Cripple Creek, Gambling, Golf

Wednesday Game

Twelve of us gathered at the Creek yesterday for our regular Wednesday game. Because your Hack has fallen in love with Simon’s carryover skins game, we played it again. The first 14 holes were worth $10 each, while the final 4 holes were $25 each. We played at 80% of GHIN handicaps with strokes based off my cap. With $240 in the pot, we teed off under sunny skies with a mild breeze and temps in the 50’s. The greens were the fastest we’d seen at the Creek in months and “someone” from the grounds crew had a fight with his spouse that morning and put some of the pins in crazy hard spots.

The lead group consisted of the Voice, Trust Fund, yours truly, and a blast from the past. The Broker, an old friend re-joined Cripple Creek and was our fourth. The Broker hasn’t played much golf over the past couple of years – busy with two young boys and a hectic mortgage business – so he was allowed to play at his old 10 handicap. Hey, he’s a degenerate gambler on course, so he was warmly welcomed. The Broker and I teamed up in a Nassau with auto 2-downs against the Voice and Trust Fund to keep things interesting.

My partner made a nice steady par on #1 to beat our opponents’ bogeys and we went 1 up. Your Hack rolled in a curling 15 footer for birdie on #2 to beat Trust Fund’s par and we were 2 up and even. It was a nice start, but the Voice doesn’t even get interested until there are presses in play. After halving #3 with pars, I sprayed a drive OB right and the Voice made par to beat the bogey made by my partner. He followed with a bogey, net par on #5 when I couldn’t get up and down from the front left bunker and if was now even, down 2, and even.

The Broker and I were in good shape on #6 sitting in the fairway between 140 and 150 out. Both of our opponents missed the green and we both made 2-putt pars. Both opponents missed 5-6 footers for par. We were now 1 up, even, and 1 up going to the par 3 eighth. Unfortunately, I decided to 3-putt the 8th after being the only player to hot the green. The Voice made a gutsy 4 out of an embedded lie in the hazard in front of the green. #8 was also halved and we went in to the last hole on the front in good shape.

It would come down to me and the Trust Fund on #9 as both our partners made a mess of things and were out of the hole. I was sitting about 15 feet right of the pin and he was on the back fringe, down hill all the way. Remember what I’d said earlier about the greens? Well, he proceeded to roll his ball past the hole at a pace that carried it off the green again. He was still out, about 20 feet below the pin and it looked like we’d win the front 3 ways until the stone cold assassin drained it! I left my birdie putt on the left edge and another hole was halved, but we’d one the front 1 up and the 2 pushes cancelled.

It turned out when we tabulated the skins after the round that my birdie on #2 picked up 2 skins and that the remaining 7 skins on the front were all carried over. More on that later.

On the back nine our Nassau bet doubles, but the value of any presses remains at the original amount. We’d never get to the point on the back where a press came into play – it was a solid and stressful match. Holes 10-12 were halved with pars when the Broker jammed a birdie putt into the cup on #4 for a 1 up lead. The Voice matched that with a beautiful birdie on the par 5, 14th hole. He hit his wedge to about 6 feet and rolled it in. I was out of the hole after hitting another drive OB right and my partner also made a double.

We were back even until I made an up and down par on #16 that our opponents couldn’t match. 1 up and 2 holes to go, but our opponents each got strokes on the last 2 holes. The Voice and I both made par on #17, but they took the hole with his net birdie and we went into the last hole all square on the back. The Broker also stroked on the last hole and was on in two, but deep into the green with a front pin. Both of our opponents missed the green, as did I. Luckily, I was able to get up and down for par, but my partner 3-putted and their bogey, net pars halved the hole.

Overall, it was a great match and lots of fun. I still hate giving strokes on the last 2 holes of the course, but that’s the Hack life.

Let’s get back to the carryover birdie games among the whole group. The carryovers continued on the front 9 until the Broker’s birdie on #13 cleared and he picked up 11 skins. Hurricane slammed a birdie home on #16 to pick up 3 skins and the Senator made a late appearance with a par, net birdie on #18 to pick-up the last 2 skins of the day.

All in, a great day. Golf game was shaky at times with 2 balls OB and only 8 greens in regulation. I did have only 1 3-putt on some tough greens, but 31 putts in total. Here’s my card.

Hack’s Continued Erratic Play

Our next planned game in Friday. I’m currently watching the Masters on 3 screens while writing this blog. Nothing could be better. The Masters’ app is awesome.

Cripple Creek, Gambling, Golf

Easter Golf & A New Nickname

It was a beautiful day at the Creek on Sunday, but only five (5) of us teed it up. The Sheriff’s back is acting up again and he had to bow out. We played as a fivesome – the Hack, the Voice, the Senator and the Jr. Senator teed off at 10:10, playing with one Mr. Dewey, who will now be known as the Striker. His controlled cut off the tee and excellent iron play crushed us. Even with 2 bad doubles on the back nine, Striker took home nine (9) skins to lead the band.

Your Hack borrowed Simon’s carryover skins game from Saturday and it was a big hit. I have to admit it took a while to settle things at the end because your Hack had a little trouble with math – long story, I’ll tell you sometime if you are interested.

The Jr. Senator came out of the pack strong with a birdie on the 4th hole to take four (4) skins. Your Hack was sitting 6 feet off the front of the green in two (2) but couldn’t convert his birdie to halve. Although it was not technically a 3-putt par it felt exactly the same as my true 3-putt bogey on #1 to start the round. I’d add one more 3-putt later in the round to crush my soul with 33 total putts.

Striker made a smooth par/net birdie on the 6th to pick-up two (2) skins as we headed to the 7th tee. I was skinless, but feeling good until I cold shanked my 7-iron int the pine trees on the right and lost the ball – easy double bogey as I re-teed after a futile search. Pars halved the hole and the 8th, when Striker absolutely flushed an approach into the 9th green, that rolled back off the back of the green and came to rest about 6 inches from the left back pin. Birdie and 3 more skins.

As we made the turn, the next three (3) holes were halved. Only Striker and I hit the green on #13, but a sloppy 3-putt by your Hack gave the hole to the Striker – 4 more skins. We played the par 5 14th hole from the up tees which definitely brought birdie into play. I hit my 2nd shot pin high right, but the Jr. Senator flushed a 6 iron onto the front of the green which led to an easy 2 putt birdie and a skin after I could not get up and down for my birdie.

We moved onto the 16th hole where I launched a 5 iron out of bounds (my fairly typical big right miss on this hole). This lead to another double and my second penalty shot of the round. Striker was the only player to make par adding another skin.

The skin value doubled on the last two (2) holes, but 17 was halved with par/net birdies from the Voice and Striker. I made par as well, but no strokes – this becomes important as we headed to 18. With wind blowing in our faces, the Voice and I hit good drives that left us about 200 yard in. Steve hit an indifferent approach short right and my hybrid was tugged a little left, pin high about 3 feet off the putting surface. The Voice got up and down for a bogey, net par and I left my birdie putt about 10 inches short – easy par to finish. However, the rules state that ties on 18 are “played off” on #17 by the players that halved #18. Steve’s par/net birdie on 17 beat my par giving him both skins to end the match.

This left the Senator and I as the only players failing to earn a skin. The Senator’s play was haphazard most of the day and he immediately headed to the range to try and work things out. I choose the more “Hack-like” approach to bad round and had a beer on the back deck with Striker. We’ll try again on Wednesday.

Here is my scorecard – 79 (8 over) with two 3-putts, two penalty shots, and no birdies. I hit 9 of 14 fairways, but was 3 over on the 4 fairways where I went left. It was the par 3’s that were a disaster – 5 over on the par 3’s for the day with penalty shots on two (2) of them and a 3-putt on one – just pitiful.

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 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.