The second Pacific Hickory Cup was held Jan. 15-16 in Palm Desert, Calif. at the spectacular Shadow Mountain Golf Club designed by Gene Sarazen. This two-day event featured 54 holes of competition in the traditional Ryder Cup-style match play format. Twenty-two players from Arizona and California teamed up to compete in Sunday morning Four-ball (best ball), afternoon Foursomes (alternate shot), and Monday morning singles matches.
The inaugural Pacific Hickory Cup was played at Gearhart between Washington players and a combined team from California and Oregon on July 12-13, 2014.
The event kicked off Saturday night at Kurt and Julie Olsen’s home situated on the par 5 ninth hole. Wonderful food and drink were in store, along with terrific company. Tim Barry, of T. Barry Knickers, was the local dinner guest, and he also found his way to the course to watch some of the competition.
Sunday morning found 22 well-dressed hickory golfers (some sporting Tim Barry’s wonderful gear) chomping at the bit to get in their 36 holes of match play. The morning four-ball went great, but it was the afternoon alternate shot that stole the show. With only two balls in play on each hole, many of the hickory golfers caught up to other play on the course. We soon became groups of eight, though only having four actual golf balls in play. The pace of play was still slightly on the faster side, but with more company and golf talk along with it, a great time was had. As well, there was some urgency to finish up play and return to the clubhouse to watch the last quarter of the Packers playoff game. As for the alternate shot matches, this became the most talked about and enjoyed format. If you have not tried this on your own, you are encouraged to try it and see what you have been missing!
Monday morning’s singles matches were closely contested, with the trophy awaiting the winning team by the 18th green. That trophy, being a lovely glass pitcher filled to the brim with a tasty local brew, was already being hoisted in hearty celebrations. The overall outcome was in doubt until the last group on the course. Believe it or not, the entire weekend’s matches came in at 11 ½ points to each team! The Cup was halved, and both teams and all players were the winners. The event, which was to have been a bi-annual tournament, was so popular with the group that it will likely become an annual contest.
A big thank you again to Kurt and Julie Olsen for hosting the teams at their lovely home for the event dinner. They went above and beyond for us! Also to Tim Barry who was very generous with handing out a great discount to all members of both teams for this Pacific Hickory Cup. We look forward to seeing all the Arizona and California players at next year’s event, scheduled for Jan. 14-15, 2018.