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Caddying Holiday in Seattle

Mark has a wonderful weekend at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge

Posted Aug 31, 2011 by Mark's Kaddy Korner

I can only think of one better week this year and we posted a “W” Sunday at Des Moines. The folks perched on Snoqualmie Ridge, all the quaint burgs and Seattle area residents turned out in droves for the Boeing Classic lining the steep hillsides surrounding the sloping, narrow fairways designed by some Nicklaus guy. The TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge overlooks waterfalls, snowcapped mountains, deep wooded ravines with deer, elk and black bear roaming close by.

Tuesday evening while walking the course I almost had a doe eating from my hand between 11 green and 12 tee. Wendy walked the back nine with me after we explored downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market. What a wonderful day after the long haul from New York. The fresh air, peaceful nature, laid-back lifestyle in the Northwest was the prescription after a long week in the Northeast hustle and bustle. My blood pressure dropped and sinus infection cleared up after a couple of days.

I’ve been coming to Seattle since the mid-90s and the Champions Tour has been playing Snoqualmie Ridge for 7-8 years. Our first year the course wasn’t quite ready and we heard a lot of locals in Fall City’s Last Frontier Saloon and the watering holes of North Bend bitching about losing their precious hunting grounds on “The Ridge”. Tournament director Michelle DeLancy, with all her crew, the support from Boeing and Catherine Kennebeck with Virginia Mason Medical Centers has made The Boeing Classic a caddy and player favorite. It was a tough schedule fit this year but the tournament drew a very strong field.

Every day the tournament staff and volunteers were right there if we needed anything. The caddy tent overlooking the practice tee provided catered meals, a couple of cushy couches, smiling volunteers looking after us and a table full of luscious red licorice, Oberto’s beef jerky, donuts, cashews and health bars. I avoided the donuts but stuffed my caddy bib with jerky every time I walked by. Happy caddies, happy players make a great tournament and the Boeing Classic might be the best this year.

We had a couple of shaky teams in the pro-ams with long pockets and short arms but they were a lot of fun. On Sunday, when we picked up our bibs, there were two gift certificates waiting for us, $200 from Amazon and a $50 Starbucks card, from the tournament sponsors Virginia Mason Medical Centers. It’s really nice having our efforts recognized by the tournaments, if someone would follow most caddies around they’d see we do a lot more than work for our player; we’re here to support the Champions Tour and each event.

We had late tee times going off both tees and it left more time for a little night life with some local friends and a couple long hikes in the mountains. Snoqualmie is a cart course so I had a little more energy left each day after the round. Burger night at the Last Frontier Saloon Tuesday night, a hike up Rattlesnake Ridge Wednesday evening after a local, Dean Patterman, owner of a little nine hole course Cascade, showed us the way and a couple of great dinners at the Riverbend Café in North Bend. There was also a scrumptious crunchy French toast breakfast at the Roadhouse in Fall City, steak night at the Frontier Thursday and a cookout Saturday night along the Raging River at my good friends Storm and Joe King. The retired longshoreman grilled a masterpiece and it’s always great getting together with old friends.

Friday nights are usually reserved for the Champions Tour Fellowship, church without the church stuff, and this week we had a special treat, an inspirational golf movie premiere, “Seven Days in Utopia” starring Robert Duvall and Lucas Black. There were over a hundred players, caddies and families at the old North Bend theatre. The reviews were excellent the next day on the range and I highly recommend you see the movie coming out September 2nd.

Snoqualmie Ridge doesn’t fit Bob’s game but he played steady and putted his butt off this weekend. We didn’t make a lot of birdies, and if we’d have played the five pars half way decent we might have won, but he got it up and down from everywhere dropping quite a few 6-8 footers for par. Saturday and Sunday we were in the last few groups which is always fun and exciting. Saturday we were paired with “Calc”, the eventual winner, but he struggled on the front nine. There were a few quiet expletives, a club slam against the cart and a sarcastic read of a short putt on ten before he got going. He played the back nine 5 under and said, “Sometimes you just have to bitch a little bit.” When we walked off 18 after his eagle putt, I shook his hand and whispered, “Looks like the bitching helped, good luck tomorrow.” Mark’s a quiet, good ol’ boy and my brother’s first bag when he started back in the early eighties.

Whoever was in charge of weather should get a raise; it was absolutely the best week I’ve ever spent in the Snoqualmie area. It must be the fresh, clean air that makes the folks so friendly out here. The last two weeks have been on the opposite ends of the spectrum and the T5 finish earned a nice check moving us into 30th place on the money list.

Bob had friends, our Pebble Beach partner, Austin, kids and grandkids following us over the weekend. He’d gather up the grandkids in the cart occasionally during the round with smiles beaming everywhere. The kids loved it, he thoroughly enjoyed their company and the crowds got a big kick out of the family show. His laid back attitude was similar to Des Moines and I think that has a lot to do with the tournament atmosphere, small town venues with folks who sincerely support the event.

Relaxed is a great way to play golf and we need that to qualify for the Tour Championship. There are two weeks off before heading to Korea and only four tournaments remaining before the finale, we need a little rally in the late innings.

- Mark Huber

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