A Week In The Desert Golfing With The Boys…

 

I just returned from my annual March golf trip in Arizona with a few friends, and the

results are in.  We usually go this time of year simply because the weather is absolutely

perfect and the courses are in pristine condition.  The four man event had 5 participants

this year, as we had Nick join us for a couple days and a man we will nickname “Petch”

played the last 4 days with us.  The 3 participants who played everyday were a guy we

will call Canoli, and the infamous Saki of the Florida club throwing fame, and myself.

The 3 of us make up most of the road trips, and others are always sprinkled in.  The fun

began at our home course in the Desert, the immaculate Phoenician Golf Resort.  It is

simply as good as it gets in terms of luxury accommodations, condition of the golf course,

and the way the staff treats all its guests.  The Director of Golf at this Scottsdale treasure is

a gentleman named Kevin Betts.  Kevin’s staff is always very accommodating and has

gotten to know us over the last 10 years.  When we arrived on Wednesday, one of the golf

professionals laughed and said, “you guys are famous out here, 36 or more holes a day

for a week straight.”  We didn’t fly 6 hours to go shopping at the mall, we came to compete

on the golf course!

We played 45 holes on day 1, figuring we should really loosen up and get our swings

primed for the long week ahead.  The Phoenician has 3 separate 9 hole courses, which

provides for all kinds of holes, mountain vistas, water hazards, etc.  We played there

on Wednesday and Thursday, always followed by a great dinner at Claim Jumper.  We

aren’t picky, we eat at the same 2-3 restaurants every year because when we find some-

thing we like, we stick with it.  On Friday, Canoli got us onto the exclusive Phoenix

Country Club, one of the nicer private courses in AZ.  After Friday’s rounds we drove

to the airport to drop off Nick for his flight back to CT, and to pick up Petch who just

landed to begin his stay with us.  This is pretty much where the story really takes shape.

For a couple months, our large Greek friend Saki {who should be commended for his

recent dramatic, non-surgical?, weight loss} has been talking trash that he and Canoli

were going to whip up on myself and Petch in team matches.  Petch and I accepted their

offer of a week long team match and decided all we could do is just try to somehow compete.

It should also be noted here that Canoli has also gone through a tremendous weight

loss recently and he looks as good as he has in years.  So it is the weight loss champions

versus two guys who can easily be called overweight but don’t mind competing.  Game on!

 

Saturday we were back playing Phoenician, and the match was back and forth, with both

teams making big putts at crucial stages.  Petch managed to get up and down for par

from all over the Desert, and Saki and Canoli ended up the losers of round 1.  We had a

nice lunch up on the outdoor balcony before teeing it up again for round 2.  Canoli started

out hot and played perhaps his best round of the week, making birdies and pars all over

the front nine.  Then Saki got into the act on the back 9, making some clutch putts and

the bad guys killed the good guys in this round.  I again had no answer, and was now

struggling mightily with my driver which is normally the strong part of my game.  We

ate dinner quickly has we were headed to go see Johnny Mac play for the Diamondbacks

in a spring training game vs. the Mariners.  Mac left us 4 tickets in the new stadium

that the Diamondbacks share with the Rockies for Spring Training.  What a facility, we

had great seats and the ballpark was incredible.  Mac went 1-2 and made a couple great

plays at 2nd base.  We made arrangements to have dinner the following night as we

were all very tired from a long day.

On Sunday we decided we “only” wanted to play 27 holes so we teed off at noon, allowing

us to sleep in a bit.  We went out to breakfast, had a few laughs there trying to figure out

how to cure Saki’s mental breakdowns on the course, trying to figure a way for me to

hit the driver more than a hundred yards, making fun of Canoli’s propensity to gag a

good round away with a series of shanks and chips on the back 9, and for the love of

God imploring Petch to HIT THE BALL ALREADY!!  Sunday’s rounds went the same

as Saturday with us winning the first match of 18 holes, then the bad guys winning the

emergency 9 match handily.  This day was all about pride, as neither of us was paying

for dinner as that honor was going to be bestowed upon our buddy Mac.  Back when

he signed his latest contract, I happened to be at lunch with Saki and my good pal John

Henry.  All 3 of us have been friends with Johnny for a while, so when he told us about

the contract he signed we first all congratulated him.  Then we told him we were going

to celebrate by letting him take us out to dinner when we come out in March!!  That’s

what good friends are for, we wanted to make sure we kept him grounded so we abused

him for some Filet Mignon’s, more appetizers than we could eat in 3 days, along with a

couple desserts that we certainly didn’t need.  To his credit, he didn’t flinch as he knew

this day was coming.  One of his buddies stopped by to hang out with us for a while,

former UCONN standout and Cleveland Indian pitcher Charlie Nagy, who is now the

pitching coach for the D-Backs.  We had a great night, the food was incredible and the

friendly insults were flying all night.

On Monday we played a new course to our Rota called Quintero Golf Club.  It was a

mountain course, which played very tough for us.  If you missed left, right, short, or

long chances were that you weren’t finding your ball.  That was a problem for the boys.

I was 5 down on the front nine in my individual match with Canoli until he decided to

have some kind of meltdown and let me win the final 3 holes to claim the match.  As a

team Petch and I drilled Canoli and Saki, as we lost Saki for a while as he had to tend to

the precious metals market.  After the round we got in the car and headed to Arizona

State’s Course-ASU Karsten, named after the founder of Ping.  This course is a real treat,

the 9th and 18th holes play side by side on either side of a lake, staring right at Sun Devil

Football Stadium.  The holes are separated by huge moguls so as to appear like all the

holes are spaced out much more than they are.  This match was a back and forth affair

with Petch clearly carrying my team for the most part.  This is where Mickelson played

his college golf, and where he famously can skip a ball off the water and onto the green

on the par 3 16th hole.  I politely chunked 2 in the water and called it a day on that hole.

We squeaked out the match on 18, when Saki got a very bad break on the 18th hole when

his ball landed near the green and somehow bounced backward into the water.  You can

just imagine how pleased he was to find that out when he arrived at the green.

For our final rounds on Tuesday we ventured back to our old stomping grounds at

Ocotillo Resort.  This place is just magical, has 27 holes of which 22 or 23 have water

in play on them.  The homes surrounding this place are priceless, and the course is

always in great condition.  We played an alternating team game where you have a

different partner on each hole.  Saki played great, shot 78 and 75, followed by Petch

who tossed a 78 in as well.  I didn’t have it again, but somehow managed to win the

event because I kept getting the partner who was making birdies.  I’d rather be lucky

than good.

All in all, we had a great trip and now we are all safely back home getting back to the

real world.  Their weren’t too many dustups amongst friends, which can happen when

you are together that long.  I encourage all who love to golf to get on a buddy trip soon,

you always need good road men with you so pick your travel partners carefully.  Its

not just about the golf, its about the way you eat, how late you stay up at night, bust

each others chops, in our case relentlessly.  We would be in a restaurant or at a golf course

and people would laugh or look at us like how can they be friends, that guys just told the other

guy he is the worst golfer he has ever seen!  Canoli has been my roommate on all road trips for about 8-9

years now, we never break up because we are both pretty simple:  put the TV on and crash, who cares

about lights off, tv can be on all night, etc.  Ok, so there is the quick recap of the trip

which ended up not being so quick after all.

4 responses to “A Week In The Desert Golfing With The Boys…”

  1. Shawn says:

    There are a lot of missing stories and “dustups among friends” according ton some reports. Lop lop? Mental break downs, silent treatments? I like to read all the chapters of a book please.

    • buscettosports says:

      There may have been some silent treatment between Canoli and Saki after Canoli began to struggle with his game. That is between them.

  2. Shawn says:

    I was referring to the silent treatment that happens when u go into cold stone and just concentrate on the task at hand.

  3. JHK says:

    I appreciate the stories…always great to hear. I have played with Canoli a few times..but I am like the “unknown girlfriend” whom he only takes out in bad weather. Great to hear that Saki has righted the ship and will not be playing Tennis anytime soon! Ahh..yes the Cold Stone adventure…other than sleeping..its the only other time that there is no talking amongst “Friends”!

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