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Saturday, June 23, 2018


The tradition continues.

The Annual (and popular) Father-Son Tournament drew a total of 60 teams (including a few who doubled up and played with more than one team). As usual, we had several teams from out of town.
David Dyson and son Corby took first place overall with a crafty 59, and beat four teams by one shot. David also played with son Berek, they shot a 62.

This was the smallest field since 2011, the first year I handled this tournament in my arrival to Friendly Elk City USA, with some of those missing being out of town (the Gunkels had not missed one yet in the last seven years, but this year they were in Florida) and some former and current members who decided to skip it.

I personally had a great time. Usually, I don't play these local events, but have played this with my daughter Paola and husband Jeff as partners, now, this year I played with my grandson Sergio, who isn't a golfer (the way I played, maybe I'm not a golfer either! LOL). We had a great time playing with Ann Cowan & son Michael, who also played with his son Cooper. Thank you to Monica Finnigan from Weatherford for helping me with the scoring and thank you to my sister Chuchina who patiently followed us all 18 holes even though she is not a golfer (never took up the game, so she had never stepped in a sand trap... until this day!)

Here are the Results by Flight (Ties were split, there was not tie breaker):

59 - David - Corbin Dyson
60 - Rusty - Kelsi Wilson
60 - Gary - Luke Phillips
60 - Damon - Brayden Butcher
60 - Jimmy - Andrew Albert0

64 - Bobby - Blake Johnson
64 - Ann - Michael Cowan
64 - Donny Burson - Jacob Chouinard
64 - Bobby Wechsler - Luke Lewallen

66 - Mark Simpson - Sarah Copeland
67 - Chad - Cameron Marcum
67 - Quint - Bryler Nichols
67 - Kelly - Gerron Smith
67 - Jack - Jessica Coody

71 - Tana SMith - Will Malloy
71 - James - James Jr. Porter
71 - Jeff Smoot - Jacob Cupp

74 - Michael - Cooper Cowan
74 - James - Cameron Smithook
74 - Gary Jennings - James Womack
74 - Aaron - Kory Kamphaus

82 - Allen - David Robinson
84 - Justin - Drew Ediger
87 - Terry - Cassie Stone (Falen)

This year's traditional recipients of "Dad-Son Golfing Pictures" were Ann Cowan, David Dyson and Damon Butcher. These are people who make it a habit to play with family/kids outside a tournament.

Pictures: go to Facebook to the link: PhotosFathe'sDay 2018

Monday, May 28, 2018


The 81st Anniversary of the Elk City Golf & Country Club was celebrated on this day with 80 golfers, including a dozen or so veterans, Melvin Fluty (Mark Simpson's father in law), whose five brothers and father were veterans as well, starting with World War I and ending with the Vietnam war (one or the other fought in each of the major wars of the 20th century).

Before the start of the tournament, we had a small ceremony in which Charles Simpson Jr. sang the National Anthem (a beautiful a Capella rendition) while Larry Hudgens, Melvin Fluty and Brad Gilbert raised the American flag over the small canopy that serves as outside eating area and scoring board area.

The field was divided into 4 flights, and the winners were as follows:

1st (62) Keegan Hall - Toby Davis
2nd (63) Aaron Kauk - Rusty Wilson
3rd (63) Mark Fairchild - Andrew Albert
(Tied teams went to a playoff)
Note: ironically, the red sign "YIELD" is behind them... we better "yield" and pay attention when these these two guys are hitting, especially since they both hit it well over 300 yards!)

1st (67) Adam Pennington - Kyle Collier
2nd (68) Jack Coody - UV WIlliamson
2nd (68) Tres Hill - Travis Poole
(Tied teams split winnings)

1st (72) Mike Clinton - Cameron Kerr
2nd (72) Joe Wynn - Charlie Kauk
3rd (72) Mark Simpson - Charles Simpson Jr.

1st (79) Tate Finnell - Keaton Finnell
2nd (79) Brad Gilbert - Mike Proctor
3rd (83) Blake Brewer - Amber Brewer

For more pictures, visit our club's page at http://facebook/elkcitygolf

Saturday, May 19, 2018


This year, the 2018 Member-Guest was moved one week back from normal: usually it is held the Saturday before Mothers' Day, thus, had we kept the same date, it would have been a great day for golf, and, it would have been before the anniversary of the tornado. This year, I'm glad it was after the anniversary of the tornado. There is no special reason, it just felt that those who participated, truly enjoy being members here.
"Anniversary Reunion" May 16-2018

Let's go a few days back to the anniversary of the tornado. We had Channel 5 here, asking questions about the effects of the tornado, recovery, etc. We had a group of people, mostly members, who organized a get-together last Wednesday May 16. I met new people -neighbors who don't play golf who got affected by the tornado. it a reunion, and in some ways, needed to be before the annual members' gathering for a golf tournament.

The change in date also gave us a day in which we had to call the golfers in twice due to dangerous weather close to Elk City. Happily, the storm went around us and it only sprayed a few drops of water with a few scary "noises". I hope it rains tonight... way after the tournament!

I felt that many who played today truly enjoy being members at Elk City Golf & C.C. and wish other had a little more patience, so, I was even going to play in the tournament, but my partner had medical orders that made him cancel. It's okay, we will have another chance, and though it was the smallest field in the Member-Guest since I came to Elk City, it was the "warmest" and most appreciative. In many ways, I can identify with a "connection" to each one of the members who played, and many of the guests, some of whom have been coming for years.

As usual, the tournament was started with a horse race on Friday afternoon, which always brings a crowd. It was won by Ann Cowan and son Michael on the last hole after Michael made a 15 footer that went right in the middle of the hole. Second place belonged to Logan Gore and bother Jonathan who missed from about 13 feet, and third place went to David Scheberger and Kallen Nichols who were eliminated on #8.

The tournament field was divided in three flights while Paul Gunkel, Brad Gilbert and Carter Muncrief expertly grilled hamburgers and pork chops for the participants, right next to the scoreboard placed under the canopy-cart port by the temporary clubhouse. It was a blast, and it was as if everyone who was there, truly enjoyed not having a clubhouse. This was definitely a "club's tournament"... a members tournament.
It was the fourth year in a row that Cameron Bumgarner and Shawn Dunphey from Arizona came to play in the tournament. Come back!

The field was divided in three flights, and the winners were:

1st (57) Aaron Kauk - Bret Matlock
2nd (59) Keegan Hall - Toby Davis
3rd (62) Rusty Wilson - Brandon Engel

1st (67) Blane Short - Adam Pennington (*)
2nd (67) Jeff Smoot - Donny Burson
3rd (68) David Schneberger - Kallen Nichols

1st (72) Jonathan Butcher - Jared Williams
2nd (73) Jeff Rule - Lynn Bailey
3rd (73) Aaron Kamphaus - Don Patterson

More pictures at:

Horse Race: Click Horse Race

Tournament: Click Tournament

Sunday, May 6, 2018


The fourth (third in Elk City) annual Path To Miracles (founded by Jeremy Gray) tournament was a total success. Twenty one teams participated in this fundraiser to keep funding the Path To Miracles project that helps individuals with addictions. So many lives touched by Jeremy Gray and his people, some even played in the tournament, some who have gone through the program and recovered, and some currently in recovering stage.

Prior to tee time, Jeremy spoke about Path To Miracles house, along with Rob's Ranch, where he went to do recovery himself several years back. He finished his presentation with a very sincere and powerful prayer.  Jeremy Gray has outdone himself! When he meets our Maker, He will say "Well Done!"

This year there was plenty to see and talk about, starting with the first shot of the day on #13, where Jeff Donaghey made a Hole in One with a 4 hybrid. A little into the sunlight in the morning, Jeff knew his ball was on line, but did not realize it went in the hole until they got to the green. He played with Michael Cowan, Ann Cowan and Cooper Cowan. (Their team shot a 59)

The twenty one teams were divided into two flights: Top seven teams and ties, and rest of the field.

Here are the results:

"A" Flight:

55 - Doug Gray Auto (Joby Gray, Craig Martin, Rusty Wilson, Brandon Thomas)
55 - Jack's Backbone (Mike Clinton, Heston Brown, Toby Davis)
56 - 3B Pumping (Baylar Barnett, John Harguess, Tate Trotter, Sam Firth)
57 - Blake Johnson (Blake Johnson, Bobby Johnson, Conner Dewitt, Brad Harguess) (*)
58 - Anadarko Dozer (Russ Smith, Ronnie Smith, Rocky Andresen, Natalie Smith)

(*) Blake Johnson's Team score shows 59, but it was an error in posting, the correct score is 57 and it was not corrected before the picture with the score was taken and published.

"B" Flight
60 - Aaron Musick (Aaron Musick, Tanner Underwood, Ryan Hayes, Blake Walker)
61 - Paul Gunkel (Paul Gunkel, Greg Dodson, Kim Jordan, Brad Gilbert)
61 - Remax (Mike Stout, Mike Carlucci, Rony Jones, Justin Ediger
61 - Rob's Ranch (Jason Baldwin, Doug Hayes, Tyler Redburn, Ned Baldwin)
61 - Path To Miracles (Jeremy Gray, Nick Baker, Dusty Davis, Timmy Cummings)

Click Path to Miracles Photo Album to see all pictures of the Tournament

Friday, March 30, 2018


#12 - Golden Bell
Sunday April 1st will be the beginning of Masters week by featuring juniors from all over the nation in their annual "Drive, Chip & Putt" contest. Every time I see this competition I can't help but think what a joy and what a privilege is for these kids and families to go to Augusta National and walk the emerald and most perfectly manicured turf in the world.

The Masters is unique because of many traditions not held in any other tournament, including majors. It is my favorite tournament to watch, and believe it or not, I have many memories of shots that I have seen over the years, and even before that I had the pleasure of visiting Augusta National during the 2014 Masters with several of our members, I already knew every hole by memory just by watching the telecast every Masters since 1972 (at the time, they only showed the last 6 holes, starting sometime in the nineties or late eighties, they starting showing all the holes).
This is the view Phil Mickelson had in 2010 when he hit
a 6 iron to 7 feet for an easy birdie.

For instance, I can't forget the best finish ever for a winner, when Jack Nicklaus shot 33... in the last 10 holes in 1986 to win by one over Greg Norman and Tom Kite. He birdied #9, and then shot 30 on the back nine with a bogey on #12.... There were so many wonderful shots that day, his second to #15 where he made eagle, and his tee shot on #16 where he almost made a hole in one making the gallery go crazy, and of course, the "yes sir!" (Vern Lindquiist) after jack's putt on #17 to take the lead. I litteraly had tears in my eyes!

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player & Arnold Palmer walking to
the first green of the Par-3 Tournament in 2014. It would
be the last time "The Big 3" ever played together.
Or Tiger, on his first round as a professional, he shot a fat 40 on the front nine, then coming back with a 30 on the back, then after shooting 65 on Friday, he took the lead for good and won by 12... over Tom Kite. Then of course, the Masters Committee saw to "Tigerize" the course because Tiger was hitting short irons to all par-5 holes.

Or Phil Mickelson's 6 iron shot from the rough, between the trees on #13 in 2010 to 5 feet on his way to winning (the day before he made eagle on 13 and 14 and lipped out eagle on 15!)

Or last year, Sergio saving par on #13 from "jail" and winning by one.

Or Tiger's chip in on #16 while playing with Chris DiMarco..

Your kids can caddie for you in the Par-3 Tournament
(Phil here sporting those green shoes and belt
that Kuchar made fun of!
Or, or, or...

So many moments!

But the thing that attracts me the most are the traditions that NO OTHER TOURNAMENT HAS! The Champions dinner; Each hole is named after a flower that adorns the fairway or around the green; The "Drive, Chip & Putt"; the Par-3 Tournament (until 2014, the year I went, the Par-3 Tournament's last pairing was Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player); the "water skipping" contest on #16 among the players during the practice rounds; the limited number of tickets sold; the affordable food for spectators; the annual invitation to all past champions to play in the tournament and the invitation to play to those who qualify; the rules to get invited; the amateurs who always get invited (on the first round, the U.S. Amateur Champion always plays with the defending Masters Champion); the "Crow's Nest" where all amateurs stay during the Masters; the secrecy of the purse until it is paid; the courtesy to PGA Professionals who can get in every day during The Masters at no cost (that is how I got in in 2014); And, let's not forget that The Masters
Water color picture of last year's
Champion, Sergio Garcia while
practicing on #9.
Committee has a lottery for about 40 reporters of the hundreds that attend the tournament, and are allowed to play on the "holy grounds" on Monday after the tournament, from the championship tees and with the same hole positions as Sunday. It is said that the best score (some reporters are really good golfers) is 84 (let's put it like this: who is the best golfer who you know in Elk City? I doubt if they could break 80 on that course with the same conditions on Sunday, maybe even 90. These guys are good... just like the TV ad says!

In addition, as the first major of the year, and whoever wins it, not only gets to come back forever, but also becomes an honorary member, and the only one who can pursue the "season's grand-slam" (no one has ever done it in the same calendar year, though Tiger, won the last three majors of 2000 and the 2001 Masters to be the only player ever to hold all four majors in a row). Also, there is a "Champions" Locker Room and a locker room for everyone else.

Previously, Ben Hogan won The Masters, the U.S. Open and The Open (British Open) in 1953 but did not compete in the PGA Championship because his return from Britain conflicted with the date of the PGA Championship, and perhaps also because you had to pay 36 holes a day, and Ben Hogan's legs were not as strong after his 1949 accident.
Jordan Spieth  teeing off on #1 on Par-3
Tournament. Won the Par-3 in 2014, won
the Masters in 2015. 

And then, there is Phil, who had someone make him a pair of green alligator golf shoes with a matching belt, golf bag and wallet. When he came one day to the practice area on Wednesday last year, Matt Kuchar saw him and said, "Wow, Phil! Look at that outfit. What gave you the idea?" Phil answered, "You have to win three green jackets to be able to wear an outfit like this"... Kooch saw him, straight in the eye and said, "I see. I hope I only win two!"

So, let's enjoy Masters week. Pick your player....

Now, back to Elk City... On Saturday morning (April 7), we will have a "Masters" Tournament for members. You will pick 2 players from those who made the cut and add your net score to their Sunday round and see who wins, The winner of each flight (we will have 2 or 3 flights, will get a "Masters Annual", a beautiful book with this year's Masters players, winners, and stories (it usually comes out in September).
My pick? Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.

Below, "The Big-3" tee off at the 2014 Par-3 Tournament

The King... 4 Time Master Champion
1958, 1060, 1962, 1964
7 Total Majors

Jack Nicklaus... 6 Time Master Champion
1963, 1966, 1967, 1972, 1975, 1986
18 Total Majors

Gary Player. 3 Time Masters Champion
1961, 1974, 1978
Nine Total Majors

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


I want to first thank all of our members who continue to support the club during these difficult times. It has been a difficult time for all involved, especially for those who did use the clubhouse often enough before and after their round. We all know its hard to get used to smaller quarters where to have a bite to eat or a drink after your round of golf, or late in the afternoon, just trying to catch up with other members. I know everything possible is being done to restore our social activities. As I published in Facebook earlier in the week, the situation with the insurance company forced us to file suit against Philadelphia Insurance in federal court, while leaving a door open for a quick settlement. We will keep every member posted on the progress. LET'S BE READY FOR A GREAT SPRING AND SUMMER WITH OUR TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE AND DAILY PLAY... NO CLUBHOUSE, BUT WE CAN STILL PLAY THE GAME WE LOVE!

Let's talk about golf!

After watching the tour stop at beautiful Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City, my brother Armando called me (we often call each other "are you watching?") reminded that the USGA and Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews will meet next week to go over the proposed rules changes for 2019.

I often ask: "why do you want to change something that works?"

One of the rules changes of recent is the one that I call the "Tiger Rule", by which the player, after signing an incorrect scorecard, because he had a penalty he didn't know he had, is not disqualified, but assessed a two shot penalty plus the penalty for the rule in breach of. This IS IN CONTRADICTION with the wording of Rule #6, "The Player", which simply says that the player IS RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING THE RULES OF GOLF AND THE RULES OF THE COMPETITION! (in 2013, Tiger took an illegal drop after going in the water on #15, it was unintentional and the observer and referee for the group did not realize until later, nor his caddie or Tiger, he signed an incorrect scorecard, and instead of being disqualified, he was assessed a 2 stroke penalty and was allowed to play the next day, still in contention).

Another change of late is on whether you caused your ball to move before the stroke. Before, it was simply defined as "if you touch anything within a club's length of the ball, and you ground your club and your ball moves, your are deemed to have moved the ball. Add a stroke penalty, replace the ball where it was and go on". Now, it is matter of "judgement": maybe the wind moved it, or maybe the rotation of the earth did, or maybe the lower dimple was not resting on the ground correctly and the ball moved... "NOT FAIR!" Hey, if it moved, it moved and you were right on top of the ball and you should be assessed a penalty stroke, Period.

Now, they want more changes that will not only confuse the rules more, but will give "more breaks" to the players. I'm not in favor of any of the rules changes they are proposing, especially the out of bounds rule.

Anyway, the one change my brother and I discussed, would be simple: How to limit the golf ball, or how to equalize the golf ball for Professional play only, which is "forcing" ("let the shoot 40 under par" he said) architects to design longer and longer courses that need hundreds of thousands of dollars more in land and maintenance, and therefore making golf more expensive to play as a whole!

As he and I discussed our views, he made some great points about other sports. In general, in other sports athletes are rewarded with records: "when Roger Banister broke the 4 minute mile record, no one thought about 'lengthening' the mile" he said. Same with the 100 meter dash, when they broke the 10 second mark, they did not increase the length of the meter. High jump, long jump, swimming, marathon, etc., the distances are the same, and you measure yourself against other athletes in the same exact conditions and distances.

Even team sports have gotten better, in 1999, the NBA league averaged 34.2 field goals per game versus 39.5 in 2017, with a gradual improvement every year. But no one is speaking about lengthening the court or raising the basket. Why is the point average better? Because the athletes are bigger and better. Take any NBA team in last place and the NCAA champion won't have a chance.

So what is different in golf when the courses are getting longer and longer to accommodate new distances the golfers are achieving? The difference is that in those other sports, the only improvement in "equipment" is the human body... maybe the shoes or "friction-less" swimming suits as well, but in golf, the equipment you use is much better, thus, giving an average man or woman, the thrill of hitting the ball better with less effort and less skill. So the answer to me, as with many of the top golfers in golf, is not to lengthen the courses, but to shorten the distance the ball can go... AT LEAST AT THE PROFESSIONAL LEVEL!

I'll give you an example: take for instance a Titleist 917 driver. and a Prov1 ball. In my best day, I will hit it 220 in the air, maybe 240 rolling (my average with roll might be 220 now). Same driver, same ball, my friends Dustin Gunkel and Joby Gray will do 260 carry and 290 with roll. No wonder why they can score in the low 60's so often, when none of our Par-5 holes measure more than 460 yards. Compare that with Tour professionals who can often carry bunkers more than 300 yards away!

Now, instead of a Prov1, let's use a Titleist Tour Professional (Balata Wound): our distances would be much closer. They would lose 30 yards or so in carry and I would lose about 15. Use clubs of 30 years ago, and we are talking they would outfdrive me by 10-20 yards a the most, which would return us to a game of golf where they would still beat me, but, I think our scores would be much closer, because now we would rely on THE SOUL OF THE GAME: the scoring game (think Walter Hagen, Phil Mickelson, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger, distance was less of a factor than their imagination, excellent iron play and putting games).

Clubhead speed and solidness of contact is everything! And there is no comparison between the average golfer, even the better club professional and even less, with the PGA Tour players.

In comparison, 30 years ago, tour players still hit the balls 40-50 yards longer than the rest of us, Jack Nicklaus could easily hit the ball 280+ yards in carry (I saw it in person), and we amateurs or club pros, were happy with a 250 yard drive (it felt like 300), roll included; and while some hit it farther than others, as it should be, it was the rest of their game and consistency that made a difference. Otherwise, why would senior amateur players use a ball not legal under USGA Rules? Because it goes longer! Some of my fellow senior golfers do that for daily play... and it is okay with me!

Here is an example you would visualize well: twenty PGA Club Professionals make it into the PGA Championship every year. Any one of those club professionals can easily beat 99.9% of all amateurs alive. Yet, we, PGA Professionals, are very happy when one or two of the twenty make the cut, more often than not, none! When the TV Ad of the PGA Tour says, "THESE GUYS ARE GOOD", they mean it!

So, why don't the USGA and Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Scotland, who make rule the game of golf and write the rules, also invite the NCAA and three main Tours (PGA, European and Asian) and come up with a good, sensible, bifurcation of the Rules of Golf by which those who make a living playing golf, start using a ball that gradually goes less far, thus avoiding the perceived need for communities to build golf courses that need to be so long?
At the very least, any new technology that allows the ball to go further, should only be used by amateurs or club professionals. As well, limit the length of a driver on tour to 43 1/2" inches. It'll take a little off the distance as well.

I don't think that it would be financially possible for the professional tours to be forced to use one brand of ball like they do in MLB (Rawlings), NBA (Spalding), NFL (Wilson), or Long Drive Championships where everyone uses the same ball....

But it might be just possible, to rule that a golf ball for tour players must not have more than 3 layers (some balls have 5 layers) and limit the number of dimples. Each ball made by the company they have signed for. Jordan, Dustin and Justin and the new young players would still excel, and golf courses would not have to be any longer than now, and would be cheaper!