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The Weekend Update Page - 2011- 2012 Created 05/25/2011 Modified 07/23/2013



December 17th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Morning,
It's almost weird that on December 17th, The Raptor can publish a Weekend Update.  But, with that being said let's press on.  Going back to the week in general, the weather was decent.  Even though there was some rain early on...Wed Through Friday were sunny and the savvy player could generally find a game somewhere. 
The Raptor thought that Sunday December 9th was a cut off day.  After performing some routine bookkeeping chores in the morning, a decision was made to jet out to LS with The Squire and a good time was had by all.  Teeing off around 11:45...the two of us managed to finish 18 holes in under 2 hours.  The Raptor primarily did the driving whilst The Squire played all of the shots.  The highlight of the round for The Raptor was a superb birdie three on hole #13 by canning a 8 foot putt to a front left pin placement and a perfectly struck Rocketbalz on hole #18.  Unfortunately, the Raptor was not able to convert a tricky 6 foot sidehill attempt at another birdie...the putt lipping out...however it's safe to say that had the Raptor been using a belly putter, the putt would have dropped.  This further solidifies the need for a ban on the anchoring method.
Pictured here are the ubiquitous geese...who generally live up yonder at WW but were "slumming" on this day...enjoying a refreshing dip in the pond near hole #3 at LS. Later on in the day these same geese could be seen strolling the fairway on hole appeared that they were involved in "doing dirty deeds...dirt cheap"
After some heavy rain on Monday, the 10th...the weather turned nice again and The Squire was able to get in rounds on Thursday and Friday at LS.  As reported to The Raptor, he was the only player on the course both days.  By Saturday, the weather was still decent except for some heavy overnight frost.  After a busy day, The Raptor took a drive out to LS and played the par 3's Saturday afternoon.
Things were looking up for Sunday...the temps were going to be in 50's.  Unfortunately, an edict had come down from the LS management that would now restrict non-members from playing at LS during the off-season.  Undaunted, The Raptor took a drive out to the Downing facility and played the par 3's there Sunday afternoon.  While there the Raptor ran into two WW expatriates...Dr. V and Joe P who were enjoying a nice walk...
The Raptor was especially impressed with the length of the Downing par 3's.  My pass on hole #5 was iffy and I moved to hole #8 and mashed a nice Rockebalz into a stiff wind...The shot ended up on the front of the putting surface.  Similar outcomes were executed on holes #11 and #15.  However, the Driver was necessary.  Whilst on hole #15 a surreal felling come over The Raptor due to the quiet all around.  The Raptor was impressed with the bridge spanning the creek near the tee...officially named "Jocko's Crossing"
Special thanks go out to Downing Host Pro Frank Palilla who provided The Raptor with a complimentary hot dog.  The Raptor is certainly disappointed that a 15 mile drive may be necessary to play the 3's but The Raptor is NOT giving up!
Can LS figure out how to make it work...probably not...even if they come back with a counter offer, The Raptor may just quarantine the facity out of spite...You know the old Judge Smales mentality..."Ty...some people just don't belong"...How tough can this be? OK...OK...there was some cart damage and it's possible that a non-member was responsible.  But geeeze, how much longer does anyone think the Erie region is going to be snow free.'s disheartening to have someone say that the carts have been put away for the rest of the season, only to hear that there were carts on the golf course yesterday anyhow!
If any one was paying attention to Friday's news they know there are real problems in this world...some ruts on a golf course pale in comparison.
The Raptor


November 28th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

So the USGA has clarified the belly putter situation...The Raptor is somewhat miffed since I had hoped to opine on the subject a couple of weeks ago. Now that the ruling has been announced, my piece is going to be of diminished impact.
As I listened to the talk show on XM radio this afternoon...most of the callers were disappointed about the turn of events.  To call it a ban may be a stretch since a player can still use the putter...however, the player will not be able to anchor the putter to the body.
Interestingly, the old Bernhard Langer method of running the putter up the arm and locking it in place is still acceptable since there is some sort of swing involved.
Here is something to consider.  It seems that most good ball strikers have putting woes.  I have seen this on many occasions.  Going back in time...Hogan, Snead, Palmer, and Watson always seemed to be wrestling with missed short putts. 
Then consider the old guy with the cagey short game...usually the short game specialist can't break an egg. 
Now this is only meant to expand the dialog but maybe some compromise could be worked out.  In order to spice up the game...make it more fun for more people etc. the player could have the option for a illegal putter or an illegal driver.  For someone like myself...the illegal driver is the choice...if I could hit it 320 yards then I could figure a way to compete against the great ball strikers who need an anchored putter to avoid those pesky yips.
At the end of the day, The Raptor would be having more fun since right now...hitting 220 yard drives on 400 yard par 4's sucks.
In the mean time the change goes into effect in 2016.  Should there be separate rules for pros and ams?  Absolutely not!
The Raptor


November 26th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening,

The Raptor is here to tell you that editing these Weekend Updates has been a real treat as of late...I know...I's been a couple of weeks but...The Raptor has been busy....

So for starters let's skip the golf stuff and go right into College Football.  The season has certainly been an eye opener.  Who would have thought it would come down to Notre Dame and Alabama.  It should be noted that The Raptor despises both programs and it is with good reason...consider this....

The last season that Notre Dame won the mythical National Championship was 1988.  This was a heady time for The Raptor.  Having finished with college studies the previous year, It was with great fortune that The Raptor was able to picjk up season passes to Penn State Home Games courtesy of a fellow member at LVCC named Frank Palkovic.  My future spouse, Krista and The Raptor started going to the games during the 1986 season and it was great fun.

We would depart Erie early Saturday morning and arrive in State College around 9:30ish.  After a hearty breakfast at the Penn State Dinor (including a Sticky Bun or two), we would head up to Beaver Stadium for the tail gate parties and the game.  Afterwards we would generally head back to Erie and on many occasions we would experience those terrifying journies on I-80 amidst the ice, snow and large out of control rigs.

The Nittany Lions had won the National Championship a could of years previously and in 1988 the team was still rebuilding.  So, when The Notre Dame Team arrived at Beaver Stadium for a November contest, The Raptor was filled with a sense of forboding, The Fighting Irish had some talented players including Tony Rice and "Rocket" Ismail.  The team was coached by Lou Holtz, who was in his third year there.  The Irish were on a roll and looked to be heading to a great season.

Things went from bad to worse to awful as game time approached.  The folks who normally sat next to me and Krista had sold their tickets to a totally decked out Notre Dame fan!  This creep came to the game with his young son and he was a jerk!  He would say stuff like "Look son, there is this years Heisman winner...Tony Rice" and he would say it super loud so that he could be heard all over the section.

The Raptor was fuming and Krista did a yeoman's job of keeping me cool, calm and collected.  The Raptor could have pounded that (FOB) into the a spike.  There were others in the section who were yelling at the creep (BTW, The Raptor is being diplomatic here...I could utilize other adjectives to descibe this guy).  But who in their right mind would bring their young son to the game and pull that kind of stuff...that's right...only a jerk Notre Dame fan!

Anyhow, The Raptor decided right then and there to pass on the season tickets for 1989 and The Raptor has not been back to Beaver Stadium since.  As a resuklt, The Raptor hopes Notre Dame gets their silllegleigh stuffed right up their collective cans!

Now on to Alabama...The Raptor doesn't really have any qualms regarding the Crimson Tide.  Nick Saban is cool and the teams always seems to win when it counts.  This one loss to Texas A &M? appears to have been a fluke.  The Raptor didn't see the game as The Raptor was at Greg Tarbell's wedding and it seemed a tad rude to shuffle off to the bar to watch a football game.  What really ticks off The Raptor about Alabama is that Joe Scarborough likes them...

Scarborough is the host of Morning Joe on MSNBC,  He is a jerk too...He hails from Northern Florida,,,,possibly Pensacola and he must have gone to Alabama as he is always referenceing Tide this and Tide that and Roll Tide blah, blah, blah....The Raptor hates that kind of stuff.  It would be delicious if Alabama could stumble and Scarborugh could shut his big "small government conservative" yap.

So, if there was a way that both teams could loose it would be awesome!  So, in this perfect scenario, Alabama gets thumped by Georgia in the SEC Championship game and then Georgia turns around does a Cinderralla Story thing on January 7th and sends Notre Dame fans home in tears - The Raptor would then be pleased!


November 8th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon...
SPOLIER ALERT!...This Weekend Update has nothing to do with golf...perhaps the golf related WU will come out another day...
One of The Raptor's favorite flicks has to be "Trading Places".  The film traces the antics of Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche) Duke as they make life miserable for Louis Winthorpe II (Dan Aykroyd)...during one of the final scenes, Winthorpe and his sidekick, Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) have put their revenge scheme in place and when The Dukes fail to meet a margin call, and are left owing $394 million. Valentine and Winthorpe explain to the Dukes that they had made a wager on whether they could get rich while making the Dukes poor simultaneously. Valentine collects $1 from Winthorpe while Randolph collapses holding his chest and Mortimer shouts angrily at his brother about their failed plan.
Mortimer Duke is left alone on the trading floor screaming to "turn those machines back on!"
This same scenario worked itself out this past Tuesday evening over yonder at Fox News at about 11:13PM.  It was at that moment that Fox, along with every other news network called the Presidential Election by awarding the State of Ohio and it's 20 Electoral Votes to President Obama.  The Raptor missed all the ensuing excitement as I refuse to watch Fox News...ever...
It seems that Karl Rove, former advisor to President George W Bush, who can best be described as a "color commentator", went spastic over the announcement that his boy, Mitt Romney, had lost the election! 
Rove became frantic..."Turn Those Machines Back On!" he exclaimed..."It's over Karl" Megan Kelly responded...and so began the sad realization on Rove's part that he had extorted and spent over 300 Million Dollars so that his "Super PAC", American Crossroads, could become another footnote in the dustbin of history.
The Raptor shall do no tap dancing on Mr. Rove's grave.  However, The Raptor  did cut out Rove's arrogant pre-election op-ed in the WSJ.  In the piece, Mr. Rove states "My prediction: Sometime after the cock crows on the morning of November 7th, Mitt Romney will be declared America's 45th President...Let's call it 51%-48% with Mr. Roney carrying at least 279 Electoral Votes, probably more."
Rove then came back to The Journal today to perform the post mortem and complained bitterly about President Obama's "record shattering" 220 fundraising events over 20 months.  In addition, Rove castigated an "anonymous New York Times Headline Writer" for putting "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" to Candidate Romney's 2008 op-ed piece. 
The GOP complains day in and day out about how President Obama has ruined this country.  Well... onsider this...if the GOP could figure out how to avoid arguing about chicken stuff topics like "legitimate (cape)" and "self-deportation" they might win a few GD elections!
Meanwhile guys like Sheldon Adelson, Katl Rove and the Koch Brothers can watch their crowning achievements over and over and wonder...WTF...
The Raptor


October 25th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Morning,
The Raptor couldn't was just yesterday that The Raptor was looking back on a long season of golf and wondering what was left?...all the stories have been told and all the events have been held...except...
Breaking News!...Ellery Tarbell has shot a 64 at Lake View CC! This is huge...The Raptor absorbed the details last evening at a Pros's Table set up at Buffalo Wild Wings.  The Raptor had played a quick round up at WWGC in the late afternoon with fellow gimp, Don Fessler.  We were able to tee off around 4PM and manager to cycle through 18 holes in about 2 hrs and 20 min. Finishing just ahead of the gathering darkness.  While The Raptor isn't too keen on boring descriptions of shots, The Raptor is pleased to state that the par 3's were played in 1 under par yesterday which is....nice!  The birdie was made on hole 11...Rocketbalz coupled with a 15 foot putt
Tarbell on the other hand had a slew of birdies on the way to a front nine score of 31.  He played steady golf through the par 3 14th hole and then turned on the burners with birdies on holes 15, 16 and 18.  The final score of 64 was one better than the previous course record of 65 set by Dario Cipriani roughly 20 to 25 years ago.  It is the understanding of The Raptor that the "professional" course record at Lake View is 63...possibly by Mike Nicolette in a Charity Classic event.  The Raptor is a little vague on that as I had thought the low score was 64 by Rex Caldwell...hmmmmmmm
The highlight for the back nine had to occur on hole 17...after a well struck drive, Tarbell was faced with an opportunity to go for the green on the narrow par five. The conditions were ideal for scoring as there was little wind at the usually breezy Lake View track. As a result of recent rain days the course could best be described as "under water".  Tarbell hit what he though was a safe play...short of the putting surface but out of danger.
Unfortunately, he had not taken into consideration the movements of the group which were leaving the putting surface on their way to the 18th tee.  One of the players (name unknown), ventured towards the fairway and was struck by Tarbell's approach.  The ball managed to ding the unsuspecting player in the "back side" and proceeded to carom to the right near the sand trap.  Tarbell executed a nice pitch and run to about 5 feet but could not convert the putt for a crucial birdie....Coulda...Shoulda...Woulda...
Needless to say the beer was flowing big time at the Pro's Table...well it was for Ellery anyhow as the rest of us consumed massive quantities of bottomless non-alcoholic beverages while munching on delicious boneless chicken wings with the mango habernero glaze.
Congratulations Ellery on a job....done!


October 15th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
Who could have predicted that so many interesting stories could materialize pertaining to golf?  The weekend started with continued discussion on issues such as:  recent job openings at Kahkwa and Lake Shore, a controversial "witch" (sic) tiff over yonder at the LPGA and another successful weekend actually playing the game.
By now, just about everyone knows that Kahkwa Turf Care Superintendent, David Stull, is seeking a new gig for it possible, Stull may end up over at Lake Shore? wouldn't that be special!....The Raptor is hopeful that these issues can be resolved quickly...after all golf is considered to be a "gentleman's game" but if you noticed the child like qualities of many of local golf enthusiasts perhaps it's more akin to a nursery school...
The unfortunate byproduct of attempting to make these updates interesting is that Erie is a small town and the principals in these dramas are generally included in the distribution.  The Raptor has had discussions with several individuals who have played at the K-Club this season and most if not all of the respondents have felt that the facility was in fine shape.  The Raptor had a chance to play there in August at The PNC Outing and the place was great!...
This pic of the 11th hole is a Raptor Fav...this par 3 has some nice contouring at the putting surface but it is just right for distance with a short to medium iron for the average player.  After the golf, the players and guests settled into the Sunset Room for a delicious meal and awards...yum!
One quick of WW's finest recently suffered a injury whilst playing last Tuesday evening.  The weather had turned nice that day and the Raptor was able to get in a few holes.  However with the sunset now happening at around 6:50, it is difficult to get in a full 18 holes...especially if one tees off at 6:00...Anyhow, our friend managed to hit a drive on hole 16 and proceeded to watch the ball flight as opposed to the ground and tripped on a tee marker...since The Raptor is VERY knowledgeable about foot injuries, my recommendation is to do anything the doctor orders...even if it means no walking etc.
Also, on that same day, The Raptor was involved in an accident at the club too!.. After playing the back nine with two friends, The Raptor wanted to get in the par 3's on the front and made a drive to hole #2 to try for an Ace.  However, on approach to the tee box, the cart went out of control on the wet...leaf covered cart path and The Raptor found himself crashing into a mail box pole at the tee!  With both a bruised knee and dignity. The Raptor managed to hit a perfect 5 iron approach to a back left quadrant flagstick and after a shaky cart drive to the green, rolled home a 30 foot putt! Are u kidding me!  Then, The Raptor headed to hole #6 and hit a perfect Rocketbalz 5 wood to within 10 feet of a red flagstick....hmmmm maybe if The Raptor were to smash a knee cap before each shot...never mind...
On Friday, as the story goes..Brittany Lincicome sent out a tweet from an LPGA revent in Malaysia reflecting relief over a rain delay...meanwhile, Christina Kim took offense to this thread as she was sitting in a dark room in East LA getting ready to go through tour school.  The two players traded tweets back and forth for a time and apparently have "defriended" each other over the whole thing!  Wow! this is hot stuff!...The Raptor is looking forward to hearing about the make-up.....mmmmmmmmmm!
After much handwringing and gnashing of teeth, The Raptor was finally able to execute a visit to LVCC on Saturday to redeem my annual complimentary round of golf courtesy of the Developments Corp.  Included in The Raptor's entourage were Lou Natalie and Matt Modica.  The Raptor took special delight in developing a "yarn" about Matt M with LVCC pro-shop manger, Joe Alonge.  I had Joe believing That Mr. Modica was a recent graduate of the big house and that The Raptor was showing him how to golf so he could rehabilitate himself.  Joe was worried that Matt might be packing was hilaruious!
After experiencing a 2 hour frost delay which included a visit the the North East Marina...
...the course and accompanying budship were great...The Raptor played terrible!  Driver...5 wood...wedge...2 putts...every hole!...nice par on hole 3 though...good for a net skin!
Sunday was a long day...the morning COD match was one of the best of the season.  The group included Chad Bednarski, Tony Pep, Brian Tyler and The Raptor.  While virtually no cash changed hands the contest included over 25 skill awards...long birdie putts...closest to was awesome!  The highlight for The Raptor was a superb 5 wood approach on hole 17 which found the putting surface...after an much needed two putt par, The Raptor/Bednarski team were able to seize control of the match for a stirring 1 up victory on the final 6 holes.
After the match, the players gathered at the 18th for hearty handshakes and a photo op
Subsequent to the COD match, The Raptor hustled down to Calimari's for a party for departing WW Pro Adam Singer.  Adam is on his way to a winter gig at Fiddlesticks Club in sunny Florida and The Raptor sends out best wishes AND congratulations on his recent passing of the PGA exam...Adam is now a full-fledged member of the PGA...nice!
Later in the day, The Raptor decided to tune into the PGA Tour event on Golf Channel and was introduced to Jonas Blixt's family...Can someone explain to me why most if not all women from Sweden are of "supermodel" quality?
I guess congratulations are in order as Blixt held his ground and made some great putts on his way to a 1 stroke victory.
The critical hole at this tournament has to be the 17th.. a drivablle pa3 of about 290 yards...
Well, it was a lot to digest...get back to work and have a great week!
The Raptor


October 8st, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon....
Let's face it, the weekend sucked...The Raptor managed to play 18 holes on Saturday and Sunday amidst some rain drops but the golf was uninspiring.  Perhaps a lackluster performance at the LPGC "Octoberfest" on Wed Oct 3rd paved the way towards mediocrity. 
The Raptor was sooooo stoked to play well at The Park, but unfortunately it did not work out.  It seemed like every joint in my frame was stiff and as a result, The Raptor felt like giving up the game.  There were a few moments of brightness in an otherwise dark day and they happened early on.
The course was soft from some recent rains but through the first nine holes, The Raptor was at least in position to perhaps roll in a few putts on some nice putting surfaces but alas had on the way to a 44.  Then, after some additional choppage on the back nine, another bogey upon bogey tally gave The Raptor an impressive 88!...nice!
Part of the problem was the workout The Raptor received on lengthy treks to the putting surfaces on several of the holes.  My cart master, Jay Honard, must not have got the memo that The Raptor is totally lame and walking is a chore.  As a result, he left me with a few early jaunts that got me a tad gassed by about the 10th hole.  No worries though...the fabulous turf over at the Park is without any ruts even though my right knee felt like a gator was biting into it by about the fifth hole.
The rest of the day was top notch with some great budship in the dining hall and impressive awards for the winners.  As usual, many of the regions top "competitors" were able to cash in...special props go out to the LPGC staff who got conned into wearing some sort of "German" outfits and managed to pull it off with spectacular results.
The Raptor has to laugh though...whenever a buffet meal is laid out, the filler dishes, such as corn, salad, potato and rice are portioned out on large serving dishes whilst the good stuff is dished out in microscopic quantities. Wed was no different as two chubby "chefs" cut into the roasted turkey? and prime rib and served out 1 ounce potions.  The Raptor rarely eats the corn and as a result an emergency stop was executed on the way home for a Burger King Double Cheeseburger to alleviate some hunger pangs.
The best part of the weekend had nothing to do with golf but had everything to do with the upcoming general election.  First, yes...The Raptor is aware that President Obama had an uninspiring performance in the debate and as a result Mitt Romney is back in the race!  The Raptor thinks this is a good thing, The Raptor would have seen a victory by The President as a sure sign that the race was over....this way all of you GOP supporters will have to pony up an additional out of pocket stipend to Governor Romney's campaign so that Karl Rove's PAC...American Crossroads can broadcast a ton of negative advertisements.
The real excitement occurred up at WWGC.  It was just a week ago that The Raptor noted a lawn sign supporting Candidate Janet Anderson stuck in the ground near an empty lot facing the ninth hole.  The Raptor knows the score and is fine with the disingenuous presentation.  Ms. Anderson is running a slick campaign and as usual is touting her 26 years of experience doing something that "created jobs"  While The Raptor is unsure how she created jobs, Ms. Anderson will certainly "fight" for Erie etc. etc. yawn....
Meanwhile, Ms. Anderson is running negative ads showing her opponent, Sean Wiley in numerous "greyscale" images that make Wiley appear creepy along with horrific statistics on what a chithole (sic) Erie had become while Mr. Wiley worked in County Government.  This is all well and good but The Raptor has been there before and would like to point out that when a yard sign is stuck in the ground, it has to be "serviced" periodically so that the message continues to resonate.
What happened is that the wind, rain and awful recent weather caused the sign to fall and now it can't get itself
This fallen ambassador could very well be a metaphor for Ms. Anderson's campaign...while support for Ms. Anderson is strong within the business community, it is a fleeting level of commitment.  Folks are just too busy to get that committed to a campaign.  Had The Raptor not pointed out this downed sign, it would probably fade away...however there is still time to rescue it and put it up again...there is always a chance it could sway an otherwise undecided voter...after all there are still a few weeks left in the season and somebody will eventually play WWGC that's not from Canada...
The Raptor


October 1st, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Morning...
There isn't much more that can be said about The Ryder Cup that hasn't already been said by Rich Learner, Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo and David Feherty....well ok, The Raptor can try...
First, isn't it amazing that after all these years of The Golf Channel the only PGA Playing Pro's that get any air time are Chamblee and Charlie Rymer....ok ok...Trip what ever his name has been on once in awhile but c'mon! David Feherty?  Colin Montgomery? Ken Schofield? Sir Nick Faldo?  wave some freakin money in Hale Irwin and Tom Watson's face and tell him to quit grinding on the Champions Tour and get in the booth!
Then, Chamblee (a Tiger Hater) continually gets on his sop box and opines on dumping veterans like Woods, Furyk and Stricker for some younger, better players...well gee go ahead and put Rickie Fowler and Kevin Na on the team...there pretty good, right?  The Raptor thinks Furyk's problem is with Fluff bout that paryasis by analysis routine that Furyk and Fluff were going through on holes 17 & 18?  Nobody could make a putt that way!  You have got to be kidding me!  First, Furyk looks at it then Fluff looks at it...then Fluff goes into a trace and looks at the back of Furyk's head whilst he tries to envision the putt.  The Furyk gets down on the ground to retink his earlier read.  The Raptor is an awful putter but Furyk is awfuler. 
The Raptor has a lot of Ryder Cup respect for Ian Poulter...this fop is great at match play as evidenced by his victories in the 2010 Accenture Match Play and the 2011 Volvo, but his record is spotty at best...he is a great proponent of the "Tartan Look" but it doesn't appear that he could contest in a major if his life depended on it...but, for him to have made those five putts in a row on Saturday afternoon was in a word...impressive!
Another note on Luke Donald and Grame come the no hat look?  Everyone else wore a hat...The Raptor figures only Robert Rock should be allowed to go hatless...
An aside on the future Ryder Cups sites...the 2016 site is Hazeltine and the 2020 is Whistling Straights  based on some intel from the telecast, the PGA negotiates package deals with the sites in three's so there is two PGA Championships and A Ryder Cup in the deal.  with that being said it would appear that future sites for The Ryder Cup would be The Atlanta Athletic Club, Kiawah Island and heard it hear first...
On the local scene, there is a month left in the posting of scores on the GHIN syustem and this is a perfect opportunity for the frequent player to get a bunch of scores in the system under the soft conditions with plugged putting surfaces...a few big numbers can't hurt eh?
Speaking of soft conditions...The Raptor bumped into a player at one of the local clubs who was lamenting about the incidious plugs strewn about the place which were about to sully up his Sunday round...what could you expect?  Go ahead and whack a key droid and see where it gets you...tsk...tsk..tsk
The Raptor

September 26th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Morning...
It's Ryder Cup week and The Raptor has been busy preparing for the big event.  So as to not miss the action, The Raptor will record the whole program with about 30 hours of coverage.  The video will then be place in a treasured spot in my extensive library of golf related video which I will never watch again....geeeeezzzzzeee.....
Last week end saw the conducting of the long anticipated 2nd Annual "Raptor Cup" at WWGC.  This long anticipate match between players from LSCC and WWGC ended with the WW gang on top.  Weather was a factor as heavy rain the previous day had mandated a cart path rule and periodic rain during the day put a damper on an otherwise great competition.  There were several notable moments including LS Assistant Pro Scott Herron's eagle on hole # 4 and Adam Singer's fabulous 31 on the back nine...
In The Raptor's match with Tom Madara, we each suffered from some lapses' but none was more hilarious than our combined score of 17 on hole #9.  The hole started with Madara bouncing a drive of Dr V's house.
The Raptor was so shaken by this development that my tee shot was cold topped into the ravine in front of the tee complex.  After placing provisional balls in play, both of us hit approach shots shot of the putting surface.  The Raptor ending up about 70 yards short whilst Madara was laying 4 in a greenside bunker.  After The Raptor placed a wedge chip about 25 feet above the hole location in the back left quadrant of the putting surface, Madara struck a tentative sand shot which left him with a lengthy putt for 6, which he promptly knocked 10 feet past the hole.  The Raptor cozyied up my attempt for 6 to about 2 feet above the hole and Madara proceeded to miss and tapped in for an 8...The Raptor then jabbed my attempt for a winning 7 and saw the ball lip out and roll down the grade about 10 feet from the hole...result Madara wins hole with a snowman...
This brand of exceptional golf continued through the back nine and we limped through the final hole in the midst of a driving rain storm to finish in a tie - each gaining a 1/2 point.  The Lake Shore team played valiantly but couldn't overcome the home course advantage of The Woodsmen and succumbed 18 1/2 to 5 1/2
Pictured here is The Raptor with Lake Shore Captain, Ray Kallner with The Raptor Cup prior to the competition...
The winning team has "the switch" flipped to the emblem of that years winner...since Lake Shore won last year the switch is flipped to their side.  This is one impressive trophy.  As a back story, I voted to call the competition The ShoreWoods!
After the completion, The Raptor had the honor of flipping the switch at The Asphalt Bar & Grill.
The completion concluded with a picnic buffet of chili, burgers, dogs and snacks along with a putting contest designed by Rich Rocky and Tony Pepicello which was won by WW player Denny Wildauer, who scored a 20 over the tricky nine hole course.
The holes were named after "The Beers of Whispering Woods"
Pictured here is some players preparing to battle at the first hole, "Coors Light" enjoying a fine cigar.
In this pic, Lou Natalie is seen tapping in at hole 6, "Yuengling" with the tee box for hole 7, "Smurf Piss" in the background...
The Toonament Committee had great fun organizing this event and we hope to make it bigger and better next year when the match moves to Lake Shore.
On the PGA Tour, Brent Snedecker utilized a red hot putter on his way to a big win in the Tour Championship/Fed Ex Cup.pocketing about 12 Million dollars in the process.  World Number 1, Rory McIlroy finished strong in a tie for 10th place whilst Tiger Woods was awful...finishing in a tie for 8th with another chop, Hunter Mahan...Tiger only got about 3 Million Dollars for his effort...he is obviously over the hill and will probably never win again...
Locally, another head was chopped off due to a litany of sins....most importantly...inadequate plys of crap wrap in the locker rooms...The Raptor looks back to Caddyshack...
Judge: " you know what I just saw..."
Sandy: "They must be tunneling in from that construction project..."
Judge: "Hmmmmmmm...Cervick Construction...I'll slap an the mean time, get this crap wrap straightened out or I'll be looking for a new greenskeeper...
Stay tuned...this could get ugly
The Raptor

September 19th, 2012  - The Gift...

Good Afternoon,
Recently while trading messages with a respected member of the business community he asked...
"please give me a rundown of BHO ’s accomplishments during his lifetime. ‘Betcha you don’t come up with too many.
Furthermore, why shouldn’t we blame him for our troubles. All he does is pass the buck and takes absolutely NO responsibility for anything.
You Dems are in for a rude awakening come November. Beware!!!"
Wow!...beware!...beware of what? The President Obama is going to go down in defeat? certainly is possible that he could loose.  But, as long as the "gift that keeps on giving" aka The GOP keeps opening their collective mouth it's a coin toss.
When it comes to rude awakenings, Americans are used to 1996, Republicans fielded Bob Dole and got zero in return.  Then, when Al Gore ran in 2000, he proved to be sooo awful that he couldn't even win his home state!.  In 2004, Kerry lost the election by a whisker (mostly because he was a"limousine liberal" and the sticker wouldn't come off - plus Teresa Heintz was a witch in a pagmina
In the 2008 election the GOP trotted out John McCain and he WAS awful!  - How could anyone contribute a dime to that kind of campaign?
Now we are here in 2012.  Obama and Ronmey....President Obama has no accomplishments to speak of but he has a pulse...when some one asks him about the Bulls and the Bears he knows it refers to Chicago and not the stock market...  I am sure many of you cringed when Romney made a reference to "sport" as in equestrian or perhaps handball...c'mon Mitt get a life!
It's one thing to be a "good man" but it's another to be a DB.  How bout the time when Romney went to the hardware store?  The Secret Service held the car door open for him and let him go through with a photo op so he could pick up some nails.  Probably to show a horse....
Regardless of what happens in two months someone is bound to be pissed.  It's too bad that 2 billion dollars has to be spent to figure it out.  I sure wish I owned a TV station...

September 19th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
As predicted several weeks ago, it will probably snow this weekend.  Sat the 22nd, WW will be hosting 16 players from The Lake Shore CC and what follows: is a general agenda for the day.
The pro shop has been monitoring the morning tee times in order to make this event as well managed as possible.  Tee times are running from 7:20ish till early afternoon.  The Lauer Group will be at less than full strength since a couple of the regulars are heading to Florida to experience a visit to the wild life.  The Raptor has not heard from The Weber Group, but I am assuming that they will have enough players to fill up to two foursomes and The Raptor notes that the Scully Group and The Harvey Group should also have a presence.
There have been 14 players from The Raptor Group who have signed up to play Sat and if these reservations are coupled with the players in The Raptor Cup, it should be a busy day.
Rich Rocky would like anyone in the groups teeing off from 7:20 to 8:40 to let him (or myself) know if you are interested in joining the post play party to be held at The Asphalt Bar & Grill.  here is the itinery for the day.
For those who are interested ($20.00 buy in) there will be morning donuts and coffee, bloody mary/virgin mary on first tee, a Keg of Bud Light at The Asphalt B&G. Chili (Rock's Secret Recipe), Burgers, Smith's Sausages, Potato Salad, Cookies.
There will be a cash bar for beverages.  A table is being set up which will feature a selection of sipping whiskey's and wine.  Also on the table will be some cigars. 
For an additional buy in there will be a gross skin, net skin, closest to pin at $5 each and there are plans to have a putting game set up with a $5 buy in.  The theme of the putting contest is "The Beers Of Whispering Woods"
Rich Rocky will set up a Cornhole Court and also a card table.  We are trying to figure a way to put a TV under the tent to keep up with golf and college football.
The players in The Raptor Cup will begin teeing off at 8:50.
The chili will be available as you finish your round.  The burgers and dogs will be served after the Raptor Cup players finish.
If you are interested, in the party please let us know as soon as possible.  If you are part of The Raptor Cup....engage a designated driver...if you have your grapes in a bunch over this whole thing there is nothing I can do to change what is about to happen

September 13th, 2012  - New Tee Time Process...

Good Morning,
As many of you may have heard, WW will be adopting a "card system" to establish the weekend tee times for the month of October in an effort to develop some fairness in how tee times are given out.
This brings back some memories (Naturally) of The LVCC years.  The first incident occurred way back in about 1984 and the back story goes like this.  The Raptor had been playing with three LV Members and we generally teed off at about 10:30 or 11:00 on Saturdays.  At some point one of the group suggested that we try to get a tee time at about :7:00ish on a Saturday Morning.  So The Raptor volunteered to go to the week in advance very early Saturday Morning...say at 5:45 to 6:00 to "get ahead" of the rest of the membership and get a prized tee time at 7:10...
When The Raptor arrived at The Pro Shop (it was still dark...btw), then Golf Pro, Billy Kaye was in the shop and he asked in his classic cheerful manner what I was doing there so early. I gave him the routine about getting a tee time and when he showed me the book, all the times were taken from about 6:30 all the way to about 10:00.  I asked Billy how they could have gotten filled and said with a straight face that each and every one of the times had been personally signed for by the respective members that each case, the members had driven to the club and signed on and then left the grounds.  This was obvious since the parking lot was 100% empty.
So The Raptor looked Billy in the eye and said that he was going to go outside...take a fresh breath of morning air and walk back into the shop.  When I walked back in I told Billy that there better be an open spot in the book for me at 7:10 so I could sign on for that time.  Fortunately, for Billy's sake, the time was available and the rest is history.  Our group began playing early Saturday morning and we've been doing it ever since.
It's obvious that Billy was engaged in a tried and true practice of "allocating" tee times for the membership to save the members the time and frustration of doing this process themselves.
A couple of year's later, Billy had moved on to try to realize his goal of playing on the senior PGA Tour and Chip Clover had been hired in his place.  Chip had not been apprised of the allocation routine and on one Saturday, early in his tenure, a line of members formed outside the proshop entrance in the dark of night to sign up for a tee time for the following week.  The line started forming at about 4:30 in the morning and by the time Clover arrived at 5:45, a raucous crowd of 30 to 35 members were stretched out from the entrance actually going up the cart path to the parking lot.  Dan Coughlin had brought down a deck chair along with a newspaper and a "flashlight helmet" to pass the time...
The stunned Clover was pretty much speechless when he saw everyone gathered and the look on his face was priceless.  This ballet lasted perhaps one or two more weeks and Chip implemented some sort of "no tee time" system which The Raptor can not recall how it worked.  Alas, too bad we couldn't have just put up a "ball rack"
The anecdotes are meant to establish the comical nature that develops when it comes to getting a tee time at one of our local clubs.  In the case of WW, we are not dealing with 400 members but a grand total of 60!...And it has come to pass that what had been a reasonably well managed method of allocating tee times has been canceled. 
In closing, The Raptor will look forward to helping in any way I can to get the members tee times.  If you would like to hang in there, I can continue to manage a roster and on the other hand, if you want to take this opportunity to go on your own that's OK with me.  It was an honor to work out the weekly logistics and I took particular pride in putting together the groups.
The Raptor

September 7th, 2012  - It Will Probably Snow...

Good Morning,
First, a couple of notes on The Labor Day Toonament.  The Raptor was satisfied on the turnout.  The field numbered to 40 players and conditions were ideal.  It did get a tad warm on the back nine and The Raptor was feeling the heat for sure.  As The Raptor was preparing for the event, it is customary to make a quick tour of the course to drop off the close to pin markers and while doing so I discovered this cool ballet that occurs every day.
The Turf Care Crew was out on the front nine working in stages on holes 2 (green roller), 3 (tee mower), 4 (green mower) and 5 (approach mower)...there was also a gent on 7 who was grooming the sand bunkers.  Those guys a doing a great job and while there is a certain group that would grouse about course conditions, overall it's been a good year.
The Raptor never ceases to get tired of organizing an event and the next one on the schedule is called..The Raptor Cup.
First, a little back story. The Raptor Cup was thought up last season in the devious mind of one Ray Kallner.  Ray is presently membering over at Lake Shore and he wanted to set up a "Battle of The Lakes" type event between Lake Shore and Whispering Woods.  I agreed and proposed that the event be referred to as the "ShoreWoods Cup"  Unfortunately< Ray decided to call it "The Raptor Cup"
As can be seen with the photo, Ray constructed a "trophy" and the "switch" in the middle is set to the trophy holder.  It's actually a pretty cool trophy and an honor the have it named as such...It should be noted that Lake Shore won last years Lake Shore.  Surprisingly, it snowed that early October.
This year, we have hoped to avoid the snow by moving the event to Sat Sept 22nd.  PGA Golf Professional, Richard Rocky has blocked off the tee sheet for that day and called the block "Raptor Cup".  After some discussions yesterday the Committee has come up with the following plan.
There are 16 WWGC players who have signed on to participate in "The Raptor Cup" against 16 players coming from Lake Shore.  The format will be as follows:  Each foursome will compete for 3 points. 1 point each for individual match play and 1 point for the 2 man better ball.  The WW squad is led by Richard Rocky and co-captain, Adam Singer.  The Rocky/Singer Group will match up against Lake Shore Professional's Mike Gajewski and Scott Gommersoll.
Other WWGC Cup players include: The Raptor, Lou Natalie, Gary Ebach, Damian Knight, Lew McClain, Jr. Lew McClain, Sr., Dave Devine, Richard Brown, Mark Patrzia, Will Georger, Rob Brim, John Torok, Tom Tomechko and Chris Komora.
The Raptor is in the process of lining up alternates to fill in in the event that a confirmed player can't make it that day.
The Raptor Cup tee times stretch from about 9:00 to 10:00.  The tee times from 7:30 to 9:00 will be populated by the members who regularly show up to play on Sat.  Generally, there are times for The Lauer Group (2 or 3 times), the Weber Group (2 times) the Scully Group, The Raptor Group,and The Harvey Group.
In order to give anyone playing that day an opportunity to get involved, there will be things you can do to help make this event a success.  There will be a registration table set up at the Pro Shop that day.  You can sign up for the gross/net skins and closest to pins which will be cash awards.  In addition, Members and Party Crashers can sign up for the post Raptor Cup Party which will be held at The Asphalt Bar and Grill.  This party will include a food menu and a cash bar.  There will also be a cornhole courts set up and a putting toonament will be set up as well.  It is hoped that a Texas Hold Em table will be set up and The Raptor is going to attempt to set up a TV station so that  attendees can check out The Ryder Cup matches.
The Raptor has encouraged the Committee to perhaps set up a Cigar and Wine Table (this could be cool).
As I type this, I am actually getting a buzz!  So please get back to me with any reservations or thoughts so that we can put the finishing touches on the event known as The Raptor Cup 2012

September 4th, 2012  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
The Labor Day Weekend has traditionally signaled the end to the summer golf season as courses in the area begin preparing for that eventual day when the last leaves have fell and the holiday season is upon us.  Fall golf in Erie is usually spectacular and this season should be no different as the last few.  It's always a plus when that "Indian Summer" arrives in the end of October  and players can enjoy one or two weeks of warm sunny conditions.
Meanwhile, the golf season has continued with a flurry as a number of events have been contested and some champions crowned.  Just last Thursday up at LVCC the EDGA Senior BB (Streeter Cup) was held and the team of Bob Johnson amd Jim Spoden crafted a BB score of 68 to take top honors.  Coming in tied for second with 70's were the teams of Ron Coleman/Rick Federici, Rick Carlotti/Lou Natalie and Dario Cipriani/Ron DiSantis.  Congratulations are in order for a job....done...It should be noted that The Raptor also played in the Streeter, teaming up with Don Fessler, Jr. The Raptor was able to cheer Don to a 12th place finish with a BB score of 73.  Those putts we missed...all Obam's fault!
Further down the scoreboard in 31st place with a BB score of 81 was the team of John Eppinger and Bill Wilkinson.  John made a special note to get a plug in the Weekend Update so here it is.  The Raptor got a chance to chat with John up in the LVCC Grill room after the match and we reminisced about The Lake Shore Club.  John is a recent expatriate of The Shore and you could see a certain disappointment in his eyes as we discussed recent developments.  As many of you may know, veteran Turf Care Super, Chuck Hintz has become a casualty in the quest for perfect turf conditions and in the words of Judge Smails "Lake Shore is now looking for a new greenskeeper"...
Up at WWGC a Labor Day "Toonament" was held which went by the "It's President Obam's Fault" theme. As a back story,
"With a national election coming up there is quite a bit of bad blood here at WWGC.  Players are pissed about a wide variety of issues from playeing partners to tee times to slow play to green speeds and it's all President Barack Obama's stop blaming The Raptor"
The Toonament held competitions in Gross/Net Skins, Closest To Pins and a 4 Man Blind Draw to crown "The Champion Golfers of The Year"  The winners turned out to be Lew McClain, Jr. Gary Berti, Kevin Shaffer and Rick Burgess while the silver medal was awarded to Lucas Marsh, Pat Harvey, Vince Timpano and Chad Bednarski. Congratulations go aout to all thw winners!
On a personal note, The Raptor was able to lock up a gross/net skin with an awesome birdie on WWGC's always difficult Hole #1!  After hiting an average drive and lay up approach, The Raptor was able to strike a "perfect" 52 degree Vokey into the hole for a first ever three!  It was great, but you had to be there to get the vibe.  Witnessing the feat were Matt Modica, Adam Singer and Chad Bednarski.
Meanwhile, on the PGA Tour, Rory McIlroy won yet another big event with a one stroke victory over an injured Louis Oosthuizen.  Tiger Woods shooting a final round 66 finished a distant third...2 strokes off the pace.  The big news from the weekend had to be Phil Mickelson parlaying a claw grip putting style to a 4th place finish.  Mickelson also shot a final round 66 and looked to be in great form in the run up to the FedEx Cup to be held in two weeks...The Raptor had hoped to make a disparaging statement about putters here but I just can't do it...whatever works to get the ball into the hole is OK with me..
Finally, after a lot of suspense, Davis Love has selected Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker as his Captain Picks in The upcoming Ryder Cup...oh well!  Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan can rebid for can you not pull for a guy like Furyk.  His whole personna oozes ice.  He has got to break out of this slump now!  Go Jim! Let's get it on!

August 27th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon...
Turf care crews all over Western PA must be doing cartwheels as a result of this rainy day.  I am hopeful that there were not too many outings spoiled as a result but one thing is certain - it's got to be President Obama's fault that this drought has occurred.  After all his administrations seems to get blamed for every other problem facing the world today....
Neil Armstrong dead...Hurricane in the Gulf...3 putts at WW Club Championship....all Obama's fault.
Speaking of 3 putts this past weekend saw the conducting of the WW Club Championship.  Also, there was a CC held at the Kahkwa Club.  The uncomfirmed winner at Kahkwa was Rob Nicotra however, this is unofficial as The Raptor has not been able to determine that Rob was the actual winner - so some congratulations are going out there.
Up at WW, Lucas Marsh was able to parlay a "snowman" on hole #9 to a thrilling 3 stroke victory.  Lucas becomes the first player to win two CC's in a row.  It should be noted that on day 1, Lucas shot a fine 74 when the other players in his flight couldn't break 80...then on day two, Marsh made it interesting with his front nine 43 whilst Jim DelSandro scored an impressive 35 to start the back nine even Steven.  Marsh managed to right the ship and made scrambling pars on the final 3 holes to seal the deal...Congratulations Lucas!  Don Fessler Jr. finished alone in 3rd place, 5 stokes back.
In the WW Net Division, Thad Z hoisted the trophy with a two day net score of 141 whilst Joe Puglese and Brian McGrath tied for 2nd honors at 142.  The default winner of the gross division was Tom Tomechko who shot a 80-79 - 159 to nose out the hard charging duo of Chris Komora and Ed Duffin who tied for 2nd honors at 161, Two stroke ahead of Gary Ebach.
The Raptor played poorly (as usual) shooting net scores of 84-81 to finish 24 strokes off the pace.  The most hilarious hole in this wreck had to be #4...after duck hooking the tee ball into Zahn's Run, a ball was dropped about 140 out from the putting surface.  The next shot was topped into the same spot as the drive and the next attempt found the creek up near the putting surface.  After lobbing a 60 degree Vokey onto the putting surface The Raptor finished off the hole with a three putt and a smooth 10...Ouch!  It had to be Obama's Fault!
The Raptor

August 23rd, 2012 - The Gift...

Good Morning!
There is a spring in The Raptor's step today!...well not foot is killing me...anyhow as The Raptor has stated many times in the past, The Republican Party or GOP can be called "The Gift That Keeps On Giving"  I say this with admiration.  Consider the plight of Missouri Congressman Todd Akin.
Congressman Akin was being interviewed recently and using the sentiments of Dr. Jack Wilke as his guide, opined that "stuff" in a woman who is being attacked "is less likely to be able to fertilize".  The Raptor can think back to that classic line in the flick, Blazing Saddles.
Hedley LaMar is interviewing prospective candidates to wreck havoc on the town of Rock Ridge and he encounters a particularly menacing reprobate who lists his accomplishments and uses one dirty deed twice.  After LaMar questions the dirt bag's faux pas, the dude says...ok...let's not go there...
Anyhow, Congressman Akin has doubled down and as a result the GOP is wailing and gnashing their teeth over the prospect of a Deocratic Majority in the Senate and another damn Liberal Appointee on The Supreme Court by the soon to be elected Barak Hussein Obama...thank you Congressman Akin! go share a drink with Christine O'Donnel (The Witch From Delaware).
As a side note, The Raptor got a chance to golf at The Kahkwa Club on Monday in the annual PNC Client was a great time!...The Raptor always enjoys a visit to Kahkwa the facility is awesome.  The staff is responsive and the playing conditions were excellent.  It makes The Raptor wonder what all the fuss is about?
Talk about First World Problems...supposedly, there is a cadre of Kahkwa Members who have had all they can stomach over the conditions of the facility and they are prepared to act accordingly with drastic measure.  Perhaps even resort to some Medieval Torture.  At the heart of this matter is putting green speed plain and simple.  After all, when a a wealthy white man says jump...the common response is "How High?"
So,,,some of the BOD acting unilaterally, (possibly called "The Hysterics") have initiated a "whisper campaign" and it appears to be working.  As a result a second group which could be called "The Sane Group" has formed.
People....People....People....straighten up!  What is wrong with this world?  There are real problems out there and your planning to battle over 1 foot on the Stimp?
Can you imagine a prospective member...just about to pump $10,000.00 into the place, only to find out that it's a screwed up "pillar to post?'"  Christ....if your looking for fast greens move to Pittsburgh and join Oakmont...Kahkwa is a country club!  It is not a championship course...well, I take that back...if you recall the 2008 Senior event, it can show it's teeth but who would want to have that kind of experience day in and day out?
For those not in the know, a "conspiracy" was developed by a few jokesters to move the tee boxes back to the tips and make the putting surfaces so dry and so fast that they were in a word..."awesome" The Raptor played pretty good and shot a 94...I believe that year's champion, Ron Coleman shot a 73 which included perhaps 8 or 9 birdies.
So go ahead...lay waste to the status quo...bring in some fresh turf care staff and wait for the may turn out to be the right move or....maybe not...but for what it is worth...let cooler heads prevail...
The Raptor

August 20th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Morning....
And what a great weekend it was! Temps in the 70' wind...course in nice condition...staff totally exhausted from the Friday Outing which featured over 120 players...
First, props should go out to Jack Nally who scored an eagle 2 on ole # 5 with a drive and a pitch...nice job Jack...welcome to the "Eagles Club".
Second, Congratulations HAVE to go out to Ron Coleman on his big time win in the EDGA 3 Day Amateur.  While I have not interviewed Ron to get the full scoop, his dramatic eagle 3 on hole # 17 had to be should be noted that The Raptor HAS also made eagle on hole 17, but it was courtesy of a pitch shot from about 100 yards out...also, The Raptor can certainly state that The Raptor Bump is alive and well since Ron recently partnered up with Dave Irwin, Matt Modica and The Raptor up at WWGC to claim the top prize in the best 2 of 4 Member Guest...which obviously inspired Ron to greatness...
In other news, WWGC will conduct the annual Club Championship this weekend.  For those who have yet to sign up, please keep in mind that this event is a perfect way to close out the season and measure yourself to the other golfers.  There are two divisions...the Gross and the Net.
The Gross Division will play from the Black Tees and is open to anyone who wants to compete for the title of Club Champion.  The Net Division is for the rest of us.  The tees boxes used will be a "Blue/White" combination.  Scoring will be conducted by deducting the present handicap from the actual score over a two day tally to identify the member who has the right stuff when it comes to channeling a whole summer's worth of play into one defining moment.
The Raptor always looks forward to this event to toss out that occasional "snowman" which show up in this format.
If you have not yet signed up, please consider doing so so WW can have a robust gathering on Sat and Sun afternoon at the "Asphalt Bar and Grill"
The Raptor

August 17th, 2012 - A Tale Of Two...

Good Morning,
The Raptor has been mulling over the impressive win by Rory McIlroy at last weekend's PGA Championship and can not avoid the comparison with the British Open which was lost by Adam Scott last month.
Pictured here is the jubilant McIlroy, attempting to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy (which weighs more than he does)
McIlroy put on a clinic over the weekend...after booming out 350 yard drives, he converted just about every putt he looked at and toped off the round with a long birdie on hole 18.  It should be noted that Rory needed just 23 putts in the final round..
The Raptor was suitably impressed on this win and is looking forward to seeing how the young lad from Northern Ireland can parlay this victory into about 77 more during the next 20 years along with about 17 more majors to put the icing on the dethroning of Tiger Woods as "The Greatest Golfer of All Time" moniker.
Naturally the first step in this progression will be for Rory to win the next three majors to complete a "Rory Slam".  It's possible to do this...The rotation includes Augusta National, Merion and Muirfield.  With McIlroy's long game and short game both in Fuego, this will be interesting.  Toss in the Oak Hill Club up yonder in Rochester and it's possible that Rory can complete a Super Slam...
Now consider The British Open of 2012 which was held at Royal Lytham and St Annes.  Adam Scott seemed to be in complete control...until he got to the 15th tee.
Who among us hasn't missed a freaking 5 foot put to win something?  Whether its a $2 bet or a Club Championship or The British is a miserable feeling.  As The Raptor sat in the Whispering Woods "Club House" watching this event unfold it became a surreal situation.
On one hand I had a WWGC Member explaining the origin of The Claret Jug while on the other I had Paul Azinger reliving his demons from 1987 as he watched Scott collapse. 
By the time it was over, Scott was a puddle and the Jug belonged to Ernie Els...and now it can be told that The Claret Jug got it's name because a drunk guy named Clarence had donated the Jug after he drank some wine out it.  This is no lie folks.  
Too bad Jim Nantz wasn't there to come up with some snappy tag line like "A Win For The Geezers" or something. 
And what about the other guy...Tiger Woods...well it's a process ya know and there is no way to explain Tiger's glitches...when he missed that short birdie putt on hole #3, I knew he was in for a long day.  Putting seems to be the name of the game.  Oh, there will be some moments of glory to come...there is always next year and at some point Tiger will make some putts.  I just hope he doesn't come out with a belly putter...that is a homo move.
C'mon Tiger - lets go!

July 23rd, 2012 - Little Johnie...

Good Morning...
So the British Open is finished and it was such an awful finish, The Raptor can't talk about it....well ok....I will talk about it but only for a little bit.  The Raptor is not a fan of "links" golf courses, nor am I a fan of our own water hazard courses of the South East.  The look of the wounded animal that crossed Adam Scott's face as he pulled his 3 wood tee ball into one of the 17 sand bunkers which dot Royal Lytham's 18th hole was painful. For starters, couldn't the greens committed add one more bunker on hole 18 to get the count to 18?
The Raptor generally gets that same look when I hit a similar shot at WW's 4th hole, putting my tee shot into a water grave.  Sigh!  The Raptor generally follows the American contingent in events like this, so I had my hopes pinned onto Brandt Snedecker and Tiger Woods.  As I watched Adam destruct, I tried to key in on the video feed to observe the reaction of Scott's caddy...Steve Williams.  He looked a tad disheveled.  And that's good...a just desert after last August's tirade at Firestone. Golf is a great game!
On another note, The Sandusky Matter has reached another peak as the Penn State Administration has "torn down" the bronze statue of Joe Paterno (The Enabler).  The Raptor is ok with this...really.  While Paterno and his legacy are in tatters over this matter, I have no doubt that the statue will not get melted down in the near future...maybe it will end up in Jay Paterno's basement...perhaps it will become a museum least it was saved from an inglorious dousing of blood or cow shit perpetrated by some Paterno Hater.  Can you believe that a human being actually did a fly over Beaver Stadium in a small plane with a banner stating the the statue must come down?
Ok...Ok this matter was horrific but in the aftermath, humor is still possible...this is sick but worth reporting. Yesterday, up at WW, The Raptor drew a match with Rich Rocky, Chad Bednarski and Lou Natalie...teeing off directly in front of us was the foursome of Adam Singer, Will Georger, Lew McClain, Jr. and Matt Passalinqua.  Rocky (who is also a PGA Golf Professional) was seated in the cart with The Raptor and as we drove up to the hole #1 tee box, Singer was preparing to strike his tee shot.
Pictured here...Adam Singer...The Raptor...John Torok (what a group!)
Rocky said in a loud booming Cal Neithamer voice..."Now on the tee...representing Nike Golf and The Second Mile...Adam Singer"...Singer calmly boomed a rocket dead solid perfect and without missing a beat turned to us and said "If I had sliced that drive into the woods I could have showed Little Johnie how to wash up"  This bent over everybody in laughter and left Will Georger so spent that he promptly sliced his drive into the woods with a majestic slice that is still flying north towards was priceless...Snap!
The Raptor

July 20th, 2012 - Handicap Histrionics...

Good NMorning and Happy Friday...
There was a little bit of a buzz recently up yonder at WWGC over some handicap issues and it brought back some fond memories to The Raptor of Handicap peccadillo's from yesteryear.
As long as golf has been played there has got to have been someone out there who was known for their "gaming" of the system.  The Raptor recalls an event which occurred at LVCC many years ago (maybe 25) when a long time member had become "cheesed off" over the stunning performance of another member (call him Sandy) in the 3 Day Member Guest.  It seemed that Sandy had gone supra low whilst playing to an 8 handicap and ended up winning a ton of sidebets...I know...I know...any things possible. The "investigator" obtained the Handicap Book from the previous 2 week period to make an effort to see how Sandy could get his cap from a 3 to an 8.
As a back story...before the convenience of the GHIN system the golf clubs used a book with each members name in it and about 25 to 30 boxes next to the name to put scores in.  As a player finished his round, he or she would stop at the proshop and dutifully record his adjusted score in the book.  The book was then turned over to some third party administrator who keyed the scores into a software program...probably written in FORTRAN or some other obscure computer language and then the tabulated results would be posted on the bulletin board in the pro shop the next day.
Well...what Sandy had done was a stroke of genius...He went to the book and wrote in a series of about 15 82's which pretty much assured that he would end up with a higher...but not too high of a handicap for the upcoming big event...nice job Sandy!
This gambit has been utilized on a couple of other occasions as well with similar time in the LVCC Member Member another KC managed to shoot some sort of ridiculous low nine hole score in the presence of The maybe a 37 on the front nine with a 15 handicap.  Sure enough...this Sandy had plugged in about 15 to 20 scores into the PC system...all with the same date...the moral of this story is that if you are going to do shit like this...make sure to do it right....what a dummy!
Several years later, The Raptor was actually serving as The Handicap Chairman (this is a title/job that I would not wish on any man....even Hitler) when I was confronted by a most unique situation.  It appeared that one of LV's higher handicap players (who always seemed to be winning Stags, Member-Members and Club Championships) had pulled a score posting hippty-drippty after his round.  According to the handicap computer, his score for that day was 96...but the dummy left the scorecard next to the keyboard instead of destroying the evidence and his card said he shot 86.  It should be noted that this dummy like to play alone,,,Due to this obvious lack of judgement, The Raptor had to actually sit down in a meeting and then ban him from a few tournaments as a penalty - geeeezzze!
The Raptor can think back to his early days at LV for some other memories...each year the members would receive the "Chipshots" booklet which gave out valuable information about bylaws, (like when players who were registered as "Clergy" could play) along with important dates for such awesome tournaments as the Opening Day Scramble and the Southern Point Event.  Included in the Chipshots was the annual message from then Handicap Chairman, Ivan George, who waxed poetically about making sure to play straight and avoid any "shabby manipulations".  Unfortunately, this didn't seem to register with some players.  I remember one time when Gary Conrath walked out to the practice green and told an offending Sandy that he would be playing in the upcoming tournament as a 7 (even though his handicap at the time was about a 15).
The Raptor

July 10th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Morning,
It's a day late but here is your weekend update...damn!...with Tiger (and Phil) out of the Greenbrier, the event seemed to be heading into oblivion until Troy Kelly and Ted Potter, Jr. put on a shot making and putt making clinic to save the day.   The aptor's interest was held sufficiently to totally forget that the U S Open for Women was being contested too!  Needless to say Potter's ultimate win was another one of those PGA Tour rags to riches stories that have been prevalent during the past few seasons.
The previously mentioned Tiger aka Tiger Woods (who by the way...according to most pundits has no respect for the game past his prime) struggled AGAIN with his wedge play and missed cut.  Mickelson, on the other hand has a propensity to miss cuts...only to turn around and regroup for yet another miracle victory....look out British come the Americans!
On the LPGA tour, Na Yeon Choi faltered slightly but managed to regain some focus on the way to a Major Championship at what appeared to be a super tough Blackwolf Run Course in Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, The Raptor was unable to watch the event live due to perceived sheer boredom.  By looking at the Leaderboard App on my smartphone, I discovered that Paula Creamer was the top American player, finishing in a tie for 7th...about 10 strokes from the lead.  Sigh...Additionally,Cristie Kerr, long considered a great putter, put together a solid weekend tally of 152 to finish one stroke behind Creamer.  I guess Kerr will have to wait till later to resume her climb up the rankings and bounce Stacey Lewis into second place (among American players).
On the local scene, The EDGA Senior Tournament was conducted yesterday at WWGC and the field included many of the best players in the Erie area.  Those poised to claim the top prize included: Rick Carlotti, Tony Pepicello, Dave Hewett, Dave First, Ellery Tarbell, Bob Paris and Mark Noce.  If you were not mentioned here, do not in any way consider it a slight or slam (ok go ahead...consider it)...The Raptor drew a great pairing which included the previously mentioned Carlotti and Pepicello along with Tony's brother Jim who fashioned a smooth 78 on a challenging golf course.  The winner of this years event was none other than Dave Hewett, who shot a respectable 73 and nosed out Tarbell and Rick Seus by a single stroke.  Congratulations Dave!
On the net side, the trio of Chris Komora, Jim DelSandro and Seus tied with scores of 70 from the blue tee boxes.  A special prop goes out to Jim Piekanski and John Adiutori who had scores of Net 69 and Net 70 playing from the white tee boxes.  While The Raptor can not confirm this, Whitey Cleaver shot a superb Net 63, which may or may not have come from the Gold Tee boxes.  The net winners can pick up their WWGC Ball caps or some classic stemware at the Pro Shop.
For The Championship Bracket. the course was set up from the blue tees except for holes 1, 17 and 18 which were moved ahead a tad.  There were a number of comments from the players regarding slow putting surfaces and this could very well be true.  Overall, The Raptor putted pretty good...while I did not make any lengthy putts, I did manage to make most of my short attempts which generally occurred when I smashed a birdie or par attempt 4 to 5 feet past the hole  and then converted the comeback...unfortunately even The Raptor is less that perfect and I managed to miss a couple of these short comebacks on the way to a 90...all I can say is - at least I played...
I would like to key in on 2 or 3 talking points.  First, Jay Willow working with WWGC Pro Richard Rocky did an excellent job putting the tournament together...thanks guys!  Second, there are two ways to view the Senior.  Historically, the event was certainly more of a social competition as opposed to a stern examination.  As a result, there was a roster of perhaps 100 to 125 players who would play.  This year, the tournament committee chose WWGC and the small turnout was disappointing.  I suppose the event could be held at Lawrence Park every year and turnout would improve but this seems to fly in the face of conducting these events among all the local clubs.......
Was the course tough?  It couldn't have been that tough since there were a number of scores in the 70's...were the greens slow?  They did not seem overly slow to me and there were only a couple of occasions where someone in my group stroked a putt which "came up short"  Did the lack of a clubhouse deter players from enjoying a cold adult beverage at The Asphalt Bar and Grill"?....probably
No doubt, the event will return to one of the clubs next year...hey, I've got an idea!  with the election of Mitt Romney as our next President and the rollover of the US Senate to the GOP party, America will once again be great and the EDGA can revisit The Kahkwa Club...registrations will be back to previous years totals and perhaps the staff can replicate the setup from 2008 when most of the field failed to break least every one will be happy forking out $25.00 for a cart, $5.00 for a Gatoraide and $10.00 for a ham and cheese sandwich...
The Raptor

July 2nd, 2012  - It's Toonament Time!...

Good Afternoon,
Just a quick note to let everyone know that on Wed July 4th, The WWGC working in conjunction with The Raptor will conduct a major "toonament" for our members.  It is common practice to expand the awards to include gross skins, net skins, closest to pins (CTP) and the 2 person blind draw.
Each group has a scorecard and rules sheet which can be picked up in the proshop when you register.  The total cost for all games is $20.00
Here are a couple of additional observations...first...the tee times tomorrow are stretching from 6:30AM to almost 10:00.  The first group to go out will be approached by the pro shop to set the CTP markers at the respective putting surfaces (2, 6, 11 and 14).  The CTP in two shots on a par 4 is hole 13...Note to Ron Fretwell group, this CTP marker is designed to be stuck in the ground at the spot on the green where the ball rests along with the name of the current CTP.  Then, through the course of the day as each group goes through, in the event that a player lands a shot "closer" the marker is moved to that spot and the new name is added to the marker.  Finally, one of the last groups will take the marker and write a funny name on it such as "Dick Fitzwell" "Whoo Flung Poo" or "Sammy GetWellSoon" and put it close to the hole - all in jest of course...this in commonly referred to as "The McClain Gambit"
It should also be noted that the proshop will come out to pick up the markers after the final member groups goes through.
Because there are so many players, The Raptor is really stressing that each player find a way to play a nice, clean, qick round of golf
Second, Breakfast Balls are not available on toonament day...and in the spirit of the Rules....the toonament will be played under strict summer rules.  No divot rule this time...
A pro's table will be set up at the Asphalt Bar and Grill but the results of all the games may not be determined until later in the day.  Rather than initiate a massive bar tab, The Raptor is encouraging some enterprising players to donate some Adult Beverages to the collective...If each group were to fund a six pack that would lead to less of a drag on the pot...
C U in the morning

July 2nd, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon...
Is Tiger Woods back? - This question was on SOME peoples minds yesterday evening at about 6:30 as Woods was putting the frosting on the cake with a big win at the AT&T National.  This tournament has proven to be an enigma wrapped in a riddle.  It is considered "Tiger's Tournament, in the same fashion that The Memorial is "Jack's Tournament and The Bay Hill is "Arnold's Tournament...
It makes you wonder if the next tier of PGA Professionals will have a tournament....Bubba...Rickie...Webb...hmmmmmm...probably not.
There were some pundits who have slapped the "hollow win" tag on this event since capable players such as Luke, Rory and Lee didn't participate...well Rory played in the Irish Open and finished a "respectable" 10th place, nipping Euro star Thongchai Jaidee in the process.  Unfortunately, Luke and Lee are prepping for the British Open which is held at another crap hole...Royal Lytham and St Annes.  It should be noted that Royal Porterush, site of the Irish Open is pining away for a British Open bid...splendid!
The Raptor is pumped up as a result of Tiger's win and he is hopeful that supra dick, John Hawkins, choked up his dinner as a result.  I can't believe that Hawkins and "journalist" can be used in the same sentence.  That stooge couldn't write his way out of an Almond Joy wrapper.
The weekend also featured one of those magic moments when WWGC member, Al Szymanski, made a hole-in-one at the WW 14th hole.  Al used a 5 iron for his approach and afterwards bought all the gang a complimentary adult beverage in order to celebrate in style.  Congratulations Al!
Golf is sure a tricky game...on one hole you could be down in the dumps over a mishit wedge shot or a missed short putt only to turn it all around with one swing of the club or bounce of the ball....
Calling all Erie Golfers...our good friend Rob "Roto" Nicotra working in conjunction with PGA Golf Professional Michael O'Connor needs your help...Roto is doing great work as one of the organizers of the 2nd Annual JC Martin Charity Golf Tournament which is being held at the Martin course on Friday July 13th.  The 4 person scramble format will tee off with a 3:30 shotgun and a "catered" affair will follow.  The highlight of this event is the five (5) hole in one contests which feature new cars!  Well worth the $125.00 registration fee.
If you grew up in Erie, PA and played at "Glenwood" you NEED to be supporting this Jack Tufts at 864-1821.  I have attached a registration package for your review
The Raptor is attempting to put together a foursome so anyone interested in joining me is welcome!  I know $125.00 is an awful lot of money but this is an important initiative which requires a sacrifice for some future generations. 
The Raptor

June 18th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
As The Raptor writes this the gang is up yonder at The fabulous Kahkwa Club playing out the first round of the West Penn Amatuer.  Good Luck Lads! Perhaps The Raptor will swing by later to meet and greet the players and get a glimpse of Sean Knapp and Rick Stimmel.  Maybe an armed grenadier will roust me from the grounds!
Speaking of rousting, how funny was it when that goof ball stepped in front of Bob Costas interviewing Webb Simpson last night?  At first I was as alarmed as Webb Simpson was but it appeared to be in good must have been some protest from a Gay, Animal Rights Activist Group objecting to the elimination of the habitat of the chicken hawk or is no doubt a front for ACORN or some other left wing Obama group.  It was USGA official, Mike Davis, the bald Executive Director who saved the day...I wonder if "BirdMan got tazed or something?
The US Open sure was cool eh?  The late evening endings really helped fill the TV void which keeps regular guys watching some Dance Contest or American Idol or Ancient Aliens whilst dreaming about laying pipe on Bristol Palin or Kate Gosselin occupied.  The Raptor was conflicted though.  Since main men, Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan faded to the pack, it was necessary to root for Jim Furyk only to have him get totally flumoxed by the slow play warning on hole 15.  Job done Mr. USGA Jizz Bag...Furyk propmply duck hooked his drive on Hole 16 into "Palmer Grove" and Webb Simpson is that much happier as a result.
Gawd...that 18th hole sucks! No wonder that course is NFG!  The Raptor was rooting for Beau Hossler to make a good showing...unfortunately a final round 76 was all he could muster.  He was impressive though...does he have a belly putter?  In true Tin Cup fashion he played himself out of the Top 24 so Beau will have to qaulify all over again next year.  And how bout Lee Westwood putting that shot into a tree...he could have been a contender.
The Raptor was equally impressed with the games of the world's top players Consider this text sent out Friday night at 8:46..."Just got a call from Luke Donald. He is taking the 10:30 tee time tomorrow to hit it with Mr. Dumas...Mickelson, Rory and Bubba are coming too!"  This was an obvious reference to those great players missing the cut...later at 9:02PM..."Tiger just spit! He has no respect for "The Game!" Then at 9:14 "Phil make cut! Mr. Dumas will be pissed!"  Later in the weekend on Saturday at 9:43 "Divot in fairway...That blows!"  Note: Blake Adams went on to make birdie from the divot - still blows though...
The weekend also featured ANOTHER slow play incident up at usual, The Raptor was at fault AGAIN...Jesus Christ Monkey Balls!  when are you guys gonna get this figured out!  It's not that tough.  It's painfully obvious that NO ONE wants to get branded with a slow play tag...look what happened to Jim Furyk.
There is nothing more painful (and more hilarious) than watching a guy go through a protracted pre shot routine with multiple practice swings and waggles...only to slice the ball into the woods...Tee the ball up...hit the ball...if its straight great...if it ends up in tall "fescue" drop another...if your on the green and your putting for a 7...after already hitting 2 putts...give it up...sweep the ball off the green and stomp over to the next tee...grab a brew and laugh about it. 
I don't mind setting up the games but once the damage is done don't send me text messages while I am playing instructing me to do something about it...get in your cart and find the slow group and start swinging!  You know you really what to hook somebody! It would be really cool to see a few guys rolling around up at the Asphalt Bar and Grill over a 4 and 1/2 hour round!  That's what makes America a great place!
The Raptor

June 11th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
Congratulations are in order to our 2012 winners of the Member-Member Tournament which was held Sat at WW.  THe Gross Division was won by Don Fessler and Lou Natalie while the Net Division was won by Rich Burgess and Mark Connoly.  Great playing!  The tournament also featured a classy steak dinner with potato salad and green bean sprouts on the side. yum!  There was also a skin game. Winners were announced at the conclusion of the event.
The golf course has matured nicely this season and the primary cut of rough is quite thick and robust.  The USGA would be proud and despite the best efforts of the turf care crew, the heavy rough continues to grow and this may have contributed to the "incident" which occcurred on Sunday.  The Raptor is taking full responsibility for the circumstance and it goes something like this....please names were changed in the publication of this story.
During the Saturday post tournament celebrations, The Raptor was approached by Denny Wildauer, Vince Timpano, Bob Herbstritt and Lew McClain,Sr. to organize a super foursome in order to allow the conducting of round 1 of the WW Match Play Tournament.  The Raptor did not see any thing wrong with this plan and even created another super foursome including Tony Pepicello, Will Georger, Joh Torok and The Raptor to conduct another round 1 match.  It all seemed so innocent at the time and as has been past practice I had Timpano and Wildauer slotted in their traditional time as "Group 5" of the 9 scheduled groups on The Roster.  So , I moved McClain, Sr and Herbstitt to the Group 5 and in doing so created quite a bit of havoc.
What transpired is that the 2 matches in Group 5 were fierce and did not get decided until almost the end of the 18 hole a matter of fact, the Timpano/McClain match went to the 19th hole.  The players made every attemt to keep up the pace but due to the heavy rough, slick putting surfaces and a few errant shots the time spent on the golf course was alomost 5 hours.  This caused Lou Stack to head home after 12 holes and made for some hard feelings up yonder at the Asphalt Bar and Grill after the match...even the attempt by The Raptor to put some cold adult beverages on the table didn't seem to assuage the sheer rage which was evident.
The normally mild mannered Jim Pepicello was especially upset and he let The Raptor know about it in no uncertain terms.  Thad Z was also extremely agitated and he didn't sugarcoat his displeasure.  Out of the corner of my eye I could sense that the Burgess/Havey group was none too pleased and was perhaps planning to drop a "mickey finn" into my lemonaide from therir pharmachopia colloection...The Raptor feels responsible.  I should have known better than to conduct match play during the morning routine and it would be my recommendation for matches to be conducted at off hours during the weekend...or perhaps on Monday mornings when the publics come out and u cvould piss off a few seniors who are playing for $29.00...or on Friday afternoon when it takes 5 hours to play anyhow.
As an alternative here are a few tried and true statements which can be used in future matches...."hey Don...that 1 foot putt is good"...'hey Damian...I have decided not to try and hit my 11th shot on this par 5 through this tree and over this sand bunker which if it goes in and you 4 putt, I could tie the hole"...."hey Rob...I know I have hit my first two drives OB and you are on the green in two shots but if I keep playing I could piss you off and win the next hole when you have a stroke"
Ladies and Gents...keep it real.  figure out how to get around the golf course as quickly as possible in no more that 4 hours and lets all be friends...geeezzzzzeeee!
The Raptor


June 4th, 2012 - Respmse From Rick Carlotti...

In fact while all of the old driving ranges are gone, there is a nice, new public driving range that has opened in the past few years.  I actually have a key with several dollars still left on it.  Or are you thinking the WWGC range is somehow private?

Golf is not dead, it is just changing.  WWGC is doing so well in fact, that Rich Rocky has leased it in order to become the next wealthy tycoon in Erie…or at least keep feeding his family and his hunting habit.

As for the higher end joints, they are struggling, but I think that is based on a combination of the economy and less young adults playing the game in a semi-serious way.  Remember how the seniors used to want crap at LVCC that the rest of us younger members didn’t?  Well now we are the seniors who want things…4 country clubs to choose from instead of just 2, which are priced low enough for a fixed retirement income.  Guess what?  Those young adults hooked on spending their cash on houses and Beemers, and hooked on spending their time on boats or playing video games…they could care less if John and Rick have a nice, affordable place to play golf.

Stimulating the economy is something business and government need to collaborate on.  The financial issues we have now are world-wide, so it is tough to point the finger at any specific groups.  But stimulating young players to learn golf and embrace it as a LIFE-LONG activity…that is something that needed to be done at a local level by Junior Golf (sort of like Erie’s “First Tee” chapter?)!  Based on the evidence, I’d say we did a pretty crappy job at that over the past 20 years.  It seems like we have youngsters playing the game and some at an amazingly high level, but most of them drop it after their school days are over.  I’m not sure why that is, but I’d have to say us adults in Erie bear a lot of the responsibility for that.

We made it too much like a job for them.  We didn’t make it attractive for them to join nice clubs after college to keep them engaged in the game and the social atmosphere of the clubs.

How come you and I joined Lake View during or after college and enjoyed hanging out at the club, playing golf with our friends, but also interacting with the “older” guys at the club…Don Geisler, Drew Greaver, BenThorndill , Vinnie Bucci, Arty Jessup, etc.  Why isn’t that “fun” for the younger guys of today when they leave college?  Maybe some of us are just not very welcoming.   Maybe we are no fun!!

What are your thoughts?



June 4th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon...
Looking back on another weekend up yonder at The Woods gives The Raptor time to reflect on a what a great county we live in - consider the story of one WW Member who happened to be in Columbus several years ago for a wedding and drove over to Muirfield Village to catch some of the tournament in the Sat afternoon between wedding and reception.  Due to circumstances the tickets for that day were sold out but the ticket master turned our friend onto a corporate sponsor who invited our friend and his spouse back the next day and provide full access to the corporate tent, the grounds and the clubhouse...awesome.
Speaking of about Tiger Woods putting on yet another clinic and in the process giving Spencer Levin and Rory Sabbatini a can or whoop-ass...
Every body knows the story by now but The Raptor was so pumped at 6:00PM last night that The Raptor was forced to drive over to WWGC to try for some dramatics of my own...The Raptor was planning on playing the par 3's and upon driving out to hole #2, I discovered Jim Pie and we proceeded to the tee box.  I hit a decent shot and actually hit the cup with my 20 foot birdie attempt.  But no other dramatics occurred on the front nine.  I bid Pie farewell and traveled to hole #11.  The wind was up and the distance from the white tee was about 155 yards.  I had played the 5 iron earlier in the day and left the approach a tad short so I opted for the 4 iron and hit a perfect approach which hit the putting surface about 30 feet below the flagastick and rolled so close...
It is a great feeling to execute the well struck iron shot.
The Raptor's main guy, Rickie Fowler did not compete have been told that in fact Fowler did compete but shot an 84.  So it looks like in addition to McIlroy, we can offer Fowler a spot on the roster...I wonder if we could slot him with Thad Z....look out Rickie!
Finally, The Raptor has been wondering about the state of the golf industry and was particularly wondering if anyone else is wondering.  Do you realize that at one time there were several heavily used driving ranges in the Erie area and it's possible that they are all closed...Mid-City on 12th...Sportland on Asbury...Nick's Place in Edinboro...the range up by Crowley's in Cranesville...The Golf Dome?...Big T's on upper Peach all gone...I think.
Also, The Raptor was reminiscing about The Tracydale Range down on 6th Street near what is now Tracy Elementary and remembers the double Decker range which seemed to always busy back in the 60's and early 70's.  And, I found a news article about the Tracydale Pitch and Putt Course from 1952 and Brian McGrath has confirmed that there was a small golf course on the south side of 6th street across from the range back in the 50's.  How bout the awesome Putt-Putt facility at the West Erie Plaza? - that was cool! if anyone would like to contribute to this dialog feel free to ping me...
There are no ranges left folks so...does that mean there will be no golf courses?  If the people of Erie keep looking for buddy packages I am afraid that will be the sad.  Have you seen the pervasive commercials from Dicks Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy?  That will be your next way station gang...simulated golf participating in long drive contests into a screen...good luck with that!  Drive by the recently closed nine hole course near the airport on the "new" Powell Ave.  the previously recognizable holes are almost gone...can your course or club be far behind?
The Raptor aka "Buzz Killington"



May 29th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
I suppose we can all look back at this past weekend of golf activities at WW and state that "it was the best of times and the best of times".  If you came off the weekend in a sour mood...shame on you.  Not only did the players see a golf course in good shape, there was also plenty of "action" to go around.
Saturday, the "Need For Speed" Toonament was conducted and it featured a slew of games including the Closest To Pins and The Two-Man Blind Draw.  The awards have been complied and PGA Professional, Richard Rocky did a stand up job putting together a toonament score board to acknowledge the winners.  In skins action, I believe Lucas Marsh was a big winner and in the Blind Draw the team of Alan Hosford and Mark Zalewski picked up an award.  The awards can be picked up at the pro shop...due to circumstances beyond my control, The Raptor has been unable to prepare a report for the Toonament as I have been busy with other important matters.
On Sunday, a strong field of over 20 players participated in a combination Pro Shop Merchandise Game and a $$$ game and the big winners were the man/significant other duo of Mike Chessario and Tanica Bell.  The Chessario/Bell consortium has just joined the member roster and Tanica earned here award on hole number 2 with a birdie which included a 25 foot should be noted that she played from the gold tees...meanwhile Mike pissed and moaned his way around the golf course for 17 holes and then made a dramatic bird on hole 18 to cash in...gawd, that hole is one of the hardest in Erie County and yet folks figure out a way to birdie it.
Memorial Day proved to be just as exciting as the previous days and a strong field of over 35 players participated in the Annual Flag Tournament and...a $$$ skin game.
The Flag Day winners were:
Vince Timpano - 1st
Denny Wildauer - 2nd
Joe Puglese - 3rd
Tony Pepicello - 4th
The Raptor - 5th
Meanwhile the skin game winners were:
Hole Score Gross Skin Amount Score Net Skin Amount Total
H1 3 Lou Natalie 38.00 2 Lou Natalie 27.00 65.00
H2 3's     3's      
H3 4's     3 Joe Puglese 27.00 27.00
H4 2 Ed Zenewicz 38.00 2 Ed Zenewicz 27.00 65.00
H5 3's     2 Rob Brim 27.00 27.00
H6 3's     3's      
H7 4's     4's      
H8 4's     3's      
H9 4's     3's      
H10 3 Will Georger 38.00 2 Will Georger 27.00 65.00
H11 3's     3's      
H12 4's     4's      
H13 4's     4's      
H14 3's     3's      
H15 4 Vince Timpano 38.00 3 Vince Timpano 27.00 65.00
H16 2     1 Mike Ballay 27.00 27.00
H17 3 Lew McClain, Sr. 38.00 3's     38.00
H18 4's     3's      
      190.00     189.00 379.00
These awards can be picked up in the pro shop.
Special props going out to Mark Zalewski who has jumped in with both feet this season and is a strong supporter of WW events - congratulations Mark on a job...done...
The Raptor

May 24th, 2012 - It's Toonament Time!...

Good Morning...
The Raptor is a little stressed out as the Memorial Day Weekend approacheth.  For starters, it's supposed to be 90+ degrees on Sunday at the 500 and Jim Nabors may have a sun stroke and keel over when he sings "Back Home Again In Indiana"...second, the whole issue of "slow play" has been on the lips of players worldwide in light of the Kevin Na and Morgal Pressel performances and The Raptor gets saddened when other folks get stressed out about slow play - can't we just drop a ball under no penalty and get along?  If the WWGC turf care crew wants to keep the rough at US Open seems acceptable to be able to look for about 10 seconds and then drop a ball with no penalty...
It was just last Sat and Sun that The Raptor performed "perfect" lay ups on hole #1 only to find the ball so totally buried in grass 1 foot from the fairway as to not be able to extracate a 80 wedge shot to the putting surface!
As mentioned previously, The Raptor will work in conjunction with the WWGC proshop to conduct three differing "toonaments" this weekend.  On Sat there will be an ala carte Raptor event featuring the Gross and Net Skins, plus two-man blind draw and the closest to the pins. Each game will have a $5.00 entry.  Sign up will be in the pro shop and this toonament is open from any morning group from the early birds (Lauer, Scully, Weber) all the way through to the mid morning groups such as the Harvey Group.  The Raptor strongly recommends that each and every one who is considering playing on Sat to just bring an extra $20.00 (aka "Jackson") so that the prize pool will have the maximum amount available.  Plus The Raptor will work with PGA Golf Professional, Richard Rocky to set up a pro's table under the tent (Asphalt Bar & Grill) and we will encourage some consumption of cold adult beverages along with heaping bowls of pretzels.
The "nexus" for this event will be the Blue tees...Therefore those individuals playing from the whites will see a 2 point deduct on their handicap for the net skin and blind draw. If you want to really work the system, you could play the black tees and get two additional handicap points. Also, new in 2012...if you are playing from a forward, forward tee such as the gold or get in the games you will have to play the par 3 holes from the white tees.
I know this will be burdensome at the start but you have to trust The Raptor here...The Raptor has performed "extensive" scoring research and let's face it... the par 3's from the forward tees are really, really short...even hole 6 is only about 140 yards. 
On Sunday a traditional skin game will be conducted $5.00 gross and $5.00 net. Awards will be cash. On Memorial Day the Flag Tournament will occur.  This has proven to be an interesting and fun event - The Raptor has never gotten one of those MF flags to the freakin 18th green! Jesus Christ Monkey Balls!  Maybe this year will be different.
Finally, I want to reiterate that the season has a long road ahead and in the event that you are in any way pissed off about something don't reach out...just hold it in and get really, really mad and petty and don't try to smooth out the differences...this is America and the reason it is a great place is due to compromise.  Please take that into consideration and ignore my clumsy attempt at sarcasm - please lets work on our issues and make WW a great place.
The Raptor.

May 21st, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon...
It's another fabulous Erie day with bright sunshine and moderate temps.  The Raptor would like to be setting up a match for after work but issues with my ailing left foot will keep me grounded for the next few days.  Hope to be back for the weekend though...
Speaking of the weekend, the past one was another example of the special diversity which envelopes the golf community this time of year.  For starters there was an "incident" at the LPGA event aka The Sybase Match Play Championship.  According to news reports, Morgan Pressel was playing Alezandria Munoz in a semifinal match and was put on the clock on the 9th hole.  Pressel reached the 12th tee with a 3 up lead...only to be told that she lost the 12th hole due to taking too much time playing the par three.  maybe 39 seconds too long.  Pressel immediately collapsed like a house of cards and eventually lost the match and her dignity when the TV coverage elected to show her post round sob routine.  Unfortunately, The Raptor missed the whole thing as I consider LPGA golf unwatchable...especially when Ai Myiazatto wears those knee socks...eeeewwwweee!
Should Pressel have been penalized? Probably not...but the LPGA has certainly set a precedent and made their brand that much more conflicted.  They have vwery few televised events and they are always shown tape delay on The Golf Channel.  I do not know any one who could compose themselves after being humiliated by some goofy bastard in a Skipper Cap who is walking the course with a stop watch and a hand held walkie talkie...
"Breaker, Breaker...this is Joe Rules Official for Mike Whan"...."ya go ahead, this is Whan"..."Pressell etc.etc.etc."..."ok dock her a hole, that's the ugliest outfit I have ever seen!"
As every one knows by now, slow play is about to or has already ruined golf...they have been saying that for 500 years! and so what?  Everyone knows a turtle...there is nothing to do but live with it, or perhaps humiliate the slow player like the LPGA did.  What blows The Raptor away is that Pressel and Munoz are "close friends" (what ever THAT means) and they were not going to let this incident hurt that relationship.  Right...
On the PGA tour, Jason Dufner won another event which may have been watched live by six people.  Gawd, Dufner is about as exciting as a Chinese Finger Torture.  He makes my head hurt!.  Jonas Blixt?...J. J. Henry?...Dicky Pride?...Ken Duke? and how bout Phil Mickelson?  he manages to get in the hunt only to go bogey bogey on the last two holes, talk about a balloon bursting, but at least he showed up...
Speaking of showing up, this past weekend saw the EDGA Interclub event at Downing Golf Club and The Raptor is here to congratulate LVCC on a solid victory.  LV was led by Ellery Tarbell who fashioned a smooth 69 at the always lovely Troupe Road track.  According to several players the course was in great shape and the playing length of over 7,000 yards was a refreshing test of golf.  There were several clubs associated with the EDGA who elected to not field a team, including Kahkwa, Lake Shore, Elk Valley, Riverside, Meadville, Corry, and Overlake.  I know... I know... why play if you can't win? What a shame!.  These tournaments are supposed to be conducted in order to benefit the Junior Golf Programs which could potentially foster additional players to promote the game...while there is a lengthy list of reasons not to play, at least there is one reason to play. 
The EDGA has always been a steward of the local golf scene and The Raptor is sensing that there will come a time when these events and the clubs associated with the events will be an anachronism.  As the player base continues to shrink there will be less and less enthusiasm and all the hard work which was accomplished over the past years will be a great memory which we can read about on the EDGA website. 
Perhaps to drive home the final nail, the EDGA could tie Interclub participation with the other championships and in the event member clubs fail to field a team, the individual players would be restricted from playing in the major events like the Match Play, and Amateur.  Wouldn't that be awful?
Finally, as promised, The Raptor would like to relate a Baptism anecdote provided by Tom Bean and Ellery Tarbell regarding our good friend, Rick Carlotti, aka "Munster".  It seems Munster was playing up yonder at LVCC on Saturday and when approaching the 10th green, he elected to allow his golf bag trolley to "run free" down the hill.  To his shock, the trolley made a sudden right turn and tumbled into the pond at the base of the hill and in the process dumped his bag and clubs into the pond!
LVCC Member, Rick Carlotti...Wading Into Hole #10 Collection Pond...Retrieving His Bag And Clubs...(Photo Courtesy Of Ellery Tarbell)


As can be seen from the photo, Rick had to remove his socks and shoes to wade into the pond to get the bag and clubs....this is hilarious!  Perhaps Munster should have taken of the slacks too like Ian Baker Finch did at a tournament years ago to give us a little thrill (or a butt crack).  This has to trump every other golf story to come out of the weekend...thanks are the greatest!
The Raptor

May 9th, 2012 - The Raptor Bump...

Good Morning,
Lost in yesterday's weekend update was the stirring victory at The Wells Fargo by The Raptor's man...Rickie Fowler.  Fowler broke onto the PGA Tour in 2010 and immediately made an impact with a spot on that season's Ryder Cup Team. He has a unique personality and has grasped the importance of a marketing strategy which appeals to the younger generation while leaving many of the the geezers at a loss for words.
At last years Masters Toonament, Fowler pranced into the media room after a practice round with his signature PUMA cap reversed...

Rickie Fowler...Lookin Good!
only to chastised by token member Ron Townsend (Member Director of Media Room) to turn it to the "proper" position. Fowler protested for a scant few seconds but recanted when it appeared that Pinkerton's guards were preparing to extricate him from the grounds...
Since then, Fowler has exhibited a penchant for hot and cold play and continually seemed to shoot himself in the foot when he moved onto the first page of the leader board.  During his tenure he has parlayed his colorful on course attire into a lucrative contract with Puma and the Raptor has been endorsing order to show support, I donned a orange shirt and pulled out my 2012 PUMA Cap on Sunday to give Rickie a Raptor Bump which took him to the top...and as many of you know, The Raptor Bump has been a very effective method to achieve success over the past several years...

The Raptor...Definite Resemblace To Rickie...It's Eeerie!
Congratulations Rickie!

May 8th, 2012 - Weekend Update...

And What A Wild Weekend It Was...
The big news from this weekend past was the screening of the Marvel Comics Flick "The Avengers".  The film features Superheros like Iron Man, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Super sexy Scarlet Johansson plays The Black Widow.  The film opened to stunning box office results with over $200 million dollars in receipts for a weekend.  The Raptor may check this film out as soon as this weekend.  Primarily to see the Hulk say something like..."Hulk Will Smash!"...
Sat brought out the always interesting Kentucky Derby - 2 minutes precluded by 17 hours of analysis, interviews and general bullcrap - I tried watching the race whist I was dining at Applebees.  It was....interesting... Earlier in the day The Raptor had matched up with Nat Burnside and we chatted about pre-race consumption...Nat was nice enough to send me a pic of his refrigerator which showcased some Stella perfectly positioned for the event...only a stud like Nat would keep a pic of his fridge on his phone - Nice!
Sunday, a mini "toonament" was conducted which was a success.  The conditions of the course were interesting...the greens were top notch whilst the fairways were a tad shaggy.  Perhaps inclement weather had restricted mowing during the week...the irony was that the well struck drive resulted in great ball position for approach shots as the ball was sitting up on the grass like an ice cream cone. After several weeks of weather issue it was nice to not be subjected to any frost delay for a change.
Special thanks go out to the pro shop for helping The Raptor with the scoring and the determination of the awards and special congratulations go out to Pete Zenwicz who scored a dramatic bird on hole number 10 and was named the "big winner"
The funniest story goes to Mark Zalewski who picked up a nice skin on hole number 11 with a net one...the fact that Mark is getting a stroke on every hole and then some even though he actually plays every day (and twice on Sunday) is a testament to his work ethic on the golf course.   during the course of Sat afternoon The Raptor was monitoring the scoring results in order to send out a text message on the winners.  The Pro Shop was waiting for a scorecard from the Scully/Puglese group and The Raptor decided to send out the close to pin awards first.
So in the message The Raptor said "CTP report" (short for close to pin) and to end the message "skin report to be determined later".  Not two minutes go by and Mark Z sends The Raptor a text that says "You mean a net 1 on 11 did not hold up?  (tears no doubt falling).  So The Raptor had to respond with a disclaimer (Jesus Christ Monkey Balls!) to which Mark Z said he was sorry as he had read my original message quick...he was playing at Kahkwa...sniff...cough...  that is funny!
The Raptor is here to report that in excess of 15 teams and perhaps as many as 18 teams will play in Saturdays WWGC Season Opening Scramble...this is a reasonably decent turnout which should go a long ways towards the construction of the clubhouse!  The Raptor is also reminding any one who is looking for a free meal and considers themselves a "member" to show up at Calamari's on Monday to hear the encouraging words of our WWGC staff.
C U Saturday - The Raptor

May 1st, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Morning,
It is to laugh. After what could be considered the finest start to any golf season in the last 25 years, The Raptor has been reduced to a shell of his former self...the foot infection which I developed two weekends ago is starting to fade away and the two wounds, Obama and Romney are healing ever so slightly.  The Raptor ventured out onto the grounds of WWGC somewhat tentatively on this past Sunday and played some of the "easier" holes and was gratified to have the chance.
Unfortunately, paranoia is a constant friend and The Raptor was half expecting the brief visit to have dastardly effect.  But, with that being was sure nice to whack a Rockitbalz on hole number 6 to within about 15 feet and as usual by not attempting all the putts, The Raptor was able to venture to the Pro's Table with dignity.
This past weekend included some lengthy frost delay and this threw all the logistics into a tizzy.  This dog eat dog world has made it very difficult if not impossible to live the ultimate dream...what is the ultimate dream? Well for The Raptor it is to arrive at the golf course quite early and stay quite late...and all the while shirking any and all responsibilities to exist in a real world of lawn care, car washing, garage cleaning, window washing, kiddie sporting events and general brooding while spouse's MF you for getting home 17 minutes past curfew and then they go to the spa for a workout with their "masseuse"...after which they come home and award you with "the silent treatment".....geeeezzzzeeee!
Since The Raptor was Golf Challenged on Sat, The Raptor went insead to work (I just threw up in my mouth), and got a lunch date with Dad as a result. While enjoying a fine Cheeseburger at the Maennerchor, The Raptor bumped into a LVCC member who made some small talk about my Frankenstein Like Walking Boot and asked how things were going up at WWGC.
This must be some sort of similar situation when two bucks encounter each other in the woods and proceed to stamp hooves and butt antlers.  So, dumbly, The Raptor said "Whispering Woods is's in the best shape I have seen it for this time of year since it opened"... "Oh really"...LVCC member said..."I talked to a guy who played there a couple of weeks ago and he said it's in terrible shape"... well...gee I guess he told me...but it left me kind of depressed. It's as if The Raptor is getting punished for having the temerity to even play at WWGC.  The Raptor let it go though since I knew better.  I don't think the guy had ever even played at WW. I might be blinded by the fact that I go there every day but whenever I do it is an enjoyable experience which is elevated by the folks who happen to be around.   so thanks for that.
As a matter of fact, just yesterday The Raptor worked with daughter, Andrea to bring the Mercyhurst College Womens Golf Team up to The Woods and no one seemed to complain about the condition of the course.  But interestingly enough, the evening dinner discussion with the players and a coach turned once again to the lack of a clubhouse.  This theme comes up again and again and it sure is a hot button issue.  I am strating to believe that WWGC should not build a clubhouse just to stick it in the craw of everyone who wants a clubhouse.
I mean what is the big deal? who among us joins a golf club to use the clubhouse?  It's the golf course that draws the interest. How bout a compromise here. The past few weeks I have seen hardly anyone in our existing clubhouse...what? if there was a building overlooking the golf course would folks suddenly start sitting around there sucking up bottomless cokes and squeezing mustard out of the small packages in liew of the sandwich?
I will tell you what a good barometer would be...there is a club event coming up on May 12th.  I will bet you that it will not be supported by at least half of the 50 to 60 players who frequent the course on Sat and Sun morning.  Can u believe that just because there is some food involved (clubhouse) that it would preclude someone from opening up the communion fund to remove a couple of $20's? I will support it though and I can't even play!  We shall see.
The Raptor

April 19th, 2012 - The LVCC Practice Facility...

Good Afternoon,
The Raptor found himself out at Lake View CC (LVCC) last August 22, for the annual CPA Golf Tournament (won by Dave Hewett, with The Raptor finishing a distant 5th due to diminished skills) and while prepping for the shotgun start snapped a picture of the nearly finished "Practice Facility" which occupies the spot which was at one time the Driving Range. Normally The Raptor would embed the photo but AOL is being a little testy today.  So you will have to imagine the beauty...
This new facility is a wonderful addition to an already awesome golf club and it is sure to create a buzz when it officially opens, later this year.
It had dawned on The Raptor while lunching with long time golf pal, Tom Bean that this facility and it's four "practice greens" (Is there four?), need some names.  This is for several reasons but most importantly to create some long term recognition for the valiant members who shouldered the responsibility of making Lake View great.
Go back with The Raptor to the early 1980's when the Practice Facility was still a driving range for some background.  For those of you who can remember, the range was in that location perhaps to the middle 1990's but in 1983 it was of constant concern over the periodic missiles which flew off the less accurate woods of the day and placed many a car out on Route 89 in peril.  There are no doubt countless stories of little old ladies and big skinhead biker types who were beneficiaries of a cracked winshield courtesy of a wicked hook (or slice if hit by Mike Capotis) delivered by one of Lake View's finest.  Then there are other stories of unfortunate SOB's who took a shot to the nogin while waiting on the 8th tee...The Raptor liked equating the 8th as "The Killing Field".  There are still other stories of the shots which smashed into the old half way house.  There were only a few "big hitters" who could pull off the half way house...there are probably a few anecdotes of some unfortunate wedding party attempting to get a group shot at the gazebo that got peppered by someone (more than likely on purpose)....
The Raptor recalls vividly the lament of past Board Member Bob Munson (who was also an insurance agent) talking about this subject at annual meeting(s).  One member (name unknown) suggested putting up a sign at the range which would somehow indemnify the club from liability and Bob said "you can't sign away your liability"...rim shot please...
Anyhow, the LVCC membership and Board breathed a sigh of relief when the new range was constructed...for the most part.  Naturally there were some who complained about THAT range putting players on hole #10 in's a Catch 22.
Now fast forward to the present. Not only do the practice facility holes need names but the facility itself needs a name so why not call it "The Robert Munson Memorial Practice Facility" or The Munson for short.  Then, the holes could be named for legenday members like Weinheimer, Spicher, "Mad Dog" and Krull.  Conversely, instead of members, the names could be comprised of LVCC Head Professionals such as Wargo, Kaye, Clover and Crane....well....let's skip that idea.  But, it is most important to note that a special meeting of the bylaws committee should be called to make sure not to name any of the holes....Carlotti....
I guess I like to bring back Bob Munson on this story as it is a foregone conclusion that golf balls are once again going to end up out on Route 89.  Tom suggested that a shot of 125 to 150 yards is possible by going from the area close to the green by hole 18 all the way to the hole that is close to the edge of the driving range near 89.  So, in a future scenario, you could have say....Rick Carlotti standing by at Spicher while Dave Hewett is plying his game up yonder at Mad Dog and Rick decides he has had enough of Dave's birdie barrages so he decides to send out a little "chin music" but inadvertently "bellies" an eight iron which rockets out onto 89, where it caroms off of Ellery Tarbells new Ferrari Dino....Ellery, startled by the encroachment veers out of control and plows into the house over the hill and takes out that guys kitchen...hhhhhhmmmmm....this could get interesting!
The Raptor

April 10th, 2012 - Masters Update...

Good Afternoon,
As I write this I am scanning my predictions on The Masters and I have determined that I gave Bubba Watson a 40% chance of winning The Masters Toonament last weekend.  It is compelling to note that The Raptor gave Louis Oosthuizen a 10% chance.  Interestingly enough, The individuals with the greatest chance of winning such as Donald, McIlroy, Westrwood, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Zack Johnson were for the most part non factors in this years event.
Mickelson certainly showed The Raptor a thing or two as did Freddy Couples.  The Raptor also had Lee Westwood on his list of potential winners and Lee did not disappoint.  He played to an eventual tie for 3rd place with the previously mentioned Mickelson along with Matt Kuchar and Peter Hansen.  Westwood seemed to be battling with a balky putter and his Friday and Saturday scores were 73 and 72 respectively.
Augusta National was in fine shape and Bubba is a strong Champion. 
Here is Bubba receiving congratulations from Augusta National Chairman, Billy Payne after donning "The Green Jacket".  It's the coolest thing that can happen to a player of this game.
In other news, the annual Masters Party held at Skeeters on Friday, April 6th, was a decent turnout and The Raptor had a great time catching up with the gang.  Thanks to all of you who stopped by! and thanks to Skeeter for hosting the event...
Finally, The Raptor has been alerted that an imposter "The Raptor" has been in the news today.  The Raptor would like to state publicly that he is NOT "The Raptor" who is taking down Al-Qaeda chat can see my official reaction at
The Raptor



April 2nd, 2012 - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
Many of you may recall that way back in about the end of January, The Raptor sent out an email/text message of encouragement telling everyone to get ready for Saturday March 31st in order to christen a new golf season up yonder at WWGC.  Well, as it turned out the season opened a month ago and Saturday's weather was perhaps the worst "golf weather" The Raptor has played in!
With temperatures hovering in the mid 30's and a wind chill of about 28 degrees there were few hearty souls capable of putting in an 18 hole test.  However, that didn't stop The Raptor and his playing partners Lou, Jason and Pat for completing the round. Congratulations go out to some real men.
Sunday, the weather was "better" but it still was a tad cold and there were some showers in the area.  Logistics were confounded by a marginal 2 hour frost delay but it didn't stop certain players from executing a "case study"  The golf was suspect as a result but the yucks were excellent!
Our thoughts now turn to the upcoming Masters Golf Toonament and as usual The Raptor is sponsoring a party at Skeeters Clubhouse on Friday April 6th starting at 4PM....yes...I know that that is Good Friday but it should be noted that according to the dogma, the main event ended at about 3PM Jerusalem time when some thunder and lightning occurred and a great curtain was torn in the Temple.  So perhaps for those who need to get in a little worship, you can head to the church from 12 noon to 3 and then stop by Skeeters.  It is apparent that The Toonament Organizers pay no attention to matters of faith or they wouldn't schedule the event on Easter weekend....geeeezzzzeee...but consider this...Jim Nantz will be in rare form come Sunday as he voices his solemn intonations about the "Cathedral In The Pines" Weather will also be a factor as the temps will be crawling into the 50's Friday with some bright sunshine...this could diminish the turnout at Skeeters as players try to get in some golf at their favorite club!...oh well!
In order to get some additional perspective,  The Raptor cobbled together some mish mash at .  This weeks piece is on why I do not consider The Masters a major tournament win.  Enjoy! and hope to see you at Skeeters!

March 23rd, 2012 - I Would If I Could...

Good Morning,
As The Raptor was picking up this mornings paper as 6:50AM I was struck by the memory of the classic Rogers and Hammerstein Musical "Oklahoma".  The stage play was produced in 1943 and 12 years later the film was released starring Gordon McCrae and Shirley Jones.  The opening scene features McCrae belting out his rendition of "Oh What A Beautiful Morning"
Yes...The Raptor felt like singing this morning.  It was perfect...sun was rising in the East...little or no breeze...temp at 50 degrees...a perfect Beautiful Morning.  And it would have been that much better if The Raptor could have made the drive to WWGC rather than "work".  Let's face it...If I could golf every day, I would.  Whispering Woods is such a setting.
Now that the fairways and sand bunkers are groomed and the putting surfaces have been cut the facility is almost perfect.  Oh, don't get me wrong I am sure that the malcontents out there have a lengthy list of grey areas to grouse about. but let's face be having this kind of conditioning on the first day of Spring as opposed to Memorial Day is unprecedented.  Naturally there will be other maintenance procedures and if the weather continues to improve this could shape up to be the kind of season that you looked back on and concluded that it was a good move to have joined WWGC to play golf this year.
Not only is the golf course in great shape but the animal life is thriving too.  The facility has turkey, deer and geese aplenty
The turkey have not been too visible this season but they may be close by.  Once they show up though, it is great to see them stroll the grounds as if they know exactly what we are doing out there.  I know in his heart, PGA Pro Richard Rocky would like to keep a gun in his golf bag and shoot those poor SOB's into oblivion...perhaps its a good thing that he can't
Recently, while carting to the 18th tee, The Raptor encountered a group of deer...chilling on the grass land near the 16th tee. 
Just like the turkey...the gave a cursory glance to make sure we were golfers and not hunters and casually walked towards The Raptor's Ravine for a cold drink.
Then there is the story of the geese. These creatures are so misunderstood.  They are ubiquitous to the region and seem harmless but who amongst us does not despise their very existence...
They certainly are unique as they waddle around...male and female protecting their spawn...a spawn that will programmatically return here some day to extend the great circle of life and make Whispering Woods the great place it is. is a beautiful morning
The Raptor




March 21st, 2012 - The Circus Is In Town...

Good Morning,
The Raptor had a chance to go up to WWGC yesterday and was pleased to discover that the Awning Shop had "erected" the multi-purpose Circus Tent, Cart Barn, Snackatorium and sectional Asphalt Bar and Grill.
One of my playing partners made the observation that the tent really looks cool as it is polished to a high luster and makes the joint look alive.  Spring has sprung!....Summer is here and talk is turning once again to thoughts of how to convert the venerable double wide trailer and tent into a permanent clubhouse which fits the environment but provides a facility where disgruntled users can suck down bottomless diet pop and munch on delicious tossed salads all the while attempting to get to a zero-sum membership.
If you converse with anyone who spends a lot of time at WWGC, they are DESPERATE for a clubhouse.  While there is no preconceived notion as to how the clubhouse should look it would have to have any and all traditional amenities which are available at other golf clubs in the area.  At minimum these include: ProShop, Club Storage Room, Cart Storage, Men's and Women's Locker Room with Shower Facility and Sauna, Dining Room, Grill Room, Comprehensive Kitchen, Patio(s), Picnic Pavilion, Office space for management etc.
How to solve this riddle is a serious problem...on one hand if the facility is built with all the amenities listed, the cost could be so onerous as to bankrupt the operation into oblivion. Perhaps a subtle approach is called for...start with a couple of the amenities and add on as interest grows.  That certainly doesn't help any one who is alive today.  It could be years before any meaningful clubhouse is finished.
Are there options...probably but unfortunately it seems that in order to pull this off a "Spartan" approach would have to be utilized.  What would Spartan entail? here goes...
For starters, the primary reason to build a clubhouse is for bragging rights.  If a building were to be constructed that met the expectations of the present gentry, these users could exhibit a pride which could be used to dump on other facilities in the region...and that's the rub right? If you WERE at a club like LVCC or Lake Shore you want to have SOMETHING to hang your hat on besides a double wide and a circus tent...otherwise you could have stayed at the other joint!
So, if the double wide approach is utilized and a unit is perched up on the knob overlooking hole #18, there would exude a certain level of disappointment as the existing users would feel uncompelled to utilize it.  It's not that the bottomless drinks would be warmer or the delicious tossed salads would be just would not be cool.  After all, a user who is also trying to obtain zero-sum membership could just as easily pack a couple of beverages and some foodstuffs in their trunk.  This is also known as "The Burnside Gambit"
So, in compromise, The Raptor proposes the following...keep the present Double Wide and make sure to put a nice sign on it that specifically refers to it as a "Clubhouse".  Convert the Tent to a permanent "Multipurpose Pavilion" - for a model of this visit Riverside Golf Club...then to placate a few frequent users build another smaller Multipurpose Pavilion up on the knob overlooking hole #18. 
Instead of dumping a lot of cash into a building no one will use, put the money into the golf course.  And as far as the residents of the sub division go - avoid the attempt to drag them onto the grounds for sandwiches and would be just awful to see a bunch of young kids drinking out of sippie cups and eating chicken fingers while I was trying to conduct a meeting at the Pro's Table.




March 19th, 2012 - Ostraka...

Good Afternoon,
The Raptor has to laugh....maybe even LOL or ROFLOL.  I know now that these messages are contrary to a normal state of well being.  But there is a solution...ancient Greece was know for a number of accomplishments such as the Parthenon, Triremes and humping little boys.  In addition, the Greeks had a method for dealing with malcontents which was known as "Ostraka" or Ostracism in American.
The Greeks determined as long ago as about 600 BC that certain individuals were so problematic that the only way to rid themselves of trolls was to vote them out of the community for 10 years by handing the poor SOB a Ostraka stone.  Once message was received the recipient had to gather his things, hang head low and shuffle off to the county side or perhaps Sparta.  But, on the bright side, the ostracized individual could return in 10 years.  Interesting of Ancient Greece's greatest hero's...Themostocilies...was ostracized after he led Greece to a huge military victories over Darius of Persia in a battle at Marathon and Salamis in about 490 to 480 BC.
So, if need be...the group could very well vote The Raptor the same fate.  After all, there has to be someone out there who can lead this the meantime, I just thought up some more reasons for ending up playing in Mr. Dumas's group...please...when you get a chance to get in a game with The Raptor...use some common sense.  Avoid making statements which as sure to piss The Raptor your mind these could be innocent probing questions designed to expand your knowledge of the universe but as far as The Raptor is concerned they are just loosely crafted pre-conscious thoughts that should be suppressed rather than uttered.
This technique was first utilized by GOP icon Ronald Reagan and lead to certain dumb statements such as "trees cause pollution" or "ketchup is a vegetable".  So to sum are a few softballs which could go a long ways towards a re-invite..."hello" "nice shot" "sit" "good bye" but...if you decide to say something like "it's hard to believe you can hit it that far with that half swing" or "do you think you can get there with that 5 wood" The Raptor may freak stop...Mr Dumas. 

March 19th, 2012 - Only The Strong Survive...

Good Morning...
Wow! What a weekend! While The Raptor was saddened and disappointed that A Cart Path Rule was in effect, The Raptor still managed to show up and represent.  The Saturday match did not go well as disabilities contributed to a faltering finish.  By the time The Raptor got to hole 18, the soft turf and lengthy strolls from cart path to tee ball left The Raptor out-of-gas!
Then, imagine my chagrin when I discovered that the Turf Care Crew had placed the blue tee box on hole #18 as far back as is humanly possible and still have a stance with out having one foot off the box!...Needless to say, the carry to get over Dumas Ditch on hole 18 is about 200 yards from there and The Raptor being scared of the obvious hit a gawd awful drive that didn't even get past the red tee box - which is about 150 yards from the blue tee box.  Two Rocketbalz later I picked up in shame and headed for the Pro's Table...
Moving up to the White Tee Box on Sunday was a world of difference.  It sucks to be old...and fat...and drunk...and stupid...
Now, on to news of the day.  It seems that the venerable "fivesome" (which was developed to placate the "Gang of Six" several seasons ago) has been given the last rights.  I suppose this is as equitable of a rule as is possible.  Fivesomes are not good under most circumstances.  And this was proven again on Saturday as a group of five hit it at 8:20 and stumbled into the "Mulligan's Bar and Grill" about 4 hours and 15 minutes later.  It was doubly problematic since the first two groups had finished about an hour earlier.  By throwing the cart path rule into the mix and some early season cob webs, the pace of play was a tad slow...
There is no doubt that a group of five capable and savvy players could meander around WWGC in 4 hours...but the early groups need to know better...four hour rounds on Sat and Sunday morning when u r the third or fourth group out are bogus.  Three and one half hours should be the goal!  Again....if you can't play fast move back to the 11:00 with Mr. Dumas.  Skip the ball hawking...quit fretting over two foot ready golf...skip the pre shot routine...avoid walking around the putting green like a Tiger, looking at the putt from four angles...skip those multiple practice swings...especially when you dig up turf off of a tee!  There is nothing that frosts my balls more than seeing someone hacking away on a tee and then slicing the gawd dam ball into the woods!  geeeezzeee!  And yardage devices? pleezeeee...If you are so freaking dumb that you have to pull up next to a freaking 150 yard post and scope your approach you should be teeing it up at 11:00 with Mr. Dumas.  Face it - you are not a pro - quit trying to act like one!  It's obvious that the pro's all play at Lake View now...that's where the good players are!
Only The Strong Survive at WWGC - The Weak go elsewhere where they can sniff and cough all day long.  The Strong can go out and shoot 90 and laugh about it...the Weak go out and shoot 80 and the piss and moan cause the can't break an egg...their solution is to join some pitch and putt course where Drivers and Wedges are the only clubs necessary...sniff cough...then they use some silly rationale that they had a "buddy" that could save them some money....LOL!...looking forward to staying Strong

March 16th, 2012 - It's Go Time God Speed...

As the end of day is approaching and it will soon be time to start Happy Hour...I wanted to send out a general message of warmth and kindness to all those who are preparing to assault the environs of WWGC in the next few weeks.
Golf season has come early to Erie and as a result this weekend is promising to be a great start to the what appears to be a LONG season.  The Raptor has already sent out the assignments for "The Roster" for Sat and I have filled 6 foursomes for Sunday.  Sunday assignments are being kept confidential till Sat afternoon. As usual a few hiccups have occurred and natually I am sorry to those individuals who have been or are about to be inconvenienced by my decisions.
Critical decision number one involves the weekend skin game.  In an effort to develop some early season buzz - I am going to conduct a skin game both Sat and Sun and make the necessary awards next weekend.  So there will be a registration sheet in the pro shop - you should sign up in advance.  It is my belief (and opinion) that I may not be present at the club on a 24/7 basis so we shant be having certain individuals hold back their registration until after the round to avoid a donut if they play bad.  Also, I am going to get together with other interested parties and try to figure out if we can incorporate pari-mutual wagering in the weekend games...
As far as rules go, we shall play winter rules in your own fairway.  We will not be playing "jungle" rules.  If you happen to hit a shot off line, and are in a Gawd awful lie - shame on you.  Wedge it back to the fairway and clean the mud off your ball. I tend to keep it in the fairway and I am a crippled 56 year old fat tub of crap.
If you have to call me with a rules question - I will certainly attempt to answer it - then I will flatten your tires with a dart gun.  Were talkin about a $10.00 game here people.
Pairings...for about 99% of The Roster pairings are a breeze.  It's the 1% that is giving me a headache. Please...get your shit together.  I am sick of getting pings about slow play!  If I have to start instructing personel on how to play this game - I will go green and start swinging!  Cut out the extraordinary crap And hit the gawd dam ball! and stick that yardage device up your bass!  Quit playing Pro V1's and go buy some cheap Pinnacles  If you hit a shot so far off line that it is definately lost take a six and drop a ball in the fairway. If you loose a few eggs put your name on them and maybe you will get them back....geeeezzzze!
Regarding any special request to "play early" figit about it!....special requests will automatically get you sent to the "Dumas" Group...he tees off every Sat and Sun at 11:00.
Finally, if you are unhappy with an assignment and you decline the pairing, I will move you over to Mr. Dumas's group.

July 31st, 2011 - What's The Big Deal On Green Speed...

Happy August…it was another thrilling week up yonder at WWGC and there is lot’s to talk about so let’s get started.

July turned out to be a very accommodated month if you were a golfer in Erie, PA.  Consider this…The Raptor played 24 complete rounds in 31 days and I was sadly disappointed that I had taken off the 7 days.  Yes gang it is possible to play golf “any day that ends in y”

The Raptor would like to give out special recognition to perhaps one of the greatest six hole COD performances in recorded history…on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 The Raptor matched up with Lew McClain, Sr., Lew McClain, Jr. and Gary Ebach and the final match paired Lew, Jr. and Gary E. against The Raptor and Lew Sr.

The fireworks started immediately when Gary holed a lengthy put of over 45 feet on Hole 13 which earned him a “poley” skill prize…since he had to punch out his second shot from the woods and had went through some histrionics when he clubbed his approach to the putting surface…his low key reaction to dropping the bomb was understandable.

The group moved over to the 184 yard 14th Hole which was slightly downwind with the flagstick located in the front right quadrant of the putting surface.  The Raptor, hitting first, hit a perfect approach using his brand new Burner Superfast.  The Raptor’s technique here is to saw off the impact and put the ball high in the air to allow for a soft landing.  This was accomplished in dramatic fashion and the ball ended up below the hole, about 15 feet…

Gary E hit his approach on a similar trajectory but ended up about 20 feet from the hole…slightly to the left of The Raptor.  Lew Sr. hit a decent approach but failed to reach the putting surface…Lew Jr. hitting last, hit a perfect high 6 iron which landed INSIDE The Raptor’s ball about 7 feet from the hole!  What a shot!...Lew Sr. playing first, almost chipped in and settled for a par three.  Ebach, then took dead aim and dropped his putt for a critical bird and his second poley in as many holes!...The Raptor putting next made a valiant effort but failed to covert on his birdie try and Lew Jr. uncharacteristically missed his short putt as well…

Ebach continued to amaze on holes 15 and 16 making lengthy putts each time for additional poley awards and it appeared that his poley string was about to end on hole 17 when he left his approach short…all he did next was to chip in which technically qualifies to run his skill award count to 5…the final hole was a let down of sorts for Ebach as he unceremoniously dumped his approach into the hazard…but Lew Jr. took up the slack by canning a lengthy birdie putt to totally dominate the match and pick up a 6th award with another poley!  This represented a previously unheard of milestone and was the talk of the pro’s table after the match.

The irony in all of this poley talk is the continuing struggle to develop some green speed during the hot months at WWGC…it seems that the putting surfaces have a propensity to grow at epic proportions during the course of the day and by the end of the day are somewhat “shaggy”  However, The Raptor has noticed something which may be contributing to this issue.

During the spring, the turf care crew performed an airification process and it appears that the grass which is growing from those “plug holes” is a different color and texture that the grass in the putting surface.  The new grass seems to grow faster that the old grass and so the putting surfaces become pocked by thousands of “nubs” during the course of the day which may be promoting slower green speeds.  While it’s probable the Raptor is wrong on this issue, I just wanted to place my observation into the aether to let it develop into a discussion topic.

Here are some additional observations.  First, WWGC plugged the putting surfaces in the spring and as a result, they were marginal for several weeks subsequent to that.  The portion of the season when they are generally healthy and capable of being mowed at a lower mower height came and went with no reasonable increase in speed.

Once the hot humid weather materialized in late June, the putting surfaces were noticeably slower…this seems to fly in the face of reason and tends to create a dissonance from the consumer.  If there was one issue that may make of break a player’s determinations it may be green speed. If the greens are slow, players make avoid taking a game there considering it to be a waste of capital.

Now it’s August and it’s still hot but temperatures are schedule to be lower this week…this may be a good sign but with September just around the corner, and a planned maintenance schedule sure to include the greens, the season is technically about the next couple of weeks.  There has to be a way around this…I we could land a man on the moon we should be able to mow putting greens to a desirable height in June, July and August….how do they do this in North Carolina? is the recap in a nutshell...everyone is wondering why it's always dead at the course hard?...absolutely...will they ever build a clubhouse?...probably are the greens?...slow.

Shot making is one thing but putting is a whole different long as the greens are slow, players will keep playing at Elk Valley

June 6th, 2011 - Feed My Envelope...

Robert Gates, United States SecDef was in the news yesterday.  Secretary Gates was over yonder in Afghanistan visiting with the troops and during the course of his visit he exported one of those "McCain Moments" which have been popularized by aging supraretard, Senator John McCain (R), Arizona, during his several trips to the third world. These McCain Moments allow the exporter to utter USA "foreign policy" which is contrary to the "official" foreign policy of the present (most hated) Obama Administration.

Secretary Gates is sitting on a position that is is most unwise to start bringing home the troops as our work there remains know...that old Bush Doctrine which states its better to fight them over there etc. etc.  Meanwhile The Obama Adminstration is stating a different policy and hopes to bring "some" of our troops home....or perhaps to a more hospitable green zone in say...Germany...anyhow this misinformational foreign policy is bound to confuse our adversaries and I suppose that is the best kind of foreign policy.  The Raptor is positive that many less desirous countries across the globe attempt to remain out of US cross hairs in order to avoid a drone strike...which are cool!

How does this fit in with my envelope you ask?  As many of you know a somewhat complicated situation has developed at WWGC and it's primarily The Raptor's fault.  It started several seasons ago when "The Roster" was nonexistent and The Raptor played his weekend golf with guys such as Mahoney, Lupp and Chernoff.  Those members (and days) are long gone and since then, The Roster has continued to expand as a means of providing a easy way to promote good fellowship and a steady pace of play.

What The Raptor perceived those several seasons ago was that there were variable numbers of players in each tee time between 6:30 and 9:30 when most WWGC members often played on the weekends and the observer to this cluster would see a dizzying array of groups from foursomes all the way to onesomes (who could not forget those weekends when Rick Klien would venture out into the mix playing by himself in the midst of the other groups)...

In order to create some order out of this chaos, The Raptor developed  The Roster and slowly but surely several "groups" have merged into one in an effort to create a harmonious parade of foursomes during the morning hours.  As a byproduct of The Roster, a skin game has developed which has certainly created it's own controversies and it's probably due to how The Raptor collects the "Feeding My Envelope" 

The Raptor finds it much easier to hold open a crisp white envelope rather than look at the prospective victim of this extortion with puppy dog eyes in a "please play in my game posture".  Unfortunately there is a small but intrepid group of players who have become resistant to this tactic and have developed cock block tactics and a special walk in order to avoid "Feeding The Envelope"...

It goes something like this...The Raptor generally goes out in the first group...this is by design that I can set up a "pro's table" in either the Mulligan's Grill or the super fabulous Asphalt Bar & Grill and collect the skin game fees.  Certainly it would be more efficient to give this task up to the Pro Shop, but The Raptor has determined that those guys...several of whom are actually Disney animatronic actors...would rather tend to the serious business of protecting "The Book" from being hijacked...

...anyhow at the point when a prospective victim is about to have The Envelope thrust in their face they can perform a "cock block" which in effect is the blocker stating that they had proclaimed themselves "out of the skin game on the first tee"...unfortunately there is no way to put on the cock block with authority.  When this cock block was performed recently on The Raptor, the blocker became "cheesed off" when the rules were discussed and proceeded to throw his fee on the table rather than Feed It Into The Envelope...this was offensive to The Raptor in that I do not appreciate money being thrown at me as if I was some Jewish Money Changer at the Jerusalem temple. 

Another method to avoid Feeding The Envelope is to rotate the head 180 degrees in the opposite direction of The Pro's Table and go about their business (posting a score etc.)...then to insure that they are not noticed, they turn around and walk past the pro's table with head rotated 180 degrees towards the direction of the proshop and the exquisite hats table in the pro shop then hustle out the door into freedom.  No doubt there is a moment when they figure they may have been seen but that feeling soon goes away.

The Raptor is not sure how to resolve this issue but one thing is that this "dreaded" skin game has is certainly not going away.  One solution which The Raptor has is to have the proshop reserve a tee time in the Sat and Sun book under the title "Dass".  This time would be later in the day, obviously - but not too late - say about 10:00 AM.  Then, when The Raptor sends out his weekly assignment to The Roster, if the prospective dissenter is so inclined, he can text back "Dass" and play at 10:00.  This solution could be used for a wide variety of ills including cock blocking, head rotating, problems with flatulence or gingivitis and even that rare moment when the player would feel more comfortable playing playing by himself.

Okay...Okay...The Raptor is having a McCain Moment...let's skip the it is in a nutsack...if you consider yourself part of The Roster, it's $10...otherwise start playing at 10:00...and if you feel that The Raptor is being "prickly"... The Raptoram not sorry...

May 25th, 2011 - Good Afternoon...

The Raptor is bushed...this heat/humidity is killing me!...well, it rained again yesterday...almost 2 inches!  I am mad as hell, and I am not going to take it anymore!  It's time to get serious here, Erie is such a lovely place and I've got to figure that that one special summer day is just around the know...75 degrees, sunny, faint whisper of wind, puffy clouds on the horizon, a joyful experience...then it's on to the hellish awfulness that is June, July and August.

Congrats are in order to the WWGC Inter club Team who represented the club at LVCC on Sunday.  While the team finished third, I am sure that they can take away some solace in knowing that they showed up and played well.  Scores were: Dave Hewett (75), Lou Natalie (78), Jim DelSandro Jr. (79), Don Fessler Jr. (79) Lucas Marsh (82), and Jim Delsandro (Coach) (84).  The event or "toonament" was won by LVCC who were represented by Rick Carlotti (73), Mark Noce (74), Ellery Tarbell (75), Ron Coleman (77) ,  Ron DiSantis (84) and Mike Wolfe (87). 

The Raptor has been accumulating email addresses like gangbusters and as a result this update is going out to almost 100 present and past WWGC members.  I have decided to continue to keep our past members in the loop as there is nothing finer than keeping up with what's going on att he club.  Especially since we have a great crew including our staff of pro shop/clubhouse personnel and the turf care crew...all four of them...ya that's right...this season has been so bad that WWGC is being run by four guys!  Rich Rocky, Brian Tyler, Rob Gorring and Len Zielenski...those other folks you see such as Kim, Adam, Desiree and Jeff as well as the several guys on the mower crew are actually high tech animatronics "actors" which were built as Disney Studios...pretty cool huh!

Saturday's golf featured the annual WWGC three man scramble which was won by the team of Fessler, Natalie and a Guest (Rob Hersch) while the Net Division was won by our old friends John Torok, Damian Knight and Rob Brim...Torok said he sealed the deal on the final hole with a 60 foot putt!...awesome Sandy er...John...Even though there was a constant threat of rain on Sunday we still clocked in with 24 players.  The Raptor is really appreciative of everyone's support - I have been monitoring the weather for this weekend and it's starting to shape up...

Get this gang...Saturday and Monday, The Roster could clock in at 36! and Sunday is no slouch either with at least 20 players committed at present!

If everything goes according to plan, The Raptor is working towards our first "major" toonament of the year on Monday - I think we will include the skins (as usual) but also conduct a blind draw and the closest to the pins - so plan on bringing $20.00 from your communion funds guys!  Saturday and Sunday will be standard events with gross and net skins only.

Take Care...

The Raptor


May 19, 2011- Subject: Weekday Update

Good Morning and WTF...

Yesterday proved to be a memorable one for The Raptor as the family gathered to help celebrate Dad's 82nd Birthday.  As is the usual case we dined at Dad's favorite joint, The Erie Maennerchor, the place was rockin...people flocking in to enjoy fine cuisine and chilled adult beverages served up by some of the fiercest trolls imaginable.  With the average age of the patron base being about 79, The Raptor likes calling the place "The Dance of the Living Dead" - hello Rodney...

For those of you out of town or perhaps going out of town, it rained again yesterday...almost an inch.. Per PGA Class A Pro Rich Rocky's request, The Raptor has obtained historical data from some prior periods regarding rain and have summarized the results at this website -  

a word of caution here gang...if you are in any way deeply religious and perhaps have your fingers crossed in anticipation of The Rapture...which is scheduled to occur on should probably not read the thread

Now on to some other intrepid group of WWGC's finest led by major domo (this is not a reference to another word ending in omo which starts with "h") Mark Patrizia have "slipped the surly bonds of earth" and jetted to the west coast to play golf at one of America's finest...Pebble cool is that?  Included on the roster are: Richard Brown, Nat Burnside, Gary Ebach and Lew McClane of WWGC.  At this writing it is possible that young Lew McClane has been replaced by Lew Sr. based on some emails The Raptor received yesterday.  Gawd, The Raptor is jealous...big time...Peable Beach, Spyglass Hill and I believe a third course (Monterrey CC?) are bad they couldn't have scheduled Cypress....where is Bing Crosby when u need him?  Good luck guys and have fun!

Finally, I would like to get some feedback from our WWGC members.  This thought developed after going back to last year when WWGC conducted a Club Championship which was won by Ron Coleman.  It should be noted that The Championship division has lost four of the 12 players who contested for the top prize shrinking the potential field to less than 10 players.  In addition, Dustin Colman will not be returning to defend his Blue Tee Division Championsip and Scott Adams is not returning to defend his division.

The Raptor has no axe to grind here...what I am proposing is a different way to look at the club championship.  For 2011, I am proposing two divisions...the gross division and the net division.  The gross division would be contested from "the championship tees" and the victor would be crowned "the Champion Golfer of The Year" . If there ends up being a handful of players be it.

The Net division would encompass all other players and would be conducted using my previously conceived "Nexus" rule.  For the Net Division, the players will play two rounds of golf and keep an accurate score, using the Rules Of Golf as the guide.  The Blue Tees would be designated as The Nexus and any players who tee up from the blues would face no Handicap adjustment.  Any individuals who play from the Whites would have their handicap lowered by two points and those players who elect to play from the gold tees would have 4 points of adjustment.  I know...I division...

The get more participation!  Just once The Raptor would like to see a club event where all of the members compete - If we can't do that one weekend a year - why bother have members - so let me know what you think - thanks

The Raptor

May 16th, 2011 - Good Afternoon....

Who amongst us has not had one of those bad golf days similar to what happened to David Toms yesterday.  That putt he missed couldn't have been more than 4 feet, yet David turned it into a Thurman Munson.  Toms had certainly led us on a wild ride yesterday.  The Raptor was impressed with how Toms stayed in the game subsequent to the disastrous bogey on hole #16.  I am still unsure why he elected to go for the green but that was water under a bridge.  Then, in a total ironic situation, Toms nutted a drive on hole #18, only to end up in a freakin divot!....r u kidding me!  This has to be the most awful rule in the game!  The same thing happened to Earnie Els in the 1994 US Open at Oakmont.  Yeah...Yeah...rub of the green...sacred bond with the rules...Mary Queen of Scotts...Old Tom Morris...Harry Vardon...Bobby Jones....blah....blah....blah....blah...gfys!

David was able to convert though and his poley putt which was as dramatic as Tiger's 2008 final hole putt at the US Open was a thing of beauty.  I suppose that Toms may have gotten too aggressive with his birdie chance on the playoff hole and it did not appear that he charged the first putt.  But, now that that's over, we can all get ready for the next event of it's not the's the US Open at Congressional...c'mon! can't somebody from America step up and win this thing!

Now, on to the buzz at WWGC...Saturday was a solid as opposed to a shank with a final field of almost 30 players signing up for a chance at glory and what happened?...well Jimmy DelSandro Jr, one of our new members for 2011 ran the table and picked up three skins on holes 1, 2 and 8!  Wow! what a story....The Raptor has never seen anything like it!....Congratulations Jim! That was some fine playing!  The course played decent, even though there had been some overnight rain and to tell the truth, The Raptor was amazed that it didn't rain on Saturday...

Sunday was a different story as rain hit hard starting at about 9:00 and it got cold in a hurry...there had been a handful of players who started but every one came off the golf course once the heavy stuff started falling.  This is a tough pill to swallow, The forecast looks pretty bleak for the next several days and Memorial Day is just around the corner so hang in there and get your rain gear organized. 

The Raptor also noted that many of the putting greens have matured from the punching process...while they are not lightning quick they are not as bumpy as a week ago.  So that is a positive.  The Raptor made extra effort to fix a few ball marks over the weekend.  I am still encouraging the same from the rest of the gang.

This coming weekend, two events are on tap.  Saturday, WWGC is staging the Spring looks like a positive turn out with about 20 three man teams signed up..  Let's hope the weather holds.

Sunday, WWGC will be represented by six members at the annual EDGA Interclub.  This year's event is being contested at LVCC which will no doubt present a tough challenge.  Our team will include: Dave Hewett, Don Fessler, Lucas Marsh, Jim DelSandro, Jim DelSandro, Jr. and Lou Natalie.  Best of luck and play well guys.

The Raptor


May 13, 2011 From Bill Reichert - Subject: The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Erie Golfers

Here yee Here yee!
Let it be known that upon this day, there shall be no whining or cajoling about the fairness of the system we all know to be the Raptor game!
Failure to abide may result in a Medieval stoning!
Any unfairness that may be a result of the handicap system will be evened out by the unforgiving and sometimes torturous golf course.
Any success of birdie from any tee should be celebrated as a victory of man vs. course. 
Hence, the thought of appropriately renaming the course from Whispering Woods to Screaming Trees has been put on the table!

The league of extraordinary golfer men which meets weekly has identified the following key people that shall be knighted and from this day forward be able to spread words of wisdom in blasphemy for all to read!
Rich Rocky- Sir Golfs real Good
Rob Goring- Sir Veillance of Course
Ray Kallner- Sir Loin of Pork
Raptor- Sir Ver of Toonements
Bill Reichert- Sir Shaggs a Lot
John Torok- Sir Coors Light
If anyone objects or would like to nominate any others- speak now or forever hold your peace
And to think, we just signed up to play golf..... Smile
These are the actual original rules of golf that were first documented


 The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers- 
    The 13 FIRST RULES OF GOLF  -  1744 -1745

1.                  You must tee your ball within one club’s length of hole.

2.                  Your tee must be on the ground.

3.                  You are not to change the ball you strike off the tee.

4.                  You are not to remove Stones, Bones or any Break Club, for sake of playing your ball, except upon the Fair Green and that only within a club’s length of your ball.

5.                  If your Ball come among watter or any watery filth, you are at liberty to take out your Ball and, brining it behind the hazard and teeing it, you may play it with any club and allow your Adversary a Stroke, for so getting out your ball.

6.                  If your balls be found anywhere touching one another you are to lift the first ball, till you play the last.

7.                  At Holing, you are to play your Ball honestly for the Hole, and not play upon your adversary’s Ball, not lying in your way to the Hole.

8.                  If you should lose your Ball, by its being taken up, or any other way you are to go back to the Spot, where you struck last, and drop another Ball, and allow your adversary a stroke for the misfortune.

9.                  No man at Holing his Ball is to be allowed, to mark his way to the Hole with his club or anything else.

10.              If a Ball be stopp’d by any person, Horse, Dog or anything else, the Ball so stopp’d must be played where it lyes.

11.              If you draw your Club, in order to Strike and proceed so far in the Stroke, as to be bringing down your Club:  If then your Club shall break, in any way, it is to be Accounted a Stroke.

12.              He whose Ball lyes farthest from the Hole is obliged to play first.

13.              Neither Trench, Ditch or Dyke, made for the presentation of the Links, nor the Scholar’s Holes or the Soldier’s Lines, Shall be accounted a Hazard.  But the ball is to be taken out and tee’d and play’d with any iron club.

13b.       If thy Tee shot has fallen off the course on the first tee, there shall be no Breakfast Ball played and the Hitter of the ball should storm down the Fairway mumbling filth and slang, laugh about it and write a double bogey on the scorecard



The Original Rules of Golf-Gold.


May 9th, 2011 - Good Morning and Happy Monday...

This past weekend was a tale of two extremes...on Saturday, the Roster came out in force and a full field of 32 players eventually showed up.  On the other hand, Sunday's Roster had a meager turnout of 14 players...not bad considering that it was Mother's Day and as a result many spouses needed to lay around like a beached whale all day...stuffing bon bons in their craw while hubby cooked breakfast and or performed other wise droidal activities...the Raptor abhors holidays especially artificially created ones which are designed primarily to benefit the Greeting Card, Florist and restaurant industry.

Oh well...the only highlight The Raptor can safely state is that I played like crap.  In addition scores from many others were a little high.  My driver was off and I missed a few short putts....The Raptor canned a monster putt on Hole # 8 on Sunday which was the only par out of 14 players and hence...a skin...nice!

Here is a quick heads up...on Sat May 21st, WWGC will conduct the annual Spring Scramble and the proshop has blocked off tee times for the Scramble starting at about 8:00.  This event is bound to cause considerable consternation amongst low handicap "playahs" since their only goal in life is to torture themselves into believing that the course record in conceivably in their sights...keep dreaming Bishop Pickering...meanwhile the remainder of the group is content to know that their next majestic slice out of bounds or three putt is only moments away...

as a result of this situation, the pro shop has provided a small block of tee times for members who avoid scrambles.  The Raptor has elected to get in to the Scramble...with two guests.. I also noted that some of The Roster are signed up for the of this writing I have booked no member tee times for Saturday you are inclined to think course record I suppose you have some could immediately contact the proshop and determine if any tee times remain open for the 21st - or form a group and play in the Scramble.  Anyhow for those who do not want to play on Saturday May 21st...please give me heads up for Sunday May 22nd so I can make sure to book enough tee times...

If there are individuals on The Roster who need help putting together a Scramble Group, The Raptor can help with that as well.  Carpe diem...


May 2nd, 2011 Good Morning...

It was another strong weekend at WWGC with 28 players on the roster  for Saturday and a "solid" group of 20 players for Sunday.  I use the term solid since the weather on Sunday was questionable but a dedicated group showed up and played through some spotty showers which were a minor nuisance for a hole or two.  Based on discussions with Rob Brim, the Town Crier is here to tell you that Rob is suffering from a condition know as "swamp ass".  This is as a result of the repeated visits to Chiplotle and Moes Grill with the subsequent explosive diarrhea bouts.

Saturdays big winner was Rich Brown, who went low on holes 12 and 15 .  And lets not forget Rick Chase who scored a gross/net award on hole #3.

This fate was duplicated by Tom Tomechko on Sunday and has The Raptor wondering about WWGC's "Make Hay Corner" of the second, third, fourth and fifth holes.  The Raptor tries hard on this section of the course as they present an easy path towards a birdie.  But it seems that week in and week out, there is always an award on one of those holes, if not all of them.  With a field of 25 to 30 players you would think that there would be more than one birdie but that hasn't been the guys need to step up and make some golf shots! Bluto said "what's this lying around chit!"

On Sunday, Dave Devine, a guest of Lew McClain, Sr. scored a birdie 2 on hole #2 to pick up an award, while Jim Piekanski did the same on hole #11...way to go guys!

An interesting side note to Saturday's play was the impressive tee sheet which had play from 7:30 all the way to past 3:00....that's a lot of golf and the management has to be pleased with the results.  It was also the first weekend that the putting surfaces had matured this season and The Raptor can attest that they were very true that I made a LOT of putts...a special note goes out to the guys up at the range who brought in Stack and Tilt guru's Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett (I think) to provide instruction on this fast growing technique.  Since The Raptor has a grooved swing that requires no tampering, it wasn't necessary for me to check it out but I noted that there were tons of people up there which was way cool.

It goes to show you that WWGC is a happening place with lot's of potential!

And that brings me to the subject of this update....ball marks on putting greens.  For starters, The Raptor would like to encourage everyone in the group to fix a few extra marks when you play to help keep those putting surfaces true.  I can attest that I am soooo bad that the numbers of opportunities to play a full shot into the greens is slim and none but, I make an effort to fix a mark or two per hole.  Based on some reading I did on the web, there is a recommendation to avoid damaging the roots of the turf when fixing the mark...practice makes perfect...The Raptor plans to try to fix 3 marks per green starting this weekend.  Hope The Roster can do the same.

I already have 27 confirmations for Sat with several on The Roster still to respond.  So, I have reserved 32 spots...I think we can fill them so I am looking forward to another great weekend!

The Raptor

April 27th, 2011 - Good Morning,

What a beautiful start to the day with the bright sunshine and warm temps lightening the hearts of the Erie area, thoughts can turn to wasting yet another day trading emails and insults back and

Jim Piekanski's eloquent passage which was submitted earlier had a very important piece which was the clubhouse thread.  It's apparent that clubhouse dreams are on everyone's mind so submitted for your approval is my clubhouse dream.

First it seems logical to place the clubhouse over in that green area adjacent to hole #18.  Using conventional logic, the clubhouse should be...check that...must be exquisite.  It should tie in with the optics in place up at the range....kind of a cabin feel eh?...The entrance should be placed in such a way to give the individual a sense of grandness reserved for the rich and famous. There should be a lantern wielding lawn jockey announcing the entrance and it should be programmed to say "good morning sir" as you walk by.

Perhaps there could be the left the proshop, to the right the ultra exclusive locker room which is staffed by an attendant who opens the door for each visitor.  The proshop will not only contain the latest equipment and fashion accessories, but will also showcase a launch monitor and simulator as well as a nicely contoured practice putting green.  The locker room for gals will feature the traditional potty and... a an added feature, Adam Scott will be on permanent assignment to issue foot massages and shoulder rubs.  Over at the men's side, Jessica Simpson and Carmen Electra will be handing out the towels and performing certain "services" including a shoe shine...

The now famous (or infamous) Asphalt Bar & Grill will have to be eliminated in favor of a smartly designed patio with awning.  Each table will incorporate a built-in refrigeration unit which contains high end craft brews and pre mixed martinis as well as shrimp cocktails.  Periodically, waitresses dressed as "french maids" and waiters outfitted as "Chippendale" dancers will check to insure that all is well.  All food and drinks will be complimentary.  The view from the patio will be sweeping and should be built in such a way in order to see the action on both the 9th and the 18th holes.

For the discriminating fine diner, a trendy boutique restaurant will occupy the top floor or "penthouse"  this area will be accessed by an escalator...along the way, the walls will feature pictures of the golf course as well as Zack Polanski relieving himself down by Zahn's Run...

The carts will be converted to ultra spacious electric models with a refrigeration unit as well as GPS hole mapping and scoring displays and a picnic area will be set up where the present practice green is to book loud raucous special golf events (after all - the tiki bar has to be used)...

or the trailer can just be moved over there...

The Raptor


April 26th, 2011 - I can't resist.....



Clean up façade of Trailer/ProShop/Grill Room/Locker Room – looks messy...If there is going to be a pond in formt of it, put out a few small rubber duckys or boats.


Get more trash barrels as the ones near the exquisite tiki bar fill up and look bloated


Build a bocce court or bean bag toss for old fat people who can’t play golf any more


Get rid of the geese.  Don’t buy dog. Use permanent methods of eradication which include a machete, hack off their honking beaks


Groom the hillside at #4 to be consistent with rough as opposed to gorse


Develop a ball mark fixing crew


Remove loose divots daily and fill with a sand/soil/seed mixture to renew the fairways


Place growing fabric on unused portions of par three tee boxes to promote fresh turf more rapidly


Move hazard line on 7 closer to tree line – convert high grass to manageable rough


Get rid of the taint on 8


Reduce size of “bog” in front of 8 green by ½ to give us a chance to go for green but still be able to chip on for a par


Build French drain system on 9 to eliminate the creekbed down in the valley left of the fairway


Eliminate or reduce “bog” on ten – it is a dangerous, time wasting piece of goofiness  especially with all the dead logs which are entwined in the "heather"


Totally redo the cart path system at 11 to get carts up to the respective tee boxes – use soil from project to fill in vortex on 15


Erect sign on Hole #12 to hole #16 officially designating “The Raptor's Ravine” as…The Raptor’s Ravine


Fill in the vortex


Improve drainage on #17 fairway around 180 to 200 yards from putting surface.  Also make the meandering hazard a more definitive and attractive hazard at cost of $100,000.00


Fill in creekbed on 18 which is 90 to 100 yards from putting surface

Have a gereat day...The Raptor


April 26th, 2011 - Subject: RE: Weekend Update

I have to defend the Raptor because I look so forward to his recaps every Monday. 

The “Raptors” comments are not based on “opinions” but the fact that WW is down to 70+ members after opening with a waiting list.  The course is fantastic.  Anyone who dislikes the “course” dislikes the fact that their inflated sense of golfing self worth is usually humbled off the first tee.  WW has a membership retention problem and it’s not because haters are converting the flock.  If you like to play good golf it’s the best deal in town so what’s going on?

Does Torok’s small penis have something to do with it?



Apr 26, 2011 9:16 am - Subject: Re: Weekend Update

Hi Guys!
I feel that I need to jump into a few things here.  I have refrained from comment the past few weeks when these emails keep popping up but I believe it is now time to here some info from me. 
  "All is not lost????" I do believe you are a little out of line with the comments about WWGC lately.  Did I miss something the last few weeks?  Did the course turn into a goat ranch?  Did we change the holes?  Is the airport coming in to put in a new runway and eliminating the back nine?  I think you are making statements about WWGC based on opinions from "Erie" people and even more than that "Erie haters".  I found myself extremely concerned about Erie peoples opinions the first few years we were open but came to a realization that our business is 50% supported by people from outside of Erie County as well.  You all also have to realize that we will never lose the "New Kid in Town" label or how I like to call it the "Scarlet golf letter".  I honor and respect our own members opinions much more than any others.  You are the ones who play it the most and don't have the tarnished opinions.

Don't worry about what other clubs members say about the place and enjoy it for what it is.  If you could stand behind the counter with us someday, or better yet come to the out of town golf shows in the winter with us and hear the comments from people who don't have altered opinions about WWGC you would be amazed at what they say.  I used to get all caught up in what certain "Erie big shots" had to say about WWGC but I don't pay to much attention to any of it anymore.  I have thought long and hard about sending out an email that I received from the Executive Vice President/Chief of Operations from the PGA Tour concerning WWGC last summer.  Andy Pazder originally from Erie helped me forget and dismiss many out of line comments about WWGC from the local haters.  Andy believes that WWGC is a fantastic golf course and said comments that would make all of you members extremely proud to be part of WWGC.  I think we all can say that Andy has seen the best of the best and his opinion is one that really matters.  You have to ask yourself this question concerning outside opinions....  If you picked up WWGC and moved it to Pittsburgh what would these people have to say about it?  I guess I want all of you to not worry about what members we lost or who didn't rejoin.  Let's be the bigger people in all of this and not take any of it personal.  Let's not get caught up in the golfing politics of Erie, Pennsylvania.  Who cares if a local country club member is playing here or a local country club person quits after 9 holes because they lost 6 balls, or another country club member was upset because we didn't have Grey Goose Vodka at the turn.  

With this horrific start weather wise we need all the support of both members and guests to make 2011 a great year!  We enjoy each and every one of you and hope that you guys all see that when you come out to the club.  I personally want to thank each of you who are either long term members, new members, guests or guys who might play it once a year.  We cherish your support and business and are very proud to be affiliated with WWGC.  I am optimistic that we will have a rebound in weather, a great support from the members, hotel packages, and daily play to make a slow start of 2011 to another tremendous year.  Hang in there everyone golf season is soon to start and hopefully not end until December!
Rich Rocky
PGA Director of Golf
Whispering Woods Golf Club


April 25th, 2011 - Good Morning,

It was another interesting weekend over yonder at WWGC as play was conducted both Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.  First, it should be noted that there was a "solid" turnout on Saturday with 14 players completing 18 holes and only 4 cancellations. 

There were no heroics to speak of similar to Jim Piekanski's hole-in-one from last weekend but The Raptor picked up a rare skin on Sunday with a par on hole #8.  And Lew McClane, Sr. stepped up to the pay window with back to back birds on hole #5 and 6.  The bird on 6 was the result from a lengthy putt of perhaps 40 feet...Unfortunately, Sundays roster was extremely thin with only 9 players but who could blame the no-shows...the weather was questionable and there was a threat of rain all morning.  The heavy stuff never materialized but it did drizzle on a few occasions. 

The course is on the wet side from all this rain and The Raptor noted a gaggle of Lawrence Park players toiling on Saturday at WWGC once the sun came out.  Apparently, The Park is "under water" but The Raptor wasn't able to confirm that.  Still, for "former" WWGC members to come out to WWGC versus trudging around LPGC gives The Raptor "hope" that all is not lost and that WWGC can still be a go to place to play a quality round of golf and pick up a delicious Smith's hot dog at the turn!

Moving on...this Saturday, the weather may actually be nice and The Raptor has received numerous confirmations filling up at least 7 foursomes...this is nice.

The Roster now has over 50 players and The Raptor is dreaming of the day when we can get everyone up to the club for a spectacular and fabulous "toonament"

Looking forward to the weekend and its only Monday...

The Raptor

April 18th, 2011…Good Morning,

For many of you this past weekend was a washout (or windout) and as a result you probably spent time working around the house or perhaps watching a little NASCAR racin where Jimmie Johnson came out of nowhere to pick up the top prize at Talledegha.  You may have even cuddled with your spouse which is sad...

The Raptor is here to tell you that there is great news to report as WWGC member Jie Piekanski recorded his first ever hole-in-one at the 6th hole on Sunday.  Jim was playing in a group that included Lew McClane, Sr., George Carter and Lou Stack.  The shot was executed from the white tee box to a white flagstick in the middle right section of the putting surface at roughly 178 yards with a #4 rescue club.  Subsequent to the round eight of us gathered at The Pro's Table to celebrate with adult beverages and some friendly jocularity and good will. Thus adding to the lore and history that is WWGC...

The weekend weather could best be described as raw...even The Raptor was skeptical of a complete round on Sunday as our group of The Raptor, Richard Brown, Alan Hosford, Lew McClane, Jr. and Frank Fatica made our way towards the first tee.  Naturally once we got on the golf course we were happy in our work and hardly noticed the chill until the hail/rain storm at the 12th tee.  After that weather pattern blew through, our groups played the final 6 holes in some fierce wind which was certainly noticeable on holes 15 and 16.  While birdies were few and in some cases a single par was good for skin, The Raptor was able to cash in after two superb shots on hole #17 culminating in a tricky 15 foot birdie putt!

With Easter coming up The Raptor is sure that the majority of The Roster will be spending time with family (or perhaps donning sackcloth to raise donations for the poor...and the sick...), but there are spots available both Sat and Sun if you are interested in playing in what looks to be another miserable weather weekend...The Raptor will send out some inquiries to check on your availability to play.