I hadn't golfed in nearly three years and then all of a sudden I found myself golfing three times within two weeks and the first time was an absolute disaster. After that miserable showing I had two tournaments to look forward to . . . with dread.
My buddy Morrie Stafford from Tacoma Executives Association asked me to join his team for the Tacoma Execs Golf Tournament. Then my friend Kathleen Olson asked me to play with her in the Inaugural Puyallup Fair Foundation Golf Tournament, which was the day before the Tacoma Execs tournament. Joining me for each of these outings was Donn Irwin of immedia.
We had played on Memorial Day, but there was nothing memorial about my golf. It was a beautiful day at Allenmore, but it was raining in my heart. I was still licking my wounds as I joined Donn before the Foundation tournament and went to lunch at The Best Pho on Puyallup's South Hill. Donn had soup and I had noodles and marinated pork with egg rolls. The pork was excellent, but the egg rolls turned out to be one tiny one cut into little pieces. I didn't complain as much as Donn . . . but then I never do.
After lunch we headed towards Orting to the High Cedars Golf Club where neither of us had played before. As we hit the freeway we realized that our timing was off and we might be late for the shotgun start. Donn called Kathleen, but got no answer and left a message. We made good time and arrived within seconds after the third member of our group walked up to Kathleen's golf cart. Joe Scorcio was our ringer. This means he actually played regularly. He has been a big supporter for the Humane Society in Tacoma and Pierce County and is past Humane Society Board President and facilities manager for Pierce County at the Chambers Bay treatment plant complex. Chambers Bay, is Pierce County's premier golf course. Kathleen is the executive directory for the Humane Society.
Our foursome started our 18-holes on #3. As we drove to the hole I had a chance to look over the beautiful course. My saving grace has always been my ability to drive a long ball and I've always been a decent putter. On Memorial Day neither of my major qualities were present. Actually, none of minor qualities were there, either. I was quite relieved when my first drive at High Cedars, although nothing to write home about carried fairly well and left a good shot. In other words I did not cover my self with shame.
We were playing in a "best ball" scramble. This means that we could choose which struck ball would be chosen as our best ball. Everyone then hits their next shot from that position. By doing this everyone has a chance to contribute to the game. Each player, however must have two drives picked as a best ball. Joe didn't know our games so he suggested when we hit a ball that we thought should count as our best ball drive, we should be adamant that we choose that ball.
Joe batted "clean up." By always hitting last he could judge whether he should play safe, or take a chance. The worry is that golfers of lesser skills will be still searching for a best ball drive late in the game. We finished by the front nine even at par for every hole. What was good was that by the end of those seven holes, I was playing well and our best balls were well distributed, which gave us some confidence. About the same time we finished the front nine, the voice mail we called into Kathleen finally arrived on her cell.
No hole-in-one cars were won by our foursome, but no one in the tournament won a car either. Joe played well and never made comment about an occasional bad shot from the other team members.
High Cedars is a beautiful course. I was surprised at the lack of wind. For nice day in the sixties it felt humid. Part of the border of the course is the Puyallup River. The river looked inviting. My hot little feet could have been cooled off in seconds, but I had more serious things to do.
I enjoyed sight seeing. This is Washington at its best. A high bluff rises across the river revealing nice homes with fantastic views of the golf course and the valley below. There are some beautiful old trees on the course and one fairly close to the club house contains a large osprey nest. I was disappointed that I only caught a glimpse of one osprey gliding over the tree tops.
Back along the river squirrels darted everywhere. One kept retrieving pieces of a ham sandwich from a garbage can near a tee box.
Wildlife weren't the only hungry creatures on the golf course. The tournament did a great job with competitions and we found the mother lode when we found nachos from The Vault. The Vault caters Galleyside each summer for Tacoma Rotary. They take a load of food to Wollochet Bay and serve it when about sixty Rotarians pile off boats onto the dock and make their way up to picnic tables and an always excellent meal. Usually, they serve salmon, which is always moist and tasty even after the hour drive from downtown Tacoma. They do such a nice job on catered meals.
The nachos had an excellent ground beef layer, melted cheese over multi-colored corn chips and condiments of sour cream and salsa. They were excellent. I ate about two-thirds of my helping before I was robbed by a crow. I was pleased the crow didn't take my camera, also.
We finished with Donn in contention for men's KP (closest to the pin) and a minus four for the back nine. We were dragging a little bit by the time we put our clubs away and walked into the dining room. High Cedars did a great job on the meal and the dining experience. It was all done buffet style. The fillets were grilled outside. We had been smelling them for some time. I think this what kept us going as we got tired.
Each place setting had a glass of ice water. Mine didn't last too long. I found out that High Cedars had a bar and I asked around for orders and returned with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and an Orange Crush for me. Also, as I returned from the bar I saw pitchers of ice water. I snagged one of those and brought it to our table as well. I should have picked up an additional bottle of Orange Crush. Whoa, I was thirsty. Joining our foursome was a group from Puyallup Rotary, including past president Scotty Getchell, whom I had met on a previous adventure to Puyallup. Donn is an ex-Tacoma Rotarian and Kathleen and I are both past presidents and still belong to The Rotary Club of Tacoma #8.
The price for the tournament and dinner was only one hundred dollars and well worth the money. Dinner was exceptional. I chose a bread stick, potato salad, a baked potato and the steak (medium rare). All of my favorite condiments for baked potatoes were available in the buffet line: butter, sour cream, chopped green onions, and wonderfully soft bacon bits. Our foursome enjoyed the food and all added pepper in the same way. We unscrewed the top and sprinkled the pepper over our food directly from the open shaker. Two kinds of steak sauce were on each table, but my fillet was tender and perfect. Each bite was heaven. I was a little surprised that there was no alternative to beef, but I heard no one complain.
In fact I heard no complaints about anything at the tournament. Recognition was given out to sponsors in a timely manner and prizes were awarded swiftly. Although our team finished at four under, the winning team finished at twelve under. Donn's KP of just over three feet, lost to a KP of less than three inches. The woman from the Puyallup Rotary team one two prizes, but the rest of our little group just had a great time. For only a hundred bucks, we had a really, really, great time.