117 holes in Ohio
Warren Montgomery -- August 21, 2012
It's been over long enough now to have some time to reflect on an amazing long weekend of golf. I'm not going to do the whole history this time, just some highlights and generalities.
First, thanks again to Thor for making this one possible. This was the perfect year to go 4 rounds and move to august. I doubt we could have made the traditional date, and getting to see everyone was a real treat. I loved playing that first round with you, Dave T, and Bill. Even figured out a few more of the holes at Mill Creek this time around.
Lee was a great partner in the afternoon round with Bill and Patrick, and Patrick's 5 point game was a blast. I was a little dubious about that when we started -- sounded complicated, but we managed, and it was a lot of fun. I still can't see how you are supposed to play that right angle dogleg hole around the pond. I thought I'd be smart this time, just hitting one to the little landing area at the corner, but that left me 200 yards from the green with no place to bail out into except the front left bunker. Even with everyone else OB off the tee I struggled to come out low. Frankly the best option to me looks like a short iron to the tee of the par 3 on the right, and another to the green, but that tee is usually occupied.
I seem to recall a few textual snickers at the prospect of playing some place called "The National Golf Links" in the middle of Ohio, but nobody was snickering by the time we played a few holes. A great layout and awesome for the price. Yeah, the greens could have been faster and the bunkers were crappy, but the holes were striking and fun to play and tee to green the course was in decent shape. It was great to get a chance to play with Sir Plow, who I hadn't seen since RSG-Bandon 2005. I sucked off those long tees, but it was still fun (though I wish I could have remembered that hidden creek on number 12. Maybe next time.
Not much to be said for the Tunamint round, other than I suck at RSG-Ohio. I actually thought I might have a decent round after having pars and bogies through 5, but the 6th showed me how inadequate I was off the tee and how unforgiving that course could be. Great drive for me goes into a bunker rather than over the hill like the others, great bunker shot clips a couple of inches below the top, decent hybrid kicks into the trees, and it didn't get better from there. Other than that one I played okay, just not great. Weirdest hole for me was 16. After a solid drive I was about 190 out and thought I'd be able to bounce a hybrid 3 onto the green through the rough. I had a fit when the ball disappeared and someone said I was in the creek. What Creek! Anyone ever heard of hazard stakes in Ohio? I guess the lawyers must think someone's going to pull one out and try to kill a vampire with it or something. After recovering my tossed club, dropping, and making a crappy pitch to the back I just kind of slapped at the putt and watched it roll in for bogey. Then someone said it was "longest putt" hole. Amazing.
I loved playing MPM with Snedds, my roommate for RSG-Bandon 2005 who I don't think I had ever played a round with before today. It was a good match with a stymie, some great recoveries, and a hole he won with a birdie to extend the match. Our group actually had a situation that nobody recalls ever having seen -- On the 4th hole, everyone hit decent drives into the fairway, and when he came to the first ball suffering as he was, David Laville thought it was his and hit a decent shot onto the green. When I reached the other balls 50 yards up none were mine. Oops. Sure enough, that first ball had been mine. It was pretty clear David lost the hole in his match, but what about me? Was I laying 1 on the green or should I replace it where it was hit? We decided playing it where it was wrongly hit from was the fairest thing to do. My shot wasn't as good as David's, but I think I wound up winning the hole anyway.
The stories were great as always. It was amazing how many there were, and I didn't even tell two of my better ones. One was the "wrong ball" story in MPM. The other was at Buck Ridge, where I think the match had been squared up on about the 5th hole we played, a sharp dogleg left over a creek. After blowing my drive right into ratty junk I hit the next one thin and bounced into the creek. When I got there though I saw no water, only long grass, and a ball that looked playable on the far bank. Wanting to save a stroke if possible I stepped in, saw it was indeed my ball, and just as I stepped forward to where I might take a stance my foot sunk through the grass into wet muck that was over my shoes. I compounded the problem by falling into nettles. Nothing seriously damaged, but not much I could do about the shoe now full of mucky water that also covered my socks and pants. Played the rest of that round soggy.
Sunday at Darby Creek was a bit of a relief -- no pressure. It was great to have some time to swap consulting stories with Fred, and we had an enjoyable round (well most of the holes at least. That back 9 beat me up last time, and it did again this time. Maybe next time I'll remember which holes you can cut the corner on and which you can't. It was sad to have to leave, especially to have to leave early, but I hope to see everyone next year at an RSG event.
A couple of other things:
I was really nervous about playing this time. Most of you know I had a hip replacement and have no trouble with the new one, but my other hip is bad too, and shortly after returning from Border Wars I started to have trouble with it. I played in pain and it hurt me just sitting in the car. It was hurting enough to make me wonder about 117 holes about half way to Columbus, then suddenly a miracle cure. Nothing hurt for 4 days of intensive golf and more driving. Must be something about company. (I doubt it's the air or water in Ohio :-)
Back when we were all talking trash on the newsgroup everyone joked about the amazing distance people on RSG reported. I thought this was just more trash talking, but got a real eye opener last weekend. You guys are freaks! I'm one of the longest hitters in my golf league here and usually the longest hitter in any pickup foursome I wind up in, yet everyone in this crowd hits it way past me. Gary and Scott just about reached a 500 yarder to cut eachother out of a skin with birdies. On Friday I watched Patrick reach the 560 yard 18th in 2. Even the little guy with the big kidney stone hit one 50 yards past one of my better pokes. You guys belong on those macho-shithead tees we always play (6600 yards of wet, rotten turf) I don't know how you do it. Maybe RSG-Ohio needs drug testing :-)
Thanks again to everyone, and hope to see everyone who made it and everyone who didn't at an RSG event next year.