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.


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.

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

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


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