Aaron Lykken, Program Manager – Student Services
*Sigh* another Alumni golf tournament for the ages has come and gone, now I must wait until Spring for the next golf outing. TMMBA has two golf tournaments during the year, the Bettin Cup in the Spring and the Alumni Golf Classic in the late Summer. These are easily my favorite student/alumni events during the year, I especially enjoy the alumni tournament as it gives me an opportunity to hang out with a range of people from Alumni, recent graduates, and even current students. I’ve been with the TMMBA program for over 3 years now and my alumni base has grown quite a bit, especially with the more recent graduates (Classes 6-8), so it’s a real hoot seeing everyone again over some golf and enjoying lots of laughs.
The tournament this year was held at Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, WA as it has been for the past 4+ years that I’m aware of. I struggled getting up at 5:00 AM, but it was necessary so that I had time to stop by the office for a few things, pick up coffee and doughnuts, and get to Auburn early to setup. At my arrival I was met with some fairly serious fog in the area where the course is located but certainly still playable. The forecast was extremely favorable for the day (high in upper 70s) so I was confident that it would eventually burn off. I looked around the parking lot and was surprised to see about 7 alumni who arrived earlier than me! They helped me setup the registration table and we caught up as the others started to rapidly show. It was neat to see that a lot of former classmates carpooled together. One of the alumni agreed to watch the table while I zipped down to the driving range with one of our faculty to join a number of others warming up and trying to get those golf balls flying straight…ish. The call finally came from the clubhouse to gather for the group photo and to receive instructions for the tournament. With that we were on our way!
My team consisted of alumni from classes 1 and 3 (our fourth ended up being a no-show). We had a pretty nice blend of talent so that our team didn’t ended up getting into too much trouble. Personally I’m not that avid of a golfer, but I certainly do enjoy being on the course from time to time. I had a good time learning from my teammates and chuckling at the many ways that the game of golf can be so cruel and yet so rewarding. Since we were short one player we had a very easy time staying ahead of the 4.5 hr pace the club set for us for 18-holes. The fog held on for most of the morning but by the time we turned the corner on the 9th hole you could feel the temperature rising quickly and the visibility increase significantly. Typically I only play 9 holes or executive courses (par 3 only), so my golfing stamina was pretty low by around the 13th hole, but found a second wind late in the round. After we finished on hole 18 we all shook hands having produced an honorable finish of 2 shots above par as a team. As we walked off the green I couldn’t help but think about how golf should be a team game rather than individual, as most find it very difficult to play well. The tournaments that I organize are all in a scramble format so that even those who have little experience playing can join in on the fun.
Once off the course I find it interesting to watch the “leader board” in the pavilion as teams submit their scorecard to the clubhouse. For the most part, the lump of the team scores were fairly close to each other, however the winning team did post a score 3 strokes under 70 for the win. As everyone was enjoying a much anticipated post-event BBQ lunch I went to the front with a couple of the alumni who helped me create the event this year. We gave prizes for the standard Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin, and 1st Place, however this year we had a fun time introducing a funny competition amongst new golfers called the “Best Beginner Back-swing” contest. All of those participating had to have 4 or less years/seasons of playing golf and had to line up and demonstrate their golf swing for the group. Evaluation was based on audience noise and the finals produced a winner from Class 8, a graduate from the program last Spring. It was very goofy but I think everyone had a good laugh from it.
After the awards I finished lunch and made my rounds to the tables in an effort to catch-up on what everyone is up to recently. Many of our golfers lingered 30-60 minutes following the event, involved in conversations, either catching up with old classmates or sharing their experiences in the program with current students. We all said our goodbyes and went forth to enjoy the remainder of a fabulous Sunday. As usual, I am looking forward to the Spring when current students will play together in the TMMBA Bettin Cup, a tournament named after a faculty member who is an avid golfer and plays with the group each year.
Note: I hope to add photos taken by our photographer to the TMMBA Flickr account in a week or two, so keep your eyes peeled for shots of the action…or maybe a lot of heartache, anger, tossing of clubs/bags, etc. haha