RSG-Ohio 2010 According to Warren

Just wanted to let everyone know we made it back (about 7.5 hours due to a total screwup in the construction zones in Indy).

Thanks to Thor for a great weekend! Here's a partial report of our experience and some stories.

Our weekend really began Friday AM at Split Rock (we did go to Roosters Thursday on arrival, had some not bad brew and pizza, but probably bailed to crash before anyone else got there -- ah the joys of being retired and being able to travel in daylight :-) Nice to meet everyone, especially Dave T, who I worked with 30 years ago and met once after that but hadn't seen in maybe 15-20 years. Carla and I played the morning round with Thor and Dave. I planned to walk, but with no pull carts available I wound up riding. Probably saved me from myself, there was enough up and down on that course that it may have been a struggle.

I think the best stories from that round were Carla's Birdie/Bogey (a chip in on her second tee shot off a par 3 after losing the first one in the woods), and Thor's par on the last hole -- he and I both hit way left. I found mine in a decent lie and proceeded to screw up the hole with a bad punch, requiring another punch out and a lousy approach. Thor's ball was located at the last minute on a bare spot in a creek bed, from where he hit out, hit a tree with his approach, missed the green, but sank a putt from the fringe as I recall -- routine par and definite warm up for MPM.

Afternoon round was at Foxfire with the Cleavland crew (Paul Osad and Chuck Bernard) The course was dead dry and as a result tough to play (greens were fine, but everything else was burned out crabgrass). I sucked big time. Paul though couldn't go wrong with that 3W off the tee. 240-250 every time dead straight. Chuck said he kept trying to convince Paul to ditch the driver. As a big convert to "geezer golf" (play whatever club you can hit straight and play it often) I reinforced that one. Funniest hole was probably 16, a bizarre par 5 with a big cottonwood tree right in the middle of the hole about 125 yards short of it, and where you have to carry a creek. Paul and I tried to play sensible layups there, and both bounced behind the tree. I managed a pretty good hook punch around the right side of the tree but came up short and flubbed a chip out of the crabgrass -- no par. Paul hit left and looked like it was going to get lost, but it held the last edge of turf. Weird hole, though only a warmup for the even weirder 17 and 18. I think the course would have been more fun a little greener.

Dinner was fun. Good conversation and decent food (never been to a Red Robin before and thought they were strictly a burger joint.) Glad we got to see the Pflums roll up and spend a bit of time chatting before crashing. (Turned out to be glad we had a chance to talk then, but I'll let someone else who knows them better explain why).

Tournament day dawned clear and cool. The course was jammed with OSU fans playing in some kind of scramble before the game. (Actually several of them told me it was a "shamble", but mainly it looked like an opportunity to drink a lot of beer before the serious tailgating started.) All day long on Friday we listened to people piss and moan about how hard the Players club course was. Looked okay on the card, but every time anyone talked about it it was about how many shots they took on 14 or 16 or how unfair 15 was. Not encouraging. Tournament day we show up and I decide to walk, playing with Roger Georg and Gary Hayenga. A comfortable group -- I've played a lot of rounds with Gary at various RSG venues over the years. The first hole was okay, but on the second I nuked a 5I and came up short in the pond -- I still don't believe the distance. I played the front great, except for 3 holes, still was kind of in it with a 46. On the back I was dreading the stretch everyone warned me about, but mostly those holes were just the sort that needed some local knowledge (like the fact that the 14th green is a skinny little thing and you don't want to go over into the concrete bunker behind it, or that you have to hit it well past the 150 stick on 15 to have any kind of shot at the green) Still, though I was past caring in the stroke play department having had enough dumb doubles already and it showed. Most of us were beat up by then. When we got to 17 and noticed a par 3 without a pond in front of it I don't think anyone believed it and we all yanked it left.

The two things I felt good about were birdieing the first par 5 (5) after hitting a drive into the left bunker (no worries, that one had nice sand in it), and beating out Thor for closest to the pin on 11 (one of 3 170ish yard par 3's over a pond). One held up for a skin and one for a prize. Maybe the best thing to say for the AM was that I managed to walk the whole 18, thanks in part to Rockpiles speed cart and some Vitamin A, in spite of feeling plenty sore getting started. Early in the year being able to play RSG-Ohio was an important, and very distant goal -- I didn't know if my hip would last this long, but it has and will probably make it through the next 2 months.

We were all anxious to begin the MPM round -- weather was coming in and everyone was psyched for getting another go at the course. I wound up playing Thor in the last group with Mark Georg playing Neal Bell. This was the highlight of the weekend. I was looking forward to playing Thor both because I've played a few rounds with him and thought we would have an interesting match, and I knew that whatever weird situation arose (and something weird always happens in MPM), I had the expert if we needed a ruling. We decided to play stymies, with a discussion on how it never happens anyway. Wrong! I think we had 3 stymie situations in 9 holes! On 1, after Thor left his par putt about 3 feet below the hole I rolled mine inside his -- he had to concede mine to try his. He returned the favor on 6, forcing me to try to baby a par putt to get it to take a big break around his better positioned ball -- I missed, he made, and squared the match. On 7, after we both hit good sand shots from a greenside bunker the tables were turned again when mine rolled inside his. He tried to power one through the break past my ball and missed, I sank it to go 1 up.

Backing up, the second hole was really the best we played. Nobody hit this long par 3 in the morning. Determined to not come up short, I took a 7W (maybe 20 yards too much club), but hit it thin and wound up begging it to clear -- it did, bounced over the bunker, and looked like it rolled right up to the pin. Thor answered by sticking his too. When we got up there mine was maybe 5 feet above the hole, his was maybe 3 fee below it. Shit, I've got to make this -- I did, he did, routine halve.

After I blew one into the water on 8, we came to the asembled crowd at the green all square. Neal was 2 up in the other match (several holes won on lost balls on both sides as I recall), and we moved on to the 9th tee assuming Neal would close the match out behind us and getting anxious about the weather. Then came a cry from behind "He's in the cart!" Sure enough, Neal hit one out of a bunker into a one of the carts assembled behind the green, and while he played a good out (with a putter), Mark won the hole to continue dormie to the 9th tee, and the whole assembled crowd came with us to watch. At this point Ohio was up by 1-1/2, and I calculated that if Mark
squared his match and I won mine we would finish all square. It wasn't promising after Mark pulled his over the mounds onto 10, while the rest of us hit good straight shots, but only Thor made it to the level fairway with Neal and I with awkward lies on little mounds. Thor went just left of the green, while Neal and I both played safe (there's a lake between the tee shot landing area and the green) and went well left -- over the mounds and off the hole!.) Mine wasn't too bad, perched on a mound near the green, but Neal only found his in the long grass with the help of the gallery. Meanwhile Mark came back from the dead to lay up in front of the green and put it on below the hole. I looked at my lie on the my shot and thought -- I can hit this one close, It's just like those little pitch shots I hit all the time at home. I flopped it to about 4 feet and and sank it to win the hole. Neal conceeded to Mark after taking 2 more to get to the green and missing the first putt well past. That squared the Ohio vs World match.
Along the way we got to watch Chuck take off shoes and socks to hit one out of the pond on 2 with major league splash, then get up and down out of the bunker to halve the hole. Thor wound up playing a successful shot out from deep in the woods where nobody would have looked for it never alone found it, in an unsuccessful attempt to halve a hole where I got lucky with a low probability bunker shot over a tree -- MPM at it's best. I think that might be the most fun I've ever had in 9 holes.

After the finish on 9 we loaded everyone we could into carts and sped back ahead of the weather to the parking lot. Time for a quick homebrew and a little talk, and as soon as Thor's red truck left the lot the rain poured down. It rained hard for maybe 10 minutes, while we drove home, but cleared off for the evening.

Dinner and stories at the Longhorn were great. A chance to see some more folks and swap stories of the old days, including some old stories from the early days of RSG and shared careers in the computer world.

Sunday's round was a good wrapup -- playing with Chuck and Mark I ran off a good sequence of pars on the front, then bad stretch of doubles around the turn (too much wind, too much no-mow, and way too much time spent waiting), but some nice pars to wrap up with (including on the amazing 17th, which I watched Carla par in front of me. Not the best round I've played, but a good one, with good freinds. (Even the walk-on single who joined us, a recent retiree from 20 years of managing a private club in the Columbus area, was a great fit for the group.)

The weekend was way too short, the drive home was way too long, and I'm way too tired, but bad joints willing, we will be back again for sure. Thanks to all for making this a GREAT weekend.