RSG-Ohio  2009

A collage of writeups by various authors.
Photos by Rob Pyle and Thor Himself.

I did not attend RSG-Ohio this year. A combination of transportation issues and back trouble necessitated my missing it. But that's no reason you shouldn't read about it. Here are some of the things the attendees had to say...

Thor never did get around to a full writeup, but did post the results. May I have the envelope, please...

I don't know how long until I get a proper writeup done, but until then:

Warren Montgomery's writeup was the first I saw, and probably the most complete.

Short summary

RSG Ohio was the usual 3-day blast of an RSG/RR event. Met a lot of great new friends, got together with a bunch of people I hadn't seen in years, had a lot of fun playing crappy golf on a lot of new courses, drank a lot of beer, and woke up stiff and sore today (the morning after). Definitely looking for a way to add this one to our regular rotation. Thanks to Thor and all who came for making it a special weekend.

Longer writeup

Having interacted with Thor since the early days of RSG, I always felt bad about not playing RSG Ohio. The fall date just didn't fit Carla's teaching schedule until recently, and last year we were too busy with the BMW tournament. This was the year though, even though I was feeling more than a bit doubtful Thursday AM about the amount of golf I was booked for in the next 3 days after struggling to get my bad hip around my flatter-than-Kansas home track. Nothing to do but jump in the car and go though -- at least the company would be good. We crashed early on Thursday, and having already booked and paid for another hotel before someone discovered the Super 8 bargain rate we we encountered nobody until arriving at Mill Creek Friday AM.

That was an interesting drive -- as a retiree with a garage I rarely encounter heavy dew on the car or school busses, but we had left a lot of time, and when I saw the crowd unloading I knew we were in the right place. Mill Creek wasn't the kind of place I expected as the place Ben Curtis learned the game. Somehow I expected Links or upscale, but it was a nice homey course with tightly packed tree lined holes just like the ones we play back home and very comfortable. Carla and I went out first with Thor and Bill King, and in spite of my considerable limp quickly left the second group behind. (Actually I think there was some reshuffling behind us due to a late arrival). I think everyone played the front pretty well. The time passed quickly with some catching up stories and tales of Thor's encounters with Curtis playing that course as his home course. The back had some interesting challenges. Probably the most memorable hole for me was about the 13th, a right angle dogleg par 4 with a pond in front of the green where I yanked an 8 I that barely cleared the pond, then chipped in for my only birdie (GIR is a vastly over-rated statistic). I think Thor got hosed by a mower here when a perfect looking drive was never found after a mower covered the area where it was before we got there. We were so far out in front of the next group that we had lunch before going back to 18 to watch the finish, then sampled a bit of home brew before moving on.

Buck Ridge was a different sort of course, but also strangely familiar. Nothing says "Rural Midwest Golf" like driving into a place where the gravel parking lot and pre-fab clubhouse are hidden behind a barn and a silo. This is a newer track and well maintained. I liked it (not many trees!!!!). Paired with Bill, Neal Bell, and Pflum we played Ohio vs World. Neal and Bill played the 6600+ yard blues, while John and I played up a set -- the right choice since when all 4 hit good drives we were usually in about the same place. After the 1st hole I thought this would be easy after Ohio was all over the hole and conceded to a bogey when I lagged a par putt to 2 feet, but the competition stiffened with Ohio getting even with a good birdie on the first par 5 (I think 3 of us had birdie putts), and it stayed close. Bill and I teamed well -- he saved my butt when I got a bad case of the lefts on a short easy par 4 and put two in the soybeans (must have been older balls that felt homesick for where they usually go back home), and I got the pars when he had put himself out of position. Most memorable hole, and probably the key one for the match, was the 6th (our 15th), a right angle dogleg around a lake. Neal put a great one in the fairway past the dogleg, and Bill hit a right sky ball that landed dry on the side of the tee for the previous hole. I splashed one while John got the lefts and put two out, so it all hinged on Bill's ball. His creative shortcut left only a wedge in and from an awkward lie he pretty much stuffed it. We all struggled a bit on the next one and my bogey was good enough to close it out.

Dinner was at Bostons, a chain place I had encountered at RSG-SoCal. I think this one was an unexpected surprise to most. Who can argue with great food and $1.50 drafts of a pretty good house IPA (Even the other beers were pretty cheap at $4.) There were more arrivals and a chance to meet more of those folks who I knew only by email aliases. It was nice to see Snedds
again -- hadn't seen him since Bandon 4 years back.

The tunamint round was at Indian Springs, and we had been warned it was tougher. That was good warning. I was in a comfortable first group with Thor, Mark Georg and Papa Pflum (another RSG-Bandon person I hadn't seen since). The course was narrow and treelined on many holes, and at 6600 yards off the blues way too long for me, at least with the fairways soaked from sprinkling. I rode the bogey train for half a dozen holes before getting off on the wrong side of the tracks (flubbed chip on an otherwise well played 600 yard par 5.) On about the 5th hole we noticed no sand in the bunkers, only a lot of black plastic pipes and mud and Thor started to leave little "GUR" signs everywhere, saying that this was going to make MPM more interesting in the afternoon. After another bogey and a good par on 9 (another long roller coaster par 5), I made the turn in an ugly but salvageable 46, while Thor was looking good at 41. The wheels came off on the back though when the cry of "Provisional Ball", could be heard echoing loudly through the woods 3 or 4 times on most holes. One memorable hole was 11, a short par 3 over a marsh, where I thought I had a perfect one only to have it disappear after making an audible "thunk". everyone though I was short in the rough. Mark yanked his left so we left him on the tee to see if he cleared before he moved on (no prov's for water of course). He didn't, but we couldn't find mine either. Thor found a ball dry but in the weeds on my line and yep, it was mine. The lie wasn't horible though so I chunked it out and was looking good to escape with bogey with a simple chip and putt. Whoopsie! Don't know whether it was El hosel or skull city, but it shot across the green right into a worse spot where I took a triple. From the next tee we watched the next group hit up. As Pflum stepped up Thor said he had a funny feeling about this one and he hit a near perfect shot -- just about 3 feet too far right. Carla stepped up and hit one dead on line, just like mine (unfortunately also short but at least on the grass.) (We had lots of time there because Mark got the lefts and was busy felling trees with provisionals, all of which we found!) The game got uglier as the back 9 progressed, lots of water balls on one hole and army golf with the woods on another. I kept hitting my short and straight ball, but had an other ugly blowup (a skulled chip on an other wise well played par 5 that I had to hack out of the edge of the woods for another triple), and I didn't have any good ones. Afterwards Carla told me John had played well the whole round and indeed he had. I wont embarass anyone by saying what the winning score was.

MPM in the afternoon was a much anticipated experience. I thought I might have a real advantage here, having played the whole morning with the same ball. (Turns out at least 3 others managed the same feat). Everywhere around the lunch tables there were stories of provisionals and lost balls. We talked the course into going out a bit early and wandered down to the 1st tee as Thor assisted with the pairings. With 14 players, we went off in 2 foursomes and the last 3 matches (including mine) decided to play as a 6-some (we had no problems keeping up, but putting with 5 unmarked balls on the greeens was sometimes amusing). I was paired with Sparky, someone I hadn't met before. Some things though that tell you it's going to be a tough match:
Yes, he out hit me by close to 100 yards on most holes, but it was actually a pretty good match. Neither of us were laser sharp with our approaches and most holes came down to who could sink a 4 or 5 footer for par. Sometimes he did and sometimes I did. We really didn't have a lot of great MPM kind of situations where people played out of impossible places. We had some amusing holes, like the 4th, an impossibly long 4 for me, where Sparky crushed a drive down the middle and I in an attempt to get within 100 yards of him duck hooked one over the hills to the left. We found it in a good lie bunker behind the 6th green (the only bunker on that hole with sand in it) where after waiting for someone putting on the green to clear the line I hacked a pretty good 5I down next to where Sparky was looking at his drive. Turns out his perfect drive kicked dead behind a little tree so he had to punch out in about the same place I was, and after both missing the green I made the putt. I think I lost the 5th, then squared it on the LONG par 5 6th when again 3 medicore shots from me (including a tree hit) left me 100 yards short in the right rough where Sparky had lost his second a little too far right into the woods, found it and punched out to the same spot. My approach was a little short, his was a little bit more too long and I got up and down. I lost it on the 7th though with an ugly water ball, and on the 8th after we both hit the fairway and wound up with 5 footers for par he made it and I didn't to seal the match. The most amusing incident was in Carla's match against Gary. When that one was paired I thought it would be pretty even since Carla is real straight and most of the time I've played with Gary he's struggled more than a bit keeping it in play, but everyone seemed to be hitting a lot straighter in the afternoon and the distance difference there made it tough. On about the 5th tee, there was a ripping noise at the top of Gary's swing and the business end of his driver flopped down and hit him in the back. It was like someone up there decided to equalize the match a bit. (Gary still played a great game with the 3W and won). The overall match came down to the last putt of the last match on 9, and I won't spoil it for someone else.

Brent Hutto added,
If that's the putt I'm thinking of on #9, fortunately it was about a two-incher...after some hack with hands of stone managed to leave the preceding 3-foot downhill putt short of the hole somehow to stretch out the match a few more seconds.
After more beer, some very nice Scotch, and a variety of unhealthy foodstuffs were consumed Saturday night, we had a casual day on Sunday at Darby Creek. This was another "prairie style" course. An early departure by Neal left us with two foursomes a 2 and a 3, so after we got out of sight of the starter the 2 and 3 (Carla and I, Bill and Sparky and Gary) grouped up. With the pressure off I think everyone played a bit better. we had no problems keeping up and were never pressed from behind (the "Meat vs Bones" match). A ranger told us we could play as a 5 if we kept up, but he wanted us to split again on 9 and 10 just to keep him out of trouble, which we did. We rejoined on the short par 3 11th, where I hit my best shot of the day, maybe the weekend, a pure 8I that I was yelling "Die" at half way to the hole. It was dead on line, but about 5 feet short, and of course I missed it. I'd really like another crack at that course though now that I know about that stealth creek on 14 and where to hit it on the doglegs on 8 and 9. More beer, tough goodbyes, and a long ride home (punctuated by meeting Joe Conte in a rest area in eastern Indiana, all of us struggling a bit to stay alert after a long weekend). The weather was classic -- 3 great days and right on cue rain after we finished and all the way home (really tough driving crowded under-construction freeways in the dark on a rainy day some place where it hasn't rained a lot in months, but we made it.)

Thanks again to all who came, hope to see you all again soon. Now there are only two of the "Bandon 12" I haven't seen since -- the Rev and Sir Plow -- have to find a way to remedy that some time.

John VanDer Pflum added

Report/Thoughts from RSG Ohio 2009

The RSG events are the highlights of my golf season and RSG Ohio is the granddaddy of them all. I start thinking about this weekend in the spring when I first put a peg in the ground and this year was no exception. A few of the regulars weren't going to be there this year but that did not diminish my excitement for the weekend.

Generally, I find shot-by-shot descriptions of golf events incredibly boring and thus I will spare you the pain of such a narrative. So, instead I'll provide some random thoughts/things I learned from the tournament this year.

  1. Rob Pyle has a LOT of superstitions about his golf game. For example, on birdie putts he uses a different ball marker than on other putts. I believe it was some kind of saint or holy figure used for the birdie putts.
  2. Joe Conte and David Sneddon appointed themselves as the RSG Council of Elders. I don't know what kind of insidious powers comes along with that appointment but I fear for the safety of our planet. I'm sure they have plans on world domination. I just hope when they take over they'll let me live at Kingsbarns.
  3. I am terrible with names. People introduce themselves to me and their names go right out of my brain. I played Friday morning with Chuck Bernard and his friend Paul. For about the first 7 holes I kept calling him Joe until Rock Pyle set me straight. Then on Sunday I called Jacob Collard "Joey" a couple of times. I also called him Jacob, Jake, Jay, and Tony for good measure.
  4. Coops has grown a mustache.
  5. "Solid Contact" and "Man Hands" are both bad stripper names. I'm not sure exactly how that topic came up during the round on Sunday though.
  6. I am likely not pound-for-pound the longest hitter the world has ever seen. Jacob Collard, while he struggled mightily with his accuracy, was definitely longer than me during our Sunday around. He is taller than I am and allegedly weighs 15 pounds less. I don't know how anyone could really weigh less than me though.

***** Warning: Some boring descriptions of golf below ******

Tournament Report

Short Version:
I am the RSG Ohio 2009 Champion. I won both the Coffeemaker Trophy and the Quiach. I totally rock.

Long Version:
My game has showed flashes of brilliance in the last couple of weeks so I was pretty confident going into the Tournament. I've always driven the ball fairly well and my short game has been lights out all summer. I figured out something on my irons that led to better ball striking and hitting more greens.

I played very well during the Tournament round. I kept the ball in play and only had on truly bad drive. I chipped and putted like a madman and generally avoided the big numbers. The round was relatively steady other than a birdie/post birdie FU/birdie stretch on 9, 10, and 11. I did make a world class par on #16 which basically saved my round. After the fore mentioned one poor drive I decided to punch out to the fairway. I then proceeded to stuff a wedge to about 8' and have the putt fall in the side door for a par.

I am the RSG Ohio 2009 Champion. I won both the Coffeemaker Trophy and the Quiach. I totally rock.

And Terry Easton sent me his reminiscences.

I didn't have as many stories as I'd hoped, but had a couple worth re-telling.

Friday afternoon, I joined Brent & Paul (from Cleveland) in the last group at Buck Ridge. I pretty much used the front nine (10-18) as a warm-up and started the back nine (1-9) with four pars and a bogey. We arrived at number 6, a shortish par four of about 385 yds, a dogleg to the right around a large pond, and I had the honors. The ideal shot is a drive over the water, but that requires a good tee shot of about 235 yds. The water on the right encourages most people to play around the pond, this was my plan. I think the plans of Brent and Paul were similar. However, we each visited the pond at least once and some of us found some sandy bunkers as well. Standing on the 7th tee, I was surprised that my ten still held the honors....

Sunday, at Darby Creek, I played in the first group with Joe Conte, Thor and Dave Snedden. We were all playing well enough, until Sneds butchered the long, uphill par  five, fourteenth hole. On the fifteenth tee Sneds took a small pull on a Snickers bar. He blasted a drive down the middle and laced a long iron onto the green. He was the only one on the long par 3, sixteenth. He nearly reached the par five seventeenth in two and reached the long eighteenth, over the corner of the water, into a good headwind, made the par and... halved the match! I wasn't counting strokes, but Sneds, probably, won or halved 15-18, earning him the enhanced moniker, "snickery, pesky Canadian".


PS: It was nice to meet Carla & Warren Montgomery. I sat beside Carla at supper on Saturday and learned that she'd recently retired (geology prof, I believe) and they are more free to travel, hence their RSG-OH visit. Warren's posts over the years have been intriguing for their long perspective of "the gemme", and I managed to ask him how he got started in golf. Turns out to be a fairly routine story of a father who enjoyed the game, belonged to a country club that served well as a baby-sitter, and Warren just took to the game. Carla has a sharp wit and was an excellent dinner companion. She's got game, too. <gr>

PPS: Mark showed up with a good, homemade double-bock beer.