General “Holtz-kopf” Takes Desert Classic by Storm


Darci Breeden and Dick Lee were among those who enjoyed the inaugural Arizona Desert Hickory Classic.

The inaugural Desert Hickory Classic in Arizona drew three dozen gents and one lady (from six different states and Canada) to the Feb. 16-17 event at the Los Caballeros Golf Club in Wickenburg. Event host Ken Holtz was in good form, torching the desert layout for a 161 and a hard-fought three-stroke win over Ernie Ernst who posted a fine 164.

The Championship Division was set up at 6,111 yards with 12 contestants competing. Holtz, former SoHG president, ended the first day tied with Steve Simer from Madison, Wisc., both shooting 82. By the 10th hole on the second day, Ernst had climbed up the leader board and was tied with Holtz… the battle was on. The final three holes proved to Holtz’s favor, who finished the tournament 82/79 with a total of 161 gross. Ernst shot 84/80 for 164 and second place.

First place for the net division went to Simer with San Diego’s Chris McIntyre in second.

The Senior & New To Hickory Division included 25 players (17 of whom had never played hickory clubs before and used the handicap index of their modern equipment). These two divisions played the course at 5644 yards. The Senior first place winner was Chuck McCollum (Rocklin, Calif.) with a 178. Runner-up was Craig Healy (Sun City West, Ariz.) with 189 (taking second in a score card playoff).

Net Senior finishers were Bob Wolfensperger from California in 1st and Hamp Munsey of North Carolina in 2nd.
The New To Hickory Division winners were as follows:
Dan Studley (Sun City West, Ariz.) – 185
Greg Steger (Sun City West, Ariz.) – 189 in a score card playoff.

Net winners for New to Hickory:
Bill Murphy in first and Dave Marriott in second (both of the Sun City West / Surprise, Ariz. area).

Ladies Division champ was Kristen McIntyre who took on the full ladies course at 5,264 yards and posted a two-day gross of 226. Congrats to Kristen!

Finally, we conducted a two-day, two-person best ball event with awards to the winning teams for 1st place gross and 1st place net. Our winning teams were Bill Ernst and Bill Murphy whose 150 total earned first place gross; and Steve Simer and John Hughes who took net honors with 132.

Congrats to all contestants and winners. A recap of winners is posted below.
Plenty of celebration was also consumed by our group including a wonderful hospitality event hosted by Wes and Deborah Channell that featured smoked brisket and ham with all the fixens by Chef Wes. The evening produced great conversation and plenty to drink along with auctions, raffles and door prizes. We even had a good old fashion club swap where cash and clubs exchanged hands.

“I was very pleased to attract so many players that had not played with wooden shafts before,” Holtz said. “They were convinced to play by thinking of it as an ‘experience’ that would be fun to try vs a tournament they were trying to win. It also helped to have the blind two-person best ball event for two days. This way, players were able to sign up with a partner and felt they had someone else to share the experience with and also get past the ‘first time fear factor’.”

Be sure to schedule the AZ Desert Hickory for your 2014 hickory playing experience. If you would like information regarding the AZ Desert Hickory please contact Ken Holtz

Thanks to Paul Tran who posted a slide show of the AZ Desert Classic on YouTube. Here’s the link:

Tour photos and a results table are posted below.