The Still Harts Café Open was held on Saturday, May 27th, 2023 at Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club in Oakham, MA. It was a beautiful day – and we had a great turnout of 110 players. Because we had so many players, we once again had 4 divisions/flights of teams of 6, 7, or 8.
All of the four flights were very competitive. No team won by more than 2 strokes over the second place teams. That’s a testament to the competitiveness the committee is trying to establish (and yes, being on the committee I am a bit biased!).
In the Nicklaus Flight, the win went to the team of Chris Depasse, Rich Dupell, Jim Lovett, and Kristen Depasse with a magnificent 10 under par. That team also had the distinction of the lowest overall score in the tournament. Their team edged out the second place team of Reece McLeod, Ed McLeod, George Fiske, and Jeff Bennett who shot a very good -8.
In the Player Flight, two teams came in tied at -8. Those two teams were that of Fran Lamothe, Joe Nichols, John Wheeler, and Mark Bruso and that of Kevin Paradis, Rich Casault, Paul Boulette, and Deb Durgin. The ensuing playoff ended after one hole, with the victory going to Fran Lamothe’s team.
In the Palmer Flight, the team of Jim Kularski, Peter Davis, Mike Kularski, and Lisa Persson scored a 6 under par, eking out a 1 stroke victory Ken Frazier, Tom Cocker, and Anne Jette (who were playing minus a no-show D player).
In the Daly Flight, the team of Beth Potvin, Tom Orszulak, Jim Lapierre, and Barbara Orszulak edged out two teams by two strokes. The two teams in second place were the team of Mark A. Morin (yes me), Dickie Ford, Kevin Kokansky, and Tony Woodman and the team of Steve Whitman, George Jette, Brandon McEvoy, and Jeff McLeod.
There was only ONE skin won as shown below – congrats to Beth Potvin, Tom Orszulak, Jim Lapierre, and Barbara Orszulak for the Eagle made on the 3rd hole! Additionally, closest to the pin was won by Jim McKeon for his team on the par-3 17th hole at 3′ away!.
The results are below – and click on any of the photos for a bigger image. Congrats to the winners!
The June Tournament is the Toomey-Lovett Classic, scheduled for Saturday June 17th – sign ups are on the Facebook page, as well as physical sign up sheets at Quail Hollow and Still Harts Café. The registration time is 7:30 AM at Quail Hollow. The cut off to sign up will be Saturday, June 10th. Sign up early as possible as we are growing and as I’m sure that you understand that the course cannot handle an infinite number of players.
Lastly, if you have any feedback or comments on this blog post – there is a comment section that you can use below. As I wrote, I will be putting up the next event on Facebook – but if you are not on Facebook and want to sign up, you can use the comment section here. The same cutoff criteria applies, as well as the need to vet any new players (the committee will want to get a good idea of your golf game).
Also, if you want to check out my other hobby posts here in this blog – feel free to do so– my guess is you will be surprised at what you see.
Thanks again to all the players, Still Harts Café for sponsoring, and to Gary and Debbie Donlin, Jim LeBlanc, and all the staff at Quail Hollow who work so hard to make the Tour of the Brookfields possible.
For a listing of all the links that will bring you to a listing of all of the 2023 Tour of the Brookfields results, go to this page.
My blog has always been titled “Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions“. Usually, the vast majority of my posts have been about my miniatures and wargaming hobby activities. For those new to this blog, that’s dealing mostly with toy soldiers and using them in various games. For golf, and especially the Tour of the Brookfields monthly tournaments, I mainly used Facebook to share information and results.
However, last year I had a few issues – such as FB inexplicably pulling down my posts on my page that I ran for the tournaments. The explanation (such as it was) was that the posts or pics “violated community standards”. These included pictures (similar to the ones that you will see below) of golfers and some videos of folks swinging clubs etc. I never got an exact explanation of how “community standards” were violated – despite my objections that I sent to Meta. I want to prevent that going forward – hence using my blog.
This year, I will be using my blog to share tournament results and pictures (I cannot share videos). As not everyone who plays is on Facebook, by my posting information here I can get and share it more widely as you only need the link. I will still use FB for coordination and sign ups, but I will be posting results here. This will give access to everyone who wants to know the results and/or see the photos.
On to the Country Auto Open – which was held on Saturday, April 29th, 2023 at Quail Hollow Golf and Country Club in Oakham, MA. It was a cold and slightly drizzly day – but we had a great turnout of 104 players. Because we had so many players, we went to 4 divisions/flights of teams of 6 or 7. The results are below – click on the photo for a bigger image.
COUNTRY AUTO OPEN RESULTS
Most of the flights were very tight – and the Nicklaus Division went into 3 playoff holes before a tie was declared. Congrats to the teams of Jackson Davis, Jim Wilson, Jake Malin, Bob Tilton and Corey Heyes, JP LeBoeuf, Mike Kularski, and Bernie LaPierre Sr. for enduring the 18 holes and 3 playoff holes as well. As my good friend Bob Tilton is approaching 91 – and played 21 holes – that was something to see. Additionally, this marks the 4th tournament in a row that a team with Bob on it came into the money!
In the Player Division, the team of Kevin Paradis, Tom Foley, Amanda Pierce, and Greg Wypych eked out a 1 stroke victory at -7 over two teams (both the teams of Matt Brown, Dickie Ford, Ed McLeod, Wyatt Alm and that of Leon Wetherell, Ron McCann, Jason Kenney, and Spencer Rice came in at -6).
The team of Chris Smith, Shane Chabot, Brian Egan, and Leo Egan won in the Palmer Division with a -7, giving them a narrow two-stroke victory over the team of Jeremy Moran, Tom Orszulak, Jim LaPierre, and Clayton Rice.
In the Daly Division, the team of Matt Desimone, John Markey, John Davis, and Dick LaPierre at -9 edged out the team of Tom Waugh, Joe Nichols, Dan Foley, and Ed Sanborn by one stroke. That team also had the distinction of the lowest overall score in the tournament.
There were three skins won as shown above – all by winning teams. Additionally, closest to the pin was won by Paul Sanborn for his team on the par-3 17th hole.
I don’t always get a chance to take a number of photos – but here are some to share that I took while everyone was waiting to start (and trying to stay warm).
The next TOB is the Still Harts Café Open and will be on May 27th – with a registration time of 7:30 AM at Quail Hollow. I will put a sign up on Facebook and there will be physical sign up sheets at Quail Hollow and at Still Harts Café in North Brookfield. The cut off to sign up will be Saturday, May 20th.
Lastly, if you have any feedback or comments on this blog post – there is a comment section that you can use below. I will be putting up the next event on Facebook – but if you are not on Facebook and want to sign up, you can use the comment section here. The same cutoff criteria applies, as well as the need to vet any new players (the committee will want to get a good idea of your golf game).
Also, if you want to check out my other hobby posts here – feel free – my guess is you will be surprised at what you see.
Thanks again to all the players, Country Auto for sponsoring, and to Gary and Debbie Donlin, Jim LeBlanc, and all the staff at Quail Hollow (like Tara!) who work so hard to make the Tour of the Brookfields possible.
It’s been a very busy time here at home since my last blog post in early June. Some of you have wondered if I had gone past my expiration date. Rest assured, I, for better or worse, am still on the top side of the fairway (or maybe the rough anyways).
This post will be a bit different than the standard fare I usually offer here. Yes, the title of my blog is “Life, Golf, Miniatures, & Other Distractions”. Too often, however, I neglect everything EXCEPT miniatures here. But as I now have a good deal to share on all of these, well, I guess for once I’ll give equal billing. You see, I have been building my Aztec cityscape. It’s a tabletop wargame set up that needs its own (and probably multiple separate) posts.
That is NOT the subject of this post – you did read the title friend?
No, this time instead, I’ll ramble through each of the aforementioned title topics about “stuff” that has gone on in the last month. I’ll share some hopefully interesting photos and a few observations that will (maybe) make you say wow! Or Hmmm! Or Huzzah! Or WTF? Or a combo? Your choices of course. Chuckling is allowed and strongly encouraged
As its been over a month since my last post, sit back and enjoy – I think that I did for the most part.
This section is dedicated to the more important parts and events of my life – you know, the ones that I don’t usually write about. But they are important – and yes, even more important than minis or golf (oh please don’t make me write that again but it’s true). Most of this section is organized chronologically, but not aligned with the other sections – a lot of this is about family, vacations, and food!
As the pandemic really kept the planet at home, and as I am often remiss each summer in taking my wife to the beach as often as she’d like, I felt that it was important that this year I make an effort – especially as she was to be on vacation – to get her to the beach. Now, she likes Newport, RI, but I’ve always preferred Hampton Beach, NH. And she likes it too by the way – so I’m not a total ass! As her vacation weeks were fixed (I’m always off so no big deal for me), we looked at the calendar and June 28th looked like the only day of her first vacation week that would not be rainy. It also was hot as hell – so, we made the 90 mile trek to the New Hampshire coast.
Now please understand, the water here is truly cold – usually not warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 10 degrees Celsius for you metric types). No Gulf Stream here to warm the water. As this day the air temp was 89 degrees Fahrenheit with a slight breeze (that’s 32 degrees Celsius for you metric types) – it felt like we were in a convection oven even under our umbrella. I took a couple mile walk to get the photos and some exercise and despite sunscreen got a (mild) sunburn and a couple blisters from the hot sand! Amazing to experience such heat with such cold water so close. Yes, I know that it gets hotter in other places (and I’ve lived down South too plus some time in the Sahara), but for us this was really hot. Lynn and I decided to head out for the boardwalk and some old (like us) video games, shade, and a snack, and some shopping. Oh yeah, and especially shade.
After our little saunter along the boardwalk (which was much cooler), we decided to head out and grab dinner. Years before we met, unbeknownst to either us, both of us were aficionados of Brown’s Lobster Pound in nearby Seabrook, NH. We both had gone there since we were kids. It was nice to discover we had that in common when we met, and have been there every time we went through the area. We always get steamers (steamed clams) and lobsters. It’s a BYOB place, so we grabbed a few adult beverages and grabbed a nice spot on the picnic tables inside and waited for our orders.
That was a fun day. The rest of the week was rainy, to include the weekend. On the third of July, we managed to gather to celebrate Buck Surdu’s birthday…ok, we did not do that… 😁 – but we did get in a belated Father’s Day for me, a partial belated birthday for Lynn, and a day early Independence Day celebration. I got some cool gifts and cards! As it was my second Father’s Day celebration without my Dad, it felt better, especially with family.
A week later Lynn and I were again having seafood withdrawals, so we hit a favorite place of ours, Red Crab Juicy Seafood in Worcester, MA (just 10 miles away). It specializes in Cajun seafood.
Ok, enough about food. We have been working on replacing our garage since before the pandemic. It looks like a Dr. Seuss house, only less useful. The previous owner of our house had won the Massachusetts State Lottery back in the 1970’s when it was a $50,000 drawing once a week (now it’s made up of dozens of games and much bigger payouts). He’s long dead now. In any case, my understanding is that with his winnings he bought a new car, one that was too big for his garage. The easy fix for him was to cut off the end of the garage, cut the stringers on the left side, and use scab lumber to extend the garage in both directions. As you will see from the photos below, while his fix lasted his lifetime, it was not going to rival the pyramids.
Now our good friend IRO is converting a carport into a shed using recycled materials, and is doing a FAR better job than was done with this monstrosity. In any case, it needs to go. We knew we wanted to do something extra here as we wanted some entertainment space and a deck to overlook the pond in back. Before the pandemic, we hired an architect, Lasse Aspelin, to design us a new garage with a second floor and a 16′ x 16′ deck, plus a new deck for the back of the house. We now have cleared the Town’s Conservation Commission, Building Inspector, and Zoning Board of Appeals (not going to bore you but that took a long time – over a year), and demolition starts this week. Here is what we are going to build:
It’s a big project, but one that will allow us to fully benefit from our home and property for years to come. Plus, now at least one car can come out of the snow in winter! We have hired Ready Installs of Shrewsbury, MA to do the project – and they are working with subcontractors like Andre Cormier of Cormier & Sons out of Fiskdale, MA.
News Flash!! As I write this post, Andre showed up with the excavator and we are excited! He even might let me take the first whack! Have some preliminary silt protection (for the pond) installed and the power cut to the building, but we are that much closer to starting!
I play golf at least two-three times a week. 18 holes on Tuesday in a scramble format on Tuesdays, 9 holes of medal play on Thursdays, and 18 competitive holes of some type on the weekend either in the club sweeps or a tournament. I have taken a couple of lessons this year and am making some swing changes which is not an easy process. I have also been hitting range balls at least once a week.
In May, I got fitted for new clubs (my last new set was 10 years ago). I got on the launch monitor and was fitted for Ping G425 MAX driver, 3 wood, and 3,4, and 5 hybrids. For irons, Ping 710’s. Basically, I’m brand loyal to Ping. More on that in a bit.
I played in two tournaments – one was a scramble in the monthly “Tour of the Brookfields” on June 19th. I did not lead my team to victory, as we ended up only -4 (67) and 63 won our flight. It was another rainy and cold day too, so a tough scoring day.
On July 1st, I got good news and bad news on my new clubs. The good news is that the G425’s finally arrived. The bad news was that the irons would take until mid-August – remember they were ordered in MAY!!
These new sticks were available for the second tournament, the Member-Member at Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA on July 11th. I played with Dan Befford as a partner. I shot a 96 (net 79) so I felt like I could have done better, but the new clubs were a help. We did not win anything, but we did have a good time.
I decided that based on my last post, where I showed the raid scenario I ran at the Mass Pikemen, that I needed a few things made. Both were fairly easy. The first was a cornfield that could provide some nice tabletop scenery as well as potential Aztec cover. Inspired by Chris Rett’s creation, I stole his HO scale cornfield idea and built one for myself.
I also wanted a few magnets for affixing to my steel figure bases in games of Feudal Patrol™ using my Civilizations Collide supplement for the Spanish Conquest. These would be for situations such as loading the falconet, figures losing a shield or a weapon, or just getting away from the leader for any reason (see below).
On June 26th, I took that game (replete with my new magnets and the cornfield)on the road to Great Stories in Uxbridge, MA. There, I reran my rural “Surprise Raid on Outpost” scenario again.
We had 5 players, and the randomness of the setup put the Tlaxcalan archers on the left flank of the defenders. The Aztecs had better luck this time but still fell short of victory due to their incurring excess casualties. You can see a lot of the pictures of the battle here and here (I was too busy as GM to take more than the one’s below):
As a result of this game, I will be adjusting the victory points and making some “BERSERKER” markers.
I offered a raffle prize from my stash and Ryan won it. I wanted it to have a good home.
There was also a store raffle, and I won – and got my grandaughter the Minnie below!
Lastly, on the miniatures front, I was happy to see a couple of my ideas and posts shared! One was a What a Tanker game shout out (in English) from Naval Gazing, and one was a French post from Small Maya that was dedicated to this blog! Check out these posts! Very nice and thank you!!
As I wrote, as my cityscape is finished, I will start posting about it!
Ok, I did not know where to put this, but “Other Distractions” seemed to be about right.
I walk a lot for exercise – especially if not a golf day. One of my favorite hats has been a gray “Aussie Chiller” hat that works well for a sunny walk or golf. On a windy day, because it’s one size too big, it can fly off my head in a stiff breeze. I’ve had the hat for several years.
Two days ago, a Sunday golf tournament I was to play in had to be canceled because the course was too wet – we’ve had nearly 5 inches of rain in July and 1.7″ came Saturday night. The weather broke, and I went for a walk with my Aussie Chiller on as the wind was low.
However, during my 5-mile walk, a dump truck drove by and the breeze it made took off my hat perfectly like a frisbee. Unfortunately – this happened as I was walking over the spillway for Lake Lashaway. Helplessly, I watched it land in the torrential spillway’s dead center, never to be seen again.
RIP Aussie Chiller hat.
I did order another one, but as you can see, they are NOT cheap.
Oh well, until next time dear reader – I now have a month of followed blogs to read!!!
But, as always, let me know what you thought of this post! Happy Summer! (OK Happy Winter Aussies!)
Well, yes – a golf post for a change (this blog is titled Life, Golf, Miniatures & Other Distractions after all)!
Please note that normally I would not just post a mundane golf story about myself. So, apologies in advance if I seem to be a bit self-focused here. I would not want to be too narcissistic, but some background for the reader may help.
I have been playing golf, mostly as a hacker, since I was 12. My late grandfather (who drove an M24 tank in WWII and was a hero of mine) got me started. He was absolutely terrible – he would be lucky to break 110 or even 120 for 18 holes. He did imbue me with a love of the greatest game – and I carry that with me to this day. I still have golf balls of his that I carry in my bag to honor his gift to me.
In the Army, I played when I could, and even joined clubs at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, at Ft. Belvoir, VA, and even the Canadian Forces course at Lahr in Germany. That Canadian course was fun as for one you had CF-18 fighters zooming overhead (quite low) and secondly it was the only place to be able to get Canadian beer like Labatts (the Germans would not allow it to be sold and the US had only American and German beer for sale at the Class VI store). I left the Army in 1992, and I did not play very often until 1998.
At that point I had moved to East Brookfield, MA, and was happy to discover that there was a golf course 0.3 miles away! The first tee was closer to my house than it was to the first green! That was Bay Path Golf Course – and I was a member there for 21 years. I was playing nearly 70 rounds a year (mostly at Bay Path), which is a lot when you consider that our Massachusetts weather is only good for golf from April to October for the most part. I kept a spreadsheet of all my scores, just to track progress and focus on improving. One goal eluded me, that being getting an eagle.
For those of you non-golfers, an eagle (not to be confused with my Eagle Warriors) is a score that is two shots under par. On a par three, it would be a hole-in-one. On a par 4, it would be a 2, etc. At Bay Path, it became a running joke that I had not gotten an eagle, even just from luck. I came close several times, only to be denied. I even hosted a pool for charity where members could bet whether I would get an eagle that year or not. Most all bet “not” by the way. Last year, Bay Path closed (sadly), forcing me to join a new club, Quail Hollow in Oakham, MA. It’s about a 15 minute drive from home. It’s a nice club, but a much more difficult course than Bay Path.
According to my spreadsheet, by last Tuesday, June 9th, 2020, I had taken 115,136 plus strokes since 1999 with never an eagle. That equates to 1,293 rounds – not including any scrambles by the way, So effectively, that’s about 5,172 hours of golf – or 215.5 days of golf! Many birdies, but no eagles!
Even more sadly, play was delayed here because of COVID-19. So while normally I would try to play in March or April, I did not get to play or even practice until late May. My game does not rely on any real talent – it’s based on hard work and practice. I also track my golf progress here for myself on the blog (see the main menu as well). So I had little expectations about early play and knocking off any rust.
There is a group that plays on Tuesdays at Quail that I joined up with called “Pit’s Crew” after the guy that runs it, Pit Caron. We play a 4-man scramble. On June 9th, we approached the 3rd hole, a par-4, 249 yard hole. I was the “B” player, and drove my ball right next to the green on the left fringe – maybe three feet off of it. For me this was a very good result as the fairway is quite narrow and the green is guarded by a deep bunker in the front. I then used my 56 degree wedge and chipped my second shot – it went up, up – it rolled – and plunk, it dropped in nicely!
I was happy that one of my teammates was a fellow former Bay Path golfer, Jim Kularski, who was our “A” man. It was gratifying that he got to see me accomplish something that he knew well that I had been trying to get for so very long. I also had on lucky golf gear from my West Point reunion last year. While it was a scramble, I played the same ball (a found Titleist Pro-V1 that I was using so as not to lose one of my preferred Titleist ProV1X’s), from the same position, so I am counting the eagle as having been my first. After all, at this pace, my next one will be in 2060 when I am 98…
Oh yeah, we also came in first place out of 18 teams.
So here’s some pics (thanks to Jim Kularski for the pictures – again, more to commemorate than to brag – but like I always say – it ain’t braggin’ if ya do it!