Michigan V. Wisconsin at Its Best

 

Play on the Irish Course at Whistling Straits over May 8-9.

  It was a Great Lakes Hickory Team Challenge.

   Hickory players from around the Great Lakes – 12 from Michigan, seven from Illinois, 19 from Wisconsin and one from Minnesota – gathered at the famed Whistling Straits Course in Kohler, Wisc., home of the 2016 PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup, to contest for the Great Lakes Hickory Challenge Team Trophy.  A two-day competition starting on Friday at the Irish Course and ending on Saturday at the Straits Course was held.

   Both days featured two-man teams playing Best Ball within a foursome for one point per match. Rain threatened on Friday, but all golfers were treated to a fine mid-70 degree day, with an occasional stiff breeze off a still chilly Lake Michigan that dropped ambient temperatures by 20 degrees. It was an ill wind that blew no good, the Michigan men might have said. For after day one, when the stiff breezes were traded for stiff drinks at a local pub, the scores were tallied to reveal the Badgers with a 6.5 to 1.5 lead over the visiting Wolverines. (Sorry Roger and Dave R., that is the state’s official animal, not the Spartan warrior.) Amiable conversation and golf stories filled the pub for the next few hours.
 
Day One low scores belonged to:
Open Division:                                      Senior Division:
Eric Hjortness – 75                                Hugh Cameron – 79
Tres Steffey – 75                                   Bert Coghill – 82
 
   Day two opened with slightly chillier weather, but weather reports of a northeast wind off the Lake were proved inaccurate. Why, it was a warmish 60-degree day that settled about the tee times, with only a slight breeze, hardly enough to raise an eyebrow among the hardy Lake men, most of whom would have played in light polos were it not for the de rigueur fashions of plus fours, dress shirts, and neckties. Appearances, you know.

   Such was the day when the field began their examination of the crown jewel of the Kohler properties, the Straits Course. Running firmer than the Irish course the previous day, the 6,000-plus layout over hill and dale, among great dunes and over winding paths, challenged each hickory golfer to find his A-game, or at least a string of workable mashies that might find fairway and green. Scores were slightly higher – this is, after all, the select venue for modern golf’s mighty sluggers – but play was much closer in the matches. The Michigan men salvaged egos bruised by their first day thumping by scratching out a brave 5-3 victory; but it was not enough to overcome the day-one lead held by the Wisconsin team, which came home to much cheering, mainly from each other.
 
Day Two medal scores belonged to:
Open Division:                                      Senior Division:
David Guerard – 80                               Bert Coghill – 79 – Medalist for the day
Steve Simer – 84                                  Ed Ronco – 88
 
   The victorious Wisconsin team was led by medalist David Guerard, who bettered Michigan champion Bert Coghill in a scorecard playoff. A two-day total of 161 was a fine showing by both golfers on such competitive layouts. David won the Open Division Champion and Bert Coghill was Senior Champion. Both Divisions played from the same tees measuring just under 6,000 yards. Other winners included:
 
Open Division – Gross                            Senior Division – Gross
1st Place – David Guerard – 161             1st Place – Bert Coghill – 161
2nd Place – Tres Steffey – 164                2nd Place – Hugh Cameron – 168
 
Open Division – Net                                 Senior Division – Net
1st Place – Todd Stevenson – 194/148      1st Place – Ed Ronco – 176/146
2nd Place – Steve Simer      – 171/149      2nd Place – Greg Stringer – 198/148
 
Other Scores by Division were:
 
Open Division:  Day 1/Day 2 – Total       Senior Division:   Day 1/Day 2 – Total
Ryan Jambeau  – 124/109 – 233/175           Bob Bieszka      – 123/114  – 237/172
Marius Kucinas – 115/117 – 232/175           Hugh Cameron  –  79/89    – 168/153
Mark Larsen      – 96 / 100 – 196/155          Bob Caston      – 110/106  – 216/181
Dave Ramos     –  89/107  – 196/157           Bert Coghill       –  82/79    – 161/147
Tom Delaney     –  96/95  –   191/171          Joe Guerard      –  90/94    – 184/149
Ray DeRoche    –  86/102 –  188/158           Bob Henson      – 97/107   – 204/184
Jeff Furnia        – 103/106  – 209/173          Max Hill            – 117/106  – 223/166
Chris Getter       –  98/97    – 195/166         Roger Hill          – 101/96   – 197/158
David Guerard   –  81/80   –  161/143          Dan Norstedt    – 95/109   – 204/168
Jeff Guerard     –  91/103  –  194/165          Bruce Rashke    – 133/137  – 270/213
Ryan Henson    –  89/88    –  177/161          Bob Reheard     – 104/111  – 215/170
Phil Sarge         –  96/106  –  202/173         Ed Ronco         –  88/88    – 176/146
Ted Sarge         –  99/90   –   189/160         Greg Smith       –  98/97    – 195/163
Steve Simer      –  87/84   –   171/149         Greg Stringer    – 91/107   – 198/148
John Slaby       –  93/109  –   202/166         Tim Stroshine    – 106/106  – 212/152
Tres Steffey      –  75/89   –   164/164          Jim Koss          – 96
Todd Stevenson –  94/100   –  194/148   
Zanden Ven Der          – 89
Eric Hjortness             – 75

Links golf along the western shores of Lake Michigan, near Kohler, Wisc.

Good shoes, a light bag, and sturdy legs required. And keep your ball in play.

We thank Jennifer Koss Hansen for the photos. More of her photo gallery may be seen at www.jennkosshansenphotos.com. Click on Menu – Memory Captures, then “2015 Events”, and choose the “Irish Golf” tab. The password to see the gallery is  Hickory   (That’s an uppercase “H”.)