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The Raptor  

Your Bridge To The Greatest Generation

The Weekend Update Page - 2014 Created 09/06/2014 Modified 05/06/2016

 

 

 

Weekend Update - 09/16/2014

 

Good Afternoon Jon,
It was over 30 years ago when I made a decision at the age of 28 years old to go back to college and resurrect my life.  The previous five years had been a disaster.  After returning from Penn State in 1979 with a degree in Marketing, I began working at our family business and was seemingly on a road to nowhere.
I joined Lake View CC in 1983 and met a group of members involved in business and accounting who were able to energize me into making a commitment.  Subsequently, I enrolled at Penn State – Behrend and obtained a degree in Accounting.  I followed up by making a real commitment and studied for and passed the CPA Exam.
The key was a commitment.  And that is why I am writing to you today.
Politics is a tricky business.  It is a part of Americanna that no one wants to talk about but it is THE most important aspect of maintaining America’s freedom.  We have to vote to continue this process. And before we vote we have to conduct a campaign.
I have stood on the sidelines on occasion and watched the world go by while on other occasions I have made a commitment when it came to politics.  Recently, pretty much out of the blue, I was approached by Candidate Dan LaVallee, who is running as a Democrat against incumbent Republican Mike Kelly for the 3rd Congressional District. 
It is unfortunate that Congress has to reinvent itself every two years and this puts candidates like Dan LaVallee at a disadvantage.  If he is to wage a successful campaign, he will need funding and lots of it.
To assist Dan with this endeavor, another old friend, Rick Filippi, is organizing a meet and greet event to assist with this important campaign on Wednesday September 17th.  Here are the particulars…

 

Rick & Claudia Filippi
Invite You To Join Us And Meet

Dan LaVallee

Democratic Nominee for
Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
5:30-7:30pm

3294 Lake Front Drive
Erie, PA 16505

Our Cottage Is A Perfect Setting To Watch A Beautiful Erie Sunset And Catch Up With Old Friends While Making New Ones

Suggested Contribution Level For This Event:
Friend: $100

Optional Contribution Levels:
Supporter: $250
Host: $500

Make checks payable to:
LaVallee for Congress

                                                                              

 

I am encouraging you to review this information and make a commitment of your own and let Dan know that he has friends here in Erie who can help him with this campaign.   Perhaps you are uncomfortable attending the event.  Let me know and I will set up an appointment to meet you this weekend to pick up your commitment.  We need to band together in this important election and this is a start. You can call me anytime at 814-434-0992 to discuss. Thanks!

 

Weekend Update - 09/06/2014

 

Happy Saturday,

The Raptor has taken a day off from the links at WWGC to prepare for a BIG match on Sunday.  Old friends, Brian and Tony will be joining The Raptor and The Squire for a spirited COD Match!

As Labor Day has passed, The Election Campaigns are gearing up in what promises to be another interesting Mid-Term Battle. Because politics is perhaps the most awful routine we must endue, The Raptor is going to be very careful on how this matter is published. 

With that being said, The Raptor chatted with an old friend who is helping out with the campaign of Dan LaValle, Candidate For Congress.  My friend is sponsoring a meet and greet for Candidate LaValle.

You can learn more about it here.  www.theraptor.com  The Raptor is looking forward to your feedback - Thanks

 

Weekend Update - Kahkwa Club Tee Remodel - 07/11/2014

 
Good Afternoon,
 
When we last connected, an attempt was made to send out props to the gang over at Kahkwa Club after The Raptor made an appearance for the Spring Invitational.  Unfortunately, due to some problems with the upload, the photos did not download. So, lets revisit.  First, here is a picture of the Net Champs, Dave Kacprowicz and his guest, Dario Ciprianni accepting their trophies from Kahkwa Head Pro Michael O'Connor.
 
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Unfortunately, the clarity of the shot was corrupted by the intense sun light coming through the window.  As previously mentioned, Kappy and O have been competing for years and this win was top notch.  On that particular day the sun was obscured for the first half of the match and it was a tad chilly.  Going low called for some excellent shotmaking and it's nice to see Dario in top for again after a few set back these past several years.
 
In the Gross Division, the best twosome turned out to be Rob Nicotra and his guest Keith "Skeeter" Camp.  It should be noted that The Raptor had the pleasure of dining with the champs and it was obvious that they had executed a perfect case study as indicated by these broad smiles...
 
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The Raptor matched up with Dave "Chief" Antolik and it was a great pleasure to watch Chief in action as this former EDGA Champion still has a lot of game. Thinking back to 1996, The Raptor can recall getting paired in the Charity Golf Classic with Chief and watch him play extremely well.  The Raptor played decent with a few good holes and a few bad holes but Chief and his partner, Gary Trivisono won a top prize in the pro-am that day!  During the course of this years match the chat turned to golf course architecture
 
This thread was brought on by seeing the course changes in store at Kahkwa   For starters, the third hole is being lengthened with the addition of a new elevated tee box which could stretch out the hole to almost 200 yards with a deep pin placement. 
 
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The green complex at hole 3 has undergone some changes over the years primarily due to the tee box re-location perhaps 25 years ago. The original tee was situated in close proximity to the 2nd and 5th hole putting surfaces.  The Raptor can recall playing in the City Tournament back in high school when this was the only tee box. The putting surface has been orientated towards the present tee box and includes a short porch to collect the muffed approach.
 
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It should be noted that the old third hole tee box can be used on hole 6 to create a brutish 435 yard par 4.  Speaking of brutal holes, Kahkwa's new 4th hole is man-sized indeed.  Now measuring out at 442 yards it will prove to add some meat to a hole that previously could be attacked with a lob wedge. 
 
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The unfinished portion of the span between the Championship Tee and The Members Tee, which will measure out at 346 yards is scheduled to have some fescue turf planted.  The Raptor's primary concern would be the proximity of the new tee to the driving range and numerous range balls could be seen in the undeveloped span. In addition, with the fescue eventually swaying in the wind, a topped drive will potentially result in a lost ball and most certainly the playing of the hole with pants down.
 
The Raptor is most certainly not an architect in the vein of Donald Ross but there is an opportunity here.  Perhaps consideration should be given to a flanking sand bunker positioned about 75 to 90 yards from the putting surface which could jut out into the fairway from the left rough to provide some framing and catch a few errant shots.  I believe there are historical precedents on this.
 
The Raptor and The Chief did engage in some interesting banter on hole number 6  It was noted that the putting surface was modeled after a Biarritz.  Chief though I was making the word up to demonstrate some verbal alacrity but it's true.  The original Biarritz was designed by Willie Dunn in France and there are several examples here in the States.  One coming to mind immediately is at the 3rd green at the Greenbrier where the PGA Tour is this weekend.  Another can be seen at he Fox Chappell Club in Pittsburgh where the recent Champions Tour event was held
 
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While The Kahkwa Biarritz is not as pronounced as the Fox Chappell example it is plainly visible from the top of the hill.  The changes will undoubtedly continue as The Kahkwa continues to develop.  There is talk of lengthening the par 3 15th hole to perhaps over 230 yards.  The Raptor would suggest revamping the 7th hole to a par 5 and converting the 8th hole to a par 4.  The cumulate changes are going to stretch out the yardage from the back tees to over 6700 yards which should be a awesome test for some upcoming tournament perhaps even an EDGA event!
 
These course changes coupled with continuing improvements to the clubhouse and party patio will contribute to a growing, appreciative membership.  Hmmmmmmm...

 

Weekend Update - 05/05/2014

 

Good Evening,

The Raptor and Ms. Raptor  had a scheme to watch the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and set up a dining engagement with The Squire and Spouse to meet at the Oakwood for dinner and the race.  The Derby is a Raptor Fav, especially all the pomp over hats.  While in no way or shape a horse man, it's fun to watch the race since it brings back memories of years past when The Raptor used to meet friends up at The PI Downs to watch racing and perhaps execute a case study (or two).

The Oakwood was perfect for the event.  Several TV's are spread out around the bar side and a great table in the middle of the room was provided by capable host, Kevin McGarrey  Excitement started to fill the air as patrons began swarming in between 6:00 and race time and by the time the bugle sounded the call to the gate, a sizable crowd was waiting in anticipation.

In order to accommodate the patrons, The Oakwood Staff cranked up the volume on the TV;s and then it happened.  At a table right next to The Raptor's, a gal started screaming at the top of her voice to turn down all the TV's as the excessive noise was ruining her dinner.  She was really serious and repeatedly made commentary about how rude it was to disrupt her conversation during dinner.  Little did she seem to realize that every other patron in the bar was there to see the race...

With the sound now off on the TV's, the room became strangely silent and it was if a balloon had burst....all the energy had left the building.  One of the bartenders got some sound back as the gates opened and the horses began pounding towards the first turn.  At the complainers table the two male patrons seemed a little stunned at what the complainer had done but very little else happened.  I could see a few folks in the room who were angry and The Raptor let out a few war whoops to break the ice and the idiot complainer started to mimic my war whoops and managed to sound and look ridicurous.

The race ended quickly and the scene returned to normal but no one will forget the complainer and her wails.  The Raptor didn't have any skin in the race but California Chrome seemed to be a popular winner.

Earlier that day, WWGC had held a season opening scramble event which featured 14 three person teams.  The winners were the team of Evers, Carneval (Todd) and Levinson who shot 61 to tie the threesome of Rob Masterson, Dave Spitzer and Corey Smith,  A playoff ensued and Todd C sealed the deal with a lengthy birdie putt on WWGC's challenging par 4 Hole #1.  The net division was won by the team of Chris Komorra, Dave Lehner and Denny Wildauer.  Afterwards a fabulous luncheon occurred in the Mulligan's Bar which included puledl pork sandwiches, potato salad and cake.  Several of the players gravitated to The Asphalt Bar and Grill to christen the season with some chilled adult beverages on a chilly rainy day.

The highlight of the day had nothing to do with golf but more to do with politics as The Raptor noted that some jackhas (sic) had scratched a large swastika in the seventh green....geezzzeee.

Golf season in the Erie area is just starting to cook but Mother Nature has been hesitant to give up what has been a fierce Winter.  Not only did the below zero temps of late January create havoc with turf conditions at several local clubs, stories abound of courses up North in the Buffalo area and Toronto that have had all their putting surfaces damaged to some extent.  In most cases, course operators will have to reseed these damaged surfaces and play may not begin until after July 4th.  This can be a difficult pill for club members to swallow but in the case of a Public Fee Course, the loss of revenue could be devastating.
While golfers in Erie may have not brought the clubs out of the basement yet, the PGA Tour has been humming along since October and is now entering a home stretch which will certainly create some memorable golf but could leave players and viewers exhausted.  Starting with The Players on Thursday and continuing to The Ryder Cup in late September, each week will showcase some major golf action on man sized courses including ...
The Players - May 8th to the 11th - held at The TPC Sawgrass
The Memorial - May 29th to June 1st - held at Muirfield Village GC
The US Open - June 12th to the 15th - held at Pinehurst #2
Quicken Loans National - June 26th to the 29th - held at Congressional CC
The British Open - July 17th to the 20th - held at Royal Liverpool
The WGC Bridgestone - July 31st to August 3rd - held at Firestone South
The PGA - August 7th to the 10th - held at Valhalla CC
Fed Ex Playoffs August 21st to September 14th and
The Ryder Cup - September 25th to the 28th - held at Glen Eagles Scotland
Along the way players and fans will learn who has the stamina to show up on the first tee each week with an A Game.  Up to this point each week has been enjoying a fresh face in the winners circle whilst perennial favorites like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Henrick Stenson have been struggling.  News reports are circulating that Woods may play in the British Open but these revelations are being downplayed by Tiger's support team.
It is not necessary to belabor this subject, but all-stars like Woods and Mickelson sell tickets and put TV Viewers in their man caves.  It has been reported that viewer ship at this years Masters was down considerably  While there is no direct connection to Tiger scratching due to a back injury while Phil missed the cut, it's probable that young PGA players like Jordan Speith and Patrick Reed do not have the recognition to generate the enthusiasm necessary to build a strong TV audience. 
Needless to say the DVR is at the ready to catch up on all the shots.  Stay tuned for future updates as we digest the winners and the pretenders.

The Raptor (www.theraptor.com)

 

Weekend Update - 04/23/2014

 

Good Morning,

Due to a heavy work schedule and some of those pesky days handling tax stuff, these WE's have been difficult if not impossible to craft.  While there are many great themes to explore, The Raptor is hesitant to go rogue for fear of pissing some one. Well ok, I can maybe try to piss a few people off...what the hey...

So, Bubba Watson won the Masters and according to most experts he can win every Masters from now until he sucks since he is so long off the tee and he has his life in order.  Ya sure.  All it takes is one little ding on the General Lee and he will be a puddle.  Anyhow, the Masters was an OK event.  Kind of a prep for the impending years when known commodities like Mickelson, Woods, Furyck and Stricker are off the radar and pros like McIlroy, Uhlien, Speith and Koepka are taking care of business.

The Raptor likes to live vicariously through a journey made to Augusta in 1989.  Each year I pull out my photo album featuring Norman, Watson (Tom), Zoeller, Calcavecchia, Seve, Jack and Arnie and connect with the whole phenomenon.  The Raptor also re reads the Charles Price Book. "Bobby Jones, Augusta National and The Masters".  The book traces Jones through history from his appearance at Merion in 2016 to his quest for the Impregnable Quadrilateral of 1930.  Included in the book is some historical perspective on The Raptor's favorite "golf tick" (sic), Clifford Roberts.

Roberts met Jones during the 1920's when Bobby was gaining fame as America's Greatest Champion Golfer of the era.  The meeting may have taken place at Augusta Country Club where Roberts hung out in the winter.  Roberts was a investment advisor by trade and perhaps was able to avoid the chaos which ensued as a result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929.  Once Jones announced his retirement after the 1930 Grand Slam, he began his quest to construct a golf facility in the deep South in order to host some USGA events including the US Open.  Roberts, a sycophant in every sense of the imagination, hitched his wagon to Jones and came along for a ride which ultimately resulted in the greatest golf club of all time. 

Numerous wealthy associates of Jones put up the funding to convert the shuttered Fruitlands Tree and Plant Nursery to a dream course fashioned by Jones and course architect Alistair McKenzie.  McKenzie passed in 1934 and didn't live long enough to see the opening of the club.  After a while it became apparent that a USGA Open would be difficult to host since the championship is traditionally held in June.  The weather in Georgia can be a tad warm in June so Jones, Roberts and Company elected to host their own event with all the proceeds being returned to improve the club and the course.  It didn't take long for Augusta National to become the site of a major golf tournament.  Along the way, Roberts adopted a dictatorial management style which kept the members in fear that they wouldn't get their dues letters in the spring. 

Roberts went to great lengths to perfect his persona as a curmudgeon.  In the early 1950's the Masters had become a world class golf event.  The Champions List included: Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Jimmy DeMaret.  A number of top Amateur players also contended for the prize which came to be known as "The Green Jacket", including Billy Joe Patton, Harvie Ward, Ken Venturi and Frank Stranahan.

Players like Stranahan played in tournaments all over the country but did not accept prize money and were looked upon with a certain pride by their professional counterparts in the best spirit of Bobby Jones.  In the run up to the Masters of 1952 (I think),  Stanahan was out on the course during a practice round playing two balls which was a violation of club policy so Roberts retracted Stranahans invitation to the tournament and sent him packing.  Jones may have tried to intercede but Roberts wouldn't budge. Job Done...

Roberts created a legacy of stern chairmen such as Hord Hardin but as of late, Chairman Billy Payne seems much more of a genteel sort.  Roberts eventually ran out of gas and blew his brains out near the pond by one of the putting surfaces in Amen Corner. Roberts was a mysterious private person so details of his rationale for suicide are sketchy.  Jones grew increasingly feeble as a result of a debilitating neuro-muscular disease similar to ALS.  He finally passed in the late 1960's.

Who amongst hasn't walked the grounds at Augusta National during a practice round or tournament rounds and imagined going for the green in two shots at Hole 13 or perhaps hit a dramatic approach at Hole 17.   It is by far the best tournament to watch and will continue to resonate with the next generation.  Who will don The Green Jacket next year? It's any ones guess at this point.  Coming up...The US Open from Pine Hurst - awesome!

The Raptor (www.theraptor.com)

 

Weekend Update - 03/31/2014

 

Good Afternoon,

First, is there any one out there getting tired of the Scott's Fertilizer Commercials?  Feed your lawn...feed it.  The Raptor would sure like to sucker punch Scott...aye...

It's a beautiful sunny afternoon, temp is 42 degrees and the 6 to 8 inches of snow that dumped in Erie on Sat night is melting at a fast pace.  The Raptor may be able to play the 3's tomorrow if this keeps up.  This pic was snapped yesterday afternoon and shows the accumulated snow at hole #4 at WWGC,,,

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Today most of this snow is melted and the only part of the hole covered is the putting surface which is located frame left across the creek.  Before the snow came The Raptor was able to play the 3's on Friday and Saturday.  It was a tale of two weather extremes.  Friday afternoon the wind was fierce while Sat it was benign.  Needless to say, The Raptor was inspired by the opportunity to get out and play...and a couple of pars were made!

Is any one out there getting pumped up for The Masters?  The Raptor was, but with questions coming up on the playing capabilities of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day it may be a lame event.  Sure, there will be plenty of excitement watching pros like Steven Bowdich and Matt Every walking Amen Corner but to potentially have two of the top American stars on the sidelines could be troublesome. Don't forget...

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Friday April 11th, Bullfrogs Bar 3:30 to ? 

 

The Raptor has been amused as of late by those haters out there who are imitating Rodney from Caddyshack on a fake injury "My arm..it's broken"  Apparently it was due to Tiger scratching from The Honda on hole 13...then Mickelson did the same Saturday.  But, it's doubtful the haters will say much about Phil...wouldn't be prudent even though he has two scratches this season..Speaking of Bowdich, he won yesterday's Texas Open with a closing score of....76.  Git er done eh?

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The Raptor was blown away that it took the final group 5 hours and 30 minutes to play that rock quarry.  And, the TV audience was treated to a obvious stressed out Andrew Loupe making repeated practice passes on 139 yard wedge shots - WTF!  One or two may be normal but 12 practice swings?  It seemed like all the pro's were speaking in glowing terms on the condition of the course but The Raptor kept seeing rocks and boulders strewn about the rough just off the fairways...great design...yep

Poor Matt Kuchar...he looked like a deer caught in the headlights for most of the fourth round after shooting a 65 in the third round.  The Raptor has a nickname for Kuchar..."Toys In The Attic"...as it doesn't look like there is much going on up there.  I know that all The Lollipops like Kuchar.  The Raptor  just wishes he could dump the Polly Anna personality and get a regular pair of shoes.  Pro's like Kuchar and Pat Perez who are wearing soft soles look like well...you know...

The Raptor has been tuning into the new Cosmos series which airs Sunday nights.  This time around Neil DeGrasse Tyson is hosting the project and he is doing a standup job of mixing the amazing vistas with historical animated vignettes of science pioneers like Gallileo, Newton, Kepler and Bruno.  Last night, The Raptor strolled outside after the show to catch the Orion Constellation in a clear, crisp sky.  Jupiter was high up overhead and Sirius was especially bright.  It's another clear night so I may go out for another stroll tonight. 

The Raptor will not be going to check out Noah.  Yawn...  It may be a block buster but it looks lame.  Just a heads up for my website readers, I am building up some fresh material for The God Page.  Hope to have the update posted this weekend...

There was an interesting discussion at the Saturday Pro's Table.  It seems that some of Erie's top players are getting a little testy cause Kahkwa has been holding up The Heisman on having any local tournaments at the Club unless a higher stipend is offered to reserve the course.  The main dilemma here is that with Kahkwa out of the rota, the other private clubs are having to shoulder hosting the major events and a certain level of staleness has developed.  Couple that with the inclusion of events at second tier facilities and it will be lucky if the EDGA can survive a couple of seasons.  Now the EDGA is going to have the Joseph Martin Seniors at Downing.  There used to be 200 players in the event.  They will be lucky to get 50 this year. What is wrong with this world!  C'mon Kahkwa step up and save the day!  To have some one say that it's fair to ban Kahkwa members from tournament play is just plain silly.  There...The Raptor said it.  Now do something about it!

The Raptor www.theraptor.com

 

Weekend Update - 03/24/2014

 

Good Evening,

For starters, today is The Raptor's 58th Birthday.  While it's been a uneventful date so far, it has been nice to get calls and cards from family and friends.  Let's jump right into the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  It was certainly an eventful finish.  The Raptor and Ms. Raptor were conflicted on who to pull for.  The Raptor did not relish seeing another collapse by Adam Scott.  Scott is such a compelling story.  He has been a top flight player for over 10 years now and seemed poised to ascend to the top spot in The World Golf Rank.  All that was needed was a win in the AP.  He started out like gangbusters on Thursday with a course record 62.  Come Friday, Scott cooled slightly but still shot a decent 68 to head into the weekend at 14 under par - with a seemingly insurmountable 7 shot lead.  Unfortunately, a Saturday 71 and a Sunday 76 gave relative unknown Matt Every the win.

It has been reported that Every played in one of The Big Break Anthologies several years ago.  However, The Raptor missed that season.  The most shocking miss of Scott's final round had to be a 3 putt par on the Bay Hill Club's par 5 16th hole.  Putting is such a difficult part of the game and Scott demonstrated it's fickleness.  Scott may have tried to jamb in an eagle on 16 which may explain the three putt. 

Every now sees his season and career in a new light.  He will be heading to the Masters for the first time and gets a jump start on big paydays down the road.  One can only imagine how critical it is to get a bid to the Masters.  A rookie like Every will find it difficult to make the cut with a lack of course knowledge, but it's a dream come true just to drive the Magnolia Lane

Speaking of the Masters, don't forget the up coming Masters Symposium to be held Friday April 11th at The Bullfrogs Bar on Liberty and Peach Streets.  Tee off is 3:30 and it should be a great time!

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Erie's Golf season has been placed on a hold by most course operators due to the cold conditions.  Many clubs have a frost line that has to melt to get the season going.  The pro from WWGC, Rich Rocky sent out a promising email that the club will open this Thursday.  If it does, expect to see The Raptor playing the 3's come Sat and Sun.  According to Rocky, if you are looking to play, all are welcome and the green fee with cart will be $25.00. 

Still to be resolved is the potential sale of the golf course.  While no buyers have come forward to put up the $2,700,000.00 needed to purchase the track, there have been several parties stopping by to kick the tires.  What is surprising to The Raptor is how knowledgeable the many local players are about the value of the golf course.  I am not sure where the numbers come from but most seem to be in agreement that the facility is worth perhaps $1,500,000.00.  The Raptor would like to make an observation here.  The house owned by Joe Dipre is located next to the parking lot of the WWGC.  It is no doubt listed for a price in excess of $400,000.00.  This represents four WWGC's if you assume the facility is worth 1.5 million.  Obviously, there is a price that makes sense but it has to be more than $1,500,000.00 and 2.7 million may be just right.

The Raptor would also like to take this opportunity to put in a plug for The Family Business, Interstate Security, Inc.  The showroom will be hosting a visit from the Arrow/Medeco lock demo van next Friday, April 4th from 10 to noon.  This is a perfect opportunity to check out some state of the art security products such as card access systems, heavy duty lock hardware and restricted key systems.  Call Paul at 814-459-0546 for details.or visit www.4keyslocksafes.com.

The Raptor - www.theraptor.com

 

Weekend Update - 03/03/2014

 

Good Evening,

The Raptor has just come home from work and has been chewing on a WE all day, but, to tell the truth, I got nutin'  With that being said there are a number of talking points to introduce.

First, a couple of thoughts on the Whispering Woods situation.  As many of you know, it was announced recently that WW is For Sale.  The asking price a cool $2,700,000.00.  Naturally, a group of guys sat around The Pro's Table last Wed talking about forming a consortium to buy it.  Wait? What? 20 investors, each putting up a stake?  What could go wrong?  Plenty....from this chair, the facility will eventually sell to a seasoned buyer who can take the it to the next level.  It may not sell for 2.7 Million but the facility has to be worth a substantial amount of money.  Not only is there the golf course, there is also a driving range.  There is a elaborate cart path system in place and several costly bridge complexes.  Naturally, there will be some concern because there is no Clubhouse, but The Raptor checked the Rules of Golf and there is nothing in there about the need for a Clubhouse.

Unfortunately, there is always going to be a cadre of players who need to have a place to go for Bottomless Tankers of Ice Water or Diet Pepsi along with complimentary popcorn and delicious tossed salads. Plus, it's absolutely essential to have exquisite bathroom facilities in order to conserve on the home ration of toilet paper.

In the mean time it's business as usual.  Well...almost.  On the heels of the announcement that the facility is for sale, the one and only Turf Care Super that WW has ever engaged, Rob Gorring, has decided to take a job in sales.  As a result, the very individuals who have complained over the past several years on the condition of the course will now wail and gnash their teeth on the impending demise of the Woods.  The Raptor thinks not.  A suitable up and coming candidate is probably preparing for the interview of his lifetime even as I write this.  The main detriment to a successful campaign will be the weather.  And we all know how the weather has been lately.  It's going down below zero tonight in Erie, PA on March 3rd.  How are we doing?  This growing season is shaping up to be a nightmare for Turf Care Supers. 

Are there any positives in play here.  Well one thing is for sure, when the weather does break, The Raptor is planning to play every day ending in Y.  While it may not be feasible to record an 18 hole round each day, perhaps a balanced approach is in effect like 50 (18 Hole rounds) - 50.(Playin The 3's).  In addition to the ability to play often, the price isn't too bad either and as has been past practice, a new member gets a $500.00 bonus in the first year.  The Raptor is giving this deal his highest recommendation, especially if your on the fence. 

On the National Golf Scene, props are going out to Paula Creamer and Russell Henley on huge victories on their respective Tours.  Creamer got her V as a result of a winding 75 foot eagle putt on the 2nd hole of a playoff with Azahara Munoz in The HSBC Women's  and Henley withstood a four way playoff with Rory McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox to with The Honda Classic.  The Raptor missed the Women's Event but watched the Honda all day. 

The top story coming out of The Honda had to be the mediocre play of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.  Mickelson missed the cut by a single stroke while Woods made the cut on the number.  Tiger seemed to turn the corner in Saturday's round finishing with a 5 under par score of 65.  Naturally, pundits like Golf Channel's Rich Lerner smelled a rehash of the 2012 Honda when Woods shot a 62 to put pressure on eventual Champion McIlroy.  Unfortunately, Tiger developed back spasms while warming up and shot a head scratching 5 over par 40 on the outward nine on Sunday.  Woods finally turned in his card after hole 13.  This initiated a feeding frenzy by the assembled media complete with questions to Wood's playing partner, Luke Guthrie on whether Tiger was faking injury.  Bradel Chamblee was no doubt leading the charge...

McIlroy seemed to be clicking on all cylinders during the first two rounds.  However, the wind became a factor during rounds 3 and 4 and Rory finished the weekend at 69 - 74.  Ironically, even after a disastrous double bogey/bogey on holes 16 and 17 Sunday, McIlroy could have sealed the deal by dropping a 15 foot eagle putt on hole 18. The potential win being set up with a superb approach to a well protected hole location,  The player who fell farthest had to be Ryan Palmer.  Ryan made a costly bogey on hole 18 which featured a tentative jab at a short par putt.  Then, in the playoff, Palmer played conservatively and missed a make able birdie chance to extend the playoff.

As the Tour heads to the WGC at Doral there are a number of story lines.  For starters, many of the top Americans such as Woods, Stricker, Kuchar, and Furyck are just getting old.  Meanwhile, there are several popular younger players including Harris English, Jordan Speith, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler who seem to be struggling to become a dominant factor. Each of them has won tournaments but their success is spotty. This is leaving the door open for players such as Poulter, Donald, Dubission and Jason Day to perhaps pick up a big win at Doral.  The action starts Thursday at noon and The Raptor will be there for the action - stay tuned,,,

The Raptor www.theraptor.com

 

Weekend Update - 02/24/2014

 

Special Announcement....

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It's time to once again set up The Raptor's Annual Masters Symposium.  This is Erie tradition has been going on for almost 20 years.  Started as a small gathering at The Rathskeller Café in 1996, the event has been held with pride the past 10 years at the legendary Skeeter's Pub.

This year, in an effort to create a buzz, the Symposium will be staged at the Bullfrogs Bar which is part of Andy's Pub up at 38th and Liberty

Save the date: Friday, April, 11th and the time...3:30 till ??. 

The Raptor is pumped up for a strong showing.  You never know who might show up and if the golf action isn't to your liking, you can always rack up for a pool match.  The Raptor is especially looking forward to catching the action on Bullfrogs massive Big Screen TV!

Congrats are the order of the day for Jason Day and Victor Dubisson

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who provided thrilling match play yesterday at The WGC at Dove Mountain.  This years event didn't feature all the stars but showcased plenty of talent.  In the preliminary rounds, veteran players like Westwood, Donald and Poulter bowed out while newbies like Webb Simpson advanced.  The Raptor noted that Euro Tour veteran Thongchai Jaidee made a brief appearance whilst the sensational Kiradech Aphibarnrat wowed the patrons with his shotmaking prowess.  The senior tour was well represented though.  Jim Furyk played great and Ernie Els rode a hot putter to the semi finals. 

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During the quarter finals, young apprentice, Jordan Speith earned The Raptor's scorn for some petty antics while getting thrashed by Els.  Speith later apologized on Twitter for his boorish behavior which included club dropping, looks skyward to some golf supreme being and some wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Good thing Billy Pane wasn't awake...if Jordan keeps this up he will be playing in Hattiesburg that week with Rory Sabbatini.  The highlight of the telecast had to be the Taylor Made commercial featuring Johnson, Rose, Garcia and Day as puppets.  Hilarious!

The Winter Olympic Games are finished and The Raptor really enjoyed the Curling Competition but is not sure why....

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The players were so full of passion...this made for some great TV

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The Raptor also looked forward to the Bobsled Event and this was a special occasion since the Americans ended up winning Bronze in both the 2 man and 4 man Competitions.  Special props go out to the Russian teams who won Gold.

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The Raptor tuned in daily.  It's possible that I was the only one though.  Catching up on 50K Cross County Skiing,  Ski Jumping, and the Downhill.  Unfortunately Johnnie Weir was so awful that The Raptor boycotted the Ice Skating,  Plus The Russian Judges returned after a lengthy absence. Speed Skating was cool, even though the Americans didn't win any medals.  The coach of The Netherlands seemed to sum it all up when he opined in an interview that The USA Team was too wrapped up in American Football and this hurt their competitive instinct.  HMMMMMM....maybe but who knows or cares.  Football is so well entrenched now.  It's all about Johnnie Manzel and some guy named Clowney.  I would be just super if Clowney trips on his first day of practice and develops turf toe.

Remember to stop into Bullfrogs on April 11th for The Symposium

The Raptor - www.theraptor.com

 

Weekend Update - 02/02/2014

 

Good Evening....

As The Raptor keeps the sights and sounds of The Super Bowl in the background in anticipation of the Bruno Mars/Chilli Peppers Halftime show, lets reflect on some recent events. First, the last Weekend Update featured some pics that did not migrate.  I recreated the WE and posted it to the website....www.theraptor.com.

 

On The Euro Tour, Sergio Garcia notched an important win at The Qatar Masters.  Sergio is hovering in the World Top 10 and demonstrated some impressive shotmaking on his way to a playoff victory against Mikko Illonen.  It should be noted that Garcia has been hitting the party circuit over in the Desert and has no respect for himself....

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This weekend, Steven Gallacher was able to repeat as Champion in The Omega Dubai Desert Classic.  It should be noted that Tiger Woods played in the event but struggled yet again with his driver, eventually finishing 10 shots behind the winner.  Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy showed some improvement but managed to mail it in in the final round and finished over par for the day.  He was stoic after the round but did speak out to those detractors who complained about his chipping and putting...

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This weekend the PGA Tour visited the Scottsdale Arizona area for the Phoenix Open.  A rousing crowd always shows up, especially on Sat when almost 190,000 patrons were in attendance.  The stadium built around hole #16 is fierce.  The final round was a study in frustration for several players including Hunter Mahan, Ryan Moore and Bubba Watson paving the way for Kevin Stadler to earn his first PGA Tour Victory.  Stadler lurched his way to the finish line, demonstrating how effective a long putter can be in eliminating the yips...

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On The Erie Golf Scene a controversy is brewing over at the 9 hole course near the Airport.  The Millcreek Golf and Learning Center was closed in 2011 to make way for the Airport runway extension.  It has been determined that perhaps $100,000.00 is needed to get the facility back in shape.  A recent letter writer to the Times stated that the course should be closed cause it looses money.  Millcreek Supervisor was able to respond with a well written piece in the same newspaper.  A standstill with Supervisors Groh and Figaski has ensued.

The Raptor has fond memories of the MGLC.  It's where Raptor Jr. learned to play.  Taking lessons.  Practicing and playing for the McDowell Team.  This ultimately led to a college career which culminated to being named Captain of The Golf Team.  It's where The Raptor participated in the super boss hole in one contest in 2007, People who possess vision would recognize this dichotomy.  This simple tract of land can create magic. 

People who posses a chip on their shoulder such as Rich Figaski and John Groh are clueless about magic.  Instead they rely on their bitterness to generate disappointment.  Perhaps they could rethink their position.  Figaski is retired, right?  Maybe he could develop a First Tee Program and help get young people interested in something else besides gang warfare. This could take some heat off of his brother police officers.

And how about John Groh?  His whole mantra is on planning, right?  Its all there John...practice green, driving range, clubhouse, parking lot...all it needs is a little TLC .  Isn't that what your all about?  

There is no doubt in my mind that Brian McGrath's plan to obtain grant money and contributions from the private sector will help out and The Raptor is going to contribute.  While I am not independently wealthy,  I can give $250.00.  It's not much but it's something.  I just hope that when the MGLC opens up soon, that Supervisors Groh and Figaski stay home...

The Raptor www.theraptor.com

 

Weekend Update - 01/12/2014

 

Good Afternoon,

As The Raptor prepped to watch the first game yesterday which pitted the Seattle Seahawks and The New Orleans Saints he marveled that the game announcers were Sean Burkhardt and John Lynch.  I figured a playoff game would bring out the finest announcers in the land,,,say Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on Nance and Sims.  PGA Golf Professional Richard Rocky echoed the same sentiment with a virulent Twitter rant.  Rocky said he would rather have Marv Albert and Scotty Slice....I countered with Ray Scott and Al DeRogatis  or Lechorchik and Marnella.  Later on, in the second game between The Colts and the Patriots, CBS trotted out Dan Dierdorf...The Raptor had not seen him call a game in years!  Needless to say, he was AWFUL!

This lead The Raptor to thinking....who were the best of the best over the years? Raptor Favs included Tom Brookshier, Jack Buck, Verne Lundquist, John Madden, Vin Scully and the previously mentioned Scott.  Jack Wittaker also was a top notch announcer.  Sadly missed are Howard (Look At That Little Monkey Go!) Cosell and "Dandy" Don Merideth who held sway on Monday Night Football.  Also bringing back fond memories is Jimmy "The Greek".  That poor SOB was pilloried for telling it like it is!

The best part of John Lynch's commentary last night was his frequent use of the superlative, unbelievable.  Actually, he was right.  The weather was unbelievable and the Saints were unbelievable.  What was up with Jimmy Graham?  He looked like he was in a dense fog...it was unbelievable.. Perhaps its time to harken back to the days when Steve Harvey's "Bottom Ten" used to refer to them as The Aints.  He also called Alabama "Alabumble" LOL!

The weather this week here in Erie, PA has been unbelievable.  On Monday, a rare event when the temperature dipped below zero...

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like -14 below zero! talk about cold!  Naturally Fox News' finest such as Stewart Varney (he has the worst comb over in broadcasting) and Neil Cavutto stated that the global warming warnings being talked about by "Scientists" are totally with out merit (since it's so cold).  Roger Ailes must pay those RTards extra to spout that stuff...unbelievable...  since it was 50 degrees yesterday...

The Raptor has been hitting some practice balls on a weekly routine to "keep in shape".  This in itself is unbelievable cause my shape is terrible!  The gang up at Golf Etc. has been greatly accommodating with some helpful analysis of my outcomes and with the warm up yesterday The Raptor felt it was time to head over to Whispering Woods to hit some real time tee shots.  So after getting The Heisman from three foils, The Raptor was finally able to hook up with Lew McClain, Jr. to pull off the exercise.

First, we went to the hole #1 tee box and each hit about 4 or 5 shots The Raptor had hoped to play away from the blue tee box but the wind was fierce enough to scrap that scheme .Here is Lew in mid season form from the white tee box...

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Naturally, certain individuals will be displeased that we trespassed on private property...no doubt if The Raptor was a member of Augusta National, I would not be receiving my dues invoice for 2014...Billy Payne would make sure of that....since Lew lives in proximity to hole #6, we drove back to his house and walked over to the tee box through his back yard.  The Raptor hit some choice tee shots with The Taylor Made R1...

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While it would appear to be somewhat benign outside, it was actually about 35 degrees and the wind made it feel like 20, but it was worth it!  The Raptor could have used an under armor shirt but it's always important to showcase the guns!

The TV Golf Season has started in earnest with the Hawaii swing...last week, at Kapalua and this week at The Sony.  These vistas are unbelievable.  Kapalua especially.  The Raptor is suitably impressed with Zack Johnson's game right now and Jordan Speith is no slouch either.  Recall that Johnson hit a fabulous wedge shot a couple weeks ago to force a playoff in Tiger Woods event, which he won on the playoff hole.

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Zack turned around at The Hyundai and put on a clinic from tee to green to win comfortably, with Speith coming in second. Now turning to The Sony, The Raptor and Ms. Raptor are pulling for Harris English to pick up the winner's check  In the small world category, English hails from Thomasville , Georgia and grew up in the same golf club that Ms. Raptors brother and family play at so they are familiar with Harry's chops.  Yesterday, English bashed an 8 iron out of some heavy rough about 195 yards.  He is unbelievable...

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Well...the San Francisco 49ers have just about wrapped up a victory over the Carolina Panthers in what was supposed to be a coming out party for Cam Newton.  Looks like Newton has some more development to accomplish...so the Raptor will sign out to watch Peyton Manning toss the monkey off his back...let's hope he's unbelievable...

The Raptor (www.theraptor.com)