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
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.
- Number 12 is a short (120-yard) par-3 with a steeply sloped green.
On the tee Brent announced, "I'm calling my shot! I'm putting it on the green
below the hole, for stress-free putting." He then pushed it right into the
tall trees. It rattled around a bit (hit at least two trees), then popped
out of the treetops toward the green. It stopped on the green, about 10 feet
below the hole. Brent claimed he called it, but we insisted that you have
to say if you're intending a bank shot.
- One of the best holes of the weekend is the dramatic downhill par-5
thirteenth, with a good-sized lake between the fairway and the green. Absolutely
gorgeous; I was sorry I didn't have my camera on the course that day. Several
of us (myself included) drowned a ball in the lake, but still had a wonderful
time playing a wonderful hole.
- Number 18 is a short (potentially drivable) par-4 with a tee shot over
- Our threesome turned in all pars on that hole, the only time we did
- Mine was a wet par. My skyed tee shot rolled back into the lake,
but I dropped, put a nine-iron on the green, and made the par putt.
- Fred chipped in for a "par". It took considerable urging from several
of us and two stroke recounts before he admitted it was a birdie. (BTW, Fred
must have had about seven birdies over the weekend. I saw at least three
- Thor had to call in to work this morning. Seems it was his project's
turn to hear about layoffs, and he wanted to know if he still had a job.
He did! BTW, Lucent refers to layoffs as a "Force Management Program" (as
in work-Force). Some wag in the group suggested it conveyed the message,
"May the force be without you!"
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.
- Thor can absolutely launch drives. Mark, Fred, and I were very
pleased when we could get it out somewhere near his ball. I had a generally
good driving round, and was close to Thor's drive a very satisfying number
- The fourth hole has a pond in front of the small, shallow green, and
bunkers behind. I may be the only golfer that ever hit across that pond
three times without getting wet. My approach shot bounced off the
green into the bunker. I caught all ball from my lie in the bunker; it carried
not just over the green, but over the pond as well. I was left with a much
trickier repeat of the approach shot, because of a severe downhill lie. I
was also left huffing and puffing; the pond extends a long way left and right,
and it was a long run -- yes, I jogged -- around it to my ball and back.
(There was a group behind watching us; I didn't want to hold them up any
more than necessary.) This time, I got it to land softly enough so I was
putting. Walking to the next tee, I said to Thor, "Well, that was an aerobic
- The eighth hole is an island green, set in a hollow among tall trees.
Beautiful hole, even though the ambience is temporarily marred by grading
they are doing nearby on the nine that is currently closed.
- Number 12 also has a lake in front of the green. Fred's approach shot
from the fairway was thin and fast, a real worm-burner; the ball was never
above waist height. It disappeared over the fairway dip down to the lake.
"That's wet!" was the general consensus. As we walked toward the pond:
- Fred said, "Funny, I don't see any ripples."
- Standing on higher ground, I said, "I can see the ball. It's on land,
but you better take off your left shoe."
- As it turned out, it was a few feet from the bank. Fred had a stance,
made the shot, and then made the par putt.
- Do you deny that 13 is an unlucky number? If so, you haven't played
the thirteenth at Krendale's, which we all call "the hole from hell". It
is 400 yards, way uphill then way downhill for a net altitude wash. OB left,
and the trees on the right pinch the landing area for a driver to almost
nothing. If you miss right, you must waste a shot to position yourself for
the approach. It has to be from exactly the right spot or you have no prayer
of hitting the green, and little prayer of even finding your ball after you
attempt the approach. I was low in our group with a double-bogey 6. Thor
was having a match with Mark, and his 7 beat Mark by three. ("But it was
only an 8 on the second ball.")
- Immediately after the hole from hell is a short par-3 with the bunker
from hell. Hard sand. Very deep. Very short front-to-back. And a wall in
back (railroad ties, if I recall -- but anyway, a wall). Together, they assure
that you won't have enough backswing to get the ball as high as it needs
to go. Mark got out of it with a putter -- successfully.
- Thor describes my antics on the final hole as "The Tutelman Tug." The
hole is a 160-yard par-3. Downhill. Massively downhill. Everybody in our
group hit 7-iron there. The thing that made my 7-iron different is the two
Ls -- launched and left. It disappeared over the mound behind the left greenside
bunker. We didn't find it on the steep grass downslope. We didn't see it
immediately in the parking lot either. A more detailed search showed it sitting
about three rows into the parking lot, near a pile of sand waiting to replenish
the bunker. If I had been in the sand, I'm sure my fellow competitors would
have made me hit from there. But I was on the asphalt, so I got a drop. Now
I had to hit from a small grass strip in the middle of the parking lot, over
25 yards of pavement and another 10 of steep uphill rough, to a green that
ran away toward a lake. Amazingly, the high wedge shot landed on the green
and rolled just off; I had a fairly short chip to save par. Unfortunately,
at that point all my good shots had been expended, and I took a double.
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.
- Among the four of us, we were only one over par collectively after
two holes. Seven pars and a bogey. "These guys are good!" But it was mostly
downhll after that. Only one or two other holes that we all parred.
- On the fourth hole, Fred had a solid birdie. I guess he decided he
liked that fairway, because he also played it when we were on the fifth and
eighth holes (the holes on either side of the fourth fairway).
- It was understandable why he played the fourth fairway on the fifth
hole. The two holes were virtually indistinguishable: an elevated tee, long
straight par-5 fairway, and seriously elevated green with the same backstop
- It paid off on the eighth; Fred got another birdie there.
- Fred's tee shot on the fifth was very close to Terry's second shot
on the fourth. The difference was that Fred's ball was on the ground; Terry's
was waist-high in a forsythia bush. Terry did manage to advance it, but he
had to use a left-handed baseball swing.
- On the eighth hole, I hit a "bark hook"; I couldn't duplicate this
shot with a large bucket of tries. I was behind a small (8" diameter) tree,
and needed to hit a low 4-iron as close to the right of it as I could. I
got it a little too close, and the ball just barely skimmed the bark. It
was such a glancing contact that the ball was deflected only a couple of
degrees to the right. But it did pick up a lot of hook spin from the tree,
and turned in a long leftward curve until it came to rest in the left rough,
almost at the green.
- The ninth hole is a 160-yard uphill par-3. But I played it for 215
yards. My tee shot was somewhat short and left, and kicked further left onto
the cart path. At that point, it began rolling back down the hill. It followed
every twist and turn of the path for 55 yards. (Fred paced it off while I
played my long second shot.)
- Gary Hayenga is henceforth to be known as "Bank Shot". On the eleventh
hole, he got a par with more favorable kicks than Beckham. He hooked the
drive way left over the forest, headed inexorably OB. There was a loud woody
crack or two, and the ball came bounding out of the woods onto the fairway.
His next shot was short and right, way downhill of the green. But it hit
the cart path on the fly and jumped up the hill. The second bounce hit a
mound, and was deflected hard left toward the green. By the time it stopped,
the ball was near the fringe, and Gary made the most of it by getting up
- Interestingly, the only two pars on that hole in our group came from
the two that had hit into the trees and been woodenly rejected: Gary and
Fred. Bill and I, who hit long drives down the middle, could only manage
bogeys. For the rest of the back nine, tree trouble seemed to indicate a
par was on the way. I think all of us but Bill had multiple pars on holes
where we hit trees.
- For me, the fourteenth hole was a disaster resulting in a quadruple-bogey
8 -- without benefit of penalty shots or three-putts. I was complaining to
Fred about my "tired swing" -- I hadn't hit a solid shot in three holes..
The complaining must have been good for my game (maybe that's Sponseller's
secret), because I finished:
- Par on #15. Short hole, I know. But you should have seen where I
was after the drive, and the big trees I had to hit my second shot over.
- Par on #16. Yes, the long 550-yard par-5; I was all over the place,
but managed a par. But you should have seen Gary play it perfectly, and almost
make his 5-foot birdie putt.
- Par on #17. Yes, the uphill 220-yard par-3.
- Bogey on #18. Just missed my 10-foot par putt on the 420-yard uphill
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!
- This was the coldest morning of the weekend, at 35°F when we awoke.
Frost everywhere. Windshield-scraping time. But we wore shorts and it paid
off. We played the back nine in the seventies. (That's temperature, not score
- With a few pleasant exceptions, I was hitting big slices with my driver.
That got me into a lot of trouble, and the scores showed it. I had three
stroke-and-distance penalties. Well, technically only two. On #11 I hit a
provisional, but we found my first ball in the woods. By the time I was out
of the woods and up the fairway, I was lying three only 5 feet from my provisional.
So on that one, I played the stroke and distance.
- On the par-3 fourth, we almost managed to lose Joe's tee shot. It wasn't
that bad, but looked like it bounced into the spruces on the left. We even
knew which tree. After looking under and around it for a while, I remembered
that Fred used to shake the spruce branches at Lindenwood and balls would
tumble out, so I started looking higher in the tree. Within seconds, I had
Joe's ball; it was in a branch of the orbivorous tree, at about chest height.
- Joe Dean managed to par the really hard sixth hole. It's the #1 handicap
on the Gold nine, but that doesn't tell the half of it. It's a 400-yard par-4
with a long approach to a steeply elevated green guarded by a lot of sand
in front and below. Joe hit a good drive, then put his approach shot on the
green with a lofted wood. I think that may be the first time I've seen a
par on that hole.
- Fred and I were running a two-man relay with his car keys as the baton.
He was in the group ahead of me. Every time we caught them on the tee (I
did say it was a slow round, didn't I), either I asked
for his car keys or I returned them.
- When we got to the 10th hole (first on the Blue nine; long drive over
a lake, then it bends left uphill forever) we saw Thor hitting
from well up the fairway. Given the trouble facing the drive and the length
of the hole, that's not a terrible place to be in two. But after he hit,
we saw Fred bend down and place something white on the ground where Thor
had been. We figured it out right away. Fred was pinning a note to the ground
with a tee, telling those who followed that Thor had driven it to there.
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
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
Steve Metzler chips at Conley's 18th green, a long par-3 over
Grace and Mark at dinner Saturday
Joe and Steve sun themselves while waiting for the fairway to clear at
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 / email@example.com
Last modified on 29 april 2003 15:03:42