Seriously? RWB 2018

9 09 2018

So the 2018 Red, White and Blue is in the books. It was unique for a number of reasons. Firstly, at Joe Dunham’s suggestion after last year’s tournament – his exact words were “I’m too old for this 36-holes-in-one-day shit” – it was decided that following Saturday’s 18 holes from the white tees,  we would play just 18 holes on Sunday, nine from the blue tees and nine from the red.  Secondly, with only six players, we had the smallest field in the history of the RWB. This was obviously directly related to the third reason – we had the worst weather ever in the 18 years we’ve been playing the event.

So bad was it that, apart from a singleton who set off half an hour ahead of us (a fellow inmate from the lunatic asylum, no doubt), the course was absolutely deserted. Perhaps because of this, Glacier Greens’ pro Bill Kelly gave us permission to play as a sixsome on the grounds that we were unlikely to hit into anybody. Brian Wise, his able assistant, offered free psychiatric help to anyone who needed it (i.e. all of us).

To be honest, when I left the house at 8.00 this morning I informed Scottish Wife with confidence that I’d no doubt be back within the hour. Clearly I’d underestimated the capacity for masochism among our group. Sure enough, from the eleven guys who had signed up two sent polite emails to say, given the 40kph winds and heavy showers, “Thanks but no thanks” and three others showed up just to see if we really were going to go ahead and play, but declined absolutely to join our venture. But the other five, and let’s name names here, – the spouses of Mrs Ball, Mrs Buckley-Jones, Mrs Hayes, Mrs Hautzinger and Mrs Moore – were determined to play, come rain or shine. It turned out, of course, that there wasn’t any shine but as Rob Moore put it “We could play in sunshine and it would just be a round of golf. Playing in this stuff is a story!”

Quote of the day goes, I think, to Dave Buckley-Jones. He watched impassively as Phil Ball slipped in the mud as he played his tee shot on #8, missed the ball entirely and lost hold of the club which flew 20 yards down the fairway. It was only when Phil totally topped his second attempt, sending the ball about 30 yards, that Dave quietly muttered: “Well, at least the ball went further than the club that time.”

When I got home after the post round drinks and prize giving, the Big Club under my arm and still soaked to the skin and some six hours after I’d told the missus I’d be right back, she put on her most Scottish Wifely expression:

“Seriously?” she said.

RWB 2018

2017 winner Ed Hayes, on the right,  is happy because he doesn’t have to look after the Big Club anymore. Thank you, Ed, for adding the second plinth so we can play for the trophy for another 18 years. In the background, Dave Buckley-Jones is happy because he cunningly contrived to come 2nd this year. The other guy’s just happy because he’s no longer slogging around the course in the wind and rain.

Thanks so much for coming out, you guys. Maybe a bit of sunshine wouldn’t go amiss next year though…

All da best!

Dave B.

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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.





Robin the rich (and feeding the poor)

3 09 2011

Robin the rich?

Playing golf with Robin Houlgrave is a bit like tackling that box of chocolates in Forrest Gump – you just never know what you’re going to get. The other guys in my usual foursome are fairly predictable. Ringer is going to shoot 75 on a bad day, including a couple of birdies, but wail in anguish about shots that the rest of us would be delighted with. Glennie’s going to shoot about 90, but drive John nuts by saying “Five… net four” throughout the round and mentioning how much he loves golf as John is forced to buy him yet another coffee after yet another match play defeat. Lairdo will probably narrowly fail to break 100 but won’t miss anything inside five feet. But Robin is consistent only in his utter inconsistency.

Today, however, Robin took his unpredictability on the golf course to a whole new level. It started on the first hole. Glen and I were in our usual bad spot, between the cart path and the woods on the left. Tim Hautzinger had belied his 21 handicap by drilling one right down the middle. Robin had smashed one down the right somewhere. By the time we all met up on the green he was muttering and mumbling to himself and when he finally tapped in he announced that he wasn’t sure but he thought he’d got a seven. Tim filled us in on the details: Robin’s tee shot had in fact gone into the ditch. While he was retrieving his ball, his cart had rolled in after him and spilled all his clubs into the water along with his balls, tees and packed lunch. I was impressed with Tim’s suggestion that there should be a 28 shot penalty – two for each of his clubs – but we decided that a total of seven shots and 14 wet grips was punishment enough.

Things quickly improved for Robin, as he parred the next two holes and then birdied #4, the pot of gold hole. Back on track, his clubs now dry, Robin played the next several holes like the decent player he is. Solid pars on 10, 11 and 12 were followed by a birdie on #13 and then, improbably, another one on #14 after bouncing his second shot off the bridge. Could H. make three birdies in a row? Not quite. He totally shanked his tee shot on #15 and made triple. Were his nerves gone? Not at all. He made a heroic approach shot through the trees on #16 and made a lengthy putt for his fourth birdie of the day. Back on track, then. Not exactly. A poor tee shot on #17 and a bit of tree trouble led to yet another triple. A disappointingly uneventful par on #18 meant that Robin’s round had consisted of four birdies, four triples and endless fun for the rest of us. I’ve scored plenty of 82’s in my time – but never quite like that!

I phoned Len Doyle – Saturday morning men’s club supremo – a couple of hours later to ask if by any chance he’d tallied up the snips for the day, as I wanted to know if any of Robin’s birdies had held up. “Dunno yet,” came Lord Leonard’s reply. ” But I know Ron Morrison’s a happy camper”. “Why’s that then, Len?” I asked.  “Robin didn’t enter the pot of gold, so Ron’s scooped the hundred bucks!”

So maybe I’ve got the title of the post wrong – Len won’t post the snip winners until tomorrow and it may not be a case of Robin the rich after all. But he did feed us a four hour diet of thrills and spills and non stop entertainment today. Cheers, H!

All da best.

Dave B.