Hello from the Illinois Valley Country Club!
It’s been a few weeks since my last column as the paper doesn’t have room for us for Christmas because of the kids’ letters to Santa and then Year In Review so no room for the golf course news–waaaah. Then they take New Years off and I got out of sync and missed deadlines for another week, but, much to my dear readers’ chagrin, here I am back again!
A couple things in town that recently happened–
The Plaid Pantry opened after little fanfare and a pretty amazing timeline from groundbreaking to opening day. It probably helped that the owner flew his helicopter out here most days to check on progress, we watched him come and land while we were about on #2 and watched as he took off toward home while we finished #8 or maybe #9. I brought Ashton and Greyson down for the first day of business and they were impressed by the new candy racks. They didn’t move from there so didn’t get to see the rest of the store. It is nice and clean and looks very much like their other stores. There were upper management there on the first few days, the new help had that “deer in the headlights” look as they worked around credit card machines not quite ready, supervisors’ approving large bills, not quite knowing where the extra change pouch was and the other things that happen on those first few days. Looks like the gas pumps are open now but no gas war out here in Cave Junction just yet!
Some huge rain storms swept through town in the past few weeks, flooding Taylor’s County Store basement and further stalling progress on the remodel. The golf course had a island green, like Coeur d’Alene Idaho, but no way around the new pond to the next hole. Luckily, JV Culbertson and the founders of the course had lived in the Illinois Valley long enough to know how much rainfall we can experience in a winter and so built the course with run-off planned. We were able to get out there the very next day and play skins in the bright sunshine and didn’t fight hardly any standing water on the roads nor in the fairways. It’s amazing but #3 green is actually dry enough to be fast but responsive to decent chip shots as well.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve both went by very well with a bunch of parties, afternoons of golf and a bit of whiskey for relaxed golfers on sunny afternoons. The weather has been conducive to growing grass and filling in fairways, which are responding to the fertilizer we applied in the late Fall. Places that formerly had just clumps of drought-resistant fescue are now filled in and you don’t have to jit jit jit jit jitter along, teeth chattering, beer spilling and clubs bouncing out of the cart as we used to cross those areas. We have just a few places left to finish getting healthy again and the whole course will be filled back in with thick fairways.
Eugene is enjoying some shorter work days this winter, a bit lonely but he does have football and golf on the TV. Bryson, his 5 year old son is a constant companion in the pro shop with him and an eager companion to any kids who come down with parents. We will get even with Eugene when the weather turns nice and daylight savings time is over. Much thanks to Graham for his help in getting carts out and helping to man the cash register as we get into those many really really long Spring and Summer days.
Skins have been going along nicely, we shortened our starting time from 5:30 to 4:30 to 3:30 and clear to 2:30 in the shortest days of winter. We are now back to 3:00 and soon hope to attract more guys as we head toward 4:00 so that they can make it out in the evening after work.
We played on New Year’s Eve at noon and had 8 guys show up. Todd, James, Danny, Graham, Graham’s Dad James, Jesse, Colby and myself came out. James hit two long long shots on #11 and was even with the green after only 2 shots, chipping for Eagle. He put the ball very close and settled for a birdie and the first skin. Me and Todd both had birdie putts on #12, Todd left his shy, I had a very long putt that hit the pin, causing me a mini stroke but it lipped out for a tie. On the KP hole #13, Colby hit his but it spun backward off the front edge. James hit the pin from 60 feet but the ball didn’t drop. I chipped really close and made my putt to tie Colby. On #15 there were 7 great drives, mostly in the fairway. Seven guys also hit the green to putt for birdie. Danny sunk his birdie putt, leaving only James O (Graham’s Dad) to save the skin from Danny. He lines up and the drama builds, everyone hoping that he will tie but not too concerned because Danny is due for a skin. The putt comes right up to the hole and somehow manages to do a little dance and scoot just by–Danny gets the skin. On #16, me, Todd and James are on and putting for par. Todd and James somehow manage to fake misses and let me take the par for skin. On #17 Todd puts one on pretty close for the KP. We all putted and then hoped that the green’s surface would be bumpy enough to throw his putt off–nope, he makes the birdie putt to secure the KP and a skin. And finally on #18, the last putt of the year, James O (Graham’s Dad) is on and fairly close and makes the Old Guys proud with a birdie and the last putt and skin of the year. We met up at the clubhouse and shared a drink with some new and old friends and definitely good company, looking forward to a new year of good company and mediocre golf.
And today, Monday, Graham called a skins match in the slight drizzle. Todd of course showed up, Danny and Isaiah as well and Roland finally showed back up to brave the warm, drizzly rain. Isaiah reports that he doesn’t remember who got skins where because he couldn’t think from the raindrops hitting him on the top of his head but he had a birdie putt that he made on #2, only to have Graham (James O’s son) chip one in from 80 feet. Then, on #9 he made another birdie only to have Todd (Graham’s friend) chip one in from about 75 feet. I met up with Isaiah at Pappy’s and he showed me his damp clothes to prove he had been out there “enjoying” the afternoon.
Coming up this weekend–our first early early spring tournament. Please call the clubhouse at 592-3151 to sign up for some crazy thing that we will determine once we figure it out.
Also, remember that kids 17 and under always play for free at IVCC !!