The Keepers Match Play is a season long haul, four months of grueling individual matches in three divisions based on handicap range. It is a simple formula, win and move on. By the end of August the Augusta, Bethpage Black, and Pebble Beach divisions had all seen their share of nail biters and extra hole matches but it eventually came down to a Final Three to play for the koveted, quasi-Wedgewood, Keepers Match Play Trophy.
In the bracket championship matches in August, Howie “The Quiet Assassin” Stein edged out Marc “Fine Grind” Birnbaum in the Augusta Division. Paul “Pablo” Cohen took out Marc “The Bronx Bomber” Fink in the Bethpage Black Division. Barry “How Did I Get Here” Minkoff outlasted Ronnie “Clean and Green” Greenbaum to win the Pebble Beach Division. So the stage was now set for the Keepers Match Play-Final Three in early September.
This titanic struggle was played on the North Course on a steamy day as an Almost Skins 5-3-1 Match Format where the best net score on a hole earns the player 5 points, second best net score 3 points, and not so best net score 1 point. Total points for the 18 holes is the Match Play Champion for 2019.
Bountiful Kash Sweeps, a bunch of Keepers Kup Points, and the slick trophy were on the line today. The course conditions were a bit soft and the greens, by North Course standards, were disarmingly slow. This was a two-edged sword, the downhill putts did not trundle six to eight feet by as they will do on any given Sunday and the uphill putts often left the guys with a nerve racking, furry five-footer which never seemed to have enough enthusiasm to go in.
It was obvious from the opening holes that he who made putts won big points and he who missed putts would be disappearing in the rear view mirror. Barry picked up his new moniker, “Mr. Klutch”, when he bagged a 25-footer across the 3rd green to make an unlikely par-net-birdie to grab the lead for the first time. Against all historical precedence, he never relinquished that advantage the rest of the way.
There was plenty of parrying the rest of the front nine but lack of consistent putting kept any of them from establishing a sizeable advantage. There were two balls in regulation on both 6 and 7 but there were only two pars to show for it. Howie hit a monster drive on 8 to about 75 yards and put a lawn dart to three feet to make the only natural birdie on the front side. But 9 rendered a full house-a bogey, a double, and a triple-with more sloppy green side play. At the halfway point Barry led 31 to 25 and 25 for the other two.
The inward nine started with a flicker of hope for the Silent Assassin as he made the Sportcenter Top Ten with an unbelievable recovery from the face of the cross bunker on #10, hitting it to 18 feet and draining the putt for another birdie to pull within 2 points of the lead.
But Pablo was having none of this, he laced a drive to center, an approach to the back on the 11th green and two putted for a winning par to get himself to just one point behind.
Mr. Klutch used the advantage tee on 12 to his advantage and followed a massive drive with a steady hybrid approach and two putts for a 4 net 3 to reclaim a 4 point advantage.
Two three-putts on 13 after hitting the putting surface and a gaggle of net bogies on 14 left the spreads pretty much as they were. More shadow boxing on 15 and 16 and the match moved to the pivotal 17th Tee with all kompetitors within 5 points-Barry 50-Howie 49-Paul 45. Stroking on both of the final holes Barry and Paul had to feel pretty good about things, but then there is that little wet penalty area that fronts the green that would have to be contended with. The plot lines and neck lines were thickening.
Pablo was the first to strike following a solid drive to 105 out on 17 and heeded advice of counsel to hit his short iron safely 35 feet behind the dangerous front right pin. Knowing a 4 for 3 was in the offing, Howie hit the shot of the inward half when he stuck his 85-yard approach 7 feet behind the cup making a natural birdie a real possibility. Barry hit his approach in the water but but from a drop some 75 yards out he kovered the flag to 3 feet to steal a bogey net par which would earn him some valuable points. Pablo handled the downhill approach putt to kick-in range and when Howie failed to convert his birdie putt the three were off to the final tee with the score line: Mr. Klutch 52-Q.A. 51-Pablo (a.k.a. Yosemite Sam) 50.
This is where Barry solidified the new moniker, he smashed his tee ball from the forward tee to 125 in the left Billy grass and then carefully managed his approach to the front right fringe 75 feet from the hole. Both of his kompetitors foozled at least one shot on the way to the green and by the time the putting was to transpire Barry was sitting 5 feet above the hole with only a two-putt needed for the bogey-net-par which would seal the deal. True to form Barry turned to me at this point and said, “At least I am not coming in third”. Now that is konfidence for you.
The rest is history, Mr. Klutch did indeed make the net par to win the final hole outright.
Game-Set-and Match with 57 points.
Kongratulations to all three guys….it was a spirited and feisty afternoon of golf and a deserving champion emerged.
The final takeaways from this year’s Keepers Match Play were:
1st Place Barry Minkoff-(57) Points $300 Kash Sweeps and 200 Kup Points and the Match Play Trophy
2nd Place Howie Stein-(54) Points $200 Kash Sweeps and 100 Kup Points
3rd Place Paul Cohen-(51) Points $100 Kash Sweeps and 50 Kup Points
Tied4th Marc Birnbaum, Marc Fink, and Ronnie Greenbaum $50 Kash Sweeps and 25 Kup Points
Our last Keepers weekday event of the year turned out to be a bit of an existential affair. In Blind Pairs you pick your partner to play a 9-Hole Net Best Ball on the North Course not knowing your opponent until after the play is done.
The arbitrage began over a kook-out dinner when we picked opponents from the Keepers recyclable sack for a hole-by-hole match of cards for hole points (3 for each hole won and 1 for each hole tied).
For an added rub-of-the-green element there were bonus points available to the two balls closest to the pin in regulation on holes 2, 4, 6 and 8 (2 points for the closest and 1 for the second closest). Each teams total of match and bonus points would go toward determining the winners.
Alan Levine and Keith Eig, who shot a net 32 best ball, drew Neal Bobys and Monroe Brett out of the sack, who carded net 38. Once the cards were matched Levine-Eig had won 6 holes outright and tied another for a total of 19 match points. Kaptin Keith’s radar iron play on #2 and #6 added an additional 4 bonus points to give them a total of 23 points for a runaway win over the second place finishers.
A bevy of teams tied for second with 17 points. Howard Postal and Dennis Speisman bested Nathan Greenbaum and Chet Levine 17 to 8. Michael Levy and Yale Kaplan took the legal team of Greenberg and Greenberg 14 to 11 and added 3 bonus points for Michael’s sharpshooting on 8 and Yale’s second closest on 6 to reach the 17 point mark. Allen Schwartz and Rick Brecher got 16 points off of Rusty Minkoff and Billy Burak and added a bonus point for Terp Station’s second closest on #2 for their 17 points. Fifth place with 16 points went to Len Goldman and Moe Dweck who got 15 in their card match with Marc Fink and Arnie Miller and added a bonus with the Mishner’s second closest on the 4th hole.
It did take a while to work through all the kalkulations but by the time dessert spoons were resting komfortably the results were in.
Prizes Per Man:
1st Alan Levine and Keith Eig- 150 Kup Points and $100 Kash Sweeps
T-2nd Howard Postal and Dennis Speisman- 90 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
T-2nd Michael Levy and Yale Kaplan- 90 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
T-2nd Alan Schwartz and Rick Brecher- 90 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
5th Len Goldman and Moe Dweck- 30 Kup Points
Thanks to our Keepers Kroupiers Konnor Farrell and Grant Strawoet for adeptly managing this kompetition and the arbitration of the results.
We had 20 teams of Keepers participate in our Third Annual Pinehurst Glenmorangie, a novel two-man format which blended a bit of Scramble and a hint of Alternate Shot into an original tasteful single malt offering.
Picking their own partners the guys had to hit their drives, swap balls for the second shot, and then pick the best result to play the rest of the way into the hole alternate shot. The objective for the day is low team net and, as in the previous iterations, it would take something in the mid-sixties to be in the money.
This year we put away the crayons and went full Silicon Valley with the state-of-the-art Golf Genius Electronic Scoreboard. Konsidering recent Woodmont escapades with technology this was no small feat.
Playing the New North Course at it’s full volume due to an overnight deluge, the play was very kompetitive with the winning margin being only one shot. Bobby “Jack Lalane” Fogel and Neal “The Nat Kloser” Bobys threw down a net 32 on the front nine and then put the foot to the floor with a net eagle on 11 and a birdie on 12 before finishing birdie-birdie on the last two holes for net 32 on the back on their way to the winning 64.
Finishing second were the duo of Allen “Kortoisone” Zweig and Yale “Ivy League” Kaplan with net 65. They torched the front side with five birdies for a net 31 but lost a little momentum with a net bogie on 13 before kompiling 3 birdies on the back for a net 65 total.
“Kaptin Keith” Eig and Alan “Don’t Mess With Me” Levine had a fine net 68 to take third, followed by Howard “USPS” Postal and Nate “Money” Greenbaum with net 69 for fourth. Two teams tied fifth at Net 70-Artie “Don’t Write Me Off” Aronoff and Daryl “Hall and Oates” Shapiro and Mike “I’m Buying” Selis and Mark “The Historian” Miller.
The Prizes (per man):
1st Place at Net 64 Neal Bobys/Bobby Fogel 300 Kup Points and $100 Kash Sweeps
2nd Place at Net 65 Allen Zweig/Yale Kaplan 200 Kup Points and $50 Kash Sweeps
3rd Place at Net 68 Keith Eig/Alan Levine 150 Kup Points and $25 Kash Sweeps
4th Place at Net 69 Howard Postal/Nate Greenbaum 100 Kup Points
T-5th Place at Net 70 Artie Aronoff/Daryl Shapiro and Mike Selis/Mark Miller 25 Kup Points
Thanks to the 40 guys who participated and to Konnor and his gang administration of today’s event.
The Final Fore of the Keepers Alternate Shot Series was once again a smokey affair which pitted four two-man teams, well stocked with expensive cigars, against each other in a round-robin series of three 9-hole Alternate Shot Matches on the South Course to determine our Keepers Kahootz Champions for 2019.
The kompetitve instincts of the four teams making it into the Final Fore would make for a full afternoon grind to determine the champions. Marc “I have finally settled on a putter” Birnbaum and Howard “I want this kool trophy” Wollner dominated their kompetition in the three week night matches leading going to the Finale with 25 points. Yale “Ivy League” Kaplan and Michael “They love the sexy accent” Levy had 22.5 points to tie for second through the evening matches with the dogged pair of Harry “Stogie II” Harrison and Paul “Pablo” Cohen. Rounding out the Final Fore were Steve “What are we playing for?” Keller and John “Freaky” Friedson with 22 points.
After the first matches on the back of the South Harrison-Cohen took the early lead winning four holes in a row from 13 through 16 to notch a 5.5 to 3.5 win over Kaplan and Levy. The Birnbaum-Wollner vs Keller-Friedson opening match was a total Karch Kiraly affair with them trading holes from start-to-finish before prevailing 5 to 4. There was little momentum for any team going into the second stage of matches.
Turning to the front nine for the second matches Harrison-Cohen ceded the advantage on the first five holes to Birnie and Wolles but proved tough from six through nine scratching out a 4.5 to 4.5 split. Keller-Friedson started slowly as well, losing the first two, but found their keel on holes three through eight squeezing out a 5 to 4 win over Yale and Michael.
With 9 holes left it was anybody’s ball game……..
Harrison-Cohen 10 Birnbaum-Wollner 9 1/2 Keller-Friedson 9 Kaplan-Levy 7 1/2
The final matches returned to the back nine and two closely played matches left the final winner in doubt until the last putt dropped.
Birnbaum-Wollner fought hard against Kaplan-Levy with the match tied through the first seven holes. Fate turned in their favor with a win on the 17th and a half on the final hole that earned them a narrow 5 to 4 match win and the clubhouse lead at 14 1/2 points.
But would it hold up?
Keller-Friedson had ground to make up on the leaders and started out strong winning three of the first four holes to stake a decisive lead and buoy their hopes of taking home the hardware. Harrison-Cohen clung tightly to the wreckage avoiding lost holes from 14 through 17. But by the 18th tee, with the match score at 5 to 3 against them, the realization was at hand that Harrison-Cohen could not win enough points to catch the leaders but they could still be a spoiler in determining the champion. With Keller-Friedson in for bogie on 18, Pablo stoked a par putt that took an eternity and every dimple available on the ball before it tumbled into the cup to win the hole. The 5 to 4 winning result of this match left Doc and Freaky a mere 1/2 a point from a playoff for the title with Birnie and Wolles.
As predicted this turned out to be a three-plus cigar affair and the champions were determined by the narrowest of margins. Hearty congratulations to the Keepers Kahootz Champions.
The Final Fore Tally:
1st Place M. Birnbaum-H. Wollner 14.5 Points $150 Sweeps 150 Kup Points
T-2nd Place H. Harrison-P. Cohen 14 Points $90 Sweeps 90 Kup Points
T-2nd Place S. Keller-J. Friedson 14 Points $90 Sweeps 90 Kup Points
4th Place Y. Kaplan-M. Levy 11.5 Points $50 Sweeps 50 Kup Points
Special thanks to Konnor and staff for their adept administration of the Keepers Alternate Shot Series and these Final Fore Matches.
We had 27 short order chefs participating in this year’s Keepers Flap Jacks on a sultry summer evening on the North Course. Playing this unusual format that uses (2) Best Balls on the Odd Holes and (2) Not So Best Balls on the Even Holes it made sure that all three guys kept their attention on the pile of pancakes.
Top honors for the evening went to Iron Skillet and IHOP who showed the most kulinary kunning shooting 70 to win the team kompetition. Iron Skillet, led by Phil “Squeeze Play” Schulman, Mike “They All Kount” Selis, and Arnie “Fit as a Fiddle” Miller ,dominated the Best Ball holes at 5-under on there way to a winning performance. Through strong individual play of Steve “Latte” Lerman, Artie “Smoothie” Aronoff, and Ronnie “Frappe” Rosenberg, posting individual net scores of 35, 34, and 37 respectively, IHOP matched the winning total to share in the first prize points and kash sweeps.
Tied third at 71 were Team Huddle House-Jimmy “Short Order” Polsky, Larry “Kool Hand” Jacobs, and “Marquee” Mark Miller-and Team Dennys-with the brothers Don and Michael Fisher and Brian “No Violation” Fein.
In the Players Pool Kash Game of individual Low Net it was Mark Miller and Mike Selis tied first with Net 33 getting $40 each and Billy Burak and Artie Aronoff with Net 34’s tied third getting $20 each. We added another $110 to our Military Contributions for the end of the year thanks to the participation of 23 guys in this game.
Today’s Keepers Beat The Pro pitted 48 Keepers against the Thursday U.S. Open scores from Pebble Beach of some of the world’s finest flat bellies in a man-on-man, no-holds-barred kompetition. Separated into American and National League Divisions by handicap range, the Keepers got 110% handicap on the South Course in a Stableford Scoring format where they gleaned 3 points for each hole they won and 1 point for each hole they tied. Seasoned pros like McIlroy, Rahm, Koepka, Garcia, and DeChambeau are still smarting from the experience.
In the American League Division Bobby “Jack Lalanne” Fogel put on a performance for the ages scoring 30 points against two-time reigning U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka. At 80 years young, the ageless wonder had 4 pars in 5 holes on the outward half shooting a gross 40. He backed it up with four more pars between 11 and 15 and threw in a natural birdie on the finishing hole winning 6 out of the last 8 holes on his way to a bookend 40 on the back nine. Bobby got 300 valuable Keepers Kup Points and $100 in Kash Sweeps shooting a dominating 80 off the Blue/Green Combo Tees on the zoysia.
Finishing second alone in this division was Alan “Swing Version 3.2 B” Levine who put the ack-acks on Martin “Luftwaffe” Kaymer with 27 points earning 200 Kup Points and $50 in Kash Sweeps. T-3rd were last year’s winner Jim “I Own This Event” Ackerman and Artie “On The Move” Aronoff who carded 25 points each against Brooks Koepka.
In the National League Division it was Bruce “Just Learning The System” Dubinsky who dominated Sergio “I Stink” Garcia shooting gross 42-48-90 on his way to 30 points. Bruce won 6 holes on the front nine to rack up 19 points and backed it up winning 16 and 17 to close out his victory and earn 300 Kup Points and $100 in walk-around sweeps. Eddie “Squeeze Play” Cohen and Arthur “Your Are Gonna Find Out I Can Play” Dubin scored 29 points each on Bryson “The Engineer” DeChambeau and Rory “I Got My Swagger Back” McIlroy for second place honors of 175 Kup Points and $40 Kash Sweeps each.
Thanks to Konnor, Grant, and the rest of the staff who set up and administered this afternoon’s festivities.
Playing under clear skies and in sultry summer conditions this year’s Keepers Kolor War pitted four scavenging squads in a day-long battle for Varmint Supremacy. The day’s event included Short Game Skills, Two-Man Modified Alternate Shot, and Two-Man Net Best Ball kompetitions.
The day began with Short Game Skills at the SID where four guys showed supreme short game wizardry notching 10 points or more. Larry “LJ Kool” Jacobs seemed right at home and was the only one who scored points in each of the four skills. Mike “Who’s Buying” Sellis got 4 points at “Goose Poop” the tight grass pitch and 5 points at the cross country putt “As The Crow Flies” on the way to an 11 point tally. Allen “Pelz” Zweig got 11 points himself including hitting the circle twice at “Deer Tracks” the elusive bunker shot station. Ron “Tex” Hirschel tallied 10 points with a 5-3-2 point combination at “Goose Poop”, ” As The Crow Flies”, and “Howling At The Moon”, the forced carry pitch shot over a bunker. By 9:30 am Team Gooses had 58 points and a kommanding 16-point lead after one session.
But that was not going to last as Team Coyotes turned the kompetition on it’s head with 112 points in the 2-Man Modified Alternate Shot Stage with 20-plus point performances across their entire dance card. Premo 24-point performances from Moe “Up and Down” Dweck and Keith “Nasdaq” Eig (the man has some beta) and Mark A. “Catch Me If You Can” Goldstein and Alan “The Terp Is Back” Schwartz earned them a 20 point advantage over the field after Stage Two. The best performance of this stage was turned in by the duo of Arnie “Power Sticks” Miller and Marc “In Fast Recovery” Fink who got 30 points for Team Crow. The Deer got solid help from Sol “Father of the Mascot” Gordon and Larry “LJ Kool” Jacobs who notched 26 points.
In the final phase, the Two-Man Net Best Ball matches, the Coyotes held the Crows at bay eaking out 96 points with 24 point kontributions from Rick “No Brakes” Brecher and “Willie” Nelson Cohen and an additional 22 from the Dweck-Eig tandem.
When the kalculating was done Team Coyotes won the team kompetition by 25 points with a konvincing 242 total to earn $50 in Kash Sweeps per man. Team Crows finished second with 217 points earning their guys $25 in Kash Sweeps a piece.
The Keepers Kup Points in this event go to the top three individual point performers on each of the Varmint Squads. The lead MVPs got the “understated” MVP Bronze Medallion and 200 Kup Points per man and the second and third place get 100 and 50 Kup points respectively.
Team MVP Results:
Moe Dweck Medallion and 200 Kup Points
Rick Brecher 100 Kup Points
Keith Eig 50 Kup Points
Steve Keller Medallion and 200 Kup Points
Rick Payes and Marc Fink 75 Kup Points Each
Allen Zweig Medallion and 200 Kup Points
Ron Hirschel and Mike Selis 75 Kup Points Each
Larry Jacobs Medallion and 200 Kup Points
Rich Greenberg 100 Kup Points
Sol Gordon 50 Kup Points
The Players 50-50 Kash Raffle generated another $560 toward our year-end Military Charities Donation. Four winning tickets were picked from the Corona Can which yielded $125 for the lucky winner’s grandchildren.
Thanks to all 40 guys who made this year’s Kolor War a success. Special thanks to Konnor Farrell, Grant Strawoet, and Cory Wessellman for preparing the playing fields and shepherding all the varmints throughout the day’s kompetition.
In the face of threatening weather, over 40 Keepers showed up to stage our annual Keepers Pro Schmo with a little help from 8 of their virtual friends. Playing the “New North” the Keepers got to experience the changes to the front nine green complexes that have been under wraps all winter.
Top honors in the National League Division went to Ron “Big Sky” Hirschel who teamed with fiesty Ian Poulter to shoot Net 61 on their better ball. Tied second with Net 62 were Steve “Gordo” Gordon/Jon Rahm and Guy “Parfait” Berliner/Phil Mickelson.
In the American League it was Mike “Not Lew” Selis who carried Kevin Kisner on his back on their way to a shooting Net 62 to win their division. A bit of a traffic jam developed in second place with Net 63 involving Steve “Peleton” Lustig/Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Len “The Plumber” Goldman/Justin Harding, and Bobby “Jack Lalanne” Fogel/Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Fortunately no air bags were deployed.
The Net Pars or Better Kash Game raised the first $350 toward The Keepers year-end military charity donations and paid out some walk around Kash Money to six Keepers who led this kompetition.
Net Pars or Better Payouts:
1st Ron Hirschel 24 Points $100 kash
T-2nd Paul Cohen and Mike Selis 20 Points $75 kash each
T-4th Len Goldman, Sol Gordon, and Rich Greenberg 19 Points $30 kash each
The season ramps up quickly as we move into May with a Four-Club, Kolor War, and the first two of the Alt-Shot Series matches coming your way. Stay tuned for the announcements and sign ups over the next few weeks. Thanks to all who participated in kicking off our 12th Keepers Season.
Some things are worth waiting for but we might have tested the merit of that wisdom. as it took us four months before we finally got the Final Fore of the Keepers Kahootz Alternate Shot Series in the books.
There were four battle tested teams that survived the first three matches in May, June, and July and were still vying for the super kool trophies and a piece of the $750 in sweeps in the final two matches held this month. Points scored in these matches would determine the final order of merit for the prizing.
The contestants for the Final Fore matches were:
Mike “Koach” Fisher and Ronnie “I Am Due” Rosenberg
Randy “Been There Before” Weiss and Mark “M.A.” Goldstein
Len “The Plumber” Goldman and Moe “The Kommish” Dweck
Steve “The Breeze” Lerman and Ron “Slow Glide” Edlavitch
Giving six shots in the first of the Final Fore matches, Fisher and Rosenberg had their work cut out for them. Closely kontested through the first six holes it was 3-3 heading to the 7th Tee. There were no halved holes on the front side, in fact only two halved holes in the entire match.
But Mike and Ronnie started to assert themselves winning 5 of the next 7 holes from 7 to 13 taking kontrol of the match by four points. Two forgetables on 14 and 15 gave Weiss-Goldstein some hope, but some forgetables of their own left them reeling and Fisher and Rosenberg closed out the match 11 to 7, setting a high bar to beat in the other match.
In the second match Lenny and Moe volleyed back and forth with Steve and Ron through the front 8 making the mini-turn up 4 1/2 to 3 1/2. But on the back 10, The Plumber and The Kommish put on a Ham and Egg Routine that would make any Waffle House manager proud as they did not lose a hole the rest of the way.
With two holes to play they needed to will a half and a win to break through the 11 point barrier and snatch the whole kitten kaboodle. That is what they did, grinding out the win 11 1/2 to 6 1/2.
We set a Keepers record with 24 teams, 48 players kompeting in this year’s Alternate Shot Series. This format is fast, furious, and fun and will undoubtedly be back for a fifth iteration next spring. I am sure there are a couple of teams already chomping at the bit for another opportunity to be the Foursomes Champions of The Keepers.
Play for P.I.N.K is one of the biggest annual fund raising events run by the Ladies of Woodmont and the men have shown support for this effort the last two years with a Men’s Play For P.I.N.K. Tournament.
All those participating made a $50 donation to Play for P.I.N.K. which uses the proceeds to support Breast Cancer Research. 40 players participated this year, and The Keepers provided the Kash Sweeps Prizes for the low net scores of the event.
This year’s winner was Mike Selis who shot a 3-Under net score, followed by Kevin Bass who took second at 1-Under. Here is the list of the Kash Sweeps Winners:
1st Place Mike Selis 3-Under $100 Kash Sweeps
2nd Place Kevin Bass 1-Under $70 Kash Sweeps
T-3rd Place Artie Aronoff, Jim Polsky, Sam Werner, and Harry Harrison Even Par $32.50 Kash Sweeps
Thanks to everyone who supported this year’s Men’s Play For P.I.N.K. that raised over $2,000 for this worthy cause.