Digital History of The Golf Trip.
Trip is the brainchild of Greg Logue
and Monty Walton, two lawyers in
Tennessee, who were looking for an escape from a cold January
afternoon. The year was
1991. On a suggestion from Michael
“The Godfather of The Golf Trip” Moser, they decided to take a golf
outing in early
March, when the rates would be lower. Within the hour, they
had filled the eight slots of the first Golf Trip, played on the three
Bay Tree in Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina. Included in that first group was
Michael “the Chairman” Wood.
Wood was brought along more for comic relief than his playing abilities.
Since then he has evolved into one of the better players on The Trip,
and along with Logue, has maintained a perfect record of attendance ever
that first Trip were Dennis McClane,
Joe Fielden, Louis Crossley,
Steve Williams, and
Warren Longmire. Over those three days in March, the fellows
played the Bay Tree courses, and engaged in other dissipations. With
The Golf Trip still in its infancy, and not yet a competitive
tournament, no format had emerged to measure the competition. The
players returned to Knoxville with renewed vigor and a greater
appreciation for the game.
new-found enthusiasm, Walton and Logue decided to make the Golf Trip an
annual event. The next year, with players lining up to enter, the
field grew to twelve, and the range of courses was expanded. The
Surf Club was discovered and made a permanent venue for the balance
of the years The Golf Trip called Myrtle Beach home. Logue still
reflects wistfully on the years at the Surf Club, where he turned in
some of his best rounds. That year the tournament moved to a modified
Stableford Scoring System, with point quotas adjusted after each
day’s play. Daily cash prizes were awarded to the individual and
team winners, out of modest contributions from the players. A
variation of that format is still in use today, although the
dissipations have dwindled and the stakes are higher than they were
then. Click here to review
The Golf Trip Scoring Rules.
Beach years included some of the finest locales the area has to offer.
Such courses as
Pawley’s Plantation, and The
Dunes all had the honor of hosting rounds of The Golf Trip.
Those who participated will always remember the now infamous round at
Angel’s Trace, where it was so cold the greens were harder than the
parking lot, and Danny Comer looked like a masked terrorist in the group
photo. Former Trip regular Jeff McCall turned in a stellar
performance under extreme conditions to take the win that day. And
who could forget the beaning Mark Williamson took on the
at Ocean Harbor, when Fielden had to be restrained from giving the
beaner an ass-whipping.
Myrtle Beach has a
vast array of courses, the
accommodations and morning commutes caused the steering committee search
for another venue. After seven years in Myrtle Beach, the Trip
Seabrook Island near
Charleston, South Carolina. The rooms there were better than in
Myrtle Beach, and no travel was required to get to the courses each day.
The Trip lingered at Seabrook for two years, where the tournament was
conducted on the
Ocean Winds and
Crooked Oaks courses. The courses there were serviceable, but
not particularly memorable.
It was at
Seabrook that Wood, in one of his more prescient moments, introduced the
Calcutta, a sort of
pari-mutuel auction that allows the players to bet on their
competitors. The advent of the Calcutta breathed new life into the
Trip, which had by then become a bit rote. A professional
auctioneer, Chairman Wood now conducts the Calcutta prior to each
competitive round. In his inimitable way, it is common to see The
Chairman coax large wads of cash into the pot for the next day’s
competition. Ever since its introduction, the Calcutta has become
one of the defining features of The Golf Trip. Click here to
Rules of the Calcutta. Originally conducted over the final
three competitive rounds, the first Calcutta for each Golf Trip is now
held on the Monday before The Trip, where the players dutifully recite
Golf Trip Creed and Invitation. The Golf Trip Creed symbolizes
the camaraderie and sportsmanship that are evident in every aspect of
The Golf Trip. Whether you’re waving your partner’s cash in his
face, or hitting the ATM’s at
Pinehurst for the fourth time, the Creed says it all.
two-year sojourn at Seabrook, the steering committee sought a more
upscale site to celebrate The Trip’s ten-year anniversary. The
Golf Trip made its way to its current home at the beautiful
Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club in the heart of
North Carolina golf country.
With its southern charm and hospitality, there is no finer venue for The
Golf Trip than the Mid Pines Inn. It was there, in 2001, that the
Southern Pines Invitational was born.
up that year with something that vaguely resembled a stuffed
flying squirrel. He claimed the squirrel would be the new
trophy for the winner of The Golf Trip tournament, which he had dubbed
“The Southern Pines Invitational.” Former ribbon salesman
Carl Trantham had other notions, though, believing that an event
with the stature of The Golf Trip militated in favor of a more suitable
trophy. After Wood won the squirrel that year, it was never seen
again, presumably because Wood believed no other golfer was
trophy to award to the winner of the 2002 Invitational, Trantham began
scouring the countryside for a suitable Golf Trip accolade.
Trantham found the Terrapin Travelin’ Trophy, commonly known as
The Turtle, languishing at an antiquities
Maryville, Tennessee. The Turtle instantly became emblematic
of all The Golf Trip has to offer. Since its rediscovery by
Trantham, The Turtle has become simply the most desired trophy in sport.
Every year since 2001 (to Wood,
ex post facto), The Turtle has been awarded to the winner of the
Southern Pines Invitational. Click
here for an elaboration on the history of The Turtle, and here for
the classic slide show, “Not
Everyone gets a Turtle.”
also saw the birth of the Dimpled Orb Digest.
The chronicle of The Golf Trip, readers breathlessly await the annual
publication of the Dimpled Orb Digest to follow the exploits of their
favorite players (themselves). Current and back issues are available
eclectic cast of characters that have populated The Golf Trip over the
years would have made
Walt Disney envious. Players like Louis “Night Train” Crossley,
Steve “Big Boy” Williams, and Danny “Joe Buffalo” Comer used to be
regulars, but have since retired from the Trip. The likes of Mark
“The “Human Rain Delay” Williamson,
David “Tai Stick” Mirts, and
David “Effin'” Lewis will not be seen again soon. And who
could forget Mike Ivens, who quit the game for good out of frustration
after the 1994 Trip. With the current cast, from the likes of
Danny “Depot Stove” Pressley to
Mike “High Maintenance” King, there is
never a dull moment. And Wood is likely to utter an amusing remark
during the event.
players are so varied in both personalities and skill levels, the custom
was begun in 2002 to create slide shows of
Player Profiles of each year’s competitors. Modeled after the
profiles used in most major golf tournaments, The Golf Trip’s Player
Profiles are state-of-the art. Replete with each player’s photograph
cutting-edge performance statistics, the Player Profiles are both
entertaining and instructive, especially when it’s Calcutta time.
Click here for the current Player Profiles. Past editions are available
here. Accompanying the Profiles are
Calcutta Cards. Bearing
reasonable likenesses of the players, these debentures are awarded to
the winning bidders at each Calcutta.
tournament would be complete without a leader board, and The Golf Trip
is no exception. The Golf Trip Real Time Leader Board
employs the most advanced technology available for an amateur golf
outing. Replacing the poster boards and markers of yesteryear, the
computer-generated Golf Trip Real Time Leader Board automatically
recalculates point quotas daily, and allows players to see exactly where
they stand at every phase of the tournament. It is hoped that
beginning in 2009, the Real Time leader Board will be available on-line,
so that interested parties back home will be able to track the progress
of their heroes.
Golf Trip competitors have been accorded the privilege of wearing
Golf Trip Medallions. These consist of carefully crafted Golf
Trip Medals hung from Green Lanyards, to be worn by all the players
while on the grounds at Mid Pines. The Lanyards are festooned with
special Turtle pins to signify victories in the overall competitions
since The Golf Trip’s inception. A player receives stars for
placing in each day’s Calcutta—Gold for first, Silver for second, Bronze
for third. To top it off, the current possessor of The Turtle has the
special privilege of being attired with a
singular Gold Lanyard bearing a Gold Medal.
Introduced by Monty Walton to make sure he would be invited back,
The Golf Trip Medallions have become an instant classic. Whether
you’re on the course, or in the dining room challenging some
proctologists to a match “mano
a mano,” people know you’re a player to be reckoned with when they
see that Medallion around your neck.
As the Golf
Trip has continued to evolve over its nineteen-year history, it is no
longer a friendly little match played in early March for chump change.
With an expanded field of
sixteen players for 2009, The Golf Trip has blossomed from its
humble beginnings into a prestigious event of major proportions.
The Golf Trip is now accorded honored status in Southern Pines, where it
is known among the locals as “The
Chuck D. April, 2009.
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