By Jeff Holt
Published June 16, 2022 in The Burg
Not even a little rain could stop the 2022 Costa Golf Outing on Friday afternoon at the Gibson Woods Golf Course.
Costa veteran teacher Mary Norton, in her 52nd year of teaching, kicked it all off. She arrived an hour early (at noon) in her red and white attire, and set up a table for the free raffle prizes and the 50-50 drawing.
Our team of me, Gary Nelson, John Junk and Robert Nichols were far from the favorites to win it all.
Nelson had not played golf in four years, Junk was just coming off knee surgery and I just don't get to play too much golf. Nichols, meanwhile, still held that title of "ringer" for our team.
I called our Costa group Team Nelly throughout the day. Gary mows yards seven days a week and - with a little bit of rain that day - he did not feel guilty like he should be out mowing.
Nelson joked the entire time. We'd be on our second shot and he'd say, "What do you think (I should use) - my driver?"
But on the back nine, Nelson started to heat up with some great shots and we even broke out a popular song - in the middle of the fairway - by the famous singer Nelly ("It's Getting Hot Out Here") on Youtube from our cell phones. We only played it for 10 or 15 seconds with no rhythm and the worst dance moves. The end result: We hit some booming shots and some of our best shots of the day.
Gary thanked me a couple of times for helping put on the golf event. Above all, we were just glad he could play. Nelly, which is what we all call him, showed us a picture on his cell phone of a new car he had just got his 16-year-old daughter and he said, "She's a good kid."
Nelson was a big help that day for everyone, lining up putts and talking about how the ball was breaking on the greens.
Junk, on that injured knee, did not hit any drives off the tee. He did, though, hit some great chip shots and he drained a couple of long putts. He still had some hilarious one-liners and later said he had a blast.
That's what it was all about!
We just talked about our old Costa days, about former classmates that we tried to contact for the class reunion. Darren McKillip, who now lives in Texas, was one of those old classmates who had planned to come back but just couldn't make it. "Big D" would have been awesome to have been a part of the Costa Golf Outing. Father Deus was another with a last-second obligation who could not play.
Nichols, meanwhile, turned it up a notch on the back nine and we used all his shots for a birdie on No. 16.
He capped off that memorable birdie with a long putt. And as the ball got close to the hole, like it was a big-time tournament on TV with Tiger Woods in his prime, I had to yell out ... "Get in the hole!"
We followed it up with some high-fives!
You just can't beat the team aspect of a best-ball outing, especially for a class reunion with a bunch of friends.
Nichols just loves the game of golf and was often the first one of the group to hit the ball.
Personally, I had the best day of my life with the putter. I made some "lucky" putts that seemed to be a country mile away.
I'll always cherish that day of golf - the final scorecard didn't really matter. Giving away the free door prizes (like large pizzas) made my day, too. Thanks again to the sponsors!
We were far off from winning the 2022 Costa Golf Outing. We even had a couple of bogeys on that day, which is pathetic in a best-ball tournament.
The 18th and final hole at Gibson Woods kind of spoke volumes about our round of golf. We had joked and laughed all day, and then we got a phone call from the Gibson Woods clubhouse.
"Where are you guys at? Everyone's in the clubhouse and they are ready to go."
So, we quickly finished up No. 18 and flew to the clubhouse on our golf carts and gave away a bunch of great prizes. It was awesome!
I'm sure most of you reading this column have played in plenty of best-ball tournaments. What's your best story of a best ball tournament?
* An extra "thanks" to everyone who made it out on Saturday night, too, at the Costa Reunion.