Gutty players keep hickory spirit strong in Wisconsin
Organizers at the Wisconsin Gutty Challenge have a great time, but they also remember a keen friend of hickory golf – the late Mike Just, owner of Louisville Golf. Each year, tournament organizers present three first-place traveling trophies that are exact replicas of the Keeper of the Spirit trophy presented to Just in 2016. Lynn Just was with her husband for that presentation.
Lynn addressed the 2017 participants via a very moving email read to the group before play on the first day. Her email is reprinted below the photos and the scoring table.
The players came from multiple states: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, with several first-time gutty players.
The event was contested between rainstorms and hot humid weather. To ease matters, the format was changed from tee times to a shotgun start. On the first day, we set out in groups of three and finished in about three hours. On day two, the pairings were groups of two and play was completed in two and one half hours. Finishing together provided more time for conversation, the club exchange, and food.
Steve Simer repeated as Open Champion for the third consecutive year. In second was first-time gutty player Rob Retzlaff. Our Senior Champion is Bill (Ernie) Ernst, followed by a man with many gutty titles of his own, Tom Johnson. The Super Senior Champion is Ken Holz and Dan Norstedt finished second in this division. Full results below.
The 2018 dates for the Wisconsin Gutty Challenge Championship are July 19-21, the same week as The Open Championship.
The email from Lynn Just:
Hope you all had great rounds this weekend.
I wanted to let you all know that Michael thought the absolute world of all of you. This honor you gave him was beyond anything that he could have ever imagined. He never thought of himself as the Keeper of the Spirit but just of someone who loved the game and all that was a part of it! And, especially of the people he got to meet through the game.
It has been sad this summer – not going to tournaments and seeing everyone. You all were so kind and have been kind to us – I miss this so much.
I have to share with you all that my kids are arguing over which one of them with get the Keeper of the Spirit trophy! Of course, Rachel thinks she should get it because she went to the Golf Collectors shows with him. Ben, being the oldest, thinks he should have everything! And, Emily, the middle, is just waiting to walk away with the trophy while the others are debating, hoping no one will notice! That sounds fairly normal, doesn’t it?
I am eager to hear who will be the next recipient – I know he will have to be a special person to be so honored. Please let me know who it is – hopefully, I will see him (and you all) at French Lick in September.
I truly believe that all of you are Keepers of the Spirit – every time you put on those knickers, pull out one of those beautiful clubs, whether original or reproductions, tee up and take a beautiful swing.
I always told Michael that he had to “know things in his heart” – that is what I hope you all do when I say you are all Keepers of the Spirit.
P.S. I am certain I did not properly thank each of you if you made a donation to the Society of Hickory Golfers – I didn’t have addresses to send my thanks. Please know that all was so appreciated.