Editor’s note: We recently ran a column from Tom Tyner’s “Classics File” about Chucklehead from years ago. This took place this summer.
I recently returned from a long weekend at Suncadia, a golf resort in Roslyn just the other side of the Snoqualmie Pass. I was at Suncadia attending the prestigious Annual Chucklehead Suncadia Boys Weekend Golf Invitational. This year, the event pushed the definitional limits of a “long” weekend in that some of the attendees actually arrived in Suncadia on Wednesday afternoon, and a number of guests didn’t leave until Monday morning. If you’re doing the math, it was less of a long weekend and more of a gloriously short workweek.
The invitational was hosted at a Suncadia cabin owned by a Bainbridge Island friend who I’ll call “Bif McRenzie,” I headed to Suncadia on Thursday afternoon. In addition to my golf clubs, collapsible golf cart, duffle bag, ice chest, giant bags of potato chips and a gallon jug of sunscreen, I was also carrying a foldable cot, a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag in the back of my ancient dusty pickup. I looked like an upscale dust-bowl Okie fleeing Oklahoma for a job picking grapes on a California golf course.
I had forgotten that last week was Sea Fair until I found myself crossing Lake Washington just as two Blue Angel fighter jets buzzed the I-90 bridge about a foot and a half above my truck – while flying upside down toward each other at about the speed of sound, an experience that tightens the sphincter and focusses the attention.
The drive was otherwise uneventful except that I was nearly swiped off the highway in the Mercer Island tunnel by a careening King County articulated bus swaying across several traffic lanes like a college freshman staggering across campus after his first all-night kegger.
I reached Bif’s cabin and spent an hour or two unloading the truck and staking out my sleeping area on the cabin’s patio, which fronts on the second hole of the Prospector golf course. Bif’s cabin had plenty of indoor sleeping options, but in recent years I have started sleeping under the stars. There’s typically a lot of snoring indoors, and most of it comes from me. Outdoors, I can snore to my heart’s content, and the passing elk and deer don’t seem to mind as much as my former indoor roommates did.
I spent the rest of the afternoon sampling the snacks and beverages, sitting on the deck reading, and organizing my golf bag. It took me a fair amount of time to remove the three or four dozen golf balls, the 1,000 tees, the three dozen ball markers and the three pairs of gloves from my bag, carefully wipe them all off, and then place them exactly where they were. I did toss out one golf ball that had a smile cut into it as big as a Chesire Cat’s grin and threw away two broken tees, although later I retrieved the lighter of the two to use on Par 3 holes.
It’s odd that I have a large, World-Class collection of ball markers, but only rarely find my ball lying close enough to the hole to be in the way of any of my playing companions’ balls. As a result, I use my ball markers primarily as something to jiggle noisily in my pocket when someone is starting their backswing or concentrating on an important putt. As in life, sometimes in golf, the best offense is a good defense.
While there are many activities that go on at the Chucklehead Invitational, golf is the main attraction. Most of the Chuckleheads consider it sacred duty to play at least 36 holes of golf each day. Fortunately, I am not similarly afflicted, and I played only 18 a day, except for Saturday when I was enticed to play a second round by one of the Chuckleheads who complimented me on my morning round. There were no similar compliments after my afternoon round.
Dinners are always a highlight. This year we were treated to a fabulous seafood stew and some of the best hamburgers to ever grace a barbecue on another night. Desserts were home-made by Chucklehead wives and couriered to Suncadia in a Tupperware container with heating instructions printed on the lid—in large type.
I’d share with you some of the fascinating conversations we had, but I am constrained by the terms of the Non-Disclosure Agreement we all signed. Besides, some of our conversations included spontaneous, can’t-miss business ideas that I’m sure are going to make us all rich someday.
Tom Tyner of Bainbridge Island writes a weekly humor column for this newspaper.