Has there ever been a period of golf weather better than the past two weeks? I doubt it. And the fact that it coincided perfectly with my busiest and most competitive fortnight of golf on this year’s calendar made it seem like a great gift from the golfing gods. Perfect weather and an impeccable golf course made it impossible to dampen any of my spirit, in spite of a golf game that had wilder fluctuations than the Dow-Jones averages.
The first event on the calendar was the NLCC member-member, a two-day, 45-hole event that annually breeds top competition, hard feelings, inspired golf, fear and loathing, begrudging respect, new handicapping regulations, and more post mortems than they had at the St. Valentine’s Massacre. The biggest winner was the golf course, which was in top form as we have come to expect each fall as the golf course blossoms under the talented hand of Superintendent Dan Rogers. Little did we know that it would get better as the week progressed.
On Tuesday, I joined Jon Morosini, Bill Dillon, and Assistant Pro Dave Rhinehart for a round of golf at the much heralded Course at Yale, a C.B.Macdonald/Seth Raynor design that consistently ranks among the top golf courses in America. Even a drenching thunderstorm failed to douse my enthusiasm for the day spent with good company on a top track.
Wednesday came up warm, sunny and windy, all the elements needed to dry up a saturated golf course and provide a backdrop for one of the best events of the year, the Senior Two-ball at NLCC. Many of the state’s best players showed up to play in an event that is rapidly becoming a must-play event for many of the top players in Connecticut. Many come for the top $1,000 prize, some for the high level of competition, but all agree that the course is one the best they play during the year, and second to none in terms of condition. While the preceding wet days had reduced the green speeds to merely fast, instead of the greased lightning they would become later in the week, the course held up well to a highly talented field. I still need to learn why we can’t draw more top local players in both gross and net divisions.
The best was saved for last, this past weekend’s Players Cup at NLCC. Thirty-two members were divided into two teams and competition began on Friday with a two-man scramble, continued with four-ball matches on Saturday, and concluded with singles matches on Sunday. Teams were outfitted with matching golf attire of either red or blue, held a pizza bash after Friday’s matches, a pancake breakfast before Sunday’s singles, and a post-tourney dinner on Sunday that has become the highlight of the weekend. The two teams face each other with the winning team seated at tables adorned by fine linens and silverware, candles and fine china while feasting on a steak dinner featuring the best steaks my friends at Carlo and Sons can provide. The losers get no such amenities, and are made to settle for a cheeseburger each. I was the captain of the Moody Blues and Bill Dillon led the Red-Eyes. We got smoked. And were made to suffer the indignity of watching our opponents revel in the spoils of victory. Hope you liked your steak, Billy.
Now, I’m sure this all sounds so completely sophomoric to some of you. A bunch of old men, dressed in garish garb, trying to re-capture youth and past triumphs, engaging in silly rituals to reinforce their self-delusions. To which I say, yeah!!! So what?
Boy, did we have fun. Winners and losers both! The competition was intense but the whole atmosphere of the weekend was light-hearted and friendly. It was a testimony to what a good club can do to bring people of like interest together. Take a look at the picture of all 32 men and you will see a mélange of people of all stripes. Mechanics, teachers, lawyers, small business owners, engineers, retirees, et al make up a very diverse group that share two common tastes; a love for golf and a fondness for those events that bring us together. Three perfect days on a perfect golf course. Golf shouldn’t be asked to give you more than that.