After golfing in the Inaugural Puyallup Fair Foundation Golf Tournament, I was a little tired and sore. Business demands had kept me away so long I had forgotten the joy of golfing with friends and laughing at myself and my buddies.
My friend Morrie Stafford from Tacoma Executives Association asked me to join his team for the Tacoma Execs Golf Tournament. I was already a sponsor, but decided to go ahead and play as well. Joining me for both of these outings was Donn Irwin of immedia. A few years back Donn, Rob Erb, Carroll Dickson, and a couple of others would routinely play most Thursdays after Rotary. Mostly when we played it was to talk about sex, politics, and how to save the world. None of those things ever worked out for us, but we had fun.
Friday morning I drove over to Donn's house, transferred my clubs to his car and we crossed over the bridge and met our friend Dr. Mike Jones of Jones Animal Hospital. As we joked around and looked over the menu Donn prayed for strength and golfing ability. It's never worked before, but you never can tell with things might work out.
Although I've known Mike for over twenty years, we've never golfed together. He just started learning about two years ago. Our loose-knit group of "culture vultures" have traveled together for plays over the years and since Mike has appeared in several theatrical productions himself in the Gig Harbor area, our group supports his acting efforts. Like Mike, his wife Dana, is fun to be around and fits in with the rest of our wives.
Mike and I are past presidents of The Rotary Club of Tacoma #8, and we both love history and specifically the Civil War. Our group of friends talk about traveling to the East coast in 2012 and staying for a couple of weeks in the Washington, D.C. area to visit the museums and Civil War battlefields.
After breakfast at the Harvester in Gig Harbor, Mike followed Donn and I to McCormick Woods Golf Course for the golf tournament. My wife Peg arrived at the same time. We signed in and Peg was given a cart. Peg was stepping in to replace me. I originally signed up as a cart sponsor and was going to travel around jollying up the golfers. I now left it to Peg to interact. She had a great time with golfers, especially after realizing she knew many of them.
Peg would ask the golfers a question: "Who wrote Call of the Wild? When they didn't know the literary answer, she would ask the second question: "Who is the current president of Tacoma Execs?" No matter what, they always won a prize from Don and Peg's Jar o' Toys. Larry Gaffney of Gaffney Funeral Home was her first pigeon. He chose a hair extension. After the colorful red hair piece was installed he asked, "Do you know how long it's been since I had to brush the hair back out of my eyes?" I would guess it has been some time, but Larry wore it well.
Each winner carefully chose a toy for themselves or their children or grandchildren. Toys ranged from magic card decks and string in a can, to plastic cockroaches and yo-yos. Fun stuff.
My team member Morrie Stafford had hurt his knee and so he proposed another member to our foursome, Wayne Knoll of Korsmo Construction. I had seen Wayne when he visited Tacoma Execs, and I had spoken to him over the phone and wrote via email, but I had never actually met him. He and Mike were paired up in a golf cart.
Wayne proved to be our best player . . . go figure. You never know about team and friend chemistry. We could have drawn a decent golfer who was serious about the game and not inclined to joke around and have fun. Wayne fit right in. None of the three of us knew him, but after a few minutes that didn't matter. We all became old friends and Wayne threw himself into having a fun day on the golf course.
Jordan Ford of ABC Physical Therapy is won of my favorite people at Tacoma Execs. She's always smiling and has a fun sense of humor and adventure. Her office was a hole sponsor, which meant fun and games. Golfers had a chance to stoke a ball with a "noodle," one of those long tubes children use for floatation devices in backyard swimming pools. She had a small course set up with backbone and pelvis displays as obstacles. A variation was to stand on a balance board holding a hoop and the noodle and trying to bat beach balls as they are thrown at you. It's not has easy as it sounds. Wayne first golfed with the noodle and after seeing me flail at the beach ball (as he took pictures of me) had to try it himself.
Of course the photographs of me somehow got deleted, but one of Wayne survived the cut.
Here is what McCormick Woods has to say about itself: "Opened in 1987, McCormick Woods was built in concert with the Audubon Society to make the most of this spectacular spot. The result is a championship public course with serene lakes amid towering firs and cedars. Unique five-tee placements at each hole provide players at every level with maximum enjoyment and challenge, while the stunning tranquility is supplemented by design: no two holes border one another. Itís an escape you will cherish." I didn't see a large amount of birds, but the trees, the rhododendrons and the deer were present.
The course is not difficult to play, unless you stray more than a few yards from the ideal ball placement. For me and my friends it was sometimes a difficult course to play.
About three holes from the end of our round my drive was off a few yards for ideal ball placement. In other words, I dove the ball sideways into Mike's cart. I've never seen him move so quickly. I didn't hit him, so maybe I was aiming at him. Luckily, I was pooped and so the ball had no power behind it, anyway.
On the last hole, as I was getting ready to drive, my friends told me they were ready. I looked around and Wayne stood about ten feet behind me, with Donn and Mike hiding behind his back. Very funny. Yeah, funny.
Following me Wayne drove a beautiful drive that soared perfectly down the fairway. I remarked, "Now if you had done that on the other holes, we might have finished only two over par. Oh, we had a great time.
We started at 1:30 and finished at 7:00. A long day. Both Donn and I had prior commitments, but because of the time, we decided to stay for dinner. We had drink tickets left over and dinner was included and besides it's always fun to sit with your buddies and laugh at the round.
McCormick Woods served a decent dinner for us. We had a Caesar salad, a fruit salad, a red potato salad, BBQ pork ribs, BBQ chicken, baked beans, a herb roll, and both carrot cake and brownies for desert. The pork ribs were tender and the meat easily came off the bone with knife and fork.
I don't like to eat BBQ foods with my hands unless I have a roll of paper towels and a box of handi-wipes nearby. I can do without a bib, but I like to clean my hands and face before I go out in public. Looking like a clown does not appeal to me . . . other than my normal choice of clothes, of course.
My friend Michelle Roberts from LeMay Mobile Shredding won several Women's Awards and team member Wayne Knoll won Men's Straight Drive. I think we were all winners. The day was a little cool, there was gray skies most of the day, but the laughter kept most of us warm and happy. The course was beautiful and fun to play. I don't think I'll play two tournaments in a row, again, but I will play more often than I have been doing.
I think the event was successful. We had a decent field of golfers and we had such a great time most of them should be happy to return. The tournament is a fundraiser for Tacoma Executives Association, which has been the premier networking association in Tacoma and Pierce County since 1919.
Peg had a good time and now that she participated, I think I can talk her into being involved again next year. People seemed to really enjoy the stupid toys . . . and of course the hi-jinx on the sponsor holes was a great stress-reliever. See a gallery of photographs from the entire tournament.