March 20, 2012-By Don Nichols

It was the first day of Spring, and what a beautiful day it was! It was also the first day of the 2012 ATAG season, the combination of which made getting  a spot in the field of 20 players about as difficult as getting a ticket for the Masters. (well, not really, but it was, like the Masters, a case where demand exceeded supply)

To determine who made the prestigious opening day cut, the Commissioner decided to dig deep into the annals of ATAG History and established the following criteria for the initial match of the 2012 season: 1. Number of years on the ATAG Tour  2. Overall Attendance Record  3. Whether one stayed on the porch to socialize as opposed to immediately leaving “due to a prior engagement”  and 4. Whether or not one may have pissed off the Commissioner at some time during any of the prior seasons. (The Commissioner also noted that a few of the “chosen” would not have made the cut if the criteria was based on last year’s attendance record and advised them (they knew who they were) to keep that in mind since there are a lot of newbies eager to take their place.


The first team off and the last team to finish turned in the best score of the day at 10 under but it was the last team of Richard Batelaan, Doug Gooding, David Danzig, and PJ Wade that got the year’s first Golden Ale Trophy by winning the tie breaker hole #6 (thanks to David Danzig’s par-“net eagle”). The sponsor of the day’s award was the “Dead Ass Last” team of Marty Arnold, William Thornton, Jeff Colbath, and Lee Pearson who limped in with the worst score of the day (and year) at 2 under.

FINAL RESULTS: 3-20-2012-Front Nine

Batelaan, Gooding, Danzig, Wade          -10

Healy, Martin, McGlynn, Williamson    -10

Gaddis, Morris, Majors, Nichols              -8

Player, Greene, Sellner, Kohn                   -7

Arnold, Thornton, Colbath, Pearson        -2

The following players earned individual recognition:

BRAD REESE LOW GROSS AWARD:  Lee Pearson  38.  The eight handicapper had one birdie to help offset three bogeys to end up at 2 over for the best score in the Reese-less field but nevertheless found himself buying a beer along with his teammates which, once again, demonstrates that this is a team match.

LOW NET WINNER: Craig Sellner  -3Sellner wins in a 3-way chip off in near darkness with David Danzig and Don Nichols who also finished at 3 under. Nichols lost the toss and went first and proceeded to punch slap the 25 ft attempt from a down hill slope in the rough which landed on the front of the green with enough velocity to continue on way past the hole and off the green. Seeing this, Sellner ( a purpoted 26 handicap)  elected to deftly loft his chip where it landed softly on the front of the green and rolled ever so slowly to about four feet from the pin, elicting applause from the gallery watching above. Undaunted, twenty one handicapper Danzig followed with a similar stroke and watched his ball trickle slowly down and come to rest on the other side of the pin about a foot farther from the hole than Sellner’s ball, enabling a gleeful Sellner to pocket the day’s purse of 21 dollars and become the leading money winner in the clubhouse.

PINK LADY WINNER: Tom Player:  50   This was a real dog fight between Doug Gooding, Mike Gaddis, Danny Morris, and Marty Arnold, each of whom posted uncharasterically high scores of 48, but sculptor/artist Tom Player emerged as the victor by avoiding par and “sculpting” three doubles and one triple into the highest score of the day and pocketing the first Pink Lady of the year.

SHOT OF THE DAYRon Majors who missed a hole in one on the 182 yard hole # 3 by three inches.  (check out the photo in the Gallery, and yes, he made the putt for a natural birdie.) Receiving honorable mention was PJ Wade for his mammoth 315 yard tee shot on # 7 that rolled to the edge of the lake to the shock and awe of his teammates. Didn’t seem to help. He made bogey.

BIRDIE CLUB: An initial deposit of four birdies was made into the 2012 Birdie Club, thanks to the generous contributions of Lee Pearson, Ron Majors, Mike Gaddis, and Richard Batelaan.

COMMISSIONER’S CORNER (Observations Of The Commish)

-It was a happy, boisterous atmosphere on the porch, a lot of energy, and it was obvious that everyone was really glad to be back in the swing of things again, so to speak. The beautiful evening set the stage for a lot of conversation across the tables and most players stayed until 9:30 pm before heading home, having consumed more than their usual amount of post round libations.

Marty Arnold opened the season with where he left off last year– an off color story that was met by low groans from the audience.

-The 3-way chip off created some buzz and excitement as players formed observation towers on both floors of the porch. The buzz was that many of them couldn’t help but notice and comment about the “golf shoes” worn by Craig Sellner–they looked more like a pair of brown docksiders with rubber tread soles topped with a white racing stripe. (check out the photo in the Gallery). He will now be known as “Shoes” Sellner.

-New ATAGer Kieran Quinn made a cameo appearance and joined in with the socializing even though he was one of the eight who received the polite rejection letter from the Commissioner (who recalls these kind of things when it comes down to who is in or out in an oversubscribed field)

-The first Tuesday after Daylight Savings Time has traditionally been the targeted opening day for ATAG, but the last two years that date has conflicted with the annual Commissioner’s Conference in Hilton Head Island, and the Commissioner so notified the entire ATAG roster that the start date would be the following Tuesday. However, without the Commissioner’s knowledge, several vigilante ATAGers attempted to play an unauthorized ATAG match on the traditional Tuesday. Their deceit was rewarded with a downpour rain out after only two holes once Mother Nature noticed the absence of the Commissiner and recognized it to be an unsanctioned ATAG match.

That’s it for Opening Day. Check out the photos in the Gallery and scroll down to see the individual scores from today’s match.

Final Leaderboard: 3-20-2010: Front Nine

Pearson                                              38                                                                                                                             Majors                                                40                                                                                                                             Nichols / Wade                                 42   

Kohn/Martin/Batelaan                     43

Williamson/Danzig                           44

McGlynn                                             45

Sellner/Greene/Healy                        46

Thornton / Colbath                            47

Gooding/Gaddis/Morris/Arnold     48

Player                                                   50



About The Commish

Long time member of the Ansley Golf Club--a career 16 to 18 handicapper whose quest is to become better but never seems to be able to on a consistent basis.
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