May 13th, 2007
4th Hole at Lakeview Country Club is perhaps one of The Raptor's
favorite par three's in Erie County. Having played it many
times brings a flood of memories of the sublime and ridiculous occurrences
Raptor can't forget how challenging the hole was when as a new
member of the club in 1983, I began hitting an 8 iron off the tee
in order to soften the carnage that would normally come with a
long iron attempt. How humiliating was that? It seems
that The Raptor would hack a three iron into the trees near the
green or worse, perhaps way right into the outhouse.
a couple of months of this silliness, The Raptor finally began to
straighten out the ball flight and has produced some exciting
to note is a Member-Guest tournament back in the heyday that The
Raptor played with Clancey in. It came to pass that we
had started the event at the 5th hole and so this was the final
hole of our event. This day the flagstick was placed in the
middle portion of the putting surface slightly towards the right
edge, so that the yawning bunker would come into play.
were two aspects of this anecdote that bear observation.
First, because we were in a tournament, there was a prize awarded
if a hole in one was recorded. On this day, a marshal was
seated behind the green, named Chad. Chad had been sitting there
for about 5 hours by this time and had periodically downed cups of
draft beer to the point that he was totally shitfaced. As
the Raptor hit his approach with a 5 iron to this pin placement
which was about 175 yards from the tee, it was obvious that it was
tracking towards the hole.
started to raise a commotion on the tee which woke Chad out of his
trance. As the ball hit the green and rolled towards the
hole, Chad rose up out of his seat and as the ball rolled over the
cup, Chad fell out of the cart. That was funny.
ball settled about 5 or 6 feet behind the hole and since this was
my final hole, I tried valiantly to score a bird.
Unfortunately, as I began my attempt, I was distracted by the
sound of Nick Hosu smacking his ball into the woods from the side
of the putting surface. I jabbed at the putt and
missed. I chewed Nick out for the breach of etiquette but
that's all water under a bridge since Nick has since passed away.
lets fast forward to this past Wednesday. I had not been
scheduled to play in the event that was to unfold. This was
Lakeview's May Stag and Skinny Boy had called me on Tuesday to
fill in for him. It was a beautiful day for golf with sunny
skies and temps approaching 80 degrees. My partners were all
good friends and we were looking forward to a fantastic day.
this was a shotgun start, we teed off from hole number 3 and I
made a par on that hole. Stepping to the 4th tee, I brought
along a 5 and a 6 iron for my expected shot. The wind was a
minor factor and seemed to be helping a tad. The turf was
firm and fast due to a lengthy dry spell. I elected to hit
the 5 iron and launched a high draw into the sunny blue sky and
noted that it had landed somewhere in the forward portion of the
green. Due to the haze, I could nt see where it ended up,
but keep in mind that the hole location was in the back left
quadrant of the putting surface.
other players in the group, Tom, Mark and Rick all hit their tee
shot into the area near the 5th tee. After looking for their
shots, I walked to the green with my putter and noted that there
was no ball in sight. I had no preconceived notion that the
ball was in the cup so I walked to the front of the green and
looked into the bunkers and high rough around the green...no
ball. So I started to walk to the back of the green to see
if the ball rolled through the green. I reflexively looked
into the hole and much to my surprise, there was a ball in the cup
and it happened to be mine.
called my buddies over to show them the ball and we were in a
stunned state. After some celebrating, Mark called Steve
Crane in the proshop and I called my wife. We still had 16
holes to play and the remainder of the round went agonizingly
I stated previously, I had scored a par 4 on the third hole and an
ace which is also considered an eagle on the fourth hole.
After two holes, I was two under par. Always the optimist, I
now stood on the 5th tee and actually considered some ways I could
parlay this stroke of luck into a low scoring round.
Naturally, I went flat instead and stumbled to three straight
bogeys. Oh well!
to the 8th tee now one over par after five holes played, The
Raptor somehow managed to hit four quality golf shots and made
back to back birdies which brought me to the halfway house one
under par after seven holes played. Lakeview Country Club
has never been considered an easy course. Over the time I
have played there, I have had some memorable rounds and once
scored a one under par, 71. However, this happened over five
years ago and my low scores have been higher each year
since. Thinking back to 2005, The Raptor recalls scoring a
74 and last year, with limited play there, I scored a
to say, the next 11 holes were not good. I was able to save
face, primarily due to some additional luck by scoring pars on the
11th, 13th, 14th, 15 and 18th holes. Unfortunately, I
peppered his run with double bogeys on holes 10 and 16. Some
bogeys on the remaining holes led to a final score of 79.
All things considered it was a grand day. Several good
drives, some quality approach shots and a couple of well
executed greenside wedge shots made the round a memorable
|Notice the Cheshire Cat like
grin by The Raptor as I celebrate my
America is a great place! It looks like it's time
for a haircut!
finished, I was sure that we had played badly as a team as the
scores by the other three on my team were a little off the mark,
no able top pass
muster. However, I was wrong by a long shot. Due to
some fluke of nature, our team finished 2nd out of 22 teams and
the celebration began.
order to celebrate the hole in one, Steve Crane gave The Raptor a
rousing introduction and the tournament participants all cheered
and cried out a loud and boisterous cheer. I instructed the
wait staff to give any one interested in toasting either a glass
of champagne or a shot of Jack Daniels. and it was a great time.
moved to the grill room after a fabulous dinner and shared stories
with the other players and had a chance to lay my story on my
regular gang, many of them had played after the tournament and had
stopped to the grill for a late dinner.