July 29, 2018

Let me be blunt right out of the box: I’m not going to look back on the 2018 Goodboys Invitational fondly in any way, manner, shape or form. My game sucked, for sure. But Foxwoods Casino and Resort is not the place to go if you want to have a 12-man golf package handled smoothly when things go awry. Let me explain the circumstances before I get to the golf.

So the Goodboys had twelve players assigned to six rooms, two to a room. Unfortunately, at the last minute, one of our players was unable to make it due to a family situation so the idea was the we would reduce our package to eleven players, four staying two men to a room, the others going to a three-man suite. I thought I had had it handled pretty well until after golf on Friday when the boys started checking in and found that two of the rooms had gotten completely screwed up. More on that later.

The golf course at Foxwoods – Lake of Isles Golf Course – is by far the toughest golf course the Goodboys have ever played. A number of holes have forced carries, and all the greens are elevated and protected by bunkers so you need to have your game in gear and play smart. Right from the start, on the driving range on Friday, I knew I was completely out of sync – big swings, rushing my downswing, jumping at the ball. And I fought it for eighteen holes, coming in with a brutal 59/57=116. Which was too bad, because my partner “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis torched the course with an 88. I can’t remember too many shots from Friday that were any good; I do know I lost 16 balls over the course of the round and ended up having to buy a dozen at the pro shop after the round.

What I will always remember most about Friday is that after the golf, when the Goodboys started checking in, two groups discovered their reservations had been screwed up. Coming off the course after a difficult day, all I wanted was to have a cold Pinot Grigio and head up to my room for a hot shower; instead, I was stuck at the registration desk trying to sort out who was supposed to occupy the three-man suite and how everyone was going to be charged. Dinner that night was at 8:30 PM, but when I arrived for dinner I was told that the accommodations for the three-man suite were still all screwed up, so it was back to the registration desk.

There’s no point in going through the details. Bottom line was, after supposedly getting things straightened out, I was too agitated and stressed to even eat. I’ve got certain Goodboys questioning my judgement and the arrangements of the rooms, and I’m feeling as low as a guy can feel. It’s now 9:30 PM and I’m tired, hungry, and stressed out over everything. I can’t blame anyone but myself for feeling that way, but as with everything else this entire damned friggin’ year, it’s just one stress and issue after another and I can’t relax.

It’s Saturday morning on the putting green just prior to us all teeing off. I’m off by myself practicing my speed and tempo when I’m told that one of the teams went down to the front desk and found out they were getting charged something like $800 more than they should be. At that time there was nothing I could do about it; all I could do was promise that I’d look into it as soon as I got off the course. Call it an excuse if you want, but throughout the round I couldn’t separate out the golf from the fact that the charges on the rooms were still screwed up, and it was something that was going to have to be taken care of as soon as I got off the course.

While I played better on Saturday than I did on Friday – my ball-striking and my tempo was much improved – I never really got into a rhythm. I didn’t drive the ball consistently well and my chipping continued to be abysmal. While I struck my irons much better than I did on Friday, I never could string together shots that would enable me to make pars and bogeys. If I hit a decent drive, I couldn’t make hay with my approach shots. And while I putted OK, I was sloppy around the greens. And left to my own devices when my partner was off dealing with his own problems, my course management sucked. When you’re playing target golf you have to have a plan and stick to it. And when you get out of position, you put the ball back in play and resume your plan one stroke to the bad. I didn’t do that, and it really cost me. I finished with a 112, knowing that I’d pissed away a minimum of 12 strokes based on course management alone. My partner The Funny Guy struggled with the greens all day and finished with a 103 – 15 strokes higher than the previous day. He really could have used my help that round, and I failed him in every sense of the word.

One of my fondest memories of the weekend will always be Saturday after golf. My hope was to be able to speak with the Lake of Isles concierge to try and get the rooms and charges straightened out before everyone went to dinner, so I headed back to the clubhouse while my partner stowed all our golf gear in his trunk. I told him to give me ten minutes and then pick me up out front. I go inside only to see the concierge is closed for the day. I go back out front and wait to be picked up. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. It’s hot outside and I’m feeling worn out, sore, and grimy. I go back into the clubhouse and find myself a comfy chair amidst the dark walnut and mahogany:

There was no fire, of course, but I picked that comfy chair on the right and quickly fell asleep for what must have been ten or twenty minutes. If I had my choice I would have stayed there for, like, forever. But I found my ways downstairs where the gang were having cocktails and got the immediate sense I was the skunk appearing at the garden party. Which was OK – I grabbed myself a Pinot Grigio and kept to myself.

Dinner at The Cedars steak house on Saturday night was (at least in my mind) excellent. My Goodboys friend “Killer” Kowalski had some personal things to take care of so we separated from the pack and found some nice away time for a round at the Hard Rock CafĂ© and watched a funk / disco band that only served to remind us just how much all the music from today sucks. Come midnight, Killer was done so I answered my partner’s text and went down to join a bunch of the Goodboys in the loud and obnoxious main room at The Fox Tower casino. One thing I learned about Foxwoods – it’s about as far away from Vegas as my game is from Dustin Johnson’s. The entertainment is cheap, loud, and tawdry, and the people who flock to experience it all are perfectly matched.

On Sunday morning we awoke to the gullywasher the meteorologists had been promising for the past several days as a sub-tropical system moved its way up from the south. Calls to the planned Sunday course were made, the Goodboys all gathered around several small tables in a tiny coffee shop, and the consensus was that it wasn’t worth playing. The sun was starting to peek out, but we knew the course was going to be sloppy and wet, and with the possibility of downpours in the afternoon no one had the enthusiasm to get after it. Instead, “Skeeta” Clark and “Goose” Dwyer were named winners (see above right), and a bunch of us headed back to the Lake of Isles golf course for breakfast and to watch the final round of the Open Championship. In my mind, it was the best time of the entire weekend: food to match the camaraderie, a few laughs, and, most importantly, relief (at least in my mind) that it was all over.

Two days after Goodboys Invitational weekend, two of the Goodboys in the above pic, “Hulkigan” Tripp and “Mothra” Nolan (fourth and fifth from the left) handed in their resignations. Which is OK – Goodboys come and Goodboys go. The years go on and the Goodboys Invitational endures. But after this year’s weekend, count this Goodboy tired, burned out, and stressed out. Even with all the practice I’d put in, the Lake of Isles course was far too difficult for what my golf game is capable of, the billing and reservation system at Foxwoods too incompetent, and the entire weekend a fiasco. Looking back, the idea of Foxwoods might have been a good one, but Goodboys Invitational weekend should be one where you can relax, play some golf, and get away from the stresses of lives. Having to carry something akin to 180 yards four times during a round and have to think about every friggin’ shot you have to make is not my idea of a weekend getaway. If that’s the way it’s gonna be from here on out, then count me out.

Of course, the whole weekend is still too raw and fresh in my mind. In another month, my dad will be set up in his new digs, everyone here in the Valley of the Sun will be looking forward to the onset of Arizona winter in October, and I’ll reacquaint myself with my clubs. I’m planning on scheduling a short game lesson with my swing coach Alex Black because I’m tired of throwing away strokes around the green and having everything I try work for a round or two and then go all kaplooey. My MyScorecard.com handicap now stands at a whopping 27.2, and I remain committed to getting it down to a 20.

For now I’m just glad that the 2018 Goodboys Invitational is in the books. What a let-down.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 23:07 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Shank,
    Great recap!
    Even though the course was way to difficult,
    I enjoyed playing and seeing all you guys again.
    It might be time for me to take a lesson. Also,
    thanks again for helping out with the room arrangements.Maybe I will see you guys in the fall.

    Comment by Cubby Myerow — July 30, 2018 @ 4:50 pm

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