To say that this group of a few dozen from southeastern Pennsylvania is organized would be an understatement. Some of us struggle to remember our score from a few holes ago, but the Keystone State kids can tell you what they made every hole at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club…in 1974…or 1988…or 1997. Hell, just pick any. from the past 50 years, and they’ve got it. (Except for 1989, when a blizzard prevented play. Still a sore subject. … Or 1995, when a few pages of history were lost. Also, a sore subject.)
This year during the first week of November, the group of 24–about half from Lancaster and the rest from Reading–celebrated the 50th anniversary with their golf trip to Pine Needles in South Pines, NC, just outside Pinehurst. The annual four-day excursion began in 1972, when a group of 12 AT&T engineers rented a bus and took a red-eye view of the sandy hills.
Although none of the original 12 continued the journey, the tradition has been passed down from fathers to sons and has grown as co-workers invite over friends who love golf, don’t take themselves too seriously, and most importantly are willing to keep it. result.
The current ages of the group’s members range from 36 to 78, which is a sign of the group’s continuity and development. Among the current group, some have been going on for more than 30 years, many are at least 10-year veterans and a few are newcomers.
As if planning a golf trip for 50 consecutive years wasn’t proof enough of their organizational skills, this group has kept a book of every score everyone has achieved over the years. In fact, the book comes in three editions. A quick mental math exercise of about 25 young adults who have played six(-ish) rounds of golf for 50 years quickly explains why one book is not enough.
“It’s like the Old Testament and the New Testament,” Bob Hesek says of the multiple books. It’s not a bad analogy considering the Book of Records is the group’s bible.
Hisek has been in charge of the book since it was handed to him in 2003. Hesek, with the help of a few others, records the scores of each group hole by hole after each round.
“It takes a few minutes to put in all the results,” he says of the grueling process, adding, “But, there’s always a drink to come in,” which the group agree makes the process more tolerable. looks correct.
The best typical game of ball consists of four-man teams using a handicap scoring system. “Everyone charges $30, so it’s not a high risk,” Hisick says. Not high stakes, but when you play 36 holes for four days, as some do, the money can add up quickly.
Each year, the group has stayed on property at Pine Needles, and they will usually play both Pine Needles and Mid Pines, although they have added Southern Pines to the rotation this year.
“The cool thing about this ride is that once you get there, you kind of stay on campus. You don’t have to wander around, which is one of the things we love about it,” says Ray Butterworth, lead organizer of the group. In recent years, Butterworth has breathed new life into the ride. , bringing in new guys from Bent’s Creek Country Club outside Lancaster, he is responsible for scheduling the trip with the Pine Needles.
As anyone who has organized a friends trip knows, managing a bunch of different schedules and getting all the details locked out can be a stressful process. How has the group managed it for 50 years? The secret, Butterworth says, is in the division of roles.
“We have a liquor guy, we have a beer guy, and we have a snacks guy,” says Butterworth. And as we know, they also have a score guy and a tabulation guy. That’s a lot of men who are committed to preserving this long-standing tradition, which they say has no end in sight.
So if you’re headed to the sandy hills in early November any one of these years, look no further than the Pennsylvania boys and their precious book. Although, as a joke, they ask that you stay somewhere other than theirs at Pine Needles.
“Just make sure you write down the article that the Wedge Lodge is booked the first full weekend in November,” Butterworth says with a smile.