Tee Tattler

Hello from the Illinois Valley Country Club golf course!
This past week we met up with 44 good friends and acquaintances in Mesquite, Nev. for a fun pro-am golf tournament. We had people from as far away as Massachusetts, Portland, San Francisco, Eureka and Utah. We played 4 courses plus whatever golf we could fit after the tournament round and before the sun went down. The first day we travelled about 60 miles up the Virgin River and into Utah to a new, 3-year-old course in a place called Hurricane, near St George. The locals tell us that the name of the town is very fitting as the wind blows at hurricane force pretty often with sustained 40 mph and gusts as high as 80 mph. The locals pronounce it “her ih kun,” maybe in an attempt to help soften the wind speed. The course is 18 holes with some of the greenest grass that I’ve seen on a golf course. I played the whole week with Rex Denham and Matt and son Luca Thomas, Paul Miller’s friends from up by Salt Lake. Luca is 15 years old and hits the ball over 350 yards, his dad hits it just a bit shorter, so we had to wait on every hole to hit drives and second shots.
The second day we played the venerable Wolf Creek Golf Course. This 18 hole is rated consistently in the top golf courses in the world for beauty and complicated, interesting holes. All of the grass was flown onto the course by helicopter in rolls and they maintain it meticulously. The #5 is a driveable hole with the green sitting at about 260 yards but to guard the green, you have to hit the ball over a series of sand traps that stretch from about 100 yards and all the way to the green. Rex and I hit perfect drives to the bail-out on the left side of the traps and then waited impatiently while the guys in front of us got finished on the green. Then Luca and Matt went for it, both hitting over the green. Luca chipped up and Matt chipped in for a 2, which is an Eagle! Later on in the day, Matt got on in 2 shots on a long par 5 and sunk a long putt for another eagle, he finished the round at 2 under par for a 70—very impressive for this difficult, complicated course.
Third day we played Conestoga, another “desert” course that winds out and through barren desert, the bright green fairways and greens in such contrast against the sand, rock and rattlesnakes. The second hole is a par three and the teebox sits high above the fairly small green, about 50 feet higher than the green. Rex stepped up with a 9-iron and his swing is so fluid and soft that you think the ball will never make it there but he hits in the sweet spot of the club face so he gets every bit of energy that the club generates. His shot looked to be directly on target and I mentioned that it was going to “rattle the jelly jar”. It took a one foot hop and then a 3 inch hop, hit the pin and dropped into the hole for an ace. The entire course could hear us all scream in amazement. He then got phone calls the rest of the match congratulating him. As part of a hole-in-one, tradition has it that you buy everyone a drink so he sweated it out the rest of the round as to how much his bar tab would be—turns out that everyone chipped in and he was able to tip the server a pretty nice amount.
Tracy and Sue invited me to play evening rounds with them and, as tired as I was, I agreed. Don’t tell anyone, but I played from their tees and made some pretty nice shots-guess it’s not so bad getting old if you get a 75 yard head start!
Tracy and I stayed behind when everyone left to go back home and we traveled to Hoover Dam. I had never seen it before so we took the inside-the-dam tour. If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend it as you get actually go inside the dam, with water and concrete 700 feet above you. At one point we got to shimmy down a vent access tube and look out a vent screen on the downstream side of the dam.
I also found a bit of graffiti from someone who wrote their name on the wall in the access tube from February of 1943, kinda cool.
In local news, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon skins, Danny asked me to invite everyone to play $20 skins since it was so nice out and the weather will likely be going bad soon. Todd got first skin on 1 with a par. Graham birdied #2, then D’Lynn got the lone par on #3. Eugene got KP on #4. Graham hit Danny’s ball accidentally on #5 and everyone let him have the shot but when he sunk the putt for birdie, they penalized him a stroke! Todd sunk a birdie on #6 with a long putt. D’Lynn was the only par on #7. There were 4 people on the green on #8 so Graham says he picked up his ball but nobody sunk a putt so Todd won the skin with a par. And on #9 D’Lynn got the only par for the last skin. Also seen out on the course that afternoon were Rowdy, Jason, Jakob and Kaelyn and me. We also chatted a minute with Jason Lawrence and his Dad who were just finishing as I got to the clubhouse.
And lastly, I got the freeze plugs pulled on the irrigation pumps, a nice feeling of security, then I checked the growth of the newly seeded grass and it looks really pretty. The warm afternoons and cool, damp nights are perfect for growing grass.
*Coming up- we hope to have a Thanksgiving Turkey shoot in the next few weeks—the pretty fall colors make this event extra special.