RSG-Pittsburgh 2003
Dave Tutelman -- 4/29/2003

(Photos at the bottom of this page)

The drive from New Jersey went well. Fred Stluka and I checked into Conley's Resort at 10PM. We found Bill Hogsett at the bar. The crew wandered in over the next half-hour from all over our quarter of the country: Thor Collard and Joe Dean from Columbus, Gary Hayenga from Ann Arbor, and eventually Terry Easton from Dayton. Brent Hutto had flown in from South Carolina, but was not staying at the resort. A few others were staying at the home of our hosts, Mark and Grace Georg; that included Mark's dad Roger and longtime buddy Steve Metzler.

Before we headed home Sunday afternoon, we had played ninety holes at five different courses. My personal favorites were the first and the last -- Stoughton Acres and Lindenwood -- but all the courses were fun, and the company was great. Usually we play courses south of Pittsburgh, but this time the Friday and Saturday courses were north, near Mark's home.

A few recollections from the five rounds...

Friday morning - Stoughton Acres

This is a family-run golf course, and it shows. The "pro shop" is small and crowded, more like a rural general store than a golf boutique. The woman behind the counter will be one of two sisters. As with most courses, their local rules are on the scorecard; but this one includes, "Never punish the course because of your poor round." The course plays only 6059 yards from the blues. And the greens fee is a modest $10.50.

But don't get the wrong idea. This is a real golf course and a real challenge. It's hard to believe the course is so short; it sure doesn't play that way. The greens are very true, quite fast, and generally hard to read. Each hole is well shielded by distance and vegetation from other holes, so you don't feel you're sharing the course with other groups. And every hole is interesting and unique; there isn't a boring hole on the course.

Played with Terry Easton and Brent Hutto.

Friday afternoon - Krendale

Krendale is a contrast from Stoughton Acres. It is more open, with fewer trees. The back (north) nine has a lot of back-and-forth holes, briefly punctuated by a couple of completely different holes -- more about that later. I played with Mark, Thor, and Fred.
Then the crew convoyed to Mark's house. Ostensibly it was for dinner, but really we all just had to see "The Deck". Mark had been using it as an excuse for so long, we felt we were part of the effort he put into it. Well, the deck and the house are beautiful. Grace got to say hello to friends she hadn't seen for a while and make some new friends. And the barbeque supper was delicious. BTW, somebody pointed out that you know you hang out with geeks when there are more people under the deck examining the construction details than are on it drinking Yuengling.

When we got back to Conley's we lined up the cars in the parking lot so the headlights lit up the 18th green. Then several of the group played the hole a couple of times, hitting pitches to the green from the grass strip at the edge of the parking lot.

Saturday morning - Suncrest

Suncrest is just a mile or so from Conleys. In fact (as I found out later), they share a reciprocal OB line on at least one hole of each course. I played Suncrest with Fred, Bill, and Gary.

Saturday afternoon - Conley Resort

Instead of taking notes, I took my camera -- and just enjoyed the beautiful weather (wasn't rain predicted? Thanks, Thor) and the company of Mark and Roger. Conley's is Mark's home course; he even works there part-time for golf privileges. So I had a real "native guide". Don't remember much craziness in our group, so there isn't much of a writeup of the round.

Perhaps the most memorable moment was Roger's par on #18. That's a hard hole: 180 yards straight into a strong wind, with water all the way to the green. I don't think any of the other RSGers parred it. Roger hit it to the right-front fringe and got up and down. Pretty good for the oldest golfer on the trip.

Sunday morning - Lindenwood

Ah, Lindenwood! This is the course that keeps us coming back. In the past, we've given it the full Friday, playing all 27 holes when it was not a crowded weekend. This time it was Sunday, resulting in a slow round and only 18 holes played. But it is a wonderful course, and still well worth the ride. I played this round with Joe Dean and Steve Metzler.
Mark, thanks for making the arrangements and inviting us. It was great!

Photo Album

Click on thumbnail for full-size photo.

Our host greets us at Conley's

Playing by headlight on Conley's 18th

Bill Hogsett practices putting...

... while Brent Hutto gets a short-game demo from Terry Easton

Mark and Roger Georg, Thor, Joe Dean, and Fred Stluka wait to tee off at Conley's

Brent watches Bill's ball at the first tee at Conleys'

Bill returns the favor

Gary Hayenga tees off

The lovely seventh hole at Conley's, a downhill par-5. Theoretically reachable

Steve Metzler chips at Conley's 18th green, a long par-3 over water

Grace and Mark at dinner Saturday

Joe and Steve sun themselves while waiting for the fairway to clear at Lindenwood

The 18th hole at Lindenwood, a long par-5 in a river valley; the river has to be crossed twice
. . .

Dave Tutelman / Wayside, New Jersey /

Last modified on 29 april 2003 15:03:42