RUB OF THE GREEN by RONNIE TUMLIN Email: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 904-501-1010
The Mountain National Team Championship to be held June 15,16,17 at Mountain Glen Golf in Newland North Carolina regrettably has been canceled for obvious reasons. The club invites all to come play this summer, we are public and should be in great shape. The course opened April 1 and will be open until the last Sunday in October. You will find cool and downright nice temps all summer long......Below are winners of our recent Florida Senior Azalea
THE CHAMPS FOR 2020 Click photos above to blow them up to full size
Left to right, Randy Haag sr champ, David Anthony ssr champ, Berger Warner legends champ, Charlie Busbee super legends champ
The 2020 Florida Sr Azalea is in the books and what a contest it was. Only one defending 2019 champ prevailed and that was the great Charlie Busbee from Georgia who birdied the last hole to best Earl Danielle from Tallahassee by a shot! David Anthony won on the first hole in a playoff with Bill Baxter in the ssr.
In the senior division defending and 3 time champ Doug Hanzel could not best a first timer, Randy Haag from the San Francisco area. Haag opened with a 65 on friendly Friday when we set the course up short and every pin on the course dead center. Sucker Saturday saw scores soar.....still perfect weather in the high 70s, golf in superb condition from tee to green to cup. Haag had the low round 68 to widen his lead to 7 strokes over the defending champ. We were told Haag had 12 one putts and a chip in! I was unable to play so some of us went out to watch a few holes on Semi Sunday. Six tough pins, six easy, six so so. Haag made a nice par putt on the first hole. On the second he hit a big drive and had a lofted wedge to the hole cut left center. Now every body knows....anything landing left of the pin is gone....and gone it was off the green down the hill into the trash. Most good players would take bogey and run. Not Randy Haag, he continued his wizardry by holing the impossible shot. A three whack by Doug and the lead was now out of hand. On the third, a nasty little par 3 this day, Haag yanked a wedge dead left and long into the rear bunk. Pin was downhill about 50 feet away....OB beyond that if the ball gets away. Take a bogey and run right? Wrong....Randy caught the ball a tiny bit thin and it was gone.....until......it hit the pin and dove in the hole on the fly. Game, set, match right? Nope. Dr Doug birdied the next three holes, then sunk a gasser from well off the green on 9. By 12 the lead was down to 3 and anything can happen. And it did, Doug whacked his the ball dead right on 13 and Randy got some breathing room and prevailed. What a match! Randy Haag did not break the scoring record but he won in fine fashion even with a short game that befuddled Dr Doug who is one of the best with a flat stick there is.
In the SSR division, the great David Anthony of Jacksonville just turned 65 and was able to prevail in a playoff with Bill Baxter of Jupiter. Baxter shot 68 on Sucker Saturday and that my friends was good, real good. Anthony is now the only man ever to win the regular Azalea, the Azalea Sr division and the SSR division. He has been "the man" a long time in Florida and shows no indication of being anything less. Both men shot even par.
The Legends this year had over 30 players from all over the country and the legend himself Berger Warner from Ocala was three under par and conducted a clinic on course management. The leader group Sunday featured Jim Carley former FLA STATE SR CHAMP, Kim Schwencke of Tampa who has a trophy room bigger than most living rooms, and John Darr a former SSR champ, all American at UF, winner of many senior titles the past 18 years. I saw Berger drain his first putt of the tournament from 40 feet on Friday and he never looked back.....on Sunday he laid up on all the par 5 holes and kept parring the golf course to death. 70.... even par. The other guys made runs for short periods but Berger's monotous course management prevailed as it has hundreds of times for him over the past 50 plus years.....he has won them all.
Super Legends this year had 14 players the most yet and yet again, Charlie Busbee prevailed with a birdie on the last hole to best Earl Daniell from Tallahassee with a total of 207 besting his own record by two. Charlie....you da best
The 2020 Sr Azalea was a huge success by any measure and we look forward to 2021. I am sad to report our dear friend Marty Carmody from Chicago played through a couple of days after the tournament. He was one of our committeemen who recruited great players from all over the mid west in the early days of the Azalea. Marty had struggled with cancer the past 5 years and put up a heroic fight with setback after setback. I talked to him two weeks ago and he said he wished he could be here again. I got choked up talking to him and have a tear in my eye right now despite the fact I knew the end was near. I am quite sure he is playing the Lord's finest today and swinging like he was 20 again when he played at Jacksonville University 50 years ago. Marty.....you're up. RT
above 2017 Champ Rob Hess hands Don Marsh the Hardware, 2018 SSr Champ Pete McDade, friends John Benson, Bobby Weed, Marion Moore and RT fish is a trophy Althea Howe caught while we were playing one day her guide was national champ Wayne Black of Palatka, Wayne said she caught more than 6 fish over 8 pounds!
FORMER FLORIDA SR AZALEA CHAMPIONS and scores
2009 Sr Champion Bill Zylstra , Michigan (141) SSR Boyd Johnson , Georgia (144)
2010 Sr Champion Rick Woulfe , Ft Lauderdale, Fl (211 won in playoff over David Brookreson ) SSR Boyd Johnson, Georgia (143)
2011 Sr Champion Chip Lutz, Pennsylvania (208 ) SSR Gary Shimmin, South Carolina (143)
2012 Sr Champion Chip Lutz, Pennsylvania (208) SSR Jim Carley, Ormond Beach, Fla (141 won in five man playoff)
2013 Sr Champion David Anthony, Jacksonville Fl (209) SSR John Darr, Gainesville, Fl (206 )
2014 Sr Champion Ronnie Tumlin, Crescent Beach Fl (208 won in playoff over Doug LaCrosse) SSR Ted Smith Indiana (211)
2015 Sr Champion Doug Hanzel, Georgia (208) SSR Berger Warner Ocala, Fl (211) Legends Brian Sachs Gainesville, Fl (213)
2016 Sr Champion Doug Hanzel, Savanna Ga (209) SSR Rob Hess, Casselberry Fl (211) Legends Jim Carley Ormond Bch, Fl (212)
2017 Sr Champion Doug Hanzel, Georgia (201) SSR Rob Hess, Casselberry Fl (212) Legends Brian Sachs, Gainesville, Fl (212)
2018 Sr Champion David Anthony Jax Fla (203) SSR Pete McDade , Lakeland Fl (212) Legends Don Marsh Johns Creek, GA (209)
2019 Sr Champion Doug Hanzel, Savannah Ga ( 213) SSR Rick Woulfe, Ft Lauderdale (213) Legends Don Marsh, Johns Creek, Ga (214)
2019 Super Legends Champion, Charlie Busbee of Georgia with scores of 73,73,73 a very very good performance
2020 Sr Champion Randy Haag (203) SSR Champion David Anthony (210) playoff over Bill Baxter(210) Leg Champion Berger Warner (207)
2020 Super Legends Champion Charlie Busbee (217)
March 26, 2020 I told my brother just a couple of days ago, if we go into a nation wide shutdown food could become scarce as toilet paper and fuel might get tight too.....Palatka has a GP paper mill and we make toilet paper, the mill is running at 100% 24/7 Palatka is well stocked. However we do not have a refinery......and just like that I am hearing about gas stations with no gas.....not many but spotty areas.....if we get a shut down nation wide who's gonna run the refineries, I am told in south Florida there are zero canned foods in the stores only perishables and people are standing in line to get in grocery stores. My brother has a place down there and he says it is downright scary. Fuel prices down here are 50 cents a gallon higher. He is coming back up here soon as he gets his house in order and his boat dry docked. He lives on lake in the woods in north Florida.....a great hideout....and his freezer is full of fish and game he has acquired over the past year or so.
The Palatka Golf Course is under siege.....the city wants it closed.....but Andy is resisting....the clubhouse is closed but we gotta maintain it and with zero play we can't afford to maintain it. That said, if we are forced to close the course, who is going to pay what it will take to fix everything after a couple of months with zero maintenance? There will be trees in the fairways.......I have been sequestered now for 6 plus weeks, I'm walking again and am headed to the course to chip n putt a little and see if I can stand up without falling down.....Dr cleared me, but I'm gonna wait to take a cut at it for at least another week or two.
I am dead sick of watching old cowboy movies....there are no sports except old replays that are boring anyway.....if sports replays were any good nobody would go to a game, we can just watch the replay next week or two....wouldn't matter if we knew the final score.....sports replays are boring except for the really old golf matches and Golf Chanel hasn't shown any of those to my knowledge. I will watch Jack hitting a 7 iron from 145 and he crowd going nuts cause he hit it 20 feet.....that was a good shot back then with the equipment of the day and those egg shaped Macgregor balls he played.
Politics: can you believe the crazy democrats and their pork they tagged onto the relief bill? Yes, I believe it.....crazy people do crazy things thats why we call'em crazy......one person asked me why does the administration want to give businesses the money to pay employees who can't come to work? The way I see it....simple.....if you keep them on the payroll they will come back to work...hopefully, and small companies won't be beating bushes for help when this thing clears.....if you put them on unlimited unemployment they'll collect from now on and the hell with work......and.....and....we spent just as much money so lets try keeping people on the payrolls and see what happens. RT
March 22, 2020 I have stayed home since the senior a week ago, my wife has some health issues and so do I so we are watching TV sleeping as much as possible, and just hanging out. If I was totally mobil , I'd be going nuts. Just a home body type and neither are my golfin buddies around the country. A lot of you are playing, I suppose the golf course is safe as it gets so long as you ride by yourself, do't handle pins, don't go in the clubhouse, etc. I guess we shall eat everything in the freezer and fridge over the next week or two, after that only time knows whats gonna happen.
The Florida Azalea Amateur just finished up, and a young lad from Tennessee shot 7 under for the three days to win and best a field of over 100 college players from all over the country. The international players did not show up for obvious reasons. There were two Florida players in the top ten. Scores are available on the Palatka Golf Club website. A couple of our senior players hung around for the tournament and played against the kids, Marcus Beck from Tallahassee made the cut and finished at 223 thirteen over par. Not bad for 56 yrs old. Marcus played at FSU what seems like light years ago.
Politically, I just thought I was tired of Trump TV, now I am sick of Virus TV......I don't think a news story would be on if the Russians invaded Alaska!!!! You guys gotta be getting tired too if you are some of the cooped up.....I am getting emails with funny pics and stories from everywhere......even got one today accusing UNC lab of concocting the "super virus" under a grant from Chinese govt and the Chinamen took the virus home to study how UNC did it and it got away from them......I really don't believe that's what happened, but but.....who really knows????/ If that's true, somebody at UNC will sing.....only time knows. I do believe the Chinese military was fiddling with bio warfare agents and this virus got away from them, I do believe that happened somehow.
I see on virus TV the left is all blaming Trump on shortages of gowns, masks, ventilators and the such and the hospitals will be over run with patients in short order. How can those idiots blame Trump for not having stockpiles of this stuff to outfit hundreds of millions of people in case of a emergency???? How about the last 5 presidents? How about the last 100 years of presidents and congressmen and senators???? Oh, we have seen and will see Monday quarterbacks constantly harping "they" saw this coming and warned Trump....did they to warn Obama or Bush? Why didn't they build themselves a bunker in the back yard with 2 years worth of canned food????
I do have a problem with all our medications being made in China....I have been harping for years all our vitamins and supplements are obviously made in China and I don't trust the ingredients.....look at any bottle in the house you have and it will say "distributed by so and so in the USA" but nowhere will it say where its made......if it don't say its "made in America" it ain't. Think I'm crazy? Go find a bottle on the shelf that says "made in America" you can't buy a vitamin supplement that says that, nowhere no way no how. I have searched and searched the past few years. Hell, even OREOS are made in MEXICO.... If I was king I would require every product in America to be labeled where it is made....food, medicine, golf balls, you name it....everything should be labeled so we would know. Where are band aids made? Who makes your tooth paste? Could it be spiked with some crazy bacteria or virus?.....If China wanted to destroy the U.S. all they would have to do is lace our consumables they make and we are all dead in short order......they don't need to fire a shot. IF every product was labeled where it is made, I suspect there would be a revolt against Chinese consumables nation wide....no matter the cost differences. Would I put it past the Chinamen in charge to release this virus within its own borders so to semi destroy the world economy and bring the U.S. to its knees? Nope, crazy people do crazy things......Trump has crippled their economy the past couple of years so who knows????? I guess the lefties could use that approach.....whatever it takes to beat Trump in Nov they will do, even if it takes killing tens of thousands......and that my friends is my opinion. I do stress we should insist to our idiot legislators that all products be labeled where they are made.....how you gonna feel when your Z pack next week says "made in China"???? I suspect there would be an uproar.....China might just choke off our supplies of medications for everything.....they can do that if they want to. Are our drug companies to blame? Yes and no. Yes cause they can get them made el cheapo.....make better margins......no, because the American consumer wants cheap products no matter where they are made.....
Lemme telly another short story....last year my wife and I wanted new fake wood flooring in the house....we bought Armstrong and had it installed.....it was awful....streaks of haze discoloration, it just wasn't right. The retailer came and looked and agreed, then the factory guy showed up a week later.....you could literally rub the finish off with your finger.....I showed him....he was astonished.....then he started fussing the damned factory screwed up something.....I said where is it? North Carolina? He said......you guessed it.......I said is any Armstrong flooring product like this made in America? nope. I screwed up, I should have asked where it was made from the get go.....we figured since it wasn't cheap it was American probably made in Dalton Ga or somewhere like that......Just another case my friends.....if it doesn't say "Made in America" it ain't RT
March 12, 2020 The Florida Azalea tees off tomorrow at 12:30. We have the strongest field ever in my opinion. We have guys from coast to coast in both Canada and the U.S. We had a couple of guys pull out because of the virus scare but 95% of the field said they wanted to play so we shall play no hard feelings and we shall refund partial entry fee to those concerned about the virus. I can say that most of the guys coming from far off who flew have been here a week or more. I have told everybody if you even think you are feeling bad withdraw right now. We will hold player meetings outside on the putting green. We are discouraging guys shaking hands, holding pins or gathering in the clubhouse and most I met today are hands off and thats fine, we all want to be safe till this virus thing shakes out.
Pro tour: So far this year it has been in a word, boring. Robots playing for millions. Only a couple of players are fun to watch when playing well...my favorite is Rickie....he is not a character like Fuzzy or smiley like Jordan....wow, I miss Jordan being in the hunt....the poor kid just fell off he end of the world. I told everybody when I read a couple of years ago he was working on hitting a draw during the off season so he could hit it farther was a huge mistake.....guess what.......Its no fun watching th new guys now.....robots with clubs, hell they don't even crack a smile when they make a 40 footer. Commonnnn mannnn have a little fun playing. Now the TPC will go on without fans.....wow, has the media scared hell out of the country or what?????? 17 will be dull the final round without fans but hey, do whatcha gotta do.
ok, okayyyyyy.....a lot of guys want me to comment on politics of late. I am disappointed Bernie appears to be a victim of the swamp....I really felt Trump would wax Bernie rather easily.....Joe, I am not so sure. Yeah, Joe is likable but I really think I do not want him pulling the strings....and his people he has said he wants in the cabinet if elected are downright stupid and scary.....no, lemme say dumb and scary. there is a big difference between stupid and dumb. Dumb is not knowing any better....stupid is knowing better and doing it anyway. Yes, I have done some stupid things in my life. The biggest scare for me is the down ballot.....if Joe gets elected, theres a good chance Nancy and Chuck will be in charge of the House and Senate and if that don't scare you, you are dumb. I can put up with one party in charge of one chamber an another on the other.....but not one party in charge of both. Stock market? I am holding, most of my friends are doing the same. We think the market will come back when this virus thing lifts. RT
Jan 6, 2020 A new decade and I'm still here running off at the key board....Remember when you were a young ladd, and 1984 seemed like some twi light zone saga farrr into the future? 2001 Space Odyssey was so far fetched nobody could believe it? Today both tales are ho hum and came to pass a good while ago and during our lifetime. Big Brother is a fact today. I seriously wonder how these writers come up with this stuff? Bones had some gadget he waived around over Kirk's chest and it told him exactly what was damaged and what he had to fix .....we said hah! Today.....common every day stuff.....Kirk's stun gun when he took the transporter to some ungodly landing......today? I suspect the cops would have laser zappers that would burn a hole right through the bad guy but nobody has the guts to turn somebody loose with one of those but they do have stun guns called tasers......right out of Star Trek huh?
I think I could write a good story about a guy who happened upon a ufo landing, made friends with the crew and flew off into the galaxy to see wonders we can only imagine then return 20 years later with information about wonders that nobody would believe......he would be able to sit down and design a fusion engine that would propel a space craft far beyond the speed of light....he would describe other civilizations far more advanced, civilizations still in the stone age.....how much fun would it be to go visit the galaxy and watch what was going on like a bug on the wall....if we don't blow ourselves up and if the hoards don't eat us out of house and home and the fanatics don't take over, it will happen in centuries to come......I truly believe we could have been out of our solar system by now had we worked as hard as we did to get to the moon.....I think welfare literally ate the space program butttttt, welll I'll leave that one alone.....think about it, we went from plastic pump up toy rockets full of water to the moon in a decade!..you and I saw us go from prop air liners and fighters to huge Jetliners and jet fighters from 400 mph slugs back in the 50s to supersonic nearly invisible.......you know, who knows???? Maybe some guy did take that ride and is out at area 51 slowly showing our guys how to do this stuff.....sounds crazy but we saw Dick Tracy talking to his watch and thought....no way.....Captain Midnight talked to a TV screen with somebody on the other end in the mid 50s, Maxwell Smart talked to his shoe!.....total scifi.....today, it is common as ice cream cones in summer.....we think nothing of it. Well, maybe not the shoe but they could make one if they wanted to....Musk was crazy enough to believe he could shoot off a rocket into orbit and land the booster softly onto a barge out in the middle of the ocean.....now that was crazy.....he did it.....Here's one for you......how about when you bought a new car in the 60s and 70s you better trade it before it hit 50,000 miles cause it would fall apart.....today, 150,000 is common before stuff starts happening. My 1970 SS Chevelle was hot in its day......huge engine.....smoke the tires hitting all four gears....today my Suburban has more horsepower and gets well over 20 mpg.....my SS got 13 on a good day. If you had a good radio back in the day you could pick up WLS Chicago or WBT Charlotte at night and hear the Mister Norm ads for hot rods.....WOWO in Fort Wayne......I knew the night guy on the New Orleans flame thrower at night but I can't remember the calls....his name was Jessie....yes, he was from Palatka of all places. Can I rattle or what? Today, we can watch live TV in the car, pick up a hundred stations on satellite, run a computer from the car...see traffic jams before we get to them.....kids can watch movies in the back seat......what would have been a wonder back when is common today.....hell, I remember 8 track tapes and the player eating the tape and throwing the whole thing out the window of my hot rod....today its all on a little disc and the players don't eat.
How about your golf clubs.....I grew up whacking my grandfathers hickory shaft clubs around.....the two or three he let me use.....I remember the steel shafts they painted yellow to look like wood.....then Dynamic stiff....hozels you drilled out stuck the shaft in there after putting a blow torch to the hozel to make it expand and when it cooled off drilling a hole through the hozel hole through the shaft then putting in a nail and filing off the rough edges....go find an old tennis racket and take the leather wrap off and making your own grip......a Bulls Eye putter with a shaft that looked more like a frozen snake....golf balls with rubber bands hanging out of them.....today? A kid couldn't be caught with so much as a scuff on a ball.....Gets a new set every year....has a coach, caddy, strength coach and guru.....no wonder they score so well compared to olden days.... YOU would have too most likely if you didn't get burned out like so many kids I see today who were pushed so hard they quit soon as they got out of sight of mom and dad who wanted to raise the next Tiger.
Okay, I'll quit.....I wish the best and prayers to my friends Marty, Bob and Rob who are fighting the good fight right now.....I have lost many friends the last few years and I don't feel so good myself.....but let's continue as long as we can and may we all fight the good fight. My great friend Douglas Miller who was a life long golfin buddy we lost over a year ago.....fought cancer for 17 years.....he played through it all.....chemo, experimental pills, surgeries on his kidneys, liver, pancreas, lung, brain.....as soon as he could walk he would start playing again.....he fought the good fight.....he told me if you get sick and quit playing you will die like Harold did.....I'm gonna keep playing like Douglas did.....Happy New year and may we all see 2021....we can take that space ride later we have an eternity to do it. RT
Dec 18, 2019 This should be my last post of the year. I hope all you guys had a great financial year like I did and almost everybody I know did. Are you tired of winning yet? Trump told us we would get tired of winning....golf players never get tired of winning whether its at business or on the course. Apparently our defending senior champ Doug Hanzel doesn't get tired of winning, every time I read final results in something from Timbuktu, Doug pulls it out down the stretch and he was early to enter this year so it appears nobody can stop him.....only the great David Anthony from Jacksonville broke Doug's string back in 2018. This year, David will terrorize the SSR and I am installing David as a 2-1 favorite in SSR.
Legends division is up in the air....we have more entries than ever in Legends. I find that as we all are fortunate to get older, some guys who were dominant in their younger years, become irrelevant in their later years.....and guys who were no factor as mid-ams, even as seniors, seem to come out of nowhere and become a real force in 70 plus golf. Why???? I think there are several reasons why my game is irrelevant in competition these days and I take this opinion from my own situation and several friends who have shared results. 1. We do not practice like we used to....I just don't have the gumption to get out there and beat balls, hell I don't even like to go out on the putting green much these days. 2. We don't play as often as we used to.....from the time I can remember back when I was very young I played 5,6,7 days a week. Now? 50 rounds a year at best. 3. Lack of concentration and this comes as a result of not practicing and not playing regularly. 4. The ailments take their toll.....golfin will tear up your back, neck, shoulders, knees, hips.....any jackass who thinks golfin is a sissy game I urge them to try it.....it ain't for softies. Most of us played multiple sports, I dislocated my shoulder playing sand lot football, ruined my thumbs and ankle playing baseball, tore up my right knee snow skiing.....I am sure many of you have similar stories in life ....most really good golfers were good athletes in school.....I was mvp in little league, threw many no hitters, one perfect game and led the league in hitting with a .526 average, I played quarterback and full back, point guard, short stop when not pitching, rolled a 640 series in college at PE, made all stars in every organized sport I played till I was 15.....so why did I gravitate towards golf? Two kids I grew up with played big time college football....one was MVP in the cotton bowl, yeah Carl Johnson played for Tennessee and he grew up in my Palatka neighborhood. Charley Hood played at Florida. Today, both say they wished they had gone with me to the course instead of high school football and baseball. I quit team sports by the 10th grade because it drove me crazy when team members made dumb mistakes that cost us the game.....I decided if I was going to lose it would be my fault and nobody else's. Golf answers that bell. 5. Many guy's games evolve over time ... The great Chip Lutz told me he wasn't good enough to play on the team at Florida.....Today he can wax every player on the starting team when he was in college....what happened? Chip went to work after school, played a little for years, did not tear himself up practicing and playing for 45 years or so...by the time he was 55 I think Chip was financially strong enough he could start playing big time.....the first two times he came to Palatka he did not win, wasn't even close the first year.....within a couple of years, Chip became the top senior in the world winning the U.S., Canadian and British senior ams plus countless other championships including two Azaleas. I can't think of anybody else that dominant in Sr amateur golfin who was a dominant force in amateur and mid am golfin. I think they all burned out and tore themselves up to boot. Oh, many are still great players but none can match Chip's record.
Another great senior player who is a close friend, Dr. Rob Hess dominated SSR golf the past few years.....he always played but not seriously till his 50s....his body was in great shape.....he semi retired and became a great player on the national competitive scene but he never came into full bloom till he turned 65 and he was "the man" through today. Rob entered this year but will not be with us due to some neck surgery that will take a while to recover from. We all wish him the best. If anybody can bounce back, he will. Merry Christmas! ( if that offends you, go play the Schiff Shootout don't bother playing here)
Which reminds me....somebody asked me the other day if California will ever turn red? I said hell no, the conservatives are leaving in droves only the nut cakes are left for the most part it shall become so dark blue California will end up blue black RT
Nov 22, 2019.....entries to the Fla Sr Azalea flooded in and we are close to full, the Moutain Men still have a week to enter and then we will start putting in guys curse ntly on the wait list. The golf course will be in superb shape this year, the overseed has popped and we are now mowing the greens, fairways and tees. Weather has been cool the past few weeks so the blend got a great start. I can't promise the tournament will be the best ever cause its hard to improve "best" but we will be as good as the best which we are. Every time another tournament copies what we have been doing we will be somewhere else so goes our evolution.
commentary: Is anybody paying much attention to the "new season" on the PGA Tour? This is supposed to be the silly season. Its football season and basketball is starting, I just can't get fired up about tour golfin right now. AND Trump TV is still interesting to a degree, its good entertainment watching Trump drive the lefties nuts. No. Trump does not do everything "perfect" he is his own worst enemy but he does enough good stuff to keep me on his side, its just too bad he can't resist making crazy statements and attacks on people when silence would do much better. I talked to an old friend of mine yesterday who is deep inside the RNC who is from Palatka by the way. He told me what Trump has said so bluntly and distastefully about the Bush family, Clintons and Obama is all mostly right politically speaking, but my friend wishes Trump could just keep quiet about them individually and do what he is doing without the disparaging remarks especially the Bush people who my friend knows very very well, and he said the Bush family are the nicest and finest political people he has ever known.....I don't know them personally, but I think he is right. My only criticism of Trump is his criticism of others publicly. If he quit doing that he would win in a landslide.....that said, my friend said "we think we can win again but its not gonna be easy this time cause the dems now know how we did it last time and they are fixing the mistakes"
My friends, we shall see. RT
October 1, 2019....well boys and girls, the season is winding down in the mountains, the Palatka Golf course is winding up with the great Bobby Weed coming in next week to start tweaking what has become the hardest hole on the golf course....number 2. The plan right now is to fill the pothole in front of the green. Dig a new half moon bunk around the back of the green and extend the front of the green 6-8 feet down the fairway, sprinklers permitting. Forty years ago I had a hand in digging the bunk infront of the green.....but......forty years of guys whacking sand up on the green created a hump that shoots a ball landing over the bunk over the green....land left and left she goes same for the right side.....so we gotta fix it and have decided to cover the bunk or at least fill it back to green level....right now it is head deep to a tall indian and just too hard. 40 years ago I hit wedge in there and thought it was too easy now my six iron will not hold the green at all. Hopefully it will all work out for the best.
I still say the leave the pin in rule is the second dumbest the USGA has done....it has slowed play considerably. One guy wants it in, the next out.....I hate a pin in the hole when putting. It does not help a good putt can only hurt, the pin saves very few bad putts if any. AND guys reaching into the hole to get the ball out with the pin in, booger up the cup lip left and right.
We skimmed 20 bucks a man off the 2019 entries to do a little tee work, I hope everybody approves.....here is what we did with the money: We built new tees from scratch on number 2 about 20 yards in front of the white tee for seniors. We built a new tee on 3 about half way down the hill for seniors.....the hole now plays about 130 yards but is extremely up hill.....you can only see half the pole from this tee but I find it a very interesting shot. The older seniors love it hitting 7-9 irons instead of 3 wood and driver from the white tees. It is still not a gimme par from the new tee. I see lots of guys whistle it over the green into a nasty bunk.
Andy and Dave then built us a new tee on 4 about 1/3 of the way up the hill from the whites.....this makes for a par 5 for most seniors that will play driver, three wood and 8-pw to the tiny toad stool Ross green. It is still hard but at least the old guys have a chance....from the whites the old bucks are hitting too long a third shot to get it on the green with any consistency.
I had just enough cash left to build a sorely needed tee on 15 about 15 yards in front of the whites...for old farts....now the average senior can get the ball far enough down the left side to have a clear shot at the green around the tree on the right side and its a real tee instead of a spot mowed out of the fairway. Everybody loves this one, especially meeeee. We built all these out of the right kind of sand, shaped them so a mower can get up on them and then sodded..... they are completely grown in now and can take a beating.
People ask me all the time.....including the Florida State Golf Association.....why does this little course play so long but measures so short.....I think its because when built there was no sprinkler system....we have one now.....it was all hard pan and the ball rolled a mile....today we have great fairway grass and a real sprinkler system, very little roll at all.....the par 5 holes are not easy unless you kill the tee ball and then only 5 is easy if the killer gets it in play. the par 3 holes ever since I started playing competitively in high school have been my key to the course.....all 5 par 3 holes are down right hard to par. Only two of the three are flat the others are steep hills to overcome. Next case your honor.
Today we had a high school girls district conference championship and 10 teams participated. When I left a 74 was on the board.....pretty good. We also landed the boys championship next week, the FSGA junior championship in January. We also got a Jacksonville junior of sorts, and more are to come. They all say its hard to find a course in good shape that welcomes them. In Palatka we encourage young people to play and welcome them all.
I'm headed back to the mountains tomorrow where my buddies up there tell me its still in the low 70s and perfect. I'll be back in a couple of weeks so entries to the Sr Azalea are officially open!!!! RT
July 5th......all is well in the mountains right now at noon it is 72 and partly cloudy the golf course is perfect and loaded with folks from Charlotte, Atlanta and scattered throughout the southeast trying to escape the heat. The golf course is perfect, the greens are running about 10.5-11.....fairways and perfect, weather is greatttttt! Come see us and play a couple of days mannnnn everything is great in these here hills this time of year. RT
June 24, 2019.....I have told many of you about my experiences in the NC mountains playing with the locals, it is a blast. These local guys are just like the Palatka brethren, they kick one leg up and hit it as hard as they can and there are plenty of guys at Mountain Glen who fly it well over 300 just like in Palatka. But heroes a new I heard yesterday. I was in the daily noon game they call Dogfight....everybody throws in 11 bucks and the shop draws teams while we are playing we just pick up with friends or whoever to play the round. Yesterday I was with Nick and Ed from Vero Bch and southern SC respectively. Both pretty good players probably about 8-10 handicap about like me. And Samson, a local cat who is rather quiet and dryly spoken. Okay, here we go....on the third hole Nick whacks one out in the left rough and nails a hybrid right through a tree and "crack!" Nick looked at us and said.....I've always been told trees are 99% air......everybody chuckled a bit and ole Samson just sat there and muttered slowly in that mountain drawl......."so are screen doors"
It seems like I hear a new one every week and that's one to remember next time somebody claims trees are mostly air. RT
June 20, 2019.....The U.S. Open is history and yet again, there is a Palatka connection. Gary Woodland's first caddy on tour is from Palatka. I'll never forget Brent telling me "this kid can hit it a mile but after two years I haven't been able to throttle him back and learn how to score" Brent changed horses saying he couldn't afford to caddy for Woodland anymore despite the fact he believed Woodland would eventually learn how to "play" Of course being from Palatka our guys on tour lived on a shoestring, it was tough mking a living till you got a horse....Brent caddied many years for Justin Leonard and now has a guy who is barely staying on tour but it is hard to get a new horse these days everybody wants to be a tour caddy and new players often have a friend from school like Jordan has.
Regarding the new rule allowing pin to stay in he hole when putting: I don't like it......in tournaments. I have seen some great shots get spit out that would easily have dropped....some lousy shots drop that should have gone wayyyy past.....but my biggest beef is people putting with pin in the hole, leave the pin in while retrieving their ball.....they booger up the lips of the cup leaving it like a volcano! Recently at a tournament we kept noticing the white paint scattered all round the cup.....it wasn't a lousy paint job.....I told everybody it was white flakes pulled out of the lips of the cups by hands reaching in with the pins in. We al need to be more aware what is going on here.....my great partner Freddie actually had a putt on a very very fast line, roll up to the center of the hole, hesitate and roll dead sideways.....everybody in the group was astonished including meeeee. None of us had ever seen a ball do what that one did. Upon close inspection of the cup here was literally a tiny lip raised up around the edges where guys hands had pulled up the dirt in the cup.....a ball moving along pretty good is not affected but if it crawls up on a 14 putt, it just bumps that rim and dribbles sideways. Nuff said RT
June something 2019....entries to the Mountain Man are coming along nicely we have nearly 100% of those who played last year returning and that tells you everything you need to know. I am at Mountain Glen right now, and the golf course is the best shape ever. The super took a big job at nearby Linville Ridge.....congratulations to him. Here is he rest of the story. Our pro Sam Foster has been wanting to retire the last several years and said this will definitely be his last year in the shop. That said, Sam loves to cut grass.....he could be seen on some days in the afternoons on a mower in various places on the course. Reminds me of the great John Benson who would rather cut grass than sink a birdie. Anyway, Sam slowly but surely has taken over as interim superintendant. Sam has been a caddy, has worked at Augusta National, played the tour several years and has been around golf for over 65 years. He is doing an absolutely great job. He loves what he is doing and is doing it well. He has lowered the height of the roughs and fairways and ...... and .......the greens. The course is playing absolutely perfect. I have always maintained get me a super who is a good player and the course will be trimmed like good players want it. Our former super did a great job (or Linville Ridge would not have hired him) but Sam has taken it to a new level. Sam has no formal training on course maintenance, but six decades of being on the course is the best school there is. We all hope Sam will hang around to cut grass a few more years!
Now, about Palatka goings on. The course this past winter and spring was its best ever.....yes, our super is a good player. This summer we are embarking on a couple of projects I have pushed for the past two years. We have the pieces in place right now....we got the sand, we got the dirt, we scratched around and got the money for sod. We are going to build a handfull of NEW "senior" tees on various holes. Mostly on the front side.....number 2, 3, 4, 8, 9. On the backside number 15. I kept harping the old guys needed their own tee instead of putting them on the back of the ladies tees. I am assured we will get this done this summer. ALSO, the second green is in dire need of overhaul. We are going to wrap the left green side bunker around the back of the green to keep balls from running down the hill and onto the third tee. It will be shallow, just enough to catch a run away.....we are going to use what we dig out to fill the front trap and turn it into a "grass bunker" We will raise it so you are not chipping out of a pot hole. The second hole is hard enough. Score cards clearly showed the second hole the hardest par four on the course year after year and we hope this will help older players who can't fly a tall ball with a short iron onto the green. Yes, Andy and Bobby Weed and I all agree too many courses are built for young strong tour pros......Palatka is played by older players and needs to be built accordingly. Personally , I enjoy some of the gigantic tour courses and "Fazio ridiculous" greens, bunks, runoffs and crazy stuff from time to time but I do not want a steady diet of goofy golf. Gimme a fun course I can score on if I play well.....so many of these new "modern" courses do not reward a good shot from us older guys we are at the mercy of crazy pitches, mounds and ricochet rabbit balls that should have been good shots for us. I just got through playing two Fazio courses in a row in big tournaments....I hit the ball really good the first round on course one and scored really good...for me.... the next day I hit the ball just as well , putted just as well but the bounces I got on the greens were mostly bad or worse......I shot 8 strokes worse and played just as well. Tournament two, another Fazio, a best ball and my partner and I played well but could not score.....since I am 69.99 we had to play farther back and that was a hinderance but still when I hit a 4 hybrid sky high over a lake and land it 2 feet short of the hole only to see the ball go in a bunk unplayable back to the pin....comeon mannnnnn......yeah yeah I have been playing there for 15 years and shall return if I am alive and able I love the place and we have had great success in the past but either the course outgrew my game or my game shrunked. I suspect the latter. I just do not understand tournament directors putting pins in places where only a short iron will get anywhere near the hole. Okay, let's put a tour pro out there 200 yards and give him a 7 iron and try to keep it on a hard tongue with the pin just over water and a bunk behind the hole......he ain't gonna stop it either .... the ball has to be coming straight down like you dropped it from your knee. Otherwise you have to hit the ball 40 or 50 feet away from the pin and hope you can two putt......I do not see golfin like that being fun.....now if you put the tee up to where everybody in the field can lay up to the lake and everybody has a 100 yard shot to the hole, fine......I'll get off the stump now.
After eating crow when Tiger won the Masters I am back on burgers and fries after his PGA no factor performance. Hope to see ya soon. Remember this.....getting shorter off the tee only means you are getting older instead of dead. RT
April 30, 2019.....TOTALLY unrelated to golfin but related to us all: I was watching the Weather Channel this morning and all the hoopla about global warming and the crisis at hand.....they say you guys in Canada will be sweating in springs to come....us'ns in Fla and NC will be roasting in summers to come...glaciers are melting.....the crazy politicians in DC are hollering we "gotta do something nowwww!" So the Weather Channel is showing the alarm at glaciers melting in the Arctic, huge melts in the Antarctic.....alarming ice melt, islands appearing where it was thought we were only seeing glaciers......MY GOD!!!! But wait, there's more.....they had some archaeologists scratching around who found a Viking era knife over 1600 years old beneath a melted glacier......they found some Viking gloves when the ice melted where there had been nothing but ice and snow the past who knows how many hundred years....found Viking era clothes here and there.......did a light bulb go on?????? Nope......I am quite sure you are smart enough to figure out the Vikings were roaming around on dry land up there 1600 years ago.....I don't think they tunneled under the ice berg and deposited their clothes and tools. The weather was probably quite nice within or near the Arctic Circle at times. But like Big Jake told the Indian....."times change."
Ok so we are indeed going through a warming cycle worldwide.....can't these clowns accept the fact the earth cools and warms in cycles? Ain't a thing we can do about it. The sun will one day burn out.....ain't a thing we or those beyond us can or will be able to do about it. Is there a chance somebody somewhere in a galaxy far far away had to load up their star ships and take off across the universe with millions or billions of beings on board in search of a new planet somewhere with a stable star to settle on? If we fast forward a few hundred million and we had a trillion people to evacuate would we stop off at earth and say "hi guys we are moving in"???? They may do or have already done a fly by and said too many inhabitants lets look around have some fun and move on???? Is that at all possible? Could that possibly explain ufo stuff? Or perhaps the ufo stuff was simply scout ships? My father was a pilot, he swore up and down he saw cigar shaped ufo ships up close... he said he got a good look and they whisked away faster than he could have imagined. If our distant relatives into the future don't blow it all up they will face weather changes and they will face the sun cooling down or perhaps heating up too much.....hopefully they will be able to load up and look for another earth somewhere across the universe to move to....hard to grasp but the time will come for sure.......unless our scientists are totally crazy......way back in Columbus days, their scientists thought the earth was flat didn't they?....The Vikings already knew a lot better..Doc Beckett says: "I hope the Bible is right, cause I got a lot of questions." RT
Day after The Masters: I had crow for breakfast and lunch today.....probably eat the left overs tonight. Rarely....almost never ever is the one who knows all, sees all, make a mistake of this magnitude. I am not a big Tiger fan, I have heard too many first hand stories from locker room managers about him stiffing the staff, refusing to sign autographs, while demanding special services, stories about him demanding security and never once thanking or even acknowledging the law enforcement officers that provided such free of charge. I have heard these stories first hand. I heard first hand stories about the night his wife whacked him in the mouth with a 7 iron and for good reason apparently. I should hope none of it is true.....if any of it is....I hope this tiger changes his stripes. He seems more friendly on TV and more sociable like perhaps the chip on his shoulder is a little smaller.....i hope so for golfs sake. I still cringe when I think about his early commercials about there are some golf courses he is not allowed to play. Remember those? Hell, there are hundreds I am not allowed to play that he CAN play. I still take exception to that woe is me type hype in his early days. I hope all that is over.
I have said repeatedly no way in hell Tiger would ever come back after watching him with the chip yips, after watching him spray tee balls all over the lot...quitting in the middle of rounds claiming "injury"......after he gets arrested for DUI.....I said he would never ever be relevant again....I said way down below somewhere that Tiger may win a small tournament somewhere some time but no way in hell he could ever win a BIG tournament not to speak of a major. Ok....ok.....ok.....he did it....not in grand fashion but in clutch fashion.....it was like old times so to speak, everybody around Tiger folded like cheap lawn chairs.....to his credit I thought on 12 after the other guys dunked it he did what Jack always did.....he hit it for the middle of the green instead of going for the throat and the pin, if it pulls up short its in the bunk instead of the drink....I thought right then and there "he has a chance" I won many a tournament running away when everything was on.....but I also won many a tournament when "I did"t have my A game" and the other guys started making mistakes and I just kept hitting fairways and making middle of the green shots and made pars and watched them fold.....THAT is what Tiger did and I tip my hat to him......he played smart, he hit the shots and he prevailed while the others shot themselves in the foot coming down the stretch.....Thye old Tiger knew how to win and apparently the new one still does. I was dead wrong. I heretofore make no more predictions regarding Tiger. I do think this win is good for golf, very good for golf....we needed something like this real bad.
I do strongly disagree with Trump on this one though.....The Presidential Freedom Award? common mannnnnnnn.....that is an insult to all those who have gotten one in the past for service above and beyond, ....what has Tiger done outside golf? and that's all I have to say about that. A wise man once said nothing. RT
March 12, 2019 The Fla Sr Azalea is in the books and what a grand three days of weather....perfect all three days with light breezes, high temps around 82 each day. The golf course was absolutely perfect. Greens were perfect and rolling 10.5-11 each day. This allowed us to put pins where the seniors had never seen before. I used traditional pin sets we have used for decades in the Azalea Amateur being played this Fri-Sun. You may think the scores were higher than normal and they were......it was the greens. You could not bang a putt from 30 ft from anywhere on the green. If you were above the hole it could run away real easy. Players had to be careful. The first day the scores were best when we put pins dead center of all 18 greens on Friendly Friday.....then on Sucker Saturday we put pins in corners.....not unfair, you just had to think a little bit or you got bit.....and many players kept hitting at the pin instead of middle of the green and they got bit. Sunday we just reversed the Sat pins and scores came back down.....everybody learned. Yardage wise we played the seniors at 5750 yards, the supers at 5200 and the legends and super legends around 4800. Ask any player, the golf course was perfect and weather was perfect its just that old Donald R built golf courses for greens that r 85 yardsan 7 or 8 not 10-11 same for Tillie today we can get'ed as fast as we want so that is the only defense a course has. I was amused when I set the pin on the front of the par 3 third hole and placed the tees at the bottom of the hill at 85 yards.....you would think guys would have eaten the hole up.....wrong.....it ate many a good man's wedge shot. We gave away over 50 dozen balls in the "ball pool" fyi.
Our winners were the favorites of course, the guys who were "close" were very close. You can see all the scores on the Palatka Golf Course website I ain't got time to post'em all. I gotta go back to work. This tournament absorbs the golf shops total attention, the superintendent's total attention , my wife's total attention (she's the book keeper) and of course devours me for a month before tee time but that my friends is what it takes to have a great event on a great little course with great players from 18 different states. Many players came from more than a thousand miles away and some of the played very well. What I am most proud of is the condition of the course......I have been crashing Dave the super for two years.....this was his third tournament here.....he kept saying give me time......man, have I ever heard that before or what? Well, guess what......by his third senior the course was spectacular just as he said it would be and he did it without butchering the place at all.....it will be perfect for the Fla Azalea Amateur this week with young bucks from all over the world. We have had many of today's tour players come, many who play this week will be on TV in years to come. We have several USGA champions playing this week.
Since some old fart named Ronnie something still holds the all time scoring record for the three days coming up, I will be watching with great interest. 13 under par was shot with a persimmon driver, blades and a rubber band ball on burned out greens from a tough winter but Andy our pro and manager keeps laughing every year saying these kids hit the ball a mile but they don't know how to score.....we shall see.....one of these days some kid will kick one leg up and hit it a mile for three days and be able to wedge it close enough too break that 60 year old record......all records are made to be broken , I read that somewhere some time. Hope everybody will try to make it to the Mountain Man in Sept we will be playing a sat, sun and monday so ya'll come I guarantee a great time....guaranteed by RT.
Jan 18, 2019 As we get older and really think about it.....golf life is much like the tide I watch from my windows every day here at the beach. As a young boy playing baseball from the age of 9 I saw the tide coming in....by the time I was ten, I was pitching by eleven I was hitting clean up and by 12 I lead the league with a .526 average. I graduated to Babe Ruth baseball, all the while dabbling with competitive golf. At 13 in the "majors" I hit .389 the pitchers were all 14 or it 15. My tide was still rising but I found the players I competed with were bigger faster and stronger. I hit .411 my final year of organized ball, never threw a no hitter and never whacked one out of the park. That was when I decided to start playing more golf. Golfin was easy, the tide was still rising. I was life guard at the club pool and after I was relieved every day at 5 I would go out in my bathing suit, spikes no socks, t shirt and shoot 9 holes under par every single time. I would gamble with the men and win most all the time. Tide was definitely rising. By the time I was 16 I was rockin then a terrible accident took me out for several years. Slack tide. By the time I recovered completely I was 25. Oh, I played well through college but I could not beat Andy North.....I played Andy in matches and tournaments he beat me one or two shots every single time. I can thank him and Gary Koch for me not turning pro like many of my golfin buddies. My amateur career was fun, the tide started coming again and strong. I was king of the hill for ten years then another life altering injury skiing. All of a sudden the tide stopped and started to seep back out. My game went down hill in 5 year increments, I was never ever able to duplicate scores and shots I hit between 25 and 35. Your brain tells you how to do it but your body says no. I had some great moments but they were hard. I used to look forward to turning 55 and man was I wrong......won the first few tournaments but that tide kept going out. Barely won at 64 then another health issue and the tide was practically dead low. Such is life, and golfin I think. Everybody's high tide is different everybody's dead low is different. I guess if we knew when...... it would not be any fun. We can all look back and see that dead high tide now and hopefully smile and shake your head and say it was a good run. I have lost many friends the past few years, my hunting and fishing buddy (who never touched a golf club) Dr Terry Breakneck was stricken with cancer at age 65. The last day he hunted, a couple of us picked him up and put him on a cooler in a dove field with gun in hand, He told me as Doc Beckett and I were leaving..... "If I don't see you again, its been a great run" I never saw him alive again. In just a few days he was gone, he knew it was dead low tide. He accepted it after a really heroic fight to stay in the game. One of the toughest guys I ever knew and one of the most fun to be around. Us golfin guys in the senior divisions are watching the tide go out...... for some slowly for some quicker ..... at 69 1/2 I have been playing the legends tees just to see what I can do, especially since threatening par from the whities is out of the question .....I am not looking forward to 70 for my golfin. I will however remember Sir Winston.....no matter the pain, no matter the grief, no matter the doubles, no matter how long.....I shall never ever give up. My brain keeps telling me that 72 is possible tomorrow.......all the while we must remember it has indeed been a "good run" Nowhere on your birth certificate is there a warranty, our games have a shelf life just like we do. Make sure your good run keeps running as long as you can. RT
Dec 18, 2018 Most of you north of the line wonder what us crackers do this time of year.....its cold in Florida in December with temps in the 50s and 60s.....a lot of guys calling about the tournaments ask me how I'm playing? I reply "I ain't" Many of us don't play much more than you do in the winter unless you go to south Fla for the winter and golf all winter which it appears half our field does. Speaking of which, interest in the Azalea is creeping across the country it appears.....I have several new players from Oklahoma and Texas and a couple from Texas on the wait list. So, what do I do in the winter? FISH. One of my college buddies who is a great player has all but given up the game since he started shooting 80 regularly so he is now a fishing guide so to speak north of here at Fernandina Beach. That is north of Jacksonville about 30 miles just south of the Ga line. Anyway, Mitch told me the other day he was shooting 80 in the boat too.....he said it started on a Sunday when his power pole (thats a hydraulic electric operated pole that goes down into the water and sticks in the sand to hold the boat still instead of using an anchor)....his power pole on his new boat got stuck in the mud and the motor burned up. He had to go overboard with tools in hand and standing neck deep in 60 degree water he had to disassemble the whole thing to get free. End of that day trip. He says a day later he goes out and his satellite controlled electric motor thought it was headed south but was going north then quit......I told him the more gadgets you got the more trouble you get......then the next day to cap it off....he took an old friend fishing....Jimmy lost his balance and fell off the bow platform backwards.....cracked his head big time....ambulance to hospital....brain bleed.....doctors say he will be okay after a few days in ICU......damn, you didn't was so dangerous huh? I told Smith he best go home and get between the mattresses for a few weeks. Anyway my luck on the water this winter has been better.....if only I could make pars like I catch fish......I'll start golfing in late January when the fish move farther south.....I only hope I can make pars like I catch fish.....yeah yeah...birdies are out of the question these days. RT
This be a nice snook I caught a week ago way more fun than makin bogies
NOV 8, We are still getting entries and have a sizable wait list. Some of the guys on the wait list have played with us for many years and I am sorry as I can be. If you are on that list stay tuned, we always get withdrawals.
The election: It has taken the "experts" till now to realize what has been going on in Arizona and Texas. It has already occurred in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. California people fleeing high taxes and crazy government have moved into these states. People from the northeast fleeing from high taxes and crazy politicians have moved to these states. BUT one huge problem I have been preaching for years......these people bring their voting habits with them! 20 years ago, Cruz would have won in Texas in a mudslide......Arizona was solid red, now its pink.....Colorado is radical blue, Nevada is dark blue and New Mexico went over the wall a long time ago. AND what is going on in Montana? They too apparently are on the slide. The same thing has been happening in Florida. I didn't realize Florida was on the road to crazy political control until a few years ago, I sat like a fly on the wall in the Marsh Creek Country Club bar when a handfull of new members within the last few years got into it with a local guy who was born here. They were touting a 10% local sales tax increase and school tax increase ...... the local went nuts telling them those crazy commissioners will only piss the money away and its not needed. He cited the last sales tax increase which was supposed to only be "temporary" so they could pay for a new school.....it became PERMANENT......The new members were not deterred, several of them were retired from the educational field in the northeast. They could not understand why he was so against the school and sales tax. He asked them why they left up north and moved down here permanently? He said, and don't tell me its the weather......they said sheepishly high taxes on their homes and income taxes.......I came away from that argument saying to myself Florida is in trouble. And we are. The governors race was decided by a handfull of votes and the demorat was a self professed socialist wanting freebies for everybody everywhere ...... The senate race is being recounted right now and the demorat......has been there several terms and has always been a rubber stamp for dem leadership in the senate.....(yeah yeah I now how to spell democrat) I think conservative government in Florida is all but lost, I think Texas is on the brink as is Arizona which is still counting votes between a self professed ultra liberal demorat and a conservative military female vet...that about says it all. If Jesus came back and ran in Colorado, NM or Nevada he would lose he would have have to pass the collection plate to have a chance in Arizona. I think I'll just go get on my golf cart.....RT
NOV 5, 2018 The field is full and wait list has begun forming. Last year 8 guys got in off the wait list, in 2017 only two so we never know but if you live nearby and can get here quick I encourage you to send in your entry for the wait list. No check, no gettin on the list.
The golf course has been over seeded, we got good rain the next day and are expecting a superb covering since the bermuda has been in exceptional shape this fall. We have some new old mowers, even a new old collar mower so we will now have 3 cuts around the green. How bout that!!!???
Politics: Yes, I had a couple of guys tell me I shouldn't talk politics on the site.....I disagreed politely and there was no argument. As I have said in the past I have friends , good friends..... who are democrats and all their putts break left. That said I gotta say "TOLD YA SO!!!" I watch CNN and all the networks, I do so to see the other side despite the fact it is the dark side. I love politics and have written and broadcasted my opinions since I was in my twenties when I had my own radio station. Only Fox so far has reported one of the women who wrote to the panel "anonymously" that she was assaulted in the back seat of a car by Justice Kavanaugh when they were in high school..... has admitted she made the whole thing up. Apparently, the FBI or Justice Dept or somebody in law enforcement figured out who sent it in during the hearings and followed up. She got spooked and admitted she lied. Surprise, surprise. Not only was she lying they found out she was more than 20 years older than Kavanaugh, she is a political activist and left of left. Fox identified who she was. I forget now, but I guarantee you it will not get any print or airplay where you or anybody else can see it unless its Fox News. TOLD YA SO......Guarantee you some of the other accusers will admit lying if pressured by legal authorities, but you won't hear about it and if does make print it will be buried back in the the D section at the bottom in small print. RT
NOV 1, 2018 As of today we have 101 paid entries! The wait list starts at 105. The past few years we have averaged 10 guys dropping out for various reasons and we filled all vacant spots so we do welcome guys for the wait list. However, no check no wait list.
Not much going on in the golfin world right now except all the manufacturers are touting "longest irons ever" "longest driver ever built" and surely to come "longest ball" I see by the news, Titleist is releasing a new ball after the first of the year. I guess they want shops to dump the current balls so they don't get stuck with the old ones. Does anybody remember .... i want to guess about 12 maybe 15 years ago...Titleist came with a new ball and the previous ball was actually longer? I distinctly remember being at Atlanta National and the rep was giving away a doz new ones to everybody playing. I used the new balls on the front side of the practice round and kept coming up short.....i dug out my "old" ones for the back side and was pin high all of a sudden. I went back to the guy and said here take these 3 sleeves back and gimme the old ones......he quietly said "you're not the first one" I asked what was going on? He said he didn't know. I remember when the "Professional" came out and it was a dud. The so called new VX1 the past couple of years, I personally couldn't tell the difference from the previous VX1. So, what does give? I talk to guys all the time it doesn't seem to matter what driver they use from 5 years ago to now, everybody pretty much says they all go the same. I find that to be true for me too. So what gives? I think this is the deal from an unbiased perspective.......I think as senior golfers get older every year and lose swing speed every year to some degree, I think all the so called new technology only benefits really fast swing speeds.....as us old guys lose speed some will say without the new stuff you wouldn't hit it as far. Okay, tell ya what.....go fish out one of your older drivers from the closet. If shaft is interchangeable put your current shaft in the old head and see if there is a difference. I have done that, and I find there isn't a steps worth of difference. I will say some heads hit it straighter or have a bigger sweet spot than others but on solid hits I can't tell the difference.
As for balls, I still prefer the sound of a Titleist V1X coming off the face I like the feel of a Callaway softie (the X model) in colder weather, I prefer to putt the Callaway I swear they roll better I don't know why. I can't tell the difference in how far they go pretty much same same I guess thats because of my "terminal velocity swing speed". Bottom line is I still reach for the Titleist first but I will quickly switch if the ball is not going in the hole or if its cool, so I carry both in the bag. Now, if somebody could make a ball that sounds like a Titleist and putts like a softie, flies like a V1X and rolls like a Pinnacle.....BUT....stops on the green like a dropped cat........
So, you ask what makes Ronnie an expert? He can't break 75 any more! That is true but I'm still stuck on the SSR tees till August next year. When I do slip up on the ladies tees I can still score pretty good.....that said I still hit it in the middle of the driver face more often than not, so I am a good guinea pig. My buddy Rob Hess still hits the gym every day and still bombs it and still hits it in the middle of the club most of the time too. I have seen him change drivers several times the past couple of years there is no difference in his length off the tee.
Ok, so what can we do besides move up a tee when we are stuck in short hitters hell like I am? Shafts.....it is expensive to diddle around with shafts but I am convinced the key to picking up a few is shaft changes but there is no golden rule, its hit and miss, hit and borrow, hit and beg. I will pay a thousand dollars for a shaft that will give me ten yards no problem, thats a hundred a step. That said, I'm not sure 85mph can be helped so my one large is safe. RT
OCT 20- We have had overwhelming response to the Fla Sr Azalea. Today we have 98 entries we will take first 104. Last year we had a huge wait list but many got in after all.....this isssss senior golfin and sheet happens. We are spreading winter seeds right now tee to green and roughs. One thing you may notice looking at past champions and scores, the numbers keep going down. Is it because of better and better talent? Partly...... partly guys getting to know the old Rossie and partly because of the better conditioning of the course and real grass everywhere. Those who played a long time ago and never came back will not recognize the place and one such entrant is Rick Woulfe from Ft Lauderdale. He bested David Brookreson on the first playoff hole by chipping his second shot from 40 yards out with a 7 iron close enough to make a birdie. He played a few times afterwards but the year he finished 5th and some fat guy with gray hair at age 64 won, that did it. Rick never came back.....till now. He is a hall of famer and will challenge the supers this year. Welcome back, he be THE wolfman ya'll understaaand.
In other news we have a couple of real hotshots from Georgia, Oklahoma and New Orleans coming to try out the field in the seniors.....this will be fun to see how the new guys play the old course against the best we got.
We now have over 20 guys in SSR and over 20 in Legends and just over 50 in seniors....perfect balance. Come play a few times before the tournament it takes course knowledge and bump and run know how to play this course like they did back in the 20s.
The great Bill Sonnatag from NC is returning....last year he finished out of the money but was leading money winner. He had an ace, an eagle two and eagle 3.......but he had too many "others" He also had a handfull of deuces..... I think he walked with north of 8 dozen balls and a grin. I played with him all summer in NC and he was still porting our logo balls. RT
OCT 18, 2018 I have a few reports from our golfing friends in the Fla panhandle affectionately known as LA. Those reporting in say they are fine with minor damage and a couple of guys have electricity after a week without. I have done a 3 wk stretch without electric and believe me there is good reason to own two homes. I am at Mtn Glen right now and temps were cold today with a high of 60 but it was sunny. The golf course shuts down in ten days and so will my wife and I. Entries for the 2019 Fla Sr Azalea are flying in, we are already over half full in hand and a ton "in the mail" so my inbox says. I expect to be starting a wait list by early November. The course in Palatka is the best its been in over 40 years and the over seed is coming next week I think. Andy says we should be great this year so I expect scores to be better than ever. We may have to pull some of the old pin positions out of the closet if the greens are as good as promised, we shall see.
I only had one guy disagree with my political opinion posted previously but that's fine. I have lots of friends on the left and we get along fine we just argue once in a while then smile and hit the ball. No big deal. The mid terms will be interesting. Whichever side wins they will be crowing "see? told ya so" Whoever loses will say "the voters simply did not understand what what was at stake" I can hearem all now. Should be fun. Whoever wins or loses it won't matter much to us old farts, its the young folks who should really care but most do not. When I was a young buck I was totally engaged in politics. The 20 somethings I know couldn't care less. I can actually see socialism coming within 50 years but you and I won't be around , so I can't say see? I told ya so.
Personally, I have had some physical setbacks this past summer and my game has gone south. I am a ten and can't play to it. I think if I could ever get 3 months without a mishap or new ailment I could shoot some good golfs but I am finding myself not really wanting to play much. I enjoy the company of the guys left alive I have played with for years but if somebody says its too hot lets quit I say good lets go. If it sprinkles a bit I am ready for the clubhouse. Somebody says lets go spend 2000 on an individual tournament next month I say no thanks. I will continue tournament golf as long as i am able but its gotta be cheap and I ain't playing anymore back breaking golf courses. I want fun golf courses and I want reasonable prices. I want to hit short irons again to greens instead of hybrids and three metals. I have moved up another tee and its more fun and I shall continue moving up till there are no more "up tees" Hope to see you guys soon. I ain't quittin I'll keep swingin and hopefully go out with my spikes on.
I lost one of my best friends of my entire life last week. He was 85 and the cancer finally got him after 18 years of struggles but he told me many times: If you quit playing you will die. He kept playing and shot his age at 69 and every year thereafter right on through his early 80s and finally he just couldn't play any more. Doc Beckett and I cried upon his passing and several days after. We both spoke at services. Douglas MacArthur Miller (yes he was a nephew of sorts) was a great man, a great friend and great athlete. I guarantee you he played more holes around Palatka Golf than any man ever has or ever will. He aced all the par 3 holes, he actually made a double eagle on ten right on top of Harvey Reyolds a great player who had just holed a 3 wood for double eagle. How many times you reckon that ever happened? I am quite sure he is playing today, the guys were waiting for him guaranteed. A few days before he passed I told him save me a spot, he told me "I'll be waiting for ya" and I am sure he will be. RT
OCT 4, 2018 I CAN'T STAND IT, gotta write a political opinion here......I am quite sure somebody will not like it and say they will never play in our tournament again.....happens every time.....ok thats fine......it has been a blast watching the Supreme Court hearings and then watching all the so called pundits.....who get paid mind you for their feeble opinions......the pundits have offered tons of opinions on all the networks and channels......yes, I watch more than Fox News mainly for fun and entertainment. My initial take on the judge was simple.....high school horsing around? College drinking? Common mannnn, there is not a man on that committee or in the senate who did not do the same or more. Post office, spin the bottle, strip poker.....you name it. Almost every young buck could be hauled in for "rubbing up against girls" in grade school and/or high school at dances. If Kavanaugh was a sexual predator as the dems have hollered about.......if he was......he would have done it again and again. That's what they do. He would still be doing it simple as that. If he was a habitual drinker and drunk as portrayed......he still would be. I went to college so did many of you and that was in the 60s and 70s. Some of my best buddies drank a lot in school.....I was usually the driver, I had a car I stayed sober somebody had to get us back to the dorm in one piece. This guy was in college in the 80s......Beer is what we are squawking about? no dope? No rapes? No burglaries? No DUI? Ever? No molestation charges every filed.....the frat house did not have to cover for him?????? I asked my wife after all the testimony who was lying. She always knows ...... I have never ever fooled her except once into marrying me.....anyway, she immediately said "that woman is lying through her teeth"......its all a put on" I was somewhat surprised but kept quiet and said I think so too. My reasoning was that if he had done that he would have continued to do so and worse later in life and it would have been found out by the FBI a long time ago. So, I asked my 96 year old mother the next day same question....she watched it all........she said without hesitation "that woman is lying no doubt about it" Women know these things. Another question to Ford: what made him stop? who stopped him? Most rapists I have ever read about finished the job......if this happened, what, who made him quit? Surely she remembers that hmmmmm?
Next, my wife said you just watch some of these republicans who hate Trump.....they will hesitate just cause they can't stand Trump.....then the Flake thing....he would say yes then no then maybe.....No wonder that guy could not get re elected and he knew it, he is a fence sitter.....he got totally duped but the crowd in the elevator who we now find out were hired protesters which makes them professionals.....it was orchestrated beautifully. I think once again, the far left has wasted their money like they did on Hillary, who by the way is still running......I love it, she is fun to watch knowing she is accused to have dipped millions from her so called foundation.....if it was not crooked from the get go, why did she and Bill shut it down right after the election? Why wasn't money continuing to pour in like it did in 2015 and 16? The Clintons were doing great things for humanity right? They shut it down and covered the tracks quick as they could after the election cause somebody might decide to look into it instead of away like the obama crowd did.
Anyway, I seriously wonder today the 4th of October, if the old silver fox of the senate will have pulled off another coupe like the Gorsuch deal. Or, will the dems wheel out a 20 year old tomorrow saying she was molested by Kavanaugh as a secretary? We my friends shall see but it has been a lot of fun. I wish Kavanaugh would sue hell out of Ford. I wished he would , but I do not think he will...... too many people say he is a good man.....perhaps too good, we shall see. If he looses the vote I hope and maybe he will sue Ford. Good man or not.
byline: I have a few questions for Ford and for you too.....if this was such a traumatic experience for her why doesn't she remember where she was? Or how she got there or how she got away? Do you remember the first time you met your wife? What year? Where? Do you remember where you were when Kennedy got shot? Do you remember where you were and what you were doing 9/11 when you heard the news? Do you remember the first older kid who beat you up and where it was? Do you remember when you later kicked his ass after you grew up? I do...... all of these......you do not forget traumatic things that happen to you.......or important things that happen to you......Also, where does this woman work? What is her political view? She calls herself Doctor but I never saw a stethoscope around her neck.....real doctors have a medical degree.....she is a psychologist, NOT an MD.....AND .....according to what I heard , she has a therapist! If that's true that's enough.....next case your honor the witness is excused and the jury will disregard her testimony. I think I'll just go crawl in my golf cart. RT
OCT 2, 2018 WELLLL, our guys got drilled in the Ryder Cup.....again. I didn't watch a lot of it but what I did watch as okay but we just faded in the stretch time after time. I think our guys are just not as enthusiastic as their guys and fans and I'm ok with that, neither am I. We all know match play is welllll.....match play. I have won my share of match play events including a state championship.....but I was able to get away with playing just "fair" for a match, then getting hot for a couple of matches and then just playing middle of the green golf in the finals....medal play, is different and we all know that it just depends on your preference but match play on TV is refreshing once in awhile. These days I have no desire to play match play....if you have a bad day or our opponent goes out of his mind you go home. I want to play.....the whole deal.....not go home after a match or two. I will never forget in the late 80s I was exempt to the Fla State mid am.....I had a 5 year exemption so I played a couple more times after 85. It was in Jacksonville at the CC of Jax....36 hole qualifier to see who gets into match play top sixteen guys right? Okay, I make it easily....I could play back then.....I breeze the first match no problem then I run into a chap from Orlando I did not know.....he played out of his mind making bombs of 40,50,60 ft. I was 3 down with 3 to go and I hit a 5 iron for a gimme on 16. 17 was playing long, a four iron into the wind....par 3. I hit first and nailed it or another gimme. My opponent yanked his about 50 ft left.....yup, he canned it....game over. I was 3 under for the day and got killed. To add insult to injury his afternoon match I was told he didn't break 80 and got drilled 6 & 5. I'm still pissed off and it was over 30 years ago.....I really do laugh about it if I ever think about it now no big deal. RT
Sept 23, 2018 Ok ok so I was wrong for the first time in 69 years.......Tiger did win a tournament of quality. I have never been a Tiger fan but actually found myself pulling for him to win coming down the stretch. I felt he hit the best shots, hit the best putts and played a smart round of golf. He hit to the middle of the green and said come catch me if you can. They not only couldn't catch him he couldn't even catch himself on the East Lake course with roughs finally like we as old folks have to play out of all the time. Those guys weren't a lot better than we are out of that stuff. Even my 96 year old mother called me to see if I was watching. Tiger's comeback may help fuel a comeback for golfin for awhile, we shall see, I hope so. I also must admit I have heard so many stories from locker room attendants where majors were played that Tiger was actually not a nice guy to them at all.....he was notorious for stiffing the guys in the locker room while Phil peeled off a wad of hundreds when he left. Perhaps a tiger can change his stripes, I hope so. Golf needs for Tiger to change his stripes and actually become a nice guy in the locker room, on camera and in life in general. Americans and golf players love a come back and I actually hope he is back. Jordan has been a breath of fresh air the past couple of years but a lot of wind has come out of his sails we need some pizazz in the game right now. RT
Aug 13, 2018 The PGA is in the books and what a turn around from the Open and U.S. Open which were both boring. The PGA looked like a major and was fun to watch. As many you know I am no Tiger fan but I did find myself rooting for him to do good which he did in great fashion. I have regularly predicted he would never win another major and he almost made me look stupid but Koepka made me look like Merlin. 10-15 years ago the field would have wilted and choked with Tiger making a final day run.....today these new guys hit it farther, putt it better and iron it better.....and they do not choke....they make bogies but I did not see choke strokes out there....most stray shots looked like guys were pushing the envelope off the tee trying to get a short shot in....Koepka has shown before he will not slow down it is pedal to the metal every day.
Did you guys note all the lip outs? Why???? easy answer, the greens were slower than most majors they had to hit it firm to get it to the hole and that produces lip outs, next case your honor. I played Belrive back in 85 I think it was in the USGA Mid Amateur, the last walking tournament I played in. I was in my prime at a late 35 and I could hit it. The 600 yard par 5 back then was a monster. It was tight , the roughs were tall like yesterday. I played afternoon and morning.....it started raining at noon the first day and quit at noon the next day. 36 in the rain, but nobody said golf was fair did they? Only 10% of the qualifiers had my times all the rest played in the sunshine. Anyway, I could hit it back then and that 600 yarder was a beast. I hit three one irons both days in the rain to get on the green and two putt for pars. I will always remember that. Today guys in their 20s bomb drivers dead straight, lay up with mid irons and wedge it on the green. It did not play hard ..... that boys is everything in a nutshell about golfin then and now. The greens I putted on in 85 were much faster even in the rain.....but Jay Seigel had no problems he played right infront of me both days and I watched him sink one after another. I think he shot 142 and made the cut I was 5 back and missed by 1 i think. It was Jim Holtgreives home course and he won......he was good.
Tigers perfomance made the PGA great theatre and I am glad for that.....Koepka may well be the best man standing right now.....maybe. Only time knows but I did enjoy watching all four days and watching those guys whine about lip outs like we do. You don't get those on faster greens so that aspect made it fun to watch ...........for a change. RT
July 6, 2018 I am in the mountains right now, it was too cold today to play, 62 was the high.......ok ok, so a little rain didn'tm help either....tomorrow it is forcast to be 70 a tee time around one and clear so if I get a note from the boss I'll be there. Meanwhile I had nothing much to do but watch the tournament at the Grenbriar not far from here in WV. In a word....boring.....and I asked myself why? It is a nice setting a handfull of good players were there.....can't put my finger on it but it was flat out boring....the coverage? I dunno......the leaders? Maybe, they are all golf school robots. I want to see some personality, I wanna see a guy beatin and frammin the ground, swearing once in awhile, slamming clubs around.....smiling, laughing when they sink a gasser.....nuthin like that....boring.....The Charlotte Observer said today that NASCAR is declining in popularity and they lack "stars" the old guys are fading away and the new guys are ..... uhhhhh.....robots so to speak. No Dales bumpin and bangin, no Richards blowing away the field....I could help NASCAR REAL QUICK.....quit restrictor plates, go back to racing real stock cars and lets see who can buiild the fastest ones and who can drive those fastest ones. I loved Smokey the way he built up Chevelles using all kinds of crazy gadgets nobody ever thought of and they had to change the rules every year because of him....it was fun. The golf majors are still interesting I really enjoyed the TPC but not so much the Open.....it was boring toooooo, the USGA made the course so ridiculous.....kind of like NASCAR....nobody could do much of anything worth watching.....ain't no fun watching guys putting for par all day. I'd rather watch paint dry.
Hopefully the PGA will be good, only time knows....only time and time isn't that far from the PGA and the real OPEN.....don't get me wrong I have little use for the R & A either......back when I cared about the USGA Sr I made match play, won a match and was eligible for the British Sr for two years....the first year, it was in Wales.....yuck....the next year it was Scotland. I called R & A and asked how to get my entry in.....the guy said, "we changed that rule" I asked you made it retroactive? He said yes. I said okayyyy I'll come over and quality....he said I could not do so......I blew up and called him and the R & A chickenspit....he was not amused and I didn't care.....I told him I guess that's because you have zero Euro senior amateurs who can play a lick and you are tired of guys like me coming over and beating their brains out......he gruffed something and I told him again....I had recently played the US Sr that year with a former British Sr champ in my pairing and beat him like a rented mule. Oh well, think I'll play with the mob at one tomorrow and throw my twenty at risk.....70 n fair will be a nice day at Mountain Glen. RT
Wow, the longest day already.....speaking of which one of my brothers doing a little research on our father who was part of the 8th Air Force, found out he was in the air on the longest day providing support for ground troops he say according to British records he made numerous runs that day and every day thereafter over the next few weeks.....hard for me to grasp him as a 23 year old doing that. Me being the oldest I knew some of it but he wouldn't talk much about it....very little.
Anyway, my two friends left asked me recently what I thought about the U.S. Open. My response was normal the same as always these days.......committee screwed up the golf course made the tournament boring, and bombers dominated. Koepka is no nobody.....he is obviously a gym rat. No slouch off the tee, he was step for step off the tee with Johnson.....but then wait a minute, this guy named ....uhhhh....named.....aw hell nobody remembers who fiished third.....anyway he is a Brit and masquerades as an American moonshiner......he hits it pretty big too despite the fact he is skinny compared to most gym rats.....I think he has the speed cause he is wirey......tough as an old boot guarantee you. The tournament never got interesting to me till the last hole when Koepka yanked his second into the grand stands and was left with a tough chip. The announcers were fretting whether he should putt or what to get a five......looked to me the ball was sitting up on perfect astro turf....an easy chip for a good player even if it was foor a major.....ended up it was easy.....if he was gonna choke he woulda done it a long time ago you don't hold a lead all day to blow it on that shot ..... ain't gonna happen. USGA in their usual fashion tricked the course up so bad that only the high ball bombers had a chance......no fun to watch.....Michelson provided some much needed displeasure I think we all laughed at that one.....yes I have done that too and yes I made 8 or 9 whatever it was, usually just picked it up and marched.
I was absolutely amused how many short putts the pros missed, I keep saying if hey had to putt on the crap we have to in senior tournaments they wouldn't make 95% inside ten feet......when they get six footers breaking 8 inches they missem too. On tour in the average tournament they never have go play it out of the hole inside ten feet.....never ever.
Interesting to see NFL, NBA and Movie interest is waning.....even in a booming economy.....I wonder whyyyyyy?
So, how is Ronnie doing? As I approach 70 my game approaches 80. Modern medicine keeps me barely going but I don't think there is any medicine for the game. The great Taylor Adams came to visit yesterday in the high country, he played great recording a 76 first look at Mountain Glen. We were both under par thru 8 holes but I ended up with 84 and he went 5 over the last ten. Mountain Glen is easy and fun the first six holes then the game begins.....just the way I would design one....a pushover the first 6 holes, middle six a little tough and the last six down right hard. As it should be. This way you can run to the first tee with a sandwich in one hand a cold drink in the other, swat it dead cold and be okay till you get warmed up aroud number 7.
Here's one for you.....I have dozens of balls piled up on my staircase in the garage.....I have balls from 2016-2018.....three years worth yet every ad I see for Titleist says the "NEW" pro V1 and proV 1X....longer and straigher than ever.....common mannnnnn who are they kidding.....can't tell the difference can you? At least the cost is the same. I do see more long hitters hitting Callaway balls, Taylor was using Callaway black balls yesterday but when you can fly it 280 I suppose you could use a U.S, Tiger......remember those when you were a kid? Couldn't cut one with a hatchet.....they cost 25 cents and weren't worth it either RT
May 30, 2018 Jeepers has it been three weeks? Man, there has been a lot of water go under the bridge the past couple of weeks.....and its still coming.....and coming......Alberto? In May? The good news forecasts for the Lupton in Ooltewah was rain rain but they were wrong as usual....dry as a bone not a drop. Chanticleer in Greenville is going to be sloggy this week, I am afraid, but Ronie won't be there.....at 69 I just can't compete in SSR on a long course any more hopefully I'll see 70 and mayyyyybe I can win a dozen or so late next summer. Anyway, as some of you may know I hate tournaments who have a cut....for many many reasons but Lupton Cup has a cut and I wouldn't miss it even if I miss it. Missed last year for the first time in 12 yrs and missed again last week but I will go back I am sure. Honors Course is one of the great venues in America. So good that many of my friends missed the cut and didn't mind, some withdrew with various ailments but all were happy to go home after a few great days in a great place. I had to laugh at my good friend Fred who played with the SSR winner Bill Leonard. Fred hits it 50 by me sometimes at least 10 every day. His miss goes past my whack. We always talk on the phone driving home and he was just carrying on about Leonard hit it 50 by Fred! That's a hundred past meeeee. How you gonna compete with that? You can't but hey Bill uses what he's got and I would too. There was a time in another life in a galaxy far far away that I was he last to hit the second shot and I won most of the time unless I played lousy and sometimes I won anyway cause my 9 iron got closer than everybody else's 6 or 7 iron.....the same applies today. I see the USGA is asking for comments regarding the ball......fat chance I'm gonna answer that one. They listened to no one about tall putters....the fix was in on that one and I suspect the fix is in now. What they do is anybodys guess. I have the solution.....tighten fairways as you go out from the tee.....30 yards at 200, 25 yards at 250, 20 at 300 tapering down to 15 yards from there to the green. Then grow the roughs taller as you go out.....knee high hay would be at 250 if I were king. That my friends would level the playing field and the best players today wouldn't spend as much time in the gym and drug store and more time on the range like olden days. So much for all that.
If tightening courses, I Personally would soften the ball and make a "big hit" in the 250 -275 range. This would save a lot of golf courses. Why is it baseball still uses wood bats and stringed balls with horse hyde? Use oversized golf balls and aluminum bats and center field would have to be 900 feet, you would need 20 guys on the field to defend, the diamond would have to be doubled in size or the infielders and pitcher would get killed! Tennis uses rackets big as garbage can lids now but at least the ball is same same I think. Never was a tennis fan but to each his own. I find rarely is a golfer a tennis fan and vice versa. Hey, how much money could Rose make if he had a personality? 5 times what he makes now and thats a lot. Betcha Rickie makes five times what Rose makes and Rose makes way more on the course than Rickie. Ahhhhhh, I'll just wait till this rain quits and start all over again. This is a forced layoff.....my back actually feels pretty good my knee is okay for now and my ankle feels great. I get a big kick outa guys who gripe about aches and pains.....if you were an all around athlete growing up you have football injuries, baseball injuries......I was a pitcher and short stop and I couldn't throw any kind of ball overhand today more than ten feet. I loved to ski and tore up my shoulders and knees but man I had fun.....if you are going to play learn to play hurt you guys who never played hurt before......its part of old mans golfin and aint nuttin gonna change. See you soon I hope. RT
May 7, 2018 The Wells Fargo tournament in Charlotte is history and everybody who is anybody is just up the road at TPC. I turned TV on Sunday just in time to see Jason Day blast what I am told was a 7 iron 230 yards and clank the pin for a gimme birdie and guaranteed win. That got me to thinking......If they ever showed the Shell Wonderful World of Golf anymore, you would see Sam or Jack or anybody else who was a "big hitter" hitting a 7 iron 140 yards! Wished they would show those old shows more often but I guess newbies and kids would not appreciate them, I do.....guess it shows my age. Anyway fast forward to 20 years ago. Brendt Everson from Palatka (a PGA tour caddy) was carrying for Micheal Bradley before he hooked up with Justin Leonard. Brendt was home one week and I asked him how far did Bradley hit the ball? He said long. I said okay how far does he hit a 7 iron? Brendt said, "170 but we can step on it and get 175 out of the seven".......I was impressed. At that time I hit a good 7 about 160 on my best day....a couple of times I remember stepping on a 7 coming down the stretch with the lead and hitting it 165. Blade Mcgregor, s300 shaft, rubber band Titleist, v grooves. By the way, Bradley played the Azalea in Palatka as an amateur and didn't even sniff. Anyway, is the game getting crazy or what? 7 iron 230????? It ain't all ball but it helps....it ain't all shaft but it helps. Hells bells, these guys are super strong and gym rats! I understand all that but this is insanity. When did they turn into gym rats? I think it all started with Gary Player but nobody picked up on it much....my roomy in college made the tour and I went to the TPC to watch him play one year about his third year on tour in the early 80s I think it was, and I went to his dad's condo way before tee time and Pat was gone.....car there, but gone....about that time he comes puffing up the street holding a couple of small dumbells. I was aghast! Patrick, you never lifted a weight in school, you never ran anywere except out of a bar room when a pool game went bad.....that is another story......what the hell are you doing? He said as he cooled down, "everybody works out and runs out here, if you don't you will lose yardage, its all about steel drivers and hard balls and working out these days on tour" He showered changed and hit balls an hour then shot 69 opening round which led the field for the day. He was all over TV for a night but it waned quickly when Jack got it going.
My friends, Jack Lalane (spelling?) I ain't , and never was and never will be. Think I will be content to hit my 7 iron 140 these days, next year it may go 130 but I ain't running anywhere unless something dreadful is chasing me. RT
Cinco de Mayo- Why does Ronnie not get along with tournament officials especially state and USGA guys? Let me preface this commentry with the fact that i was once on a state association advisory board and I saw first hand how the rules guys got their cookies boasting of how they penalized this guy and that guy for this and that. Made me sick. The "tin badge" gang as i call them were not there to help players they were there to hand out penalties! No, not all of them but enough that it got my goat pretty good. I did not return to the board but I had seen enough. Now for a bit of my blemished history. Lets go back to the 70s and the Florida State Club Team Championship. Palatka won that championship several times back then and the bigger clubs around the state were not happy about a bunch of north Fla crackers beating their brains out. We were at Port St Lucie and we had the lead after the first round, I was at the score board and it was clear it was going to be tough, it was cloooose. Billy Tuten was next to last to finish and Fergie was in the last group. Toot hung around 18 green to watch Ferg hit up and finish......all Ferg had to do was make par. He did, we won by two. ....we thought. We all went to the score board and the director of the assn gave Tuten a 2 stroke penalty for a "late score card" it just so happened we won by two but now we were even. Did this have any odor to it? We lost the playoff. In the mid 80s I was leading the State Amateur and was penalized for a wrongful drop....then later disqualified for the wrong score posted. I appealed to USGA and PJ Boatright answered the phone. I told him what happened and he said I was perfectly correct.....he then talked to the rules officials at the tournament in Orlando and asked for their story.....he told them they made a bad call and to put me back in the tournament. The rules chairman was obviously embarrassed. The final round, I was shadowed all day by that official hoping to bust me for something. I shot 78. Not happy. Now lets go to the State Amateur at Bay Hill in the early 90s I think it was because that was when my game began to falter from a contender to cannon fodder. I was in a twosome after one guy quit, we were nowhere near the hunt.......we had two guys, two carts.....I was on the green so I drove to the green and waited while the other guy played his third shot up. He hit onto the green and out of nowhere some "daddy" following his kid came sprinting across from another fairway hollering did I see that? I said see what? He said your playing partner took a drop over there in the rough. I said so what? Daddy said, he didn't call anybody over to look at it. I said mister, I don't know who you are but I advise you go back over there to the kiddie group and keep our nose out of it. If the man took a drop I assume he had a drop coming and its none of your damned business.....by this time I was yelling at him....I was pissed. The player in question said he had one foot on the cart path and took the drop....I said fine and once again told daddy to haul ass. He sprinted to the club house and here comes the Director Cal , who was a good friend, and Cal's first words were "what have you done NOW?" Cal knew I got confrontational when people made unwarranted accusations. I told Cal what happened and he said.....oh man.....can't you stay out of trouble? Cal, I was minding my own business trying to figure out how to enjoy shooting 76 on a wonderful golf course, that jack ass over there started it. Tell you what I'll just go home and Sammy over there can finish by himself that might be the best thing to do cause I might slug that daddy if he comes over here again. Cal calmed me down and asked me to finish. I did and shot my 76. Now lets go the USGA Sr in California a few years ago....we are at Bel Aire CC and I was in the late tee time for the first qualifying round.....it was getting late.....virtually too dark to see the break on a green when an official comes roaring up cracking the whip, " you guys gotta get going!".....we all said "we can't see" He said keep playing we gotta get this round in today. I told the guys quietly let's slow walk this thing. The big boss on the radio is up at the clubhouse on top of the mountain where it is still day light we are down here in this hole. We all made bogey on the next hole when they finally blew the horn. I was not happy but the next day I was over it and finished well, then had low round the second day to finish in the top ten and make match play, but I'll never forget being harrassed to play faster when it was dark-thirty. State senior a few years ago.....at Old Corkscrew....I am in contention, its the second round with pre determined pairings......we have waited every single shot the first 8 holes and a guy with us not in contention lost is ball on 9. Had to go back to the tee. An official on the 9th green said all three of you guys get two for slow play you are an entire hole out of position. I went ballistic. I yelled at the director....yelled at the official.....they finally dropped the penalty when we finished but the damage was done. I lost the tournament the next day by two. Stupid. I have more stories but here's one from this year recently. I'm NOT in contention of course these days.....second round I'm in the second group off.....just after sunrise.....nobody around. After 6 holes I am only 1 over hitting the ball really good today for a change and my riding partner is even (hard golf course). The other guy is a very nice fellow and a club member but is having a hard time. He has made a fist full of doubles already maybe a triple I lost count. We are a hole behind. I never get bothered by guys playing poorly....I have my share of bad days myself so I'm trolling along just fine the guys behind us are not waiting. My riding partner is happy he just got it up an down the last 3 holes in a row. Out of nowhere a tin badge shows up and says you guys gotta pick it up and play faster......just like that I went from 98.6 to 110 in the shade. The tin badge had not seen us play a single shot. He just assumed and wanted to show his authority. I barked back and told him to talk to the other guy over there in the woods. I dubbed my next shot, my riding partner skunked his iron right of the right bunker then I hit another lousy shot and that was it. I looked at my phone, we had covered 6 holes in less than an hour and he's on our ass for slow play and we got a guy 10 over. Rather than show my ass as usual, I simply drove to the clubhouse and packed it in. In my old age I'm not going to start a fight with a volunteer official, and embarrass a nice guy club member over dumb doings. I'll just pack my bag and go silently to the beach, I am learning......it took 40 years, but I am learning. I never made a friend by hitting back......just ask Trump. RT
April 25, 2018 I played a Miller Lite sponsored event in Dothan , Alabama last weekend and had a great time on a very good Robert Trent Jones course in Dothan. The final round I had my usual 8 on the first hole but didn't get too pissed off about it, we teed off at daylight trying to beat approaching storms. My buddy Fred started with a 7. We hate early tee times. Anyway, I was playing with a great guy named Doc......he has the same last name as a famous dentist from the old west days. Doc is a very good player, he birdied the first hole while the rest of us hacked it up real good. Short of the long is Doc shot 72 Sunday and was fit to be tied.....he was steaming mad.....me? I shot 86 and tickled pink walking off the last hole. Fred was happy too with 80. So, what gives? The same old story I have always said.....how you play the last couple of holes is how you feel about your round. Doc was 3 under and poised for the low round of the day no question, this is a hard golf course. He missed the pin on our last hole by 12 feet, the ball shot dead right into a muddy hazard 10 yards right of the green.....he whacked it out and over the green into a bunk at least 12 feet deep. With mud all over his shoes and shirt he hit a great shot out of the bunk but it is like a ski hill......Back over the green back down into the mud again. We were quite sure he would dive head first into the mud before this was over if it ever ended.....he ended up making a pretty good triple and a 72.....pissed off as wet cat. Me? I made my only birdie of the day and it was good for a skin.....Fred birdied the hole before. Fred and I are happy and laughed all the way home while Doc stewed all the way home I am sure. How many times have you finished poorly and saw the finish as a total waste of a good round? I have many times. One thing is a constant in this game.....play a good last hole or two and you are ready to go right back out tomorrow.....hack up the last hole and you want to go to the office and burn your bag in the dumpster out back. RT
March 12, 2018 The 2018 event is in the books. The Lord has smiled upon us once again with absolutely perfect weather with clear skies every day, temps in the low 70s every day. Light winds. In 2019 there will be no time change the legislature in Fla has adopted a permanent clock for savings time from now on....that is good. This year there is a lot to talk about, but lets just look at some facts. Don Marsh won the legends division, no surprise the Atlanta area bomber still bombs it and he is the first Legend to finish under par for the tournament in our history at 209 one under. The great Joe Pavoni was talk of the tournament shooting a superb 67-70-73 for even par good enough to win every year except this one. In the SSR Pete McDade shot 2 over 212 which is the average winning score every year except John Darr's four under performance several years ago. Denny Taylor from Oregon shot 213 a fine performance. In the SR the great David Anthony from Jacksonville Fl came from behind with 64 the final round to run down Marcus Beck from LA near Tallahhassee. Marcus started with a 3 shot lead the final day only to watch Anthony shoot a final day flawless 64. Becks final 68 was a shot shy. They both finished birdie, par, birdie...what a show. Defender Doug Hanzel shot a final 66 but his opening 71 blemished his chances of the fourpeat. Pat ODonnell renowned state champion from Oregon also finished under par at 208.....the top four were under par, quite remarkable, A testament to the golf course condition. It was unanimous the greens and fairways were perfect....fast and smoothe. I expect to see some really low scores this week in the Florida Azalea where the best amateurs in the world will be competing starting Friday. Of note, we have two tour caddies playing this week, they begged off to come play, hopefully we will get that started as a must play but I don't think Bay Hill will allow that for the most part but you never know.
You can see all the scores at the Palatka Golf Club website just google the club. Of particular note we had another hole in one, Bill Sontag in the legends division from Banner Elk, NC aced the 14th the first day and won four dozen balls and a skin on Friendly Friday. Sucker Saturday we stashed a few pins here and there.....all fair mind you, just not dead center like they were on Friday. Average score went up five shots! Sunday we putem back friendly again and the scores were low again. We have no desire to make the course hard....that is no fun.....but we did give guys a taste of hard the second round and the scores reflected such just look at the second round scoring in all three divisions....it is very interesting. Hope to see everybody back same time same station next year....may we all be able to return. RT
Feb 23, 2018 February heat wave continues...temps have been in the 80s every day the past couple of weeks. Our permanent grass is starting to grow and the overseed is having a hard time. That said , the course is still in great shape and hopefully conditions will hold. Our biggest challenge will be green speed. We have lowered the mowers to "tournament height" from last year but when we cut at 6am with the warm weather, greens are downright slow by 2pm. Our plan is cut greens at 11am tournament days and lower mowers a whisker more and even roll'em at least one day. Don't want to see greens too hard they are small and hard enough to hold as it is. We have so much grass around the approaches even a chunky 7 iron will not bounce up. The Moot Thomas Memorial is next weekend and we look forward to playing in "The Moot" I learned something else about Moot yesterday playing with one of his friends in Ocala for a warm up.....he is/was/still is the second oldest man to ever qualify for match play in any U.S.G.A. event. Moot was a great player, a great man and a great friend to many for many years. Moot silently helped a lot of young people coming up who needed help and he did so silently. He fell victim to what I am told was a freak happening. In a nutshell, here's my last conversation with Moot. I had just qualified for the U.S. Senior in Fernandina Beach and Moot came up smiling at the scoreboard and congratulated me and said insistently "now when you head north to the tournament I want you to stop in Linville and play a day or two and stay at my house" I said I surely would. A few days later I am told Moot was cleaning up yard trash and a stick he picked up poked a small hole in his arm. No big deal I get cut up and scratched up every time I work in the yard don't you? Staph infection killed Moot a couple of days later. This story is just as crazy tragic as the death of Ted Smith two years ago, one of our former SSR champions. Ted was killed by a falling limb in his back yard. He also was a great player, great man, great friend who silently helped I am told dozens of kids go to college in his area.
Another Moot footnote: He played regularly at Moutain Glen G.C. where I now play in the summer and where the Mountain Man will be played this September. I made it there but it took me ten years Moot, I wished I had been able to play with you there......then again, maybe I have. RT
Feb 12, 2018...wow we have gone from freezing cold in January to hotter than hot now....it was 84 yesterday....a very nice change. Can't imagine what it will be in May maybe? I dunno I'll be gone to the hills. How about Ted Potter Jr!!!! We can add that name now to a list of greats who have played Palatka many times. Ted has won our big scratch pro am played in December several times. He lives in Ocala home of the Moot Thomas Sr which is played the the week before us. Ted won low pro several years in a row, he even played after winning a PGA tour event a few years ago.....he got hurt really bad, laid out a couple of years.....came back and standing on the tee with DJ yesterday NOBODY gave him the chance of the last donut at the cop shop. Palatka is proud for Ted......man has this weather been tough on the course....freezing in January now roasting in February.....yesterday I noticed some hot spots in the greens....we were supposed to get rain but it didn't happen so far. I swear in my next life I am going to be a weather man. The only profession that gives you a 50% chance of being right. Summers all you have to do is come on TV and say good evening it was 90 for a high today, tomorrow's forecast right after this. Commercials. Okay lets take a look at tomorrows forecast. Low tonight will be 72, the high tomorrow will be in the low 90s with a 50% chance of a thunderstorm. Winds will be light and variable. The sun comes up at 6:25 and will set at 8:24. I'll be back at 11 tonight with the latest weather. I'm Ronnie Tumlin and I'll break in with weather bulletins if any severe weather sneaks up on us.
Feb 3, 2018.....weather has been a little bit better lately, yesterday it was 70 and perfect but supposed to rain tomorrow then warm up again next week. The course took a beating with hard freezes several days in January but it is starting to bounce back with rain and warmer temps. Several guys have come in to play who are in the tournament and they all said it is in great shape especially the greens. We have had a few unfortunate withdrawals so a few guys on the wait list have gotten in. I suspect we will have more withdrawals. Most have been health and injury related. Best of luck to Jim Kamis who fell on ice at his house last week breaking his ankle in three places.....outch! All our best Jim hope to see you next year. Several guys are telling me they are iffy with shoulder problems but they hope to get better. I once wrote young guys talk about women, middle aged guys talk about business and the old guys talk about their operations. The older I get the more that is gospel my friends. The Moot Thomas senior in nearby Ocala is still not filled yet. They play the weekend before we play in March. Call Ocala Golf Club and get in. I am playing. Above you will find the Mountain Man entry form for a fourball I have been working on for a year with the local pro at my summer home in the mountains of NC. I hope you will come I guarantee a good time and fun golfin. RT
Jan 18, 2018.....brrrr damnit....this is ridiculous....the annual Golfweek January tournament honoring the year's champion points leaders is now in the books and it was right in my backyard at Conseratory in Palm Coast about 15 minutes south....they called off the last round for COLD IF YOU CAN BELIELVE IT!!!!!.This year's recipeint of the Yancey Ford award was Urquit Morris the tournament director of the Azalea Senior in Charleston. His tournament is why we call ours the Florida Senior Azalea. Urquit has some health problems and we wish him all the best he deserves our best.
The Conservatory is a hard golf course.....no, I take that back it is an unfair golf course.....no I take that back, it is ridiculous.....UNLESS you hit very long tee shots and straight at that. Tom Watson built this course, its rumored it was the first course he built sober....I think he should have waited to quit till after he built it. I was a member there for a while so I can curse it all I want. The winners in each division are all bombers in their own right.....despite the fact the course set up was very good and not too long, they prevailed.....and "they" were the usual suspects. Dr Doug Hanzel, Dr Rob Hess and General Bill Engel......all three winners by the way are entered in the 2018 Florida Sr Azalea.
So I ask my self.....why isn't this a great course? What makes a great golf course? In a word: HISTORY plain and simple.....I do not think the National is a "great" layout....it is good, the conditioning the best there is.....the greens tougher than tough.....but overall is it a great layout? No, what makes it great is the history of the Masters. Winged Foot.....I have played it many many times....is it a great layout? No, but the history of the course and the history of the majors there makes it great , simple as that.....HISTORY......Oak Hill in Rochester.....okay, I have played it at least 50 times maybe more.....I give the layout a "great" .....it gets the nod......BUT.....the history of the golf course makes it super great....Opens, PGAs, Ryder Cups you name it......the history of the winners there is who's who in history....the last hole has produced spectacular 7 irons to 6 inches to win a major, Faldo coming from way behind to beat Strange on 18 in the Ryder Cup, Pavin chipping in from behind the green to win the match front right, an impossible up and down where the pin was....3 aces on 7 the first round of the Open.....HISTORY.....a member there told me many years ago one of my favorite Oak Hill stories. He said in the pratice round before the Open back when.....Hogan was playing with Souchek....Mike asked Ben on the 7th tee gazing down the fairway "Hey Ben, can I hit driver here?" Hogan said in a word. "Yes". Big Mike whacked his driver right into the crick crossing the fairway and yelled at Ben that ball went in the crick! Hogan simply said in a dry sober manner and without cracking a smile, "Mine did the same thing yesterday" as he teed up a three wood.
What kind of history does Palatka Golf Course have? I'll give you a few greats who have played there. Snead, Moe Norman, Tommy Aaron, Dan Sykes, Mickey Wright, Ky Lafoon, Bob Murphy, Dan Sykes, Tommy Bolt was a regular, Pete Cooper......and more recently David Toms, Fuzzy Zoeller, John Daly was a regular too, Wayne something..uhhhhhh......hmmmmmm....brainlock....hell I went to school with him he won the TPC back in the late 70s or early 80s......remember the year a while back when Greg Norman almost won the British Open when he was fifty or so? He played Palatka a month before that with his son who was playing the Azalea. I met him and was surprised how small he really is...but I was also amazed how far he bombed the ball....he had about a 30 inch waiste and about 40 inch long arms....he shot 68 first look and quipped this place reminds me of Harbor Town....I guess the small greens huh? I just remembered it was Wayne Levy.....he was a big time winner for awhile. Wayne was form NY and when he got enough money in the sack I am told he quit playing and played the stock market very successfully. When he was in Palatka he was driving a ten year old beetle that blew smoke when he shifted gears....he did not finish in the money in an Open I started back in the 70s. It petered out when I turned loose of it though....we drew all the winter tour pros in Florida at that time. Another guy played a few times in one of our tournaments Tom......uhhhhh.....I can't think of it but he won the U.S. Open and the Sr Open and played on the Ryder Cup.....Tommmmmm.......you know who I'm talking about.....anyway, the history of the players and stories I don't hae the time to write about are all there.....HISTORY.....Palatka was built in 1925 by Donald Ross......few courses can boast this kind of History. There are a lot of great courses but history will have to make them GREAT....and they are too young....but time will probably make them great like one of my all time favorite layouts.....Muirfield Village.....give it another 50 years and it will be one of the greats.....TP is getting there too.....right on the cusp of greatness....... RT
Jan 5, 2018 brrrrrr.....in St Aug its been in the 40s for days ...... and days......Palatka the same......in fact Andy tells me they had one....count'em one boys....one player in Palatka yesterday. The day before the same.....and it was the same guy.....he is from Canada......surprise surpriose.
Nobody hates cold weather golfin worser than meeeee. My eyes water, my hands turn purple....I can only remember one good round in my life since high school (when I had to carry my bag and walk). That was the first round in the Sr Azalea in 2014. The second round and third rounds it was 70 degrees. Being a cracker from north Florida I have a few things that do help.....the trusty hand warmers you buy in the plastic wrappers you all know about those....I also have a pair of mittens from my skiing days....I put the warmers in those and take my hands in and out lots of guys laugh at me but I also carry a blanket. I wrap up in it like a buffalo robe....stay wrapped up till its time to hit then right back around. Next I will switch to a hat instead of a visor.....the top of your head is the number one area of heat release. Finally I grouse around in the bottom of he bag and come up with a soft ball....softer the better, cause when its cold a soft ball is hard. Of course all this goes without saying you gotta have an enclosure attached to the cart and a propane heater inside.....you know one of those things that stands up in the cup holder and glows and hisses all day but it puts a lot of heat inside the cart cover.....lastly, a tip to the wise....do not drive, let the other guy drive so you can keep on the mittens and buffalo robe.........ORRRRR.....the hell with it and just don't play when its below 55 degrees.
I did play 11 holes with Doc Beckett a couple of days before the winter bomb hit.....he keeps talking about "old man golf" which means rather than fly it to the hole and drag it back....we bounce it up and hope it rolls on. He complains that when we were kids all those old guys would land a 5 woodie short of the green and bounce it right up every time.....they would chip with 8 irons stiff from around the green.....those old guys would wear us out......today, we can't play old man golf.....the ball doesn't bounce up anymore....fairways and greens are too soft and most greens are elevated. Todays golf courses have huge bunkers in front of the greens, water hazards right up to the front of the green....old man golf doesn't work these days. Tee balls do not roll at all, the only time you see a ball roll in the fairway is on TV cause the PGA bakes out the fairways before a tournament. Senior amateur golfers have to play in the mud even during a drought. Case in point: Inverness in Toledo hosted the PGA previous to their mid-am/senior. I distinctly remembered the pros complaining the course played too short....during the tournament I asked one of the marshalls what on earth were those guys talking about, the course short? The marshall said he was there and during the PGA the course was hard as a pool table.....he said you guys are playing in the mud.....they turned the sprinklers back on. He said those guys were hitting 3 irons off the tee and the ball was rolling 50 yards or more. Our drivers went splat a month later. The course was brutally long with zero roll. I wish they still played that tournament it was a great event and fun, splat or not.
I am seriously pondering a fourball at my summer course in North Carolina in the mountains....and guess what? You can play old man golf, the ball bouces up and bunkers are to the side not in front. Working on details right now to see if I can get dates we need and times we need. Temps on July and August are in the low to mid 70s. Stay tuned on that one. RT
Dec 22, 2014 Today or either yesterday was the shortest day.....finally! Of course being the son of a WWII aviator every soltice, I can't help but think about my father and what he was doing on the shortest day in Dec of 1943 in flight school and waiting to ship out to England. I think about what he was doing at the age of 23 in February 1944 when he got there.....and what he was thinking on the longest day in June of 44. Hard for most of us to even comprehend. He rarely would talk about it. I distinctly remember in the 50s when he was still a fighter pilot instructor after the war he would be asleep on the sofa and if I made any racket he would suddenly awaken and start yelling as he vaulted off the sofa.....He left home in 1961, we stayed in touch up until his death just a few years after he retired from the service. I don't know if he ever got over the panic rush to get to his plane from a dead sleep to intercept whatever was coming across the channel. I do know he was in the air on D-Day and I do know he was haunted by what he saw and did even from the air. I had a couple of old golfin buddies who were on the ground after jumping into France that day....Harvey was 101st and said he landed on the ground and couldn't see a thing, didn't know where he was or anybody else was. He learned real fast to throw the clicker away...... that thing would get you killed he said. Harv said he was in Africa first and after they won that fight he had to go to Europe......he said he walked from west of Normandy all the way to Berlin. He saw guys die, he did some killing himself he said. He said he was just trying to stay alive. Most all those guys are gone now but their stories are forever with me as long as i'm around. Gene said he was a medic and one day at the club he started telling how guys would knock out German tanks that were running on alcohol.....he said they tried hard not to explode the tank....they just wanted to capture it so they could drink the gas tank dry......Harvey piped up and loudly proclaimed he had drunk many a mug of tank alcohol while walking to Berlin. One thing my father did tell me was the guys at the grass field air base in England, sat around playing cards when not flyhing and they bet loosely cause they figured they would not be back at the table tomorrow unless they got lucky. WSe allknow how many of thed 8th Air Force were lost.....of the 20 original guys on my fathers fighter squadron when he got there, only 4 went home. In Nov of 44 he was sent home to teach new guys and the first lieutenant who took over my fathers P-47 only lasted a few weeks. Hard to imagine huh? My grandmother told me he sent her wads of cash in the mail he won playing cards and used it to pay his way through Univ of Fla after the war and finish up his degree then went back to full time service. Hard to comprehend isn't it? My wife's father spent a couple of years in the Pacific on a tin can, he had some stories too.....like an old chief jerking a rookie out of a machine gun station and told him to feed the ammo....he said that chief shot down three kamakazis in just a couple of minutes......Mr Mangum told me that chief was shsooting for his life and everybody else's on board that day. Hard to imagine the terror of a plane trying to crashinto you and you watching and looking into the suicide pilot's eyes as he killed himself and tried to kill you too. Hard to imagine.
ANYWAY-I was playing with my old high school buddy Warren yesterday for a few holes after lunch.....I talked him into closing his ofice and coming out for a quick 9. He mussed something we all muss about this time of year.....He said: Before I die I'm gonna ask somebody in charge why the hell do we have standard time? We need daylight savings time all year......I can't get anything done this time of year....its dark when I close the office my game stinks and will stink till April. You know, he's right. Make sure you play on the longest day this June and think about what your father was doing on that day and what he went through to survive.........so you could play on that day 70 some years later. RT
Dec 9, 1949 I am wondering why playing lousy in a tournament these days doesn't bother me at all anymore. I see guys slamming trunks and roaring off in a cloud of dust and disgust......I know exactly how they feel, I used to get pissed off if I shot over par. Today? I'm happy just to be playing......I have friends with torn rotators, replaced knees, needing hips, doing radiation, planning tournaments around surgeries you name it! Trust me on this.....the day will come you are just happy to be able to play. I said a final farewell to yet another old golfing friend this week. He was a local icon. I named a tournament after him back in the 70s while he was still young and alive.....he single handedly created and ran for many years a cancer fund raising tournament every spring in Palatka. It was called "The Cancer Tournament" and Ronnie Clark organized it from the ground up, involved the entire community, threw three parties that all raised money. We had a pairings party where teams were drawn out of a hat, whiskey flowed and so did the raffle tickets....he got merchandise from everybody down town donated and he sold tickets for drawings at the pairings party. The next night we had a calcutta party. He cut the pot 10%, whiskey flowed, syndicates were formed and auction prices soared. The whole town turned out for the calcutta and people who never hit a ball were there every year gambling. Saturday was what he called the tiger tournament where it was a two man full handicap best ball as a warm up to the finale on Sunday. Sunday it was 3 men and a woman, full handicap best ball. Sand baggers were not welcome this was serious stuff. My team won when I was a 19 year old. I was captain and we shot 17 under par. I'll never forget figuring out my guys tendencies on their putting and lining them up on the final holes. Charley was an old crusty retired marine....he tended to push his putts. I lined him up a foot left of the line on 17 and sure enough he pushed it right into the hole from 20. On 18, Jim Elrod who was an 18 himself, had a par putt from 12 ft and I told him to aim at my feet as I tended the flag.....a 12 footer remember....he never questioned I was tending from that close....he aimed at my feet, yanked it and the ball went dead center. My cut of the calcutta was 200 bucks.....at 19 in 1968 it felt like 10,000 today. Those were great times my friends, great times.
Anyway, Ronnie Clark raised at last count north of 400,000 from the mid 60s to the mid 80s when he gave it up and when he quit the club quit. The big deal was liability.....alcohol.....everybody got leery of heavy drinking at the club and wobbling home and it slowly disappeared from the social event of the year into history. The tournament I named after him was the Clark Open and I had a pro flight and we drew real tour players and mini tour players ...you would recognize many of the names. It was a huge success for about ten years until I turned it over to the mens golf assn, I had guys like Tommy Bolt and other pros who wintered andlived in Florida playing.....the guys who took it over wanted to be able to play with the famous players......they turned it into a pro am....and it died.....dead. The big names quit coming and so did I. They started selling sponsorships and got a tournament sponsor and changed the name......this hurt Clark's feelings and mine.....they knew not what they did. Ronnie Clark was one of the few left alive that I grew up with on the golf course. I have one of he old guard who survives today and he is not doing well at all fighting cancer and I don't feel so good myself.....maybe we will all hit again....meanwhile do not dispair at playing lousy...yu are playing......the day will come you can't and you wished you could make a double. RT
Nov 22, 2017 The tournament is fully subscribed at this point. That said, we usually have 10-15 guys get in off the wait list so go ahead and send in your entry. This is a senior tournament and things happen, they always do. All our 2017 champions are returning! Roughly 90% of our 2017 players are returning. I guess that speaks well for the event huh?
I had the pleasure of playing the Crabapple four ball north of Atlanta last week. Here is why I am quite sure I am close to the last stop. It was miserably cold for a Florida boy, in the thirties when we teed off the first two days. A shirt, a jacket and that was covered by a wind breaker. Long pants. If I had to count all my shots those first two days I am qauite sure the first numbers would have been a nine. The final day it toasted right up to 48 at tee time and ended up at 72 which is about what I shot. What tipped me off was when the people I was playing with just carried on about how well I played the final round! one congrat after another.... damnit.......I guess I am at the point where a 72 is fantastic.....that is a sad state of affairs my friends saaad. The worst thing about being a has been is your reputation follows you......a few years ago when I showed up with a 4 handicap no matter where I was there was howling from fellow players.....all they could remember was when I was a plus.....the pro would usually knock me down to a two.....hell, I couldn't play to the four! I played a lot in NC this past summer....I told the pro for the noon game to put me in as a 6. He said fine, he didn't know me......after four rounds he changed me to an 8. That is how I know I am close to the last stop again. After approx 40 rounds this summer I wound up an official 7.9 handicap. I have come to accept that, I don't like it but I accept because as many of you know I grew up s kid playing with the men in Palatka. I watched them all go from scratch to five to ten then dead. I think I'll go hit balls today I don't wanna get to ten. My new goal is to shoot my age.....I thought I could do it by the time I was 65...I'm now 68 and no news.....I just hope I can live long enough to shoot my age but if I do, it won't be any good at this rate.
politics: I think we should investigate the investigators who investigate the politicians. How bout all these so called sexual advancement charges......I talked to a very liberal lawyer friend of mine in Texas yesterday. He is a die hard democrat so I thought I would get his take on all this fire storm. He said he thinks Harvey is surely guilty as hell, but for the rest of this firestorm of accusations coming from everywhere I am not so sure he said. 40 year old charges coming up right before an election? Even my liberal friend said "I question how many of these are legitimate actually......He went on to say he suspected only 3 out of ten women claiming atrocities are truthful and two of those three probably exaggerating and maybe one is legit out of ten in his opinion! He thinks its all about money one way or another. That my friends came from a liberal democratic politically involved attorney in Texas of all places! What do I think? I think times change....just like Jake McCandles told the Indian in Big Jake.....times change......40 years ago if a 32 year old young man was eyeing a 14 year old young lady.....wellllll......even she said they did not have sex....I started dating my wife at 15 she was somethihg man.......today, maybe a big deal but back then? Wasn't it 20 years ago a President was diddlin around with a 22 year old intern in the white house and walked away unscathed? Image if Trump did that today......or anybody in government today with a young innocent intern! It would cause a national uproar......"they" are howling about Judge Moore asking 18 and 19 year olds out on dates forty years ago when was 32......last time I checked they were "legal" so to speak.....????? Times have changed. Nobody said anything about the late Hugh Hefner at 80 having two live in girlfriends in their 20s.....why not? I saw that on TV and Hugh introduced them with a smirk on his face......times change my friends times change. I don't know how we can hold somebody accountable for moral behavior forty years ago that was no big deal 40 years ago. Now if a woman has provable evidence of misbehavior in the past few years then okay, lets investigate. RT
Nov 11, 2017 We are at 75% full right now for our 2018 event. I invited a few friends over this week who live in the area for a play....they were all not only surprised but astonished at the condition of the course. It was not a busy afternoon so we played six and had a skin game. 12 holes were birdied and many were double birdied I think only six skins were out. Amazing. I told Andy and the new super get ready for offers to go elsewhere. The last time we had a super doing this well with what we have one ended up at Sawgrass the other ended up at Bay Hill. The pro ended up working for AP Golf....yes, that one. The winter seeding was done this week and we expect an exceptional hatch and superb playing surfaces by January.
I am so pleased so many of our old friends have sent in their entries and are coming back......some of you were here the first year of our senior experiment. The course was 50% weeds, 40% sand and 10% something that resembled bermuda....328 I think or maybe just common. Bill Zylstra won going away with 3 over. But you came back and every year we have gotten better and better. I played this morning and played it down....seriously....down. In the tournament we will roll it because during winter we get lots of walkers and no dirt buckets.....I do not want a divot making the difference between winning and losing coming down the stretch.....I have seen that before in other tournaments....in the Open and on Tour they don't get bad lies....public golfin you get bad lies.
We will have a big waiting list this year so if you want to play please get it in nowwwww.
Politics: I was surprised we had a couple of liberals hanging about....but that's ok....one said take him off the tournament list. I am regularly amused at how different professions view politial goings on......I pay attention to who says and thinks what.....its fun......I have studied it for 50 years.....I can tell you without doubt young people are liberal....till they get a job and start paying taxes....middle aged people are moderates then late middle age are conservatives and old folks many times revert back to liberal/moderate......it all depends on where your pay check comes from. I have many friends in the DC area, family too.....they are ALLLLL democrats and vote straight line...... but of course, they all get their living one way or another connected to government or their clients are government.....nothing wrong with this at all....its just the way it is has been and will be. The same observations apply to the "fly over" part of the country....government does not control their occupations and consumptions.....so they are pretty much conservatives and republicans simple as that. Pubs believe in self improvement while crats don't have to. If my income came from the state or DC hell, I'd vote dem tooooo! If I was a state or county employee I would vote dem tooooo! There is no better retirement than fed state or county or city retirement......a bunch of my high school friends who went that route are retired and living well and never have to worry about their funds running out before they do....us self employed have done good but we absolutely have to plan and worry about retirement funds....we have zero guarantees......that is why we bitch all the time but had we gone to work for big brother we would have no worries.....just the way it is. My brother inlaw kicks himself in the ass regularly beause he turned down a state job 50 years ago...he says had he taken it he could have retired at 48 after 25 and be fat and sassy......without a care.....or he could have goten a job as a consultant for ten just for kicks and extra spending money like a friend of his did who took the job.....thats just the way it is......so why didn't Ronnie take a govt job? I could not fly a desk, I could not function where I had to show up for work every day......I was and am a salesman of sorts....I make my own hours and control my own income by how hard I feel like workin and I personally would change nuttin....I'm doing just fine and thats just the way it is. My game suks but thats okay too I had my times with no regrets. I played alot in my 20s,30s and early 40s. My mother would ask when I was going to start working hard....I clearly remember telling her I would when I got too old to play well.....I did and I am.....simple as that. RT
Oct 19, 2017 Politics for a moment then a golf observation. I can't believe how dumb....not stupid but dumb....our politiians are and how bad Trump's communications people are....they need to hire me to explain things so the folks can understand. Trump executive order stopping federal payment subsidies for obamacare was designed for a couple of things. First to get the congress into panic mode to do something.....they are now drafting extenions , minor changes etc. Trump says no extension of the federal payments to insurers but he screwed up explaining....he said " the subsidies are making the insurance companies rich...too rich" Here is what I am sure he meant:
Obamacare subsidies pay for the pollicies for those who supposedly can't afford premiums.....so Harvey goes down to sign up for insurance, he finds out it is freeeeeeee.....so he loads up with a zero deductible policy.....the federal govt pays for it......the insurance company knows this and charges 3 times what it ought to cost.......THIS is what Trump is talking about but doesn't explain so he gets tagged as mean and nasty towards the poor. I have close friends, even family ..... who took and still take advanage of the system.....one friend told me he got the cadillac of all policies and it costs him and his wife 85 dollars a month to upgrade to the best money can buy.....errrr the government can buy.....when he paid out of pocket for insurance he bought a catastrophic policy with 10,000 deductible....now he gets a zero deductile for 85 dollars a month! And we pay for it! THAT is what Trump is talking about but can't explain.
Golfin: I had the opportunity to play Grandfather CC last week....twice! I have to tell you guys, it is absolutely one of the greatest pure golf courses I have ever played. The entire facility from course to clubhouse to community is really unique and special. It costs a bloody fortune to belong but worth every dime in my opinion. Only downside is it closes late October and will stay closed till Spring. But hey if you gots the bucks to belong and play for six months then you gots the bucks to belong to another place farther south for the winter right? I think one of the reasons you don't hear a lot about Grandfather outside of NC is that it is a tough ticket and if you can get a ticket its expensive. I have a couple of friends who are members and I look forward to getting another play at one of the greatest courses I have ever played all things considered. They hosted the NC Senior Amaeur a few weeks ago and the scores were skyhigh....so they do share the course time to time which shows they have class.....all high. I think many of America's great courses share the course now and then for state and regional events....those who don't share now and then really aren't great are they? RT
Oct 10,2017 Lets have some fun. Politics are fun these days. From a young age I learned quickly that if you get involved in political commentary you can hope to only piss off half your friends and audience. What qualifies Ronnie to do a political commentary? I interviewed George Wallace one on one in the 70s before he got shot. I have interviewed senators, governors and city commissioners. All this was aired......okay okay it was on my own radio station but hey in those days I used to say "its my radio station and I can say anything I want, political correctness be damned" Yes thats what I used to end my shows with. Anyway, Trump is providing fantastic entertainment these days. I have no idea what makes him tick.....I do know how to get him all wound up, just criticize and he goes nuts. I do believe what he wants to do tax wise is all right.....but I still think he has a hard time explaining why what he wants to do will work. I listened to his speech in Pa tonight. He said we will give instant depreciaiton for new equipment, tax breaks to small business etc. What he did not do was explain the trickle down.....for example, if you give me an instant write off for my new car I use in business......lets see who benefits.....the salesman who sold it to me, the dealership owner the salesman works for, the insurance agent who gets to charge me more..... his office people who keep up with the paper work.....the landlord who owns the building......the truck driver who delivered the car across country, the fuel dump that sold the diesel to the trucker, the clerk in the station who rung it up.....the guys who built the car, the guy who painted it .....the guy they bought the paint from.....on and on and on.....no tax break and I don't buy a new suburban every two years simple as that. I ride it till it dies and that cycle only happens every 8 years instead of every two. How abourt the NFL guys who will not salute the flag or anthem......I hate the trickle down effect of that. I heard tonight right here at a Boone high school game last week the players refused to take the field till after the anthem......these poor down trodden ball players in the NFL, making more money in a year than most of us make in a lifetime are protesting life in America.....perhaps they should play in the North Korean Football League and play for food. I personally am not watching NFL at all, I quit for now. I do not know when I will watch again. I am sure I will, cause sometimes thats all that is on. I think the damage is done.....this is the same league that black balled Tim Tebow because he was religious.....the same owners, the same people in charge......the same coaches......a close friend of mine told me about Tebow when he was at the Jets......there is no way they will give him a chance to play because they don't want to look like fools for not playing him if he does good. That's what happened at Denver. They stunk the place up, and finally the coach gave him a try when the season was lost......he turned the crippled up team immediately and took them to the playoffs and actually beat Pittsburgh in the first playoff game before getting drummed by New England.....everybody got drummed by those guys......but that did it.....despite half the starters hurt and out Tebow won and won and won but they dumped Tebow, he got shuffled off to the Jets who were afraid to play him despite a losing record.....Eagles refused to play him despite a losing record.....that was it......his religion was shunned by coaches and owners and players......the same crowd who refuses to acknowledge the national anthem today. The American pblic has hit them in the pocketbook lately and they are changing but its too late their true feelings are out there for all to see.....the hell with nfl. RT
Sept 14, 2017 Us folks in the southeast haven't been paying a lot of attention to the Golf Channel the last couple of weeks. I really appreciate so many friends around the country calling and texting about how we are doing during and after the storm. As concisely as I an put it here's status of our area. Suzanne and I grabbed her mother from Palatka and took off for our house in NC last Thursday morning. I took in all the deck furniture at our beach house put down all my overbuilt shutters. Assuming I would lose electric I left gate unlocked. We tried to make it all the way from the beach to Mountain Glen but couldn't do it. Traffic was worse than the news depicted. We dove off 95 around Savannah and went back roads all the way to Orangeburg SC where we luckily got a room. That is normally a four hour trip. It took 8. We got to the high country the next day that took another 6 hours. 14 driving hours that normally take 8. Like everybody else we watch TWC for the next week. Crescent Beach got whacked Sunday by a tornado that totaled many condos on the beach and a couple of houses severely damaged. It hit my house (which I have no insurance on) but I built it tough and strong.....manageable risk.....I lost soffits on the ocean side, it ripped off my rain gutters but other than that no further damage and I have a contractor friend who has already fixed. The big deal is water blowing up into your attic and wetting the sheetrock in the walls and ceilings. I had the attic spray foamed 8 years ago with heavy closed cell foam.....that worked, kept rain water from getting into attiic. My neithbors suffered big time water intrusion they had regular insulation and no metal storm shutters but they have insurance. I would rather spend the insurance money on making the beach house bullet proof. That dice roll may come up snake eyes one of these days but so far so good. Electric was off on the island for 4 days. Freezers melted, people had no ac, no gasoline. Myyard man called saying he couldn't mow cause no fuel and he only had about 30 miles left on his truck. That afternoon he said the Lord answered....he saw a fuel truck going down US 1 and followed it. Luckily it stopped about 10 miles down the road and he was first in line......a good gamble....us crackers know how to survive......Irma didn't do much damage in northeast Fla, it was the twisters that ripped roofs, power poles, trees. In Palatka they were without power for 4 days as well and things were pretty tough they tell me half the town is back on now. The golf course suffered severe tree damage......Andy says trees will not pose a hazard for years to come we will have to replant or just play it like it was built.....few trees at all like Oakmont, Oak Hill and the like where they have removed thousands of trees the past few years only in Palatka we have let Irma do it. The new putting green many of you helped build is going great.....Andy has mowed several times and has verticut already.....number 11 is just as good. So far the project is a 100% success!!!! We will overseed the first week of November. The course right now is the best shape for summer I have seen in 40 years when Dwight Kummer was the super. Good shape in the summer means a better overseed for winter. We are in such good shape the FSGA has scheduled a state junior championship of some sort for January I am told, other groups from north Florida are booking outings for 2018.....we are excited. Build it and they will come.......errrr so long as its cheap......and as you know Palatka is cheap but we are good for the money. PAlatka itself suffered severe tree damage all over town.....the only upside is we have a whole new electrical system being built. Golfwise I am playing in NC every day its above 65 degrees....this is Palatka north....cheap and really good and a good game 7 days a week with roughly 40-50 guys who drift in and out every day.....we usually have 12-30 guys on any given day for a 23 dollar game. I have been able to break even so far this summer.....this place is just like Palatka was 40 years ago.....everybody here plays ...... store owners, farmers, retirees, all ages from 20-80....everybody plays.....everybody plays and plays hard. The only industry now is Christmas tree farms....Newland NC is the Christmas tree capital of the world they ship roughly 3 million trees a year out of here I am told....everybody with an acre or more plants trees so guys have plenty of time to play. We have regulars from Boone and even Johnson City an hour away they drive here for a game and good golfin on any given day. We have roughly a dozen scratch players in the bunch...another dozen single digits.....the rest are 10-15 for the most part.....in my old age I am clinging to a 7 and with 7 I can break even against this crowd....man they take their golfin seriously......these mountain greens are fantastric but crazy to read maybe in a couple of years I will know putts that look left actually go right. Thank you all for calling and asking I appreciate the concern. I tell clients from the north all the time , hurricanes down here are like blizzards up there......the news people over blow it and we simply deal with it down here like folks up there do in the winter.......common down this winter and play Palatka its gonna be good......and cheeeeeeap.
Wanna know more about where I am hiding out......google it....Mountain Glen Golf Club Newland, North Carolina RT
Aug 30, 2017 I am sad right now and I gotta write a little about it. I have laid to rest 5 good friends in the past 12 months, the latest is one of our Azalea players, Scott Dickstein who was taken off life support today. Doctors say he will not last a day or two. He was a type A personality, was a Will Rogers of golf, he never met a stranger and never met a man he didn't like. He was one of the first contributors to our putting green fund and it was a very large contribution. I played with him two weeks ago. He was missing short putts and shanked a couple of shots totally uncharacteristic for a 75 shooter. His wife asked me what was going on with Scott....I told her I thought he was just going through one of those old age funks at 64 when your game changes.....he would get it back in the slot in time I thought.....A week later we found out why he was having trouble with his game.....he collapsed and they found he had a brain tumor.....he was operated on and was doing fine the next day but as often happens threw a clot the day before being released from the hospital. I talked to him via text that morning....by that afternoon he was in a coma and long gone just like that. Golfin aint fair and neither is life my friends, none of us know when we will catch our last fish or hit our last shot. I am missing Scott real bad he was one of those guys you just loved to play with. Our last round together was an alternate shot affair and I had hit a 9 iron on the last hole a foot, I atayed in the cart while he went to tap in....he jerked and hit the putt 4 feet past the hole....I am so thankful I didn't say a word except "damn partner I hate 4 footers on the last hole," I made it and he walked off the green like a deer in the headlights...neither of us discussed it on the way to the clubhouse.........I know now why he was so quiet....I think he knew something wasn't right. A few days later his world came crashing down.....his wife's world came crashing down. I will miss him a lot. The great Ted Smith died in a tragic accident just about a year ago, he was our first large conributors and former Sr Azalea champ. Most of us knew Ted and we miss him dearly as well......I hate getting old I thought the golden years would be fun.....they ain't so fun afterall. RT p.a. the putting green in Palatka looks great and we shold be putting on it within a few weeks.
August 18, 2017 Ronnie's equipment commentary: like most of you I have always been an equipment fiddler. I still test balls by going out on the golf course....that is the only place you can really tell the difference in how far they fly how far they roll how well they chip etc. I have a couple of friends who have gone to the Macdaddy wedges by Callaway. I tried them off and on and finally ordered a 56 and 60. let me tell you boys, those wedges cut through the hay better than anything I have ever used. It takes some getting used to cause you will blast it by the hole at first cause the club cuts through that 6 inch long stuff around the greens so well.....no wonder Michelson chips it so well. I give these wedges the five azaleas rating. I am still a big fan of the Callaway jail bird driver......I swear it goes farther when hit a whisker towards the toe. I see more and more in good player's bag....I think it was a quantum leap for Callaway. Here's my big question about the jail bird: after trying four different shafts and flexes I have settled on the Haszard (sp?) stiff.....how come the stiff goes better for me than the regular? I swing it 80-85 tops.....somebody explain that one. I have guys with regulars who hit those farther than a stiff and farther than me and it makes no sense.
I have tried various cut sole irons by several different club makers and the results are all the same.....uncontrolled distance. Take a 7 iron with that hollowed out sole to give it spring effect.....one time you hit it 140 the next thing you know it jumps 160.....now now, this is in my case at 80mp driver speed I'm afraid to ck my 7 iron speed.....its getting to the point I don't need but one short iron the 7,8,9 all go about the same these days. I'm still on the Apex heads with f3 recoils....most consistent irons, not longest at all but most consistent.....like I tell kids these days why you gotta swing so hard? You got a whole bag fulla clubs. Take a bigger one and swing easier your back will last longer.
I do really like the Titleist hybrids. I cashed out a ticket and got a 5 with a Diamana reg 70 gram flex....I can work it left and right, high and low and it goes really good. I actually hit it on the green most of the time from 160-168 yards or so. Wow, it seems like yesterday I could push a six iron to 180 if I had to and cruised it 170......times change. I have tried out the 3 but so far I don't get the same feel as the 5 gives for some reason. SHOES: Ronnie has never liked the soft shoes like Freddy wears....I never got the support my fat ankles needed....those softies always felt like I was trying to hit it with roller skates on......anyway at the Timuquana Sr this year they gave us a pair of Footjoy SL Pro shoes.....I was skeptical as usual since they were so light....just another pair of tennies with rubber spikes......how wrong I was.....I love these things....they weigh nuttin, they give me good support and stick like glue on hills. My Classics and Dryjoy Pros are on the shelf for now.....speaking of Acushnet products.....Titleist balls are still my favorite with Callaway Chrome Soft really close...depends on temperatures....when its 60 or below its the soft at 70 and above its the x....Nooo I don't play when its between 60 and 70 okay?..the V1X is still the same ball it was two editions ago to me....I can't tell the difference between 2013 balls and 2017 balls....they all wear the same, they hit the same. I still swear the Chrome Soft putts better than anything else.....how can that be? My favorite chippin ball is the V1.....so go figure....RT
July 8, 2017 I dont have much clever to say these days, I have played four tournaments since the Sr Azalea. The last was The Picard four ball at Canterbury. Dr Hess played good the first two days but i didn't help much a par here and there he needed which was rare. Hard to help the best SSR in the world. Coming down the stretch I did manage to finish par, birdie, birdie to help him 3. It's in Cleveland where it always rains and is cold....remember the old western song by Willie and Waylon? When they laid ole Poncho low, Lefty split for Ohio.......and Cleveland's cooooldddd.......Anyway, the final round we were in a tie for sixth way back of the lead.....sr and ssr players are all in the same division but they give us the tees...that said ten yards on average ain't near enough, the fifty somethings blew it 40 past even the great Hess....60 by me. Anyway, the final round was typical.....45 degrees, raining and blowing....hard. We started on 12. The great Hess played the greatest stretch of holes from 12-18 I have ever seen on that golf course. The last seven are harder than hard not to mention the conditions. He playedem two under! I couldn't even make a par in that miserable weather......I got us pars on 1,2,3 which made me feel a little better, a counter on 5....then he hit a wood on six from 240 in the rain to four feet and sunk the eagle. I finished off our last four holes ....it finally got above 50 and quit raining. Here's the best part. We finished fourth overall alone, passed all the SSR teams, had low round of the day by four....low round of the entire tournament by two. WE got lap money etc and ended up collecting big....I think we were the happiest team in the field finishing fourth overall. Three senior teams beat us and they all tied for first and were still playing after we cashed out and flushed....we only lost the whole thing by 2 after trailing by 7. Conclusion: I don't think I have ever before been happy finishing fourth in anything.......like John Wayne in Big Jake told the Indian at the end of the movie, Duke told the Indian as he cut off a plug...."when this over, we oughta head up to Montana....I hear the the elk are big as buffalo this year"......the Indian mumbled back...."I wished they were buffalo Jacob"......Duke frowned and said, "yeah, times change". My friends times change and we can't get back yesterday.......take a minute to look at those old trophies for a smile about how it was......and remember, its better to be a hasbeen than a neverwas. Times change my friends, times change. RT
June 20, 2017 My best friend of the past 50 years is on his way out the door. He hung up his clubs six months ago after doctors told him time was very limited. He says he still feels okay but is tired and weak. The man shot his age from 69 to 84 and was shooting his age throughout his 70s all the while taking chemo and all kinds of experimental drugs that kicked his ass daily......Douglas is a very funny man, always has been. He is the one who I told a couple of years ago on the 18th tee, man you are lookin tired.....he spurted out without hesitation: "Hell, i was tired when I got here!" He provides me with a look into my future ...... I hope. He told me yesterday he misses golf but just doesn't feel good enough to miss it much. No man on this earth has played more holes than Douglas the past 50 years. He was good for 9 every afternoon except Wed, Fri, Sat and Sunday when he played 18 and during the summers he would slip out after supper and play nine more on weekends. He wasnt a range rat he just played and played and played. This was in Palatka where golfin was a cult of sorts. Speaking of which, I see Billy Tuten listed as being from Houston, just qualified for the U.S. Senior Open. Billy grew up on the Palatka golf course.....He departed for Houston after the great coach Dave Williams flew into Palatka on the Houston Jet and said "son, I want you at Houston we have some good players coming named Fred and Billy Ray and another kid from Australia named Steve" Tuten signed right there and never came back home except summers to visit and practice, he won two U.S. Public Links championships and numerous national amateurs around the country. He played on and off the tour several years, he was on the leader board of the U.S. Open the final round two different years...he played the Masters.....he is now a high school golf coach in Houston and this is the second Senior Open he has qualified for. Billy Tuten is really from Palatka he lives in Houston now. We wish him best of luck.
June 4, 2017 Dilemma: either I'm getting old and my game is not recoverable or the golf courses are getting harder. The only way to really figure this out is go play the tournaments then come back and hit it at home on the range and see if you can break 80. I just played 4 tournament rounds in the past ten days on two different courses and never broke 80. Came home to my NC hideout at Mountain Glen and promptly shot 36 no problem. Thusly the plot thickens so I have no idea what is going on. I revert back to a converstion with Schwenk a few weeks ago when he declared he was through playing individual events at age 68, he was team tournaments only from now on. I am about ready to subscribe too. My problem is there just aren't enough partner events to keep me busy. So why are my scores in the 80s? It seems that I am able to play 14 holes at par or better on most courses even the hard ones.....but double, triple even quads slip into the lineup. Take Chantileer this past week. The hardest two starting holes for my short hitting game are one and two. My final round goal was to get past them one over....I parred both! Then promptly made triple on the third from the middle of the fairway. Damn. Two quik hits and get me outahere bogies followed then calmed down and birdied three in a row only to make double on 9 again from the middle of the fairway! Get me outa here......okay lets play the back well..... hit a tee ball 145 from the hole barely in the rough......divot.....muddy divot.....yep, double then a couple of pissed off quick hit bogies.....then played the last five holes under par! Slam the trunk and go. Love the golf course but its getting really hard to hold'er in the road for the entire trip. Your hole partner.
Tiger: Well, as I said a long time ago, Tiger is done....it seems all the blasters eventually have the bad back problem....I don't think backs were designed to twist back and forth at a hundred mph for years......Jack never had the bad back, he only bombed it when he had to, the rest of the time it was 80%. None of the old greats I remember had back problems but ALL the current greats have back problems. An old pro told me a long time ago when I was a kid that golf is like a race car. Drive that race car faster and faster and sooner or later you will run it off the track and crash.....keep it fast but not wide open all the time if you want to make it to the next race in one piece. Learn to drive the track, not every race is a drag race. RT
May 14, 2017 As we all get older, we fan feel our games slipping away slowly but surely. For a third time in as many months I have had an old tournament buddy tell me he has had it with individual tournaments. He said he just doesn't have the discipline or patience any more. Yes he has won plenty and knows how to play , but said his frustration grows from missing a shot here an there and making double or worse and that pretty much fries any chance of a good showing in individual play. Here's a perfect example.....just 4 weeks ago my horsie Rob Hess and I won the SOS fourball championship in Scottsdale. He played great and I played good. We won by 9 !!! So I'm feeling pretty good, I made some crucial putts for par, made 9 birdies in 3 rounds....not bad on a very hard course. What I had dismissed though were my escapades in the cactus. At least once a day I whacked one in the cactus , hacked it around then picked up and watched Rob make a par or birdie and I strolled to the next tee with a smile. In individual play, I would be fuming. I had two nine hole stints in Arizona under par but the rest of time I was shooting anywhere from 38-40 maybe worser. I then teed it up in Melnyk's tournament at Timuquana...a hard golf course playing harder than hard. I never broke 80. I was able to play 14 holes every day but on the other four the triples and quads killed me. In the second round I had four birdies on the back side and shot 39. Common mannnnn. Yeah, a quad on a par three with no water nor out of bounds nor bushes. In best ball I would have said "your hole" after the 3rd whack. So here we are in our late 60s early 70s frantially searching for four balls to play in.....but wait a minute I gotta find a partner willing to play with me and my sorry ass game. I have a few lined up so far, Farm with Fred, Canterbury with Rob and Peach Blossom with Doc Beckett. Its tough to find four balls....I would start one, but I am scared of a huge commitment and not getting many guys to play.....some four balls have turn away entries some have a hard time filling. I'm not sure why but I'm gonna study on it some more. Slowly slipping away.... RT.
April 14, 2017 Well, the smoke has cleared and everything in Palatka is getting back to normal.....almost. We have paid all the tournament bills and awarded a ton of prizes to our contestants and we actually broke even this year! The golf course was almost perfect. I still wished we could get more speed out of the greens but we have to remember Ross built the course for greens rolling about 8 on a good day. We had them at 9. I have played Tillie courses that were designed for 8 in the 20s and the course was rolling 13....nearly unputtable. Here's a page form my book of bragging on myself but it is a clear lesson to be learned and I have since forgotten. My first try at the Sunnehanna Senior, I got in as an alternate at the last second. Never saw the course. I distinctly remember playing super conservative. Made sure I was on the front of every green and lagged every putt outside ten feet for the first 49 holes. I found myself in the leader group just a couple of shots behind the great Paul Schlacter from Pennsylvania with 5 to go. I knocked one in from 20 feet on 14 and it was the first putt in 3 days I really tried to make outside 10 feet. On fifteen I yanked my tee shot in the bunk by 13 green....uggglyyyy.....I thought about the next shot a long time and decided to do what Arnold Palmer once said. Only take a stupid chance if it is to win the tournament. I pulled out a four iron and hit it between two Christmas trees about 40 yards infront of me. Nutted it. Had a six left to the green but bunked it on the downhill short side. Had a 12 footer for par but uphill. Made it. Still one down, 3 to go. Had another 20 footer on 16 uphill running away to the right....decided to try and make it. Even with two to go. On 17 had a ten footer uphill breaking its neck left up the hill. One up on 18 tee. Yanked it in the woods then chipped out left handed into the fairway bunk. Hit a helluva shot out of the bunk to 10 feet above the hole. Paul got easy par. I have this ten foot down hill slider to win. Decided to lag for the tie and take my chances in extra innings. I hit it on the front of one and lagged up for par to tie. On two I nailed a four iron ten feet. Hardest hole on the course. Paul did not hit the green and hit a tough chip outside me. He missed I lagged again and walked away. Miracle in Johnstown. I lagged for 51 out of 56 holes from outside ten feet.
Over the next ten years I have returned but only threatened twice. My mistake? trying to make putts on a Tillie golf course rolling 13 maybe 14 sometimes. I still think I can attack the course and I cannot no matter how good I hit it, no matter how good I am putting. Every year I walk away saying what did you do ..... again....?? I will go back maybe and I will attack again and I will shoot myself in the foot again. My wife says correctly I have a hard time learning lessons even when I am teaching the course.
Now here's a new quandry. I joined The Conservatory in Palm Coast late last year. A bunch of my buddies quit Marsh Creek and went there for a good game couple a days a week and great greens that roll like pool tables. Good practice for playing up north in summer tournaments. Watson designed the course and it is stupid hard. I keep thinking I can learn it and play well. My average score even after 6 months is 80. The fairway bunks are pot holes so deep and so soft that getting in one is auto bogey probably double or worse. Green sides are just as bad. Every green is up in the air and hard to hit. On first look it appears great but the more you play it the more difficult it gets. The fairways are classic punish the short to medium hitter and reward the bomber with rolling artificial hills in the fairways at 210 off the white tees. My tee ball hits into the upslope and dies right there leaving me with 3 wood-5 iron in on most holes. Ten yards farther on the fly and it runs 50 yards down the back of the slope and a reasonable short iron 7-pw. So, instead of cruising the driver and keeping it in play I find myself jumping off the ground trying to fly the hills.....do it now and then but so many shots wind up in the pots left and right in the landing zone.....thats the other thing , the bunks are at 200-220 off the tee right in my wheelhouse. Longer hitters don't even know those penalty boxes are there. Result: 80 most every time and pissed off. So, whats the upside? I recently played the SOS fourball in Scottsdale with my friend Rob Hess.....the great Hess. The only shots I hit close in 3 rounds were wedges and I only hit 8 I think in 54 holes. The rest of the time it was like my current home course.....3 wood - 5 iron in. I was able to save par most of the time when Rob got in the cactus. I was able to can half a dozen from off the greens. So it paid off to a degree. I went back to my new nightmare course yesterday thinking I am playing good now.....wrong.....it punished me real good. I made par or birdie every hole with 7 iron or less in, made several doubles and 4 bogies with 6 irons and longer. If its not a perfect shot it just richochets off to who knows where to an impossible up and down. Maybe its just my old age I don't know but I do know I am getting more and more fond of best balls instead of individual play anymore in these twilight years......your hole partner. RT
Feb 10, 2017 As the ball rolls and the world turns. I tell ya boys, its tough getting old and wanting to play well. We had a withdrawal this week from a good friend and regular player in our tournament since year one. He is also a former ssr winner, not only our tournament but sos tournaments and state championships too. He withdrew this week saying he blacked out, fell face first on a cart path, smashed bones in his face and hand.....damnit......he says doctors cannot figure out what happened and neither can he...damn the bad luck. We had many regrets this year, all kinds of injuries from torn rotator cuffs, to replacement hips, new knees, wives with health problems, wives giving guys grief...... you name it. Hell gettin old and wanting to play. In fact I don't feel too good myself after tripping backwards over a floor dolly at a Home Depot two weeks ago.....I'm still on the shelf......their manager told me the insurance company would call me within 72 hours. No call, nada.....wobbled back to talk to manager a week later, she said she would call them again. Can't swing, can't do much of nuttin except go see doctors, eat and get fatter. Even sleeping is tough when I'm sleepy. I'm sure my attorney will say shut up so I will.....I gave them two chances to make it right without attorneys and no call nada.........
So Titleist has come out with a new ball this year. That was inevitable. Chrome Softies advertised themselves as the ball that changes the ball. It has. I have been a Titleist man for 60 years.....when we were kids we saved Club Specials we found for cold days.....remember those things? 65 cents brand new in a big jar in Willard's shop. They were great on cold days....didn't sting too bad when you boned a blade with steel shaft....they were just low compression Titleists I think with a thick cover....you couldn't cut one with an ax..... On hot days in the summer they wouldn't go anywhere. Anyway, the Chrome Soft (..) is a really good ball. It is soft and stops and goes. Titleist claims their new balls will do the same now.....we shall see if I can ever swing again. My ball of choice has been the Callaway softie when its below 70 degrees and a V1x when its above 70. Nothing like a V1x then you hit it right in the mouth. Wasn't it Ben who said how it feels is everything......My new jail bird driver came in yesterday and its just sitting there in jail waiting for me to get out....damnit. Enough whining.
Hey big news! I took a few bucks from our saved up tournament fund and rented some equipment for a day. Andy got all hands on deck with Dana the super and they built an absolutely beautiful new tee on 18. Its 45 yards back from the old tee making the hole a legitimate par 5 at roughly 450 yards depending on how you measure. We measured to the end of the dog leg and you gotta hit it 210 off the new tee to have a peek at the green from 235. If you can roll it down the hill and keep it in the fairway you have to move it 235 to the 200 yard out post. We think the trees in the right corner of the leg will keep bombers from clearing the corner on the fly now which shortens the hole 50 yards or more when you go over the trees. We lost the fartherest tree out in the bend of the leg so its now an easy carry from the old tee thus making 18 a pushover for a good player just a good drive and wedge. That party is over. I'm itching to see how the best players, who are usually the longest players, play 18 now and how they fare hitting 200 yard shots at the skinny 18th with big trouble surrounding the green if you miss. Us shorties should be able to roll it down to the corner and whack a fairway metal to the green or just short for an easy chip. All this is IF you hit a straight tee shot. We had a few long hitters take a look at the new tee and Andy told them to take a cut at it. One guy hit it straight up the middle and was 205 out...the other guy pulled it a tad and had 240 out.....you see, if you can't bend a bomb right and hit it straight or with a draw of any kind..... straight and long doesn't help cause the green is 90 degrees to the right....hit it straight away 300 or straight away 230 and you still have 200 to the hole. I think lots of long hitters, if they think about it, will hit hybrids straight and leave themselves 200 or so out from the middle of the fairway...making it a nice par 5....The nasty little bunk straight away is now 265 out, but what do I know...ok so you hit it 300 straight away or even 255 or so.....now you have an angled shot requiring a draw into the skinny green or a long high shot over the left bunk from 200ish.........can't wait to see what happens in March. We sodded the tee and it will be ready. Come practice and hit a few off that back tee, its not a trick....its not too far....you just gotta think about it a little bit. If you try to saw a bomb and you get into the trees right you gots problems so you gotta think about it. Ross courses make you think.....most others are muscle courses. Flash! while writing this I just heard Tiger withdrew again.....that should seal the deal of the demise of one of the greatest players of all time.....note I did not say greatest people.....but no doubt one of the greatest players. RT
Jan 30, 2017 So, Tiger makes his debut in 2017 out in California or lala land......Tiger had a lala 36 holes too. My wife said where are all the stars as I was casually watching Sunday because nothing else was on. I think its because the big dogs who don't need the money simply play themselves into tournament shape they don't work real hard during the off season and I don't blame them. The young turks work hard right through Christas and come out in January swinging for the fence. The super stars who did play didn't play much. Phil had a good tournament for an old guy. His resilience is rather remarkable.
From Ronnie's observation deck, I am beginning to see a trend of senior fields getting older in many tournaments. New 55 guys are scarce and our tournament is no exception. I always wanted a balance roughly 35 guys in the senior, super senior and legends each. This year we have 40 in the senior, 35 in the super and 25 in the legends. This is a clear trend as our field grows older and thats fine. My goal should come to fruition in 2 more years. The deck also is seeing a new trend in equipment. I used to see lots of Mizuno irons in guys bags. Driers were all over the board. In the past 12 months I see more and more Callaway irons in bags, Taylor Made drivers still in the majority but Callaway is catching up. The only Nike clubs I see in bags are duffle bags at flea markets.....$2.00 apiece by the way. Me? I am still on the wagon with my 3 year old Callaway hybrids they to me are still the right head and right shaft so no changes. I finally benched my Mizuno 900s with reluctance for the 2015 Callaway Apex which I am still playing. I go back to the Mizunos now and then, they are still good but the new shafts in the Callaways are good real good. My 3 wood or fairway metal 3 , is still the High Heat and is still the best 3 I have ever hit since my Macgregor persimmon of 1968 vintage. I am playing at a different club at the beach these days and either the course is long or I'm getting shorter. I hit the metal 3 at least 5 times a day and 4 out of 5 I get it on the green and sometimes I can see the hole without the pin. Now the driver.....I have bounced back and forth the past two years between a High Heat driver and Callaway Alpha. My youngest brother called me two weeks ago just babbling about a new jailbird Callaway driver he hit at a demo....he ordered one.....I was at the club last week and they had a demo to play with so I used it. I am more than impressed, a 9 degree is on order right now. It seems to go real good with toe and heel hits and when I hit it in the hot spot it jumped which is what I've been looking for a long time. The guys I played with were all taking a cut with it before we finished they couldn't believe I was hitting it with them consistently and every third hole or so, I blasted it way by the pack. When I wacked one on 13 30 by the boys they all wanted to hit it on 14. One of them has one on order. Try one, trust me its straighter and longer than anyting I have hit.....but remember my swing speed is 85 on a good day these days. The shaft was a 50 gram stiffie which I think is about right....a soft stiff....most of you guys know exactly what that is. I may try a regular if it ever warms up again and if I am able.....seems like the older we get the worse aches and pains get. We have had several withdrawals from our tournament lately because of freak injuries and frankly I don't feel so good myself after falling over a floor cart at Home Depot yesterday. Hopefully if nothing is broken I'll try to hit in a few weeks or so....hopefully. Jury is out on the injury. Sometimes you heal up real quick sometimes not.
Talking about freak accidents: my great friend Marty who was just recovering from a bout with cancer last year and starting to play better was standing a wee bit infront and to the right of a playing partner. The hitter toe shanked a three wood. Marty ducked but he got clobbered. Broken clavical and cracked skull....3 days later he got out of intensive care. That was August he is just now starting to play good again. Marty has a new jailbird on order too he tells me, after hitting one at a demo.
Golf balls: Chrome Soft (..) thats two dots .....the first one was a single dot and was too hot for chipping and wedge shots.....anyway, Callaway advertised it as the ball that changed the ball. That was a great slogan and it is true I guess. I see the new Titleist ads saying they are softer ad spin a wee bit less.....I guess Titleist is watching the Chrome Softies sailing out of the shops.
If I sound like a Callaway billboard.....well......I am simply pointing out some observations which I think explains why Callaway is slowly taking a big position in the club and ball industry while others are faltering. The M drivers are obviously good but I think TM psys too many guys too much to be a profitable company. I see few Callaway bags on tour. I think Nike overspent to oblivion, and maybe TM is on that track too.....but what do I know? RT
January 24, 2017 We finally got a light rain this week believe it or not. We got just a little off the south end of that deadly storm that devastated south Georgia. Golf course wise the winter overseed is excellent tee to green and greens are a 7 right now. Fewer dirt spots than ever but still a few.....no big deal though we don't plant pins near the dirt bowls and hopefully we will have those seeded by tournament time. It is a constant war with maintenance to get some green speed. This is true most everywhere and rings true here too. Andy and Dana would love to get me a ten speed but it's like pulling teeth with tweezers. I am scraping around right now trying to extend number 18 tee back another 20 so it will be a true par 5. If we can get the dirt work done we will sod it and be good by tournament time hopefully.....maybe.....30 - 30 chance......
So, who do we have in the 2017 field? I never know who the next Chip Lutz or Z man or Doc Doug will be. We have some newbies playing I never heard of but I can't hear much anymore and I travel little these days and I certainly don't make the leader group any more. I can tell you we have some pretty good sticks from Alabama, California, Oregon, Canada and throughout the midwest and northeast. We have a great sampling of real players I have never head of. Years ago a guy named Chip played and didn't even sniff the lead.....the next year he shot 64 the final round to win by one.....then won it by a shot again the next year, since then he has won the Canadian Sr Am, British Sr Am and U.S. Sr Am.....I never know who the next Chip Lutz will send in his entry. As I tried to do from the get go 9 years ago by recruiting the best I could, I knew by getting the studs to come play our little dog patch the others would want to come and it has worked great. We have the best players in Florida many of whom have places here in the winter, some who are lifetime residents like meeeee. You guys up north never heard of them and that's because most of them still work and can't or won't take off an entire week to play. That is also part of our success we play Fri, Sat and Sunday. Dr Doug Hanzel former U.S. Senior Amateur Champion is returning for a threepeat......we have a few sticks who will have something to say about that. He barely won both times which reminds me.....what is barely? We had a game warden measuring a lobster on the boat one time and he says hmmmmm......this one is barely legal......one of the guys got indignent....."what the hell is BARELY?' It's legal or it ain't! The warden seemed a little shocked at a fisherman yelling in his face but Jeremy had a point. The man then measured every lobster in the boat as the entire crew chanted in unison..... "barely!" every time he measured....he finally got off the boat shaking his head and finally laughed and said ya'll go on but I'll have an eye on you. Anyway, Dr Rob Hess is back after winning the Golfweek Magazine world points championships in 2016 as well as our tournament. He just won the Golfweek January tournament in Orlando so he hasn't slowed down yet. Dr Jim Carley, a former Florida Senior champion, will defend the legends division and this year we have 25 in that division! Doctor Jim will have his hands full this year I guarantee you. We had some fine players turn 70 this year. I have some headliners to brag about in the field too.....like Berger Warner, like John Darr....Fred Peel, Zman is back and and anddddd.....Don Marsh one of the greatest amateurs of all time. Don has won everything for the past 15 years I have known him....he finally decided to give us a go and will be playing in the ssr divison at age 72. Trust me, he will give Dr Hess and anybody else all they want. Don still bombs it 300 dead straight on soft fairways....hits deadly irons and flat out works that flat stick with the best of them. I can't wait to see what the great Marsh man can do on this 5600 yard Ross.
We have several celebrities and legends such as Randy Yoder tournament chair for the Lupton Cup at Honors outside Chattanooga, Fred Silver tournament chair for the senior Porter Cup in Niagara Falls and Marty Carmody chair of the Merit Am outside Chicago. We have one of Canada's best seniors Chris Kelos "the Greek" I can't tell you how many former state champions we have but we have lots and lots.
Many ask why are the scores so high with great players, on a super short course without any real trouble and in good shape? I will toot my own horn a bit here too.....is the golf course impossible to score on? 2 or 3 under wins the senior division every year......??? Not at all....in 1985 I think it was, I shot 13 under in the Florida Azalea Amateur on this course.....Ruji Imada tied that record a few years later before he went on tour.....nobody has really scared it before or since and we have a pile of tour players who have tried their game at Palatka over the past 60 years. It can be done. I keep thinking it will be done as we get the best young players in the world coming in the week after the seniors. Year after year some kid lights it up only to screw it up the final round trying to force birdies and making bogies. I think today's kids don't know how to bump and run, don't know how to "score" from tough lies, from behind trees.....I watch them bomb it 325 on the first hole and be ten feet off the green only to walk away with a 4 sometimes a 5. They swing hard as they can and get away with it 12 times but the other one goes gone gone bye bye.....double or triple, round ruined. Enough of all that, see ya'll later, practice your tee shots and wedges.
January 9, 2017 The golf course is in superb condition with the overseed tee to green. Storm damage has been fixed. Greens are the best I have seen in a few decades but we can't cut them close yet. They are rolling about 8 for an every day speed. Our goal is a speed of 10 by tournament time. A few people have asked me why not faster? The course was built in 1925 and back when Ross was roaming around, they didn't have the grass nor the equipment to go any faster so they could build what some would consider today severe greens. I have seen these greens rolling 12, 13, 14 in the past back in the 80s and it took over 5 hours to play a tournament round. If we got them to sayyyyy 12......it would take way more than 5 hours for the old bucs to play unless I stuck every single pin dead center then it would take a little more than five hours. Looking back at scores of our seniors the past 8 years I think the winning scores speak volumes. First lets look at the winners themselves: Bill Zylstra was the number one ranked senior in the world at the time and he shot 2 over par to win. Chip Lutz holds the record at 4 under for 3 rounds and he has won the British, Canadian and U.S. Senior titles. Doug Hanzel is a U.S. Senior champion he won last year with 1 under par. Weather was perfect. Even meeee, your host, I won with 2 under par and was in a playoff with former senior tour player Doug LaCrosse who has won about every amateur title in the south and Florida. IS the golf course unfair? Is it too tough? Is it long? None of the above. It is short, it is easy, it is fair.....its just hard. Small push up Donald Ross greens, you do not want to be long, you do not want to be short....you have to know how far you are going to hit the ball and like the great Tommy Bolt said, you will hit every club in the bag on this course and you better know where it is going. RT
Dec 9, 2017 Update on Palatka Golf course conditions: We took a big hit from the storm in October, we lost a couple of huge 250 year old oak trees, one was behind the 8th green which crashed and caused no damage to the green, another giant live oak behind 9 tee fell on the tee and tore it up pretty good. Our super and volunteers have sawed it up and repaired the tee. We will not be using the back of that tee anyway. The overseeding was done about four weeks ago and believe this or not, but we had zero rain since the storm till this week....zero. 7 weeks of zero rain. That said, Andy and Dana report the overseed is looking real good, today it is 55 degrees which is perfect for the overseed to get going real good after a good rain Tuesday. As many of you know, Bobby Weed is no longer with us but his influence on the improvements done to the course over the past 8 years will remain significant.
Pet Peeves: I got to thinking about a course here at the beach and several others i play at now and then......I keep going back to build it and they will come.....I have just joined a course that is in superb condition and has been in superb condition for the past couple of years. I had half a dozen golfin buddies quit where they were playing and join there. They have a good game Wed and Fridays anywhere from 20-40 guys all handicapped from plus to 8 or 9. The games are pretty much no handicap team play and it is fun. The course being consistently in pristine condition with fast greens proves the deal, build it and they will come. The courses guys have left i classify as "good enough" according to the ownership and maintenance people for what members play. Guess what? Bottom line, good enough isn't good enough with serious golf players. I want a course is very good shape all year, I want a good pratice facility....not a range thats good enough. I see too many clubs keep the course "good enough" for higher handicappers, hit and giggle type member play......people who took up the game late in life and don't really know what great condition means.......these clubs also concentrate on food, parties, socials etc that sell alcohol and high dollar dinners. This is all fine and dandy but the truth of the matter is real players don't care much about all that best I can tell. In my own survey they, I , we.....just want a good golf course and a good game. Boys, these types of courses are gettin fewer and farther apart. One course in Jacksonville, Timuquana CC has it all, a fantastic conditioned course, superb food and beverage, member events etc and it is reasonably priced. Guess what? They are thriving. Imagine that. No, I am not a member there but have several friends who are. The new place I joined is picking up new members left and right and they are players! The place I left is kind of flat best I can tell. I was there for 25 years it was just time to move on I became tired of greens that were good enough, fairways and fringes that were good enough, traps that were ankle deep in sugar. Okay, lots of guys ask me how much I play in Palatka.....I would guess 10-15 times a year.....there is no game like I enjoy playing anymore. I truly wished there was I would play but I don't have time to organize it and run it. Where I joined recently there is one guy who runs the game every wed and friday......he makes the player list of who is playing he schedules the tee times, he makes the pairings. He is a player, 61 yrs old and scratch , he understands what it takes to keep a good game going and is willing to put in the time and effort. Some of the guys are trying to organize a game for Saturdays and I think it will come. We had a guy like that in Palatka a long time ago, then he had a predecessor. The game ran for 30 years but once Johnny quit doing it the game fell apart and never came back. IF RONNIE owned a golf course, I would get me a "game manager" who would recruit and run a game Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays for lower handicappers, tuesdays, thursdays sundays for ladies and higher handicappers. He would make a big difference....oh, the pro can do that....or assistant.....no they can't.... they have too many other things to do to "keep it going" which isn't easy. Just running off at the keyboard.....and reminding you, in our world good enough isn't good enough RT
Dec 1, 2018 Gentlemen, this is the first instance of a golf course textwreck I have ever heard of. One of our players who has been with us since our very first year reports he has a whiplash and neck injury and may have to miss this year......he is going to enter anyway since I give refunds and he hopes to be able to play by March. He says he was in his cart sitting still when a fellow player was driving a cart and texting and ran into our guy wide open, no brakes......he got whiplash and other injuries. Folks I can't make this up......I have no other details but this is scary. Beware my friends. I have quit texting and driving....if I gotta talk to somebody I call instead of texting.....text is great when you do not have a critical time frame. I find my business associates in the real estate industry are using text more and more for showing appointments, info reaquest you name it....it works best of anything better than voicemails. I have no problem with guys who still work and use their cell on the course so long as they do it in a reasonable fashion occasionally but I do have a problem with a guy who is on the phone the entire round. I turn my ringer off and check messaes or texts whenever we have to wait on a bunch of old farts to putt, I check at the turn and as soon as finished......that's it. So if you are after me today, I'll get back to you after 4 when I walk off 18. AND I will not be texting on the course, can you imagine calling your insurance agent and telling him you just put a guy in the hospital with a golfcart and it was your phone's fault? RT
Nov 28, 2017 now we can get back to golfin instead of eatin....not much to talk about golfin wise but they say Tiger is making a comeback.....humbug....he can't putt like he used to and ain't never gonna putt like he used to....lots of kids hit it farther so he lost that advantage too...Tiger is done as a force in golf and it all came down to women on the side........in the final analysis that was when it started to slide.....back in old days the tour guys could get away with it but not today in the age of 24 hour news and sports coverage.......that's that......But hey, there is lots to talk about in politics: So that wackjob Jill wants to have a recount.....fine, at least tell the truth that Hillary is paying wackjob Jill to order the recount. Jillary claims her computer experts think Wisconsin, Michigan and Pa were hacked and tampered with by the Russians.......key word is the computer guys say it could have happened......well boys, if the numbers get turned upside down and a big fight erupts who is to say those so called computer checkers didn't alter the vote counters after the election so they could demand a recount after THEY rigged the computers????? Why the hell we need computers for votin anyway? What's wrong with counting the chads? By hand.......it only takes a few weeks......think of all the ads the TV people could sell while watching the counting going on all over the country. What a circus! Here is what I think really happened......Hillary's computer people hacked hard as they could, the ground people got as many dead voters to vote as they could, they rounded up illiterates, illegals, dogs, cats you name it and hauled them to the polls.....they loaded up all the dumbunny college kids they could and still lost! They are still gagging saying it is impossible Trump won those midwest states......impossible after they rigged as hard as they could so lets recount! I guarantee you Trump won by a landslide in order to win by a whisker....now they are trying to recount and shave down that whisker......this is going to be fun to watch. If I were a supervisor of elections in any county in any of those three states I would see to it Trump got more in the recount than he got in the election.....I would be insulted they have questioned my job publicly............to change the votes would be for the election supervisors to admit they were incompetent from the get go......who would own up to that? Even if they are democrats! You just thought the last 15 months was fun........watch the next fifteen days RT
Nov 18, 2016 I am still reeling from the election results......I lost every bet I made but fortunately nobody wanted to bet on Trump. This amazing election got me to thinkin boys.....I think most of us took exception to Finchem moving the Doral from Miami to Mexico City. I will not watch, I will not buy a damned thing they advertise if I accidentally turn it on and see a commercial. I am also laughing at the stupid move. Just yesterday i read in the newspaper that the NFL is playing a game in Mexico City this week. The teams have advised the players not to wear any jewelry, do not take any cash to speak of, do not leave the room, do not order room service, do not eat the food or drink the water. They are insructing all the players to eat only at the NFL mess hall they have put together for the players and coaches only. This boys about says it all. I hope most of the players on the tour will boycot the Mexico City event that Finchem moved from Doral because he is a big Clinton supporter and doesn't like Trumpster. I can see Ricky raring back to swat one and having to run to the club to change pants. I have played in tournaments in South America and Central America back in the day. You have to be extremely careful today. Back then our only concern was getting stopped and searched by the police.....today I undersand you have to worry about being stopped and kidnapped. If our guys were afraid to go to Rio I can only imagine the talk about Mexico City. I once played in Peru at their national country club and there was a wall around the entire club and course.....there was a manned machine gun nest every two hundred yards on the perimeter. I felt fine inside the wall but when you left your head was on a swivel. Good luck Tom with moving the Doral.....all the best to you and Hillary. Yes boys I did vote for the winner and I still have my sticker on the back window and haven't drawn gunfire yet......St Augustine and Palatka went strong republican. If I go to south Florida I will peel it off. Right now I want to irritate the left. I had to look at obama stickers for 8 years and payback is hell folks and I am going to enjoy the next four years of squeelin and payback. The only thing I don't like is pending prosperity and stability will benefit the squeelers too. RT
Sept 28, 2016 Thank you so much for the dozens of calls from all over the country. Suzanne and I bolted the day before the storm to the panhandle not knowing what was going to happen. One of my neighbors on the beach stayed and reported wind and rain as long as she could. She said the road was flooded and white capping during the height of the storm. Luckily or smartily maybe....... I had underground electric installed to the house many years ago. FPL got the main line up within 2 days and i had power and we came home and the house was just fine, no damage. The big damage was on the waterway where homes got flooded and I mean flooded big time. Ocean front houses if built well had no problems.
So, how about Nike not turing in a scorecard? Rory is driving with Taylor Made now I see by the news. Yesterday I was playing with a small mob in Ocala at the replica course and our group all had relatively old drivers. Two Taylor Mades and one Titleist. Me? I had my High Heater......while we were waiting we all discussed drivers and how the old ones are as good as the new ones. They are all pretty much same same with a good hit. Mayyybe the shaft makes a difference on the launch monitors but I don't see it on the golf course.....how about you? My High Heat is still in the starting lineup after nearly six months....I think it simply hits the ball straighter than anything else I have tried and misses seem to be a wee bit better than my old driver....maybe? My Callaway irons are still the trick man.....I see now Callaway is the number one selling iron....I like the Apex.....the new Steelhead is tricky to me....they go long, really long kinda like those cut sole Taylor Mades....the problem is once in awhile one will jump out of the park. I don't get rocket launches off the Apex irons but they are shorter on average than the new Steelheads. Balls? I have become partial to two different balls. When the weather is over 70 degrees the V1X is my boy....when its gets cooler I prefer the Chrome Soft, simple as that. They perform almost the same same. I do think however , the Chrome likes the hole better on the green. Makes no sense what soever....none, zero. At least two other buddies report they believe the softie goes in the hole better than the X.......is there anybody else out there that has noticed this? I swear the softie does not bounce along the track like the Titleist it seems to hug the ground.....or am I crazy in my old age? Could beeeee.
I see by the Golfweek rankings that our super sr champ this year is leading the world in points, Dr Rob Hess. He just won the last two events here in Florida. Rob bested one of the all time senior greats, the Zman, by 3 in the Oswald in Ocala Sunday. Winning is always great but when you beat the best to win it makes winning more special.
I can't finish up without a word about Arnold Palmer. I am sure today's young people will only recognize the name like we do Nelson or Vardon etc in decadeds to come. Perhaps the Arnold Palmer Childrens hospital will endure, I hope so. I suspect his children will keep it going sgtrong as ever in years to come. Just think about that one thing a minute.....a children's hospital funded by one guy who kept it going and made it an icon? What a legacy.....huge legacy.....how many zilliionsaires in the world have done such? I do think anybody whoever met the man will always remember what a special man he was. I met him several times going back into the 70s at Bayhill, again in the 90s (of course he did not remember me) and again maybe 7 or 8 years ago at Latrobe, he stopped to talk to our group of which his dentist was a member. Billy Turner from Palatka worked for AP and was a personal friend when Arnold Palmer clubs were on the market. Alpha Pappa landed in Palatka more than a couple of times. Palmer hired Dwight Kummer from Palatka as his head superinendant at Bayhill many years ago and was godfather to Dwights sons. Dwight said he always felt like his family was Arnold Palmer's family too and I think that is what made Arnold Palmer a special man for the ages. He used his influence and wealth to benefit others in many ways. He will be missed, but trust me on this, he did not miss a thing. RT
Sept 26, 2016 today is a sad day for all of us and you know why. I met the man several times, at Bay Hill in the mid 70s.....at Latrobe CC ten years ago. He took the time to converse a little about this and that and various mutual friends. He was gracious and I actually felt like I knew him fairly well although I didn't. I have and had many friends who knew him well. Everybody spoke and speaks of him the same. A great man who will be missed by all. All flags at all courses should be at half mast this week.....or maybe for a month.
In other news, I had little interest in the Fedex playoff at East Lake yesterday.....I told the guys at the club there was no way Reed or Chappel could beat Rory in a head to head for millions.....ain't gonna happen. Chappel as predicted dropped out quick.....he flamed out with 3 to go....just couldn't keep it on the rails.....Reed on the other hand showed us all a lot of grit...a lot of grit.....Rory just hits it too far too straight and when he is on he proved he can whack all the weeds down when his blade is sharp no matter how much is on the line. RT
Sept 21, 2016 Is it just me? Maybe old age? I'm not sure what it is but I find my grit for individual competition waning. Perhaps its because my patience with the game is getting thinner. I think I am tired of grinding 18 holes, several rounds in a row.....I don't want to go to the range when I finish, hell I don't even want to hit balls before I tee off these days. I get bored with practice putting....if they all go in thats no fun and if I miss everything that's really no fun. There is no inbetween anymore. September is usually my favorite time to go play tournaments. This year I skipped the Porter Cup, skipped Oak Hill and only played Sunnehanna last week. I three whacked the first hole the first day and was ready to bag it right then and there. I enjoyed the course, the weather was spectacular but the play.....wellllll I just couldn't get into it. I found myself wishing it was a best ball so I could take a couple of holes off here and there. After thinking about that a while I discovered my best 14 holes each day was under par but my worst 4 holes each day were way over. Mostly doubles with a couple of bogies each day. Why did I make double? Bad shots? Not particularly. I think most were due to marginal shots that wound up in a hole, a lip, a gigantic wild blob of tangled grass the size of a wash tub sitting out in the rough all by itself....one foot in any direction and I had an easy shot to the green. How on earth does a ball hurdle a stick the size of a cigar then somehow manage to come back up against the stick that if moved will move the ball.....I challenge you to throw a stick down in the grass and roll or bounce a ball towards it from five feet and see if you can stop the ball up against the back side of the stick. A circus knife thrower couldn't do it. I guarantee you can do it with a handfull of errant tee shots traveling over 200 yards if its a tournament. Remember HATLO'S HISTORY? They'll do it every time. I used to be strong enough or good enough (not sure which) to overcome bad breaks, bad lies.....bad shots.....but not any more. Seems like I pay dearly for each these days and that's why I am losing patience with individual medal play.
I can't tell you how many guys tell me these days they wished there were more four balls to play in on a national scale or even regional. Doc and I are playing at Idle Hour in Macon in a couple of weeks.....we had to enter back in June and barely got in.....I understand Crabapple filled immediately. The Farm tournament in June has a loooong waiting list to get in every year. Fred and I absolutely will not miss it as long as we are alive. All the while great venues such as Sunnehanna and other spectacular tournaments don't fill till the last minute if at all. SOS doesn't cater much to four balls. The speed at which Idle Hour and Crabapple filled tells me someting here. We can take 4 holes off and still have a good time. I love to sweat over a five footer for par now and then with my partner in his pocket.....and even if I miss I can look up and say YOU should have made par instead of leaving it to me! The stories of screw ups in the clubhouse at four balls are fun to talk about....hilarious. Individual screw ups are no fun to talk about cause there is nobody to laugh at. Think about that a minute and you know I am right.
Marty does a team tournament at The Merit Club and has a waiting list every year.....great golf course, great people, great club, great format. Why oh why aren't there more four balls? Maybe you should push your club and buddies to start one.....especially in Jan or Feb down south or July up north....July is dead for good tournaments most of the time. Okay.....your hole.
Politics: I still say in my other blogs that Hillary will prevail much to my chagrin. I do believe there is a huge under current of silent Trump voters out there. At Sunnehanna there was notable discussion about the Trump signs all over town in peoples yards but no Hillary at all. One local told us yeah all of Pennsylvania is for Trump except the big cities....and the big cities will out vote the rest of us. This boys is just like Florida.....Trump will carry every county north of Orlando....Hillary will take Orlando, Tampa, Lauderdale and MIami.....they will outvote the remaining 90% of geographic Florida and Hillary will win the state most likely. Had Trump just had some discipline during the primaries he could have won, but he pissed off too many women, latinos, etc. They are basically not recapturable...is that a word?.....Even the Bush family is going to vote for Hill? I understand their disgust for comments by Trump but at least they could stay quiet. How about Kasich? Trump never bashed him much....yet he is in Hillary's corner....common John I thought you were a better man than that. If nothing else think about the Supreme Court.....I honestly think one person could bail out the election for Trump and that's John Kasich......but he is sitting on his hands coddling to obama and Hillary. I just can't believe it. Finally, the only Trump chance there is, lies with the silent under current. I do believe there are millions of us who don't answer the phone at night for surveys.....who don't put on a Trump sticker for fear somebody will egg your car or scratch it up with a key.......that right there tells us all something that most ignore. Repubs do not go deface people's cars with Hill stickers.....but crazy dems will do it. Not all, but a few.....that's because ultra liberals are down right nuts.....ultra conservatives are not.....they are just hard core conservatives who don't take up arms against those on the other side. Your hole......RT
Sept 8, 2016 We lost yet another great friend and friend to golf this week. The great Ted Smith was tragically killed Monday by a falling tree in his back yard. Ted was not only a great player and competitor with national competitions but he was a great person. I never heard anything from others about Ted except that he was a gentleman, a great person, friendly to all, generous and loved his family. Ted's word was good. I talked to him a few months ago about our putting green project. He was enthusiastic about it and pitched in big time and he as always was upbeat and friendly. Ted and his classic grin will be missed by all. Life is short my friends.....go play RT
Aug 9, 2016 We lost another friend this week. Corky Hancock passed away this week after a 3 year fight with cancer. He was a good man. He was an SOS member and when Doc and I met him many years ago at Canterbury he was a real character. He played every tournament he could get into. Cork bragged he played over 300 days a year and had memberships from Adios to Grocille and everywhere in between. He played at Atlanta National in their four ball about 15 years or so ago and walked in the pro shop after the first round and said "I want to join" and he did! I was there. Many times Corky picked up the tab for a group dinner at a tournament, He would take a gang of guys to one of his courses and pick up the whole tab. He took me and some other thieves to a tournament at Secession where he was a member and he wanted to win a scratch 4 man event at the club. We won, he paid for everything.... would not take a dime. He picked me up in his plane here in St Aug and it was one of the greatest three day trips of golfin I ever had. Corky had called John Benson a great birdie man, and told him to get two more that could win....John tapped me and another player from Palatka , Sean Pacetti. We won the putting contest, broke the all time scoring record and Cork was thrilled. Corky was a yankee but he fit right in with us crackers down south. I found out over the years he had put as many as 30 kids through college mostly kids of his employees at his aluminum gutter fitting factory in Detroit. Corky called me a few weeks ago just to talk he said. I got the feeling it was more of a goodbye call ...... and it was. He will be missed by many and was a good friend to golf.
So Furyk shoots 58! Never mind a kid from nearby Jacksonville University won the tournament. Good for Jim, he lives in Jax Beach too. Many times I have reminisced bout how in olden days when the stars lined up just right, we would have that out of body experience when everything went at the hole and all the putts went in. That usually occurs in your 20s and early 30s. Furyk had it happen in his 40s! Good for him. I would really like to see the entire round but they only have shown highlights. I guess the TV only shows a few shots of guys teeing off before daylight.
Politics (first i have no idea what I hit to put this slant in the text....damned computers with tiny key boards that fat fingers dont fit)
So obama paid 400 million ransom for 4 guys.....now wait a minute folks.....as I have said many times I am not convinced whose side obama is on. He may have done it just to give ayatola a bundle.....and why cash? the explanation was ridiculous.....iran wanted the cash cause the terrorists deal in cash and i can guarantee you that money is already at work funding terrorists who want to kill us. obama is an idiot or either an evil genius. I am not sure which. Tell you what I would have done if Iran was hollering for the 400 back the shah paid for a bunch of airplanes back 30 some years ago and never got. I would say fine, he paid for a bunch of phantoms.....I would go to the Phoenix bone yard and gather up a dozen or so phantoms and ship them to iran and say here is what you paid for! Sorry for the late delivery but you took our people hostage during jimmy carter days and we forgot where the planes were. They were runnning when you took our guys hostage at the embassy and they have been sitting in the desert ever since so here you go, debt paid. And by the way if you don't release those 4 hostages you have right now we are coming to get them in 48 hours and if we come, hell's coing with us....you guys think we are the devil? Guess what
Of course if I did that they would be aligning me with Trump and say I am putting America in danger by giving iran some jets. ....................... That wont fly. Wish I had the gumption to go write smart assed remarks for Trump to use, but I'm just trying to figure out how to make a birdie. Wonder if Corky remembered his last one......bet he did. RT
July 21, 2016 How bout the Open across the way????? I gotta tell ya, Phil did not lose the Open, he simply got beat. It is so rare a guy plays great and does not win but it happened this time. Close to the epic battle between Watson and Nicklaus......not taking anything away from Stenson......he deserves all the accolades he beat one of the best of all time playing at his best and that cannot be denied but had it been somebody like Day, Spieth, Rory or Dustin it would go down as one of the greatest tournaments of all time.....the two combatants beat the rest of the field by more than ten!!! Epic my friends epic.
Rough this summer......I am beside myself how nasty roughs are these days at tournamens I have gone to.....now let me say this I hit more than my share of fairways. Last week at a tournament on a good golf course I hit 13 of 14 fairways so I have a right to gripe about roughs. At Canterbury's Picard Cup a few weeks ago my partner and I won the SSR division. I don't think we missed 10 fairways between us in four rounds so I got a right to bitch. At Marsh Creek yesterday here at the beach I hit 12 of 14 fairways. BUT GUYS.....what is going on with supers these days? The rough was so bad in Tallahassee we lost balls one step off the fairway no way to find it unless you stepped on it.....at Canterbury the roughs were 4-6 inches tall I remember hitting two shots out of it but with hybrids up north the ball comes out just fine.....not so with bermuda.....at Marsh Creek if you are one foot off the fairway you have to claw it out with a short iron.....whyyyyy? Stupid what the supers are doing......new players get frustrated and quit, kids get frustrated and quit....new prospective members walk away saying to themselves no way I'm joining here......where is it written that roughs have to be a severe penalty? This my friends is stupid as stupid can be. In Tallahassee last week at a Light Scratch Tour event I went to, I lost a ball that hit the edge of the green and one bounced into the hay pin high....we never were able to step on it. I think I'll take snow shoes with me next time. I ask you supers this....what are you trying to prove? Not one member of our course here at the beach likes the tall rough....not one. I told the super it costs not a dime more to mow it at 6 inches than it does at 2.....you gotta mow it no matter so lower the mower....hell put it at one and mow every two weeks instead of once a week....common mannnn, if we are going to grow the game we gotta adapt to new players or one of these days there will be not many golf courses and the fewer there are the more it will cost to play and the more crowded they will be.......think about that a minute before you stay silent about horrendous roughs. RT
July 1, 2016 standard golfer greeting: So how are you doing? I'm doing fine, how bout you? I'm good. How is your golf game? As if your buddy really cared he will always ask how you are playing. I hate it when people ask me how's the game. Hell, I don't know from one day to the next these days if I'm playing good, bad, fair ....I don't even know if I'm playing tomorrow for crying out loud. My new standard answer is "my game stinks, I stink....but I'm still playin"
So, what's the word from the herd? I just came back from Beachwood and the Picard Cup.....I talked to dozens of guys who know their way around a golf course and tournament play. It was absdolutely unanimous.....the USGA rules people at the Open should be quartered and drawn. They upheld their reputation for stupidity in the ultimate situation. Nobody can believe the rules committee, the rules guy on site.....rules anybody......they tell Dustin Johnson they will review the tapes when the tournament is over and decide whether to penalize him or not....stupid stupid stupid. Unfair to Johnson and unfair to the competitors. Nobody knows what the situation is. Nobody knows how they stand. Common mannnn. I have been in a last hole situation many times where how I stood dictated how I played the hole. I have gone for broke and pulled of impossible shots to win, I have also gotten the broke bit too. I have been leading by two and played for a safe bogey and make the other guy make a birdie to tie if he can.....he usually does not. I have played for par leading by one, taken big chances coming down the stretch being tied and knowing my opponent isn't going to falter. How you stand dictates how you finish....the USGA left everybody hanging and then.....then.....made the wrong deciison, probably based on the fact Johnson won by several shots and their final ruling made no difference. Sounds like the administration huh? I have no defense for USGA rules at the Open and nobody I have talked to is defending or making excuses for them 100% of my golfin discussions agree. My hat off to Johnson he performed above and beyond in a pressure cooker with not only worthy opponents but with a rules commitee working against him too. I have a whole new respect for him, hats of boys the man deserves more than great respect.
June 23, 2016 How many of you watch much ladies golf on TV? I would just soon watch paint dry or an ACC football game. I have never had much interest because back 40 years ago I played with Nancy and Donna and Marlene in some pro-ams here and there. I beat every one of them like a tom-tom. They hit these rolling hooks off the tee, rolling hooks to the greens which hit and rolled 15 feet or so.....their putting was okay but not even close to friends of mine on the tour at that time. So, where am I going here? Listen carefully. Many of us old guys have no idea how far the women on tour hit the ball for really.....they play on concrete fairways and soft greens with fat pins best I can tell, so I have no real idea how they hit the ball these days. I do know the ladies on tour today look a lot different from some of the horses of yester year. Goes for the men too huh? Remember Mr X, Orville, Casper and a big collection of fat guys on tour? Today they are all gym rats.
Meanwhile back on radio road.....I really had my eyes opened this past week. A young lady fresh out of college and the ladies NCAA was playing in our men's game and i got paired with her. She was playing the blue tees! Just for the hell of it, I moved back to the blues I wanted to see how she hit the ball compared to me in my old age.......surely no "girl" could beat it by me if I hit it decent.......wrong.....she was consistently 3-10 yards past me no matter how good I hit it. She and I hit the exact same irons to the green though. She was playing with men's apex Callaway irons with recoil shafts 760 f3....same as me! Now here's the bad part.....she putts the eyes out of it.....never missed anything inside six feet and made a couple of gassers.....yes, she drummed everybody including me, took all the money...... despite the fact I made 12 pars in a row from the blues! She played the same stretch 2 under! Damnit to hell and gone........Okay how big is she? 5 foot six weighs in at about 125 I would guess. She had perfect mechanics and a big swing arc. That my boys, is what golfin has evolved into these days. Yeah yeah the young men this age who can play would beat her handily but if any of us think the women's tour today is like that of our time? wrong wrong wrong.......wished I could be here 50 years from now when today's young bucks get old and have new young ladies busting it by them...I suspect history will repeat itself. RT
June 10, 2016 I am not one to beg much but sometimes the situation dictates extreme measures. Mr Bobby Weed has landed a couple of huge contracts, one to design and build from scratch "the bdest golf course facility in the Palm Beaches" it is headed up by famous athletes and sports figures you would all recognize instantly. He also landed a huge redesign project in the Carolinas....that is all I can say right now. He will be leaving his post as manager of the Palatka Golf Course operaiton this fall. Our head pro, Andy Heartz who doubles as manage rof operations wants to stay on.....and with my and everyone else's blessing. The superintendant wants to stay too. Weed has made it clear he will make himself available for consults free of charge any time we need him.
Now here's the deal.....Weed's going away gift to the course is going to be the remaining 8 fairways (1-8) are to be scraped, leveled, redesigned with Ross in mind and grassed with Champion which seems to be the grass of choice these days for courses with recycled water. He is also going to scrape level and sprig Champion in the roughs about 20 feet from the fairways. NOW, here's the deal......Weed told us he would build us a new putting green at the club house ... dig down 18 inches to 24, haul off all the old bad dirt, install drainage, rocks, cloths and whatever else goes into it.....bring in new top soil, shape design and finish the putting green and sprig with new grass....it should be puttable by early fall!!! IFFFF we can raise the money to pay for materials. Weed will supply his labor, his equipment, his men, his time to do the job no charge. The materials are gong to cost $8500. I have checked around and as I figured a new puttin green averages 25-30,000 dollars for a small one lots more for a big one. This will be a huge feather in our cap if we an quickly raise the dough. If you are interested in helping out, any aount will be greatly appreciated. Just mail me a check made to the "Palatka Men's Golf Association-putting green fund"
I don't think I have to tell you but I will anyway. the course is owned by the city not a single commissioner nor the mayor cares anythihg about the course, they would love to close it and sell the land for public housing but they have a problem....nowhere to put the wastewater......the golf course has to absorb it, so I think this Donald Ross gem is safe for now and the more we fix it up the more play we get and the healthier it will get. I remember in the 80s all to well when the course was in pristine condition even the locals had to make a tee time a week in advance ....so what happened? The city thought they had a gold mine on their hands....they started milking it dry and by the late 90s the place had gone to hell and play was virtually dead. That was when I left and came to the beach to play along with several of my best friends who wanted a good golf course. Weed has a soft spot for us as do many who have played here in the Senior Azalea. We have put dozens of kids on college scholarships for golf, we have produced half a dozen club pros, we produced two superintendants who enjouyed world famous status at Sawgrass and Bay Hill. $8500 doesn't sound like a whole lot but when you are asking out of towners to help locals do something they can'tafford to do .....wellllll........lIf you can help, please m ail me a check straight away. Send it to me
7060 A1A South St Augustine, Fl 32080 make check to "Palatka Mens golf assoiaiton-putting green"
OKAY BY POPULAR DEMAND FROM NORTHEY.....I will rehash a couple of my crazzy happenings over the years and all were in tournaments. Rules officials are sitll wondering about what to do 30 years later. I was leading the Keystone Invitational in north Florida in the late 70s and drove my ball in the woods to the right of number 7. I decided to try and hit the ball throught a small opening to the green......you gotta stay down real good to hit shots like this. I never saw it but heard it and felt it.....the gallery (yes we had galleries in those days of club invitationals)said the ball hit a small tree about ten yards infront of me shot up in the air hitme on top of the head and bounced into my bag on the cart. No, I don't remember much more about it except the pro told me to drop the ball where the cart was and hit it again. You can't makethis stuff up. About ten years ago in the Moot Thomas memorial over in Ocala , I wasn't playing particularly well.....I got to the 12th hole and went for the green in two but bunked it short of the flag.....this thing was a crater man....I tried to hoist it up real high to get it out but I double hit the ball....the ball shot up in the air came down hit me on th ehead then I stumbled around in the bunk and stepped on it burying the ball. The guys in the group were shocked.....what on earth is the ruling on this they said? I proclaimed real quick I didn't know and didin't care. I picked up the ball , threw it in the woods, took my bag off the cart and walked all the way back o the clubhouse and my car. They musta laughed thier asses off at me, I woulda.
Now, lets look at a shot in a big best ball I was playing in in Georgia with Doc BEckett. I was in a bunk again and took a swipe at a ball.....yes, double hit it again! It all happened so quick my short stop reflexes took over ..... yes I played ss and pitched....I was the fattest pitcher and short stop in the history of little league and Baber Ruth ball. Nobody could throw one by me, and nobody could hit one by me....I had the reflexes......now back to the bunk and double hit.....the ball on the second hit kind of popped up and back at me.....I simply relfexed and caught it and in one motion rifled the ball to the cart and proclaimed the runner was out at first! Doc, your hole. True story.
June 2, 2016 Common mannnnn.....this my friends is a political commentary. So, Finchem moves the "Doral" as we all know it to Mexico??????? out of the blue? Now, I know we have at least half a dozen liberal democrats in our golfin family and that's fine if we were all conservatives or republicans there wouldn't be anything to disagree on and that's no fun! But the PGA Tour moves the tournament to Mexico? We all knew Finchem is a big buddy of Jimmy Carter who by most all accounts was the worst president we had in the 20th century. Not a bad guy, but an idiot to be polite about it.....yeah yeah I know he was a nuclear engineer or something like that......he was a street wise idiot. Anyway, Finchem denies the move to Mexico had anything to do with Trump....really? Really? I don't care if you like Trump or not, this was really stupid.....and does anyone believe Finchem did not let politics enter in to this?????.....Even my demo friends are shaking their heads......Doral is a huge tradition in this part of the world, moving to Mexico will most likely kill normal interest....I think.....and if I were a player I wouldn't go....talk about a target on your back, man there will be desperados licking their chops waiting for zillionaires to show up in town all around the golf course and in hotels and homes etc. I damned sure wouldn't go....would you? I suspect guys on the list from 125-200 will have a fair shot at getting in cause who wants to kidnap for ransom some kid struggling to pay his bills and not on any collector's cards? I'm crazy? Folks I have a close friend in Texas whose son had a girl friend in Mexico.....one trip to visit he didn't come back. His father (my friend) is a prominent Texas attorney his mother is a prominent society philanthropist. The son disappeared, was a week later found in a ditch with no clothes not even his boots. His truck was photographed being driven around by Mexican police, my friend had photos from a private detective he sent in looking. He went to the state department and every political connection he knew......nobody seemed to care much and told him nothing they could do. He did get his son's body back but that was it. You wanna go tee it up with Finchem south of the border? I think Mexico is a beautiful country but it is lawless run by the drug cartels in my opinion and I ain't goin. IF I WERE TRUMP.....I would have a huge invitational at Doral and invite players from all over the world and put up big prize money. I predict when he gets time he may do just that and if he does he will make Finchem look like the "Jimmys boy" or "Hillary's boy" he apparently is. RT
May 21, 2016 The rattlesnake in your bag. This topic is going to take a while but think about this long and careful. Ely Callaway spent a fortune designing a fairway wood that would not slice.....he was aiming at the masses who naturally hit a weak banana ball especially with the long clubs. His clubs were so successful I am quite certain all the other manufacturers followed suit. The end result has been fairway metals that have a natural hook built in. How many times have you seen guys under the gun pull a three wood into the gunch on the final hole when in the hunt....yank a three wood in a playoff? happens all the time. Me? I am more comfortable choking a driver and taking a short swing to keep it in play than pulling out that snake. If I am 190-210 from the green the best chance I have of getting it on is with the three wood....BUT...I have to have a nice lie, if the ball is down the least bit its a really hard shot...the ball will come out low, probably tail right.
So what makes Ronnie an expert of fairway metals? Gentlemen I have spent at least ten grand on three woods the past 20 years and I hated every one of them...5,4,3 you name it.....adjustable or not they are all hooksters and do not like to fly high off lousy lies. Oh, its just me right? Not so fast my friends. I have said countless times if somebody would build a fairway wood like my old Powerbilt but outa metal I could hit it guaranteed....(did balata help?)....I have even dug out my old woodies and hit them now and then...they fly great and straight but I am not strong nor good enough anymore to actually play a woodie. The misses are ugly and short.
I have been a sucker for every new claim of a better fairway metal. Hitem all, Taylormade, Callaway, Titleist....Sonartech was it that started the spring face revolution? I thinksoooo. you name it. One of my golfin buddies who I think is the greatest fairway wood player since Bill Zimmer is John Benson from Pennsylvania. When I first met him 20 yrs ago he was hitting this thing called an Excaliber....he killed it, high straight and long. I tried it but I couldn't do much with it....that thing was a man's club. Next thing I know he's got these Mizuno fairway woods 3 and a 5. He hit those even better! Since then I have watched him try other bats but none work for him as good as those ten year old Mizunos. I guess no matter how good you are with a fairway metal you are always looking for something better no matter. i only bought two clubs last year, second one is better but still will bite me left soon as i look the other way.
Now to the present....I get emails all the time from upstarts claiming this n that...just like you i delete,......but one i scanned guaranteed money back if not happy. So, I called the guy, had a nice conversation, he swore this club is the magic wand for lousy fairway wood players like me.....soooo I gave it a go out of curiosity if nothing else. Surely the majors could design something this good if they wanted to. But then the Sonartech thing kept coming back....all the tour players had onein the bag in the early days, I got one too....it went like a bat outa hell but it was hard for me to get up....it went like a rabbit on fire when it landed...only good for tee shots for the likes of me and I prefer a driver. I thought who knows maybe this Dean Kanuth is on to something I'kk give it a go. When it showed up I ran straight to the club.....no, not to the range that is the last place to try a new club.....I went to nine a straight par 5 with ob near he green both sides......got out two new sleeves....this my friends is a real test.
My best 3wood punch today is about 200 on the fly....my best. The first hit I started laughing.....dead nuts dead straight nice and high and bounced up on the green. Hmmmm....fluke. My next hit was off he toe my old nemisis ..... same high flight a slight draw went on left side of the left side of the green.....I aimed right and tried to really turn it over....it hooked alright but not violently and settled just a chip from the green....I really started to giggle by now. It was half hour before dark and I hit it over and over......low heel, high toe, dead nuts.....every one of these was an acceptable result. Headed to the Ga Senior the next day I decided it would make the starting line up. In three rounds I hit 2 par five holes in two every day......astonishing....last year I never even sniffed on the same course. My final 3 wood shot was on the 18th uphill from 208.....a loooong shot for me especially up a pretty good hill. I had a lousy lie in the fairway....down a bit....and down hill lie too.....I would never ever pull a wood out for this shot but said what the hell and kicked up one leg and let'er go. Before I looked up I knew I had hit it a groove low and wee bit towards the toe. Guaranteed short of the right bunk right...a little low skunk tailing right right? To my amazement the ball took off kind of knuckley straight at the pin....it landed short climed the hill and was green center.....every body said great shot.....I never told anybody I missed it....and I shouldn't tell you I three whacked it trying to make 3.
I haven't hit a ball since but off to Tennessee it goes this coming week. I will put it in the hands of some of my buddies including the great fairway metal hitter Benson and see how he hits it. If you wanna talk to the "High Heat" guy who sells these things call me or send me an email. No, they did not pay me for this report, nor did they even give me the damned club! But for my worst club in the bag to become my new favorite????? I am a loss for words here.....RT contact Ronnie
May 20, 2016 back from the Georgia Senior at Eagles Landing in Stockbridge. My two traveling buddies finished first and tied for second. Florida took those Georgia boys to school. I actually was competitive for a change..All I had to do was par the last nine holes to finish alone in second. The damnedest thing happened....Lets go back 6 years ago at Honors and the Lupton Cup.....I was on the 8th green getting ready to putt and my nose just started gushing.....literally running down onto the green....by the time we got to 9 I was a wreck and withdrew. It was a long ride home and the next week was bed. This past week same thing....I was sailing along just fine and still struttin after holing a 130 yard 9 iron on the front side...I'm thinkin I can shoot 3 or 4 under the last nine and have a chance.....on 10 I started coughing, on 11 my nose started running....I shot ten over the last nine and staggered to the car....that was Wednesday...today is Friday and is the first day I've been out of bed. Wife thinks I'm a leper. She puts food in the elevator and sends it up....calls my cell on the house phone from down stairs to check on me......She says I shake too many hands at tournaments. I am beginning to think she is right....mayyyybe thats why guys bump fists all the time instead of shaking hands? The champ, my friend Dr Hess, called last night to check on me. I complained I got the flu shots, I got the pneumonia shots and here I am about to die.....he said those shots work on about 90% of the viruses. I am sick and tired of being in that 10%.
So, guys...what is going on with Jordan Speith? Our hero...the kid who doesn't fly it 340 but hits it straighter than straight....the guy who drains everything......the kid who won 23 million last year? Will he be back or take the David Duval highway to oblivion. I have said a long time ago Tiger was done.....still think you can stick a fork in Tiger.....Jordan? We know he has the talent and dedication....but is this year's Masters meltdown then missing the cut at The Players.....is this a sign of mental woes? I am not sure but it ain't lookin good. You can fix a swing, you can fix most everything in this crazy game but one......between the ears....you can't fix the head. I am sure he has been in demand from sponsors and friends making appearances and outings like crazy because he is a good kid.....my advice is to go back to where you were 2 years ago and start all over again. Once you lose it you usually can't get it back.....how many guys ran to the top of the mountain only to fall off and disappear all together....just think a moment about how long Jack and Arnold stayed on top....even Player.....Spurrier says its easy to get there but harder much harder to stay there. Jason Day is pretty special huh? This kid may stay there a looong time....or until his back gives out which it will guaranteed. Nobody's back can hold up under that kind of force and stress. Nobody's back....Nobody's
May 9, 2016 Captain's Log: It's no fun being a has been but its better than a neverwuz and besides that you can take advantage of your long ago escapades......I can usually talk my way onto fancy courses.....I can usually talk my way into big time tournaments that would never let me play on my current record so its not all that bad. Last week at an SOS event outside Atlanta, I even got a fantastic pairing.....in the first round of course......they pair by scores after the first round so as you figured I would never otherwise see the likes of Taylor Adams and Don Marsh. Man what a pairing......on the first hole I announced I was going first cause I would never have the honors again.....I smacked a driver down the middle of a tight dog leg left and watched in horror as Taylor and Don pulled out 4 irons. You coulda thrown a hoola hoop around the three of us..... I dumped my 7 in the bunk then Taylor boned it in the bunk.....then Don's flip wedge.... you coulda thrown the hoop around the cup and Don's ball. Walking off the first green I was 3 down to Don and 1 behind Taylor. I played pretty good from there, Don beat me by 9 that first round and went on to win the 70 and over division by ... 9......Taylor filled his sack late and shot 80 after a double dunk on 16 then again on 17 but was under par the next 36 holes...in fact he was under par for the first 15 and last 37....now that's a pretty tough two holes....... Me? I didn't finish last, goal accomplished.
What a gas it was to watch a 71 year old guy at 6 feet and 175 lbs fly it 300 and straight too. Guarantee you he can't swing it in a barn with those 36 inch arms....I can swing it in a phone booth.....I'm 30 so its like he is cruising a 54 inch driver. His arms don't move any faster than anybody else's but the club head speed is tremendous. All this gets me to thinking about reach....you know reach.....Ali had a very long reach....he could stand 3 feet away and hit Joe on the end of the nose, Joe couldn't even kick that far. Nolan could hum that ball a hundred.....he could also pick up the rosin bag without bending over. The greatest hoopsters had the "reach" the greatest receivers have the "reach"....so what about Taylor back at Radio Road.....Taylor can bang it with anybody even Don....but he's a monster....his hands are like shaking hands with an outfielder's glove ... they swallow your whole hand.....I also observed every man in the top five finishers were long ballers.....I mean looooong. They all have reach. There just isn't any substitute for distance on long wet courses like this one. Now, about courses....I have a friend who caddies on the tour....I ask why don't they play here or there? He says too long.....don't like the grass.....etc.....in other words they pick the courses they like and are competitive on. My problem is these old folks national tournaments move around all over the country so when they say it will play 6500 yards it could play like 6000 if the ball rolls or 7500 if my driver backs up when it lands.....I never know so I have to be content with not being competitive on some courses apparently the tour players do the same to some extent. It was a pleasure playing with Don and Taylor two fine players and two very nice people to play with. Don lost a ball late in the round....went back to the tee without a word....whacked it down the fairway on the green and one putted for bogey no harm.....Taylor when he filled up his sack on 16 & 17 he turned purple but never pitched a fit knowing he had shot himself out of the tournament in two holes....he did finish in the money though and that's what great players do.
Next week? Off to Eagles Landing and the Georgia Senior....I know that course and I can usually compete there to some degree...... if I make all my ten footers....last year we played the first round in the mud....the second day the pro was handing out snorkels but finally washed the entire tournament before we teed off....I have never seen so much rain so hard so long.....one quickie about the first round a true story.....my good traveling buddy who bangs it 50 by me on the 18th was over the green in two. I was a foot away from him in 5 (had a few troubles along the way). Our chips were straight down hill out of the hay and the greens were running about 12. I beat him on the hole by two! And....and....he didn't have any penalty shots and get this....one putted. He skates his chip down the hill off the green then dribbles ten yards down the fairway....dubs the chip.....rolls back in his divot laying 4. Skunks that one up on the front of the green rolls back almost in his divot laying 5. Bones it long over the green then proceeds to chip it back off the front of the green again laying 7. Chips up for a gimme 9. Me? I chunked my chip and it rolled down for a gimme 7. Bombers don't alwayyyys win. The names have been ommitted to protect the embarrassed.....:) RT
April 30, 2016 Movers,, jumpers and switchers......I have been a member of three different clubs now in my 60th year of golfin.....not many moves. Keystone CC was west of Palatka near my grand parents home on a lake. Summers, I would fish and swim till about 4 then my grandmother and I would head to the club for nine. When I got out of college I joined Palatka in the early seventies. I stayed until I gave up on the old classic and city lack of maintenance....it was tired and needed help and Doc and I decided we were not gonna die playing a goat farm even if we loved the farm.....the goats just stunk too bad. We moved along with half a dozen others to the beach and Marsh Creek CC in the early 90s. Been here for 25 years.....but.....a one man ownership bled the course dry....deferred maintenance abounds....grasses reverted back to their rough origins......then voilah! Just as I was going to hunt another golfin home Club Corp buys the course at the end of 2015. Sooooo here I am hooked again waiting to see if they turn the course around.....fairways are wild bermuda and grainy as hell, greens are severely grainy.....not a good practice scenario for good players playing tournaments on fine courses around the country. Many of my friends have given up and left for greener pastures about 20 minutes south. They have some new grass, I don't know how to spell.....I call it pisspalum......it apparently thrives on recycled water which is the big problem these days in Florida.....recycled water.....it is loaded with salt I am told and wreaks havoc on old traditional bermudas. Anyway, I got to thinking how often have jumped? It is a hard decision for some to leave friends, familiar surroundings and the like..... for an unknown. So, you take friends with you....some are reluctant to jump....some say I will if you will.......me? I have decided to wait another 6 months and see if they turn it around or not. I can jump for 25% less money a month and a better conditioned golf course.......imagine a no grain summer green in Florida that consistently runs 12....that is 20 mins south of me.....I have friends too who already jumped......but I have one huge problem.....my best two golfin friends are still here so I shall stay until I can't stand it. We shall see. Just venting a bit......there is nothing worse than a tournament type guy which many of us are , who have no place to practice for ......tournaments......I honestly couldn't care less about playing just to play I want to prepare for competition, unfortunately I am a very small minority....very very small.....best I can tell only two guys are in that category in the whole club....me and
Doc.......how many guys are there in your club? Come to think about it most of my road tournament friends are the only guys from their club who travel and compete nationally......we are a strange lot and who cares to cater to us when they have a mob standing at the pay window happy with an 8 speed and fairways that need a haircut more often than not. Yeah yeah I know you guys north of the line have perfect greens and fairways every day......I agree......but you only get 4-6 months a year.....3 are cold and 3 are hotter than a fever on the fourth.....but you have the best conditions by far......I guess we could too if we were only open 6 months a year and overseeded every winter then closed up mid May till late October. Reminds me, I know you guys will not believe this but I swear the greens in Palatka are perfect right now......the overseed is still there and the bermuda has filled in the holes we saw in early March.....they are running 9.5 and smooth as a baby's behind. Fairways are perfect too......it will change though along about middle of June. Seeding will begin again in October. Meanwhile, I am on the middle of the board seeing how it flexes before I go to the end and take the dive......I wanna make darn sure the pool is full first. I was a freestyle sprint guy....never much for jumpin boards.......oh, yes.....I was......alright a quick true story.....my last quarter of college I had to have a PE credit for graduation.....our assisant golf coach was a PE guy.....I asked him if I could sign up for his class and would he pass me? He said okay but you gotta show up for the swim test at the end of the term and I'll give you a C.....fine with me! Since I was a little kid at Grandma's lake I swam all day long every summer.....raced up and down with buddies all day.......I showed up at the olympic sized pool and had to swim a freestyle 100 without stopping......now get this.....he lines me up with the swimming team!......bathing suits looked like they were painted on.....with golfballs inside......skull caps and goggles......I said common coach what gives? He laughed and said get on the block.....I said hey coach make me a deal if I can beat half of them down and back you give me an A? He laughed again and said sure......smoked their best man by half a link. Of course I was outa shape but at 21 and carrying my bag every round of practice and matches I was okay I guess.....I jumped outa the pool and hollered at coach and said thanks for the A! I walked swiftly to the locker room and collapsed on the bench for 15 minutes.......he later asked me why not the swim team? My usual smart assed self said.....coach, I like doing stuff thats hard like golfin....swimmins too easy.....RT
April 6,2016 Masters week and I can finally get interested in watching some pro golfin. I got to thinking though.....Augusta is a bomber's course....always has been that's why Arnold and Jack did so well.....Why Bubba has won a couple of times lately, Freddy killed'em several times, Tiger did it by killing the ball.....okay so he could putt too....a little bit.........but it is also a player's course. I don't think Omeara was a bomber, we all know Jordan isn't a bomber.....so guys who can putt can win even if they don't bomb it but bombin sure helps. Then I got to thinkin bout bomber backs......how often do we see a career shortened or a bomber who cant play a lick on the senior tour after he did so well on the junior tour? Often in fact. Back in woodie days.....way back now.....I have read Jones could kill it past everybody when he wanted to but usually kept it on the road at three quarter throttle. Jack did the same. They had to cruise it because with woodies and rubber bands the ball could get away too easily. Today Jason can swing 190 miles an hour and the ball goes reasonably straight but how is his back? Already he has problems....Tiger is out.....Freddy has problems in his old age of 55 or so. So you long knockers......think about that....us shorties will keep bumping it around. I keep watching Ricky trying to figure out how long he can swing that hard too.....Butch has his arc huge now.....that is where the distance is coming from. Before Butch Ricky took it inside and low and hit it okay....but now he takes it way out way back and way out through the hit.....results are astonishing. Remember Hal Sutton hitting a mid iron into the 18th at TPC to dust off Tiger? Sutton was no shortie......last year Ricky hit a flip sand wedge into 18. Times change my friends, times change. I want to see what Jason does with Augusta this year he has been pretty good....Rory? I don't know what's going on there either he is getting bored, too rich.....or the new guys are just too good for him to dominate. We shall see. I think Rory's putter has cooled. So has Jordan's this year....will be interesting if he can sink the no brainers again this year like last. RT
March 22, 2016 So, what did the young bucks shoot a week after us old folks tried out the benign 5600 yards in Palatka? The first round a guy shot 65 only to follow it with 73. I think he thought he could shoot 59 and attacked the pins which were the normal tournament pins. A young ladd who shot even par for the first two days attacked the final round and shot 63 to win by two. Once again now going on 60 years, the Azalea Amateur and the little golf course with no real trouble to speak of and simple straight forward golfin saw a winning score of only 7 under par for 3 days in perfect 75 degree weather with young bucks in their teens and early 20s from a dozen countries throughout Europe and Asia and 30 states. The 60 year all time record shot with persimmon and balata still stands at 13 under after 60 years. Wonder who shot that? The greens were better than we played on during the senior for sure. Bobby Weed said the maintenance people could hardly tell the seniors played the course. We left it perfect. The warm weather continued to sprout new fine blades on the greens and they were better than what we had.
March 15, 2016 The ides of March.....and for our volunteers, my wife Suzanne who keeps the money and entries straight....probably the toughest job of all......our staff at the golf course it's time to sift through the rubble and get organized for normal life again.....except for the staff this week the Florida Azalea kicks off Friday.
There were a total of 312 rounds completed for the 2016 Senior.....we set up the course "easy" in my opinion. Short for sure. The fairways were running fairly well and the greens held just fine if you hit a good shot. You could not bounce it up with a mid iron you had to fly it on but missed greens were in good shape on the perfect aprons. Some say I'm crazy but hey, I chipped in 3 times! Okay, so I missed ten greens a day but that's still 3 outa 30.....10%
Congratulations to one of the best five senior amateurs in the world Doug Hanzel for a repeat win. Doug Snoap from Apopka, Fl has finished in the top five three years in a row his time will come I am sure. Both shot 67 the final round Hanzel bested Snoapy by 2. Rob Hess wrestled last year's winner and legend Berger Warner all three days and came away with a 1 shot victory. Hess this year has finished 1st in the Golfweek National Championship at Adena, second at Jones Cup and first at Fla Senior Azalea. Jim Carley prevailed over last year's Legends champ Brian Sachs with 6 over par for the three days. Pretty darned for the over 70 crowd.
Final scores below! RT
|1||SR||Hanzel, Doug||71||71||67||209||Trophy, Bag, Shoes, Umbrella|
|2||SR||Snoap, Doug||74||70||67||211||$ 500.00||2 Dozen Balls|
|3||SR||Elliott, Randy||69||73||72||214||$ 450.00||2 Dozen Balls|
|3||SR||Fritz, John||73||69||72||214||$ 400.00||2 Dozen Balls|
|5||SR||Taylor, Denny||75||70||71||216||$ 400.00||2 Dozen Balls|
|6||SR||Cunningham, Robert||70||74||73||217||$ 300.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|6||SR||Dean, Roger||73||72||72||217||$ 300.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|6||SR||Hall, Jack||73||74||70||217||$ 300.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|9||SR||Kelos, Chris||73||71||74||218||$ 200.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|9||SR||Russo, Philip||75||73||70||218||$ 200.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|11||SR||Zylstra, Bill||71||73||75||219||$ 166.67||1 Dozen Balls|
|11||SR||Anthony, David||80||66||73||219||$ 166.67||1 Dozen Balls|
|11||SR||Mears, David||75||73||71||219||$ 166.67||1 Dozen Balls|
|14||SR||Antoniou, Vance||70||74||76||220||$ 100.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|14||SR||Macy, Kevin||74||72||74||220||$ 100.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|14||SR||Starnes, James||77||72||71||220||$ 100.00|
|17||SR||Russell, Don||72||73||76||221||$ 100.00|
|17||SR||Rollefson, Jim||75||74||72||221||$ 100.00|
|19||SR||Marshall, Blake||73||77||72||222||$ 100.00|
|20||SR||Benson, John||72||76||77||225||$ 100.00|
|41||SR||Sherman, John Q||81||80||77||238|
|1||SSR||Hess, Rob||70||72||68||210||Trophy, Bag, Shoes, Umbrella|
|2||SSR||Warner, Berger||71||68||72||211||$ 400.00||2 Dozen Balls|
|3||SSR||McLoughlin, Shawn||73||71||70||214||$ 300.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|4||SSR||Melnyk, Steve||72||71||75||218||$ 300.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|4||SSR||Smith, Ted||73||75||70||218||$ 300.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|6||SSR||Dial, Frank||73||70||76||219||$ 266.33||1 Dozen Balls|
|6||SSR||TenBroeck, Rick||72||71||76||219||$ 266.33||1 Dozen Balls|
|6||SSR||Howe, Bob||72||73||74||219||$ 266.33||1 Dozen Balls|
|9||SSR||Darr, John||77||73||71||221||$ 250.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|10||SSR||Engel, Bill||70||73||79||222||$ 250.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|11||SSR||Washburn, George||74||73||76||223||$ 100.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|11||SSR||Ferguson, Ron||76||74||73||223||$ 100.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|13||SSR||Schwencke, Kim||76||73||75||224||$ 100.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|13||SSR||Briggs, Randy||77||76||71||224||$ 100.00|
|28||SSR||De Leon, Jim||82||77||74||233|
|LEG||Carley, Jim||75||68||71||214||Trophy, Bag, Shoes, Umbrella|
|LEG||Sachs, Brian||73||72||74||219||$ 350.00||2 Dozen Balls|
|LEG||Liberato, William||74||72||79||225||$ 300.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|LEG||Martin, Walt||77||77||73||227||$ 250.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|LEG||King, David||71||81||77||229||$ 150.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|LEG||Pavoni, Joe||79||76||74||229||$ 150.00||1 Dozen Balls|
|LEG||Rendell, Mills||75||76||79||230||$ 100.00|
|LEG||Kozina, Gus||76||79||76||231||$ 100.00|
Feb 16, 2016 okay okay, another friend reminded me of one of my rants several years ago that warrants a rehash. I entitled it:
The Hustler .... I am an expert on such. I have seen the best there is from real honest to goodness traveling one man shows to traveling teams to local members who are the best there is. The traveling guys used to stop in at Palatka all the time back in the day because we had a reputation for taking on all comers we used to say anybody from anywhere for any amount in the rocky mount.......fortunately most played for no more than a hundred till they figured out the local Palatka gang was more than they wanted to chew on. We had a guy come to town from Houston one day (name with held he may still be alive and I don't wanna blow his cover)......he rented a house, worked nights and played every day. He soon figured out he was outgunned and started picking up guys to go out of town and play other guys he set up. He later moved on to St Augustine where he hustled the daylights out of the "noon group" back in the early 90s. I transferred my letter along about the same time.....he told me to keep my mouth shut and I did till I couldn't stand it. He was wiping the floor with those guys and they didn't even know it. This brings me to the ultimate hustler: You know this guy....you have one at your club guaranteed. He is the guy who wins every club event in his flight.....every time and barely wins by one or two......you know this guy. His handicap never seems to change.....he posts scores like crazy....one good round will not screw up his handicap. He loves games that involve best ball or points especially....you know this guy he can rack up a plus 8 on the front side and still shoot 44. Look closely at his card and he made x7 every time his partner played the hole well, he makes a 7 on a par 3 while shooting two over on the other 8 holes....you know this guy. Chances are real good he is a card player too....he operates the table like a ballerina......bets dumb on small pots but rakes in the big ones or plays them very close to the vest he either has a winning hand or he folds quickly. He knows the hustle very well. He never burns anybody up just keeps nibbling around the edges when he loses he hollers bloody murder how much he lost.....cry cry cry......makes sure they all can hear easily....does the same with this golf game......you know this guy......when he wins he is quick to proclaim he was lucky everything bounced his way for a change.....the best part of it though, he is friendly, likeable, smiles a lot, tells good stories and is always agreeable, volunteers for committees you name it. This m/o keeps his victims off guard....you know this guy ....every club has one......sometimes two and if there are two, watch for them playing together a lot.....if you don't know who this guy is in YOUR club, then you my friend are bieng hustled.......RT
Feb 10, 2016 I asked a friend Scotty for some suggestions on what I could complain about......he quickly respoded which reminded me of some past rants I wrote long ago so here's a rehash. Let's start with slowwww play then the club changer episode. Scotty and I do not have a lot of patience for a guy who is playing his home course, (which he plays regularly and has for years) and takes forever to playyyy. Common mannnn. You have driven the ball down the first fairway to 140 one thousand three hundred and 47 times.....you know exactly how far it is no matter where the pin is, you have played today's wind a thousand times.....yet it takes you 3 minutes to select the same damned club you have hit 1347 times, to shoot the distance for the 1347th time, throw grass up in the air for the 1347th time.....all this and you didn't start the routine until it was your time to hit! The older guys get the more they play like women! If you will go out there on Ladie's day and just watch a little you will notice a habit many groups have.....they all pull up to the ball that is away, they all get out to identify whose it is.....they all freeze right there.......the hitter selects her 3 wood and takes a hit....they all load up and go to the next ball and same routine again.....no such thing as taking a couple of clubs and walking over to your own ball and getting ready to play soon as the other lady hits....noooooo. Old men tend to do the same thing. I suggest to you it is a scenario that they have nothing else to do but play today....zero........kind of like the "person" (not saying it is a lady now)....who goes to the grocery store and doesn't pull her checkbook out of her purse until the entire basket is rung up and the total is ready....then she pulls the purse, then the check book and then writes the check from scratch, then has to chat with the clerk awhile then pulls out her id then chats some more with the bag boy.......this drives me nuts! I submit this is because she has nothing else to do important today......time means nothing. Same at the golf course, the old retired guys hope they can figure out how to stay at the club as long as they can rather than going home and having to listen to it. Step one is playing a round as slowly as they can. Me at the grocery? I have my cash or card out before they sack the first bag of chips and cookies......as soon as the total comes I'm swipin mannn. I gotta go....gotta get home before my ice cream melts.
The Changer: This story is true and goes back about 5 years. I was playing The Farm with my long time friend and partner Fred from L.A. We are paired with the greatest demonstration of club changing I have ever witnessed. Fred probably saved my life that day. This guy on the first hole changed clubs in the fairway....countem now.....four times....four. I swear he finally hit the original club. If he hit the green he would even take several clubs and his putter to the green. The only time he didn't fumble with a variety of clubs for the pending shot was a tee shot....unless of course it was a par 3. On the 8th hole I swear he pulled his entire bag off the cart and took it to the tee....a long very interesting par 3 you hit down on to and depending on where the pin, you have to land the ball accordingly which includes short of the green and right of the green for certain pins. I started laughing and Fred said shhhhhh.....Freddie is polite and a gentleman....me? Well, you know the answer. The creschendo occured on the 14th hole....by this time I was a wreck, we were holding people up, Fred and I were quick hitting everything trying to keep us moving....this is a tournament man, I hate having to quick hit cause some jackass is draggin his ass. Anyway, the club changer has hit a pretty good shot that trickled off the green to the short fringe about 15 feet from the hole. No tall cut behind the ball, perfect lie, it is straight and slightly up hill. Now what are you going to pull for this shot? It's 15 feet. Every tour pro on the planet takes a putter to the hole and that's it. The club changer? nooooooo, he takes four clubs. A wedge, sand wedge best I could tell, some club that looked like a seven and his putter. I swear once he started he didn't quit. He stroked then changed then changed, stroked, then changed.....pulled out the putter than went back and changed three times again after practice stroking each time. I had a five foot twister for birdie I wanted to go hit real bad. Fred was way ahead of me when I started toward my mark. He grabbed my elbow and said no no....please no.....I wispered back I had had it with this clown. I was gonna go putt. Fred said man we've only got a few holes left if you were gonna start a fight shoulda been on the second hole. Okay, I calmed down and so help me this clown finally hit the ball.....with....with....yep the putter....and it went right in! I couldn't stand it and announced "something woke me up , was it the sound of a ball being hit and going into the hole?" I asked the clown "what club did you finally decide to use?" Fred broke up when the guy looked at us dead serious and said.........I finally decided putter was the best shot. He had no idea. Of course my smart ass replied I sure was glad he made it on the first try the sun was going down fast. That went right over his head too......Slow play I can tolerate, club changers? That's another whole deal. Thanks Scotty for reminding me of the "changer" RT
Jan 24, 2016 The making of a nationally recognized senior tournament from scratch with a good recipe but not much for ingredients. The following is a rule book of how we built the Florida Sr Azalea from the ground up. I get calls and questions from tournament directors all over the country regularly asking for advice. They cannot understand how we have a huge waiting list every year and they can't fill with fantastic golf courses to offer. Here it goes in pieces, I will add to it as time allows. I will start from day one.
I tried and tried to get the men's golf association and friends of mine to get involved and let's start a senior tournament. Our Florida Azalea Amateur is a Walker Cup Points tournament and players from all over the world show up every March. I just couldn't get any traction so back in the late Fall of 2008 I told myself I was going to take the bull by the horns, it can't be that hard if I can get some help but somebody has to get it going. The golf course was in turmoil, a city manager and commission that did not know much about golfing operations but was willing to listen. Bobby Weed Management Group was in the forefront trying to work out a deal to take over operations of the course. I pledged to the commisioners I would conduct the senior tournament that will add to the revenue immediately and I would do it as long as I possibly could and Bobby Weed was in the mix. They approved the Weed contract so now my big mouth has me a new day job. Starting a tournament.
1. Most senior tournaments are played during the week thusly many great senior players can't easily play if they still work. I scheduled the first one for 36 holes Sat and Sunday. The next year after consultation with Golfweek we went to 54 holes Sat and Sunday playing 27 each day. It worked out because the pro shop did a heroic job of wrangling carts and pairings on the fly. By the third year we settled permanently on Friday Sat and Sunday with one key factor: 1pm shotgun Friday and Saturday 9:30 Sunday. I figured a lot of Florida guys could drive in before noon and hit it at one. It worked out very well, still does.
2. Recruiting the best of the best to come play from the get go. Bill Zylstra at that time was king....absolute king. I called Bill who was wintering in Ocala about 50 miles south and he said sure he would come play. That got me going. I issued challenges to my buddies who are great players in south Florida. They agreed to play. I had to get help throughout the country so I enlisted a couple of friends Marty Carmody from Chicago who knows everybody and runs a tournament himself at the Merit Club. Told him I needed him to round up some good players and he did. I got Fred Peel to be in charge of L.A. and round us up some players from his scratch tour that plays in lower Alabama, the Fla Panhandle and Mississippi. He did. I asked John Benson in Pennsylvania to help me get some guys from up there with credentials. He did. His biggest catch was Chip Lutz who did not win his first try but has won everything since including two of our titles, The Canadian Sr, British Sr Am, and last year the USGA Sr Am. Kim Schwencke from Tampa stepped up..... he has and still is recruiting players from the Bay Area and as far away as Oregon. I coaxed Bill Ploeger from Columbus Ga to come play he is a former USGA champ I got Greg Reynolds , who winters in St Aug, to enter he is a USGA champ. By going after renowned players we used that as a springboard to attract other great players. Zylstra won the first one, then Rick Woulfe from Ft. Lauderdale won in a playoff over David Brookreson from Huntington Valley in Pa. Those two have their names on clubhouse walls coast to coast. Those kinds of headlines make for a reputation. To help entice some of these great players I enlisted several volunteers including my wife to house some of our most renowned players. Special thanks to Dr Steve Beckett and wife Cathy, Suzanne Tumlin my wife, John and Angela Benson for helping out a lot in these early days and still do.
3. Publicity: From the get go, I called every golfin magazine writer I knew, told them about the studs I had in our tournament. I got us listed in the SOS tournament calendar and other publications friendly to senior golfin. I got the Florida Times Union to do a couple or stories.....that was the hardest thing to do get a Jacksonville newspaper to promote a pig trail tournament in Palatka but Weed helped me get that done. I absolutely pestered the Golfweek people to death about the quality of our field being stronger than other senior tournaments. Finally one of the writers entered and came and played. He was astonished at how deep our field was in Sr and SSR as well. That was a key ingredient to getting us to 1000 points (top status) by the 3rd year which I think is still the fastest a no name tournament in a no name town has every vaulted to top status.
4. Budget and computers: I decided from the get go we would do this entirely electronically, no mail outs , no invitations. That costs a fortune and if my recruiters around the country spread the word and round me up email addresses we can pull it off for free dollar wise....it just took time and my time is cheap. We have never printed a fancy application never paid a dime in mailing costs. All the money saved goes into prizes.
5. Entry Fees: Another factor I looked at from a player's perspective is the cost of entry. I had paid as high as 500 to play here and there and it weighs on you after awhile man. I said let's make it cheap and let's pay big. I got total cooperation from the pro shop which you can't always do at fancy country clubs. We made food simple, fire grilled burgers next to the putting green, hot fries in the grease at all times, hot breakfast eggs and bacon on Sunday morning before the shotgun. Buffet style and serve yourself. It's cheap and enjoyable guys sit with each other and tell stories and visit. Makes for a friendly atmosphere. The first entry was $195.00 we are now up to $295.00 but 100% of the increase goes into prizes save a small ten bucks a man that I give to the men's golf associaiton they use for improvements to the course, in 2015 we bought the first roller the course has ever had. The combinaiton of cheap and good cannot be beat. I hate to pay 500 bucks to play somewhere and the membership couldn't care less and most wished you weren't there. If you win something it is almost laughable. Sure, most senior players are not there for the prize money.......but I never saw but one guy that didn't cash out with a smile. That one guy still donates his winnings to our high school golf team and trust me they need it. When I played high school golf in Palatka we got a shirt....one shirt....that was it. No bags, no balls, no clubs nuttin but we didn't care, we just wanted to play
6. Shotgun Start every day. Now this guys, is one of the most important ingredients. I hate to go to a big tournament with tee times. Old friends I never see, nobody is around to talk and tell stories before or after play. It's like you are playing with only 3 guys each day nobody else is around. I like to visit with guys I don't see often, old friends like to catch up with old friends, have a few laughs. Eat something together go to the range together, downright comraderie my friends is what golfin is really all about when you boil it down to the bottom of the pot. Tee times get screwy, sometimes they are delayed or changed. With a shotgun nobody asks what time do I play tomorrow? Pairings are made after play and come out late......toooo many variables. Guys traveling together can go to the course at the same time. Shotgun makes the playing field fair. I have won tournaments when other guys got rained on and I have lost tournaments playing 18 in the rain only to have it clear and somebody beat me by two in perfect weather that afternoon....that really pisses me off.....with a shotgun we all get rained on, we all freeze, we all sweat together and may the best man this week win.....let's not have the weather determine who has the best chance to win. With tee times, if you finish late you miss the groceries or go to the dinner in sweaty clothes....if you played in the morning you get tired of waiting for the dinner and your buddy is playing in the afternoon and you are bored to tears. With a shot gun you can plan things with your friends go to dinner, go to a show etc. Everybody is on the course and off the course at the same time. To hell with tradition.....shotgun makes more sense period and makes for a good time for all.
7. Pay deeep Another thing that aggravates me at tournaments is a top heavy payout. 50 guys and they pay 5 and 5th is a dozen balls. We pay roughly 1 of every 3 entries....I usually pay 1st and second very well, 3rd-5th the same....6th-9th the same....10th on out the same etc. just depends on how many guys are in the division. Guys muss and fuss over that 3 footer on 18 cost them 50 bucks in prize money and go home pissed off at themselves....this helps eliminate most of that angst. They forget the missed 3 footer when they find out it didn't cost a thing, 6th, 7th , 8th, and 9th all paid 200 bucks. I want guys who played well to be rewarded well....afterall there isn't much difference between 3rd and 12th is there? Why not have everybody who played fairly well go home happy. All ties split. Another thing I do is tell the shop if we have a payout to 12 places for example and they get two dozen a man from 10th-12th pay all ties for 12th the same too, don't split it out. I hate splitting at the end of the payout that is silly, keep a little back in the budget for ties.....we have never been burned badly doing that and the guys who all tied for last place money go home happy instead of splitting a couple of dozen. You can do stuff like this if your pro shop is not greedy. Afterall this is big money in the till for a few days work I ask..... my guys respond if you don't ask for help you ain't gonna get it. I guess by now you can see this is a total team effort if you are going to do it right.
8. Grease the help Nothing like showing the help a little gratitude.....I noticed the first couple of years our employees working during the tournament gave our tournament a little extra towards all our guests. After thinking about it the third year, I decided to show a little gratitude. I cut the pot roughly 10-15 bucks a man and hand everybody a little tip the week after the tournament. They never asked for it they do not expect it but I do it and trust me it goes a very long way towards good will and cooperation with a smile. Our volunteers ask for nothing but I usually buy them all a high quality shirt all the same color to wear during the tournament. They wear them with pride to show they are volunteers. I get the paid staff a shirt too so everybody is on the same page.....it just makes people feel special and that is important. All volunteers eat free during the tournament too it makes them feel like they are part of the whole deal.
9. Skins In the early days I asked Kim Schwencke to help me with getting guys to sign up for the skins pot. He is a good barker and did a great job. Today it is so popular the Buck Brothers take care of it at registration and Mike Aaron goes around double checking and coordinating with those we missed. It's ten bucks a day all three days. We post skins daily on the big skins board....guys always want to see who the hell cut their eagle on 10! I'll contnue on that one in a moment. We pay skins on Sunday too Suzanne sends out the money for Sunday in the mail the next week. I feel guys have somethig to play for if they are out of contention on Sunday. Quite often we get one guy with the only skin. Happens all the time and its usually an eagle two or an ace, rarely eagle 3 holds up which is a good thing....the bombers all tie each other and some short hitting guy who holes a 7 iron takes the pot. Skin story and why I post the skins daily: A few years ago at a nationally recognized venue whose name I will omit.....Doc Beckett and I were playing a team tournament and there was a huge skin pot. I holed a mid iron on the 7th hole the final day. Guaranteed skin. Hardest hole on the golf course....may win the whole pot. That was the final round Sunday. By Tuesday I had heard nothing. I called the shop and got a little run around from some assistant. By Friday i got the pro on the phone and he said somebody had won all the skin money but not me and he couldn't remember who tied my eagle two, end of story. You and I both know who got the only skin on Sunday. WE post the skin scores on the big board daily and tell everybody who won what Sunday via email no later than Tues or Wednesday after the tournament. Money goes out before Friday. Big skin games are fun and the way to keep them fun is to do it right and be totally transparent......transparent.....I don't like that word for some reason .....how bout you?
10. The Set UP: This has nothing to do with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Traveling to senior tournaments for over ten years I heard it from day one and still hear the same things about course set up. I have seen tournament directors fuming about pin placements, tee placements, green speed etc. I have one rule: Nobody selects pins but meeeee, nobody sets tee markers but meeeee, nobody sets the distance but me and I harp consistently to get the greens rolling ten. Not nine, not eleven but ten. Here is my theory on each. Pins: You cannot allow the super nor the pro shop nor a committmee man from USGA to set your pins. They will do a fairly good job but guaranteed they will have a few crazy ones here and there every damned time. I select the pins for each day and sometimes modify according to the wind and weather. I will be out there with the super every morning double checking where the pins are cut. I roll the ball around the selected spot from all directions to make sure it is okay. We take the cup cutter with us and yes we have changed the cut after the first cut. The last thing we want is people screaming about a 3 footer breaking a foot. I want pins to be friendly, if you play and putt good you are rewarded simple as that. The final day I usually try to have 14 easy pins and 4 not so easy but I am very very careful about the not so easy ones. So why set it up easy for the final round? Easy answer. If you make the course too hard nobody can make a move. Set it up easy so guys back in the back can have a great score and threaten. Last year we had a man shoot 7 under the final day to win from 4th place starting off. Leaders cannot sit on pars all day and I like it that way you ought to have to try hard every round. If a course is set up super tough the final round you can make pars and cruise and nobody can touch you. Tees: Everywhere I go I hear guys muttering about the tees are too long here and there. I set the tees daily the day of the tournament and take into consideration wind direction and other weather factors. You CAN NOT set tees in advance. How many times have we seen a 350 yard par 4 playing down wind and a 450 yarder against the wind? That is stupid. Set the tees according to the weather and be ready to modify the morning of the round. Do not depend on somebody else to do it they will screw it up. Distance: The only guys who complain about short holes are the big hitters and they are a huge minority. We all know and have known since day one big hitters have a huge advantage in amateur golf, senior amateur golf even on tour. (Jordan is the exception but he is exceptional in all aspects of the game he has to be the first medium hitter in my life time to dominate to the extent he does but he does it with phenomenal accuracy with long clubs and a putter that is every bit as good as Tiger in his hey day). Back to distance: Short can be fun and it is fun. Some of the toughest holes you will ever play are short such as 18 at Inverness, such as 14 at Muirfield Village such as 17 at TPC Sawgrass. I like to take short holes and use testy pin positions....not crazy but testy. Such as our number 6. I play it from 125-140 yards and I use the corners. Miss the pin six feet left and you are dead. Fly it two steps short and you are dead. We use 6 for our playoff hole and the final day we play it around 130 yards and stuff the pin left rear....long or left you are dead but it is flat near the hole so have a go at the stick if you gots the guts, a perfect shot will be close and stay close. In playoffs over the years the championship has been decided immediately on a 130 yard hole. The bomber does not have an advantage over a guy with accuracy, it is fair and square. I play the long holes from the front tees, I play the par 5 holes from falling off the back so hopefully nobody can get there in two. The average hitters do not feel like they are giving up three shots going off the tee. Competitive and fun can be same same but you gotta think about it and think about it a lot. I want everybody happy when they leave on Sunday. If you don't score well its your fault not the guy who set up the course. I don't care if somebody breaks the course record, I don't care if guys shoot in the 60s every day I have nothing to prove. I can set up the course so nobody can threaten par.....I mean nobody.....but what does that prove? Nothing, our guys have fun, they have to think their way around our little golf course and they love it that way and so do I
11. Keep It Cheap: The first year we started at $195.00 and have followed the golden rule of business ever since till next year. We have increased the entry every year so long as people are beating the door down to get in. The key is to keep costs to a minimum for tournament expenses and give the increases to players in the form of prize money. This year we are at $295.00 and we are the cheapest major senior tournament in the country by a wiiiiide margin. Our prize money will be close to $20,000 this year. I intend to hold the line at $295 for the next few years. We can do that number and still pay better than any other tournament anywhere. Another thing that is important DO NOT BILL players for carts after they go home. Include carts in the entry fees. I hear my friends grumbling every year about bills coming in after the tournament they just forked over 500 to play in. So, what do we not offer that other venues do offer??? Most big clubs want to put on a big dinner one night, the club takes a big bite out of the entries for this. Best I can tell only about 60% of the guys show up for the dinners....(me? I always show up its an insult to the club not to)......it is a huge financial windfall for the club. That is fine, I do not criticize for any club needing to make money. I simply think truth be known, most players would prefer to play for the 50 bucks a head in prize money rather than eat it. If I want a fancy meal, I'll buy one. My favorite food tournament though is at The Honors and the Lupton Cup run by Randy Yoder. He has it right. Players order off the menu breakfast and lunch every day. The food is better than good. He has a big buffet one night after play, that is really really first class guys get to mill around talk, visit, move from table to table and it goes on for a couple of hours players drift in and out at their leisure. Get anything you want from the snack bar during the tournament that is first class all the way. Now that is truly great and his entry fee is worth every dime for golfin and for eatin. I could duplicate it with a catering job but Palatka is different, we wouldn't know how to act with lamb, seafood and chateau buffets......we'll stick with burgers for lunch buy your own drinks and bars......and leave it at that. Besides, it all comes out the same in the long run.
Jan 20, 2016 HEADLINES FROM LATE DECEMBER: TUMLIN INDUCTED TO THE PMGA HALL OF FAME HEADLINES GOLFWEEK MAGAZINE THIS WEEK: RONNIE TUMLIN 66, AWARDED THE YANCEE FORD AWARD FOR 2015
My wife asked me what's goinng on all of a sudden, they all think you're gonna die? I said yes of course they do but I'm gonna fool'em all. I have always been the master of illusion whether competing for a championship coming down the stretch or promoting a new tournament as the best tournament of all time. Tell you a very old story that my oldest friends saw and still tell today, those who are still alive anyway. I think it was back in the late 70s around 78 I think...holy smokes I was only 28....seems like yesterday......the Florida Azalea Amateur was coming down to three guys, Walker Cupper Billy Tuten from Palatka was already out of it, which left another Walker Cupper from Atlanta and a club salesman (names forgotten to protect the innocent) and meeee. All day long those guys kept looking in my bag to see what clubs I was hitting since I was on the tee first most of the time and not being a bomber I was usually first to hit from the fairway. We got to the par three 16th, a nasty little hole of only 165 up a steep hill to a tiny green. The speed that year was really quick probably in the 11-12 range.....against the wind at about 10, 75 degrees. Pin was dead on the back, last place you want to be is over.... thats a guaranteed 4, 5 or worse. I can feel it like it was yesterday. I had the honor and a one shot lead. I had been waiting all day for the right moment and the con. My caddie handed me the perfect club, a 6. I quietly made a fuss about it was "not near enough club" and told him to gimme a five, you have to try to do it quietly so as nobody can hear.... but make sure they do. He looked at me like I was nuts. My old buddy Fred Bacon (father of my caddy) was in the gallery of a hundred or so and was standing next to the tee and he looked me right in the eye and winked with a slight smile. Fred knew me well and he was right. I hit the five a groove high with a cut....I can still feel it....it was perfect...I talked to it saying get down get down..... it crawled up on the front of the green about 35 feet short of the pin....I talked quietly in a whisper to my caddy in disgust there must be more wind up high than we could feel as I clearly slammed the 5 back in my bag. The other guys then pulled 5s. Yep both of them swallowed hook line and sinker....one guy landed on the back of the green barely dribbled over.....and dead. Next guy flew it! I easily two putted to take a 2 and 3 shot lead with 2 to go. Game , set , match. My opponents were astonished, I said walking to the green "humph.....wind musta quit for a minute".......now this guys, was back when I could hit it ... hardly any of you guys knew me back then nor did I know you but you know what I am talking about. Golfin like that is funnnnnn. Can't trick'em all, only suckers fall for a trick like that but when the heat is full blast sometimes people take the bait.....I have always trusted me and the true distance, temperaturer, wind, lie, etc. not what some other guy hits for a shot.....you never ever know when there's another Ronnie standing there.....waiting for just the right moment.
About the Fla Sr Azalea in the early years: it stands on its own now but in the early years I personally challenged the best players I knew throughout the country that they could not beat Florida guys who they never heard of.....I pounded it over and over.....I told guys you have no idea how many tough players we have but they just don't travel.....and then of course I got guys like the Z man to sign up, Wolfeman and challenged others..... see who's already signed up? These nationally acclaimed players aren't afraid, why aren't you? I got guys like Marty Carmody from the Chicago area to help recruit, Fred Peel from L.A. to help recruit, Jawney from Western Penn to help recruit. I got a lot of responses like: Palatka is a goat farm little dinky middle of nowhere place why i want to spend a couple of days there beating around in the sand? My answer was simple, do you play for the competition or do you just want a nice playpin to play funsies in? If that's the case, find a member you know at Augusta and go have fun. Or go sign up for your member guest this spring....those are easty to win with your brother in law for a partner with 18. If you want to find if you are as good as you think you are you gotta beat the best. They came and came. I had to play on people's deep inside ego.....our list of champions is phenomenal from the Zman in that first one to USGA champions, we have had at least 8 USGA champs play , only two have won so far....Chip and Dr Doug.....we have had several Golfweek SSR Champs win the SSR that would be Berger Warner and Ted Smith....Zman won the regular sr points championship several times so has Chipper. The tournament today stands on its own, the conditions are night and day different.....it plays like a real golf course now but its still a Ross original at 5900 yards....and its still hard to break par. Looking back at scores over the years 2-4 under wins every time for 3 rounds....amazing for a small course wide open, nothing stupid or tricky.....you just have to think of where you want to hit and putt from and be able to do it. RT p.s. Our Legends field this year is the biggest and strongest ever ever ever ever.....!!! 20 guys and I guarantee you they are studs! Last year, Brian Sachs, originally from Penn and a state champion there, now resides in Gainesville blitzed the Legends....This year its gonna be a real tussel guaranteed, I figure there are at least 5 other guys who can give Brian all he wants.....Brian, go hit some balls man it's tough to repeat....We have never had a repeat Legends Champion....something to play for. Speaking of something to play for we are still aligned with Callaway and Titleist.....show me a tournament anywhere where both manufacurers are friendly to the tournament.....they help a lot and are greatly appreciated.
Jan 10, 2016 This is ridiulous, I haven't written so much for so few in years but spit keeps happening. I had a casual friend ask me a couple of days ago if I had any clubs he could buy? I said sure....I always have clubs....you know the drill .... every year all the manufacturers claim the new models fly farther, roll farther, higher straighter yada yada......yes you got it, I bite now and then. So, what am I playing right now? A set of 12 year old Mizunos.....I do have some new recoil shafts in them though....I do have a 2015 Callaway Alpha and my hybrids are 2013 vintage Callaways.....sure I tried the new hybrids....do every year but for me the 2013 models are still the best for me. How good are those old MX900 irons? Better than good I have yet to find a club as consistent on mis hits.....hell, any club hits good when you get a center cut....they're all good ..... but how bout that half inch towards the toe .....which is my big miss zone....my Mizunos will crawl up on the front of the green on the toe ball....most everything else I have tried falls in the bunk just short. Anyway, back to the sale.....I have a set of 2015 Taylor Made irons SLDR...I got'em wholesale but they were still expensive.....I figure to sell my friend those, I only played a few rounds with them they look like new....I look on ebay to see what they are selling for and am astonished to see I can buy like new irons of the same variety for 50-60 bucks apiece! My God, my closet reminds me of my brokerage account.....so today I will take another big hit ... yet I haven't learned a thing I'll probably bite on the next best longest club ever built. I am the ultimate sucker. I think we would all be thousands ahead if we simply dialed back our calendars and don't try any new clubs till they are 2 model years old but then again my 12 year olds are still the best...I now own three sets of heads of those things.... I wore the first faces completely out and am now working on the second.......footnote: I see my old Mizunos, if you can find them , are still holding at high prices I must not be the only one.
Footnote: Nobody, no manufacturer, no rep pays me anything , nobody even gives me anything.....so I say what i want to.....if you want to buy some ads for this site then I am all ears, I can be bought but then I wouldn't be me would I? Okay okay so a Callaway rep gave me a dozen of the new chrome softies coming out in a month or so....yes I like them very much way more than the curent chrome softy.....they are absolutely as good as v1 and v1x and they feel better I swished I had a robot cause I swear in some conditions the softie goes better than the titleist but then again on other days the titleist out flies the softie....but, a robot in my hands would be a dangerous thing. RT
Jan 8, 2016 So much for global warming Al......Barack......a week ago in western North Carolina just above Ga line, I was checking out a couple of courses near a place my wife wants to rent or buy for summer inhabitance. It was 80 when I got there, perfect golfin weather, by the time I figured out where to play in the neighborhood the high was 40 that day. I get home yesterday and the high is 60 today with wind that ain't good here at the beach.....feels like 25.....no0000, degrees man.....the humidity amplifies the temperature with wind. Anyway I'll take global warming in the winter.....it was 72-80 from late October to last week....now bang......winter weather. supposed to be 72 by Saturday and a hit and giggle scramble at the club I got roped into. Golfers are the second biggest group of suckers for fund raiser tournaments....every organization thinks golfin guys are rich and love to play scrambles for funsies and donate a hundrefootnoted bucks while doing so to the cause and the best you can win is an umbrella that won't even provide shade. Your friends and clients who don't know much about golfin are miffed if you come up with a real good excuse why you can't make it.....they think you are on the starting blocks every weekend waiting for a fundraiser on Monday at noon. You can't wait to get a white box with a tennis shoe in it called a sub sandwich....bread as big as Lebron's Nike....tough as a boot.....one thin slice of ham, a slice of cheese and a soggy piece of lettuce....you get a squeeze tube of mayonaise or mustard.....that my friends won't get it started down without hanging up, a tiny bag of chips and if you are lucky a store brand soda you can use to wash it down. There might be a cookie in there too, it was baked last week. Surely they don't......but again surely they do hire the same company nationwide to provide the dreaded "box lunch"....they are all the same.....no wait, I got it there is a manual out telling them, whoever them is......how to make a box lunch for 75 cents! That has to be it. Anyway, when you get through you are making it to the car fast as you can to unload, grab your phone..... play like you have an important call so you can bolt, shake hands and say how much you enjoyed it smile and tell the team to turn in the card, I gotta run.......yep, I'm an ahole ....to avoid the tennis shoe lunch and a clearly unhappy participant I do all I can to be busy on Mondays....all Mondays.....I simply tell them I will be glad to donate to the charity and leave it at that. RT
New Year? Okay, hopefully we can all turn over a new chapter instead of suddenly realizing we are on the last page. I was thinking about something my grandmother always used to say: "A leopard doesn't change his spots" I think what she meant was no matter how nice and pretty a person is, no matter how they smile and greet people they are still the same person they were before you walked into the room. Now I think about Tiger.....an end to an era? Will he ever be back? Does anybody care? Jordan has put us all past the Tiger era? I was with a group of guys in a tournament a couple of months ago and while we were waiting on the snails ahead of us to plumb bob a 2 footer, somebody wondered if Tiger would make a comeback.....the group's response was in essence....who cares? This tells me not many care any more just like Maguire....who cares he smashed the home run record...Why? Arnold was loved long after he lost his game, Jack same thing......Norman respected to this day.....but Tiger? You answer. I guess it could go back to basics like these two stories I have been told first hand. First an old friend named Jay ran a huge locker room at a huge nationally recognized and revered club.....he told me after the PGA one year, Tiger had refused to sign any autographs for the locker room staff, never said thank you for anything, expected his shoes to be shined up and ready to go every day and so on. After the tournament Tiger stiffed them.......I didn't have to ask Jay what he thought of the man you could hear it in his voice. He went on to tell me Phil came in after the tournament signed pictures, thanked everybody and unrolled 1500 and said pass this out to the guys as you see fit with a smile.
Another man told me a story about the local sheriff being asked to guard Tiger during a big tournament....for six days the sheriff and his deputies followed tiger on the course to the hotel , guarded his room.... the works.....not one time did Tiger acknowledge their presence or say thank you....the sheriff told the tournament committee next year hire somebody else to do the job he was done. I can't even imagine being that full of myself with disregard for those trying to help me......go figure.
My question is this: Tiger is on the way out....will he be held in the highest esteem like some of the other greats of the game? Or just heralded as a great player and leave it at that. I see on interviews lately he tries to put on a smile and seem friendly......but I keep remembering spats with Fluff, then Stevie who they say is now ready to talk.......all I remember about Tiger these days is... his play ....not a great player who is a great person.....am I wrong? Or does anybody really care......and will Tiger change his stripes? I know what my grandmother would say.....RT
December 28, 2015 Okay so I'm getting keyboard happy.....its just that these crazythings just keep happening. As I begin my fourth career golfin comeback I am having trouble reading greens! Why is it on TV that when I am watching a tour event the guy with a four footer ALWAYS has it straight in.....or at worst inside left or inside right......every course I play these days four footers break at least a cup....all of them! On tour I watch as guys roll 20 footers that gently break off the left lip for a total of 4 inches of movement all gently in one direction. At my own course here at the beach a 20 footer is likely to move three times......and the third one is away from the hole!!!! I think these green builders/architects can't putt a lick themselves and don't want anybody else to putt either but howww is it on TV these putts seem to gently break and all in one direction. No wonder those guys sink everything. Not even Bubba makes anything on my course with the every day pin positions. We all say we were puttinjessies when we were kids......now that I think about it I know why.....the greens at the courses we grew up on were flat and tilted one direction or the other. Most Ross greens were flat tilted down from back to front. If you were pin high right it went left the whole way and pretty good left too, pin high left it went right and pretty hard right too.....right under the hold at six oclock dead straight and into the back of the hole....behind the hole at 12 dead straight softly and nuthin but net. Today a down hiller from above the hole and it can go three directions and I usually have no clue which and quite often it will move three times!
The only times I see on TV the pros playing 4 footers out of the hole is in the majors and they miss a lot of them too just like we do. Of course I know we can't putt like those guys we can't even putt like the old guys.....if we could we would be out there most likely...errr...would have been. I've had several close friends try the tour and senior tour......when they gave it up the response why they gave it up is always the same....putting, I can't putt like those guys....even the average players are great putters.
Exception; In my opinion Adam Scott is the worst putting super star on tour When he won the Masters with his tall putter a couple of years ago he missed everything he looked at the final 9 holes and hit it closer than close all nine, Mr. Magoo would have made at least 2 of'em! When Scott finally sunk a long one to win I said oh no, that seals the deal with out lawing the tall putter and so it came to pass. Nevermind he didn't een hit the hole six times from inside ten. I think the only reason he made the 20 footer to win was he n Stevei misread it!
Scott was so bad with a tall putter they should have MADE him use it forever. I saw not long ago he won a big tournament using a shortie.....sure he did. He hits it closer more often than anybody.....so close so often he has to make a few. You never ever see him go on a sinkfest , he just outstrikes everybody now and then. Hell, he can kick at it and do as good as he can with a flatstick, any flatstick. No, not a knock on Scott just the facts......he is a great player with a jet, you don't have wings unless you can really play and he can really play he just can't putt a lick compared to the other top ten guys....not even close. When they play majors and tricky greens he does good cause nobody sinks much except the new kid on the block. Can you imagine Speith and Scott playing a scramble.....?
Okay, one more....who was the worst wedge player you ever saw who was a great player?????........tick tock tick tock tick tock.....bzzzzzzzz Greg Norman.....a fantastic ball striker deadly putter but with a full wedge in his hand the gallery better keep heads up. I have seen him hit into the grandstands with wedges many a time and when he was in the hunt..I think I know why too....he came to Palatka and played a round a few years ago when he was 50 something.....he is not tall at all, size 28 waist still but arms as long as Lebron....his arc was astounding....he still bombed it too, his long irons were superb but sure enough I saw him pull a wedge out on 18 and right into the bunk. Great big arcs just don't like short clubs. I still don't know why Scott can't putt a lick. RT
December 22, 2015 subject: Ain't what it used to be. As I rapidly see another year coming to a close, I realize what Albert my barber means when he says all the time, "life's like a roll of toilet paper....the smaller the roll the quicker it disappears" Huh? I think that may be a Yogisim or perhaps an Albertism. Anyway, as my roll gets smaller and smaller I reflect back on a time when I could see cars coming from each direction while sitting at a stop sign, I could look back over my right shoulder to see if anybody was in my blind spot....today I ease over and hope.....and dread hearing a horn and seeing the surely to follow finger. Remember when you took for granted you could wait till the next hole and a group of trees? When if it was a tweener, you took the shorter club and goosed it a little to get it there.......remember when the old guys you played with beat your brains out bouncing shots up on the green....or chipping with 7 irons from ten yards off for gimmes.......now that its my turn, the courses are impossible to bounce a ball up on and there is no such thing as chipping you have to lob everything out of hay. I used to love to roar up to the first tee from the office at noon on Wednesday, in my loafers, stone cold, spikes in hand, throw'em down and drill one dead center. No need for warming up.....now I hit balls 20 minutes, stretch, swallow pellets and still can't take a full swing till the 12th and by then its too late to bail out the round. Today when I get to the first tee its like what my friend Douglas says: "every day I have to invent the wheel all over again" i.e. I can't swing it like I did yesterday so I have to start from scratch every day and figure what is going to work today. I long for the day again when my buddies kicked back 3 footers cause they knew I would make every single one.....today they kick'em back cause they don't wanna watch what's fixin to happen. Remember when you didn't need Bubba for a partner? My friend Lindy Infante, who passed away a couple of months ago, used to say his partner was a monkey. He would send his tee shot out in the trash, reload and right down the middle and he would grumble "a monkey can hit it the second time"....walking off the green, he would call out "Monkey made 4, Lindy made 6" sidebar: I'll never forget after the Packers fired him the season before Favre, he came home and said he needed one more coaching job before he could totally retire. After his post firiing checks quit coming in several years later, he announced he would go hunt a job. Next thing we knew he was offensive coach at the Colts, then was head a year later....then he got fired. He came home all happy and said that should do it. He never went back. I asked him what happened at Indy....he said "I didn't have a pitcher, if you ain't got a pitcher you can't win" then the next season they drafted Peyton.....he said after the draft "see? watch what happens, Peyton can play and the new coach will look like a genius." It came to pass. Lindy was funny and a grumpy player, about a solid 8 I would say. If he hit a good one off the tee I would say nice shot and he would growl "ahhhh it was off the heel" One day he claimed it wasn't going anywhere after a good hit and compliment and I said "I would hate to have played for you......If I kicked up one leg and threw a bomb for touch down you would probably said I did something wrong on the play.............he grinned and said "nahhhhh ....lucky catch" I guess he had a right to be grumpy getting fired the season before Brett and the season before Peyton. If the Pack and Colts would think about it he should have a statue......one man made'em both champs with first rounders and he wasn't even there.
Nongolfers do not understand how we all make lifelong friends as a result of the game, near and far. My best two living friends came to me through golfin....I have more, and have lost more than I care to count. A golf buddy is special, kind of like a fishin buddy or an old dog. Most women don't understand and that's fine. Your real friends call out of the blue to see how you are doing, just to visit and catch up.....you know what I mean.....they care. Some golf buddies are casual friends, but some are friends like brothers and no other past time I can think of gives such rewards. When you get in trouble with business woes, personal tragedy or health problems you find out real quick who gives a damn about you as a true friend. I guarantee you some true friends will surface where you least expected and some you thought were true were casual afterall. I call the casual friends the ones who are your buddies when they see you....I have lots of those.....its not a bad thing its just the way it is......the real ones are your buddy when they don't see you. Merry Christmas hope to see everybody in 2016. RT
December 1, 2015 subject: Tournament golfer's word is good. Tournament golf players are always on time. I have found over the years that when a guy calls you and says he is out of town but he is entering the tournament and will mail a check the day he gets home I can put him down on the list as entered. I have yet a single time to get a commitment from anybody in 8 years that they do not get the check in without me having to bug'em.
Now an extensie sidebar that is relative: I have been in the commercial and residential rental business since I was in my early 20s and I gotta tell you, there is a renter's handbook out there somewhere and I wished I could get my hands on it. The book is probably entitled "Excuses for not paying the RENT" Trust me, I have heard all 100 chapters of this masterpiece. Some of my favorites: I mailed you a check last week you should have gotten it by now, The baby was sick and had to go to the hospital and they wouldn't take us without cash in advance they took all we had, my boss was out of town last week and isn't back yet and I got no paycheck, We ran out of baby formula and it took all we had, the electric company cut our lights off we had to go post a big deposit and pay all the back bills, the bank screwed up my checking account , I got audited and the IRS froze my bank accounts...that is my absolute favorite....common now, a dead beat gets audited by the IRS and they froze his checking account with 20 bucks in it? I really hope I don't look as stupid as you think I am. When was the last time a renter got audited? What would the IRS squeeze out of a guy making minimum wage anyway? Oh yeah, here's another: My accountant messed up my book keeping and I am overdrawn......right.... like a guy paying 500 dollars a month rent has an accountant.....must be Elmer Fudd and Associates. I had one woman swear her husband beat her up and she went to the hospital and they took all her money......several days later she told me her husband stole all her money and took off with his girlfriend? Common, most liars can't remember the last whopper they told. yes! I am out of the residential rental business....been out a long time. Sold my last commercial rental property this year. The worst night mare from that property was an insurance company rented it, the owner was a young lady in her 30s, came highly recommeded. She paid right on time for about a year then slowly got behinder and behinder. She got hooked on cocaine, noooooo...I had no idea. The rent quit coming so i went to investigate, she said the insurance companies hadn't paid her commissions on time....okay.....that's a new one, gave it a week. Went back only to discover a window smashed out in the back of my building and was boarded up with.....get this....cardboard.....she said she had been robbed and they stole her commission checks. This rat was getting ripe my friends......I went by one night and saw a light on and peered into the window and she was in there sleeping on a blow up mattress......that's it! The next day I talked to her X husband and he told me she was on crack.....I was shocked but after 30 days or so and a lawyer bill I got her thrown out and two days later somebody else threw her in......jail thank goodness. Bottom line is there is no golfer's excuse book for not sending the entry, they always deliver when promised.
I was once told by a wise old hustler by the name of Steve (last name with held to protect the next hustle) there are a couple of rules you must ALWAYS obey if you are going to be a golfin gambler. First, you always pay off even if you have to go rob the 7-11 down the street, if you don't pay off word will get around fast and far. Rule number two, never ever cheat......if you do , you will get caught eventually and you are through....and if you are in a nasty game a fat lip could be the least of your worries. 3, practice lipping out 4 footers and practice it a lot....never ever make them all especially when you don't need'em....lip'em out and cry about your bad luck...... don't make'em all till the money is right. Lastly and rule 4 here applies to all walks of life......he said "if a man will cheat you on the golf course he will cheat you in business" Those my friends are words to live by and remember. We all know guys who will fudge, beware of those guys off the course. Exception to the rule is the high handicap beater......most don't know the rules, many will fudge in the Saturday game.....new comers will tell me..... so and so just marked his ball a foot closer to the hole......my reply: he's 79 years old , can't break 90, he's puttin for a six, and he's on our team with a 25 handicap. His handicap is based on his fudging.....if he didn't fudge it around he would get 36 leave it beeeeee man leave it beee, he'll probably miss it anyway.. It's just a ten dollar team bet and all the D players are about the same deal here. Now if you see a 9 flippin the mark.....thennnnn that's another story.
Golf players are always on time Have you ever noticed how your golfin buddies are always on time to the house to pick you up? How they are always on time for dinner? always on time and ready to go when you leave the hotel? Waiting for you in their garage when you arrive 2 minutes before the appointed pick up time? I have traveled with lots of different guys, they are always on time for everything. This however, applies only to golfin guys. Is it a habit from tee times? Or is it a way of life for those who play? Here's my own theory: For me, time is crucial every single day......I have worked full time for over 45 years....I managed to squeeze in 3-4 rounds a week usually Wednesday, Friday, Saturday......I always had a knack for getting stuff done at the office by 11am on my golfin days....always....I always do something right now rather than tomorrow even if it did not require doing till the day after tomorrow. I would get back to the office check messages and be home by 6 on golfin days......thatttt was before cells and texts. But it became a habit and my secretaries over the years were amazed at my efficiency with time.......Golf players HAVE to figure it out and they do if they are going to be tournament players. I also worked on no golf days until everything was done I never put off a job till tomorrow. What I call casual recreational players who work are different, they show up 2 minutes before tee time with a sandwich in one hand , cell in the other....they shoot their 82 and they are happy....they don't play tournament golf.....but I'm happy they are happy no big deal. Golfin needs recreational players. RT
November 20, 2015 I think my best golfin buddy Doc Beckett may have figured out why he hits a V1 farther than a V1X and why I hit the 1X farther than the V1. It never dawned on me. We think it is because he is more of a sweeper taking small shallow divots if any. His spin rate is rather low with all shots including the driver. My spin rate is much higher so the V1 really spins and doesn't go as far for me.....duhhhhhhh. I have always been a Titleist man since i was a kid, but the Callaway rep has me real interested in the new chrome soft coming out in February 2016. He gave me a couple of sleeves and said try'em. Never one to turn down free balls I did indeed and discovered immediately my objection to the original chrome softie has been corrected. I couldn't control the original around the greens at all or with short wedge shots it went wild....he said they tamed that part down and the ball was a wee bit harder than the original softie but softer than the X ball. He is right it is and it feels good. It flies exactly the same for me as the X and it stops just as good same same only it is softer which I like. It chips the same too. BUT I find one huge difference so far and I cannot figure this one out at all. This 2016 chrome soft likes the hole. No, I swear ..... it doesn't lip out, it lips in! I have switched back and forth dozens of times the softie likes the hole better than the X and its not me man, I want the X to be better .....hells bells I have 12 dozen at the house piled up. I am down to one softie right now so I don't dare tee off with one in a tournament but just fooling around in the Friday game I am telling you it likes the hole noticeably. Maybe I'm nuts its going to take a scientific physicist to figure this one out I am at wits end. I do make this prediciton. The "new' 2016 version of the chrome soft is going to put a big dent in Titleist sales with guys who have to pay full price for balls even with better players. I gave a couple to different buddies and they all said the new softie feels good and goes as good and puts better.....every single one of them......and my friends the best testing facility is with players themselves in real playing conditions. I am not ready to shuck my X balls not by a long shot but I think a biiiiiig marketing fight is on the horizon cause the softie will be much cheaper. RT
November 16, 2015 I had the pleasure of playing golf with a legend from the Vero Beach area this past weekend Mr. Dick Bird. He said he played a year at UF with Aaron, Beard etc....I nodded......told him they won the Fla Azalea Amateur when it was a two man event in Palatka.....he said Palatka? I said yeah that's where I grew up....he asked me if I knew Billy Turner a little short guy who fidgeted all the time. I said sure......everybody knows "61 Willie" Willie Kay Turner......Dick couldn't believe it and told me all about Turner setting the NCAA record for the lowest round ever shot in an official match a 61 on par 72. That was back in the late 50s man with woodies, blades and marsh mellow balls on relatively rough greens. I said yep, that's Billy Turner from Palatka and he is still alive and I know the record still stands for UF, don't know about NCAA anymore. Palatka has a storied history for a muni. Babe Ruth was a regular during the off season. He stayed down town at my grandfather's hotel or sometimes rented a room at a house down on River Street. He loved to fish and play golf and put on exhibitions at the ball park. Fishing in the river was world famous for bass. Still is, ESPN comes to town every year to film a tournament of national interest. Palatka had a Red Legs farm team for years andhe would join in on exhibition games. Ruth and Bob Feller would come out to the golf course regularly and whack it! Why Palatka? Why have so many greats played here? I don't know exactly why except that it has always been a hangout for hustlers, kids were always welcome to play and dozens grew up there including me who went on to major college scholarships, we have produced a basket full of head professionals who had big time jobs all over the country. We had a Walker Cupper grow up in Palatka, a two time USGA Public Links winner grow up in Palatka......okay it was the same kid....Billy Tuten who got a full ride to Houston where he played with Couples and Elkington as a starter. We had a national long drive finalist in the 90s Greg Bacon who grew up on the course. Just a few years ago Greg Norman showed up and played 18 with his son who was entered in the 58 year old Florida Azalea Amateur. Norman shot two under par and had just turned 50 I think it was. A couple of months later he almost won the British Open his last great performance. Norman told us he wasn't much interested in playing the PGA Senior tour and never did play much either. I had never been up close to Norman but was big time surprised at how small he really is but he had long arms, big hands, a huge arc and a 29 inch waist even at fiftyish. He hit the ball a long way. Norman told us he liked Palatka (probably just being nice) and that it reminded him of Harbor Town. (UPDATE DEC 2015 The great Billy Willie Kay Turner, Mr 61 passed away unexpectedly).
November 12, 2015 Entries are now open for our Florida Senior Azalea Amateur at the world renowned Palatka Golf Club, a golf course originally built to plans drawn by Donald Ross. The layout is still the same today as it was in 1925. Changes include a new clubhouse freshly remodeled again in 2015, new fairway grass installed by Bobby Weed golf course management company in charge, new par 3 tees leveled and sodded in 2015. I can go into some history briefly right now and will be adding to it time to time right here so check back time to time. When I was a kid in the 50s the golf course had no sprinkler system, the sand spurs were so bad on the course we wore leggings we got from the military surplus store, some of the men still had theirs from WW II which was only ten years ago in 1955.....think about that a minute. I distinctly remember seeing Mo Norman hanging around the club and usually playing by himself....he carried his own bag a little canvas green stick bag....remember those???? I can remember when Ford Thompson showed up with the first golf cart I had ever seen, it was a one man stick steer job with a gasoline engine. That was the beginning of the end of the shop renting pull carts for 25 cents a round. I remember lots of people had their own folding pull carts in their trunk.....when was the last time you thought about that???? Ok ok you guys up north of the line still pull carts I know......come down here in July and try it, if we only played June to Sept we could pull carts too most likely with highs in the 60s and low 70s. Anyway back in the old days the fairways were so hard it was like playing in the desert.....and on one too.....on the 5th hole we would hit a fade at the left rough and watch the ball roll a hundred yards to the corner of the leg right..... and in high school even short hitters could get there in two. With the sprinkler system and new grass we now have only bombers can get it past the corner. It's the same course but its not the same either.
The great Tommy Bolt was a regular visitor and he used to tell me, "son, if a kid grows up playing here hitting the ball outa the trash you got in the rough he can play anywhere" Bolt told me PALATKA was one of the few courses he ever played that he usually used every club in the bag during the round....think about that awhile........... Ben Hogan once said he took his 7 out for the Open at Oak Hill in Rochester saying there were no 7 iron shots on the course....but then that was Hogan. RT
FORMER COMMENTARY BEFORE THIS SITE WAS BUILT:
SOMETIME IN 2013 I THINK: Scott Northey asked me to rewrite the one about "the golf course don't care" in 2013 I was driving home with my friend Rob Hess as we had just completed the September trek to the northlands of Pennsylvania and New York tournaments. I had played lousy......again......and on the radio came a song called "Highway Don't Care" its a great one if you listen to it.....it goes on to say the highway don't care if you're alone a long way from home, highway don't care if you miss the ones back home.....I think it was written for truck drivers mostly......it got me to thinkin about my golfin the past three weeks up north.......nobody cares I played lousy, nobody cares but meeeee. The golf course damned sure doesn't care that every good putt I hit lipped out, the golf course couldn't care less that I landed in a divot on the 18th at Sunnehanna and made double to ruin a good round.....the golf course don't care!!!!
In the locker room everybody asks how you played? They really don't much care......the guys who played well ask you that because they want you to ask them how THEY played! You are correct they are the ones who did indeed play well. In light of this realization I shall make it a point to only ask guys how they played if I play lousy....if they stunk it up too then we can both comiserate on how the golf course gave us the business......then again, the golf course really doesn't care that a gust of wind out of nowhere blew your ball down into the drink......the golf course doesn't care that your perfect shot hit a sprinkler head and vaulted out of bounds.....yes, I have had that happen and come to think about it the damned sprinkler doesn't care one little bit either so why complain to anybody? I challenge you to do this: go tell some golf buddy a golfin woe about your bad luck the next round....wait a week or so then ask him if he remember how you got screwed last Saturday? Hell, he doesn't even remember you were there last Saturday. In summation no matter how bad the breaks......and yes there are some days and even some tournaments good shots are not so good, marginal shots are bad and bad shots are real badddd, remember the golf course doesn't care, only you do. I have never heard anybody in the locker room tell tales of all the bad breaks his playing partner had.....you will hear lots about the guy who got a good bounce every time and how half a dozen putts took a lap before falling.
Which reminds me of the craziest bounce sequence I have ever seen.....it happened in the Fla State Club Team Championship back maybe 15 years ago we were playing in Vero Beach and Palatka was in the hunt the final round.....Bill Moore from Tampa needed a par on 18 badly.....I was already on the green and one down......Bill mis hit his 5 iron and it landed on the rocks surrounding the pond infront of the green. Now picture this.....the ball bounced 30 high and forward left......into a tree left of the green.....it landed on a cormorant.....that's a bird that fishes in ponds.....the bird, startled , flapped violently at this projectile from hell and literally flapped it back onto the green..... for a .....a gimme! I think in that instance the golf course did care indeed.....this is a true story the names have not been changed to protect the guilty. I can still see the entire shot, Bill the last time I talked to him did not remember....I doubt the golf course remembers either. RT