It’s been a year, for sure.
The snow is blanketing the backyard while I write this blog in a place that has become all too familiar in this past year: my home office at the bar in the basement. It’s way too early to start drinking, at least during a normal year. But, as we all know, 2020 has been anything but normal.
This is kind of a fitting place to put a bow on 2020 for me considering this is where I worked from home for the better part of five months this year. On a normal year, I would usually work New Years Eve and recap my year from my office. Guess I’m pretty much doing the same thing, just different. Kind of like the rest of 2020. Pretty much doing the same things, just different.
We’ve talked about it some in blogs throughout the year and I’m not even going to pretend that the impact this pandemic has had on my life is really all that significant. It has been stressful and caused some major life changes professionally, but in the grand scheme of things, I consider myself lucky that no one living in my house has tested positive up to this point. We have our health which is something so many thousands of families can’t say as they look back on the past year.
It’s been a hard year in so many ways that it’s easy to look back on the past 366 days and see nothing but the horror we’ve all lived through with the loss of life, the loss of income, the loss of a way of life that might not return to normal for quite some time. It sucks.
When the courses and ranges closed due to COVID-19, we took matters into our own hands.
I’m not going to look at all that stuff. My brain needs a break from it. Instead, I’m going to recap tMP’s year through what we did, where we played, and who we played with, to celebrate one bright spot of 2020 that brought us joy during the most difficult year of our lives.
You might not give a damn about anything on this list. This one is going to be a lot more personal than anything we’ve put out up to this point. I can tell you this was extremely therapeutic for me and maybe if you’re struggling to face the challenges of the upcoming year, it might do the same for you.
I wish you all a healthy year to come. Appreciate you reading this drivel throughout the year and hope it brought some measure of levity to the situation we all face. If it didn’t, well, I guess there’s always next year…
Golf accomplishment I’m most proud of:
The idea for the Middle Pin is a couple years old at this point, but 2020 was the year the idea really came to fruition. From the beginning, we wanted to be a company with a mission to help the golf courses where we play. At the end of the year, I’m happy to say that the Middle Pin has three partner courses: Minneapolis, Medicine Lodge, and Marion. Between the three courses, there were over 100 transactions for golf through the websites, netting the courses nearly $7,000.00 through the website online payment portals. Some of those golfers probably would have, and still could have, paid in cash or check at the honor box by the first tee. But, I’m pretty damn proud that we are providing the golfers at our partner courses another option and that golfers are proving this idea is something they want and will use. We had this idea to help courses. I’m proud that it worked for our partners but that only fuels the fire to help the other courses we play too. If you’re reading this and thinking about your course, hit us up. We’d love to come meet you, play some golf, and show you what we can do to improve the golf in your community.
Person I played with the most:
My friend Jeffrey. There are a couple cards that were ruined in my bag due to getting wet, but I had us playing over thirty rounds together in 2020. That’s a lot of golf. Jeffrey got an ear-full of what was happening in my life in 2020 every time we played. I remember a lot of those talks and his calm, encouraging demeanor while I complained and stressed about life off the golf course, and the bad swings on it. Appreciate his friendship, ability to listen, and willingness to play.
Place I played the most:
Cherry Oaks and Auburn Hills. I don’t really have a home course, but when asked where I play the most, I always answer with these two. Auburn has never been one of my favorite courses to play, mostly because of the struggles I’ve had at that course. But I found some success there this year which was a nice change of pace. If you’ve been reading this awhile, you should already know about Cherry Oaks. It’s just a fun course. That’s our usual spot if the crew is getting together on a weekend for a match. Shoutout the “regular” crew Brian, Sean, Jeffrey, Jeff B., Justin, Chris, for putting in some rounds at those two courses.
Best score of the year:
73 (+1) at Tex Consolver in November. I logged more rounds in the 70s this year than I ever have before, but this one was definitely the highlight. Shoutout Judd for witnessing history that day.
Worst score of the year:
99 at Colbert Hills in June. 99 is what was on the card, but that might be generous. I might have been closer to 106 that day. Shoutout Rob V. for pencil whipping that scorecard for me.
Most holes in one day:
There were a couple 27-hole days in 2020 but the most was 36 with 18 at Colbert Hills and 18 at Rolling Meadows. That was a long day. It was hot, I was playing terrible, getting dominated by everyone in the group, my body was sore and chaffed in places you don’t want to know about… It was brutal. I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Best day of golf:
This one was pretty tough but had a couple come to mind (in no particular order):
- Played 20 holes at Clay Center with Kevin. I lost that match on the second play-off hole but was still a great morning/afternoon. Shoutout Brett for the hook-up and for coming out to hang with us. Later that evening, my father-in-law and my oldest son and I went and played a relaxing nine at Wildcat Creek. Three generations enjoying a beautiful sunset while enjoying a beautiful game.
- Meier Invitational. 27 holes, 3 different courses in three different towns, one party bus. If you know, you know. Shoutout Kevin for keeping that tradition alive and making sure all of the boys have a great time.
- Tournament with the boys at Countryside outside of Pittsburg. It was really spread over two days but who’s counting. Had a blast catching up with everyone on the course, over dinner, and at the casino afterward. Shoutout Hockett, Nate, Little, Bob-O, Kalen. Had a blast.
- Playing nine holes in Sedan with my friend Jim, who doesn’t play golf but has made several exceptions for me over the past several years. Jim showed me around southeast Kansas all day and we played nine before heading back to Wichita. Appreciate his friendship and mentorship. That was a day I’ll always remember.
- Every chance I got to play with my old man in Medicine Lodge. I always cherish those rounds and his company. Love you Dad.
Favorite new course I played this year:
Again, this was a tough choice as I played a whole bunch of new courses this year but my favorite was Mariah Hills in Dodge City. We played this course twice in the span of 24 hours and got entirely different conditions which was cool. The course was very well maintained and hospitality in Dodge City was top notch. Well worth the trip and an overnight stay to play this course a couple times and that trip might become an annual tradition for the Middle Pin. Shoutout Chris from Mariah Hills for having us out.
Few shout-outs to some new faces:
- Craig for finding the Middle Pin and getting together to play a few times. Played a couple new courses with Craig including Pretty Prairie. Craig got us the hookup on some merch we haven’t put out yet (limited stock, but it’s coming!). Look forward to working and playing with Craig more in 2020.
- Brett from CattyShack for helping us order our first batch of merch, the Middle Pin hats that went on sale earlier this year. As K-State fans, we were already fans of what Brett was doing and he was gracious enough to help us get that order in. Brett’s always running discounts too so if you’re in the need for some purple gear (and let’s be honest, everyone could use more purple in their wardrobe), go find them at CattyShack.com.
- Andrew for getting me the hookup on a guest pass to Rolling Hills. Although we have the same hometown, I always viewed Andrew as more of my older brother’s friend but I really enjoyed reconnecting with him on the golf course. He beat me every time we played but I’ve got a few rounds left on that guest pass and I’m ready for the next rematch anytime.
- The three tMP partner courses and their Boards. Really enjoyed meeting all three groups in Minneapolis, Medicine Lodge, and Marion, and doing our part to make those courses more accessible to all golfers through the website and online payment processing that tMP provides. Looking forward to working with all three of those courses again in 2021 and improving on what we can do to help all three of those golf communities.
- By my count, I played with 30 people in 2020 that I’d never played with before. Shoutout to all those folks (know I’m missing some but these are the ones I wrote down on the card): Randy, Sean, and Veletta, at Cherry Oaks; Craig; Joe D. and Cory at Medicine Lodge; Judd at Tex; Tommy at Sand Creek; Scott P. at Hesston; Conner at Tex; 3 guys from Dodge City and Leonard at Auburn Hills; Rod at Minneapolis; Duda at Tex; Roger and Tyler at Marion; Andrew at Rolling Hills; college guys I joined at Wabaunsee Pines; all the guys I was paired with for the Medicine Lodge Open; Joe from Cincinnati at Auburn. Like I said, I know I’m missing some, so apologies if I played with you this year and didn’t mention it here.
Playing with friend and mentor Jim at Sedan in early summer.
Places we played in Kansas in 2020 (in no particular order; *denotes a new course played this year):
Sand Creek Station
Rolling Hills Country Club
Salina Country Club
Flint Hills National
Crestview Country Club
If you’ve read some of the previous blog posts, you already know about my weird quest to play nine holes of golf in every county in Kansas. At the end of the year this, I stand at 53 counties played. With 105 counties in Kansas, I’m just over halfway there. In total, I’ve played 85 different courses in Kansas up to this point. That’s a lot. Can’t wait to play the ones I haven’t…
Got my second sandy this fall in Cottonwood Falls.
If you have a favorite new course that you played this past year, or a great day of golf in 2020 that happened that you want to share, please do! You can leave it in the comments or find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
It’s been a long and difficult year. Here’s wishing you a healthy, happy, and blessed, year in the year to come. Until then, as always…
We’re glad you’re here.