This humble blog is a testimony to the â€œGoodboysâ€ – an elite group of 30-odd golfers who have gotten together several times a year to play golf and drink beer for the past 21 years. The pinnacle of each year is the Goodboys Invitational Golf Tournament, which typically takes place the third weekend of July.
The history of Goodboys Nation actually predates that initial weekend back in 1991 when eight then-young men ventured forth to Bethel, Maine for two days of golf and inspired lunacy. Several years before, a few of the players from the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church team of the now-defunct Greater-Lowell Church Softball League decided it was time to hang up their cleats and put away the gloves and aluminum bats in exchange for a less physically demanding but more mentally challenging pursuit: golf. In time, as they began to play more frequently and encourage their friends and co-workers to do likewise, someone came up with the idea of a weekend getaway, and the Goodboys were born.
Sadly, antiquity has long since obscurred the identity of the person who first came up with the term “Goodboys” or what it even means (tradition holds it was Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis, but yours truly believes that honor goes to Jay “Crusher” Spielberg). Truth be told, the term wasn’t even used during that first golf weekend. The boys simply played together, had a good time, crowned a champion team, and thought it might be a good idea to do it again the following year. Thus was born the Goodboys Invitational Golf Tournament.
The one rule from the very beginning was that all participants had to have a nickname. Initially, sports nicknames were the de facto norm. Thus, Ben Andrusaitis became “Hogan” (the golfer), Steve Kowalski, “Killer” (the wrestler), Steve Perry, “Gaylord” (the pitcher), Doug Richard, “Rocket” (the hockey player)”, etc. etc. etc. Over time, players would go through several nicknames; other times they stuck like wet toilet paper to the bottom of a sneaker and became synonymous with the person itself – for example, only his wife and former girlfiriends call Killer “Steve”, and Pat “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin will always be “Dog”.
Once there was a champion, it seemed only natural that there had to be a championship trophy. While the initial idea of getting a piece of railroad tie and stick a nail in it never quite caught on, from this humble concept sprung the Spielberg Memorial Trophy, named after Jay “Crusher” Spielberg, a participant at Goodboys II, who, in a fit of rage after snap-hooking a drive out of bounds, broke his 5-wood across his knee and tossed it into his bag. The next spring, while fishing for some range balls in his bag, Steve “Gaylord” Perry discovered the snapped off head, and a block of 2×4 was given its initial ornamentation. From that point on, the winners of every successive year have adorned the trophy with momentos of their own triumphs, and the now three-tiered trophy features various sundry items such as a beer can, a tequila shot bottle, a blender blade, golf tees, an Israeli flag, and a handsome deck railing on its Lido Deck.
And it’s not just for a fancy trophy teams play for each year: the winners are presented snazzy jackets and given the privilege of organizing and running the following year’s tournament – an exercise not unlike herding cats or fourth-graders (take your choice). It is often said that, if you have a 6-inch putt to win the tournament on Sunday, the player should think very carefully about what club he chooses to use.
Much of the action at the Goodboys Invitational involves betting. Introduced to the tournament by Mike “Vegas” Clark (hence the nickname), betting has grown from simple $5 bets on the “pigeon sheet” to grandiose humilation bets involving singing or dancing in a crowded public place, or perhaps even a bunny hop around some putting green.
More than anything else, the Goodboys Invitational weekend is a time for Goodboys to gather from across New England (and Arizona) to renew friendships, toss back a few cocktails and try not to get hurt playing some golf in between. For the record, here is the official list of Goodboys Invitational settings and champions for that year.
1991 – Bethel Inn & Country Club, Bethel, ME
Champs: “Hogan” Andrusaitis and “Rocket” Richard
1992 – Killington Golf Course, Killington, VT
Champs: “Doc” Frechette and “Hit Dog” McLaughlin
1993 – Killington Golf Course, Killington, VT
Champs: “Snake” Andrusaitis (2) and “Dysfunctional” Richard (2)
1994 – Mount Snow Golf Club, West Dover, VT
Champs: “Doc” Frechette (2) and “Dandy” Drewett
1995 – Killington Golf Course, Killington, VT
Champs: “Killer” Kowalski and “Hit Dog” McLaughlin (2)
1996 – Stratton Mountain Country Club, Stratton, VT
Champs: “Bobcat” Kelly and “Doug E Doug” Richard (3)
1997 – Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, NH
Champs: “Dandy” Drewett (2) and “Hit Dog” McLaughlin (3)
1998 – Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, NH
Champs: “Crusher” Spielberg and “Hammer” Harlan
1999 – Pease Golf Course, Portsmouth, NH
Champs: “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis (3) and “Bone” Piekarski
2001 – The Captains Golf Course (Port & Starboard courses), Brewster, MA
Champs: “Crusher” Spielberg (2) and “Possum” Shepter
2002 – The Captains Golf Course (Starboard & Port courses), Brewster, MA
Champs: “Vegas” Clark and “El Dandito” Drewett (4)
2003 – The Captains Golf Course (Port), Brewster, MA and Atlantic Country Club, Plymouth, MA
Champs: “Killer” Kowalski (2) and “Cubby” Myerow
2004 – The Captains Golf Course (Port), Brewster, MA and Atlantic Country Club, Plymouth, MA
Champs: “Vegas” Clark (2) and “2 Times” Proctor
2007 – The Captains Golf Course (Starboard & Port courses), Brewster, MA
Champs: Steve “Killer” Kowalski (3) and Doug “The Great White Shank” Richard (5)
2008 – The Captains Golf Course (Port & Starboard courses), Brewster, MA
Champs: “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin (4) and “Possum” Shepter (2)
For this correspondent, to be a Goodboy means to be part of an elite and (mostly) close-knit fellowship that has yucked, yapped, and yipped its way through more than two decades. A couple have departed this life for the wide, green fairways of the next. Others legacies are now a part of antiquity. Nevertheless, whether it be on a sun-shiney late summer afternoon on a patio deck overlooking a beautiful 18th green, or kicking back a few beers in the cold dead of winter, the best of times have always involved retelling for the n’th time a golden (or not-so-golden) moment of Goodboys yesteryear, wondering who’s in and/or who’s not, and bitching and whining about the strokes people are or should not be getting.
No matter how insignificant in the grand scheme of things it all is, to be able to say you are a Goodboy and to be able to live to tell about it – well, I guess that’s what it means to be a part of Goodboys Nation.