Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 11, 12, 13, 2004. I share this account again in loving tribute to our friend Bill Vann who died this past December (2010) and as a thank you to Rowdy Golfers for the memories. We will miss you Bill! (Especially when we need a favorable ruling).
The infamous Rowdy Golf weekend arrived. I arrive at The Hidden Meadow Short Course (Dave’s neighborhood) before daybreak because we have plans to start the golf junky weekend with nine at Creve Coeur. To accomplish this, we need to be first on the course - Before their first tee time of 6:00 a.m. I handed Dixie a check that covers our greens fees as she is just starting to open up the pro shop and Dave and I are off to the races.
Creve Coeur Golf Course Friday June 11, 2004 - before 6:00 a.m. It’s early and while I may have had a good shot or two. I am a long way from “fine tuned.” Dave shot a 45 and I shot a 54 for nine. But the scores don’t matter. What matters is that we got it in. News of this early nine establishes our fanaticism as we arrive at the Lake of the Ozarks – and that alone has value. 165 Miles from Creve Coeur we are ready to tee up at Beer Creek, the first course on the Rowdy Golf Weekend agenda.
Bear Creek Golf Club – Round One Friday June 11, 2004 - 11:30 a.m. Dave and I make decent time in his Suburban. Arrive in the Ozarks with have plenty of time to get accustomed to the greens at Bear Creek Valley Golf Club. The Rowdy Golf quorum is achieved when Bill Vann, Bill Hawkins, Captain Mike, Terry Cook, Tom Shaughnessy, and Rowdy Jones all arrive. We are off to the races again. Dave and I are teamed with Bill Vann and Captain Mike. Captain Mike swears like a sailor. He and Bill have been friends for a long time. They are the kind of golfers who like to chatter a lot as they play. They are the most senior golfers in the group – which may partially explain the reason for their generous interpretation of the rules. Bill Vann’s rules and scoring become a running gag throughout the weekend. The Creve Coeur round didn’t help me too much because I ended up with 112 for the round. Rating 69.2, Slope 120 – It shouldn’t have been so tough.
Bear Creek Golf Club – Round Two Friday June 11, 2004 approximately 4:00 p.m. It’s still plenty early to play more golf. Half of our group elects to head to Dogwood Hills (the course at the Best Western where we have two rental units – condo/bungalows). Dave and I agree to attack Bear Creek again. Even though we are frustrated by the course and insist that we hate the place – we want to keep playing. Tom Shaughnessy and Terry Cook join us. We start with the first hole and by the time we reach the second hole it’s raining. We all agree to press on (which turns out to be a good decision because the storm moved on through and we were in the sun for the balance of the afternoon). I shot 48 on the front nine and a sorry 61 on the back. I par #2, #6, #15 and bogey three holes. (Six okay holes for me.) 109 at least is an improvement over round one by three strokes.
Witch’s Cove at Four Seasons, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. Signature Course Saturday June 12, 2004 7:30 a.m. This is a golf course! Robert Trent Jones, Sr. knows how to design a golf course – he designed something like 500 of them. This time it’s Bill Hawkins, Tom Shaugnessy, Dave Cox and me. Hawkins is clearly the best golfer of our group. Funny thing about a guy named HAWKins is his uncanny ability to find lost balls. He must have great eyes because he can see them land and go right to them. This is a righteous skill to have in your foursome. I start the round with a smack right into a house. No kidding. Fortunately the guy is a great sport - and this is not the first time his siding has been tested. I drop and make a six on the first hole. I bogey the next hole and make a snowman (8) on the next. The #4 par three is one of those magical holes where I make par after landing on the green and the rest of the foursome struggles a bit. I had a good deal of fun razzing Dave who came up short on his drive on this hole. I managed to par the next hole – a par five. I par #8 too. It almost looked like I was a player for a few holes. I score 50 on the front and 55 on the back for a 105.
Osage National Golf Club, Arnold Palmer Design, June 12, 2004 1:30 p.m..The Rowdy Golf schedule calls for us to get to our next course with enough time for a quick bite. They have 27 holes at Osage National. We played the “River” and “Mountain” Combination. They’ve had some rain here and its CART PATH ONLY. This time it’s Bill Hawkins, Terry Cook, Dave and me. I scored 52 and 52 for 104. On the “Mountain” nine I pared #2, #3, #4, #6 and made snowmen on #1, #5, #9 and two sevens. Again – plenty of encouragement for me to keep playing this stupid game.
Dogwood Hills Golf Club, June 13, 2004. We woke up to a pretty dismal outlook on the day. It must have rained most of the night and our original plan to play the Oaks at Tan Tara is nixed by the group. In part because Bill Hawkins convinces us that a cart path only round at that difficult course terrain will be exhaustive – too much stress on the Hawkins knees. Good thing too – I was not in the best form after staying out pretty late (1:30 a.m.). Bill Vann, Bill Hawkins, Dave and I are together this time. The course is pretty flat (Rating 67.3, slope 113) and should have been easy. Maybe I would have been better had I played this course on Saturday. 54 and 56 for 110. And that’s with several breaks allowed by the Bill Vann rules committee – multiple Mulligans, a free drop or two etc. Maybe the funniest hole for me was the par three at #5. I managed a high pop up shot that veared left, hit the cart path and bounced nearly all but 20 yards back to me. My second shot found the only branch that could remotely be considered “in play” and came up short again on the third shot. Pathetic. Nevertheless, Bill Hawkins and Bill Vann and (of course) Dave took great satisfaction in my troubles.Hawkins shot a 38 and a 40 for 78. Dave shot 44 and 42 for a very respectable 86. Bill Vann claims a 90 and I shot 110.
The following is an e-mail I sent to the Rowdy Golfers after we all returned to St. Louis:
To all my fellow golfers. I had a great time at Rowdy Golf '04.
1. I am gonna practice putting so Bill Hawkins will stop laughing.
2. I am gonna stay away from polyester - it makes your balls turn yellow.
3. I am gonna buy Bill Vann's new book of rules for the game.
4. I am gonna send Tom Schaughnessy a book of Robert Frost Poems to memorize.
5. I am gonna call the PGA and have Dave Cox's driver confiscated (and those illegal lime green tees too).
6. I am gonna avoid wearing my "Rowdy Golf Shirt" around the house until I pay the electric bill.
7. I am gonna encourage everyone who goes to the lake to check out Bear Creek Valley Golf Course (I have a sinister side).
8. I am gonna go back to Sharky's and finish the back nine of Golden Tee (just got too).
9. I am gonna go back to G Q Lounge and give them Rowdy's Home Address (tell em to show up for a surprise party next Sunday).
10. Suggest "Damn, it went straight!" as an addition to the memorable lines for next year's Rowdy Golf promo piece (hat tip to T Cook).
I hope you guys had as much fun as I did. Let's do it again (but not too soon).