The Kitsap Kid

12 05 2012

The picturesque 15th at Port Ludlow – an idyllic scene, apart from the fact that my tee shot finished up in the bloody pond.

Back in February, in the murky depths of a typical Vancouver Island winter, a group of us from Glacier Greens decided to cheer ourselves up by planning a short golf trip to Washington State in May. The usual suspects were involved: myself, Glennie, the Great Robinski, Chief, Smokin’ Joe, the Budmeister and Li’l Stevie Ellis. A little later, to add some credibility to a group that had enthusiasm by the bucket load but also plenty of loft (Lack Of Fu#%ing Talent), we added Rod Cobham who plays off a handicap of 7 on a good day. As we were to discover, these good days do not apparently take place in May. Not that it would be fair to single Rod out for underachieving. Half the group had days when they failed to break 100. Obviously it would be unethical to name names, but Robin, Glennie, Li’l Stevie and the Chief know who they are. Anyway, here are the eight of us, pictured with our roomies and with faces that surely only a mother could love:

Adrian and Bud share the love – an unusual moment in a week of feuding for the dynamic duo.

Steve and Glen look forward to mastering McCormick Woods. Things didn’t work out quite as planned…

Dave puts on a brave smirk, in the desperate hope that things will go better this time. Rod hopes that his $10 cigar will make him look like a pro. Both are going to be disappointed.

Robin tells Joe about his many wins on tour. Joe nods and smiles – he’s seen Robin’s golf swing.

Anyway, it was my responsibility to arrange an itinerary for five days of golf. We had decided that the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State would be a great place to play, so I began by looking up a bunch of courses on the map and emailing them to find out about availability, green fees etc. Somehow my mass email reached a nice lady at the tourist office in Silverdale who informed me that nearly all the courses I’d picked weren’t actually on the Olympic Peninsula at all, but the Kitsap Peninsula, of which I had to admit I had never heard. After a phone conversation with her that included a free geography lesson, I was able to narrow our choices down to six courses to be played in five days: the Peninsula course, just ten minutes from the ferry in Port Angeles: McCormick Woods, Trophy Lake and the two Gold Mountain courses, all within a fifteen minute drive of Bremerton, where our hotel was; and Port Ludlow, handily placed on the road back to Port Angeles and the Friday afternoon ferry to Victoria.

If you’re eagerly anticipating a blow by blow account of all six rounds then I’m afraid you are to be disappointed. Overall the scores make too painful reading and the sensitive ones in our group will already have sought professional help to erase the catalogue of disasters from their memory banks. The Chief will be taking lessons to avoid the onset of banana ball syndrome that suddenly afflicted his game; Robin will hopefully make a full recovery from tee shots that were little slicey things on some holes and then, unaccountably, turned into big hooky things on others; Rod, who admittedly hit some truly prodigious drives, also fell prey to a severe attack of the Ravi Shankers and hit several what he brilliantly termed ‘unguided missiles’; li’l Stevie smiled manfully throughout but unwise choices on the off course beverage consumption front rendered him incapable of making wise decisions on course; Bud put so much energy into feuds with the Chief and yours truly that he had nothing left for the actual golf; Glennie’s opportunities to utter his signature phrase – “God, I LOVE this game” – were few and far between; and as for myself, the fact that my scores got worse EVERY SINGLE FLIPPIN’ DAY until Friday will give you some insight into my state of mind by the time we were packing to leave for home.

Not that it was all bad. We were very happy with the quality of the courses we played, and by Vancouver Island standards prices were really good. I mean, two rounds of golf at Gold Mountain, including a cart all day, for $58? Seriously? Despite being a little out of the way, our hotel – the Baymont Inn in Bremerton – was clean and comfortable and fairly priced. The lack of a bar and restaurant caused some early concerns, but a great pub down the road and a nearby liquor store meant that we neither died of hunger or thirst. The weather, courtesy of Bud, was decent every day too. But for seven of us – the not-so-magnificent seven – our golf games had apparently disappeared somewhere on the ferry crossing between Canada and the States.

The proud exception was Smokin’ Joe. Despite being dealt an early psychological blow by the news that other members of the group had snuck pull carts into the trucks and were thus going to save themselves $20 or so in rental fees, Joe pulled himself together and shot a series of outstanding rounds, recouping all that money and considerably more from the prize fund we had hastily arranged during the ferry crossing. If we played as individuals, Joe won. If we played as pairs, Joe won. When we tried groups of four, Joe still won. It would be tempting to say that some kind of doubtful handicapping was going on, but the truth was that Joe managed to play to his handicap, while the rest of us – not to put too fine a point on it – basically sucked. We all had our moments though: Adrian had two birdies in our last round and scooped up a bunch of skins; Bud had FOUR birdies in one of the early rounds; Steve found a new swing that would seem to indicate a bright future; Rod came within an inch of a hole in one; Glen shot a superb 38 on the front nine at Gold Mountain; I didn’t throw any clubs at all for the first four rounds; and Robin got to sleep with Joe, although not in the biblical sense of course.

So we all had plenty to smile about on the ferry ride home as we made our excuses, blamed outside agencies for poor shots, swapped lies and hard luck stories and got Adrian to divvy up the prize fund. But the man with the biggest smile of all, the runaway winner of the inaugural Washington Whackf@#% Turkey Neck Invitational Tour of 2012, is the Kitsap Kid himself – Joe Dunham. Many congrats on a great week’s golf, Joe, as well as putting up with unrelenting abuse from the rest of us. A worthy recipient indeed!

You know you’re in trouble when… A fairly typical approach shot at Trophy Lake finishes up in a fairly typical lie. Another triple bogey coming up.

All da best!

Dave B.




6 responses

13 05 2012

Sounds like a fabulous trip..great write up! One day when I’m back on the links maybe I’ll swing along…

13 05 2012
Bagger Dave

You’d be a perfect fit, Ben, although I don’t know if there are golf courses long enough to cope with your length off the tee box. (There may not be fairways wide enough to cope with you either…)

13 05 2012
Glennie the sandbagger

Well done, Dave. I think it very wise of you not to mention a few of Steve’s misdemeanors as he is the newbie in the group. The fact that he flipped Joe out of the golf cart once Joe had established a substantial lead and then insisted that his lost ball on the second hole at Port Ludlow was definitely due to faulty course design and therefore not really worthy of a two stroke penalty, are best left unsaid.
A great trip, guys. Let’s do it again (the gods be willing)

13 05 2012
Bagger Dave

Oh lord. I’d forgotten about the assassination attempt! I know a couple of the guys were thinking about ways to dethrone Joe, but I think attempted murder in a cart ‘accident’ was taking things a bit too far!

13 05 2012

Great blog Dave. I’m surprised that you were so kind to us all. I know you had lots of material to humiliate each one of us. I haven’t been to the course for a couple of days now in hopes that I will forget what happened. This morning I woke up in a sweat after dreaming of driving the ball 50yds off the tee, then slicing the ball 150 yds dead left into the gorse and ending with a score of 105. Visions of triple putts and maximum scores of 7 left me shaking. It didn’t really happen, did it Dave? Perhaps I should have bought a range pass this year. At least then I wouldn’t have to go and look for the balls. I do feel some comfort however in that I wasn”t alone in this fiasco.
Despite my woes on the course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The $5 steak dinner at the 19th hole was excellent. The all you can eat breakfasts were outstanding. And that fireball whiskey, well……maybe that was my problem!

13 05 2012
Bagger Dave

Yep, I really had to wrestle with my conscience, Robin, but in the end I realised I have to play with you guys for years to come so I thought nice was best. A good trip, and I think we should try it again some time soon. No 105’s, though…

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