July 31, 2014

A desert wind has come up tonight and the air is filled with the sounds of wind chimes and branches of all kinds rusting their own unique sounds. It’s after eight and the temperature still says 102, and there’s a thunderstorm blowing up to our west. Beautiful. It’s a little more humid tonight than it was last night, and the weekend looks like we might get some more monsoon action. Here’s hoping for less dust and more rain.

Congratulations, Bill Clinton, on sparing Osama bin Laden’s life when you were President out of concern for civilian casualties. Three thousand Americans civilians couldn’t be reached for comment.

Some very cool pics at this link. And, is there anything rabbits can’t do? (Hat tip: National Review’s Corner blog)

I know what the Red Sox did today at the MLB trading deadline was harsh medicine for Red Sox fans everywhere, but you can bet this is just the first step towards putting together what ought to be a very interesting and competitive team come Opening Day 2015. I guarantee my mom and my Auntie Marg ar going to love watching Yoenis Cespedes, and the subtraction of John Lackey doen’t bother me one bit. Sure, he was instrumental to the team’s World Series efforts kast year, but I’m guessing he was moved in order to surround their new young starting pitchers with better influences.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:45 | Comment (1)
July 30, 2014

In the end, it was my swing coach Alex Black who, during my last lesson, in the midst of suggesting a couple of minor swing changes that totally screwed me up for a spell, got it right by pointing out a couple of flaws in my grip and my approach to playing golf that I totally forgot about during my Goodboys Invitational golf weekend. Had I recollected those suggestions on, say, the Friday of Goodboys weekend as opposed to the Tuesday after, I might have saved myself a boatload of strokes and no small amount of angst.

It’s the Tuesday after Goodboys and I’m on my way up to the beach to catch some rays and waves. I’m driving the very same route I took just four days prior when it was Friday and the upcoming weekend was filled with all the expectation, promise, and high hopes that comes with every Goodboys Invitational. And while dipping my toes in salt water is first and foremost in my mind, I’m still feeling the bitter sting of disappointment in the way I played throughout the weekend.

Some folks would be more than satisfied with posting a 94 at Sagmore-Hampton like I did with that 44/50 on Friday, but I know how much of an opportunity was missed to put up a really low number. Sure, my fellow Goodboys didn’t want to hear about it at the time, but how can anyone be satisfied with a 94 when you played the six par 3s at +12? In my mind, that’s pretty pathetic. I knew at the time that the 94 was only the result of the best possible course management I could ever conjure up and grinding it out big time. Even while enjoying that cold Sam Summer at Sagamore’s rustic clubhouse while watching the British Open on a big-screen TV, I knew I wouldn’t be able to repeat that performance on Saturday and Sunday if I didn’t play and strike the ball a whole lot better.

On Saturday at Wentworth By The Sea I made some really poor swings on the two par 3s (more triple bogeys) before making a series of really poor decisions on the par 4 forth (quad bogey) before rallying on the final four holes for a decent front-nine 55. Then, on the back nine, I got sloppy on some really easy opportunities before my game completely fell apart on the last four holes to post a 58 and a 113 total. And I’ll be the first to admit that I lost my focus and composure – something I hadn’t done in years.

On Sunday at Black Swan, I was actually pretty satisfied with a front nine of 53, considering it featured a triple bogey on a par 3 and a ten on a par 5 – both the results of going against the very plan I had set out at the start. Missing consecutive four-footers for par and bogey to finish off the front nine was disappointing, but I still felt like I had turned a corner after bogeying the par 4 tenth after a poor drive wide left. Unfortunately, I then made a series of poor swings (and equally poor decisions) on eleven and twelve (another par 3 triple bogey), then pulled my drive into the woods on thirteen. The rout was on to a ghastly 63 and a 116.

I know what you’re asking: how on God’s green earth, after all the time and preparation put in over months prior to Goodboys weekend does The Great White Shank let rounds get away from him like that? The only thing I can say is that, when you’re fighting your swing and grinding away and missing fairways it’s not hard to be a paying customer on the triple-bogey train. What bugged me most about the weekend was that, even when I was making good swings or putting up a good number on a hole, I just didn’t feel right about my swing to the point where I simply couldn’t trust it anymore.

When I reached the New Hampshire seacoast, the last thing on my mind was hitting golf balls, but something drew me back to Sagamore-Hampton. I didn’t head there with any intention of playing golf – I just wanted to hear the breeze through the trees and watch a couple of foursomes tee off, just as I had just a few days before. The Sam Summers served at the bar were just as cold, but I felt like an intruder, like someone who had returned from a war to see everything looking the same, but feeling different inside.

Still, while it was great to soak up the atmosphere for a time, the beach beckoned. It was only when I saw the very same driving range the Goodboys had gathered at on Friday that I immediately changed my mind about not touching a club again for at least three months. The afternoon was sunny and hot, but I grabbed my clubs out of the trunk, paid for a large bucket, and headed to the far end of the near-empty range.

It was just me, my clubs, and a bucket of balls. I dropped a ball, stretched a little, and grabbed my pitching wedge as I normally would do. And then I just stood there. It was so quiet, I felt that making any kind of movement would disrupt the sanctity of the moment, so I didn’t do anything. Minutes passed. If the guy behind the ball counter was looking at me, he would be thinking I was having some kind of health issue, but I just couldn’t bring myself to hit a ball.

Why then and there I’ll never know – maybe it was because the pressure was totally off me. No Goodboys Invitational, no competition, no preparation, no handicaps, no golf course, no other golfers. But that’s when Alex Black’s words from my last lesson popped into my head as clear as day, as if he were standing right next to me. We had been finishing up our lesson, and he was having me hit some pitching wedges to all kinds of different targets.

“Whoa. Not sure where that crept in, because you didn’t get that from me. Your grip is too strong and you’re choking the club. Not only is that going to promote the kind of ‘jumping at the ball’ you’re complaining about, but you’re losing yardage by not allowing yourself to snap through the ball.”

Wow, I thought. He might have been watching a video of my entire Goodboys weekend. Jumping at the ball. Fat hits. Lost distance with my irons. Not to mention a few shanks thrown in for good measure.

I weakened my grip just a tad, loosened my grip on the club a tad more, and took a swing. And suddenly, it was there – the swing I was supposed to have brought to Goodboys weekend but didn’t, the swing I knew I could trust, and actually be a little aggressive on when I had to. More importantly, there was the kind of ball contact I’d seldom experienced from the moment I stepped foot on New England soil just a week prior. Not every ball was hit perfect, of course, but I felt like I was once again one with my swing.

And then I remembered something else Alex told me after we had finished hitting balls. He had a couple of minutes before his next lesson, so Alex offered some additional advice for me to consider:

“Like most amateurs, you’re too distance-focused, allowing the distance to the center of the green to determine what club you grab, and you do it without thinking. But let me ask you: does the GPS in the cart know what skill level of golfer you are? Does that distance marker in the fairway know your abilities? Common wisdom says to focus solely on the shot you’re about to make, but I’m telling you, you should be thinking about your next shot, where you want to be hitting your next shot from. This does two things: one, it takes the concept of automatic club selection out of your head; secondly it forces you to think creatively and strategically on every shot, on every hole. There’s the solution to your “golf ADD”.

“Let’s say you’re in the middle of the fairway, 162 to the center of the green. Second shot on a par 4, third shot on a par 5. But there’s water to the right and not much of a bail-out area to the left protected by a large sand trap. Lots of players will automatically pull whatever club they think they can hit from that distance, but is that the smart play? Knowing what’s in front of you, do you really want to be putting on your next shot? Is that the high-percentage play? What’s your comfortable distance hitting to the center of a green? If, like most high-handicappers, it’s somewhere between 50-100 yards, you know your next shot is a pitch from that distance to the green, meaning you’re laying up. So rather than grab instinctively for that 5-iron or whatever, you pick out a spot in the fairway where you want to hit that 50-100 yard pitch, and that’s where you hit to.

“Then, on the next shot, you do the same thing. You’re now lying, say, 75 yards to the green. What’s your next shot? Where do you want to be putting from? What’s the shape of the green, the layout? You see, doing this forces you to think about playing the entire hole, until the ball is safely in the hole. You do that, and you’ll be surprised not just how much better you are playing, but that you are enjoying the experience more and gaining confidence as you solve little problems, one after another.”

The bucket was still half full when I downed my Gatorade, grabbed my clubs and headed back to the car. My Goodboys year was over. There was still plenty of time to catch some sea air and walk a beach without any thoughts whatsoever about golf, so that’s exactly what I did.

Johnny Miller would say that The Great White Shank choked, that he couldn’t handle the pressure of a Goodboys Invitational weekend. And he would be right. I didn’t play well, wasn’t able to troubleshoot my issues and resolve them on the range before each round, and, worst of all, allowed myself to get caught up in the misery that comes with not knowing where the ball is going to go on your next shot when you’re out of position forty yards off the fairway and in the kind of thick spinach you never see out here in Arizona.

In the end I have no excuses. As they say, it is what it is.

The weird thing is, as much of a step back this year was in terms of my Goodboys Invitational performance compared to last year, I feel far better about my swing and my game at this point than I did after last year’s Goodboys. There are those who will laugh when I say I know I have the ability to play bogey (or at least near-bogey) golf regularly, but I don’t care – that’s the way I honestly feel, and whenever I pick my clubs back up again in three months or so, that will be my goal. I know there’s work to be done both on the physical side (tweaking my swing plane) and mentally (actually, a lot of work learning to be more disciplined and improving even more my course management), but these are not huge changes.

If I learned anything this year, it’s that I can’t take anything for granted – I can’t just assume that when I’m about to play a round of golf that either my game will be there or it won’t, and if the latter I’ll just figure something out as I go along. I’m not good enough, and will never be good enough, to take that kind of approach. Instead, I’ve got to use my time at the range more wisely and hone a swing I can rely on and trust, and identify the clubs that will always get me out of a jam whenever adversity strikes.

If I can do that while further improving my ability to manage my way around a course and learn to play for the next shot there’s no reason why I can’t play bogey or near-bogey golf.

And come the next time I hit the driving range, the New Year’s Day of my new Goodboys year, that will be my goal.

Filed in: Golf Quest,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 21:36 | Comments (4)
July 28, 2014

There are many perks associated with winning the Goodboys Invitational – winning the Spielberg Memorial Trophy, getting to wear cool jackets, running the following year’s Goodboys weekend, and chicks beyond your wildest dreams are just a few. The greatest perk, however, is to get your winners photo posted in that most-hallowed spot on the top right-hand side, reserved for greatness, reserved for Exec-Comm.

As webmaster and blogger, please allow me to introduce y’all to “Skipper” Bornemann (left) and “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin (right), winners of the 2014 Goodboys Invitational and our new Exec-Comm! Well done, lads.

For those of you who think Doggy Duval’s face seems a might familiar, you would be correct: his win this year makes it an all-time record 6th Goodboys title. And given the fact he’s won six of the 22 Goodboys Invitationals he’s participated in, that’s a 27% winning percentage – pretty heady stuff. Even Tiger can’t make that kind of boast. For Skipper, it’s his first Goodboys championship.

This Exec-Comm will have it’s work cut out for it, given the fact that next year the Goodboys Invitational turns 25, and the boys will be expecting Exec-Comm to deliver something special in terms of venues and activities. The rumors are already swirling – the Monterey Peninsula? Trump Doral? A bunch of Salem, Massachusetts muni tracts? The world is their oyster, for sure.

No one knows what the future will bring, but this much is certain: until the next peaceful transfer of power in Goodboys Nation takes place, you’ll be seeing Skipper and Doggy D. looking back at ya whenever you visit Goodboys Nation weblog.

Like I said, what a perk!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 21:00 | Comments (7)
July 27, 2014

So the other night I’m down at the local pizza joint watching a dust storm blow through the area, turning the whole world outside the windows a foggy brown kind of color. I’m sipping a Pinot Grigio served by a bartender clearly disinterested in any kind of friendly banter or chit-chat, and the MLB Network on the TV is showing yet another YES Network game where it’s just another embarrassing tribute to everything Derek Jeter: who cares what the score might be, there’s Derek talking to a teammate, there’s Derek belching, there’s Derek laughing at something his teammate said, there’s Derek striking out. I mean, it’s all pretty pathetic.

But the music being played is something else altogether. Every tune is from 1970, and every tune transports me back in time to time and place as only music can. The Delfonics’ “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” comes on, and all of a sudden I’m not in the dusty Phoenix East Valley waiting for hot wings and the salmon special, but down in the cellar of my old house in Tewksbury, playing pool with my grandfather, and walking down icy winter streets to see my old friend Paul Porcella.

Three things immediately come to mind: 1) how old I am, recalling memories from music more than four decades’ old; 2) the incredibly transcendent power of music that can lift you from one place to another in a New York minute (thankfully without Derek Jeter’s mug!), and 3) how black music used to be so melodic and positive. Call me racist if you want, but there’s little about urban black music these days that seems either positive or worth listening to. The Delfonics and others from their era (The Spinners, The Chi-Lites, Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes, all of “The Sound Of Philadelphia” groups are just a few that come to mind).

The only point worth making is that times have changed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:45 | Comments (4)
July 23, 2014

Finishing up a wonderful visit to New England weather-wise. Nice to be here while back in Arizona they’re having the hottest week of the year to date. So what do folks in the Valley of the Sun do for entertainment when the temps soar above 100? Why, they watch to see how long it takes two 300-lb. blocks of ice to melt. Yes, really:

With a forecast high of 114 degrees in Phoenix, it’s going to be the hottest day of the year so far.

The National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Watch for Wednesday and Thursday.

How long will it take 600 pounds of ice — two 300-pound blocks — to melt in this extreme heat? The stacked blocks were 20 inches tall when we started. By 6:45 a.m. they had gone down nearly a quarter inch.

Think I’d rather go up to the beach and get some seafood, which I will be doing.

Queue it up, Sly and the Family Stone.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 08:35 | Comments (2)
July 20, 2014

Well, it’s over. All the months of anticipation, expectation and preparation. And lying in its wake is the coronation of a brand-new Exec-Comm – the very same Exec-Comm that will be responsible for the all the planning and prep for the 2015 Goodboys Invitational when this hallowed tradition turns 25. Good luck with that!

Here are the final 2014 Goodboys Invitational standings:

1. Team Skip While You Walk The Dog (“Skipper” / “Doggy Duval”) +15
2. (Defending) Team EXEC-COMM (“2 Times” / “Possum”) +23
3. Team Green Deuce (“Deuce” / “Hulkigan”) +24
4. Team Bet on White Geese (“Vegas” / “Goose”) +27
5. Team Baby Bear Killer (“Killer” / “Cubby” Myerow) +34
6. Team Funny Shank (“The Funny Guy” / “The Great White Shank”) +48

For the “Skipper” it’s his first Goodboys Invitational championship. For Doggy Duval, it’s his record 6th – count ‘em, sixth Goodboys title. Six titles in 24 years, and there were actually two Goodboys Invitationals he was unable to attend! I think it’s safe to say that the “Hit Dog” is truly the Tiger Woods of his (Goodboys) generation, the rest of us a bunch of lesser mortals not worthy to even clean his clubs.

As for yours truly, a decent 53 front nine disintegrated into a 63 back nine for a ghastly 116, but more on that another time.

For today it’s all about the new Exec-Comm and their triumph. All hail the new Exec-Comm!

Pics coming later.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 11:10 | Comments (3)
July 19, 2014

A warm, partly cloudy day greeted the Goodboys as they descended upon Wentworth By The Sea, C.C., and the track proved as challenging to all as expected. It was “moving day” at the Goodboys, and the day featured lots of ball hunting and ball-hawking, and more than a few lost balls lost to the woods and the water. Nevertheless, somehow, amidst the high-fallutin’ old money atmosphere that pervades WBTSCC, the Goodboys made it through without causing too much of a fuss. After Day Two, here are the standings:

1. Team Green Deuce (“Deuce” / “Hulkigan”) 0
2. (Defending) Team EXEC-COMM (“2 Times” / “Possum”) +5
Team Skip While You Walk The Dog (“Skipper” / “Doggy Duval”) +5
4. Team Bet on White Geese (“Vegas” / “Goose”) +11
5. Team Funny Shank (“The Funny Guy” / “The Great White Shank”) +13
6. Team Baby Bear Killer (“Killer” / “Cubby” Myerow) +17

As for yours truly, a 55 + 59 = 114 set an all-time Goodboys record for the greatest shot swing between two consecutive rounds – a whopping twenty strokes. I know what you’re thinking: how can a great ball-striker like The Great Shite Shank put up a 114 just twenty-four hours after posting a 94? Well, I missed a six-footer on 18 for a 113. But seriously, those lost twenty strokes were simply the result of generally-sloppy play, more than a few instances of course mis-management, and generally not being able to make a lot of good shots consecutively. And the par 3s – oh, those damned par 3s – continued to kill me: on Friday I played them at +12; on Saturday I played them at +11. Off the tee, I actually hit the ball pretty well, but Wentworth is pretty unforgiving if you’re not careful and don’t put your approach shots on the green or in good position. And by the time I hit the closing holes, you could stick a fork into me; I was done like dinner and completely lost my focus.

Still, the setting was as picturesque as ever, and the Goodboys enjoyed some adult beverages and settled their wagers on the lovely 19th Hole patio afterwards before enjoying a nice seafood dinner at Surf in downtown Portsmouth afterwards.

On Sunday, it’s get-away day as the Goodboys head south on I-95 to Black Swan C.C in Georgetown, MA. And while it would appear that there are only three teams in the running for the hallowed Spielberg Memorial Trophy, defending champion “2 Times” Proctor was quick to point out the the assembled gathering during Saturday night dinner that he and partner “Possum” Shepter came back from thirteen strokes last year to claim the first-ever successful defense of a championship in Goodboys history. Anything can happen, so it will be interesting to see how the 2014 Goodboys Invitational is brought to a conclusion.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 06:56 | Comments (0)
July 18, 2014

It was a lovely height of summer Friday when the Goodboys teed off at Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club in North Hampton, NH. After a first day team “best ball” competition, here are the standings:

1. Team Funny Shank (The Funny Guy” / “The Great White Shank”): -12
Team Skip While You Walk The Dog (Skipper” / “Doggy Duval”) -12
3. Team Green Deuce (“Deuce” / “Hulkigan”) -8
Defending Team EXEC-COMM (“2 Times” / “Possum”) -8
5. Team Bet on White Geese(“Vegas” / “Goose”) -5
6. Team Baby Bear Killer (“Killer” / “Cubby” Myerow: -4

As for yours truly, a 46 + 48 = 94 tied my all-time best Goodboys record. A couple of last-minute tweaks to my swing resulted in a fairly-solid tee game, and from 100 yards in I put in arguably my best performance of the year.

Tomorrow the Goodboys return to regular stroke play as they vreturn to Wentworth By The Sea C.C. in Rye, NH. The weather is expected to be as spectacular as it was today, allowing this New Englander to breathe in the fresh seacoast air and actually feel a cool breeze or two on the skin. It’s absolutely the best time of year to be in New England, and Wentworth will provide quite the stern test for our second day of golf.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 21:20 | Comments (0)
July 17, 2014

[Dramatic music swells]

[Kelly] There is one test in golf that stands above all others, and at its core it all comes down to numbers. Twenty-four years. Twelve golfers. One city teeming with cougars. One cougar hunter. Three days. Three courses. Six teams. Two sets of tees. Fifty-four holes, after which only one team will have the right to be called EXEC-COMM, kings of Goodboys Nation. Welcome to Golf Channel’s special presentation of the 2014 Goodboys Invitational Preview, right here – and only here – at Goodboys Nation weblog.

[Dramatic music swells to a close]

I’m Kelly Tilghman here with six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo for our annual Goodboys Invitational preview show. There’s lots to talk about over the next two hours, so sit back, relax, light up a Swisher Sweet, and crack open a brewskie or two, and enjoy all the in-depth analysis and nonsensical golf-related banter you’ll need to get ready for this year’s 24th annual Goodboys Invitational weekend.

We’re here in Golf Channel’s tower overlooking the eighteenth fairway at Sagamore-Hampton G.C. in beautiful North Hampton, New Hampshire, site of Day One of this weekend’s event, soon to be joined by Golf Channel analysts Tripp Isenhour and Charlie Rymer, as well as our Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte – all of whom will be coming to you live from the Sheraton Harborside on the Portsmouth, New Hampshire waterfront, where the Goodboys will be headquartering just twenty-four hours from today.

[Sir Nick] Where’s Brandel and Frank? No offense to Tripp and Charlie, but don’t the Goodboys deserve better?

[Kelly] Actually there’s no slight – Brandel says he just absolutely had to dust his TV this weekend, and Frank says he had to give his cat a bath.

[Charlie] Yuck! Won’t he get fur stuck all over his tongue?

[Riotous laughter]

[Sir Nick] Oh, brother…

[Charlie] Thanks, I got that from Gary McCord.

[Kelly] Tripp, Charlie, and Rosey will be here to provide their own unique insights into what promises to be one of the most exciting and intriguing Goodboys Invitationals in recent years. Unfortunately, few will be paying attention to the Goodboys, as the entire golf world’s attention will be on Tiger Woods and how well he plays at The Open Championship at Hoylake in his first major since undergoing back surgery earlier this year.

[Nick] Well, you’re right there, Kelly – there are so many questions surrounding Tiger this week – how will Tiger handle the unpredictable weather conditions The Open is famous for? How sharp will Tiger’s game be? Will Tiger’s back hold up? Will Tiger make the cut? And none of these questions have a set answer. It promises to be quite riveting.

[Kelly] We saw last year the team of “2 Times” Proctor and “Possum” Shepter become the first Goodboys team to repeat as Goodboys Invitational champions. Is there anyone here who thinks they have a chance to make it a “Threepeat”?

[Tripp] I think that’s a better question for Nick…

[Sir Nick] …uhhhhhhhh, that’s SIR Nick…

[Tripp] …well, SIR Nick was asking about Tiger and how he meets the expectations of being able to compete in this third major of 2014. Sure, Tiger won when he last played Hoylake back in 2006, but clearly he’s not the same player now as he was then.

[Kelly] Judging from their last two performances, I think we can assume that the team of “2 Times Proctor” and “Possum” Shepter will be right there in the mix at the end of Goodboys Invitational weekend. Charlie, any thoughts as to the other teams that we can expect to be right there on Sunday afternoon?

[Charlie] Well, to me the one question that isn’t being asked and ought to be is what kind of swing changes Tiger will be making both at Hoylake and going forward to take the pressure off that cranky back of his. Were I a betting man, I’m guessing he misses the cut at Hoylake, but is a force at the PGA Championship next month. I just think he’s coming back to soon.

[Kelly] Sir Nick, there have been rumors that Goodboys EXEC-COMM is planning on shaking things up as far as how this year’s Goodboys Invitational is going to be played. Might there be something special being planned for Saturday at Wentworth By The Sea?

[Sir Nick] I think Charlie’s had too much to drink today if he’s serious about Tiger making any swing changes at this time. There’s no way that Tiger goes into The Open Championship with any intention other than he’s going to win.

[Charlie] Now wait a second there, Nick…

[Sir Nick] SIR Nick…

[Charlie] Aw, c’mon! Why, I oughta….

[Kelly] We’ll have more of Golf Channel’s 2014 Goodboys Invitational Preview after this commercial break.

[Commercial break]
[Commercial break]

[Kelly] Welcome back to Golf Channel’s 2014 Goodboys Invitational Preview at Goodboys Nation weblog. Sir Nick Faldo, as a veteran observer of the Goodboys Invitational over the years, what’s the first thing that comes to mind as we frame this year’s tournament for our viewers?

[Nick] I think Tripp has some ideas about that.

[Tripp]: Actually I don’t. I thought Brandel was going to be here.

[Kelly] Well I’m sure Charlie has some thoughts he’d like to share with us.

[Charlie] Why should I offer anything to say, all Nick will say is…

[Sir Nick] SIR Nick. SIR Nick. SIR Nick.

[Charlie] …all SIR NICK will say is that I’m delusional, or that I’ve been drinking, or some other accusation.

[Sir Nick] My apologies, I didn’t mean to cause a fuss. Go ahead, Charlie.

[Charlie]: OK, apology accepted – Sir Nick. All I was trying to say is that Tiger’s only a couple months from back surgery, and at least subconciously he’s going to be careful about his swing. And I was just wondering what subtle changes we might see from him.

[Kelly] I think it’s time we go to Portsmouth and talk with our Golf Channel insider, Tim Rosaforte. Rosey, what’s the hot topic of conversation over there? Is it whether this is the year “Goose” Dwyer finally breaks through and gets his first Goodboys Invitational victory? Is it how “Super Team Tewksbury”, “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis and “The Great White Shank” Richard in their reuniting as playing partners after many years? Or whether “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin will try that Ben Hogan grip again?

[Tim] Thanks, Kelly. I spoke with several patrons at the second-floor bar overlooking the picturesque Partsmouth waterfront, and the big question here is who will shoot lower at this year’s Open Champiosnship, Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. It seems as if now that Tiger is back people realize just what was lost while Tiger was rehabbing from that surgery. One of the patrons, downing one gin and tonic after another, was interested in whether Tiger’s competitive juices are still there after taking all that time off and enjoying being around his kids. For another patron I interviewed, the overarching question was whether Tiger can still beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. Kelly?

[Kelly] Thanks for that report, Tim. Coming up next, our team will discuss the teams chosen for this year’s Goodboys Invitational and what they will have to do in order to win.

[Commercial break]
[Commercial break]

[Kelly] We’re back with Golf Channel’s special presentation of the 2014 Goodboys Invitational Preview at Goodboys Nation weblog. Let’s get to the team pairings, Sir Nick. They are as follows:

1. 2013 champions “2 Times” and “Possum”
2. “The Funny Guy” and “The Great White Shank”
3. “Vegas” and “Goose”
4. “Killer” and “Cubby”

…and two other teams I can’t remember, but I’m certain they are going to be dynamite! Sir Nick, who will you be watching the most on Friday and Saturday?

[Nick] I’ll be watching Tiger, Angel Cabrera, and Henrik Stenson.

[Tripp]: I’ll be watching Phil, Ernie Els, and Bubba Watson.

[Charlie]: I’ll be watching Chris Wood, Bernd Wiesberger, and Matt Jones.

[Sir Nick] Talk about a riveting threesome!

[Kelly] Certainly our Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte has someone, anyone, who would like to discuss the 2014 Goodboys Invitational. Rosey?

[Tim] Nope, no one here. Nada. Nothing.

[Kelly] When we return, we’ll go around the table for the group’s predictions as to who will win this weekend and why. Stay tuned.

[Commercial break]
[Commercial break]

[Kelly] Welcome back to Golf Channel’s special presentation of the Goodboys Invitational 2014 Preview at Goodboys Nation weblog. Time for our esteemed panel to make their choices. Guys, who wins this weekend? Tripp.

[Tripp] I gotta go with Justin Rose.

[Kelly] I mean at this weekend’s Goodboys Invitational.

[Tripp] I’m going with whatever the team is that has “Crusher” Spielberg. Anyone who has a trophy named in his memory but is still living is good enough for me. [Chuckles]

[Sir Nick] Yukety yuck yuck.

[Kelly] Uh, Tripp, Crusher hasn’t played in a Goodboys Invitational for four years.

[Tripp] That’s what I mean, it’ll be the greatest comeback in Goodboys history! Greater, even, than “The Funny Guy” and “The Great White Shank” during “Killer” Kowalski and “Gaylord” Perry’s legendary “cheap bridge table” at, um, er…. The Captains in, um, it was, uh 2000.

[Sir Nick] You see, this is exactly what I was talking about earlier and not having Brandel and Frank here. Tripp, the Killer/Gaylord “cheap bridge table” collapse was at Killington in 1992. Get your facts straight!

[Kelly] Tripp, what I meant was, “Crusher” Spielberg isn’t even in the field.

[Tripp] Oh.

[Charlie] I like Martin Kaymer at The Open, and the Vegas / Goose team at the Goodboys. Goose Dwyer becomes the feel-good story of the year, winning his first Goodboys Invitational. Like they say, the crowd goes wild.

[Kelly] Tim Rosaforte, what do your Goodboys insiders tell you?

[Tim] Nothing.

[Kelly] You mean there are no Goodboys insiders at the Sheraton Harborside willing to go on the record?

[Tim] No, I mean there are no Goodboys insiders at the Sheraton Harborside.

[Sir Nick] What a great freakin’ show. Where’s Johnny Miller when you need him?

[Kelly] Sir Nick Faldo, do you have a hot prediction for this weekend?

[Sir Nick] Tripp and Charlie get fired.

[Kelly] Well… on that high note, that completes Golf Channel’s 2014 Goodboys Invitational Preview here at Goodboys Nation weblog. A big ‘thank you’ to Sir Nick Faldo, Tripp Isenhour, Charlie Rymer, and our Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte for joining me. Have a great night, everyone, and as the Goodboys saying goes, if you can’t keep it long at least keep it straight.

[Exit music begins]

[Sir Nick] …and Tiger surprises everyone and wins The Open Championship.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:48 | Comments (0)
July 16, 2014

Just as in 2013, Goodboys Invitational weekend will wrap up at Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown, MA. Truth be told, were it not for its location-location-location, you likely wouldn’t see this course in the Goodboys Invitational rotation. Not that it’s a cow pasture or a crappy course – it isn’t – but being in Georgetown just off of I-95 it serves as the perfect get-away venue for the Goodboys South contingent living everywhere from the South Shore down to Cape Cod. What playing Black Swan does is get everyone well below the Hampton tolls when, on a mid-summer late Sunday afternoon, everyone and their cousins will be lined up for miles as they return from their Maine and the New Hampshire Lakes region vacations.

The folks at Cognizant Golf sum up what Black Swan has to offer in terms of the overall golf experience:

Situated forty minutes north of Boston, Black Swan Country Club is an 18-hole, parkland style layout that offers a challenging, but fair test for players of all abilities. The course is routed through two distinct topographies, each nine with a number of holes that play through both. Many of the course’s longer holes are laid out over the flatter, eastern portion of the property and are lined by man-made ponds and mounding. The remaining holes are routed through the hillier, western portion of the property, many of the holes playing through mature trees or over crossing wetlands. The course is generally driver friendly with ample landing areas off the tee. While the greens are generally large, most are multi-tiered with generous slopes, requiring a precise short-game to score well.

The only thing I’ll quibble over as far as this review is concerned is that little “generally driver friendly” comment – with a number of hazards crossing well-protected fairways lined with thick grass and fescue, I don’t consider the course driver friendly at all. But that’s just me. There is a lot of target golf on the front nine, meaning you better be damned sure about your distances if you want to avoid the hazards laid out on just about every hole. And on a Sunday after a raucous Goodboys Saturday night hitting the clubs and watering holes of downtown Portsmouth that’s about the last thing anyone needs. Still, if you can maneuver your way around the front nine without losing more than a couple of balls, the back nine is much more “parkland” type golf where you can pretty much “grip it and rip it” with the best of them.

Returning to the Black Swan will conjure up memories of my final drive of the 2013 Goodboys Invitational, a drive that probably still hasn’t returned to earth, it was hit so pure. Unfortunately, my partner “Killer” Kowalski was too busy texting his wife from the cart and didn’t bother to watch the general location where my ball might have ended up. We looked for ten minutes before giving up. Having to take a drop and a penalty stroke, I finished with double-bogey when a par or even a bogey would have given me sole possession the $50 prize for best weekend number against my handicap that I ended up sharing with “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis.

There’s a big difference between the white tees and the blue tees at the Black Swan (5,759/67.9/118 for the former, 6,425/71.3/124 the latter) but in the end it really doesn’t matter – come Sunday I would expect all the Goodboys teams to be bunched up with just about anybody having a chance to win. With the kind of risk/reward Black Swan offers, you can bet that the eventual winner of the hallowed Spielberg Memorial Trophy and winner’s jackets will have earned their keep.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 01:10 | Comments (2)

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