No retirements, birthdays or special events within the Men’s League to report this month. Not implying that there were no important birthdays or events, just that none were reported to this publication. On that note, I encourage those who read this column to drop a note with the birthday or event and possibly some cheesy details to embellish the facts and preserve our reputation for “fake news”. (TadLague@gmail.com or text to 216-255-2173)
The Snowbirds are back. And just in time for some great weather here in North Fort Myers. The Men’s League will benefit with more competition, bigger purses, more personalities, more characters, more great golf stories and more things for us to write about.
A notable difference at the practice green between the summer crowds and the winter crowds. And of course more organizing responsibilities for the Men’s League managers whom we should recognize and thank here i.e., Pres. Ray Gromaki, VP Larry O’Brien, Treasurer Ray Burrows and Secretary Alan Holt. You guys do a fantastic job keeping us all in line and handing out the dough every Thursday.
We had another occasion of multiple Holes-In-One by the same golfer in a short time span. Resident Meditation Shaman, Dave Shearer recorded 2 holes-in-one in a 30-day stretch. Green Saturday, Nov 13 on LF Hole #5, Dave hit a nice tee shot which landed on the green and rolled left towards the hole but stopped just short teetering on the lip. After witness, Doug Conner had teed off, and the group arrived at the green, Dave’s ball was no longer visible. Sure enough, it had tumbled over the edge and found the bottom of the cup. Was it Karma?
On the following Monday, Nov 15, also at Lake Fairways but on hole #12, our hero of the moment, Dave Shearer hit a high soft lob wedge which found the right side of the green and rolled left as we’ve all come to expect on #12. However, this time, the hole got in the way and swallowed Dave’s ball recording his 2nd Hole-In-One in only 3 days. The simultaneous high pitched scream by witnesses, Jerry Jaromin, Suzanne Cummings and Louise Files was heard several holes away. Unfortunately for Jerry, this was not one of his more masculine moments. Dave was seen days later with the same grin on his face which some have attributed to the special form of meditation that he practices. Dave has offered to share his meditation secrets if you’d like to meet him behind the Pub before happy hour on Fridays.
The December Lake Fairways Men’s Shootout took place on Wednesday December 8 starting on the difficult 10th hole. An elevated green with severe slopes left, right and back. The fairway bunker left and green side bunker right are treacherous at best. Further left and further right are white OB stakes which one would think are not a concern however with the pressures of the 1st tee in a shootout format with dozens in the gallery watching, they could be in play.
And on this day, the Out of Bounds stakes on Hole # 10 did come into play. Not once, not twice, …… and no, not three times or four times. But yes, according to witnesses, there were 5 balls hit OB on the first hole of this match. And if you assumed that 5 guys hit balls out of bounds to start the match, you would be wrong. Only two golfers were responsible for 5 OB penalties on the same hole. And even more ironic, if you do the math in this format, that means 1 golfer hit 2 shots out of bounds and managed to continue in the match and reached the 11th tee. The culprits will remain anonymous for the time being.
Unfortunately, we do not have any more details of the matches due to travel time-off for the on scene reporter.
We can report however the results of both competitive Flights A & B.
Flight A Winner was the Silent Assassin, Greg Mullens who has proven to have few flaws in his game and managed on this day to leave those few wayward shots in his bag. 2nd place went to Ken (Sarge) Shirley who clearly showed the naysayers that he has the game to compete on a big stage like LFCC. Next stop might be Pine Lakes CC to see if you can run with the big dogs …. eh? 3 3rd Place honors w
Flight B Winner was the ever popular Will Aubut who managed to hold it together for a full 9 holes and take home the Flight B winner’s check for $50,000 Lake Fairways Dollars which converts to about $10 US. 2nd Place went to putting wizard Bill Fleckenstein who, fair or not, was recently moved up to the forward tees and has become a familiar face in winners’ circles. 3rd Place honors was awarde
A retirement of significance. Jerry and Lucy Jaromin were the recipients of a surprise party to celebrate their many years of service (18 & 14 years respectively) managing our pro shop. The party was great ….. music, dancing, food and beverages. It turns out that it actually was a surprise and based on Lucy’s emotional response, it definitely meant a lot to have their friends show the respect and
We had another significant birthday last month. On 10/29, Bill Fleckenstein crossed the 80 year milestone and has since moved up to the senior teeing areas. Already recognized as one of the better putters on the Lake Fairways Tour, we’ve essentially moved Fleck a little closer to the hole and given him an edge in the internal golf competitions. This can’t be good news for the rest of us who strug
Hole-In-One Watch - On 10/28, oft misunderstood, Ron McManus collected his 9thlifetime Hole-In-One on Lake Fairways 11th hole. Although not a regular at The Sand Trap Cafe, Ron stumbled in with a grin on his face waiting for someone to ask how the round went. Ron was more than happy to share the details. Congratulations Ron, we expect Hole-In-One #10 is not far off.
The November Lake Fairways Shootout was held on Wednesday 11/11/10 at High Noon (I still think High Noon is the appropriate time for a shootout). This month, having only 1 reporter on duty, we focused on the B Flight which is apparently where all the Cool Guys prefer to play. The galleries equally as large and the pressure no less than it is in the A Flight. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 30 handicap or a 5 handicap, 3-foot putts in this format and in front of a gallery are just more difficult.
On the 1st hole we lost early favorite Tom Craig who was the 3rd place finisher in the A flight last month. Not so easy playing with the Cool Guys eh Tom?
On Hole #2, fashion icon, Mike Craven fatted his tee shot half way to the green, two chips and 2 putts later, Mike was thanked for participating and headed to the golf cart where Gloria reminded him that he was still cool in her eyes.
On the 3rd hole, we lost shoot out veteran, Pat Emanuel who plunked his tee shot into the water short and right, dropped, chipped out, and by the time he reached the green, with the rest of the entourage waiting, Pat did some quick math and conceded the hole rather than putting out and having to announce his score to the crowd.
Hole #4 provided the first chip-off where Flight B Marshal, Ron McManus dropped his hat behind the green above the hole for a very slick chip to a front pin. Bob Bennet, Dave Malmberg and Mike Fevig all rolled it past the hole and just off the front of the green leaving Sonny Chidester to his own chipping demons where he succumbed to the pressure, fluffed his chip, not reaching the putting surface and becoming the next participant to sit down. Sonny was seen at that same spot as the sun went down trying again and again to get that chip close.
On Hole #5, we lost Hugh Mitchell who pulled his tee shot left into the drink. After Scorer Dave Fillion told him where to drop, Mitch needed 4 more shots to find the bottom of the cup and became the 5thcasualty of the day.
On Hole #6, Bob Bennet yanked his tee shot left out of bounds where Pat Emanuel was seen sulking in his back yard and refused to give the ball back. Fortunately, Bob had hit a provisional ball and still carded a 6 which just beat out Mike Fevig who landed in the bunker left off the tee and conceded after 6 more strokes for a not so cool 7. Way to hang in there Bob. Never over estimate your opponent’s skills in this format. We all have ugly shots in our bags waiting for the right moment to surface.
As the number of contestants dwindled down to 4, we lost Bob B on Hole #7 in a chip off with Larry O’Brien.
Then there were 3. Ron Farr, Larry O-Brien and Dave Malmberg. On the 8th Hole all 3 put their tee shots short of the green. Dave and Larry successfully chipped onto the green leaving Ron to his own chipping demons. Two chips and two putts later, Ron carded a 5, was thanked and accepted his 3rd place finish. Not Bad Ron. You’d have taken that finish if offered on the 1st tee.
The crowd headed to the 9th hole. Carts scurried up the fairway to wait at the green where the drama was going to reach a head. Dave had been playing well all day. Keeping the ball in play, getting up and down for pars and bogeys and generally playing his game. Larry on the other hand was playing way over his head. I’ve never seen Larry hit the ball so straight and pure. The pressure brings out the competitive juices in some people and today Larry O’Brien showed that he’s one of them.
However, being the final 2 contestants finally sunk in. Both golfers hit weak tee shots left from where both failed to reach the green with their 2nd and 3rdshots. Both hitting 4 from a foot or so short of the putting surface, the old Larry showed up and lifted his head to skull the ball across and off the back of the green. (sorry Larry, I just report it without prejudice) Dave used his putter and rolled it to within 2 inches and tapped in for a 5 leaving Larry with about 30 feet to tie. He made a good shot and got it close but it wasn’t to be. Today, Flight B belonged to Dave Malmberg. Well done Dave !
I’ve been told that the Flight A competition had no less drama than the Flight B. We do not have the shot by shot summary however, we can report that there were 3 very popular finalists in Winner, Al Cristello, Runner Up Mike Williams and 3rdplace finisher, Chuck Rhodes.
I invite anyone who has news worthy or unworthy of this space to contact me anytime. I’m always looking for things to write about. I would like to hear about Holes-in-One, unusually low rounds but even better, I’d like to hear about the embarrassing shots, shanks and stuff to keep this space light and humorous.
Men’s Golf League News Nov - 2021
The only birthday of significance would be that of John Westfere who turned 80 on September 23. And the consequence for the rest of us is that John has now moved up to the forward tees. John is already legendarily long off the tee so we are all on notice that he intends to be a force in this league going forward. If you don’t believe me, consider this; John was spotted on the course the day before his birthday hitting tee shots from the forward tees testing different lofted clubs so as to be ready for the day after his birthday. Happy Birthday John (I Think)
Welcome back from the brink - Covid Survivors, Jim Mantiniand Pat Emanuel are back in the swing. Jim has been seen on the course at all hours trying to get his strength, his stamina and his swing back. I played with Jim recently and he seems to be on track with the hard work paying off. Pat however, had no prior strength, no stamina nor a swing and we are happy to report that through little effort on his part, Pat has returned to his pre-Covid form ahead of schedule.
Thursday Sept 30 – The Men’s League held the Red, White & Blue Tournament. A scramble format with Holes 1-6 everyone tees off from the red tees, Holes 7-12; the white and Holes 13-18; the blue tees. Final results: 3-way tie for 1st place with a 7 under 53 and a card-off determined the winning team to be Bill Fleckenstein, David Fagan and Tad Lague. After collecting $4 for the win, Putting Master, Bill Fleckenstein, said “I don’t know what the big deal is, this game is easy”. Fleck will be hosting a putting clinic at 5:45AM on Fridays on the LF putting green. Turnout is expected to be heavy.
Monday October 4 - Ron McManus whined and bitched his way to a fine score of 58 on the Lake Fairways course. Nice round, Ron! Did you know you had a good score going when you got to 17 tee? That hole has ruined many a good round.
As of this writing, Al Keefer has yet to admit making a good shot. When questioned about a seemingly perfect tee shot on LF hole #9, Al complained that he hadn’t hit the middle of the club face. For anyone interested; Don Sweet is posting odds that Vandy nails a Hole-In One on LF # 12 before Al Keefer records a good shot. Stay tuned for updates.
Monday Oct 11 – Columbus Day Scramble / Shamble event - It was a pleasant surprise to see the Gals taking part this week. In fact it was my pleasure to partner with two classy ladies in Lucy Jaromin and Sung Kingston along with my old friend in both senses of the word, Larry O’Brien. We were a great team and put together a fine 1st place tying score of 84. The other 1st place tying team with a score of 84 was an early favorite in Las Vegas comprised of Chuck Rhodes, Dede Martin, Ron Farr and Mary Buchman. Needing 1 drive per 9 from all players added a degree of strategy which both winning teams navigated successfully into the final hole. The winning teams received $6 per person and the ensuing celebration ran ‘til the wee hours of the afternoon.
Wednesday Oct 13 – The October Shootout – First of all, congratulations to all those who qualified for the October Shootout on the previous Thursday. It is testament to your golfing grit to make it into either Flight A or B. (wish I’d made it L)
Last Man Standing Oct 2021
Posted by Tad Lague
The Inaugural Summer Shoot Out was successfully competed on September 8th at High Noon (actually 11:30 but High Noon sounds like a better time for a shootout).
During interviews on the practice green prior to tee time, our 11 competitors were very loose and saying “this is all for fun” and “I’m not too stressed” and “I don’t really have a chance”. But once Dave Malmberg put that 1st ball in the air heading towards the green, the gloves were off. You could see it in their eyes. We’re playing for keeps.
What a sight heading up the 1st fairway! At least 20 carts with competitors and wives plus our Scorer, Al Keefer, Referee, Bill Chapman, our spotter, Paul (eagle eyes) Falcone, along with a very handsome gallery cheering on their favorite golfers. Missing however was stalwart Jim Mantini who qualified early and has the reputation of challenging leaderboards, has been under the weather as of late. Get well soon Jim.
Two golfers were eliminated on the first green and then one golfer eliminated on each green there after either by posting the high score alone or losing in a chip off in the case of a tie.
And then there were three. Tom Craig, Dave Fagan and Bill McCarthy were the last guys standing after 7 holes and headed to hole # 8.
Tom hit a nice shot left but caught a bad bounce on the cart path and into the green side bunker. Dave hit his patented high fade over the pines on the left, cleared the bunker and landed softly on the green about 12 feet from the hole. The massive crowds circling the green applauded wildly. Not at all intimidated by Dave’s incredible shot, Bill stepped up and hit his tee shot to the middle of the fairway about 20 yard short of the green. It was obvious at this point that “These guys are GOOD!”
Tom was unable to get up and down and eliminated taking 3rdplace while Dave 2-putted for a par and Bill drained his 10 footer to match Dave and move onto the 9th and final hole.
On the last hole, Dave’s trusty high fade betrayed him and drifted into the water hazard right of the cart path. Bill however, pounded a drive down the middle of the fairway to about 20 yards short of the green. Dave had to take a drop from the hazard and lofted a sand wedge just off the back fringe where he 2 putted for a bogey 5 and claimed 2nd place money. Meanwhile, Bill chipped onto the green about 20 feet from the pin and 2-putted for a par 4 to take the Title and the 1st Place Cash Prize.
I must say, this was an enjoyable event to watch. It’s fun to see your buddies sweat over 2 foot putts that are normally 1 hand tap ins. Next time I’m bringing a few beers. That being said, we have Shoot Outs scheduled every month starting in October through March 2022. The qualifying rounds will be held on the 1stThursday of each month and the shootout will be held the following Wednesday.
Qualifying Dates Shoot Out Dates
Oct 7, 2021 Oct 13, 2021
Nov 4, 2021 Nov 10, 2021
Dec 2, 2021 Dec 8, 2021
Jan 6, 2022 Jan 12, 2022
Feb 3, 2022 Feb 9, 2022
Mar 3, 2022 Mar 9, 2022
Grand Shoot Out Mar 16, 2022
I’d encourage anybody to try and qualify or at least come and watch the boys crumble under the intense pressure.
Going forward, I invite anyone who has golf news that should be included in this column to contact me with details. Holes in 1, Low Rounds, High Rounds, embarrassingly bad shots, alligator encounters, etc. Pictures are always good while stretching the truth is encouraged.
Tad Lague (216) 255-2173 TadLague@gmail.come.
We are off to the first green.
Just who is the closest?
1st Bill McCarthy
2nd Dave Fagan
3rd Tom Craig
1ST PLACE - Lu McEwen
2nd PLACE - Judy Chase
3rd PLACE - Sandy Young
Grand Shootout Winner
1ST PLACE - Dan Johnson
2nd PLACE - John Kline
3rd PLACE - John Kelly
1ST PLACE -Fred Kline
2ndPLACE - Patrick Emanuele
3rd PLACE -Ron Farr