The drone of Michael MacClanathan’s bagpipes echoed through Paradise Valley Country Club’s grounds on Monday, March 1 signaling the kick off for its annual Springfest.
This year’s chairwomen chose as its theme, “Scotland, The Land Where It All Began,” hankering back to golf’s history, traditions and lore. With record breaking participation, the players competed in an 18-hole Par 3 round on Monday and then a two-day Partner’s Eclectic format Tuesday and Wednesday.
At Monday’s kick-off cocktail party, Al Sutton, PVCC’s director of golf and Collin Lindley, head of PVCC’s WGA, clad in full Scottish tartan kilt attire, accompanied the bagpiper on a march down the 18th fairway. While the participants watched with rapt attention, they sipped a PVCC signature cocktail, the Twisted Kilt, made with a “wee dram” of single malt scotch and a splash of Drambuie.
All participants dressed in Scottish attire ranging from family tartans, kilts, argyle socks and sweaters. With a 56” X 48” mural of St. Andrew’s Olde course’s renown Swilcan Bridge to greet players at registration, the ambience was set.
Imbibing on authentic Scottish foods such as Bonnie Prince Charley Chicken, Loch Ness blintzes with Scottish salmon, Scottish shortbread cookies and of course Sticky Toffee Pudding at Wednesday’s awards luncheon, all added to the lore of golf’s beginnings in Scotland in the 15th century,
Though the weather here in Scottsdale may have been sunny, gale force winds typical in Scotland raged throughout the 3-day tournament. In fact, the tartan pin flags made by the Chairwoman, stood at attention to Scotland for the entire three days. Nevertheless, the player’s spirits were undaunted and they pressed on to the final 54th hole.
Perhaps the most fun aspect of the tournament came on Tuesday morning with the appearance of the Loch Ness monster floating in the 8th fairway loch. Though tethered she was not to be tamed. She broke loose and was rampaging across the lake frolicking in the gale force winds. Eventually, she was reined in and play resumed under the watchful eyes of Susan Green and Linda Lindgren, fearless committee members.
Rod Stewart also made a guest appearance on Tuesday to show support for his motherland. He was gracious enough to pose with each team for a picture op.
The field of 76 players was led by Low Net Winners: Lani Calbert and Amy Felton with a 16 under par 56 and Runner Up Low Net Winners: Cyndi Thomas and Nancy Harris with a 13 under par 59. In addition, the 4 flights, St. Andrew’s Olde Course, Royal Troon, Carnoustie and Gleneagles, saw three winners in each flight for both the Par 3 event and the 2-day tournament.
Four players closest to the pin, a Nessie Pot of Gold and a Scotch Shot Chip and Putt contest were also included as winners. With a total of 62 prizes, more than 75% of the field went away with a tournament prize of Waterford Crystal stemware from the British Isles. As tee prizes all players received a tartan scarf and a Classy Lassie cart bag loaded with a kilt bag containing a Classy Lassie ball marker, tartan mask, hand sanitizer and Walker shortbread cookies.
Co-chairwomen, Mary Ellen Gould and Patricia Kogutek with Scottish consultants Paul and Claudia Critchfield of Paradise Valley, spent months researching and dreaming up fun aspects to represent golf’s beginnings.
Per one guest who remarked to Mrs. Gould, “I have participated in numerous member-guest tournaments across the valley for years and NEVER have I experienced a better planned, organized, executed and fun tournament. This event was truly wonderful! Thank you!”
All participants agreed Springfest’21 was a “kilt lifting” success!
When the co-chairs first announced the theme in December, they promised the members they would “Go big or go home!” On Wednesday, while Nessie navigated her way back to Loch Ness, co-chairs Mary Ellen and Patty bid everyone “Mar Sin Leat” (pronounced mar-shin-lat). We are going home now.”
Yet one lingering question still remains, is that home here in Arizona or back to “Scotland, Where It All Began?”
Editor's Note: Mary Ellen Gould and Patricia Kogutek are the Springfest 2021 chairwomen