Cripple Creek, Golf, Hootie

2021 Hootie

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.]

I also wrote about the 2019 Hootie here and you can read a short history of the Hootie 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.

Round 1 Leaderboard

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, Big Dog and Ramrod by the 6th Tee

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.

TeamScoreFinish
Decker/Doc641st
Baxter/Hunsberger662nd
Boteler/Moore67T-3
Fallon/Statter67T-3
Diehl/Stokes685th
Dzedzy/Skibicki69T-6
Hagen/Sunderlin69T-6
Robel/Bernier69T-6
Dewey/Donnelly, Joe69T-6

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 . . . .

Well Deserved Refreshments for the Organizers

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!

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.

Cripple Creek, Golf, Hootie

The Hootie 2020 – Day 1

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!

Hagen & Stokes
“Condo” Hudson & Cummings

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(w) White Tees (g) Gold Tees – (#) Handicaps – Partners have same format

9:009:50
Hagen (w) 11Dewey (w) 7
Stokes (g) 12Frog (g) 17
Cummings (w) 9Jimmy Donnelly (w) 10
Condo Hudson (g) 13Vallese (g) 11
9:1010:00
Boteler (w) 10Bensen (w) 11
Joe Donnelly (g) 14Statter (g) 11
Hastings (w) 12Baxter (w) 5
Sunderlin (g) 10Hunsberger (g) 20
9:2010:10
Diehl (w) 0Robel (w) 8
Dream (g) 21Leary (g) 13
Dillon (w) 4G. Hudson (w) 10
Miranda (g) 16Ski (g) 13
9:3010:20
Dinuzzo (w) 10Fallon (w) 13
Browne (g) 11Witmer (g) 10
Councilman Hudson (w) 12Reid (w) 13
Decker (g) 10Dzedzy (g) 10
9:40
Stanisic (w) 9
States (g) 14
Connell (w) 8
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.

Statter & Bensen – Our Playing Partners

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:

Baxter/Hunsberger Close to Bringing Up The Rear

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

Show: Cummings/Condo 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.

Cripple Creek, Hootie

The Hootie 2019

IMG_2689Fourteen (14) 2-man teams were set in anticipation of the 16th annual Hootie at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club, which was held the weekend of April 27-28, 2019.  (See a short history of the Hootie here) Teams were selected at a draw party the prior week and each consisted of an “A” and “B” player competing in a four ball stroke play battle over 36 holes.  The “A” player hit from the white tees and the “B” player from the shorter gold tees (with a 4 strokes reduction in handicap). Continue reading

Cripple Creek, Golf, Hootie

The Hootie – A Short History

We play our first Major at the club this weekend and I thought it would be fun to write a short history of the tournament – The Hootie.

On April 13, 2003, a Cripple Creek tradition and a tournament like no other began.

“The Dog came out growling with a sandy par on the first hole and never looked back. Chipping in twice for birdies and taking only 24 putts, he rolled up a remarkable, we will not report the remarks that were made, 43 points [modified Stableford scoring] and ran off with a bone of $120. When asked how his knee held up, he responded with a blank look, “WHAT KNEE?”  A 73 is a sure fire cure for whatever ails you.”

And so ended the first Hootie at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club in Bethany Beach, DE.  Our “Once and Former Commissioner” – one Lary Larson – was eloquent in his description of the Dog’s “historic” victory. Continue reading