I coulda been a contender – RWB 2015

7 09 2015
Golfing God (and all-round good guy), Mr Chuck Kennedy.

Golfing God (and all-round good guy), Mr Chuck Kennedy

Well, the 16th annual Red, White and Blue tournament is done and dusted and we have a winner who basically lapped the field. Step forward Chuck Kennedy, whose 74 off the blue tees on Saturday (that’s a gross 74, mind you, net 65) gave him an eight shot lead over the rest of the field. By the time he’d shot a net 68 off the whites on Sunday morning his lead was up to 14 and the tournament was, to all intents and purposes, over.

Now Chuck is a quiet and modest man and no amount of cajolery (now there’s a word you don’t see every day) on my part could get him to say anything remotely boastful at the prize giving ceremony, so I will leave you instead with the reasons given by the rest of us as to why things didn’t quite go as planned this year:

“I hurt my back” – Brian Goodwin (withdrew the day before). Plausibility score: 5/10

“I hurt my back too” – Dave Buckley-Jones (withdrew in parking lot Sunday a.m.): 6/10

“I’ve only played twice this year” – Bruce Coulter (12th place): 9/10

“I had enough grief from Moira for winning last year” – Adrian Haut (11th): 8/10

“I only found out I was playing ten minutes before we started” – Elmo Guinan (10th): 6/10

“I had to play 36 holes with Bud on Sunday” – Dave Brooker (9th): (2/10)

“I had to play 36 holes with Bud AND Dave on Sunday” – Keith Allan (8th): (10/10)

“I had to watch Dave’s swing and it totally put me off my game” – Stan Mills (7th): (7/10)

“I’ve never played in the RWB before and nobody explained the rules” – Murray Polson (6th): (3/10)

“I went to the party of the century on Saturday night and got REALLY wasted” – Steve Ellis (5th): (7/10)

“I had to play with Dave. And I’m too old for this sh!t anyway” – Bud Bryan (4th): (5/10)

“I was in charge of the weather AND taking photos, so I couldn’t concentrate properly” – Dan Fitzgerald (3rd): (6/10)

“No excuses. The best man clearly won” – Bill O’Neill (2nd): (0/10)

Bill O'Neill raises a metaphorical glass to this year's winner. Either that or he's having a rest - 36 holes makes for a l-o-n-g day.

Bill O’Neill raises a metaphorical glass to this year’s winner. Either that or he’s having a rest – 36 holes makes for a l-o-n-g day.

And, finally, from the man himself:

“If I’d have known I had to take the Big Club home AND pay half the engraving costs I’d have thrown away 10 shots in the last round” – ‘Champion Chuck’ Kennedy

Er, you’d STILL have won, Chuck…

Thanks to all for taking part. Wonderful prizes, as per usual. Personally, I can’t wait to try out my plastic back yard driving range golf game (for ages 3 and up).

We’ll try it all again next Labour Day weekend.

Dave B.


Hail to the Chief! RWB 2014

1 09 2014

Adrian (aka ‘Chief’) has been a stalwart of the annual Red, White and Blue tournament for eight years now. He’s come close to winning a couple of times, but his aggressive play off the tee, while exciting to watch, has always meant that eventually the big numbers have come and the Big Club has eluded his grasp once again. Recently, however, the Chief has taken to hitting irons off the tee (further than some of us hit driver, I might add) and the results have been impressive. Could 2014 prove to be the year that the Chief finally achieves his dream and takes the Big Club home to impress Mrs Chief?

The field was a little smaller than usual this year, but here are the men that stood in his way – and how they fared:

Bruce's first tee antics were well up to scratch. His golf? Not so much

Bruce’s first tee antics were well up to scratch. His golf? Not so much.

Mike's confidence on the first tee proved to be sadly misplaced.

Mike’s confidence on the first tee was, once again, sadly misplaced.

The two shot per round penalty for winning last year proved too much for Sir Stanley to overcome.

The two shot per round penalty incurred for winning last year proved too much for Sir Stanley to overcome.

Billy V's verdict on his first foray into the RWB? : "Disappointing. Very disappointing."

Billy V’s verdict on his second foray into the RWB? : “Still disappointing. Very disappointing.”

Tied 3rd place for Dave. Just like the man himself: very respectable.

A 3 round net score of 206 and tied 3rd place for Dave. Just like the man himself: very respectable.

Al seemed to have a good time, although with his accent it's always hard to be sure.

Al tied for 3rd place and seemed to have a good time, although with his accent it’s never easy to be sure.

Sitting on the bench on the 10th tee, Bud knows that he holds a narrow lead. he's not to know that it will all fall apart on the very last hole of the tournament - a dreaded double on #18.

Sitting on the bench on the 10th tee, Bud holds a narrow lead. He’s not to know that it will all go pear shaped on the very last hole of the tournament – a dreaded double on #18.

Bud's misfortune on #18 means that Adrian sneaks through for a total of 204 and victory by a single shot. Hail to the Chief!

Bud’s misfortune on #18 means that Adrian sneaks through for a total of 204 and victory by a single shot.  There’s a rumour going round that Mrs Chief is going to post this picture on Facebook.

Many thanks to all who took part in the RWB this year and congratulations on the stunning array of gift wrapped prizes. As Stan Mills said: ” I don’t really want to win the tournament – I just want to see who gets what in the prizes!” No Indonesian sex gods this year (Mike Worley was away) but I got a flagon of beer, a bottle of wine and about 200 ‘experienced’ golf balls. It took away a lot of the pain brought on by three rounds of decidedly average golf. Thanks, mystery donor!

Hope to see you all next Labour Day weekend for the 15th annual running of the Red, White and Blue.

All da best and hail to the Chief!

Dave B.

Who wants it? RWB 2013

3 09 2013
Who wouldn't want this splendid trophy on their mantle for a year?

Who wouldn’t want this splendid trophy on their mantle for a year?

The Red, White and Blue tournament was first played in 2001 and has been chugging along nicely ever since. It has slipped into a regular slot on the world golfing calendar – the Labour Day weekend – and each year a dozen or so very enthusiastic but largely untalented golfers from Glacier Greens have vied for the right to take home the Big Club, as the trophy is called.

OK. The first paragraph is mostly accurate, except for the ‘vying for the right to take the trophy home’ bit. Somehow in recent years it has become fashionable to claim not to want to win the Big Club. Last year’s winner, for example, the Great Robinski, ensured there would be no repeat this year by contriving to shoot 88 in Saturday’s round. That’s a net 88, not gross, although clearly Robin’s play was. No sense of shame, some people. Bud Bryan was keen to play, but made it clear that under no circumstances was he allowed to win – his better half Alice had threatened to kill him if he showed up at home with the Big Club. As it turned out, he didn’t need to worry. Actually, the Chief is the only one person I can think of as having said he’d quite like to win the trophy, but with his dry sense of humour it’s hard to know if he really meant it. Anyway, given the way he’s been hitting the ball of late, it was never likely to happen.

Some players, like Mike Worleybird (who finished 3rd), Billy V (4th) and Roderick (5th) played well enough to maintain a certain level of self esteem while never actually contending for the title. Others, like Bruce (6th) and the aforementioned Bud and Adrian (7th and 8th), preferred to spend the weekend hurling insults at those around them, which in fact made it a pretty normal weekend for the rest of us. Smokin’ Joe kept under the radar in 9th place and Elmo, deciding he’d had enough of the abuse he got last year for coming last, improved in each round to finish in the top ten, just ahead of Dave Buckley-Jones, who was shockingly well behaved this year. Perhaps he had a headache. To save our blushes, I won’t give the exact placings of the last four. As already mentioned, Robin had his reasons for keeping his head under the parapet. I was just flippin’ inept from start to finish. And let’s be kind to newcomers Michelle M and Mike P and trot out the old clichés: the occasion got to them, they played well but the putts didn’t drop etc etc. Nah! Let’s face it – they were as bad as Robin and me.

So who did want it? For the first two rounds, the answer was clearly Stan Mills, who amassed a six shot lead with a couple of sub par rounds. Over lunch on Sunday, however, I suspect Stan had an epiphany. The man who spent the the first eight months of 2011 looking at the trophy he’d won in 2010 must have decided that he didn’t want the Big Club cluttering up the living room for another whole year. Tee shots started to go awry in the final round, putts started to come up a tad short. News from the course was that someone was coming up on the rails. Who else, but Li’l Stevie Ellis, who barnstormed his way to an amazing net 61. At the last, almost despite himself, Stan the Man made a couple of birdies to force a tie. What now? A tension filled sudden death playoff? Stan bought me a coffee and a muffin – an unsubtle attempt at bribery – and whispered ” I think the trophy should go to the high handicapper, Dave. I’ve already won it once. Let Stevie have his moment of glory.” Nice try, Stanley, but there’s a precedent. In 2006, el Bandito Juan tied with Lou ‘Picasso’ Smith. There was no playoff – everyone liked the idea of both guys having to put the trophy  on display for six months each.

And so that’s how it is this year: your Red, White and Blue joint winners for 2013 – Stan Mills and Steve Ellis. Many congratulations, guys!

All da best.

Dave B.

Yeah, I know, Beauty and the beasts. Michelle wonders what she's let herself in for as Mike W admires Bruce's ball juggling skills...

Yeah, I know, Beauty and the Beasts. Michelle wonders what she’s let herself in for as Mike W admires Bruce’s ball juggling skills. Many thanks to Bruce, by the way, for the prizes he presented to each competitor on the first tee. Thanks to Lordco, too.

Bud chortles at the very idea of Stan winning the trophy for a second time. "Like that's gonna happen!"

Bud chortles at the very idea of Stan winning the trophy for a second time. “Like that’s gonna happen!”

"You shot HOW many yesterday?" Dave BJ asks Robin if it's contagious.

“You shot HOW many yesterday?” Dave BJ asks Robin. ” Is it contagious?”

Bagger D and Mike P enjoy a moment before the final round. There was little to enjoy for the next four hours...

Bagger D and Mike P enjoy a moment before the second round. Sadly, the last 36 holes brought precious few other moments to enjoy.

A respectable first showing for RWB rookie Billy V. Yet more disappointment for the Chief. The coffee was good though...

A respectable first showing for RWB rookie Billy V. Another disappointment for the Chief. The coffee was good though.

Elmo moved all the way up from dead last in 2012 to a top ten finish this year. Rod moved from 5th to er, 5th

Elmo moved all the way up from dead last in 2012 to a top ten finish this year. Rod moved from 5th to er, 5th

Stan Mills and Steve Ellis, the 2013 RWB champions. The vertically challenged dynamic duo pose proudly behind the Big Club.

Stan Mills and Steve Ellis, the 2013 RWB champions. The vertically challenged dynamic duo pose proudly behind the Big Club.

Editor’s note: sadly, no picture was available of Smokin’ Joe Dunham, who was practising on the driving range at the time the pictures were taken.

Why, Joseph, why?

Foul weather golfers

2 12 2012
"Can I have a ruling on casual water, please?"

“Can I have a ruling on casual water, please?”

I think my favourite cartoon is of two golfers trudging down the fairway in the pouring rain who see a man fishing from a riverbank next to the course. “Look at that guy!” says one of the golfers. “I mean, what kind of idiot would be out in weather like this?”

Well, I would for a start. There are many categories of golfers, but as far as the weather is concerned they fall into one of two camps: you’re either a fair weather golfer or, like me, you’re beyond hope and you’ll play in anything. In the former group are some of my walking buddies: Butch, Don, Brian and Mike, for example – all of whom, with the possible exception of Mike, are fine, upstanding and sane gentlemen who play their golf on a variety of local courses in the summer months and who put their clubs away once October arrives and the Wet Coast (sic) starts to live up to its name. The latter group consists of my Glacier Greens buddies, most of whom take the view that they’ve paid for their membership and so they’re going to play come rain or shine. One or two, like Glennie, openly admit their preference for sunny skies overhead and firm footing underneath, but most of the rest are easily led and by the time they are absolutely soaked they can usually be persuaded to finish off the round. The phrase “Big Girl’s Blouse” seems to work wonders in convincing the likes of Bud and Robin that their manhood will be called into question if they quit after nine holes.

So I have to admit I felt a little guilty yesterday when I looked out of the window at first light, saw teeming rain and decided I would give Men’s morning a miss this week. As it happened it pretty much rained all day and I spent most of the daylight hours with my nose buried in a book. If I gave any thought to my playing partners it was to think “silly sods” before making myself another cup of tea and getting back to John Grisham.

Today it dawned bright and fine and I couldn’t wait to get to the course. When I arrived at 8:00 I was surprised to see that the parking lot was virtually empty. Apparently nearly all of yesterday’s silly sods had decided that they weren’t going to risk getting soaked two days in a row and had decided to bail on Bruce’s usual Sunday morning skins game. Luckily (or maybe unluckily) Stan the Man and Dave Buckley-Jones were waiting on the tenth tee and hailed me as I drove by. Lucky for me, because I would have headed for the first tee, forgetting that we switch nines at the start of December, but also unlucky because these two characters rejoice in giving me the gears from start to finish whenever we play together. Sure enough, Stan and Dave (or Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber as I prefer to call them) were in fine form and the insults soon started to flow: “Would you like to borrow some hipwaders?” asked Stan just as I was eyeing up a tricky shot across water on # 10. (Sure enough my approach shot  sliced straight into the pond). “Try hitching up your pantie hose” was Dave’s helpful advice after a particularly poor drive of mine on # 5. And so it went on – three guys using their three and a half hours together in the best possible way: golf and a non-stop barrage of insults. Stan is actually considering videotaping our next round together, although it should probably carry some kind of parental advisory warning concerning bad language and squishing of self esteem. Stan played well, Dave and I less so but were not unhappy – we’d agreed that low net would buy the coffee today, just for a change – and a good time was had by all. It was topped off by finding out in the clubhouse that Dave must have set some kind of record in yesterday’s gale blown Men’s morning: he shot 104 (yes – a hundred and flipping four) and won third low net in his flight! And they say all the prizes are won by sandbaggers…

All da best.

Bagger D..

(P.S. I’d also like to thank Dave for the sterling work he’s doing increasing the width of the fairways at Glacier Greens: so many of his tee shots are bringing down branches from the trees on the left that every fairway on the course is gradually getting wider and wider!)

Fizzum and the Great Robinski* – RWB 2012

3 09 2012

Robin poses with the Big Club while in the background Adrian delves into his gift wrapped $15 prize. What horror has Vic Crisp come up with this year? Surely not the infamous gold lamé underpants again? Only Moira will know for sure…

The 12th annual Red, White and Blue tournament is in the books and we have another first time winner. Step forward Mr Robin Houlgrave, aka the Great Robinski, who destroyed the field on Saturday with a ridiculously low net 62 in the first round to lead by seven shots and then clung on during a sphincter-tightening stretch over the last few holes in round 3. “And how did Robin fare in round 2?”, I hear you ask. Well, thereby hangs a tale: the asterisk after Robin’s name in the title – check now, if you weren’t paying attention earlier – is to signify the fact that the RWB has, for the first time, a winner who only played two of the three designated rounds. “But how could this be allowed to happen?”, I hear you ask again. All but one of the 16 competitors were gathered around the first tee on Sunday morning, psyching themselves up to do battle with the daunting Blue/White tee combo at Glacier Greens, when the news came in from the pro shop that Robin would not be playing Round 2 due to “a family problem”, but he’d try to make it for round 3. Obviously everybody was sympathetic, until someone pointed out that if he was going to be there in the afternoon it couldn’t exactly be an emergency. At this point there was a bit of muttering concerning Robin’s motives: could it be that he was deliberately trying to throw the tournament and thus avoid having the Big Club on display in the family room for the next 12 months? Some were shocked at the very idea, a couple of past winners wished they’d thought of the same strategy but absolutely no-one thought that such a scheme was that far fetched. Bruce felt Robin should be named the winner there and then, no questions asked, but an unusual spirit of generosity prevailed and it was decided that Robin should be given the average score of the rest of the field for round 2. A net 75 was the result – thus retaining the overall lead – and the rest, despite a pretty blatant attempt by Robinski to get himself DQ’d in round 3 by playing the wrong ball on the 13th fairway, is history.

On the right – Adrian (2nd place in the tournament and big winner in the skins game); on the left – Bud (Not even close. In either).

Bagger Dave (who placed 3rd) and Li’l Stevie Ellis (also 3rd. Unfortunately, 3rd from last).

4th place finisher Wayne Mabee alongside Al Pasanen. Wayne shot a net 60 off the red tees. Sandbagging? It’s what the RWB is all about. Al shot over 100 (gross) in each of the first two rounds. That’s also what the RWB is all about.

Rod Cobham, who finished 5th, deep in conversation with Mike Worley. Or should that be ‘shallow in conversation’? Mike finished outside the top ten yet again. Smart man, that Mike. Never any chance of the Big Club ending up on HIS mantel.

On the right, 2010 winner Sir Stanley Mills. On the left, many time loser Dave Buckley-Jones. (Ouch). Also featured, in an unsuccessful attempt to at least win the hide and go seek competition, Bruce Coulter.

Bill O’Neill and Vic Crisp. Neither were really in the running for the trophy (which was exactly as they planned it), but they did win dinner off Bud and Bruce in a 3rd round side bet.

Liz Stirrett and Dave Wacowich, who played all three rounds together and were STILL on speaking terms at the end of the weekend. Probably a tournament record.

It is fitting that the final word should go to Liz. After all, some misgivings were expressed about having a woman play in the Red, White and Blue (yes, Bud – don’t even attempt to deny it), but in the year that women were finally accepted as members of Augusta National it seemed only right and proper for the RWB to do the same. Liz may not be a multi millionairess like the two ladies down in Georgia, but she certainly enriched the competition. She declared Bill O’Neill ‘a perfect gentleman’ (Billy’s still blushing) and also enriched my vocabulary: in round 2, her hubby Dave, Rod and myself were all lying two on the 7th green, with shortish putts for par, when Liz blasted her first putt some way past the hole. She muttered something I didn’t quite catch, but which sounded like ‘fizzum’. After she’d putted out, I asked her what she’d said, thinking it was some Canadianism that I hadn’t learnt yet. ‘Oh. Don’t you know that one, Dave? It’s actually FISM – and it stands for “Fuck. It’s Still Me”.

Welcome to the Red, White and Blue, Liz, and thanks for the language lesson!

All da best.

Dave B.

Stupid is as stupid does…

15 07 2012

And then the wheels REALLY came off…

OK. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t had the best of weekends golf wise. Things started badly when Bruce invited me to join his Saturday morning group. I was happy to play with him, Bud and Li’l Stevie Ellis, but I explained to Bruce that, even though it only cost $4:50 to enter, I preferred not to take part in their Skins game as it would mean having to play him even up. Bruce then explained to me that seeing as he was fixing my van at the moment my bill would go up by an awful lot more than $4:50 if I didn’t join in. I could see his point, joined in the game and – somewhat predictably – lost the lot. Even worse, Bud beat me for the third time running. Bud must have been away from school the day they did ‘how to win gracefully’, because he gave me the gears from the first shot of the day to the last.

I’m normally pretty chirpy on the golf course, and etiquette is my middle name, but when I missed a two foot putt for double bogey on #14 I have to confess that my standards slipped for a moment. I’d prefer to say that I tossed my putter lightly towards my bag, but Bruce and Bud were in no doubt that what they had witnessed constituted club abuse and that I’d be getting a phone call later from Bruce’s wife Joanne. (Joanne is, apparently, the keeper of the sacred flame of good golf course etiquette). A couple of holes later I hit an utterly miserable tee shot and wound up to give my driver a seriously good throw. At the very last second I remembered the no club throwing rule and managed instead to thwack Bud’s head cover, which was lying on the ground. It’s one of those furry animal head covers (in the form of a skunk – Pepé le Pew, actually) and it gave a very satisfying thunk as it rolled along the tee box. There was also a click, which I realised to my horror was Pepé’s glass eye, and which was now lying on the ground next to its owner. Oops! There was no getting out of this one, so it was a very quiet, very contrite Bagger Dave who completed his round in eighty flippin’ seven ugly blows.

As it happened, I was paired with Bud and Bruce again on Sunday, along with Henry Bondé. It’s always great playing with Henry – a man whose decibel level on the golf course makes me appear to have taken a vow of silence – and Henry was in especially fine fettle as he played lights out. My game also took a turn for the better and I was particularly pleased when I hit a good drive on #14 to give myself a chance to avenge the ugly snowman of the previous day. I should have known better: my second shot, a three wood, was horrible and headed straight for the ditch that crosses the fairway, 160 yards or so short of the green. The others all hit good second shots (Bruce actually hit driver off the fairway to the fringe of this 500 yard Par 5 monster) and joined me in the search for my ball. Disconsolate, I was reaching into my bag to find a ball to drop when Henry bellowed in my ear that he could see a ball up past the ditch, in the middle of the fairway. Was it mine? It was indeed! I’d got the luckiest of bounces and my ball had ricocheted off the bridge up to near the 100 yard marker. I’m not really into over exuberant celebration, but this huge stroke of fortune demanded a high five with my playing partner. This obviously meant letting go of my pull cart and it was at this point that Newton’s law of gravity took over. The cart rolled down the slope – slowly, yet just fast enough to evade my desperate grasp – and fell into the ditch. Somehow the bag and all the clubs were catapulted onto a dry patch in the middle of the creek, but the cart itself sank up to its wheels in water. Just as I was clambering down to retrieve all my belongings, Doug the greenkeeper came by on his mower. He switched off the engine. “Hey, Dave. For future reference, next time you play this hole you don’t have to carry all your belongings across the creek with you.” He gestured behind him. “That’s why we built the bridge.”

Thanks for that, Doug. Thanks a lot.

So the record is as follows: Saturday on #14 – one club thrown. Sunday – an entire bagful dispatched into the ditch. I can hardly wait to see what lies in store for me next time out.

All da best!

Dave B.

The greatest par ever?

17 06 2012
Great President. Not such a great golfer.

Great President, but I bet this Kennedy never made a triple sandy par.

Today I played my usual Sunday morning round with the Bruce Coulter gang. It’s pretty low key stuff: probably a dozen or so guys playing a skins game for the massive stakes of two bits a hole, bragging rights included, along with all the abuse you can handle. Bruce always gets things off to a loud start by picking on some poor victim on the practice putting green and then hounding him relentlessly until he gets a response. My theory is that Bruce didn’t get much attention as a kid, but you’d need a qualified psychiatrist to explain what’s really going on in that brain of his. And did I mention that all this is happening at 6:15 a.m? For us, Sunday morning golf is early bird golf.

Bruce makes sure that everybody knows their current RCGA handicap – all skins are based on net scores – and those whose ‘cap has gone up in the past week receive an early barrage of fairly good natured insults, in which the use of the word ‘sandbagger’ is mandatory. Balls are then thrown into the air to decide groups and then a representative for each group putts to decide the order of play. I’ve been pretty much banned from putting recently after a couple of particularly feeble attempts left my group going out last, behind tortoises who in all fairness should probably not be named and shamed but would almost certainly answer to names such as “Bud” and “Joe”.

Anyway, my group foolishly let me putt today, which inevitably led to us going off in our customary position. Our group had a fine array of handicaps, ranging from Chuck Kennedy, who plays off eight, through Mike Worley and myself (both twelves) to Dave Buckley-Jones who plays off 24 and who gets more skins – and MUCH more abuse – than anyone else who plays on Sundays. Dave started off very steadily, with pars on a couple of difficult holes early on, Mike and I didn’t do much of anything, and Chuck just went quietly about his business. Indeed, Chuck was so quiet that it was only when he missed a short putt on the eighth green that I realised that he was still at even par, having made six pars and a birdie on the first seven holes. Chuck then absolutely belted his tee shot on #9, but it skipped into a fairway bunker. His second shot was pretty well hit but just caught a greenside bunker. With a tricky lie he then skulled it over the green into another bunker and an even worse lie. His fourth shot came out REALLY hot and seemed to be heading miles back down the fairway. Yep, you guessed it. The ball slammed into the base of the flagstick and ricocheted straight down into the hole. Three different bunkers on the same hole, culminating in a sandy ferret. That has to be some kind of record – a triple sandy par!

It’s almost incidental to say that Chuck played another great nine holes on the back nine, finishing with an even par 71. And how much did Chuck win for this outstanding display, I hear you ask. Well the answer is, er, nothing. Dave Buckley-Jones was the big winner, thanks to his two pars (but net eagles) on those two early, tricky holes. In Sunday morning golf when you’re playing the skins game, 92 can definitely beat 71. As Sir Alex Ferguson would say: “Golf, eh? Bloody hell”. So no money for el presidente – but the greatest par I’ve ever seen. What about you? What’s the best par you’ve ever seen?

All da best.

Dave B.