Here’s the recap of our round at the Steel Services’ 4TH annual Customer Appreciation Day Golf Tournament, held at The Club at River Forest, north of Forsyth. Again Phil Rodenbaugh outdid himself with the overwhelming hospitality, and we had a great time. Last year’s Phil’s team won the tourney, so this year he placed with a fellow playing his first round ever. Phil is always thoughtful in pairing the foursomes, last year placing Jeff and I with George, the GM of one of our large customers.
This year he paired us with a former co-worker of mine, Scott Johnston of Olympic Steel. Scott is in the same stage of life as me, with growing kids, though his golf game doesn’t show it as much as mine. He lives in my hometown and his son plays Little League where I did, and I even knew his son’s cross country coach. Spence Lovett, a young salesman for SteelFab in Dublin, also played with us. Darryl and I both were hitting the ball well on the driving range, which is always a bad sign for things to come.
Everyone appreciated the pains Phil took to ensure a shotgun start, and we started on the 4TH hole. On the first tee Phil was greeting all the carts as they drove past to their starting holes. This held up the line of carts just a little, and Charlie’s line “Phil, you’re going to have to be quiet for two minutes!” brought the house down.
The entire course is beautiful and immaculately maintained, and we enjoyed seeing the beautiful houses that line parts of the course. Here are the details of the round…
4TH - par 3…PAR…Scott was the only one to hit it close…just off the green. We all just missed the birdie putt.
5TH - par 4 dogleg left…PAR…Spence put his drive in the fairway, then I was happy to do the same…a straight, low drive down the middle (unfortunately, it was to be my best shot of the day). This gave Scott a chance to really cut loose and he hit a great drive. Spence and I hit good approach shots on the green, and we putted from mine. Again the all the birdie putts were close, but missed.
6TH - par 5 dogleg right…PAR…Darryl and Spence hit good drives, so Scott tried to turn the corner with his, but he missed. Darryl, Spence and I all hit good fairway shots that went right…all rolling off the sloping fairway. Scott hit a long fairway shot all the way to the bunker in front of the green, and he hit a chip just off the green, but none of us could convert the birdie opportunity.
7TH - par 3…BOGEY…Again we relied on Scott, who hit in the greenside bunker. My chip out was ok, but well past the hole, so we used Scott’s chip. Again we all came close…but missed.
8TH - par 4…simple & straight…BIRDIE…Scott hit a long drive and a nice approach to the green. My putts had started to be too strong, after being too weak on the putting green before the round. On most holes I went well past the hole, not even helping my team read the line. Putting second, Spence made the nice birdie putt.
9TH - par 4…green guarded by a lake on the left…PAR…Spence’s drive was in the fairway, but Scott’s was again further. He was also the only one to hit the green. Faced with a tough sidehill putt, Scott had to pull us through by first getting it close and making the par.
10TH - par 5…downhill dogleg left, then over a lake to the green…PAR…after I pulled the cart up too far to the wrong tee box, I promptly hit the cart with my drive. Spence and Darryl hit ok drives to the left that didn’t quite make it through the dogleg. Using another good drive by Scott, Darryl and I hit ok fairway shots, but Spence placed his perfectly…at the bottom of the hill at the base of the lake. Spence hit his approach well past the green and Darryl hit his in the bunker, but I hit a nice shot to the middle of the green. This gave Scott the chance to get it close, and he did. Once again all four of us came close, but missed the birdie putts.
11TH - par 3 with ‘Lion King’ rocks…BIRDIE…Spence’s tee shot hit and rolled back down the hill, and mine landed in the front bunker. Darryl’s tee shot was short, but it hit a rock and bounced high, landing in the center of the green. Going last, Scott made a nice long birdie putt.
12TH - par 4…BIRDIE…this was the long drive hole, so Scott went for it. He hit it long and straight, just about equal to the longest drive of the day. Spence and I hit good chip shots onto the green, and Spence made the birdie putt.
13TH - par 3…PAR…Faced with a very long birdie putt, Darryl, Spence and I did good jobs getting it close, and we saved par.
14TH - par 4 dogleg right downhill to green…PAR…after the three of us flubbed our tee shots, Scott had to play it safe with his. Darryl was the only one to put his approach shot on the green, and we all missed a makeble birdie putt.
15TH - par 4 dogleg left, then over the lake to the green…BOGEY…Scott got his drive in position, close to the water. He and I just missed clearing the lake, but Spence’s approach cleared the water. Scott’s chip landed closer then Darryl’s, but we all missed the putt for par.
16TH - par 3…carry over water…PAR…Spence’s tee shot cleared the lake but was past the green, but Scott hit his just off the fringe. I had hit a weak chip shot on the previous hole, but going first I redeemed myself, chipping it within two inches of the cup.
17TH - par 5 dogleg left to green…BIRDIE…on the tee Scott showed us how one could chip the ball onto the nearby cartpath, and the ball would roll down the hill and continue over the bridge and out on the fairway, as good as the drive I hit last year. Darryl hit a great drive, but it bounced to the base of a large rock. Scott hit another good drive, and wrapped his second shot around the dogleg and onto the green. We had a very long, winding uphill eagle putt, and Scott got it within inches.
18TH - par 4…wide fairway to elevated green….PAR…with a wide fairway in front of us, we all hit it in the trees…but both Darryl and Scott’s drives bounced out. Darryl’s approach was left and mine right, though both were playable. Spence hit his in the front bunker, so we played Scott’s approach just short of the green. He chipped it close, and we made par.
1ST - par 4…fairway narrows close to green…PAR…my tee shot was playable, but Spence hit a perfectly placed drive. Darryl and Spence hit their approach shots close but short, but Scott hit the center of the green. None of us made the long birdie putt.
2ND - par 4 dogleg left…PAR…Darryl hit a playable drive, so Scott hit his drive long. He had hoped it would turn, but it went straight…into the woods. Still, we had a playable shot, and Spence chipped on the green. Darryl put his long birdie putt closest.
3RD - par 5 dogleg left…BIRDIE…Scott ripped his best drive…320 yards! He called his approach shot to the green his best shot of the day. Spence and Darryl both came close with their eagle putts, and we finished the round with a birdie. Our score reflected our day…we hit 13 greens in regulation, but we just failed to make birdie putts.
Scott had to run to make his son’s game. Darryl and I both had our son’s ball practice to make as well, but we dropped by with Spence for a quick visit to the Clubhouse, where we were able to catch up on everyone’s round.