Jim Crandall
PPGA Correspondent

Two Idyllwild golfers, Paul Cozens and Chris Kramer, members of the local Palms to Pines Golf Association, rose above the rest throughout the 2021-22 season to become club champions and qualify for the Southern California Golf Association’s (SCGA) Tournament of Club Champions (TCC) this past December.

The SCGA’s TCC is a huge event, where hundreds of club champions from all over Southern California and parts of Nevada compete at three or four prestigious golf courses in the desert hoping to take the first prize trophy in their respective flights. It is fascinating to participate in the TCC, from finding out which golf course you are going to play, to signing up, showing up and teeing up.

While they didn’t win, Paul and Chris were tasked with sharing a little bit about the experience for the Town Crier.

Chris Kramer, B Flight Club Champion

Chris Kramer

Indian Wells Golf Resort (Players Course)

First off, thank you to the club for creating a second group of those of us with handicaps above an 18. Being the one with probably one of the highest handicaps in all the years I’ve been involved has been a learning experience. Several of the better players have always gone out of their way to pass on helpful tips, which has been greatly appreciated. Pete Capparelli, Lee Lanfried, Bob Wadlow and especially past member, Barry Wallace, have all played a part in helping my game improve. It is with all this help that somehow I was able to come out on top of the Palms to Pines “B” Flight.

After signing up for the SCGA Tournament of Champions - Net Division, you are told about two weeks later which course you’re assigned to play. Mine was the Indian Wells Golf Resort Players Course. Having never played this course I had no idea what it looked like or how it was laid out. The groups playing this course were broken down further by handicaps of 14.1-18.5 and 18.6 and above. I was in the higher group. The facility there was first class and obviously catered to the serious golfer, from valet club delivery to your cart to a top-notch driving range and practice putting greens, along with a restaurant and several banquet rooms. It was very impressive to come out the back of the building and see golf carts for probably 80 to 100 players parked along every walkway and path before the start.

After hitting a few balls on the range and doing a little putting, I returned to the cart to meet my cart mate for the day. After a brief welcome and some introductions, we were escorted to our starting hole (18 for our foursome). Here we introduced ourselves to the other pair in our foursome and we started our round.

As usual, the first hole jitters kicked in and a couple of us had less than stellar tee shots. My whole day I was nervous and never really got settled in. The course was beautiful and in great shape but I think I just wasn’t comfortable on a course I’d never seen or played before. I was able to avoid green side bunkers until our last hole. Being in a bunker that’s so deep you can’t see the green proved to be a challenge, and the score for that hole showed it. I don’t think moon craters are that deep?

Having finally finished the round, it was off to a catered buffet lunch and the awards presentation to the top five in each of the two flights. I carded a 116 for a net 91, nothing to write home about.

Several members who have been before told me to go and enjoy it, and I did. The entire experience was very humbling and rewarding to be a part of. I’d like to thank the Palms to Pines Golf Club for allowing me to go and represent our group at this event.

Paul Cozens, A Flight Club Champion

Paul Cozens

The Golf Club at Terra Lago (North Course)

The greens had been aerated about a month ago and they were still a little sandy, and very hard. I typically hit very high short iron shots and couldn’t find a ball mark.

My group started on hole 15, a par three with an island green (a tough hole to start on.) I played OK for a while, had a couple tough holes, made only one putt outside of 6 feet all day. On the ninth hole my drive was so bad it ended up in another golf course, yet was playable.

Overall, I was inconsistent all day, but I didn’t hurt myself, or anyone else, so that was a plus. Finished in the second half of the pack. If I make it to this tournament again, I hope to be able to get in some more practice.

The chicken quesadillas in the to-go box were pretty good.