RSG-Hershey  2008

Dave Tutelman -- June 29, 2008

It looked like I wouldn't be able to get to RSG-Hershey this year. More than once.

First I wrote to Coops that I couldn't make it on the traditional first weekend in June; it conflicted with my 50th high school reunion. Coops' response was, "Hey, you're organizing it. You can make it any time you want." After last year, Coops' delegating it to me wasn't a total surprise.

My first try at an alternate date was June 13-15. But that turned out to be Fathers' Day, and I already had a date with my sons for our annual Fathers' Day round. So I rescheduled RSG-Hershey for June 20-22.

Even then, it seemed like it might take place without me. Starting in mid-May, I had a really bad virus for a week, complete with passing out and doing tile destruction in the bathroom -- with my head. Then my back went out and didn't come back. I got it treated with an anti-inflammatory epidural injection only a week before the event.

The injection worked. I made it to RSG-Hershey. (And it's still working. The doctor discharged me today.)

Fortunately, I had made the arrangements anyway, and it went off pretty much without a hitch. Here are some of the highlights. I spiced it up with photos, but don't expect them to correspond one-to-one with the text...

Our gang

Here's the crew at Armitage -- minus Roger Georg (who managed to avoid being there when it was snapped) and Matt Brophy (who joined us only for the Sunday round at Groff's Farm).

(l to r) Guy "Coops" Cooper, Mark Georg, Fred Stluka, Jon Green, Chuck Bernard, Dave Tutelman

(Some of the pictures below are thumbnails; click them to get the full-size picture.)

Thor or anti-Thor

Mark does some body maintenance, finding a shady spot and stretching his muscles.
(Jon Green photo)

In Thor's absence, Mark Georg and I took turns controlling the weather. When I was in control, it seemed to work. Mark was the anti-Thor.

Example: the ninth hole at Sunset on Friday. It was bright and sunny, with nary a cloud in the sky. In fact, it was too sunny in the middle of the fairway. Mark opened his umbrella to serve as a parasol. Within a minute, he heard the sound of rain on his canopy -- and we all felt a light rain. Looking up, there was still not a cloud to be seen. Mark put away the umbrella and the rain stopped.

No explanation from me, folks. And not a joke; it really happened.

And that was the only rain we had until I ran into some downpours on the drive home Sunday evening.

...And friends you haven't met yet

Mark, Elizabeth, Gary, and Fred

We had seven golfers at Sunset. (Well, OK. Not all were golfers. But they did come with clubs and bags.) Of the foursome scheduled ahead of us, only one showed up. He joined us, and we played ten minutes early.

Well, not exactly one. It was two. Gary was playing from a cart driven by his wife Elizabeth. She didn't play, but observed, took pictures, and generally brightened up the scene. We had a good time with them. They were also on the road -- stopping for a round of golf on a vacation trip from their Youngstown, OH base to beaches at the shore.

Sunset is a crazy place

Elizabeth, Dave, Fred, and
Mark with TMI cooling towers
in background

Sunset is a little different. Well, a lot different. Consider:
  • The front nine and back nine are at two very different altitudes. And the tenth hole is an absolute cliff. The par-four is nominally 350 yards, but half those yards are straight down, bridging the altitude gap between front and back nines. (Fred hit a fairway wood with a fade that followed the fairway, and had only a short chip left to the green.) And let's not talk about the climb back to the parking lot from the 18th green. Brutal!
  • Every here and there on the front nine you see a tall tower. Aiming post? Well, sort of. They are the runway guide lights for planes coming into Harrisbug International Airport. On days that the wind is right, your ball is competing for airspace with much larger objects: low-flying planes on final approach.
  • The back nine is in the shadow of the cooling towers at Three Mile Island. (Yes the nuclear power plant is still very much in operation.)

Squirrel bowling

14th Hole at Armitage

Jon Green and I spent a bunch of rounds on the course together. We really got to know one another Saturday morning. We had five guys for that round, so we went as a threesome and a twosome. Jon and I played together, with nobody else added. As a relatively quick twosome, we spent a lot of time waiting for the group ahead (no offense, group ahead; they were ours as well).

On the tenth tee, Jon decided I was too boring and found a more stimulating way to spend the time. Squirrel bowling! Seems that one of the critters was used to people and hard to scare off. He was sitting on the tee box, watching us on the bench. Jon took out a ball and rolled it in the direction of the squirrel. It missed him by over a foot, and he never even flinched. The second ball was closer. But it took a ball within 3 inches to get the squirrel to move. Jon decided that this was a worthwhile sport, and dubbed it "squirrel bowling."

Unfortunately, not all the tee boxes came equipped with a gregarious squirrel. We were forced to socialize with one another for the rest of the round.

Left, right

Jon chips onto the 18th
hole at Armitage

Jon invented an original variant of "military golf" -- nine holes at a time.

On the front nine, Jon hit everything left. Everything! Way left!

It started on the very first tee. His opening shot went into the ditch down the left rough. You know, the ditch protecting OB and a residential street. We found that ball. The provisional ball he eventually retrieved from the front yard across the street. Later, he hit two balls OB left on the fifth hole, and lost two more left on the eighth.

He figured out a cure on the back nine. Hit everything right! I got used to seeing him play from the parallel fairway on the right. Given the thick trees lining the fairways at Armitage, you'd expect this to be a very bad thing. But, since Jon hits his irons really high and with a draw, it turned out to be a reasonable strategy.

Muscle memory

Mark, Dave, and Fred

During my afternoon round on Saturday, I showed remarkable memory for my morning round. I shot 42+46=88 in the morning, and 42+46=88 in the afternoon.

Actually, muscle fatigue would probably be a better description than muscle memory. As the weekend progressed, my golf got worse. I guess I'm finally starting to feel my age. (No, scratch that. Never happen!) My scores in chronological order were 83, 88, 88, and 98. And I definitely felt more tired as the weekend went on.

So how did I avoid an increase in score the afternoon round Saturday? I -- oh, the horror -- rode in a cart for the afternoon round. I would not have made it otherwise.

Senator rules

Coops' pre-shot routine
was dubbed by Pflum
"the magic pixie dance".
Click the thmbnail for
Jon Green's video.

We all know Coops' penchant for exotic games and scoring rules. If you get into a game with him, you will probably never understand the rules and may have trouble figuring out who is ahead at any point. Here's an example from Sunday's round at Groff's...

Coops, Jon, and I added up our front-nine scores on the tenth tee. Coops said, "Hey we all did equally badly: 50, 50, and 51." (Yup, we each had our blow-up holes, sad to say.) "How about we play the back nine straight up for a beer?" We agreed. We did somewhat better. In fact, Coops did a lot better the first two holes (he parred both) -- to the point that Jon and I used the word "sandbagging" at least once. On the 14th tee, looking at the score, we concluded that Coops was one stroke ahead of Jon and two ahead of me.

Coops ran up a big number on the 15th hole. On the next tee, he remarked, "Good thing it's match play." Huh!?! Jon and I were all over him. Of course we have been doing it stroke play -- as witness the conversation on the 14th tee. Coops retorted, "I never said the words 'stroke play'. Hey, it's a beer match."

In the end, it didn't matter. Coops narrowly won on strokes. But still.....

Judge not, lest ye beer judge

Chuck's approach shot
at Armitage's 4th hole.

Saturday night's dinner was a little different, sitting at the Appalachian Brewing Company next to a certified beer judge. Chuck Bernard is an accomplished home brewer, as well as being qualified to judge amateur and commercial beer competitions. I got some tips and commentary from him about the beers on the menu. I was only going to have one, and the choice Chuck guided me to was excellent.

Mark ordered a sampler -- that's eight different beers for a total of 40 ounces. He seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. My mind boggles at the thought of more than a quart of beer at one sitting. But my mind also boggles at putting liquid fire on chicken wings and then subjecting my gastro-intestinal tract to the result. I guess Mark and I have different plumbing.

Swingin' guys

Jon took pictures of the swings on the first tee at Armitage...


Someone looking at the pictures might assume we knew what we were doing.
Dream on!

Thanks for coming. It was a ball. See you next year.