Cow pasture golf … new way to work on chipping |

Cow pasture golf … new way to work on chipping

Dave Price

COLEVILLE, Calif. — This is one golf tournament where players aren’t serious about their scores. In fact, the fourth annual Antelope Valley Lions Club Cow Pasture Golf Pasture Golf Tournament held on Saturday brought new meaning to chipping.

Held on the Baldo Giorgi ranch — known as Giorgi Country Club for the tournament — the tournament featured a nine-hole layout over a 20-acre pasture, complete with all the trimmings. That’s right, the cow chips remained and players were required to play around, over or through all obstacles.

“You hit the ball where it lies,” Clint Hershey said with a wide grin as he motioned toward a pasture where 13 foursomes played for fun and to raise funds for the Lions Club.

This is a unique tournament played in the scenic Antelope Valley, less than five miles south of the state line on a site where the town of Topaz was developed in the mid-1880s — and an area crossed by the historic Bidwell-Bartleson Party on its way to California in 1841.

The rules were simple. Only irons and putters were used. Out of bounds is “over any fence, or anywhere you won’t hit your ball from.”

Start with the first hole, a 182-yard par-4. It’s a straight shot, just make sure not to hit too far because there’s a barbed wire fence behind the hole. And the hole itself is spray painted on the ground.

“We tried to use a four-inch sewer pipe for the hole, but it wouldn’t stay in the ground,” Giorgi explained. “With the flag in there, when the wind kicks up, it all gets blown over.”

There’s another hazard to watch out for on the 167-yard second hole, and players in this tournament know to watch out for that fence post.

“I saw Jack Zippwald tee off there, his ball hit the post and came back almost all the way back to him,” Giorgi said. “I was standing there laughing, and Jack says, ‘What are you laughing about; that’s one of my better ones.”

Ah, but there’s good news when you get to Nos. 3, 7 and 8. There are no sand traps, and on Saturday, there was no water to worry about. Just a slough and some tules.

“You have to hit across the water, or mud, depending on what year it is,” said John Daniels, one of the tournament organizers and an avid golfer himself.

The finale is the 100-yard ninth hole, marked by an American flag. A hole-in-one here is worth a side of beef, or $100 cash.

On occasion, the Cow Pasture Golf Tournament players have even been known to attract a gallery.

“The first year we were out here, I had five or six horses in the upper field, they decided to come out and next thing you know, they were galloping past all the players,” Giorgi said, laughing.

Winners were determined by a four-person blind draw — the winning team even carded an eight-under par 28 total — yet there wasn’t much talk about scores.

“Nobody cares, and that’s the beauty of it. We had a bunch of people out here today who had never held a golf club in their hands before, and with the blind draw, everyone had a chance to win,” Daniels said, adding that the event raised about $800 for Lions Club community projects, including its eye foundation. “This is where you come to have some fun and take out your frustration before you start the summer season. It’s just a great time with a great group of people,”

Hershey echoed that.

“It’s just a fun day,” he said. “The people I’ve talked to always want to come back. And we try to do it the first Saturday of April … April Fool’s Day.”