The fall trip to tee off


From the Sidelines
By Mike Stegall

Fall, the prettiest time of year! The air is fresh, the grass is still green, the leaves are turning color, and the humidity is gone. Most people I know enjoy fall the most… to me, however, it just means that cold weather is just around the corner, and I hate cold weather. As my age advances it seems that when it gets below 50 degrees, I freeze to death! I hate cold! Those who love it will say “OH, BUT IT KILLS ALL THE BUGS FOR NEXT YEAR!” Really? Then what in the heck do they make RAID for? One can of Raid may cost $10, but that is gonna be a lot cheaper than your electric or gas bill! Winter… well… it sucks!!

Anyway, enough of that. Fall though is the perfect time to plan a trip. Every year for the past eight or so, myself and between 12 and 20 guys have a golf trip planned by trip coordinator Gary Zechar someplace south! Gary usually has things planned and done a couple months before we leave. This is no ordinary trip, this is what is known as the group called the “Geezer Golfers” or just “Geezers.” As you can tell by the name, we are “elderly GENTLEMEN golfers who uphold the rules, integrity, and dignity of the game”! Ok… I lied! This is a group that just goes down south, plays golf, spends money, makes a little, razzes each other, and has a lot of fun! This year Gary has planned for 12 of us to play golf for 5 days in Santee, South Carolina. I have been checking the weather and it looks like the weather will be in the 70s or more while we are there. This should be just perfect!

What makes these trips special to me is the people. There is never a set group of guys that go, and there are new ones every time. Randy Breaden and myself have gone every year, and this year Dale and Rick Ary will be in our car on the way down. This will be there first time, and I think they will really enjoy it!

One thing I should mention is when I say elderly I mean we are, most of us, up in our 60s plus…(we’ll leave it at that)! We don’t hit is as far as we used to, we don’t putt as great as we used to, but we are much better at lying about how good we used to be! There will be some different games that we will play and the neat part is we will switch the guys up every day and play with someone new. I enjoy that part. There is something about being on a golf course with new people that always sparks great conversations and stories. Usually we will find a watering hole where we can all sit down, enjoy an adult beverage or two, and let Gary and Dave Watts and others figure out the tremendous amounts of money that exchanges hands. It is big! Why, there have been times where a guy has won as much as $15! I should mention that each game costs $7 to enter… but hey, $15 bucks puts you $8 ahead! There is always a putting game where if you 3 putt a hole, it costs you a quarter! At the end then the best putter makes enough to just about buy a beer… maybe… on a good day! Of course there is the obligatory skins game that usually gives the best team that day’s bragging rights. It may sound funny but it is hysterical watching Dave and Gary and some others figure out who wins what! You would think they are dealing with millions of dollars, and when someone wins there $2, $3, or whatever dollars, they are proud people! I know I let everyone know when I win the big bucks! It is just a great time for bragging rights that most know will start all over again tomorrow, at a different course with different guys on your team.

I know longer am the golfer I used to be. I just love the game and playing with my golfing friends makes those 3 to 4 hours so much fun.

We are leaving on a Sunday morning, and each car will take a different path I suppose to get to Santee. Our car is going to play golf on the way down in Laurel Fork, Virginia at the Olde Mill Golf Course. Then, drive to Mt. Airy, North Carolina for the night. We will get up next morning, drive to Santee and play our first course, Lake Marion Golf Club, on the trip. We will all meet at the course and start our new adventure and start making new stories to tell others about. I love it!

As I get older, it is the little things that become more important and make my life so enjoyable; friends, the best family ever, a good cigar, a fine meal, golf, and a wonderful wife (Rosemary) that lets me indulge these things without complaint. I am so fortunate. So, you youngsters out there, start planning a trip, any kind of trip, with friends or family. One that you can look forward to year after year, and you will enjoy something that no one can take from you… and that is precious memories! That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.

Contributing columnist Mike Stegall a 27-year former OHSAA high school football official and current Darke County Commissioner.

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