BHM has sponsored the Gold Beach High School boys’ golf team the last four years, so I get the major perk of getting to play golf with some of the players quite often during practice rounds. Since they outhit me from the tee by 40 to 60 yards, it’s a challenge for me but my game has steadily improved by trying to emulate their picture-perfect form.
I tend to be a talker during our matches, imparting the wisdom of my years. And I occasionally throw out a challenge to them. During one of their pre-shot routines on the par-4, 277-yard Hole 8 at Cedar Bend, I’ll sometimes blurt out, “”Twenty bucks cash if you can reach the green!”
I like to put pressure on them this way. I think it helps focus their minds. They always respond with excellent shots, although a 277-yard shot to a small green definitely favors me keeping my money so I seldom have to pay out.
The other day I decided to team up with a former high school player and current employee of BHM, Toby Stanley Jr., and we challenged GBHS’s two best golfers, Matt Anderson and my son, Robby Duffy, to a nine-hole contest. It would be a five-dollar match-play scramble, that is, we’d each use the best shots of our team for the next shot, and we’d win holes rather than keep track of our overall number of strokes. I asked them to give us a stroke on the three hardest holes to make up for my obvious lack of length off the Tee and relative lack of accuracy with my wedges. They agreed.
On the day of the scheduled match, Matt, the number one seed, said to me, “Dave, we want to sweeten the bet. If we win, you let us take a half day off of school tomorrow to watch the girls’ final day of play at District (the girls’ team’s League championship), and if we lose we’ll work a day in your yard.” I agreed, although I cautioned them I couldn’t officially sanction them skipping school for half a day.
On the very first hole of the match, a par-3, I topped my Tee-shot and it bounced up in the air two feet, then landed an inch behind the tee. Toby’s tee-shot went left of the green and Robby and Matt put both of their tee-shots on the green. They won that hole easily to go one-up.
On the second hole, a par-5, one of the holes where we were getting a stroke, I sliced my tee-shot way right across an adjacent fairway, and Toby hooked his left behind some trees. Robby and Matt both hit the ball 270 yards down the center of the fairway. It didn’t look so good for Toby and me.
So I huddled with Toby and told him that this was our time to strike back because Matt and Robby thought they were in a cake-walk. “We can get into their minds right now,” I said “if we can at least split this hole.” I suggested he try and hit his second shot to the right near some trees, which I knew were about 60 yards from the green. “That’ll make our third shot a back-yard shot for me,” I said. “We’ll have a chance to ‘up and down’ it from there.”
By a back-yard shot, I meant it was a shot I practice every day in my back yard. I hit hundreds of balls about 60 yards to a horse trough off my back deck. I’ve got that shot down pretty well.
Toby delivered a perfect shot to the designated spot and I chipped the ball to the green, about 8 feet from the pin, just like in my back yard. We made the putt for a birdie. The boys put their second shot on the edge of the green and needed two puts for their birdie. Since they were giving us a stroke on this hole, we won the hole and evened the match. We were back in it, and the boys suddenly realized it wasn’t the cake-walk they were expecting. I told Toby, “Now we’re inside their heads.”
From then on, Toby and I ‘Mutt and Jeff’ed’ it, meaning that he would hit a good shot, especially from the tee where I lacked length, then I’d follow with a good chip. We complemented each other just about perfectly, each coming through when the other one faltered. We set up a couple of more back-yard shots and one of us would deliver on the chip while the other delivered on the putt. On Hole 8 we won when I made a short chip that was identical to a shot I practice every day over a small pond in my back yard. Instead of a pond, I had to hit over a mound and let the ball trickle down a sloping green to within a foot of the hole. They conceded the putt and match.
Today Robby and Matt are working for free — and Toby for pay — digging up Lenie’s big garden in a drizzly rain. A victory made possible by the wisdom of age is very sweet.
I’ve proposed another match to them. This time they would not have to give us any strokes, but they’d have to let me hit from the forward tees to make up for my lack of length off the Tee. They are considering it.
We’re still battling to allow the Crook Point Golf Resort to be built here at Pistol River in Curry County, Oregon. It’s on private property financed by private money, but environmentalists have appealed the affirmative vote by local county commissioners. It’s the usual environmental delaying tactics to prevent any kind of development along the coast. I’m sure the golf course will be approved eventually, but these delaying tactics add cost to the project.
If you’d like to help put an end to these unnecessary and totally phony delays by environmentalists, we need to make a show of force at the public hearing on this environmental appeal. The hearing is Nov 4 (Thursday) at 7 pm at the Showcase Building at the Fairgrounds in Gold Beach.
The main impact of the new golf course will be to bring several hundred good paying jobs to the area. It will have no adverse environmental impact, but instead will help safeguard this part of the coastline as a beautiful, picturesque area where wildlife abounds. Maybe if enough people show up at the meeting and voice their support we can get the golf course going and bring some much needed jobs to the area.
The Sierra club, by the way, is not opposed to this golf course. The opposition is coming from fringe environmentalist groups who are merely obstructionists to progress of any kind. These groups exist, as far as I can tell, to delay sensible progress. They give a bad name to constructive environmental groups.
I cannot make the meeting because I’ll be in Utah at a self-reliance expo. Toby Stanley, the assistant coach of the youth golf team I sponsor, will appear in my stead and make the case for how local youth golf will benefit by going forward with this golf course.
Tomorrow night, Thursday, July 8, could decide the future of the Crook Point Golf Course proposed to be located in Pistol River about 10 miles south of my town of Gold Beach as the Curry County Planning Commission holds a meeting and will listen to public comments. The meeting is at 7 pm at the Curry County Fairgrounds in Gold Beach.
At stake are several hundred new jobs for this hard-pressed area and more than $8 million a year being injected into the local economy. All local businesses and their employees stand to benefit from the new economic activity. I plan to attend and lend my support. I expect there will be some opposition, mainly from hard-core fringe environmental groups who don’t want to see anything built anywhere.
The proposed golf course will be an especially important revenue producer for our local school districts, fire, and police departments, generating $400,000 in new taxes each year, which is 40 times what the property proposed for the golf course now generates.
If you are from this area, you should attend this meeting and voice your support. Too many valuable proposed projects in the past have been killed at this type of meeting because the naysayers outnumbered the supporters.
Well, neither Tiger nor Phil won the U.S. Open, and the Celtics let the NBA Championship slip away, but otherwise it’s been a good week. I wonder why men, in particular, invest so much of themselves in the outcomes of sporting events.
You learn a lot about yourself as you grow older. At age 66, I’ve discovered that attending the U.S.Open Golf Championship in person is not nearly as much fun as I thought it would be.
While my wife, Ilene, and two sons, Jake and Sam, are in Wisconsin minding the BHM booth at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair (MREA), son Robby and I are at the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Pebble Beach a couple of hours south of San Francisco. We’re staying in a motel in Morgan Hill, an hour from the “temporary” golf course parking lot, which is another hour’s bus shuttle ride to Pebble Beach.
Unlike watching the Open on TV, in person you see very little due to the crowds. We wanted to see Phil, Vijay, Sergio, Furyk, Watson, and others, but we especially wanted to see Tiger Woods. After barely being able to catch a glimpse of Tiger on his first several holes, we found a spot eight layers of people back from the ropes four holes ahead of where Tiger was playing. We waited nearly an hour to finally see bits and pieces of his shoulders and head, but seldom saw the ball he hit.
After several hours of weaving through the chaotic crowds, we finally found a seat high up in the bleachers by the 18th green where we rested our weary legs and watched nine groups of golfers play until Tiger finally arrived. He had a nondescript bogey, finishing the day at 3 over par. But at least we saw him clearly through binoculars.
When Tiger finished the 18th, the bleachers emptied and everyone headed to the parking lot shuttle buses at once. After waiting in a very long, winding line for an agonizing three hours with approximately five to ten thousand other spectators, we were finally let on a bus that took us to the parking lot. An hour later, at 11:30 at night, we made it back to our motel totally exhausted. My back felt like somebody had stuck a knife in it.
We skipped today’s trek to the golf course, opting to watch it on the motel TV. We’ll go to a few hours of the tournament tomorrow (Saturday), then skip Sunday and drive back to Oregon a day early.
The couple of practice days leading up to the actual tournament were more fun. The crowds were big but manageable. I even got Jim Furyk to autograph my Cedar Bend (my local Gold Beach golf course) hat. Robby got five autographs, including ViJay Singh’s. This morning he says his legs are really sore from standing in line three hours for the bus. He’s ready to go home too.
Maybe I don’t have the stamina it takes to mix with the greatest in sports, and I certainly won’t try doing this sort of thing again. No wonder my older brother, Hugh, turned me down when I offered to fly him out here from Maryland to attend the US Open with me. He looks like a pretty wise older brother right now.
Aside from the long lines and big crowds, one other thing about the U.S. Open setup bothered me: The public wasn’t allowed to bring cameras or phones in, which I could understand, but you were also not allowed to bring bottles of water in so were forced to buy little bottles of water for $3 each since they had no public drinking fountains. I thought that was kind of cheap. They were already charging $10 for a lead-painted US Open souvenir coffee cup, $34 for a hat, $85 for a sweatshirt, and $125 for a lightweight jacket. Why not free water on a hot, dehydrating day!
I’m used to small town hospitality and generosity where there are no celebrities and the water is always free. I can hardly wait to get back to Oregon.
I like working with talented kids. No sooner had they given out medals at the District Golf Championship than I was driving our two top-seeded golfers, Matt Anderson and Robby Duffy, to Corvallis, Oregon — a three and a half hour trip — to compete in the State Band Championships with the GBHS Band. Matt is the main drummer and percussionist, and Robby is one of only three trumpets. We got into Corvallis about 9 pm (eating a drive-thru Chicken McNuggets and fries on the way), the boys had a quick night’s sleep, and in the morning they and the GBHS Band won fourth place in their Division of the State Championships with a wonderful musical performance that made GBHS a band power in the state for the third consecutive year. Gold Beach is a well-known football power, having won or competed for several state championships, but thanks to achievers like Matt and Robby we are now also known as a school with golf and band talent.
Gold Beach High School’s Matt Anderson is going to the State Golf Championships. He placed fourth overall in the second day of the District tournament, earning him two medals, one for winning a spot on the All District Team and another for earning one of the three spots available for individual players to go to State. He was the only member of GBHS to qualify. Matt shot an 83, while Robby Duffy was second on the team with a 92.
Rogue River and St.Mary’s took the top two team spots in the six-team tournament, earning the right to compete at State as teams. Gold Beach came in fourth.
I travelled with the Gold Beach High School varsity golf team to our District Championship yesterday. It’s a two-day tournament in Klamath Falls, Oregon, the first day today at Running Y and the second day at Harbor Links. It was cold when we started, then began snowing as my son, Robby, was on the green at Hole No. 8. After a couple of delays, they finally cancelled the first day. Tomorrow it is forecast to warm-up into the 50s.
Today’s scores won’t count as most of the players finished less than half the course. Our school was not expected to do well enough to make it from District to the State Championship, but now with District cut down to a one-day event, I think anything can happen. We only have to play well for 18 holes.
Yahoo! I got my US Open tickets today for Pebble Beach, June 14-20, on the Monterey Peninsula south of San Francisco. Trouble is, I ordered too many of them. I got 3 adult sets and six junior sets. (Each set includes eight days — four days of the Open, a day for a potential playoff, and three days of warm-up so you can watch the players practice and get autographs). What to do! I like problems like this.