R+B 2016

18 09 2016

Every September for 16 years now the Red, White and Blue tournament (or RWB, as it soon became known) at Glacier Greens has consisted of three rounds of golf played from all three tee boxes over the course of two days. This past weekend the intention was, as usual, to play 18 holes on Saturday and the final 36 holes on Sunday. Saturday morning, however, dawned dark and very, very wet – so wet, in fact, that Len Doyle cancelled the usual Men’s Morning competition. My first thought was that we should press on regardless – after all, we’re proud west coast Canadians and unlikely to dissolve in a spot of rain. I looked at the faces of my fellow competitors for confirmation that we would go ahead as planned, but all I saw was a lot of head shaking. “Not me, buttercup,” as Stan Mills so eloquently put it.

Plan B was quickly decided upon: 36 holes on Sunday, blue tees in the morning and, as always, the reds in the afternoon. But what should this year’s tournament be called? B+R didn’t quite have the right ring to it; R+B sounded better. But who would have the Rhythm and who would be left singing the Blues?

These guys?

Did these guys have the rhythm? Nope.

These guys?

These guys? Nuh uh.

What about them?

Any of these? (Maybe Joe’s snooty look gives it away.)

It soon became clear that last year’s winner, Chuck Kennedy, was under strict instructions from Mrs K not to return home with the Big Club and he left his best shots until the last nine holes when he was sure he had no chance of retaining the trophy. He finished fourth. Murray Polson (12th) and Bill O’Neill (6th) had apparently got the same memo but Murray managed to really focus his efforts on coming last and therefore got first pick of the prizes – a golfing Toronto Maple Leaf, if you will. Sadly, just like the Leafs, first pick didn’t work out too well.

Newcomers Brian Goodwin (7th) and Robbie Moore (8th) showed promise – and Brian clearly picked up on the varying quality of the wrapped prizes that would be on offer, announcing that he would select his own prize if he got the chance. He never did, but he is to be commended for coming up with such a cunning ruse and at least was able to avoid this year’s Truly Awful Prize, unwittingly selected by Murray, which seemed to involve some kind of penis enhancer. It was donated by someone whose identity I cannot reveal but whose first name is Keith and last name Allan. It’s an unjust world when Mr Allan himself was the recipient of  a very nice bottle of red. Keith, by the way, finished in a tie for 10th place with his cart companion Rod Gray. Two other cart-sharers, Steve Ellis (5th) and Dave Buckley-Jones (9th), moved up a spot or two in the rankings after decent final rounds.

The final group included myself – somewhat surprisingly in the hunt, as I had started the morning round at a stunningly pitiful 10 over par after 5 holes – past winner Stan Mills and perennial runner-up Joe Dunham. Stan showered his opponent with praise and insults in equal measure throughout the round, but Joe withstood it all to deservedly win the trophy by two shots. A bridesmaid no more – at last Joe is the blushing bride!

The

The Rhythm King. Joe gets kissy with the Big Club

At the time of writing, a few hours after the end of the event, I’m feeling a lot of aches and pains as are, no doubt, my fellow competitors. Old age, I’m increasingly discovering, is indeed no place for cissies – but let’s hope we’re all ready to get back at it again a year from now. In the meantime, well done Joe and…

…all da best.

Dave B.

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In praise of…Doug McArthur

7 05 2016
He stoops to conquer.

He stoops to conquer.

Everyone – and I mean everyone – at Glacier Greens has a Doug McArthur story. They may not have ever actually played with the great man or even engaged him in conversation, but everyone has a tale to tell about Mac. Often it will involve his superhuman power of hearing and accompanying short fuse, which in days of old could be lit by something as innocuous as a butterfly landing particularly heavily on the green just as Doug was putting. Doug has mellowed over the years but, even today, woe betide the greens keeper who starts up a machine, or the playing partner who thoughtlessly whistles or, God forbid, jingles coins while Doug is going through his pre-shot routine.

My first encounter with Doug, which I’m sure he’s long forgotten, came nearly two decades ago, when I’d only just joined the club. I was about to putt on #9 green when I was interrupted by a shout of ‘Hey, you! Can’t you read?’ An angry man with a beard was fast approaching, pointing to a sign which said ‘Keep pull carts 20 feet away from the green.’ Admittedly my cart was a bit nearer than that (although at least one of the wheels wasn’t on the green at all), but still. This human whirlwind left as quickly as he’d arrived, leaving my playing partners to explain that I’d just met the legendary Doug McArthur: designer and builder of Glacier Greens golf course, many time club champion and all-round scary person.*

As luck would have it, a few days later I arrived at the course to find that I’d been put in the same group as Mr McArthur. Fortunately he didn’t appear to remember who I was, as he never once mentioned the unfortunate cart incident. He played beautiful golf, shot two or three under par, and left me to fend for myself as I hacked and thrashed my way around the course. As we shook hands on the 18th green he asked what I’d scored and I told him: 88. ‘Wow’, said Doug. ‘With a swing like yours I’m amazed you broke 100.’ I don’t think I actually burst into tears, but I must have been pretty close because Doug then surprised me by saying ‘We could try to fix it if you want. How about meeting at the driving range at Mulligans on Sunday?’ We did meet and Doug spent an hour or more working on my grip. He managed to change my pronounced slice to a slightly more acceptable fade and if, 20 years later, I’m still not quite the finished article it’s not for want of trying on Doug’s part. ‘Check your grip!’ I’ll hear him yell from the second fairway as I’m about to tee off on #1.

And so to my latest Doug McArthur story. For some inexplicable reason (insert your own suggestion here), I found myself without a partner for this year’s shoot out. Over breakfast with Len Doyle I was explaining my predicament. As is often the case, Len had a possible solution to the problem: ‘Jim Livingstone can’t play this year, so Mac needs a partner. Why don’t you ask him?’ I was a bit doubtful at first. It wasn’t just the disparity between Doug’s level of skill and my own. There was the question of, well, talking. Doug has a high level of concentration (stratospheric, really) and I er, don’t. Doug likes to focus before each shot and I tend to fill in all the gaps in conversation with whatever comes into my head at the time.

To cut a long story short, I proposed a partnership with Doug (or ‘marriage from hell’ as my fellow Sandbaggers called it) for the shoot out, promising to be on my best behaviour, and he – surely with some misgivings – accepted. I then came up with a cunning plan: as playing partners for the first two weeks I suggested Keith Allan and Rod ‘Fifty Shades’ Gray, or ‘Statler and Waldorf’ as I sometimes call them. My reasoning was as follows: they are just as much hackers as I am, plus their on course behaviour is, if anything, worse. True, Doug would be distracted by their antics, but I would look pretty good in comparison. What could possibly go wrong?

Sadly, the answer last week was ‘a lot’. Apart from a fortuitous chip-in for birdie on #2 (if my skulled chip hadn’t hit the flag stick and ricocheted into the hole my ball would have finished in the ditch), I contributed absolutely nothing on the front nine. Nada. Not a single par. In this team event of all team events, Doug was playing completely on his own.

On #10, after yet another poor drive, I trudged miserably up the fairway. Rod and Keith came up alongside me. Doug, wisely, was keeping his distance, presumably in case whatever golfing affliction I had might be infectious. ‘Hey Dave,’ said Rod, just loud enough for Doug to hear. ‘If you want to be of help to your partner, why don’t you carry his bag or offer to clean his shoes or something? I mean, let’s face it, you’re doing f*ck all else!’

Thanks a lot for that, Rod.  And let’s just see: next week we’re playing the dreaded alternate shot, where there’s absolutely nowhere for me to hide. I can hardly wait…

All da best.

Dave B.

*I have long since downgraded Doug from ‘all-round scary person’ to ‘a kind and friendly person it’s still probably better to keep on the right side of.’

And if you’re reading this, Doug, let me get my apologies in nice and early: ‘Sorry, partner!’ Quite simply, the Glacier Greens we all know and love wouldn’t exist without you. Mac – you are a legend!

 

 

 





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.





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.