In the year that has passed since the last JSO, the formatting here has become a complete nightmare. But, in the spirit of continuity and making one archive for sports history, I will press on. Hopefully, the three of you can read this without aborting back to your snapchat stories and Tinder matches after a few sentences.
JSO 2016. We’re probably a couple more years away from this melding into Halloween and attempting some adult trick-o-treating after the round. This year we had: Michael Phelps and Woodstock ’94 up there. They prevailed over Santa Claus and G.I. JSO–pictures to follow.
After a well-grilled lunch our day started this year at Phoenixville’s only drive-thru beer distributer. I imagine selling beer in Phoenixville numbs you to reacting to people’s outfits, general states of mind, etc. And, we got absolutely no reaction out of the guys in there. I think only one of them was an actual employee. The others were just hanging out, in lawn chairs, at the drive-thru beer distributer. This is one of the most coveted retirement positions in Phoenixville, I would imagine, along with throwing horse shoes all day, or possibly just hanging around watching football practice. Just in case you wanted an opinion on beer, these guys were available and they have YEARS of experience.
Pickering Valley was very deserted this year. The fear that the course may be closing soon, falling to the siren song of luxury carriage house developers is becoming real. But, by the time we got to the first tee there were some people making the turn and others showing up, so we got a few reactions. One guy had his ~13 year-old son with him, and offered a nervous, “have fun guys.” I imagine there was a long, “don’t be like them when you grow up,” talk on the putting green before they headed out.
Course conditions? About what you’d expect at the Pick. A nice mixture of burnt out areas and soft, spongy greens. A diabolical combination. The legendary green surfaces got the better of me on the very 1st hole as I had what may be the first 360 lip-out in Pickering history. For those unfamiliar with golf you usually need a sharply cut cup, or at least fast greens to achieve one of these. Pickering has…neither. But, the ball spun out none the less, we settled for a halve and I had a fairly ominous outlook from that point on.
My mood after said putt:
Moments later, G.I. JSO and I were on the 2nd tee shotgunning a beer. Rules are rules…but we would take what would be our only lead of the day with a routine par on the 2nd. The remainder of the front nine was played with a Ryder Cup level intensity as the match stayed at all-square through 7 holes. I believe we put in our collective worst effort ever on the inimitable “putters only” 6th hole as double-bogeys were good enough for a halve.
The match turned on the 8th hole when Woodstock ’94 and Phelpsy made a savage eagle despite hitting their tee shot in a pond. I won’t hurt your head trying to explain how that is possible, let’s just say it flustered us enough that we completely filled our drawers on nine and limped into the turn 2-down.
Halfway House order: Grilled Cheese crackers, Peanut Butter Honey Crackers, Traditional Toast-Chee, Chips, 12 Coors Lights, 4 waters, a peanut bar, and “all the hot dogs” (ended up being 4 hot dogs). Our grand total was a 1 transaction record for the woman working the counter. You’re welcome, Pickering! Hope that can sustain you until August, 2017.
The back nine featured both teams absorbing jabs and two great shot points that somehow did not impact the outcome of the holes. The play by 15 had gotten a little rough around the edges as the 2nd group of the day decided to just bypass us and skip ahead. It doesn’t sound bad until you realize that only two groups teed off after us all day.
The shot of the day was struck on 15 by Michael Phelps. Certain holes provide certain advantages for different players at the JSO, such is its charm, and 15 is supposed to be a hole where I have some advantage. You have to play the entire hole with one-club, and as the alleged golfer in the group this is supposed to help me out and in the past I have achieved great success on 15, but not this time around. As I chunked my 8-iron approach, Phelps carved his 3rd on the green and made the 5 (net 4) that pushed the squad back to 2-up. With beer par on deck, and three holes to go, things seemed bleak.
Out of the kindness of his heart, I assume, or maybe there was literally no room for another drop of liquid in his stomach, Michael Phelps opted out of beer par this year and I did a sneaky one around the green that allowed us to get back to 1-down with 2 holes to go. Another thriller unfolds.
For those coming back year after year perhaps you remember that on 17 I hit my tee shot off a water bottle. This year, I hit a stunning drive off the bottle, but before that we wanted to see if I could hit one off JSO’s canteen. Something like this:
End result: The ball ended up on that tee box in front of me, the dented canteen made it about halfway. Hey, you try it after beer par. But, the shot off the bottle went brilliantly, we made a birdie and stayed one behind headed to 18.
Eighteen is the only real hole at Pickering. Par is a good score and we were hoping a par could get us to extra holes. Another playoff? Nope. Woodstock stepped up in his tie-dyed jeans that didn’t fit and calmly (drunkenly?) coaxed in a 3 footer for the tie on the hole and the overall win. Another year in the books.
Once again we’d like to thank Pepperoncini Phoenixville for being the official host of the after party. No Cranberries covers this year, but still that perfect, creepy, festive atmosphere and moderately over-priced “Italian” treats. I’d like to thank my wife for allowing me to participate in all the activities this year while she watched the little denim bundle of joy. And for a parting shot…
We had what has now become the traditional ice cream finish to the evening. Nothing settles the stomach like a sundae or a milkshake. So, we’re at Brown’s Cow, Phoenixville’s old time malt shoppe (author’s license on the extra p), and Phelps says to the young dipper,
“I’m just going talk out loud about what I want and you tell me if it’s possible.” To their credit they did a pretty good job of satisfying the request that included peanut butter swirl ice cream and peanut butter sauce, BUT about halfway through his dish he had to go up and request more peanut butter. You can never have enough.