Two Casualties From Iowa

The Iowa Straw Poll, a non-binding popularity contest where the candidates literally buy their votes, claimed two victims this past weekend. Governor Tim Pawlenty has decided to suspend his campaign after finishing a distant third. And I have proven that my ability to predict Republican candidates is just slightly worse than my golf game.

My June 9th post predicted that Tim Pawlenty would be the Republican nominee. Several of my Repub friends had doubts, but they were hoping that I was correct. These guys weren’t part of some Pawlenty Fan Club. (Is there a Pawlenty Fan Club?) No, they were looking ahead to the general election and searching for a Republican ex-governor, not named Romney, that could win in November 2012.

Winning in November is not a universally shared goal. Each party has a core group that is more interested in being right than in winning elections. The Democrats had Senator John Glenn who many thought could win the 1984 presidential election, but had no chance in the primaries. This, of course, may be the only time Tim Pawlenty is mentioned in the same sentence as John Glenn.

So as Texas Governor Rick Perry enters the race and Pawlenty and I leave, I ask you to opine whether the Republicans will choose a candidate that appeals to just the base or if President Obama will face a challenger also capable of attracting the independent voters.

Adventures With Big Muddy

What did cowboy movies, Tarzan flicks, and even Amazon adventure stories have in common? Quicksand! Quicksand was the ever-present danger lurking just around the bend. It didn’t discriminate. Both the good guys and the villains could be entrapped in its clutches. And though our hero, or more often, the beautiful damsel in distress, would be pulled out just in time, the danger was still there. Life or death was determined by the availability of a vine, a rope, and of course, a well trained horse. The randomness and unpredictability of these attacks fed my imagination. I spent a lot of time making sure that I didn’t step into quicksand the first time or two that I was in a desert.

I have never claimed to be a good golfer. In fact, my goal is to achieve an acceptable level of mediocrity. This year, I have had to contend with more than just the speed of my backswing and my incessant desire to over swing. It has rained most Sundays. Absolutely poured. Twice we were forced to quit after just nine holes. The ground is saturated and the courses are mushy. Memorial Day weekend has been a welcome change. Highs in the 80’s. Sunny. The pools are filled with sunbathers and we had 7:30 tee times.

We were on the 11th hole at Wicked Woods searching for Karl’s ball. This was very unusual. My ball was in the middle of the fairway and his was nowhere to be found. It is normally the other way around. It was easy to loose a ball in the rough. The grass was high, the ground soft, and the balls plugged as they hit.

“Guys, come here. Need some help”, I heard Karl say. I didn’t like the way that sounded. I sprinted off the side of a hill and found Karl buried up to his thighs in the muddy river bank. Stuck. His cigar was in one hand, his cell phone in the other. He thought he had seen a ball and hadn’t realized that the ground was so soft. I couldn’t reach him without stepping on the same unstable ground.

I called out to Larry to come and help and to bring a club. Larry held on to me as I extended a 7 iron out to Karl. This wasn’t the first time Larry had made the wrong club choice. We were able to drag him out without any damage or injury to Karl (Big Muddy), the club, or even the cigar.

Karl waded in the creek to get most of the mud off his legs and finished the round barefoot.

No vine. No rope. No horse. Who knew the real answer would be a 7 iron?

Dreams Of Vodka Gimlets Dancing In My Mind

“If anyone calls, tell them I’m at the Club”, I told my secretary, Felicia, as I left for my tee time.

OK, I said nothing of the sort. I’m not the country club type. At least, I don’t see myself that way. But, I did recently enjoy a round of golf as part of a lovely afternoon at Canterbury Golf Club.

The Beachwood Chamber of Commerce holds two networking lunches each year. One is in March. The other was last month. I was facilitating one of the tables. Jane Clarke, the new Membership and Marketing Director of Canterbury, was at my table.

Canterbury is a long-time and active member of our chamber and a respected member of the Beachwood business community. I have been to the club for chamber lunches and attended the 1996 U.S. Senior Open and last year’s Senior PGA Championship. Canterbury has an incredible course and a recently renovated facility. I told Jane that I was a big fan. I also confessed that I had never played Canterbury.

I received an email from Mrs. Clark the next day. She thanked me for welcoming her to the chamber and for leading the networking at the table. And, she invited me to tour the clubhouse and, if I’d like, to be paired with a member for a round of golf.

The email conversation went something like this:

I’d love to play a round at Canterbury, but I didn’t think a country club had hazing.


It wouldn’t be right to force one of your members to play with me.

We’re not that kind of club, Dave. You just have to like golf. You don’t have to be good at it.

Well, I really do like golf, but I normally shoot around 100 at a good course. I’m sure my score will be higher at Canterbury.

Her solution? She invited me to put together a foursome. Not just me, now it was me and three friends about to experience one of the top 100 golf courses in America.

Putting together a foursome was easy. I invited Karl, a website developer, Barry, an attorney, and Dan who owns a software development company. We arrived early to warm up on the putting green and tour the clubhouse. Jane met us in the pro shop.

I won’t go into the gory details about the golf. We all had a few good shots. I even had a couple of pars. The course was in terrific shape. The layout is challenging, but fair. The greens were fast.

The golf, though fun, was not the best part of the day.

I was surprised by Canterbury’s warm welcome. My friends and I were invited to be a part of Canterbury. There was none of the stuffiness that I had experienced at some of the other clubs in Greater Cleveland. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. Several people bragged about the number of families with young children.

After golf we had a drink with Pat Sedlak of the membership committee. It was obvious that he and his family, we met two of his kids, really enjoyed everything the club has to offer. He made sure that Jane had given us membership packets and asked us to consider joining.

I’ve got the membership packet in my office. How much does it cost? I have no idea. I truly enjoyed my day at Canterbury. The course. The caddy. The clubhouse. The attitude. It was great. The issue is me. I can’t see myself as a member of a country club. That may change one day. If I ever change, if I ever become open to the idea of belonging to a country club, I will open the packet. Because if I was going to join a club, it would be Canterbury.