Golf

My #100HoleHike – The Recap

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

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

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

Mark Announces the Start of our Hike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Hack Still Feeling Loose Early On

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

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

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

Laura Heien Walking and Talking the #100HoleHike

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

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

#14 – 75 Holes In

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

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

Putting Out on the 100th Hole!

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

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

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

Golf

My #100HoleHike – Realtime Updates

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

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

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

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

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

October 25, 2020 –

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

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

Golf

Your Hack Wins The Double

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

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

Andy was the 10th tee Starter and Lunch Order Taker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sheriff – Glenn Hudson in white. My Partner.

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

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

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

Golf

Playing Golf With A Bum

My Pal Bumly (last winter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golf

The 2020 Chowder Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read a history of The Hootie by clicking here

Golf

My 100 Hole Hike

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

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

My Birthday Cart – 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Donate to the Retired Golf Hack’s 100 Hole Hike

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

Golf

Tour on the Shore Opener This Weekend

My tournament season opens this weekend at Bay Creek in Cape Charles, VA. I’m driving down tomorrow for a practice round and then we play the Nicklaus Course Saturday and the Palmer Course on Sunday. The weekend rounds are also qualifiers for the UA Tour finals to be held in Ocean City, MD in June. The weather looks tough for Friday, but the temperature gets into the 50’s over the weekend, but the wind will blow 20-30 mph. Continue reading

Golf

Just Hit Shots

I took a new approach to my golf yesterday. The weather continued to get warmer, but the wind was blowing. 15-20mph on the first 9 and 20+ after we made the turn. It was time to think about just hitting shots and not the score. Not really deep thinking, but I’m feeling I’ve become too focused on my score and needed to “free it up.” How’d it work out? Continue reading

Golf

No Expectations

After my play in Florida last week, I came to Cripple Creek yesterday (Thursday) with no expectations other than fun with the boys and great weather. The temps made it to 65 degrees, the sun shined, and the boys had fun. Hagen, Pip, and I took on Glen, Mike, and Horton playing 1 best ball on the odd numbered holes and 2 best on the even. In addition, we played a 9 point match within our threesome in order to have some action going beyond the team match. Continue reading