There’s hope for us hackers yet!

22 03 2015
Stevie and his Magic Wand: call 10 - 3333

Stevie and his Magic Wand: call 10 – 3333

One of the hallowed traditions of Saturday Morning Men’s Club at Glacier Greens is the right to complain about how badly you’re playing right now and how your Saturday Morning handicap is consequently way too low. If Len Doyle had a dollar for every time he’s heard that complaint he could have retired as Men’s Director years ago. Oh, hang on a minute – it’s an unpaid position. Still and all, it’s something Len and the guys in the pro shop have got used to hearing from all the hackers (which would be 90% of us), and even the other 10% – the single digit handicap guys – are not averse to the odd whine. I’m surprised our pro, Bill Kelly, doesn’t keep a supply of cheese handy behind the counter.

But if I say that Steve Ellis has not quite been at his best recently, I’m not exaggerating. I always look after the scorecard for our group as well as entering everybody’s Saturday scores in the computer, and when L’il Stevie said on the first tee yesterday morning that he hadn’t broken 90 in months I knew he was telling the gospel truth. His handicap has crept up from 13 to 19 with absolutely no sign of him reaching a point where he might win something for low net. He may have had the very occasional snip for an unexpected birdie, but basically Steve’s been contributing to the Men’s Club prize fund each week with precious little in return – apart, of course, from the delightful company of Kiefer (Keith Allan), Irish (Wayne O’Gilvie) and myself.

There were one or two signs of life in Steve’s game early on in the round, but a triple bogey 8 at the tricky 6th hole besmirched the front nine and then a quintuple bogey 10 (yes, ten!) at the devilishly difficult 14th pretty much seemed to administer the last rites. Steve then missed the green on the par 3 15th by a mile, leaving himself a horribly hard shot over the greenside bunkers. Somehow he manufactured a lob that left him 20 feet from the hole and then curled a beautiful putt right in the heart. Nice par, Steve! His drive on #16 was, if truth be told, pretty sketchy but a friendly bounce off a tree left him with an opening to the green. An impressive approach shot left him about 15 feet from the pin and, once again, he rolled a tricky left to right putt into the centre of the cup. Nice birdie, Steve!

Steve’s tee shot on the short 17th wasn’t the best, but a good chip left him with about 8 feet for par. An anxious wait while Wayne sank a great birdie putt and then Steve followed it in with a putt of his own. Three threes in a row! But wait –  Steve wasn’t finished yet. A decent drive at the last still left him with a difficult approach shot, over trees on the left and across the pond. A lovely high trajectory got him to about 12 feet, this time a tricky right to left sidehill gouger. He couldn’t, could he? Darn tootin’, he could. The man who scored 10 on #14, finished 3,3,3,3! I do realise that a low handicap golfer might look at Steve’s finish as simply having played the last five holes in three over par, but true hackers will appreciate his achievement and share my excitement at having witnessed the most spectacular comeback from a quintuple bogey that I’m ever likely to see. L’il Stevie, on behalf of hackers everywhere – you are the man!

Dave B.

(P.S. Someone pointed out the other day that I haven’t published a blog for ages – over three months in fact. I told him that nothing worth writing about had happened really, but I would as soon as it did. And yesterday it did – thanks, Steve!)

(P.P.S. As usual, Len mailed out the results first thing this morning. Snips for Steve’s birdies on #16 and #18: $40. But finishing 10,3,3,3,3 and making a little bit of history: absolutely priceless!)

And then there's those other days...Someone in the group ahead of us is missing a ball on #2

And then there’s those other days. Someone in the group ahead of us on #2 is missing a ball.

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Always read the small print…

5 08 2013

Last weekend we held our annual qualifier at Glacier Greens for the Canadian Pairs tournament. 28 pairs were involved, all hoping to make it to the final, which is contested at Crown Isle Golf and Country Club every September. I’ve been running the qualifier for the past three years and although, like every event, the organisation is not without its stresses and strains, it generally runs pretty smoothly. For the princely sum of $15 per player teams have the opportunity to win their way to the two day event at Crown Isle at which some 40 or so pairs from all over western Canada will compete for the right to play in a tournament at Pebble Beach in mid December. For those who don’t win the qualifier, there are consolation prizes in the form of KP’s, generously donated by the Men’s Club, prizes for 2nd and 3rd place teams (provided by our pro, Bill Kelly) and as many draw prizes as we have money for once the entry fee has been paid. There is also, of course, the opportunity to accuse the winners of being sandbaggers, as we have traditionally granted full handicap allowance to all players to give hackers such as myself a genuine chance of success.  Curiously, despite having three different partners in the last three years, my pair has yet to mount any kind of a challenge. In fact, friends seem to have gone out of their way to avoid me in the weeks leading up to the qualifier when they know I’m looking for a partner. Funny that.

The 2012 winners, Dave Wacowich and Liz Stirrett, hardly come into the sandbagger category. Dave’s a solid 6 handicap, Liz a 14, and anyone accusing them of skulduggery would be foolish in the extreme. They won with 49 Stableford points last year and when they equalled that total this year it looked as though they were in with a chance of being back to back winners. Ten minutes later, however, a team reported in with 50 points and ten minutes after that another pair had amassed 52. The very next scorecard, however, had such a high total that I had to get my sidekick Lennie to double check the scoring and then call over the foursome involved to ensure they weren’t playing some kind of practical joke. 57 points! I’ve no idea what the Guinness Book of Records has to say on the topic of Stableford scores, but this one had to be up there. We went through the scores hole by hole and there was absolutely no doubt. ” I know what you’re thinking, Dave”, said Ted, one of the winning pair, “but I had a good day and Tim was just on fire!”. Sure enough, Tim had contributed the vast majority of the team’s points. It wasn’t his best round ever, he told me, but it was pretty darn close.

We quickly went through the remaining scorecards but, having checked with their playing partners and knowing both gentlemen on the winning team to be of impeccable character, it wasn’t long before we were announcing the results to the assembled throng on the Glacier Greens patio. I quickly handed out the KP and runner up prizes before turning to the winning pair and saying “Well, guys, you’ve won by a street and all the best when you represent the club at Crown Isle on September 28th and 29th. Many congratulations!” Tim beamed with delight – he’s not exactly a permanent fixture in the winners’ circle at Glacier Greens – but Ted’s reaction was a little different. He turned an interesting shade of red and stammered “When?” “You know when, Ted”, I said, “the dates have been on every poster and every email we’ve sent out”. “Er. The missus and I are on a cruise, starting September 26th. There’s no way…”. His voice tailed off as some of his fellow competitors chanted ‘DQ! DQ!’

Well, of course Tim was not disqualified. He and Ted had won our competition fair and square. The following day I explained the situation to Deb at Inside Golf (the Canadian Pairs organisers) and she was less than impressed when I suggested that Tim might play by himself at Crown Isle.”But it’s a Pairs event, Dave”, she protested, “he can’t play by himself”. “Well, actually, Deb, he can. Rule 31-2 states that an individual may represent a pair for all or part of a stipulated round and both partners need not be present”. Sometimes it’s handy being a rules geek. “Er, I’ll get back to you, Dave”, she said. The next day Deb phoned to say that they had found a section in the Pairs rule book to say that a player can be replaced by a substitute who had also played in the qualifying competition. I phoned Tim with the good news and suggested he pick a friend to partner him. “I’ll get back to you, Dave”, he said.

A few days later Tim phoned to tell me what he had decided to do – and his decision showed what a class act he is. Rather than pick a friend, he had felt that everybody in the field should have a chance so he put everyone’s name into a hat. He drew a winner and a spare, just in case the first pick was scheduled to go on a cruise or something. As luck would have it, the name Tim drew was Liz, one of last year’s winning pair, who declined the offer, partly on the grounds that she’d already had her chance at fame and fortune (well, Crown Isle anyway). Next pick was Wayne Hay who, in Tim’s words, ‘graciously accepted’ the opportunity and will partner Tim as Glacier Greens’ representatives at Crown Isle at the end of next month. And Ted? Well, mate, at least you won a sleeve of balls. Have a great cruise, and next time – read the small print, eh?

Hay and HautzingerMr Wayne Hay and Mr Tim Hautzinger, Glacier Greens’ representatives at the Canadian Pairs Finals, Crown Isle, 2013

All da best!

Dave B.





Canadian Pairs – it’s a family affair

7 07 2012
Liz Stirrett and Dave Wacowich, Canadian pairs qualifying winners @ Glacier Greens, July 2012

Liz Stirrett and Dave Wacowich, Glacier Greens Canadian Pairs qualifying winners, July 2012

If you’re old enough to hum along to the tune or even remember the lyrics to Sly and the Family Stone’s epic song “It’s a family affair”, well, let’s just say that you’re probably no longer in the first flush of youth. The tune topped the U.S. charts in 1972 which, I’m guessing, was before the winners of today’s Glacier Greens qualifying tournament for the 2012 Canadian Pairs were even born.

35 pairs entered this year’s tournament, no doubt spurred on by the hope that they would somehow ham and egg enough holes to beat out the rest of the field for a place in the Canadian Finals to be held at Crown Isle on September 28/29. Many would have been  thinking that if last year’s winners, Dave Sheppard and Wayne Wood, could score 48 Stableford points and finish first then surely everyone was in with a genuine chance this year. Well, yes…and no. Going out in one of the early groups Liz Stirrett and husband Dave Wacowich reeled off NINE net birdies in a row on the front nine holes to amass 27 points. They cooled off a little on the back nine – ask Liz how she fared on #14 if you enjoy tales of suffering – but the couple held things together enough to set the daunting target of 49 points. Many tried, some came close, but when the dust had settled nobody could get any closer than 47 points. Henry Bondé and Wayne Mabee were beaten into third place on the mysterious countback system by the father and son team of Elmo and Roger Guinan. Roger is still a young man, of course, but Elmo is rumoured to have received a telegram from the Queen years ago. To put it another way, Guinan senior has a better chance than most of shooting his age, and he could certainly do a passable impression of Sly and the Family Stone in their prime.

Many thanks to Bill Kelly in the pro shop for generously donating prizes to the second and third place teams, to Gary Wood from Slegg Lumber and to Len Doyle and the Saturday morning Men’s Club crew for providing sleeves of top quality balls to all the KP winners, who were as follows:

#4 Al Cabilan/Gabe Tremblay; #7 Chuck Brown/James Dickson; #12 Kim Delaval/Jan Edwards; #15 John Lahey/Bill Todd; #17 Rob Hill/Barry Norris. Prizes can all be picked up in the pro shop.

And for the first place winners? Well, as mentioned, Liz and Dave win the trophy, get to go to a fancy dinner and reception and then play 36 holes at Crown Isle at the end of September and can harbour legitimate hopes of going on to play two rounds at Pebble Beach in mid December. Dare to dream, guys – someone’s gotta win.

As for qualifying from Glacier Greens – well, it was a family affair!

Dave B.

(By the way, I was somewhat disconcerted to realise that in 1972 I bore more than a passing resemblance to Sly Stone in this Youtube video. I think I had a better voice though…)