Thieves battle the wind at Moreno Valley

It somehow seems appropriate that the effect of a 40 mph crosswind on a golf ball in flight can best be explained in a book deemed appropriate for ages 4 and up: “I Face the Wind,” a book by Vicki Cobb. Her book explains to preschoolers what the wind is all about in language golfers can understand.

On Thursday, Jan. 17, 27 Third Thursday Thieves and guest, playing the Moreno Valley Ranch Mountain and Valley courses,  watched in awe as “a gazillion tiny balls” pushed their comparatively much larger golf balls all over the place – some for the better, most for the worse. An unscheduled, yet beneficial side effect of this whole outing was the occasional sprint chasing a dislodged golf cap, tumbling down the fairway as though to escape its owner. No prizes were awarded for this event but it did provide for some entertainment so long as it was not your cap. But the Thieves played on – undaunted by the howling wind and snapping tree limbs (although one of the Thieves admitted as to being a little daunted), pressing toward the shelter of the clubhouse where food, drink and general camaraderie awaited.

At said clubhouse the following accomplishments were awarded: Closest-to-the-pin, Tom Garnella (2) Jim Slater and Dick Mead. Mead’s shot was rather spectacular as after gauging the severe crosswind and aiming accordingly, he fired at the postage-stamp size green 170 yards away, surrounded by chasms and canyons, and placed his ball a mere nine feet from the hole. This feat earned Dick “Shot of the Day” kudos for which, unfortunately, there was no prize. Tom Garnella’s ability to anchor himself against the stiff wind paid off as he took “Fewest Putts” honors rolling the ball only 27 times. Wil Stelts out drove the field to win “Longest Drive.” 

Flight A low net winners were Greg Stigall (67), Wil Stelts (73) and guest Andy Kim (74). Flight B honorees were Jim Slater (67), George Garcia (71) and Mike Williams (72). Grand prize winner – next month’s tournament is free – was won by lucky ticket holder Ramon Baez. 

An anticipatory hush fell over the gathering as the time drew near for the prestigious Third Thursday Thieves “Most Improved” honorees to be recognized. Greg Stigall was congratulated for dropping his index to 12.3 over the fourth quarter of 2012. The “Most Improved, Year 2012” award recipient was Wil Stelts, dropping his index from 23.9 to 19.1 over the 12-month span.

During his acceptance speech, Wil attributed his improvement to “keeping his head down” and described how some self-help paraphernalia, designed to inflict pain to sensitive areas of one’s anatomy in the event one raises his head while swinging a club, has helped him improve his swing.

The Third Thursday Thieves, an SCGA affiliated golf club, is comprised of men and women who possess a wide range of golf skill levels, play various local golf courses the third Thursday of each month. The Thieves next play Temecula Creek Inn Golf Resort on Thursday, Feb. 21. New members and guests are welcome.

Contact Mike Sebastian at (951) 659-0205 or if you would like to join.

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