Fat Man Chop


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Fat Man Chop

  1. 1. BANDON DUNES 2008
  2. 2. On the Bus
  3. 3. After 12 hours on the road (including the requisite Wesselian detour), the boys check in to the Lodge. Crofton and Wessel study the weather forecast intently.
  4. 4. It was, of course, a matter of minutes until the first poker game broke out. Note the bedtime absence of Grampa Wong.
  5. 5. Up and at ‘em for round one at Pacific Dunes. Note that Wong looks decidedly cheerier this morning.
  6. 6. The valiant but bootless quest for some game plays out its sorry and desperate charade on the rockpile.
  7. 7. Newly 40, birthday boy Big J strikes the first blow in anger on the #1 tee at Pacific Dunes. In doing so, he sets a high standard for the “Fat Man Chop”, soon to be emulated by all and sundry.
  8. 8. Wongtonamo, prepared for category 3 rainstorms, stands on the third tee. Note two things: the ocean in the background beckons, and Mark looks pretty happy to be there.
  9. 9. The approach to #3 at Pacific. This green was impossible to putt. It almost made one forget about the ocean looming behind the knolls.
  10. 10. The fourth hole is pretty cool.
  11. 11. Sorry for all the pictures of Pete. I played in his group a lot. And this happens to be good shot. Unlike the one he is about to hit. In fact, just pretend funny hat boy is not in the frame, and imagine yourself here.
  12. 12. There, that’s better. We’ve left the tee, and this is looking back. This hole might be the most spectacular part of the property. The second day we played here, the winds were blustering in from an unusual westerly angle, with the sea churning up 20-25 foot swells. We found the woman who works the snack shack standing out on this promontory awestruck by a view she sees every day. I love this place. Y’all coming with me next year?
  13. 13. Still on #4, Big J contemplates life, the universe, and everything.
  14. 14. Meece.
  15. 15. Back to back par threes, numbers 10 and 11 at Pacific, make for another breathtaking part of the course. Here is the tenth from green level. Note the scruffy bunkers in the background; they front the eleventh green.
  16. 16. The Champ on the tenth tee. I’ll take a wild guess; he’s hitting a D-wedge.
  17. 17. The trek to the green. So y’all coming next year?
  18. 18. Told you you’d see those bunkers again. Number 11 from just ahead of the tee-box.
  19. 19. The Wong side of the knob on #11.
  20. 20. Same hole, from behind the green. Crofton, about to play a hook into the wind, is visible on the tee in the background. Where’d the scruffy bunkers go? The magic of world class design.
  21. 21. Rainbow in the distance, Champ (who likes rainbows. And George Michael.) lets ‘er fly on 13.
  22. 22. A magical place. (Thirteen fairway from fourteen tee. )
  23. 23. Well, it’s been at least 22 hours since the last poker game. Best head down to the Bunker Bar. Scotch anyone? Cigar? Game of nine-ball? Change the channel? Apart from the two dudes at the bar who stayed for an hour or so, we had the run of this place for two nights. Alex, the barman, took to calling us in the pub asking if we were coming down tonight. And did we need another bottle of Lagavulin.
  24. 24. Morning coffees in tow, the fellas shake the cobwebs to tackle Bandon Dunes.
  25. 25. Like Pacific Dunes, the third at Bandon is a par five with a subtle introduction to the ocean in the distance. Crofton surveys, glad he doesn’t play a fade.
  26. 26. As promised, #4 doglegs right, and the approach plays to the ocean, exposed to the elements.
  27. 27. Bandon Dunes has no shortage of seaside holes. In fact, six of the green complexes reside on the clifftop. Below is my attempt at an artistic vista. Kev would go crazy here with his random golf course artifacts photos.
  28. 28. Big J on #6, demonstrating how to pull out of the Fat Man Chop with a chicken wing.
  29. 29. Wonger owned Bandon #6, playing it twice in 5 total strokes, the second time in 50 mph winds and horizontal hail. More on this later.
  30. 30. The pictures say it all. And Wong adds the exclamation point.
  31. 31. Warning: steer clear of the bunkers. Below, Wessel tries to extricate himself from The Bunker of Death. It’s his own fault. The hole of the day from Dec 9 said, “avoid the 18 foot deep bunker left-front of the green at all costs.” On the tee box about 7 minutes prior to this picture, Big J said, “Whatever you do, don’t go in the bunker.” By some miracle, Pete, who lies one on the par four, makes bogey – one he would later admit as one of his top-three bogeys ever.
  32. 32. Stay out of the bunkers
  33. 33. And if the bunkers don’t get you, other peril awaits. Ask Dean.
  34. 34. Like everything except the golf, the clubhouse is understated. No spa, no valet parking, no chandeliers, no theme-uniformed bag boys. Oh, and no freebies. Legend has it they made Arnold Palmer pay greens fees.
  35. 35. Number 16 at Bandon is the signature hole. It plays into the howling winter winds, as evidenced by the Michelin Man effect on our clothes.
  36. 36. A bemused Young Crofton seems unsure how to tackle the gale in his face on 16. Note the split fairway behind him. It was about 200 yds to carry the gorse and find the spacious left side. But that was a dubious choice in the conditions. The two-putt par I made here was maybe my best hole of the 81 we played.
  37. 37. One of my favourite photos. View back to 16 tee from left side of split fairway.
  38. 38. I know, I know, it’s Wessel again, but it’s a dang good photo, no?
  39. 39. Putting out on 16.
  40. 40. Sixteen green and seventeen tee, from the same direction. A beautiful and desolate part of the course.
  41. 41. Crofton adds ‘em up.
  42. 42. Of the four full rounds we played, rain was a non- issue. Occasional squalls maybe, but no big deal. However, when we decided to push for more on the solstice day, Old Man Winter sent his regards. Howling winds, driving sleet and hail, and freezing temperatures soaked one and all. Here, Champ and I are trying to dry out our pants. Or, in Pete’s case, pant.
  43. 43. Are we having fun yet?
  44. 44. No weak sister, Bandon Trails is a world class course on its own. Mostly forest and meadow, Trails is a true Pacific Northwest track. Wong drives over the entrance road on number three, par five.
  45. 45. Number five is a nifty little par three with a killer green. We spent about 20 minutes on this green trying all kinds of goofy up and down contests – most of which were well nigh impossible.
  46. 46. Deano hitting it stiff.
  47. 47. Trails has a different feel. More pastoral, serene. We played it last, on the same day we were to return, and I kinda regret the timing. It felt like the course didn’t get its due. We stretched out our last round to nearly six hours, but I felt the fellas thought it anticlimactic. Obviously, it can’t compete with the scenery of its seaside cousins, but I think it to be an outstanding test, and at least the second best course on the property.
  48. 48. Classic Bandon Trails hole – number 13 par four. Wonger prepares to hit his approach to a huge, slopy green, with trouble long and BIG trouble right (in the form of The Boy’s Bunker. He fell in it last year.)
  49. 49. Wonger plays out, and climbs out, of The Boy’s Bunker.
  50. 50. The tee shot on the Hole of Death. Six guys, best score was a bogey. 315 yd par four. Fairway slopes from left to hell, and the sliver of a green perches menacingly on a precipice. Hit it left off the tee, and pray you hit the green with your wedge. Take three putts and walk away quietly.
  51. 51. Geoffrey hits the final putt(s) of the trip.
  52. 52. Back to reality, Wong and Jeff pause outside Carl’s Jr. during a respite from a long, harrowing, and snowy ride home.
  53. 53. SEE YOU NEXT YEAR 2009