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

Golf

At Least I Beat Jordan

Winter golf can be tough and Sunday at Cripple Creek was no exception.  With temps in the high 30’s to low 40’s, it was hard to stay warm and loose.  In addition, I wore about 4 layers of clothes and winter golf gloves which reduces your swing flexibility and deadens your feel.    With that said, at least I beat Jordan Spieth. Continue reading