Pine Nuts: 18 holes, 9 courses — 1 divine day
October 10, 2013
Phil Weidinger is a guy you can ask to help you move or babysit your kids, it doesn't matter to Phil, he's there to help. And Phil is generous to a fault.
When it comes to charity Phyl has a heart that beats like the bass drum in the UNR marching band. But get Dinger involved a golf game for some skin and he will tear the back of your britches like a pit bull.
Everybody knows if you need something done at South Shore you call Phil first, that is if you want your event to come off with panache and élan, on time and under budget.
But Phil's pet project is the Divine Nine golf extravaganza that he hosts in the fall. It has brightened Nevada's links for 15 years in a row without anybody getting hurt, and without frightening the horses.
Divine Nine is a unique Dinger production whereby a bus full of journalists and radio personalities play two holes on each of nine golf resorts from Genoa to Carson to Dayton, and each resort attempts to out-hospitality the others.
We were greeted at Genoa Lakes Resort at sunrise with Bloody Marys. Not one to drink before five o'clock in the afternoon I quietly moved my Dick Tracy watch ahead to Addis Aba time, popped a green olive into my mouth, and was ready for business.
Dinger, however, refrained, and I suspected he might be lying down in the weeds to get a leg up on me there on the first hole and I was right.
At Carson Valley I was able to slip a little brandy into Dinger's coffee and sure enough, he started telling jokes that would make a cow laugh while his golf stroke noticeably diminished.
The sun was high in the sky now and we were probably the only journalists in the country who did not know that our government had taken in its sign and closed up shop. We were playing the best nine golf resorts in America and we were playing the best golf of our lives.
I was competing in a white suit replete with bow tie so I had to waggle my club a little to settle everything into place before taking a rather frightful swing at a ball waving on the tee.
My waggle was banned however, when somebody shouted from the peanut gallery, "Hit the ball Sam, while we're still young!" (I have respectfully cleaned up the language.)
Some young bulls today have no respect for their elders, even when that elder might be the only person to golf his age at 178 next month on the 30th.
We'll be celebrating at the Mark Twain Cultural Center & Toccata Guttman Music Hall if you're in the neighborhood.
Well, on we slogged, Sunridge, Empire Ranch, Dayton Valley, Eagle Valley East & West, and finally, at last light, Silver Oak.
When Dinger's ball dropped into the cup on the 18th, I was still 15 feet from the hole. He glared at me with that Dirty Harry look of his and I got a sudden case of the yips.
A chilling autumn zephyr blew up my pant leg and I got chicken skin all over. Dinger was up by one stroke and I had to drop a 15 footer to break even. A curious crowd had gathered, and the last putt of the day was suddenly in my sweaty palms. For the first time since Genoa Lakes, 12 hours earlier, I waggled my wooden putter, and then, to the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd, rolled that golf ball dead-center into the cup.
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.