00 Dewey6-Martin12-Hudson(council)10-Donnelly9
11:10 Robel7-Browne12-Horton11-Boteler9
11:20 Baxter5-Cummings8-Hastings12-Hagen9
Bookends- 2 of 4 on all holes except 1-9-10-18 all 4 on those holes
$80 front nine
$80 back nine
$50 gross skins
$30 net skins

Weather was “not bad” for December 4th with temperatures in the mid to high 50’s and 13 mpg winds from the southwest. The weather wasn’t the problem.

We were the last group out and “Senator” Cummings and I decided to add some spice by playing a $20 Nassau with automatic 2-down presses. Hagen was trying to “relax” and “de-stress” by not playing for money so our anticipated Wolf match did not happen. The Senator and I just kind of rolled our eyes and knew this wouldn’t last long.

Your Hack started off with a bad 3-putt on #1, followed by a worse 4-putt on #2 and was two (2) down and even on the first press. No the best start being 3 over after just two (2) holes. I was able to par the next couple and then hit a wedge to 2 feet on #5 to bring the Nassau to even, 2 up and even. After another 3-putt on #8, I was 1 down, 1 up, and 1 down going into #9. Another birdie allowed me to halve the front, win a press, halve the 2nd press and go into the back nine even on the match. I felt like had been through battle and the Senator was playing well.

The team of Dewey, Doc Martin, Councilman, and the Trust Fund blitzed the other two group on the front coming in with a 5-under Bookends score. We and the Mr. Robel’ team were not even close. This would continue on the back as the Dewey team was 4-under and took the back as well.

On the 10th tee, Hagen decided that he was sufficiently relaxed that he proposed a back nine match pairing himself with the Senator and your Hack with Hurricane Hastings. I should have know better than to accept, but I’m not the smartest punter out there.

The Senator continued his solid play making birdie on #11 which I countered on #12 with a birdie of my own. After both making pars on #13 we remained all square on the back and the match. On #14, I had a chance to pull ahead after my second shot ended up pin high in the pine straw on the right and the Senator was lying 3 in the swale to the right of the green. Unfortunately, I made a bad pitch followed by an even worse chip and missed my par putt – another half.

The final meltdown started on #15 with two (2) straight drives OB (the Big Right Miss times two!) 1 down to the Senator and he stroked on the last to holes of the match. I had a chance on both #17 and #18 to get the match back to even and possibly win, but I 3-putted both and lost to the Senator 1 down on the back and match. The final insult was pulling my first putt on #18 so badly that I actually hit the Senator’s golf ball sitting on the fringe. Those two (2) 3 putts also cost Hurricane and I the back nine match versus Hagen and the Senator.

As I stated earlier, Dewey’s team ran away with all the money in the Bookends game. Dewey also won $30 in skins and Doc Martin pocketed another $40. I was lucky enough to have one of my birdies clear for a skin as well. Otherwise, it was a “payout” day for your Hack.

All kidding aside, I’m generally happy with the way I’m hitting the ball and just need to continue to work on my putting and short game. I’m also realizing that I’m not finishing well – throwing too many shots away on the last 3 to 4 holes of each recent round. Focus I would guess is the issue and I’m really looking forward to getting on the course again on Wednesday. That assumes the weather holds!

A final sad note from Cripple Creek. Our dear friend Pat McRae passed away this weekend. I’m deeply saddened by this news as Pat was a tremendous man, a great friend, and an inspiration to all who knew him. My thoughts go out his is wife Patsy and their children and families. Pat – your humor and friendship will be missed by all of us at the Creek.

Cripple Creek, Golf

When No Lead is Large Enough

Wednesday’s weather was not the most welcoming when we hit the practice tee for our weekly game. Temperatures were in the low 40’s and the wind was blowing pretty steadily from the north. So steady in fact that Steve decided to bail after a few warm-up shots – more on this later. That left us with six (6) players, so maybe it was not so bad that he left.

There were not a lot of golfers on the course, so we decided to play as one group, a six-some if you will. We elected a Modified Pinehurst format, also called Scotch Foursomes. Competition in this format is comprised of 2-man teams, each hitting a shot off the tee, selecting the best one and playing alternate shot until the ball is holed. We decided on a small $10 bet per player, so the winning team would win $30 each. Dividing up by handicaps, your Hack paired with Dave Horton against the Senator and the Councilman, and against Dewey and Boteler.

Cripple Creek has been partially converted for winter play. All the tee markers have been moved to the front edge of each tee and temporary tees (mats) put in place on each of the par 3’s and hole #1. This is done to protect the tees during the winter when grass cannot be grown. The final winter modification will come in a few weeks when a temporary green will be placed at the end of the 14th fairway and the green closed for play.

Getting used to the format, the wind, and the cold each team bogeyed the first two (2) holes. On #3, your Hack hit gap wedge to about 6 feet, the Senator flew a wedge about 8 feet above the hole, and Dewey knocked his ball to about 20 feet left of the pin. Our partners putted, but only Horton was able to convert and we made birdie to take the lead by one shot. Following pars on 4 of the next 5 holes, we were able to extend our lead to 3 over Dewey/Boteler and 4 over Senator/Councilman. Each team bogeyed #9 and we made the turn 3 over – still in the lead.

Horton and I played steady over the stretch from #10 through #13 making 4 pars while Dewey/Boteler added another bogey and Senator/Councilman faltered with a bogey and a double. Your Hack’s team now had a 4 shot lead and we were coming into the par 5, #14 which I’d reached in two (2) shots in the previous two (2) rounds. While my drive bounced of the block foundation of the last house on the right and ricocheted back into the fairway (another “big right miss”), Horton hit a nice drawing tee shot that bounded just across the cart path that crosses the fairway about 185 yards from the green. We used Dave’s drive of course, and I hit a nice 6 iron to about 15 feet left of the pin. After a 2-putt birdie, we extended our lead, were 2 over for the day and feeling unbeatable with 4 holes left to play.

We made a bad bogey on #15 but followed it up with Dave draining a terrific 10 foot putt for birdie on #16. Dewey/Boteler continued to play steady making par after par on the front, but they remained 5 shots back with only 2 holes to play. The Senator/Councilman team continued to struggle making an ugly double on #16 and were basically wanting the round to end before one of them got hurt.

This is the part of the story where weird things begin to happen. We were sitting 120 yards from the pin on the par 5, 17th hole when your Hack made the worst swing of the day and pulled a pitching wedge way left and into the water. Horton had been so confident, that he was already up beside the green when I had to call him back to play his shot across the hazard after taking a penalty drop. Both of our opponents were on the green in regulation and we were hitting 5. Dave took a drop and promptly dunked his ball into the hazard after hitting the greatest “chunk” shot ever. Another penalty drop for us after which it hit a sand wedge to about 6 feet below the hole and David made the stressful putt for an 8 – a triple bogey. Dewey/Boteler made their par and our lead had dropped to 2 shots with one hole to play.

Although we still felt comfortable on the 18th tee, dropping 3 shots on the prior hole was definitely on everyone’s mind. I hit a good drive into the middle of the fairway, about 180 years out, but Dave’s approach was about 10 yards short of the green. No problem, it was an easy chip for me and Dewey/Boteler were way left hitting their third the green. Evidently it was a problem because Dewey hit a beautiful pitch to about 7 feet and your Hack stubbed his chip to the front fringe. Horton missed and left me with a 6 foot come back putt, while Boteler smoothly knocked his 7 footer in for yet another par. Of course, I missed the come back putt and we made double bogey losing the 2 shot lead and ending the match tied with Dewey/Boteler.

Evidently, your Hack is not much of a pressure player – even in a small $10 match. Horton and I shot 40 on the back to the Dewey/Boteler one over 37. As I said in the opening, evidently no lead is large enough when your Hack is involved.

All in, the modified Pinehurst match was a fun way to play on a cold and windy day. All six (6) of us had a great time and we headed into the bar for the draw party to setup teams for this Saturday’s 3 Man Step Away Holiday Scramble. During the draw, Steve (who’d bailed from our match on the practice tee) showed up after “smashing” (his words) the casino in Ocean City while we played. Congrats on the win Steve – bring that cash to the course this weekend!

We have 17 3-man teams for the step away on Saturday. Your Hack is partnered with Buddy Bromley and Frank Miranda. Let’s go!

Cripple Creek, Golf

Thanksgiving Weekend Golf

We were lucky to play both the Friday and Sunday after Thanksgiving in beautiful weather. It was sunny with temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s and mild winds. Today is another story – it’s pouring outside, coastal flood alerts, thunderstorms are coming, and Cripple Creek is closed for the day. I guess it’s a day to update the blog, play online poker at Pokerstars with some of my boys, and generally sit on my ass. It’s raining so hard, our dog – Bogey – won’t go outside. And now, let’s talk about the weekend golf.

FRIDAY MATCHES

We had 12 players in our team matches on Friday – playing best 2 of 4 net and Skins. Your Hack was paired with Pip, Jimmy D., and Hurricane Hastings. We were joined by a portly, older gentleman that many of you know as the Sheriff. Although we played as a 5-some, we were behind several groups of slower players, so we had no issue keeping up the pace. To make things interesting, the Sheriff and I played a better ball match against Pip and Jimmy D. $10 Nassau, automatic 2 down presses, and Junk.

Our 2nd group featured a grudge match between the Senator and Hagen against Mike Nangle and Scott Haines. After the beating they took in their recent Myrtle Beach trip over the Masters’ weekend, Nangle and Haines were looking for blood.

The final group featured Decker and his son (who was visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday), Dewey and Ryan, our assistant Pro. To add to the excitement, your Hack and Pip had an additional team bet against Dewey and Ryan for the lowest overall better ball score. Sometimes, you just have to keep things interesting.

Friday’s Scorecard

Judging by the scorecard above, your Hack must have had some intuition about his play that morning. I posted my best round in the past couple of months. Sitting 2 under par after the first 4 holes, I was sitting in the middle of the fairway on #5 with a 7 iron into the green, thinking I was going low. They say you shouldn’t think ahead when playing and “they” were right as usual. After a 7-iron that refused to draw, I ended up in the right bunker, bladed the next over the green, hit an indifferent chip and 2-putted for a double. Your Hack further lived up to his name by double bogeying #7 and #8, finishing the front with a 39 (4 over par) – six (6) dropped shots in five (5) holes. Typical Hack stuff.

Luckily, the Sheriff covered me on a couple of the double bogey holes and we won the front 2 up in our match against Jimmy D. and Pip. Our foursome only stood 1 under in the best 2 of 4 match. You might think I was a little frustrated and you’d be right.

As the back nine began, I was able to right the ship with four (4) straight pars, but we remained even in our Nassau as Pip and Jimmy D. matched us hole for hole. Things were about to change however. Going for broke on #14, I hit a drive from the up tees on the par 5 that made it across the cart path and was only 185 from the green. A nice 5 iron left me about 25 feet for eagle, which to my astonishment I made. Another up tee on #15 let me get within 15 yards of the green with my drive – a nice chip and tap in for birdie brought me back to only 1 over for the day and up 2 on the back in our Nassau match.

I let it slip again with bogeys on the last 2 holes – both from the fairway – and ended with a 74. The Sheriff and I won the Nassau 3 ways, lost a final press, and ended with six (6) pieces of Trash. Pip and I also won our match against Dewey and Ryan, but out team only ended at 9 under for the best 2 of 4 team match.

The Senator and Hagen destroyed their opponents, mostly on the strength of the Senator’s fine play. He shot 76 and also led his team to an 11 under score to take the overall team match. Hagen, Nangle and your Hack were able to win skins as well.

SUNDAY MATCHES

With only nine (9) players on Sunday, we went out in threesomes and played individual Stableford again at 80% of handicaps, rounded down. Your Hack, Senator Cummings and Steve Hagen went out first and added a $2 – Nine (9) Point game to the gamble within our threesome. The Sheriff, Mr. Robel’ and Mark Browne followed with Jimmy D., Dewey, and Reid comprising the final group of the day.

Let me get something out of the way. In typical Hack fashion, I started the day brimming with confidence after my play on Friday. Over confidence as it turned out. I ended up shooting 83 after making only 2 pars on the front and finishing the round with the “big right miss” OB on #18, which led to a triple bogey. “GOLF!” as our friend Paul Dillion is fond of saying. I did have one highlight (lowlight really) as I hit #14 in two (2) for the second round in a row, but then 3-putted for a par. That, in a nutshell, was my day. I ended up with the lowest Stableford score of the bunch (that’s not good) and was beaten soundly in the 9 Point game by the Senator and Hagen.

Sunday’s Card

Overall, the day featured some great play. The Senator continued his fine run and posted another 76, featuring birdies on #4 and #13. His shot on #13 almost went into the hole for a 1 – coming to rest about 3 inches to the left of the cup. We thought it was in from the tee! In addition, Mike had two (2) chips that hit the flagstick but refused to drop. The Senator is in fine form and his handicap is about to be cut!

The Sheriff posted a 79 which was his first round breaking 80 in a while. Marred only by a double bogey on the easy 10th hole, his scorecard featured birdies on #4, #9, and #13. Glen has been bothered by a bad back and troublesome hip for the last few years and it’s great to see him post a score like this. The older, portly gentleman can play.

Mr. Robel’ blew through the front 9 with a 33, posting four (4) birdies – #3, #4, #8 and #9. He kinda streaky I guess. He added a birdie on #11 to go three (3) under for the round. Looking ahead to the inevitable chatter about his handicap after the round, our Mr. Robel’ then managed only one (1) par coming in to post a strong 75. We now have another player on the verge of a handicap adjustment.

Strong Play from Hudson & Robel

Both the Sheriff and Mr. Robel’ cleared some skins, as did Jimmy D. who posted an 80 with three (3) birdies. It was a strong day for birdies at the Creek and there were a bunch of smiling faces on the back deck after the round.

Unfortunately, we had a problem in the Stableford match. As I was running the game, your Hack has to take full responsibility for the fail. You see, someone does not know how to keep score in a Stableford format. The player earns points based on their score for the hole – 3 points for a birdie, 2 for a par, 1 for a bogey, 0 for a double and -1 for a triple. The points are added up and the player’s handicap is added resulting in the total Stableford score – high score wins.

In one group, the scorer gave points to the players for “net scores” and also added the handicap at the end, resulting in the Senator and Mr. Robel’ losing out on sharing the top prize. It’s unfortunate, but “it is what it is” and your Hack will do better the next time. The incorrectly paid winner will be donating his “winnings” to the First Tee of Delaware for our annual 4 Club tournament to be help on New Year’s Eve.

Up next is our Holiday 3-Man Step Away tournament scheduled for next weekend at the Creek. We are currently at 48 players and have fingers crossed for the weather on Saturday and Sunday. Stay tuned, and keep it in the short grass.

Cripple Creek, Golf

It Was Stableford Wednesday

Your Hack was joined by nine (9) fellow golfers on the day before Thanksgiving in a game setup by Mr. Robel’. Tee times, players – with handicaps – and the stakes appeared in our text feed. It was time to play.

11:10 Hack 5- Mr. Robel’ 7- Sheriff 9
11:20 Dewey 6- Boteler 9-Councilman 10
11:30 Decker 12-Young Decker 9- Sunderlin 12
Stableford, $20 game, Top 3 $40,$30,$20
Skins $90

In Stableford, the player earns points rather than a score on each hole and the point total is added to the player’s handicap to determine the highest score. Points are earned as follows: 3 for a birdie, 2 for a par, 1 for a bogey, 0 for a double bogey and -1 for a triple bogey or higher. In this game, the highest score wins. I almost forgot. You can get 5 points for an eagle, but that didn’t come happen yesterday.

Playing with the Sheriff, we decided to spice things up by playing Lucky 7 within our group. Your Hack started off well, chipping to about 3 feet on #1 and making par, while the Sheriff and Mr Robel’ both 3 putted for bogey. I continued playing well on the front, hitting every fairway until #8. My 3-wood refused to draw and I ended up far right and behind the large group of trees blocking the green. A layup and a poor chip resulted in a bogey to take me to 2 over par. My partners struggled a bit on the front as the Sheriff accumulated a couple of negative Lucky 7 chips and Mr. Robel’ had some putting woes.

On the 9th hole, my drive was pulled left and struck a tree which meant I was about to take the negative “hit tree” Lucky 7 chip from the Sheriff unless I made a “Barkie” – a par after hitting a tree. Fortunately, I made a 12 footer for par, avoided the negative poker chip and finished the front with 16 Stableford points.

The back 9 started well as I rolled in a nice birdie putt on #10, only to be followed by Mr. Robel’s birdie which stole the “Birdie” Lucky 7 chip. Last one to make wins! Mike continued his strong play on the front, while I struggled with 3 bogeys in a row on holes 12 through 14 and then again on holes 16 through 18. I finished the front with an additional 13 Stableford points, which made my total 29 + 5 handicap = 34 points. Mike’s strong play on the front pulled him close, but his total was 1 behind at 33 points. The Sheriff had a tough day and ended a bit behind in both Stableford points and Lucky 7 chips.

The real action was in the group behind us as Steve Dewey shot a 1 under 35 on the back bringing him into the house with a 74 and the lead in Stableford points. Birdies on three (3) holes mid-round provided the rocket fuel for his big win. In addition, his threesome was playing a 9-point game within their group and Steve cleaned up there as well.

The final group of Decker 1, Decker 2, and Drew sort of “quietly” came to the house with some tough scores. Over drinks after the round, they indicated that they had a great time, but just couldn’t make any putts.

Final tally? Mr. Dewey ran the table, taking first place in the Stableford, beating his partners badly in the 9-point game, and earning a few skins for his birdies – only one was cut. Your Hack was lucky to come in 2nd in the Stableford, win the Lucky 7, and cleared one skin. Mr. Robel’ placed 3rd in the Stableford match thanks to his great play on the back nine.

We are getting some rain overnight and on Thanksgiving Day which will probably mean “cart paths only” for our Friday game. We currently have 12 players signed up – we’ll see how many show. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and keep it in the short grass.

Here is a special shoutout to our buddy Nick Stanisic for his hole in one on #3 last Sunday. Congratulations Ramrod!

Cripple Creek, Golf

Sunday’s Game(s)

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.

Can’t Believe We Played Lucky 7 and PUSHED

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.

The Senator Watching is PAC Funds Disappear

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.

Hagen Remains Calm on the 15th Tee After Butchering #14

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.

Jimmy D. in Good Form on the 15th Tee

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 . . .

Hagen Attempting the Hero Shot

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.

Cripple Creek, Golf

It Was a Team Crash on Friday

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.

RECOVERY – Hurricane, Don Boteler and the Hack

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.

Boteler – Leaving the 8th Tee

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.

Mr. Robel‘, HRD2, and the Trust Fund on #7

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.

Don’s Smooth Drive Leads to a 3 net 2 on #16

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.

L to R – HRD2, Trust Fund, and Mr. Robel’

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.

Cripple Creek, Golf, Hootie

The Hootie 2020 – It’s Over

Final Leaderboard

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!

Leary & Mr. Robel’ on Saturday Morning

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.