RSG-Ohio  2011

Dave Tutelman -- Sept 15, 2011

(Click on thumbnails for full-size pictures)

This writeup includes photos by myself, Thor, and Rock. I'll try to identify the photographer in each case. Some of the pictures attributed to Thor were taken by his camera -- but obviously not by Thor Himself, since he is in the picture. Also a few for Rock.

"Lee who?"


Lee Hou won the Coffeemaker Trophy and the Maroon Jacket. This is the second year in a row that a RSG-Ohio rookie was the winner.

In contrast, perennial attendee Bill-O (Bill King) successfully defended the Quaich.

And Ohio defeated The World in Match Play Madness. (Never used to happen in the beginning. Always happens nowadays. May have something to do with past winners -- in other words, the best golfers at these courses -- becoming honorary Ohioans.)

And we did not get rained upon. Thundered a bit, perhaps, on Sunday. But the weather gods' bark was worse than their bite. Thor never even broke a sweat keeping us dry.

That's the executive summary. But it hardly scratches the surface....

Here's the cast of characters.

Not quite everybody who was there, but almost.

Click on it to see a larger image.

Friday - Chapel Hill Golf Course

Chapel Hill Golf Course gets its name from a large old church at the top of a hill outside Mt. Vernon, OH. The church has been converted to the clubhouse for the golf course, and dominates the scenery around the first, second, ninth, and eighteenth holes. In fact, it just begs to be in photos of the beginning and ends of rounds of golf.

It also provides a fine background for old friends to greet one another after a year away. There was a lot of that going on. Thor got there first, as usual, and was disconcerted when nobody showed up for twenty minutes or more. Turns out that he thought the first tee time was at 8:00, when he had correctly posted that it would be at 8:30. Anyway, most of us got there; no harm no foul.

Coops was late, even for Coops. A family emergency caused him to miss the morning round (and caused me to drive out without my usual co-pilot). And Tex was in a fender-bender on the way to the airport. Apparently not serious enough to send anybody to the hospital, but he missed his plane and never got there.

Anyway, here is the beginning of our weekend of golf, in the shadow of the chapel on the hill:
Big hitter Chris tees off
(DaveT photo)
Rock sticks it. Thor clicks it.
(DaveT photo)
Quaich winner Bill-O shows off his
old-style but very effective swing.
Note the custom Chapel Hill
tee markers
(Rock Pyle photo)
Wee Mon Patrick shows the form
that made for the longest drives
of the weekend
(DaveT photo)

Warren lines up his putt on #18
(Thor photo)

Mark's tee shot on #7
(DaveT photo)
I played the morning round with Thor, Warren Montgomery, and Thor's friend from work Jerry Raack. All much bigger hitters than I am, so I had to hit good irons and short game to keep up. Sometimes I was able to, but definitely not always. We had a great time. Jerry collected a couple of birdies on the back nine. I had to be content with occasional great shots, like hitting the green on #18 from 170 yards away. Bear in mind that there is a big lake in front of the green, as you can see in the picture at the left.

In the afternoon, I played with Mark Georg, Gary Hayenga, and Chuck Bernard. The picture at the right shows Mark teeing off at the very difficult seventh hole. He placed the shot perfectly on the 150yd marker at the corner of the dogleg -- which was a long way off... great drive. Then he had to hit across a pond to a narrow green with ball-losing deep rough on the right and more pond on the left.

Coops showed up late for the afternoon tee time. Not almost late, actually late. (Is this a first? Perhaps! He is a grandmaster at "almost late".) He and Lee Hou drove out Friday morning, and had not arrived at the tail end of the tee times. Kern Singh and Neal Bell agreed to drop back to the last group, then waiting another half hour before Coops and Lee arrived to fill out the final foursome -- muttering something about being stopped by cops on the PaTurnpike. That's their story and they're sticking to it.
DaveT waits his turn at the tee.
(Thor photo)
The long rough at Chapel Hill was
kinder than the next day at
Clover Valley. At least Joe Dean had
a chance to find and flail at his ball.
(Thor photo)
Generation gap alert!
Mark is just marching to the tee
with his driver.
Son Chris is marching while texting.
(Rock Pyle photo)

After the round, we all adjourned to a barbeque dinner at Thor's house. Of course, some of us had trouble finding the place. Q: What happens when you put a dyslexic address into a GPS? A: You hear, "You have arrived at your destination," when you obviously haven't -- out in the middle of nowhere. BTW, Thor's house is out in farm country (I think the property is 18 acres), and there's a Bobcat service sign on his mailbox to further throw off the casual Thor-seeker.

The food was delicious -- especially Joey Collard's incomparable recipe for potato salad. And I got to say hello to Annie for the first time in many years.

Saturday Morning - Tournament Round at Clover Valley

Saturday morning started with trouble. I was shuttling Mr.10 to the golf course, and he discovered he was missing his keys. I convinced him to have breakfast, and we discussed strategies for dealing with the likely-looking possibility that they were not going to be found. We talked details like whether a locksmith or the Mitsubishi dealer would be open for that sort of work on Saturday, and whether they would need Jon's presence. (They better require his presence, and his photo ID, and his registration. If they don't, I can think of several ways to steal a car.) Anyway, I suggested he look in the other small pocket in his golf bag. "No, I never, ever put my keys there." Well OK, Jon, but we still haven't found them.

PS - Jon came to me in the middle of the day with a Mitsubishi key in his hand. He found it in the pocket I had suggested. Jon, I do this stuff all the time with my wife; I'm an expert in guessing where other people misplaced things.

PPS - At the Saturday night story session, Jon told this story -- in about five times as many words as I just used. Then Thor summarized the story. "Jon lost his keys. Then he found them." Thor, you missed your calling; you should have been a journalist.

Dave Osborne showed up early
enough to play the Tunamint
round, then disappeared again.
(Thor photo)
But Jon's lost keys weren't enough. The GPS app in his smart-phone tried to get us both lost as well. It failed, but it tried. Eventually we did get to Clover Valley, the tournament venue. There was the usual hustle and bustle outside the clubhouse and on the first tee. Wee Mon was canvassing everybody for the skins pool. I haven't been close to a skin in years, so I never enter.

"Dave, wanna be in the skins pool? Just five dollars."
"No thanks, Patrick."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure, Patrick!"
"But it's a lot of fun."
"What part of 'no' don't you understand?!?"

I was relieved that he doesn't live in New York, and didn't give me the line from the commercial, "You've got to be in it to win it."

I was in a foursome with Joe Dean, Coops, and Patrick Inglis (Pesky Canadian #2A, as he was calling himself this weekend). Fun group! We watched open-mouthed as Wee Mon demolished all the long-drive hole distances. He claimed two of the four long drive prizes, moving the stake by 40 and 80 yards respectively. Why only two prizes? On the front nine, he was long but hadn't found his direction yet. On one hole, his provisional was 60 yards beyond the stake, but second balls don't count. On the other long-drive hole, his ball rolled off into the rough -- after he had already bounced and rolled 30 yards past the stake in the fairway. Awesome!

I got off to a very good start (par-par-bogey-par), and my front nine score wasn't bad; it was even bogey, which is close to net par for my handicap. But on the back nine, I lost any sense of direction off the tee and lost five balls, which is ten strokes worth (stroke and distance five times). I wound up with a 57 on the back nine, for a total of 102. Dismal, I thought. Hold that thought!

Here are a few situations that look like Match Play Madness, but actually happened in the Tunamint round.
Nick Mock found a near-impossible lie in a fairway bunker,
and demonstrated perfect form in extricating his ball
(Rock Pyle photos)
Rock was really close to an immovable obstruction. No relief if it were
MPM, but it was normal stroke play. I'd have said the obstruction
interfered and granted relief, but Rock played it as it lay... and escaped.
(Rock Pyle photos)

(Thor photo)

Usually, when a ball goes into the lake, it's gone. Sometimes it will skip a few times before it sinks. But Rock got really lucky. His ball normally would have skipped to the stone retaining wall and ricocheted back into the lake. But the water level was low, and there was more than ten feet of dry land. Rock's shot was not an easy one; the ball was close to the wall, and the lie was hardly plush fairway. But he managed to pitch onto the green with no penalty.

Hey, Rock, what's with the crosshanded grip for pitching?
The fourteenth hole's novelty prize was for closest to the pin from off the green, no matter how many shots it took to get there nor from how far off the green. This generated a number of novel approaches:
  • I decided to use a Scottish approach, hitting a low runner that climbed the false front, ran through the swale in the middle of the green, and nicely up to hole-high. I got the the hard part -- the speed -- right, but totally misread the break; hole-high, but more than ten feet right of the hole.
  • Patrick had already taken an 'X' on a previous hole and so was out of the tournament, but he was still going for individual hole prizes. His approach shot was somewhat off the green. Strategy from there: chip for a position on the fringe closest to the hole, so he would have another chip -- with a putter -- to win the prize. Good strategy, but you have to get it to the fringe; the back fringe was on a very steep uphill, and Wee Mon's chip stayed on the green in spite of everybody coaxing the ball, "Roll to the fringe! Roll to the fringe!" (Close to the pin actually, but not close enough.)
  • When Warren got to this hole, the marker was about 18 inches from the hole. Warren chipped to a foot. Then Chuck missed long, and caught up in the fringe that Patrick was trying to get to. Chuck just touched his ball, it rolled down the fall line and stopped only six inches from the cup -- winning the prize. (Then he hit a four-inch putt from six inches! "No soup for you.")

Saturday Lunch - The Usual Trophy Craziness

You already know the bottom line: Lee Hou won on net, and Bill-O on gross. So let's get to the important stuff -- how it went down.

Don't squeeze the Charmin.
Super-soft fairways.
(Thor photo)
The course played long and tough.
"How tough was it, Dave?"
It was SO tough that:
  • Bill-O won gross strokes with a score of 89. He was the only one to break 90. The only one!
  • Only three people broke 100! (Turns out my 102 was not so bad.)
  • You got no roll at all, making the course play very long. It was possible to lose balls in the fairway, as the picture of an almost-buried ball hints.
  • Almost all the skins were all won with pars. Nick Mock got the only birdie of the tournament, a two on the par-three third hole. (Originally I thought there were no birdies. Our esteemed scorekeeper corrected the record on that point.)
  • In fact, there were two skins for pars on par-five holes. That means that on half the par-fives, only one participant was even able to get par.
Two stories from the skins aftermath:

John calls Tex support
(DaveT photo)
(1) Tex was not present, and he is always the scorekeeper. He has a spreadsheet to handle everything; the only manual operation should be entering the scores. He emailed the spreadsheet to us, so the scores could be tabulated without retraining somebody to do things manually. But the program was doing very badly with the skins results. For instance, it awarded at least one skin when there was another identical score for the hole. And Nick Mock, the big skins winner, kept getting richer or poorer with every bug that was uncovered. Thor had to keep calling back all the skins money and redistribute new amounts. After the third "recall", substitute scorekeeper vander Pflum placed a call to Tex support. (I'm trying to remember who coined that wonderful phrase. Bill-O?)

(2) One of the bugs was that the spreadsheet was improperly dealing with golfers not in the skins pool. Thor announced that I had won a skin with my (sand save!) par on the second hole. Instantly -- only nanoseconds went by -- Wee Mon was on his feet fairly shouting, "Tutelman isn't in the skins pool!!!" Serves me right, I suppose. He was even more emphatic than I was earlier in the day.

And here are the obligatory pictures of the presentations:
Last year's winner, Paul Osad,
slips the Maroon Jacket on
champion Lee Hou.
(Thor photo)
Thor presents Lee the
Coffeemaker Trophy.
(Rock Pyle photo)
Bill-O accepts the substitute Quaich,
for low gross score. Why a substitute?
It's Bill's own fault; he forgot to bring
the real Quaich to Ohio with him. His
mistake made a successful defense
essential, under threat of
severe penalty.
(Rock Pyle photo)
Chuck Bernard is awarded a
Tenth Anniversary Flag
in honor of his hosting the
inaugural RSG-Burning River.
(Rock Pyle photo)

Saturday Afternoon - Match Play Madness at Clover Valley

You already know the outcome -- which for Saturday afternoon is always less important than the process. So let's go to the videotape. Well, we don't have videos. But we do have stills.

Someone told Lee that he had
to wear the maroon jacket
for the afternoon round.
Here he is with Coops, lining
up for his moment on the tee.
The nice thing about having
a rookie for champion is that
you can make up these
'traditions' as you go.
(Thor photo)
Jon Green (on the left... or is
it the right?) and Steve Hall
are often described as
look-alikes. So they decided to
play MPM against one another.
Nobody would be sure who won.
(Rock Pyle photo)
Carla contemplates her putt...
(Thor photo)
... While Neal naps in the
clover. He certainly can't be
expressing impatience with
Carla's pace of play, could he?
(Just so nobody misconstrues this
wisecrack, Carla is the fastest
golfer I've ever played with.
You seldom see a picture of her
swing because it's over before
the camera is focused.)
(Thor photo)

Paul Osad was my Match Play Madness opponent. We played with Jon/Steve and Steve/Jon. I think one of them won.

Paul and I halved the first hole with bogeys, both of us just missing makeable par putts. We then proceeded to alternate wins on every hole through the eighth. Since Paul won the first non-halved hole, we alternated between all square and Paul one up. So I stood on the ninth tee one down, needing to win the hole to halve the match. As you see in the photos below, Paul drove into deep, dense cabbage. We were amazed to even find it, and Paul's punch-out was nearly miraculous. I didn't think we would even find the ball after he tried a whack at it; he'd just knock it deeper into the salad. Anyway, I was now in a position of having to go for the green with a middle iron, because a halve would do me no good. Almost made it, too; my six-iron splashed about five feet short of dry land. Match over! Paul also went for the green and splashed -- but it didn't count; once I had drowned a ball, he had won the match.

Finally, a real MPM photo.
There's a golf ball in there
somwhere. And Paul has to
find it and hit it.
(You probably can't find it in
the thumbnail; you probably can
in the large picture.)
(DaveT photo)
Paul not only found the ball,
he knocked it clear in one shot.
As a result, he won the match
against me. I needed to win the
hole to halve the match, and
Paul managed to halve the hole.
(DaveT photo)
While we waited for the last
groups, Thor demonstrated flop
shots. He also told us how he
learned to do flop shots reliably.
I'd tell y'all, but Child Protective
Services might have a problem
with it.
(DaveT photo)
Coops attempts a long
approach shot to the final green.
He knocked it stiff -- just
eight feet from the hole.
Kern needed to get up and down
to halve the match,
and couldn't.
(DaveT photo)

(DaveT photo)
Dinner was at Champps, a sports bar with a varied menu, good food, and large portions. It was within walking distance of the hotel. Good thing, because we needed to walk it off.

(Thor photo)

Every RSG-Ohio -- usually on Saturday night -- Rock gets involved in something where my instinctive reaction is, "I don't want to know!"

Sunday Morning - Champions

Greetings all around
on Sunday morning.
(Thor photo)
Champions is a Columbus municipal course, and something of a favorite of mine. It's a Robert Trent Jones Sr design, as is my home course in NJ. (Thor won't allow me to say H----- H---, so I won't.) But some of the holes at Champions look more like Tillinghast designs. I have in mind the eighth and, to a lesser extent, the fifteenth.

I played with Nick Mock and Carla Montgomery. At first, we were a little put off by the slow greens (especially after the fast greens yesterday at Clover Valley). But the rhythm of a well-designed course overcame this -- even though we were still leaving putts short at the end of the round.

For much of the back nine, the skies were rumbling overhead. But not a drop fell while we were still at the course. Once Lee and I were in the car and traveling east on I-70, the skies opened up with real lightning and rain. But on the course was only sound. We had Thor, and were not intimidated.

Pflagstick & Wee Mon for Canada.
Thor & Hoskins for the States.
(Thor photo)
There is a traditional International Match on RSG-Ohio Sunday between the Pesky Canadians and a couple of low-handicap Americans. This year, both sides hired mercenaries. The Pflumster became an honorary Canadian, and Thor implored Jim Hoskins (first ever winner of the Maroon Jacket, in 1996) to attend for the first time in over a decade. (I am told that John had to agree to drive home to Cincinnati via Toronto, in order to play for Canada.)

Patrick showed up with genuine uniforms for Team Canada. They looked more like hockey shirts than golf shirts. But then, they also played it like hockey. Jim finished the round limping, and Thor was missing two teeth. And the Canadians won.

Patrick faces a
difficult lie.
(Thor photo)

John gets a worm's eye view
of his putt. Villegas
could have done it better.
But I certainly could not.
(Thor photo)

Thanks, Thor.

Had a great weekend. Can't wait till next year!