Originally Posted 09/17/09
The Raptor has been busy as of late and as a
result, fresh content has been slooooow coming to this site.
The golf season has been a busy one over the past few weeks with
several important club events being held as well as some visits to
other Erie venues.
The Raptor played poorly (as is usually the
case) in this years Whispering Woods Club Championship and by
shooting a two day total of 93-90 = 183...finished last in my
division. Our division, also called the A Flight was won by
Richard Brown. The B Flight was won by Bob Herbsrtitt and
the C Flight was won by Damian Knight.
This year our club champion was Mark Noce,
who also one in 2007.
Congratulations To Mark Noce...seen here hoisting the trophy
recognizing him as the Champion Golfer of the Year at
Whispering Woods Golf Club!
The Raptor was able to squeeze in some play
at other local clubs including Lake View, Kahkwa and Lawrence
Park. The Lakview experiences included the annual CPA Tournament
and a weekend match with my friends, Criag Murphey, Larry Neizmik
and Paul Gibbons. In both cases, I shot scores guarenteed to
get me to the clubhouse around 90 and I nailed it both times...it
sucks to get a dose of reality.
My Kahkwa experience was as a guest of the
PNC Bank for their annual Client Appreciation Party. This
year the Raptor was fortunate to golf with Steve Gutting, John
Barber and Jenifer McDade (of PNC Bank). The golf portion is
a scramble format and needless to say our team was middle of the
pack. However, the highlight of the day was the dinner,
where the Kahkwa Club shines brightly...
Seen Here is the feast served up by The Kahkwa Club for the
annual PNC Client Appreciation Party...The meal included:
Filet Mignon, Lobster, Veggies and an ultra cool twice baked
potato which looked like a candle!...yummy!
special note was the recent EDGA Senior Better Ball Tournament
which was just held on Tuesday September 15th, 2009 at Lawrence
Park Golf Club. This year The Raptor teamed up with Ron
Coleman and we were paired with the duo of Rick Carlotti and Lou
Natalie. The field was made up of over 45 two man teams who
are members of EDGA Clubs and are also at least 50 years old.
There were a number of great teams in the tournament and the
winners were Ellery Tarbell and Doug Fugate who grabbed top honors
after a playoff with the team of Jim McKibben and Bob Paris.
Both teams had toured the Lawrence Park Track with sterling 7
under par 65's. This is a lot tougher than it seems folks.
The Park was in excellent shape and the weather was ideal, but the
players still had to golf their balls.
put the winners score in perspective, The Raptor/ Ron Coleman team
shot a 2 under par total of 70 which fell short by 5 strokes.
Even if we had converted some short putts and we may have only
gotten to 4 or 5 under par, good enough for third place. The
Raptor really enjoyed the competition though and would like to
thank Ron, Rick and Lou for allowing me to play in their group -
it was fun!
Here are some
selected scores from those teams that were competing in the gross
Congratulations To Ellery Tarbell and Doug "Curley"
Fugate...seen here Celebrating after their playoff win in
the EDGA Senior Better Ball. It should be noted that
Ellery and Doug also won the West Penn Better Ball this
The Raptor spoke with Ellery Tarbell after
the event and he stated that he and Doug played a seamless round.
The one hole which contained a high degree of drama would have
been The Park's par 4 fifth. According to Ellery, Doug had
scored a two putt par and Ellery proceeded to hole a lengthy putt
in excess of 40 feet for the birdie. Talk about being in the
right place at the right time!
The Raptor would
also like to send out congratulations to the brother act of Mike
and Pat Fetzner, who won the net division of the EDGA Senior
Better Ball with a awesome score 0f 57 or 15 under par!
According to Pat, brother Mike, playing to a 17 handicap, shot a
score of 81 on his own ball and led the team to victory.
Congratulations To Pat Fetzner and Mike Fetzner
Fugate...seen here Celebrating after their win in the EDGA
Senior Better Ball Net Division!
Here are the champs kissing the trophy Boxes recognizing
Them As the Champion Golfers of the Year in the EDGA Senior
Better Ball Net Division!
Originally Posted 08/11/09
The Raptor frequently has a lot of "wonder"
when it comes to golf as in "I wonder why I hit that shot or I
wonder why I play this #$%^&*( game..." Now I have to sit
here and wonder how Tiger Woods continues to provide the type of
drama that was seen on Sunday at the Bridgestone. Woods
seemed to cautiously creep up the leader board during the early
rounds of the tournament and by Sunday found himself paired with
Paddy Harrington in the final group...three shots out of the lead.
Woods tossed in an eagle and a couple of
birdies during the first four holes and by the turn was actually
sitting on a two stoke lead. We all remember last year when
Tiger seemed to have the US Open at Torrey Pines locked up with
nine holes to play only to see Rocco Mediate record a string of
birdies to force a playoff.
Now fast forward to Sunday, where Woods
played sluggishly during the inward nine and by the time that he
and Harrington reached the 600+ yard par 5 16th, Woods was down by
one stroke. Both Tiger and Padraig hit scruffy tee shots and
were forced to "punch" out of jail. Unfortunately, Tiger's
punch was still 200 yards from the flagstick on a downhill lie
with a water hazard fronting the putting surface.
Harrington, on the other hand had placed his
punch shot towards the sand bunker cluster that is roughly 175
yards from the putting surface on the left portion of the fairway.
What happened next is what makes The Raptor wonder. Tiger
pulled out an 8 iron and crushed his approach to within 2 feet of
the hole!...that was from 200 yards with a downhill lie!
Harrington now having to respond hit his
approach through the green and proceeded to skull his wedge shot
from heavy rough into the water hazard. As soon as Paddy hit
the mishit Vokey, the tournament was over. However, there
are certain issues which became apparent subsequent to
Harrington's shot which The Raptor feels require additional
First, it has come to The Raptor's attention
that Woods and Harrington were placed "on the clock" during the
early part of the back nine and then "warned" prior to hitting
their shots from the 16th tee. This in itself is ludicrous
since the PGA Tour should know by now that conducting an event
with Woods in the field brings all sorts of logistics into play
that never materialize when Nick Watney and Cameron Beckman would
be in the final group.
Obviously, the gallery is massive and there
could have very well been 5,000 people following the action.
There are TV "foot soldiers" walking with the players with the
associated camera crew as well as tournament officials and their
associated sycophants. It is apparent that CBS has a say in
this whole deal since they want the tournament to end precisely at
6:00 so that the evening prime time schedule isn't disrupted.
Unfortunately, Woods and Harrington got the "slow play" news at
precisely the absolute worst possible time.
Any one who has ever played in a tournament
where they have been "warned" for slow play feels like crap.
Both Harrington and Woods hit awful drives and as a result, had to
punch out. There is another issue which has The Raptor
mystified. When Harrington dumped his fourth shot into the
hazard, why wasn't the hazard marked as a lateral? It seemed
a little odd that Harrington was forced to walk all the way to the
opposite side of the hazard and play a wedge shot from over 100
yards away from the hole.
For The Raptor, who is a big fan of Tiger
Woods it was a "hollow" victory and I am sure Tiger didn't swell
with pride while he hoisted the trophy. Here are a couple of
There are many of you who can't pass the
mantle of "greatest golfer" to Woods until he proves himself in
some of the following categories. First, there is the
"majors" deal which I believe has Nicklaus at 18 and Woods at 14.
Then, there is the tournament victory tally where Woods is
presently 3rd behind Snead at 82 and Nicklaus at 73.
However, The Raptor believes Woods has already pretty much shown
he can win as he has done four times this year. Now the
pundits are holding back on Player of the Year since Woods hasn't
won a major. Oh really? come on people....lighten up. Just
admit it...he's the best!
Originally Posted 07/17/09
The term “History Is Being Made” is used
frequently in our fast paced society. While The Raptor can’t
recall the last time I might have used it, it’s safe to say that
yesterday, history was being made when Rick Carlotti coasted
around Lake View Country Club with a hesitant 73 to capture his
first Erie District Golf Association Individual trophy.
Carlotti, who just turned 50 years old, has
been golfing his ball as long as The Raptor can remember. We
first met when we played at what was then called the “Glenwood” 9
hole course back in the early 70’s. After parting ways when The
Raptor went to Penn State in 1976, we were reunited in 1983 when
The Raptor joined Lake View.
Since then, we have played regular golf
matches and they have been some good ones. Yesterday’s match was
conceived a couple of weeks ago and involved The Raptor, Carlotti,
Dario Cipriani and Ron DiSantis. The Lake View track was a
perfect venue and hopes (and the stakes) were high. The weather
was ideal and the course was set up extremely fair.
Teeing off at 11:00 gave us plenty of time to
warm up and the four combatants brought their game faces out in
anticipation of a match which paired Cipriani aka “O” with
DiSantis aka “RDD” against Carlotti aka “Munster” and The Raptor.
The Raptor mentioned that the course was a fair setup and by this
I mean that the tee boxes were from the blue markers and the
flagstick/hole locations were accessible. It should be noted that
the four players were involved in a medal tournament but the pairs
match had taken precedence.
The first incident of merit occurred on the
third hole. The Raptor had stuck a decent drive which was center
cut about 190 yards out on the 420 yard hole. Munster had struck
a longer drive which cleared the crest of the fairway at 150 yards
out and he had settled in some rough about 130 yards from the
putting surface. As we approached The Raptor’s drive, we noticed
that a turf care associate was operating a mower in close
proximity to where Munster’s ball had ended up. Munster, always
the pessimist, felt with certainty that the apparent dimwit had
driven over his fresh ProV1 with the mower! The Raptor,
attempting to calm down the now extremely agitated Munster
said…no, the guy would never do something that dumb!
We believe it or not, The Raptor was wrong!
The 20 watt bulb had in fact driven over Munster’s ball and cut it
to pieces! This set off a series of incidents which included: O
and RDD calling the pro shop on their cell phones to complain (it
should be noted that both were LVCC members and this was a most
embarrassing situation). Subsequent to that, head greens keeper,
Gordon Seliga just happened to be sitting in a cart, watching the
action and RDD called him over to his cart with a whistle to lodge
a formal complaint. Gordy then drove over to 20 watt bulb and
chewed him out and dispatched him to the 14th hole.
The poor SOB then drove off without any apology to the now
extremely pissed off Munster.
This series of distractions seemed to put
everyone in the group into a tizzy and each player managed to
somehow miss a short putt which was frustrating. At this point,
the match had turned in favor of O and RDD based on RDD’s par/net
birdie on the opening hole,
The next couple of holes proved exciting as O
and RDD jumped out to a 3 up lead based on O’s long birdie putt on
the 5th hole and his subsequent fly in birdie on the
par three 7th from the heavy rough to the left of the
putting surface. The Raptor had been a non-factor during the
first 6 holes of the match. Some three putts on the 1st
and 5th holes, coupled with a miss of a very short par
putt on the 3rd had been troubling. However, The
Raptor’s approach on the 7th with a three metal was
true and I now faced a straight forward 25 foot birdie putt to
halve O’s fly in. Unfortunately, the putt just missed on the
right side of the cup.
While the situation wasn’t hopeless it was
dire as O and RDD had the match firmly in control. However, The
Raptor, now emboldened by his solid par on hole 7, struck two
solid shots on the 8th and found himself with a
makeable 25 foot putt for birdie. After watching both O and RDD
fail to convert, The Raptor took dead aim and rolled in a putt for
birdie and a dramatic shift in momentum.
The 9th hole at LVCC is a dynamic
359 yard par 4 which was playing into the wind. The Raptor hit a
solid drive and a decent approach which was on the putting surface
but over 50 feet away from the hole location, which was in the
back left quadrant. O had placed his approach above the hole and
faced a tricky 15 foot downhill putt with a significant break from
right to left. The Raptor, putting first, made an excellent lag
and was below the hole about 4 feet from the cup. O made a very
tentative prod at his birdie and left it short. The Raptor then
calmly converted the par/net birdie and brought the match back to
1 down but more importantly – 1 up on the press, which made it a
wash, turning a drubbing into a tie.
After a short break at the half way house for
food and refreshment, the match continued on the back nine and can
best be described as see/saw…what ever that means. On the 10th
RDD made an excellent scrambling par/net birdie to gather the
advantage. Then on the 11th, Munster canned a 15 foot
birdie to even the match. After halving the 12th hole,
the par 5 13th hole proved pivotal as The Raptor
converted a tricky downhill 5 foot par to take a 1 up advantage.
RDD then won the par 3, 14th with a gutsy 2 putt to a
very demanding pin placement in the back left quadrant of the
putting surface. It should be noted that The Raptor and Munster
were closer to the cup than RDD after the drives but each three
On the par 4 15th hole, The Raptor
hit 2 excellent shots and scored a win with a two putt par/net
birdie to again give the advantage to Munster/The Raptor. The 16th
hole at LVCC is an uphill par 4 of 294 yards. The flagstick was
located in the front left quadrant of the putting surface. All 4
players had struck decent approach shots and each had a chance at
birdie but only the unflappable RDD was able to convert, bringing
the match back to even.
The crucial point in the match occurred on
the 17th hole, a par 5 of 529 yards. O and RDD had
struck perfect tee shots, while The Raptor had fanned his drive
into the trees near the second tee. Meanwhile, Munster had pull
hooked his drive into the township of “Little Hope”. However,
Munster hit an excellent 5 iron out of harm’s way and found
himself in scoring position about 100 yards from the putting
surface with the flagstick in the middle of the putting surface.
He struck a perfect approach which landed on the green and rolled
past the hole about 15 feet from a birdie.
Both O and RDD had hit “poor” approach shots
but still managed to scramble for par/net birdies which would turn
the match in their favor if Munster was not able to convert his
birdie. Later on, after the match was complete Munster looked
back at the putt and reflected on his inability over the past 20
years to make the putt when it counted and more often than not to
crush the attempt well past the cup inevitably leading to a three
putt. However, on this occasion, Munster hit a perfect putt which
just missed it’s mark. The tap in par was of no consequence as
the team of O and RDD now had a 1 up advantage with one hole to
The 18th hole at LVCC is a 373
yard par 4 which plays directly into the prevailing westerly
wind. In order to accomplish a miracle, birdie would have to be
recorded by Munster and The Raptor. O playing first hit his best
drive of the day after being a non-factor for the whole back
nine. RDD fanned his drive into the trees while Munster and The
Raptor hit good drives with a look at the green. The flagstick
was located in the back left quadrant and Munster and O put their
approach shots with in birdie range, while The Raptor and RDD were
forced to scramble for par.
O, putting first hit an excellent putt and
was left with a short par attempt of about 2 feet. Munster, now
in control of the match was a little tentative with his bird, and
unfortunately made par which gave the hard fought win to the team
of O and RDD who celebrated with Cheshire grins.
The irony of this report lies in the end
result of the competition. By playing in a hard fought match,
Munster was able to grind out a 1 over par 73 which lapped the
field by 4 stokes and won him the coveted Blue Blazer, signifying
the Champion Golfer of 2009.
Congratulations Rick on a job…done.
The golf season is in full swing and there
has been considerable excitement this year. On the
professional circuit, Tiger Woods has returned to perform in
admirable fashion. Playing in less than 10 events, Tiger has
managed to score victories in the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus
Invitational's while finishing in the top 10 in the rest of the
events. On the other side of the coin, much anticipated
showdowns with Tiger and World Number 2, Phil Mickleson have
dematerialized with the announcement that Mickleson's wife, Amy has
been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Needless to say, Phil has taken a six
week sabbatical but is playing this week at Memphis in the FedEx
in preparation for the US Open which is being held once more at
the American Iconic Bethpage Black Course...here is an good link
to familiarize yourself with the course:
There is no doubt that The US Open will
entertain this year as none has before. The Raptor believes
it to be the greatest spectacle in golf in the same way the
Indianapolis 500 is the greatest spectacle in racing.
On the local golf seen, two Raptor Pals, Don
Fessler, Jr. and Bill Reichert have scored hole-in-ones at our
club, Whispering Woods. Don made his ace May 13th, 2009 on
hole number 11, while Bill made a 1 at the difficult hole number 6
on Wednesday, June 10th.
Here is the narrative of Don's ace, as
written by The Raptor...
Morning…The Raptor is pleased to note that last evening,
Whispering Woods Member, Don Fessler, Jr. scored a hole-in-one
on the 11th hole…Here are some of the particulars as witnessed
by The Raptor.
Teeing off hole number one at 4:40PM the match started with The
Raptor, Don Fessler and Rick Carlotti. Conditions included firm,
dry fairways and the recently plugged putting surfaces. There
was a threat of rain and the wind was swirling but seemed to be
coming from the south.
pace of play slowed a bit by the time we reached the 8th tee box
so a single player, Jim Lasher was invited to join us for the
rest of the match.
trio of Lasher, Fessler and Carlotti were playing from the black
tee boxes while The Raptor was playing from the blue tees.
reaching the 11th, the group found that the flagstick was yellow
and was cut into the back left portion of the putting surface.
The shot measured all of 190 yards. Lasher played first and hit
a decent approach which rolled through the green and settled in
the fringe. Fessler had planned to hit a 5 iron but once he saw
Lashers shot he returned to his bag and brought out the 6 iron.
the time of day was near 7:30PM and the clouds were thickening,
it was difficult to see the ball in flight but when Don struck
the shot, the group could tell that it was a close pass. After
it became evident that the shot had found its mark, the group
celebrated with shouts of encouragement. Don jumped three feet
into the air while throwing an Arsenio Hall fist pump…this
caused him to over flex his left elbow which probably hurts big
time…well worth the pain I say.
Congratulations to Don on his seventh hole-in-one!
Here is the narrative, as written by Bill...
"For any of you that did
not hear, I was fortunate to be blessed with my third Hole in One
Hole #6- 191 yards with a 4 iron
A Raptoresque explanation:
As I stepped to the tee on the always demanding 6th hole from the
Black tees, I wondered how I got strong-armed into playing from
the tips by the testosterone filled youngsters that work at the
woods Zack and Scott. More surprising was the fact that I had just
gone bogey, birdie, birdie, birdie, par and had missed eagle by a
mear inch on #4 with a chip from the side of the hill! It was easy
to see that the stars were in alignment due to the fact that my
scores had been frequenting the high 80's and even into the 90's.
On this glorious evening however, class was in session and I was
schooling these guys. Of course, I was aware that with one swift
long backswing, I could once again have my dreams crushed by WW
(noted to also be referred to as Screaming Trees instead of
Whispering Woods). We were a threesome playing best ball against
the group behind us and we were 5 under after 5. My partner Scott
just knocked it to 20 feet or so with a 7 iron or something. I
mentioned that I no longer carry a 3 iron so I was going to have
to stand on a 4 iron to get it to land on the green as the old
timer of the group!
I hit this one pure, and it was going straight for the mouth of
the green with no spin whatsoever-straight as an arrow. After
landing safely on the front of the green, it started to release
and break to the well placed white colored flagstick on the right
side of the green. I mentioned that it would be inside of his
shot, and it just kept rolling closer and closer until that
definitive moment...It disappeared! Zack said it did, I couldn't
see it, but the bunker was hiding the hole. We shouldn't celebrate
until we get closer right? As we rolled towards the green it was
apparent, I made the ACE! I always said, I would rather be lucky
than good! That moment of looking at the bottom of the cup and
seeing your ball in there is a rush!
We were 7 under after 6 holes as a threesome! A score that more
resembles a scramble not a bestball! Shit, I am 5 under
myself...surely I would find a way to fuck this up with 7, 8 and 9
coming up... Well, I went par, bogey, bogey and finished with a 34
on the front 9 and yes I consider that holding it together!
I bought drinks for everyone on the turn and found out from Rock
that even though I had dinner plans I had to stay and finish the
round in order for it to count. It wasn't a complete let down
though, I finished with a 42 on the back shooting a 76 from the
Black tees- my best round ever at the Woods, and payback from the
game that had been providing me misery over the last month. What a
funny game, its what gets me up every weekend!"
Congratulations to Bill on his third hole-in-one!
Posted in December 2008
|This initial effort was snapped in March of
2008 and depicts The Raptor's house after a fresh morning
snow fall. It includes the Raptor's daughter, Andrea
preparing to get in the car. The car in the picture,
a 1998 Toyota has since succumbed to engine failure.
||Here is a September, 2008 picture that shows
the beehive activity that occurred in the Whispering Woods
driving range. The Chivers Construction Company
brought a whole slew of graders, shovels and huge trucks
to shape what is sure to be an awesome finished product.
|September, 2008 saw a visit to the Lake View
Country Club to play in the Fall Stag with larry Neizmik,
Rick Blakely and Tom Burick. The Raptor shot a
decent 81 and the team finished in a respectable top three
finish. The weather was nice and the course was in
superb condition as evidenced by this view of the 15th
green. A Raptor Fav.
||This is a view of the homesites that are
visible from the 9th Tee at Whispering Woods. The
prominent white sided home is Dave Zimmer's - President of
The Erie Bank while Dave Lauer's house is peeking from the
trees in the left portion of the shot.
|This is perhaps the penultimate story of the
summer. This shot is from a hill side next to Tom
Eberlein's home near the third green at Whispering
Woods. The homeowner had decided during the course
of the summer that the legal dispute that erupted when the
golf course construction encroached on his property could
only be mitigated by placing a swing set on the cart path
and sectioning off his property with out of bounds
stakes. It was very obtuse. The gent in the
picture is celebrating the shot or alternatively has just
chipped in - hard to say but it is either Ray or Bill
||Here is a shot of Dr. V's house from the 8th
|Here is a concept shot of the 1st Hole at
Whispering Woods from about 100 yards out. The
picture was taken early in the morning - hense the long
shadow...of The Raptor. Very Intense
||The colorful rendition of the 6th hole is a
Raptor Fav, Especialyy the darkening clouds in the
|Here is a picture of the blandest hole on
the course - the 14th - a par three of 185 yards.
The hole is a Raptor Fav due to the huge putting surface
which seems unmissable but always proves to be a stern
test. Of particular note is the fact that the hole
was aced at least three times this year.
First, Mark Noce made a one during the Member-Member
Tourney. later in the summer, Jeremy Light holed it
from the Black Tees while Assistant Pro Pat Wiley stood
by. Finally - late in the year on perhaps the last
day of golf for 2008, Levi Marsh made and ace.
Congratulations to all and welcome to the club!
||This shot was taken on Sunday October 19th
and was connected to an interesting story. There had
been a frost delay on that day and our groups were not
able to tee off until perhaps almost 11:00 AM
Included in the group were Brian Fuller and Frank
Fatica. We teed off in a semi-shotgun start from the
5th hole and Frank stayed in the game until the 12th
hole Brian kept playing till the 18th. I
wasn't playing great but decided to play the final 4
haloes to complete the round.
I was joined on the first tee by Doctor V and I plodded
along scoring a bogey - par - bogey. Sensing that
the season was winding down, the Raptor had a motivating
tee shot to the driving area and then placed a perfect
sand wedge to the flag to within 5 feet. After
making the birdie, I walked to the cart and retrieved my
camera to record the shot of the Waterfall behind the
green bathed in afternoon sunlight
Posted on 12/23/08
There are two local golf clubs in the news as
of late. Firstly, the local pols have apparently reached an
agreement to get Erie Golf Club open again. Here are a few
of the particulars as recollected from the Erie Times newspaper
article which was placed above the fold recently.
The Federal Aviation Administration has
deemed the process acceptable in that the current nine hole course
near the airport will be carved up and converted to a six hole
course. This will save a lot of fussing around and make it
easier for Millcreek Township to acquire the 18 hole course now
owned by the City but deemed to be a money loosing black hole,
The Raptor knew from the get go that Mayor
Sinnot and his Administration couldn't manage the moment...it's
probable that they couldn't manage a paper bag. The bottom
line is the fact that Millcreek will make a go of this and turn
Erie into a desirable and well run facility. It may not end
up being the finest golf club in the region but it will be a
destination golf club for a number of interested parties
including: seniors, high school teams, leagues and local
fundraising tournament chairs.
There are a few aspects of the facility that
will require some tweaking and as The Raptor has read, the
Millcreek Administration has brought in architect, Gary Matczak to
spruce up the clubhouse. That is a plus. Now if the
greens crew can make some changes to the course, The Raptor believes
Erie can be a gem.
On another front, our beloved Lake View
County Club is about to celebrate Christmas in a big way. It
appears that the two Board of Directors at the facility have come
to an agreement which will allow Lake View County Club to
eliminate some cash flow killing debt presently being held by
local banks in favor of an in house all purpose loan courtesy of
the Stockholders of Lake View Country Developments
The details are sketchy at this moment so The
Raptor will defer on additional comment. It's just a
pleasure to se some progress. However, I can't let this
positive development go by without a little constructive
caveat. If the remaining members somehow look at this gift
as a mandate to continue on a destructive path of wasteful
policy...the whole thing will come crashing down within three
Posted on 12/08/08
Kahkwa Club vs Whispering Woods - A Comparison
Rules: The comparison is being done by matching
the relative assigned values on the hole handicaps. Of note
here is that the match is done by par value. Therefore, the lowest
rated par four would be matched etc.
The first hole at the Kahkwa Club is rated as
the number seven-handicap hole.
From the member tees the hole measures 369 yards and is a straight
away no-nonsense par four. At Whispering Woods Golf Club the par four that would most
closely match up to this hole would be the ninth hole which is the
number 5 handicap hole. It is
a uphill par four that measures 359 yards. If we were to compare these two holes for degree of
difficulty it would seem to me that the ninth hole at Whispering
Woods is more challenging than the first hole at Kahkwa.
As far as par threes go we can compare the
third hole at the Kahkwa Club to the second hole at Whispering
Woods. The third hole at Kahkwa club is a very dynamic par three.
It measures 140 yards from the blue tees. It should be noted that the original tee box was located
directly behind the second green but for some reason unknown to The
Raptor the tee was moved approximately 20 to twenty five years ago.
The new tee box is tucked into the woods and requires a
heroic iron shot over a large water pond. Normally I hit a seven iron to this green. In comparing this
hole to the second hole at Whispering Woods, whjich measures 152
yards from the blue tees, I would state for the
record that the third hole at Kahkwa club is more difficult than the
second hole at Whispering Woods.
The remaining par 4’s at a K club are of a
variable and nature. In
comparing the difficulty factors of Kahkwa Club number nine with
Whispering Woods number four is a challenge.
The ninth hole is one of my favorite holes at the K. club.
It measures 381 yards and it is wide open and rolling with a huge undulating bowl
shaped green. After
hitting a decent drive the player is left with a good middle iron
shot perhaps a six or five iron.
It would be my impression that that the average worst score
that I could record here would be a bogey.
Comparing this to the fourth hole at Whispering Woods, I
would state that I like the ninth hole at the Kahkwa Club versus the
fourth hole at Whispering Woods.
The fourth at Whispering Woods measures a short 271 yards and
is considered by many to be the Club's Signature Hole It is is a survival hole. It's
easy to make a birdie and it's just as easy to make a triple bogey
seven. The Raptor has been struggling there as of late and
needs to bear down in order to play it.
Another comparison would be the Kahkwa Club six
hole and the Whispering Woods fifth hole which is a short easy 281
yards, but there is no comparison.
Again there is no comparison.
The Kahkwa Club sixth is a lengthy par four measuring almost 400
yards from the blue tees and 411 yards from the black tees.
Hitting an excellent drive will not guarantee that you can
see the putting surface which is at the base of a deep incline.
This hole is as much a bear as the fifth hole at Whispering
Woods is a cupcake.
The number seven hole at the Kahkwa Club and the
first hole at Whispering Woods is an interesting comparison they are
both difficult and require an excellent drive. I would give
the nod to the seventh hole at Kahkwa which
measures 425 yards because of its challenging tee shot up a steep incline and
green which is generally accessed with a long iron or fairway club.
The first hole at Whispering
Woods, measuring 426 yards is a very tough par four. From the
blue tees, the drive must be carried over 180 yards over a deeo
crevasse. I believe it's easier to record a bogey five at
number one at Whispering Woods then it would be to make a five at
the seventh at the Kahkwa Club.
The comparison between the fifth hole at Kahkwa
Club and the eighth hole at
Whispering Woods is a difficult one. Number
five at the Kahkwa Club is the pen ultimate Donald Ross par four.
It measures 367 yards and is even referred to on the scorecard as
"Vintage Ross". The tee box is nestled among the trees in deep woods and it
is imperative to hit your drive with a bit of a draw.
Too much of a draw brings the left tree line into play and
makes for a difficult approach to a green, which sets on top of a
steep incline. The putting surface is extremely undulating and par is a rare
The eighth hole at Whispering Woods is a brute
of a par four going downhill and stretching out over 420 yards. Its fairway is one of the widest in the Erie County but it's
still difficult to place your drive down the middle. There are heavy woods to both the right and the left and
there is a pond that comes into play on the right side but is hidden
from the tee box. Reaching
the green at the eighth is very difficult as it is protected by a
waste area or water swamp depending on the time of year.
The green is of a postage stamp nature and is slanted from
right to left. Par is a
rare here for the average golfer.
I would call it a draw.
As far as par fives goes the only comparison on
the front nine would be between the eighth hole at the Kahkwa Club and
the seventh hole at Whispering Woods. Based on all factors I would
give the nod to the seventh hole at Whispering Woods as being more
challenging and more Mickey Mouseish. By that I mean that the
average golfer is befuddled by the hole from tee all the way to the
putting surface. There is out-of-bounds on the right and deep
woods to the left. The big hitter can avoid all the trouble
unless a slip of the foot causes the long approach to duck hook into
Therefore the front nine has four holes for
Kahkwa and two holes for Whispering Woods with one hole being a
draw. There was no
comparison available for the 3rd hole (a par five) and the 6th
hole (a par three) at Whispering Woods since there are not available holes at the
Kahkwa Club to compare to. The holes that are not matched at
Kahkwa include the second and third holes which are par fours.
On the back nine we will compare the 10th holes
in each course. Whispering
Woods 10th plays to a lengthy 451 yards from the blue
tees while Kahkwa plays 365 yards. For sheer yardage it's obvious
that Whispering Woods has a more difficult hole but Kahkwa’s 10th
has a very difficult green. I would still give the nod to number 10
at Whispering Woods
A comparison of the two 13th holes is interesting.
I would give the nod to the 13th at the Kahkwa Club, which is
an awesome par four with a yawning dogleg left pattern. There is
also a big fairway bunker out in the driving area, which requires
the player to hit a controlled tee ball.
A sand bunker in the rear of the putting surface collects
mishit approach shots and an
interesting false front, which can cause poorly struck approach
shots to roll off the putting surface. The 13th hole at Whispering Woods is a short
par four of 351 yards with quite a bit of hazardous terrain from tee
to green. The player must carry a crevasse known to many as
"THe Raptor's Ravine" with the tee ball and then carry
another crevasse to find a table top reen that is slightly elevated.
The Raptor will give the nod to the Kahkwa’s 13th.
Comparing the two 16th holes at these
facilities leads me to believe that the 16th at Whispering Woods is
more challenging while the 16th at the Kahkwa club is more
interesting. I will
give the nod to the 16th at Whispering Woods.
In comparing the 18th hole at the Kahkwa Club
with the 17th hole at Whispering Woods it is almost a draw.
However the 18th at the K. club is one of the strongest par
fours on the course and has a dynamite finish with a challenging
green. So The Raptor
will give the nod to the Kahkwa club's 18th.
The 17th hole at the Kahkwa Club and the 18th
hole at Whispering Woods make up our final comparison for the part
fours. They are both
awesome holes. I like the 363 yard17th at the Kahkwa Club because there is out
of bounds coming into play on the left and there is a fairway bunker
system that can grab the tee ball on the right as well as the left
and the bunkers are flanking or staggered which is totally awesome.
At the 18th at Whispering Woods which measures a deceptive
uphill 402 yards, the player is faced with a
number of challenges with par’s and birdies being rare and
therefore The Raptor gives the nod to the 18th at Whispering Woods.
The par threes on the back nine match up one
for Whispering Woods and one for Kahkwa with the 193 yard 15th at Kahkwa
besting the 180 yard 14th at Whispering Woods based mostly on the tremendous
drive required to reach the putting surface which is severely
The 11th at Whispering Woods, which measures
165 yards, while it somewhat
bland having no bunkers of any kind but other characteristics along
with an easy to hit putting surface make it a more enjoyable hole
for The Raptor. In
addition there is a good deal of wild life hanging around the 11th,
including deer, fox and turkey. The 11th at Kahkwa is a
challenging par three with a severly undulating green, but the 11th
at WW looks super cool from the tee.
The Raptor gives both the par fives on the
backside to Whispering Woods. The
12th at Whispering Woods is trouble from tee to green,
while the 14th at Kahkwa is challenging in it own right.
It’s just that the 12th at Whispering Woods and
the 15th at Whispering Woods are more photogenic than the
14th and 12th at Kahkwa. That is really the
deciding factor here.
The final tally is eight holes to Whispering
Woods, seven holes Kahkwa club, one hole draw.
Therefore the courses are relatively evenly matched.
If I could I would be a member at both…wouldn’t that be
Posted on 10/05/08
Golf in Erie PA is a challenge on several
fronts. For starters
the season is unique since it always contains a beginning, middle
and end. This same
sequence can’t be duplicated in places like California, Texas
and Florida where golf is played year round.
Even moving northerly to venues like Hilton Head and Myrtle
Beach still allows for winter golf, even thought the weather can
Erie in the spring is a crapshoot. From early March until the middle of April, there is always a
strong chance for snow. This
can wreck havoc on our golf courses.
As a result of these spring storms, a muddy mess can occur. This year was no exception as a storm occurred on about March
28th, which dumped about six inches of the white stuff.
There had been some good weather in March and
as a result some golf course had play then.
At The Raptor’s home course, Whispering Woods, an April 1st
opening date was planned however, this was moved forward to about
April 5th of 6th.
Another challenge to golfers is the surplus
of courses that have become available at reasonable pricing.
Consider The Raptor’s old home away from home, Lake View,
in North East, PA. Lake
View is in superb shape this year.
The Raptor played there last week and thoroughly enjoyed
it. The course was
hard and fast with green speeds approached 11 or 12 on the
Stimpmeter. As a
result, my score of 83 was considered a winner.
Lake View is undergoing a transformation and
could be morphed into a semi-private facility come 2009. At the heart of the matter is the cost of membership.
It has slowly crept to a monthly tab of almost $300.00 for
a single player. Rumors
abound about it’s future and in good faith, The Raptor will not
spread any that could be detrimental to Lake View’s ability to
Trying to justify a golf membership at a
private golf club or at a public facility can be a difficult
proposition. Back in
2004 and 2005, The Raptor began to feel the economic pinch of
membership at Lake View and as a result, resigned from the club.
At that time I felt I was making the right decision for
myself and my family but since then I have been getting feedback
that I am a “misfit” and that I am not wanted by those who are
This type of jingoistic attitude is a common
denominator for Erie. It
has always been an us versus them place.
So, when I played at Lake View on Friday, I bumped into
some of the old gang, who inquired as to what I had been doing.
When I told one individual that I now played at Whispering
Woods, his cart buddy said with a straight face “never heard of
This gets frustrating because some of these
individuals “hate” Whispering Woods…and they have never even
seen the place. Others
have “heard” that the golf course is too hard…so they
won’t play it. Still
others have played the course once and have deemed it a “dump”
or worse yet…a public club.
The newest Whispering Woods discussion point
is the 2009 member fee. For
2008, the Member Fee was $2,000.00 for some golfers.
For others who joined early on, the fee amounted to about
$1,000.00 per year. This
figure did not include carts, which cost $15.00 per round.
At present, there are about 125 to 150 members…some of
whom do not play more than a couple of rounds per year.
On several occasions in the recent past few
weeks, folks have come to The Raptor seeking answers to that
nagging question…how much for 2009?
This is big stuff in Erie, especially since Erie Golf Club
is coming back into the mix.
The 2009 rate has fallen into a range between
$2000.00 to $2,500.00. This
price range would include a green fee and cart…but, probably no
driving range inclusion. That
fully exempt range rat will probably put out an extra $200.00 to
$300.00 for a year’s membership.
The Raptor has had great fun listening to the
wails and gnashing of teeth by Erie’s finest.
There are individuals who will not rejoin under any
circumstance and I do not blame them.
It has since come to pass that the 2009
Whispering Woods Member rate is $2,100.00.
However, if you can form a group with three others that
rate will lower to $2,000.00…Not bad.
So let’s play a numbers game and consider what a
$2,000.00 Membership means to the average player.
The Raptor has played an average of 4 to 5
times per week since Whispering Woods opened.
This is primarily in the period between about May 15th
to September 15th, which calculates to about 17 weeks
of steady play. Seventeen weeks times 4 rounds is 68 rounds while calculating
a 5-week pace tallies to 85 rounds.
The Raptor had posted about 90 rounds by September 15th.
So, I am classifying my round count in the heavy category.
An individual who plays 3 times per week
would tally about 50 rounds per year and an individual who plays
two times per week would tally about 35 rounds per year. So it
would be possible to classify these tallies as follows:
Round Count Per Year
Using the Classifications established and
plugging in the cost of a membership produces the following
Round Count Per Year
Cost Per Round @ $2,100.00
Using the recently announced $49.00 per round
for Green Fee and Cart next year produces the following
Round Count Per Year
Cost Per Year @ $49.00
What do these calculations indicate?
First, Whispering Woods is a scremin’ deal
of epic proportion. The
owners have placed the membership bar so low that many normal
red-blooded golfers will have no choice but to join the
club. If you are reading this and do not believe that you are
living in a dream world.
More To Come…
Posted on 8/31/08
Labor Day is here and
golf season has begun it's slow descent into the first signs of
fall. There is a chill in the air and the dew is heavy in
the morning...sure signs of the fall season.
Golf in the fall is a
fabulous reward for a region like Northwestern Pennsylvania.
The trees are splendid and the air is crisp with none of the
offensive heat and humidity that we play in in July and August.
The Raptor looks back
on this season and has deemed it a success for the most
part. For starters, a solid group has developed for The
Saturday and Sunday game. Included in this years gang were
Ray, Frank, Rich, Ken, Chad and Tom. Other groups included:
Jack, John T, Bill and Dave plus Lou, David O, and Rick and Jim D,
Jim P and Jeff. Special thanks go out to Rob, Rich and Greg
for their continued support.
The proshop did a bang
up job and thanks go out to Rocky, Tony, Pat, Brian and
Diane. In addition, Lauren and Desiree and the Cart Gang
(Scott, Zack, Bert and Brian). Also thanks go out to the
Greens Crew who kept the course in superb playing condition.
The highlights for The
Raptor included: a 77 (June) and 79 (August 30th) from the Blue
Tees which is going low (For The Raptor!). A second place
finish in the CPA Tournament (shooting 81 from LVCC's Blue Tees).
The pairing with Lou in the EDGA Senior Better Ball which led to a
second place finish. On that day The Raptor shot 79 as
well. This time from the white tees.
The irony of this
recent low scoring is the high scores that were interspersed
including a 93 - 91 debacle in the WW Club Championship and a 94
in the EDGA Senior Tournament at Kahkwa.
The EDGA Senior was an
extremely disappointing event. The Raptor had played Kahkwa
the week before and found the course to be excellent and suitable
to promote some low scoring. Unfortunately, the Kahkwa staff
got frisky for the EDGA and set the course up long, hard and
fast. As a result scores were high. Ron Coleman won
with a fine 69 which include about 6 birdies and about 3 or 4
The Raptor's playing
group included: Lou (85), Jim D (87) and Jim P (92). My 94
included two 9's one on 14 and the other on 17. Other than
those two meltdowns the rest of the round went smoothly including
a birdie 3 on Kahkwa's 18th hole which is a 380 yard roller
coaster. Under normal conditions, a 85 would have been just
fine, but the 94 left a sour taste in the mouth.
The WW Club Championship
was also won by Ron Coleman. Ron shot 74-75 from our Black
tees and finished six shots ahead of David O and Jim D. Our
first flight winner was Nat Burnside, while Jim Piekanski won my
flight with a super two day total of 83-80-163. The final
flight was won by John Torok
A season ending member
guest is planned for this Saturday - the Raptor hopes to bribg out
Larry Neizmik, Tom Burik and Rick Blakely to participate.
Posted on 7/19/08
There is a constant discussion in the Erie
area about the state of the golf business.
During the past 10 years, significant changes have occurred
which have seriously depressed the local golf industry.
The loss of the Nationwide Tour Event at Peek
The closing of Nevada Bob’s Golf
The closing of Pro-Golf Discount
The closing of Erie Golf Club
The elimination of waiting lists at venerable
Golf Clubs like Kahkwa, Lake Shore, Lake View and Lawrence Park
The inability to complete the Harbor Ridge
This thread is presented in an effort to open
up discussion on what has sure to be a hot button issue...that is
the presentation about to occur at Lakeview Country Club on July
The presenters are referred to as the “Debt
Reduction Committee”. This
group has been organized by long time LVCC members Greg Farrell,
Chuck Kownacki, and Brad Klomp as a means to explore methods to
make Lake View a sound, going concern.
As it stands, our beloved club is on shaky
ground. For the past
three to four golf seasons, the club has been hemorrhaging
members. It started
simply enough. Lake
View went through a transition in the 2004 golf season that
initiated the migration.
The story goes something like this.
A long range planning committee had been evaluating the
state of the club and made sweeping recommendations to bring the
club into a new and exciting direction.
The crucial plans included
The remodeling of many of the golf course’s
The completion of the sand bunker project and
the addition of strategically placed fairway bunkers to
“toughen” up the course in anticipation of future marquee
events such as EDGA and West Penn Tournaments
The addition of a short game practice
The addition of a radical water hazard in the
18th fairway to provide soil for the practice facility
In addition the clubhouse was to undergo a
transformation as well with the addition of a plush locker room
and a private grillroom for the members who required special
was generally thought that there were a core group of
“serious” members who prided themselves on obnoxious behavior
and therefore needed to be isolated so that offensive behavior
could be promoted while leaving the regular grill room for the
The lollipops were looked on with disfavor by
the serious members since the lollies did not drink large
quantities of beer and liquor but instead sucked up bottomless
tanks of soda pop.
By constructing a wall to divide the
grillroom, the serious members created a barrier that has broke up
the harmony that existed at Lakeview for 40 years before.
In a relatively short period of time regular members bailed
rather than support a club that was primarily benefiting the
As the member count plummeted from a lofty
375 heads in 2004 to less than 230 members at present, this loss
of over 125 golfers to the budget has produced a whopping yearly
shortfall of about $400,000.00 to $500,000.00 in revenue.
The Debt Reduction Committee has proposed to
locate 50 “investors” who will provide $65,000.00 each in
order to pay off the mortgage presently held by National City
Bank. The financing
deal is costing $300,000.00 per year in interest charges.
Since there are less members to rely on, the principal
amount has remained fixed…so the long-term result will be a
The investors will be referred to as
“Perpetual Members” (PM).
After the club by-laws are altered to recognize the
Perpetual Members, the remaining class two members will support
the yearly operating expenses through the dues that they pay.
Meanwhile the PM’s will pay no dues for the rest of their
lives. In addition,
the PM’s would be capable of transferring their certificate to a
replacement PM by paying a $2,500.00 fee to Lake View. PM’s
would be the voting member.
Using the present member count this would
result in 50 PM’s and 150 Class 2 members.
The Class 2 members would spend their $4,000,00 per year or
$600,000.00, which would be used to maintain the golf course.
The clubhouse would be considered a separate part of the
operation and would continue to be staffed by sub-contractors.
A challenge to the long-term stability of the
club could result in eventual dissolving of the club in which case
the PM’s would receive a settlement, which could be less than
their original investment.
PM’s would still be subject to assessments.
There are several significant events that
have led to this radical undertaking.
Those of you who have dug deeper into this site will recall
that The Raptor wrote an analysis titled “The End Game” which
predicted that the Lake View Club would spiral into failure
subsequent to the buyout decision that was crafted almost 10 years
Since then the serious member group has
refused to reopen relations with Lake View Development
Corporation, the original owner of Lake View’s Golf Course and
serious members arrogance and the Development Board of Directors
who represent the conservative and relatively obscure North East
Community at large exacerbate the situation.
It should be noted that the serious members generally
reside in Erie and more specifically Millcreek and Fairview.
It is highly unlikely that the PM’s and the
LVDC will ever see eye to eye.
The reason…its arrogance versus conservatism.
These two groups will pace around the proverbial ring like
boxers for several years and the result will be a stalemate.
The Raptor wishes the PM Group the best of
luck…they will surely need it.
Posted on 6/8/08
and May have come and gone and golf season is now rolling.
The Raptor has posted over 25 rounds at his home club - Whispering
Woods with some unfavorable results. However, after some
poor play in the rain and chill of May, scoring has improved and
The Raptor's handicap is prepared to tumble from 13 to 11.
Raptor has been waiting with baited breath for the management of
our course to come up with a plan for our members for next golf
season. Up till now it has been a steady stream of innuendo
and heresay regarding a deal of
stake is the momentum that has developed around a core group of 75
to 100 members who presently support the club with frequent visits
and participation in club sponsored events. Most of the
member class have been patient for a number of reasons.
first issues which raise the red flag are the driving range and
the clubhouse. Third on the list of question marks is the
ill fated practice green. Last season, the management tore
out the original green and totally rebuilt it using state of the
art construction techniques. Unfortunately, the green has
been slow to mature and remains closed. The chance that
putts will be struck on it before July 4th are slim to none.
driving range has been another sore subject with members who have
a feeling they were sold a "bill of goods" The
Raptor feels this is far from true. Anyone who realistically
joined WW last year thinking that an operational range would be
open this year are in the 20 watt bulb range (dim). The
range got off to a slow start this year due to permit issues which
restricted progress till the end of May...Then with the coupling
of the airification of the golf course greens which
backfired...the range remains pretty much a massive jumble of
bramble and felled trees.
18 greens on the course were plugged or (drilled, punched, holed
or airified), on or about May 5th and 6th have been bumpy and
crappy since. Last week the turf care group laid down some
top dress and also performed a verticut to remove some
thatch. This seems to have smoothed out the putting surfaces
a little...so relief is near. But everyone is a little hurt
by the airification process. Let's face it, plugging greens
never works exactly right...never.
clubhouse issue also has major ramifications. Up till now
the members have been content to utilize the area under the
tent...or perhaps sit around in the parking lot. Eventually
this will change when some sort of clubhouse is built. But
what kind of building will it be. The problem is with the
players. It's a plain Jane fact that people don't really
like other people. She it is going to require some savvy
marketing and promotion to make the clubhouse work...More to come
on this critical issue.
with that being said, the management has floated a price tag of
$2,250.00 for next years membership. The figure will
encompass all green fees, cart usage and range privileges.
This is a fair figure as far as I am concerned.
Posted on 5/19/08
season is in full swing this year for a number of reasons.
First, Erie had another harsh winter that lasted virtually from
the middle of November until the beginning of April. A
series of late season snow events moved the start dates for many
local courses to around April 7th.
once the snow melted, the golf has been plentiful but the courses
have been wet. While total rainouts have been rare, The
Raptor has had to don the Gore-Tex outfit on several occasions.
has been a challenge. With over 15 rounds posted since the
start of the season, most of my scores have been around 90.
Recently, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and a fine 82
from the Blue Tees resulted which included three birdies.
this past Saturday, another three birdie round led to a 87.
It should be noted that the windy conditions resulted in a number
of unforced errors.
home club, Whispering Woods is staging our first club tournament
of the year on Saturday. The format will be a three man
scramble. I am looking forward to playing in order to help
promote some "budship" at our club.
Raptor had a surgical procedure on right elbow in November of last
year. The effect has been positive for the most part.
It is hopeful that my strength capability will improve as
well. Up till now, the results have been a mixed bag.
My tee ball has been fine but my iron and short game have been
Raptor has determined that I can play WW with 6 clubs. Driver, 5
wood, 5 iron wedge, sand wedge and putter.
have been interesting. WW has a nine hole skin game which is
not a money making venture by any stretch, but it is fun to get a
3 - Entered 12/3/07 (Here is a gem that arrived to The Raptor
though the email - it was sent to me by a good friend and it is
men play golf differently than the rest of us. Some play it well
and some play it poorly but, as a class, their journey from the
first tee to the last is worth studying. You can both improve your
score and deepen the game's pleasures by paying attention when the
elders lace up their spikes.
own education began in a foursome that included three artificial
joints: two hips and a knee. The orthopedic hardware was
bolted to the bones of three men in their eighties, all residents
of a gated community in
. I joined them for a round during an annual visit. They
eyed me warily as I walked toward them with the starter. I learned later
that my own age was almost a deal breaker. As a reasonably fit
"kid" of fifty, they feared I might disrupt the
octogenarian rhythms of their round. We exchanged greetings,
handicaps, picked teams and teed off. What followed
was a post-graduate education in good manners, good fellowship
and, in the end, what's so good about the game. Like many
retirees, they drove flamboyant golf carts: custom paint jobs, sound
systems, flashy hood ornaments. There was the unmistakable echo of
the Chryslers and Cadillac's they drove fifty years ago.
One, apparently the group's quartermaster, had a year's supply of
pencils and scorecards at the ready, wrapped in rubber bands and
meticulously arranged in what, otherwise, appeared to be a
medicine cabinet: Advil, prescription meds, band-aids, tubes of
mentholated muscle cream, disinfectant and multiple grades of
sun block. Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest with fewer
provisions. Clearly, this would be no ordinary round of golf. This
was a pilgrimage and the lessons unfolded on every fairway.
Golf Cartography - Old guys frequently have an encyclopedic
knowledge of the natural world. After all, they've spent
seven or eight decades walking around in it. If you're
lucky, they'll map out the golf course for you, its landmarks,
landscape and wildlife. Learning that your ball has come to rest
under a "bougainvillea" and not a generic
"bush" may be small consolation but it will better
connect you to the golf course and, as the details accumulate,
sharpen your appreciation of its architecture. Knowing that
the bird cartwheeling overhead is an American kestrel can turn an
out-of-bounds tee shot into an occasion of wonder. Stop counting strokes
and give more thought to the canvas you are playing on.
There's No Swing Like An Old Swing - Their swings are miraculously
constructed. In the best of them, there's a hint of the 50's
Ben Hogan; in the worst, homage to the same decade's Bob Hope.
In all of them, you'll see ingenious compensations for body parts
that don't work quite as well as they used to. Their swings aren't
uniformly pretty but they're predictably consistent and give new
meaning to the term "muscle memory". Remember,
they've been tutoring their neuromuscular junctions since Ike was
in the White House. Because their testosterone is taking
flight, they worship at the altar of timing and tempo more than
young Turks do. During your next round, genuflect with them and
watch your score improve.
in the Grass: Because they grew up during
' first mass exodus to the suburbs, these guys love to landscape.
They repair divots and rake bunkers unfailingly. They minister to
ball marks on the green as if they were bruises on a
granddaughter's arm. They know, from the hard-won experience of
guarding their own health, that living things need looking after.
Whether you play at a private club or a pockmarked muni, leave
every golf hole in better shape than you found it.
Take a Lesson - Remember, you're in the presence of men who have
stopped punching the clock and can still afford a tee time. They
have more or less successfully retired. They may not be able to
lead you to the next Google, but any elder foursome can be full of
sage advice on money, marriage and generally managing your life.
Ask them about their lives and careers, turning points and
blunders. Take notes. The Wonders of the Wager: With their
business careers behind them, a golf wager awakens a slumbering
will to win. It is a kind of business deal, isn't it? Strokes are
ferociously negotiated and the stakes, typically small, are agreed
upon. They started playing golf when Byron Nelson ruled the sport
and a buck was still a buck. It's not about the cash, it's about
the contest and the unspeakable pleasure of extracting another ten
spot from the flinty, New Englander they've been playing with
since 1975. Bet smart, bet small, and play fiercely down the
Killer Short Game - Every golfer has had a $5
from his grasp as some old guy gets up and down on a crucial hole.
This is their wheelhouse, where they swallow the indignity of
being out-driven by seventy yards, offer a sly wink and go one-up
on the match. Because they're on life's final lap, they know that
how you start matters less than how you finish. Inside 20
yards, this wisdom is decisive. It doesn't hurt, of course, to
have memorized every subtle swale on the golf course and they
have! If you are lucky enough to meet one of these masters of the
short game, share a beer with him after the round and pick up a
tip or two.
Enjoy the Journey - When you tee it up with a man in his eighties,
you might well be witness to his final round. As fit a
fellow as he seems, the basic laws of probability insist that next
week's foursome may be a man short and he knows it. I
thought more than once when one of my foursome made his way to the
bottom of a bunker that he may never come out and that he might
not mind that at all. This must explain, in some measure,
the simple joy they take in the journey. They generally play
without anger or angst and, in an age of ball caps worn backwards
and brawling basketball teams, they'll connect you to a
gentler time. They are the game's true historians and the
keepers of its enduring civility. That golf remains such a grand,
old game is largely thanks to the grand, old men who continue to
Phase 2 - Entered
It's been over six
months since this site has been open and The Raptor has been
gratified by the number of positive comments made regarding the
content and direction that the site has taken. Please head
to the Whispering Woods chapter for some important updates.
Phase 1 - Entered
I can remember it like
it was yesterday. The date is difficult to pin down but the
story goes like this. When I was 8 years old, I got for a
birthday present, a nine iron and putter from my Aunt Sallie and
Uncle Dan. This was March of 1964. I believe that the
impetus of this present was my exposure to one Arnold Palmer in
the previous 2 to 3 years.
Arnie was hot in
1964. He had won 4 Masters, a couple of British Opens and a legendary US Open In 1960. He was all over TV and was
featured on such popular shows as the Wonderful World of
Golf. The tournaments that he lost in these years were as
legendary as the ones that he won.
Who could not feel
Arnie's pain when he lost the Open at Oakmont in 1962 and then
turned around and lost it again in 1963. In addition, Arnie
seemed to crash and burn every year in the PGA and in one
memorable Masters, he came to the 18th hole with a lead and
produced a double bogey to loose. Ouch!
One moment that still
stands out for me came from some tournament that was on TV, I saw
Arnie make a put with a very protracted break that the announcer
called an eagle. Naturally, the crown went nuts. It was this
large break in the putt that I associated with an eagle and it was
not until years later when I started to actually play golf that I
learned that the eagle was a 3 on a par five.
Arnie pretty much was
awful in the late 60's and he one his last PGA tournament in about
1973...I believe it was the Bob Hope..Arnie even wore
glasses! But I still remember Arnies shining moments..
In addition, The Raptor remember many of his shining moments while
golfing and he invites you to check out it's content.