First Tee Program benefits from Rookery tournament

November 23, 2012

Butch Holtzclaw is almost the perfect host. The Rookery’s head golf professional hosted the public course annual Pro-Am Tournament Nov. 15, benefiting the First Tee Program in Delaware. According to Holtzclaw, the weather on the Rookery’s South Course was “a little cold and windy, but a good time was had by all.”

My definition of the perfect host requires someone to make sure that a good time is actually had by all, so Holtzclaw meets that part of the equation.

The truly perfect host, however, graciously finds a way to come in well behind most participants.

By that definition, Holtzclaw came close.

Among the golf pros playing in their own individual gross category, Rick McCall took first place with a 5-under par 66. Holtzclaw came in second, three strokes back.

Jared Goslee finished third at one-under par, while Mike Rushin took fourth place with an even par finish.

The other participating golf pros finished as follows: Brooks Massey, 74; John Wallett, 75; Devon Peterson, 76; Dale Loeslein, 77; Chris Osberg, 78; Tony Hollerback, 82; and Mike Connor, 85.

The pro-am team competition combined the best ball gross score of one member of each foursome for each hole with the best ball net score of that player’s partners. That format is a nice way to keep from relying on a single golfer having a great day all by his lonesome.

First-place team honors, with a combined 127 score, went to McCall, Bob Scala, Bill Ryon and Dan Rowles.

The second-place team finished only two strokes back and included Holtzclaw, Dave Denman, Mike Lee and Jamie Davis.

Coming in second in both the individual and team categories is a very nice gesture toward being the perfect host. I am sure Holtzclaw’s professional playing competitors will be happy to see him work a little harder on reaching the highest level of hosting perfection when he hosts the First Tee Program’s Pro-Am next year.

This year’s tournament raised more than $3,000 for the First Tee, which attempts to teach core values and healthy habits to its young participants. The core values include honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. The healthy habits include guidance in nutrition, success in school and maintaining good relationships with others.

If you would like to contribute to the First Tee Program for Delaware, contact Holtzclaw at the Rookery, 302-684-3000 or, or check out the program’s website at

Temper, temper

A recent Ruling of the Day at the United States Golf Association website explains that there is a price to be paid for openly expressing how one truly feels about the state of one’s golf game.

In the example discussed, a player’s approach shot toward the green goes past the green and up to the edge of a nearby pond. Thoroughly annoyed, the unthinking but angry golfer picks up his ball and throws it into the lake, where it can’t be recovered.

The golfer then calms down enough to place a new golf ball where the original one laid before he tossed it. Naturally, this being a USGA rules situation, he then holes out on his next shot.

The next question is to determine the effect of the sudden temper tantrum.

An official note to Rule 18 (Ball Moved, Deflected or Stopped) states, "If a ball to be replaced under this rule is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted." That note can’t apply here, however, because the player’s own actions caused the ball to become irrecoverable.

Therefore, in match play, the player loses the hole under Rule 15 for the improper substitution of his golf ball.

If the tantrum took place in stroke play, however, the player incurs the general penalty of two strokes for incorrectly substituting a ball.

There’s no additional penalty, except for watching that nice hole-out shot fail to make up for a moment of blind fury.