August 19, 2019

Apologies for the nearly one-month delay (the Goodboys Nation website got moved around at DreamHost and it raised heck with my FTP software trying to figure out how to upload the new picture there) but you’ll notice a new picture on the upper right corner of the page. Hail the new Goodboys Exec-Comm for 2019 – “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis and “Skipper” Bornemann, who staged a stirring come-from-behind victory on Goodboys Invitational Sunday to win by one itty-bitty stroke over the team of “Deuce” Doucette and “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin. The final standings were as follows:

“TFG” / “Skipper”: +6
“Deuce” / “Doggy Duval”: +5
“Possum” Shepter / “Horse” Race: +3
“The Great White Shank” Richard / “Cubby” Myerow: +3
“Skeeta” Clark / “Goose” Dwyer: +15
“Killer” Kowalski / “T Money” Proctor: +15

It was hard to fathom the reigning Exec-Comm team of Skeeta / Goose folding playing as well as they did – in fact, better than anyone in their right mind could have reasonably expected – on Sunday having the kind of virtually insurmountable shaky lead of (if I recall correctly) somewhere around 10-11 strokes after Saturday’s round, but that’s what can happen under the nerve-wracking, bone-crushing tension of a Goodboys Invitational Sunday. Fortunately, once again there was a peaceful transition of power…

…upon which the victors were not ashamed to share their obvious love and respect for both each other and the multitudes that celebrated their momentous victory.

For “TFG” it was his sixth Goodboys Invitational victory (tying “Doggy Duval” for the most victories all-time), and Skipper could crow about achieving his second Goodboys championship. The winners get to have their names etched on the Goodboys trophy and take home those snazzy jackets worn by so many legendary Goodboys victors of the past. What they won’t have to worry about is solely responsible for the planning of the 30th anniversary event scheduled for the third weekend of July next year, as I’m virtually certain some form of a blue-ribbon subcommittee will be charged with the planning and coordination of this much-anticipated and momentous event.

Congratulations to the new Exec-Comm – may your reign be one of peace and prosperity!

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 20:33 | Comments (4)
August 8, 2019

…part of what pisses me off most about this past Goodboys weekend and the total dick-head who called one of his fellow Goodboys a racist simply because he happened to support President Trump (as do I, enthusiastically) is the inane ignorance by which he, and those who think like him, parrot the bleating of rags like The New York Times, the Washington Post and Boston Globe, and Democratic Party mouthpieces like CNN, MSNBC, and NPR who never fail to bash President Trump and those who support him on a daily basis.

This, of course, didn’t start out of the blue, because when Donald Trump (largely because of Hillary’s Clinton’s inherent unlikability and the harpy, bitchy and altogether inept campaign she ran) was elected President, Barack Obama and Clinton had already planted more than a few seeds denigrating Republicans and conservatives simply because they just happened to disagree with their views of what America should look like. After all, it was President Obama who encouraged his followers to confront Republicans directly, saying things like “you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”, and, at Thanksgiving dinner to not be afraid to get in the faces of their family members to push his Obamacare plan. And I can’t think of any Republican presidential candidate who referred to Trump supporters as “deplorables”. I can’t think of too many Republicans who, like Maxine Waters, encouraged her followers to get in the faces of presidential administration officials, or any Republicans who, like Joaquin Castro, would doxx the personal information of those who donated to Democratic candidates, or a Republican or conservative restauranteur who would chase folks like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Ted Cruz out of their establishments simply because they have a different political view than they do.

So much for Democrats being the party of compassion. As I’ve said many times before, if there’s one group of people who are less compassionate and more vicious and mean, living out their sad, tawdry lives, its Democrat and liberal activists.

Personally, I could give a rat’s a$$ what these people do. If you want to act like a$$holes and live your lives in abject misery simply because your lousy candidate couldn’t figure out a way to beat the likes of Donald Trump – Donald Trump!! – why should that be the reason to call his followers a bunch of racists?

You see, last I checked:
* It’s not racist to want the borders of your country to be established and protected.
* It’s not racist to want a unimpeded flow of low-skilled and undocumented folks flooding the work force, taking valuable blue-collar jobs away from American citizens – most especially, though not exclusively, African-Americans and Hispanics.
* It’s not racist to demand that those who seek to enter this country do so by following our already-existing immigration laws.

If someone truly believes that that’s racist, you’re just an ignorant dick-head and not even worthy of a genuine, honest, and respectful exchange of ideas. You may disagree with those positions from your own political lens, but that doesn’t make those who hold those positions racist. I happen to call it “American”.

If someone thinks that makes me a racist, then all I can say is keep listening to the bullshit and fake news you get every day from those Democratic Party media operatives working in tandem with the liberal left for the so-called “Resistance”. All you are is part of the mob who only sees those who disagree with them as racist, sexist, xenophobic degenerates who aren’t nearly as decent, good, intelligent, and as open-minded as you all proclaim to be.

From my vantage point, these folks are nothing but a bunch of elitist, hateful, and ignorant loons who aren’t capable of an original thought in their heads. They can’t rationally, seriously, and honestly engage the political opposition in an honest exchange of ideas because their brain has been filled with the mush of fake news. They haven’t the intelligence to engage in a rational discussion about free markets, freedom, the Bill of Rights (take a good look at Articles 1, 2, and 9), and a President who truly believes in putting his country and its people FIRST. It’s much easier, after all, to mark those whom they disagree with tags you’re too stupid and ignorant to understand what they truly mean. Much easier as well to focus on nonsensical crap like Russia collusion. Question: how’d that work out for you? And when that didn’t work out, it became “obstruction of justice”. When that failed, all you clowns have left is to play the race card. Something that the Democratic Party and liberal left has always done best and as a last resort when they’ve got nothing else.

Truth is, these people are afraid to state what they’re really for, because anyone outside of liberal loon conclaves like Massachusetts, California, San Francisco, Portland, and places like them would look at you like you’ve got five heads if you actually had the guts to state honestly and plainly what you truly believe in. Medicare of all? Slavery reparations? The “Green New Deal”? Free education? Student loan forgiveness? Open borders and unfettered illegal immigration? Abortion without restrictions? Tax increases for everyone (after all, who’s gonna pay for all these giveaways?). No wonder if you ask any Democratic candidate a yes or no question about any of these issues all you’ll get a whole lot of hemming and hawing without any kind of answer. Why? Because they’d be laughed off the stage and run out of your average blue-collar town on the rails.

So excuse me, fellow Goodboys, for drawing a line in the sand when one ignorant dick-head and so-called “Goodboy” accuses another of being a racist simply because he happens to support the political agenda of Donald Trump. You see, I too enthusiastically (have I mentioned that already) support the President’s agenda. So I guess that means I would have been called a racist too had I been around for such a lovely and high-brow conversation. I’m sorry some don’t like his tweets or think he is being presidential in doing so, but suck it up, buttercups – at least he’s: 1) following through on what he promised to do during the 2016 campaign, and 2) putting the lives and future of (gasp!) AMERICAN CITIZENS first instead of the neocon / globalists who have occupied the White House for the past half-century (that’s 50 years for those of you who get all your news from CNN, MSNBC and NPR). You think he’s a racist? You think I’m a racist? Then give me friggin’ SPECIFICS – not leftist talking points. And just a hint: I don’t want to hear one friggin’ word about Charlottesville – it’s just one in a series of fake news lies designed to paint the President as something he is not.

Here’s my bottom line on all this – to tie these two posts together – just because I have to listen and read all the crap about my President and those who support him shoveled out there on a daily basis (after all, unlike those on the left, I’m not afraid to read to read the opinions of those whom I happen to disagree with – actually, it’s kind of hard in this day and age not to), that doesn’t mean I have to hear about this tripe on a weekend supposed to be enjoyed by “friends”. I thought we were all better than that, but apparently we are not (at least anymore). So the idea of having to waste my time avoiding dick-heads like that over an entire weekend is a waste of my precious time and hard-earned money. So unless said dick-head is man enough to admit that he was wrong and deeply regrets accusing a fellow Goodboy of something as serious as being a racist simply because he holds a different political view, I don’t want to be associated with him in any way, manner, shape, or form. A true Goodboy would never say such a thing, and any bunch of guys that would allow this kind of thing to go unresolved is not the same kind of guys that began this tradition 29 years ago. Either the dick-head apologizes or goes, or I go. Period.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 21:05 | Comments (0)
August 7, 2019

It’s taken me all this time I’ve been back from my Goodboys trip back to Massachusetts to contemplate this post, but it occurred to me today that I’ve been afraid to post what I’m about to say, so I should stop being a pussy and best get on with it. You see, a bunch of the guys were hanging around late on Saturday night that weekend tossing back a few brewskies when the lightning rod of politics came up. Fortunately, I had decided to retire a little earlier and, thankfully, wasn’t privy to the actual event (although multiple witnesses confirmed it), and it just so happens that in the course of discussion the topic of Donald Trump came up, and one of the Goodboys, hearing one of his fellow Goodboys express his support for the President, accused that person of being a racist. (Something that, BTW, seems very much in vogue these days.)

Had I been there and been equally accused, I’m not sure what I would have done – probably just calmly gather my things from my room, tell the boys to have a nice eternity, and head down the road to the nearest hotel with vacancy between Yarmouth, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island – but in this case the accused Goodboy showed the better part of valor (and class, I might add) and simply walked away. What bugs me most, I guess, is that not one of my fellow Goodboys who were there (at least to my knowledge) demanded that the dick-head apologize as any true Goodboy would have done – after all, we all have said things in the heat of battle and under the influence (at least I know I have) that I felt bad about and apologized for later. To this date, I don’t believe any apology has been issued to one of the nicest Goodboys ever (and, like me, a “Founding Father”, no less!). I expect one not to be forthcoming.

It must be said before I go further that all but one of my fellow Goodboys are exceedingly amiable chaps – in all but one case we’ve known each other for a long time and been through all kinds of ups and downs and with our personal quirks just like any twelve people who live in different places with different lives who come together for one weekend a year would be. We come from different places socially, financially, culturally, politically, and personally, and those differences over the years (especially as we all get older and more set in our ways) can sometimes require more than a little bit of patience and tolerance to accept. But in this case, there’s really no excuse for what this dick-head said. Sure, there was alcohol involved, and sure (as one Goodboy told me) you can’t take seriously anything this dick-head happens to say because, well, he’s a dick-head.

Unfortunately, my tolerance for dick-heads has pretty much run dry over the past few years. I deal with them at work on an almost daily basis (this past week as been especially “dick-heady” in that regard), and as a Goodboy I really don’t want to have to deal with them at play. Look, if you truly believe Donald Trump is a racist – something that shows you’re completely removed from reality, that’s one thing. But to accuse anyone who supports Trump to be a racist (especially a fellow Goodboy), well, that’s far beyond the pale. Any normal individual with any kind of conscience might have been horrified the next morning over what he said and would have apologized. But that didn’t happen. And the fact that this dick-head has been given a ride on this just goes against every fiber in my being.

Anyone who reads this blog knows darned tootin’ that I’m no friend of liberals and Democrats as rule and in general as far as politics is concerned. And while there was no love lost between me and the likes of the Obamas while they occupied the White House, it never, ever occurred to me to accuse their supporters of being anything other than folks who were misguided politically. And while I think the progressive left and Democrats have lost their minds in a collective way, I can still sit down and enjoy cocktails with some very opinionated Democrat and progressive friends and have civil conversation and share laughs. To label them or accuse them of something as serious as racism (and I take that charge quite seriously) would never in a million years occur to me.

As you can tell, this episode troubles The Great White Shank greatly. More than two weeks on it still bothers me that when I had the chance to say something late on Sunday afternoon when we were all breaking up I didn’t do or say anything. Maybe, as some have said, it wasn’t my place to begin with – after all, like I say, I wasn’t there. But I care for the friend who was accused rather deeply, and I’m not willing to let something like this slide. To accuse someone of being a racist simply because he holds a different political (and perhaps philosophical) view is a very serious charge, and can only come from a very ignorant, hateful, and dark place in that person’s psyche. In short, we’re talking serious a$$hole quotient here.

So I’m going on record (because I know there are some Goodboys who read this blog) to say that unless the dick-head apologizes to my Goodboys pal (privately or publicly), there’s no place for me anymore in Goodboys. Consider me done. I’ll survive the third weekend of next July fully aware of any consequence that might result, but I’m a grown man and can certainly take whatever punches come my way. Heck, if that happens I’ll even retire this blog and find another name for it or just give the whole blogging gig up. There’s right and there’s wrong, and in this case the actions of one so-called Goodboy (who’s actually not a Goodboy by any stretch of the imagination to begin with) goes far beyond what is right. Just because the progressive and liberal left in this country has gone insane doesn’t mean I have to accept and break bread with the worst these folks exemplify in their hatred of the President and those who happen to support him. Politics is just politics, and being a Goodboy ought to transcend politics, even in this most highly-charged and emotional environment we now live in.

It’s a shame that after 29 years it has to come to this. But I’m very choosy about my friends and those whom I choose to associate with. There’s not one Goodboy (well, maybe there are one or two) that I wouldn’t drop everything to go and help them if they needed it, and I know most of the other guys feel the same. I’ve had my own ups and downs as far as my feelings go about continuing on with the Goodboys as long as I have (heck, I’ll bet we all have), but I’ve kept going because they’ve always been, if not “best friend” worthy, good enough and fun enough to hang around with one weekend a year. But this whole episode troubles me and grieves me deeply, enough to say that if this isn’t rectified come next year’s event then it’s time for me to say adios.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 21:45 | Comments (0)
December 25, 2018

…from everyone at Goodboys Nation weblog and the Goodboys!

Hey, I always thought Ebenezer Scrooge got a bad rap – after all, he was just trying to protect what he earned from the do-gooders.

The Twelve Days of Feminist Christmas.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 19:42 | Comments (0)
December 23, 2018

(Hat tip: Powerline blog)

…because, after all – especially if you’re a Goodboy – as the two do-gooders inform Ebenezer Scrooge in his office on Christmas Eve in one of those memorable scenes from “Scrooge”, “it’s that time of year where want is most keen”.

After which, BTW, the following classic interaction takes place:

Do-gooder: “So what will I put you down for?”
Scrooge: “Nothing.”
Do-gooder: “You wish to remain anonymous?”
Scrooge: “I wish to be left alone!”

So if all the hustle and bustle of this season is getting you down, you can blame Charles Dickens for it.

Hah! A “Merry Christmas” to all the Goodboys out there from this Goodboy.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 12:24 | Comments (0)
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 Café 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)
May 13, 2018

I’ve done all I can as far as Goodboys 2018 is concerned, the next move is from the Possum.

Possum, we’re waiting…

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 18:46 | Comments (0)
March 30, 2018

…My smart phone rang while I was frying corned beef hash and egg in an iron skillet over an open fire in the Bitterroots by a lazy stream the color of quartzite. A pot of water with coffee grains dumped in it hissed against hot rocks. The morning air was filled with the smell of damp brush and mule deer musk, the night’s dampness determined not to release its hold until the morning’s sun approached its zenith.

“Who is this?”, I asked, putting the phone on speaker.”

“Want to do a Facetime session?” a voice crackled through the phone.

I could hear rustling in the bushes down by the river. Elk? Moose? Knights of Columbus? It didn’t matter to me. The call was from a Goodboy, a made man, one of the top dogs. And not just any Goodboy, this was one of the Exec-Comm boys, and I knew breakfast would have to wait while I gave him my full and undivided attention.

“I need to know if you’ll commit to a newsletter this year.” The voice, initially relaxed and at ease, now sounded impatient and persistent, as if an increasing desire to urinate had arisen in his loins.

A cottontail scampered under a cottonwood tree behind me, as if sensing a hawk circling above in the convection. A tumbleweed rolled past the rabbit, and a whisp of sudden cool air raised goosebumps on my exposed arms.

“Hey Siri”, I called out over the pop and snap of the hash and eggs. “Tell Mr. Exec-Comm the Goodboys newsletter will be published in mid-June, as always.”

“I’m here”, said the voice through the speaker.

“Winner, winner chicken dinner!” came the voice through the speaker.

A breeze now arose out of the southwest, causing the pines and firs that towered in the grove above me to rustle and whisper. The sky that had started off rosy and cloudless became quickly smeared with overcast and the promise of approaching rain. I heard the distant rumble of thunder, and the air around me filled with the anticipation of a storm as if riding the whirlwind of an ancient Roman chariot.

I looked at the opening of my tent flapping angrily against the side as the wind rose and the clouds above turned dark and foreboding. I finished my breakfast quickly, tossed the coffee on the fire, its hissing and sizzle disappearing in clouds of steam, then hastily scoured my skillet in the stream’s fine sand where a rainbow idled lazily above the gravel bed before returning it my saddlebag. Raindrops began to pucker in the stream, and thunder, much nearer now, echoed against the mossy green walls of the valley.

“Goodbye, Possum”, I said into the speaker, hurrying towards the shelter of my tent. “Looks like a good day to watch Paula Creamer golf videos on YouTube.”

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 22:44 | Comment (1)
July 24, 2017

And so another Goodboys Invitational is in the books.

First of all, the good news: by and large, all the hard work I’d put in over the past two months paid off “bigly” – I drove the ball fairly well and pretty consistently throughout the weekend. My ball-striking with my irons was also consistent throughout the weekend – the most important thing, in my humble opinion. For what seems like forever I would dread any long iron shot or par 3 over crap that came along, afraid that I would chunk it into the junk or shank it and and thereby send me off on a one-way ticket to Nowhereville for the rest of the day (if not the entire weekend). Not this year, daddy-o, not after all the hours I put in in the heat and the dust of a Phoenix summer. No, for the first time in my Goodboys Invitational career I attacked with my irons fearlessly. Sure, I got into trouble with some yanks and over-swings, but I pulled irons out of my bag with abandon throughout the weekend – something I was committed above anything else to do. In that regard the weekend was an unqualified success and something to build upon.

The bad news, and the honest-to-God truth was, I give away the Goodboys Invitational championship, and did it in the worst way possible, as my short game (especially my putting) completely left me on Sunday and in turn let my team down. Was it akin to the infamous “cheap bridge table collapse” of the “Killer” Kowalski and “Gaylord” Perry team at Killington in 1993, where, with the Spielberg Memorial Trophy seemingly in the bag with seven holes to play, allowed yours truly and “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis to win in improbable fashion? No, but it was pretty bad.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s like saying, “So, apart from that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” But that’s getting ahead of things. Let’s first walk through the entire weekend just so y’all’s clear on just how much of a success it was for The Great White Shank, regardless of how events played out.

On Friday the Goodboys gathered at Agawam Hunt Club in Providence. A nice course, perfect for a Goodboys Invitational opening round. Wide fairways, generous landing areas, fast but consistent greens – similar to what I’m used to here in the Valley of the Sun. I had told my Goodboys pal The Funny Guy after my dismal Tuesday outing at Green Meadow that I was this close to putting my game together, and put it together I did. Just two days prior, on Wednesday night, playing nine holes in the twilight with my Goodboys pal Killer at Trull Brook, I made par on four of the last five holes on the back nine for a crowd-pleasing 46. In doing so, I found a little something on the twelfth hole that would keep me in fairly good stead off the tee throughout Goodboys Invitational weekend. So on Friday at Agawam, I drove the ball exceptionally well, as well as I’d done in many a day. We were playing a four-man bramble off the tee, and I’m pleased to say my foursome used several of my drives for their second shots in. Overall, I hit seven fairways and had 34 putts – a damned good performance. My shot of the day was on #3, a par 4 where after a duffed second shot I was left with 124 yards to the pin, then stuck an 8-iron to 1 foot for par, which I happily converted. By the end of the day, with all our Goodboys handicaps taken into consideration, I had shot a second-best 82 (conservatively, had I played my own ball in I’m guessing I would have shot somewhere around a 96), and my partner “Skeeta” Clark and I had a two-stroke lead going into Saturday.

Segregansett Country Club in Taunton was, by and large, a tough sled for most, if not all, of the Goodboys. A little local knowledge on this tight, shot-makers course would have gone a long way; unfortunately, none of us had ever played it before. It was here that the first cracks started to show in my game, and, not surprisingly, it was courtesy of my 5-wood and hybrids, clubs I have struggled with since I brought them home two months ago. At Segregansett, there was no hiding the need to use those particular clubs: there were tee shots on several holes that one simply couldn’t pull driver on, and I paid the price dearly for it. Looking back at the card, I can see those clubs costing me a good four strokes. Given the quirkiness of the layout, I felt happy with a 53 / 55 = 108 on a course I had only hit three fairways on. And while the greens were quick and a little tougher to read than at Agawam, the 33 putts I hit didn’t cause me any grief. What I was most proud of was the fact that I lost my tempo for a good portion of the front nine but clawed my way back. My 108 wasn’t especially great, but pretty much all the Goodboys had a tough time of it that day. Knowing what I now know, Segregansett was a course I wouldn’t mind playing again. Going into Sunday, Skeeta and I were five strokes up on our nearest competitor. With the way I had played and how I was striking the ball, there was every reason to believe we had a better than even shot of taking home the Goodboys Invitational trophy.

Things didn’t get off to a good start on Sunday at Triggs Memorial Golf Course in Providence. The fairways weren’t unusually narrow, but the rough just off was so thick that if you strayed even slightly the best you could hope for was to get it back in play; there would be no going for the green out of the rough at Triggs. I found that out on the very first hole – a sculled drive that took two tries to get it onto the fairway. Unfortunately, I pushed a 5-iron waaaay left, then it took me two shots to get it on the green before two-putting for a double par.

It wouldn’t get a whole lot better from there.

Triggs is an old Donald Ross-designed course – meaning, lots of elevated and undulating greens protected by bunkers and thick rough off the fringes. If you weren’t pin-point in your accuracy with your approach shots it was too bad for you: if you were off a little, you were off a lot. Which I was. I stopped counting the number of times my approach shots would roll off the green into the thickest of roughs with downhill putts. Maybe others have that kind of game, but we just don’t see that kind of crap here in the Valley of the Sun. And how do you practice for it? The greens themselves were inconsistent and just slower than what I was used to, and it caused me fits. After a while they just wore you down, and I was worn down, tired, and frustrated by my short game from start to finish. While I hit only four fairways all day I don’t feel as if I drove the ball all that badly, but when I didn’t hit the fairway bad things just sort of happened. And I don’t feel as if I hit my irons that bad either, although I was clearly a hair off.

Once again, my 5-wood and hybrids treated me harshly. There are some very long par 4s on the front nine at Triggs, and three increasingly long par 5s on the back – holes requiring precision with hybrids and fairway woods. And with the rough waiting to gobble your ball like a Great White Shark, dumping a 5-iron down the hole wasn’t an option – not when you’re 3-putting greens and missing every two-foot putt, which I was. And in each case, I simply couldn’t hit the damned things – duff after duff after duff. It became such a hopeless task. But what ended up truly killing me was my putting – a total of 41 putts (even with a chip-in on #6), including seven – count ’em, seven! – three-putts. I know I’ve had days with more putts than that, but not on a Goodboys Sunday with everything on the line. And it cost our team dearly. I managed only two holes at bogey or better all day and a Goodboys high score of 115. And that on a day when my partner Skeeta blistered the course with a rockin’ 78.

Sitting on the Triggs patio afterwards, I was still hoping against hope that our scores would hold up, but, like Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff last November when the numbers started coming in, I was starting to get a little nervous. The other scores were better than I expected, and my partner was hoping against hope that one of the teams would catch us from behind so that he (i.e., we) wouldn’t be stuck with having to run next year’s event as tradition dictates. When it was announced that the team of “Possum” Shepter and “Mothra” Nolan had beat us by five strokes, all I could do was look at my card and see all those three-putt holes and the long par 4s and par 5s where even a halfway decently-hit 5-iron or hybrid might have made the difference. Skeeta wasn’t unhappy with the results, but I was pissed. I hadn’t just thrown the potential for a decent round away, I had given away the 2017 Goodboys Invitational!

This one’s gonna smart for awhile.

Still, it wasn’t all for naught. For the first time in my Goodboys career since we started paying a monetary reward for first- and second-place finishes, I actually took home some dough-re-mi. Second place wasn’t first place, but knowing that it was my play on Friday that gave us the head start heading into the weekend helped ease the sting of Sunday’s fiasco. And looking back, I feel confident that with another go at Triggs Memorial I could go out and put up a decent number, and the same goes for Segregansett. I’m not just close, I’m very close to where I want to be.

All in all, I have no complaints with how things went down this Goodboys Invitational weekend. Would it have been nice to win? Absolutely. But we came close and that’s good enough for me. It would have been nice to have figured out my 5-wood and hybrids, but that wasn’t my primary area of focus these past two months. It would have been nice to chip and putt better on Sunday at Triggs, but I just don’t have the opportunity to play those kinds of greens and learn the kinds of shots those kinds of greens demand out in Arizona. What I wanted to do this Goodboys weekend was strike my irons with authority and drive the ball reasonably well, and in both cases it was “mission accomplished”.

Now it’s time for a nice, long break until the fall.

Congratulations to the new Exec-Comm, Possum and Mothra. You’ll have the privilege of seeing their happy mugs at the upper-right of the Goodboys Nation weblog main page until someone takes it away from them.

And, finally, a “YUUUGE” muchas gracias to the former Exec-Comm, “Goose” Dwyer and “Deuce” Doucette for two great years of Goodboys Invitational weekend planning. I’m sure they’re grateful for the chance to not have to play with each other for a third straight year, but, more especially, at not having to worry about planning yet another Goodboys Invitational.

Filed in: Golf Quest,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 00:12 | Comments (0)
July 14, 2016

Days until Goodboys Invitational weekend: 2
Location: Trull Brook Golf Club
Score: 49
Handicap: 23.8

A few of us Goodboys have made playing the back nine at Trull Brook a tradition over the years, and it’s a good test: A couple of tight holes and a couple of wide-open ones, all situation amongst rolling hills. It’s a nice way to gauge where your game is before you start teeing it up for real. There have been years where we got off early enough to get in as many as thirteen holes before darkness sets in, but this year we had just enough daylight to get nine in. The other guys were yukking it up (as usual) on seventeen, but as I stood on the hill in the growing dusk breathing in the fresh, clean air my thoughts were on Arizona and all the hard work I’d put in over the past four months to get me to this point.

Not to be lying four on the sharp, dogleg-right then uphill par 5: I’d crushed a 5-wood that split the fairway, then (for the second time – see below) mistakenly pulled my 3-hybrid instead of the four – I was using a pull-cart and my clubs were all sitting upside down from how they’re usually sitting standing up in a golf cart – and pushed it way, way right, then getting back into position with a 7-iron before leaving my 64-yard pitch just off the green right. No, I was thinking of the last six weeks and everything that had happened in my life since my last lesson with Alex Black. Golf has been more than just hitting balls with my Mom’s passing, it has been a much-needed diversion from real life. This past Saturday, I’d finally chosen to abandon completely the upright take-back I’d been employing since seeing that Hunter Mahan article in the February 2015 GOLF Magazine and going with a lower (flatter) takeaway – not just with my irons, but with my woods and hybrids as well. And the difference has been pretty marked: I’m now driving the ball straighter and longer than I ever had. The Goodboys are a tough bunch, so when you’re getting complimented on how well you’re driving the ball you know you’re doing something right.

On #10, my 240-yard drive left me on the uphill – something I’d never done before in the countless times I played there. A crushed, 250-yard drive on the uphill, dogleg left par 5 #12 left me only 210 to the middle of the green. On #14, a slight, uphill par 4 with a creek running ~ 190 yards from the tee that traditionally I’ve never tried to drive, I hit probably the best drive of my life: a dead-straight 230+ yard blast that left me only 110 to the pin. Doesn’t sound momentous, but you gotta understand: I’ve played these holes probably forty times over the years and have never found myself in territory like this. It made me feel as if all the process of discovery and tweaking this and that in between all the sadness and stress going on around it had been worth it.

Of course, it wasn’t all peaches and cream: a slightly-pulled pitching wedge left me off the green right and three putts gave me a double-bogey six; on twelve I meant to choke down on a 4-hybrid but mistakenly pulled the three instead and yanked it OB right, leading to a double-bogey seven. Throughout the nine I continued to struggle with my short irons and my short game (16 putts), but I did end up parring #14 as well as the par 3 #11 and par 4 #18, so the 49 I ended up posted sounded about right. But, boy, looking back, it could have been so much lower.

So that as they say is that: tomorrow the Goodboys Invitational starts and I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I know I’ve been trying to be too fine with my chipping and need to be more aggressive, forgetting about those lightning-fast Arizona greens. Of course, if the Plymouth courses feature faster greens than what I’ve been playing the last two days at Green Meadow and Trull, all the better, but I simply have to bear down and get the job done. It won’t be for lack of trying, however – my game is in the best state it has ever been, ball-striking wise. Now it’s just a matter of finding confidence and executing as I know I can.

Filed in: Golf Quest,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 06:51 | Comments (0)

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