La Paloma Country Club only closes the course completely three times a year: the Dove Hunt Member/Guest in November, the Senior Member/Guest in March, and the Ladies Member/Guest in April also know as Cazeria. These are the biggest events of our calendar year.
The least stressful event that I’ve been a part of so far (and to be fair, there have only been two) has been the recently-completed Senior Member/Guest. The tournament is open to all golf members and their guests ages 55 years and older in 2017.
The format is kind of cool too. It’s an Eclectic. In an Eclectic, the Net Best-Ball of each two-man team is recorded on each hole on the first day. On the second day, each player can improve his previous score on any or all of the holes from Day 1. The lowest 18-hole total of the Net Best-Ball on each hole over the two days will be the winner.
For example, if the Net Best-Ball score on Hill No. 5 is a 7 on Day 1 and a 4 on Day 2, then the final score is a 4. If the Net Best-Ball score on Hill No. 6 is a 5 on Day 1 and a 6 on Day 2, then the final score will remain a 5.
It basically gives the members and their partners a chance to improve on the same holes from one day to the next. Each team plays the same courses on Saturday as they did on Friday. There were 18 holes each day with a break for lunch in-between nines.
This year’s two-day field featured 53 teams or 106 players. The Tournament Committee chose a country-western theme with each of the nine flights named after actors, outlaws, or famous cowboys from John Wayne and Butch Cassidy to Gene Autrey and Wyatt Earp.
The winner of each flight was playing for commemorative belt buckles etched with the words “2017 La Paloma Senior Flight Winner.” I have to say, I’m not a huge country-western fan, but these belt buckles were sharp.
The tournament came to an exciting conclusion with a sudden-death playoff from 151 yards out on Hill No. 9 to decide the Billy the Kid Flight. Hill No. 9 has always been a great spectator hole! When the lowest team total scores (no handicaps) couldn’t decide things after three holes, there was a chip-off from just off the green.
With country-western music floating through the breeze in the background and a fairly good-sized gallery gathering on the hill overlooking the green, Greg Reihman’s partner Gerard Schmidtke chipped it to 10’11” to secure the win for his team.
The two not only rode their matching FootJoy pink azalea golf shirts from Friday’s pre-tournament Concept Shop to victory, Schmidtke overcame a pretty serious illness on Day 1 to return to form on Day 2.
While the Dove Hunt was way more exhausting, the Senior Member/Guest was definitely more fun and laid back. The weather was warm, the golf whether good or bad was played quickly, and everyone seemed genuinely happy to be out on the course for two really nice days of play.