The first of the last. As usual Thor hit the first ball of RSG Ohio, booming a drive down the right side. He parred the hole, too.
A few more views from the first tee -- until cameraman Patrick got his own turn.
Three-time RSG-Ohio champion
Two-time RSG-Ohio champion (and several-time premier golfer champion as well) Bill King.
played the morning round in the first group with Thor, Bill-O, and
Roger. The last few years, the first group on the first day has been
Thor (of course), Bill-O, me, and somebody else. For a few years it was
Warren Montgomery; this year it was Roger. It is always a hoot; Bill
and Thor are competitive and fun to watch.
In fact, Bill and Thor had a beer match going. Thor had Bill dormie-three, but Bill managed to snatch the last three holes and halve the match. Thor may have helped Bill on #16 and #17, but Bill was most impressive on the last hole. It is a 500-yard-plus uphill par-5. Bill was on the green in two, with an eagle putt of shorter than 10 feet. I don't know whether he ever struck it; I'm pretty sure Thor said, "That's good," after he missed his par putt.
The fourteenth hole is really funky. It is a dogleg right around a lake. You can tell that from the map at the tee box, but you can't see the lake from the tee box. So you don't know which way to hit it. There are two openings between the trees in that general direction, and you can't tell which one is the lake. Bill-O and Thor chose the rightmost of the two openings, and hit really good drives. Roger and I decided it was really the left fairway that we wanted to take, and hit fairly good drives. (Much shorter than Thor or Bill, but pretty good for a couple of old guys.) When we got there, we discovered that Roger and I had made the right guess. But that didn't give us an advantage. Bill ahd Thor's drives were right at the lake, true; but they were so long they cleared the lake -- and short-cut the dogleg. With my good drive, I was hitting a 3-hybrid to the green, while they were hitting less-than-full wedges.
was the only one riding in my morning group.
Chris has a tough shot here to get out of trouble. Don't ask how I know that -- but I definitely recognize the shot.
played in the afternoon with Carla and Kern. We played fast, finishing
in just over three hours.
One of the reasons we played fast was we were being chased. Behind us was a riding threesome of Bill-O, Chuck Bernard, and Gary Hayenga. On our second hole, Bill "sent us a message". Well, it wasn't really intended that way -- Bill insisted on that afterwards. But his approach shot reached the green before we were gone from the green. It hit me on the hip (on a bounce, fortunately). Bill apologized and said that he really didn't expect to reach the green with the shot, and graciously bought me a beer later. But, after watching him this morning reach the eighteenth green in two, I don't believe a rational assessment on this short par-4 would say, "Bill can't reach the green with his second shot." Even if he did hit a tree with his drive. I wonder if he bought the tree a beer as well. :)
The other reason we finished quickly is that we were told we had to. There was league play starting at 4:00pm, so we had to be gone from the first and the tenth by then. So we started on both one and ten. Carla, Kern, and I were the first group off the tenth -- the "rabbits". I was really tired after nine holes at the pace we were playing. We all know how fast Carla plays, and even she admitted to being tired.
Our least-fast group had an excuse. With four holes to go, a random twosome of not-very-good golfers cut in front of them -- then played slowly.
Personal assessment of Marysville Golf Club: it is not a bad warm-up track, which is what we wanted. But it is not a quality golf course. The layout is OK, not great but sort of interesting. The condition leaves quite a bit to be desired. And they have only one employee in the clubhouse. Total! She has to run the desk, the pro shop, and the snack bar. When our groups arrived for lunch after the morning round, she had to abandon the front desk and the pro shop so she could serve lunches.
golf, we adjourned to Benny's Pizza. Even on a Thursday night, it was
mobbed. Hard to find a parking place. Our first few there got a table,
and we kept on adding to the length of the table. That was to the
consternation of the wait-staff, since there are rules against tables
longer than somewhat.
But Benny's waitstaff has even less clout than the USGA; the rules were
roundly ignored, and we kept adding to the table until we were all
Joe Darmogray and Craig
Thompson remind us where we are.
John Pflum pours while (L to R) David Hayes, Doug Rich (Dug), Deb Rich (Debazon), and Chris Georg converse.
and Tex mellowing out over a pitcher. You may have noticed
that we are eating outdoors. The indoor seating fills up quickly, but
they have a lot of seating in the fenced-in, paved-over "back yard".
Another reason for the outdoor seating is...
Benny's has a rock band performing -- yes, even on Thursday. A live rock band. A loud rock band. A really, really loud rock band. You don't want that volume level indoors. They started about halfway through our meal, and from that point on we had to shout to be heard.
Warren, and Gary listen to Carla hold forth on some topic.
Thor confers with the two Peskies.
generations of Georges.
Coops and Rock. Probably worth mentioning that Coops did not go off-menu at Benny's. He ordered a large lamb pizza for four people. I guess if lamb pizza is on the menu, going off-menu is superfluous.
rest of Ohio '15 was just like the previous events at Marysville: Mill
Creek, Buck Ridge, Indian Springs, and Darby Creek in that order. So
Friday morning was our triennial return to Mill Creek. It is a modest
local track most famous for being Ben Curtis' home course when he was
growing up. (Thor tells a story of getting a chipping lesson from a
teenage Curtis when he noticed Thor at the practice green.)
We had a shotgun start both morning and afternoon. I played Mill Creek with Fred, Debazon, and Craig, and we started on number sixteen. The sixteenth tee is way out at the far corner of the course; we walked the equivalent of at least two holes, and probably three, before we actually put a golf ball into play. And, since the long par-5 sixteenth hole goes generally in the direction of the clubhouse anyway, we played that hole again on the way in after our 18 holes. So I played 19 holes and walked at least 22 during the morning round.
chips as David Hayes watches.
David has a nice, fluid swing -- fun to watch, and usually quite effective.
I also remember Deb marching down a fairway chanting to herself, "Remember the good things." I think that was the sixth hole, a par-3 over a lake, where she hit it close. I had laid up -- and no, it was not intended as a layup.
Speaking of mutterings, my notes for this round include Craig saying, "Brain sent message, swing didn't listen." Don't remember the context, but it's easy to imagine what it must have been.
Laville shows good form.
Rock is on his way as soon as Meryl hits. Not slow players.
takes a cut at it.
Perfect form! Vander Pflum's spine angle is intact, weight shifted but not excessively, arms and club extended toward the target. Nice!
it's Friday afternoon, this must be Buck Ridge. A shotgun start like
this morning. Rock, David Hayes, Patrick, and I marched off to the
eighteenth tee to start. That's another hole walked but not played,
plus another extra hole of play (we played in at the end of the round).
swing doesn't look too bad here.
Vander Pflum hiding among the cornstalks. John, the shape is right, but you need better camouflage; pink doesn't do the trick.
was playing his feast-or-famine game. When he was on he was really on. I think
he made three birdies, including one at the long par-3 fifth that
looked like an ace for a long time and was just a tap-in when we got
My own score was a little strange. It included three triple bogeys, each surrounded by a pair of pars; so each of them netted out to the bogey golf that I should be averaging -- without any bogeys there. I finished with a two-under-bogey 88 -- but with only five bogeys on the card. The rest was three triples, a double, and ten pars. Good round? Depends what moment you happened to be watching.
Holes 3-6 are interesting target-golf exercises. There is enough water and gunch and doglegs that you have to think about where you are going to place each shot; both direction and distance matter. Perhaps the only nice thing about losing distance with age is that I no longer have to worry about which club to use off the tee. It's driver (except for the par-3 with the woods behind it). I can no longer hit it far enough to get into trouble on these holes. Actually, we all did well on the third hole, a par-5 target setup with two creeks to cross; each of us had a putt at no worse than par.
The most impressive shot I saw all day was Neal's drive on #14, a short 311yd par-4. The important thing on this hole is straight; there is OB left and water right. Neal went for straight and long. His ball was sitting a few feet off the front of the green. Probably 290+ yards.
tradition of Friday afternoon at RSG-Ohio is the chocolate match. This
year it was Meryl and Deb against[?] Pflum and Thor. Actually, I'm not
sure whether Pflum was John or Joanie for this round; should the pink
shirt tell me something? Anyway, here are some photos from the
chocolate match. The photo of the fancy chocolate was from Vander
Pflum, who assures me that he won this piece. Bacon chocolate?!? Hmmm,
must be Meryl's idea.
and Mark. These two look more like one another every year.
David Hayes, Fred, and Roger.
Easton made a cameo appearance. Here he is with me, so I can
prove to my wife that I saw him this weekend. (He has been a house
guest in the past, and first introduced us to the concept of Costco.)
Here is Terry being Terry.
The centerpiece of the evening was a pair of thank-you gifts to Thor for hosting this wonderful event for 20 years.
main event! Indian Springs for the final one --
appropriate because we played many of our tournament rounds there. It's
a tough course, at least in part because of its length; we
played it from the blue tees, which are almost 6700 yards.
we move on to the golf, let's look at the cart with a sign that had
present for every round so far. (I know that from the photos, though I
first noticed it in the gathering for the tournament round.)
It carries a direct quote from
Thor's invitation to the first RSG-Ohio
in 1996, along with the event's logo. Circumscribing the logo is the
Rule * 20 Years * Many Friendships * Great Quantities of
Beer * A Lot of Golf * Not a Lot of Money" A good summary!
and Mr. 10 Jon Green (Jon has been trying for years to lose
that nickname) are sporting the old and the new shirts. Jon
is wearing the tenth anniversary shirt that many of us still have, and
Roger the new "twenty and out" shirt. Roger's lime green shirt and
drew a description "the mixed bowl of sherbet look."
Thor leads us off as tradition demands. The first tee shot is a challenge. The trees on the left and the bunker that collects a straight shot may be daunting, but you really don't want to miss it right. The marsh goes well over 250yd down the right side, and you won't find your ball if it goes in.
And too many balls did go in! I hit a fade into it on my first try, and had to re-tee. But I was in the last group, so I got to watch a lot of problems before my own opportunity to lose a ball.
the RSG-Ohio flag that was on six of the holes (the ones whose pin
position called for a white flag). He also shows us his new profile
that changed his nickname to "Pebble". Briefly, anyway; he had a
still newer nickname before the end of the day.
Fred found a praying mantis. We always seem to see one at RSG-Ohio. This year's specimen seems less green and more straw-colored; that probably reflects what the weather has done to the grass.
hole is a par-3 over nearly 170 yards of pond and marsh. There's a long
bridge from tee to green. Here is Dug walking it...
...And Coops riding it.
Past champion Jim Hoskins tees off. I'm pretty sure that's the seventeenth hole.
Kern and Eric watch Debazon putt on the last hole.
put me in the last group, with Neal, Bill-O, and Vander Pflum --
who collectively have won the Coffeemaker Trophy six times. They also
hit the ball a lot farther than I do. Between the length of the course
and the company, I was a basket case. Bill, John, and Neal were as
supportive as they could be, but I still had a lot of trouble. After
the errant shot on the first tee (and discounting it), I got bogeys on
the first five holes. A tremendous accomplishment, I thought, but a
real effort. It couldn't keep up that way, and it didn't. I took a
penalty drop on the 600-yard sixth hole, and wound up with a triple.
And it would have been worse if sharp-eyed Neal hadn't seen exactly
where my ball went into the evil stuff and found it for me.
On the next hole (see pictures above of the seventh), I committed what Bill-O told me is an "anyways" shot. I was on the tee when the wind came up, and it was exactly in my face. Instead of going back to my bag for another club, I just tried to hit it harder. Classic mental error, and it resulted in a drowned ball and another triple. I never really recovered, and carded a lot of doubles and triples after that. By the turn, the overcast had burned off and it was hot, sunny, and humid. By the fourteenth hole, I was exhausted from the heat as well -- not thinking well, not swinging well, not even walking well. It was a great relief -- even a bit of a spirit lifter -- to play the last few shots in eyesight and earshot of the crowd behind the last green. Which brings us to...
eighteenth hole at Indian Springs is a great stadium hole, with a hill
behind the green for people already finished to gather and watch... and
consume large quantities of beer... and heckle... and take pictures.
I'm not sure how John ever got this putt away, with all the cameras vying for the best position to bear permanent witness.
Some pictures of the spectators behind eighteen:
on Saturday at RSG-Ohio is always about more than just lunch. But let's
start with the lunch. After sampling the chicken salad sandwich at
three golf course snack bars, I can say without hesitation that Indian
Springs' is the best. And I'm an expert on the subject; my normal lunch
at home is a chicken salad sandwich; Indian Springs was the only one as
good as what I make myself.
year's champ, Eric Macke, was called up to present the maroon jacket to
the winner -- who had not yet been announced. Eric wanted a momento of
last moments with the trophy. He settled for a selfie with the
Coffeemaker and Thor.
The Coffeemaker Trophy has a brand new plate with all the winners except the last engraved on it. By now, this year's winner should also be there.
all the scores were added up, the RSG-Ohio champion was Rock Pyle.
Eric presents Rock with the maroon jacket. Worth noting, in case you hadn't already: this year Rock can put on the maroon jacket and look good in it, last year he might have damaged it.
Tex won The Quaich as Premier golfer, with the low gross score.
the rest of the day with this "Really?!?" expression.
There were lots more prizes to give -- high placement and individual hole prizes. And the prize table had something appropriate for everybody.
Notable among the
prizes was Meryl's winning three of the four long drive
holes. The fact that she won -- and that Carla won the remaining one --
shows that someone knows how to set forward tees properly. But her
margin of victory (50-100yd on each) is testimony to her driving
afternoon at RSG-Ohio means Match
Play Madness -- Ohio vs the Rest of the World. It generally
means almost [?] everybody is riding. I know I did. I used it all up in
the morning round, and conditions were still hot and humid.
Eric, last year's champion, demonstrates a few MPM traditions.
a classic MPM situation. That yellow blob buried in evil
stuff is Coops' ball. Remember, no relief, not even with a penalty
Coops gouges at the ball. Looking the two pictures, I wonder how they ever found the ball at all -- never mind how Coops got a club on it.
it or not, Coops' ball popped out to a playable lie. Of course, MPM
being MPM, there is no opportunity to wipe off the dirt and mud. You
play the ball as it lies.
Kern's near-stymie is a weird problem. There was no agreement otherwise at the start of the match, so we had to play stymies. Even more strange, he is stymied by my ball, and I'm not his opponent. Kern and I are both on the World team. To his credit, he used all the room there was, and no more; in fact, he managed to miss left of the hole -- geometry to the contrary notwithstanding.One of the high points of my weekend was when Eric (my opponent) told Doug Butler (Kern's opponent), "Hey, we better get going! We're being outdriven by a 74-year-old and a 75-year-old." I always drive the ball better when I play with Kern. I love watching him demonstrate how someone older than I am can hit it farther and straighter than I do. At that point in the round, I was copying Kern and we were both killing our drives.
ninth hole, where MPM finished, is a stadium hole like the eighteenth.
Here is the crowd watching the later groups finish.
And here is what they are watching: a two-tiered green fronted by a deep gully for the last 100 yards.That two-tier green with the steep transition made for a lot of entertainment. For instance, I put my approach shot on the slope almost into the spectators and about even with the back of the green. If I managed an up-and-down from that difficult position, I could win the hole and halve the match. I managed to put a soft pitch onto the top tier, and it rolled down to hole-high on the bottom tier about a dozen feet from the hole. I missed the putt by an inch, and Eric won the match for Ohio.
During the wait, Vander Pflum and Wee Mon had a putt-out. From the front of the green, carry it as high as you can up the transition and let it roll back down to the hole. Closest to the hole wins. John won. Patrick demanded a rematch -- and kept demanding rematches until the next group arrived.
When Coops' match came along, he put his approach shot about where I put mine. Anybody who thought Kern lacks a sense of humor should have been watching closely. Kern unobtrusively crab-walked so he was directly between Coops' ball and the green. Since this is MPM, it would have made a difficult, even dangerous, shot -- if Kern hadn't confessed and moved back out of the way. Was Kern showing honesty, or a self-preserving concern about what might happen if Coops attempted the shot?
last match -- Thor vs Hayes -- came in, Ohio and World were dead even.
(That's what the scoresheet said, and I'm stickin' to it.) So Thor and
David went back out to about 100 yards for a short playoff. (The orange
shirts were the caddy uniforms.)
The approach shot.
And David's putt.
It took another playoff hole before David won it for World.
had anothe cameo appearance on Saturday evening. Jeannie and Amy Pflum
drove up from Nashville -- a much longer drive than from Cincinnati
where they used to live.
Jeannie in deep discussion with
Debazon. Jeannie is now a high school senior and looking at colleges.
Amy hangs out with Tex, Meryl, and Scott Newell. We were hoping for a surprise cameo by Kelly Newell, but no such luck.
Here is David Hayes telling a Thor story.
To keep the departure times manageable, we teed off on both #1 and #10; this cut our "time footprint" on the course by more than half an hour.
I played with Debazon, David Laville, and Mark Georg. David was striking the ball very well, with the exception of his drives. His putting was a mixed bag: great distance putting and disappointing short putting. Case in point: on the par-3 seventh hole, his ball was right on line with the flagstick, and looked pretty close. (When we got to the green, it turned out to be about ten feet.) David turned to us and said, "I'll make a bet right now that I three-putt that." Then I hit a nearly identical shot, which stopped inches outside David's, and said, "No excuse to three-putt now. I'm giving you a perfect read." He followed through on his threat; he three-putted. I guess if you expect to miss, you will. I might mention that Debazon put her tee shot inside two feet. That was just before a course employee walked up with a "closest to the hole" marker for the afternoon event. He suggested that Deb's shot would probably win that prize if she had hit it in the afternoon.
I had a weird technology moment on the par-5 fourteenth hole. A creek and tall grass crossing the fairway in a deep swale challenge the second shot. My GPS told me that I had 140 yards to the hazard and 170 yards to clear it. I took my 120-yard 8-iron and made a good swing with it. Nice, high, very normal trajectory. When we got to the bottom of the swale, I expected the ball to be in the short rough before the hazard. Couldn't find it, not even in the hazard. (We did find David's ball in the tall grass, and he hit an amazing shot from that lie over the rest of the hazard and halfway up the hill on the other side.) Before the five minutes for searching were up, Mark noticed a ball on the other side of the hazard. I ran around, and identified it as mine. No way was that the 170 yards the GPS said it had to be.
More time was spent than usual saying goodbye in the parking lot. Nobody wanted to leave, but we had to; there were long drives and airline reservations ahead. (I managed to get home half past midnight, which is good for the drive back from Marysville.)
Pfred bid their farewells.
What happened here? Joe wears the shorts we expect to see on Craig, and vice versa.
takes this last opportunity for his traditional defiant gesture.
Jeannie, who plans to go into entertainment, strikes a pose for all the cameras present.
|Coffee||100||My backup source on the drive|
|Mountain Dew||60||My usual source on the drive|
|Dr. Pepper or Cola||40|
|Dark chocolate bar||20||Milk
chocolate or chocolate coated
protein bars have considerably less