Can You Beat Biggy?

Hartland’s 17th Hole the Hinge Point in Contest With Southern BOE Challengers

By David Biggy | Aug 21, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Southern Regional Board of Education member Scott Zoladz tees off on the eighth hole at Hartland Golf & Arcade in Ship Bottom as Kevin Lyons studies his technique on Aug. 16.

Ship Bottom — On June 27, Southern Regional Board of Education member Kevin Lyons openly posed a question to me on Facebook. “When do you want to rumble?” the post began, a day after I played my third “Can You Beat Biggy?” challenge match of the summer. “How many strokes do you need?”

Now, this easily could have been dismissed as a rhetorical question – one that didn’t need to be answered. However, once the shock of such an audacious question finally wore off a week or so later, I messaged Lyons privately.

“You want to play me?” I asked, leaving off the “LOL” in case he really was serious.

His answer was simple. “You’re on!”

Well, heck ... he indeed was serious. So, here’s the kicker – and I didn’t find out this tidbit until after our match at Hartland Golf & Arcade in Ship Bottom on Aug. 16 – for those who really want to laugh out loud.

“I’d have to go back to maybe the mid-1990s since I last played here,” Lyons said. “I haven’t played any of the other courses on the Island since then, either.”

Wait ... What?!?! OK, full disclosure: I laughed out loud. So did Lyons’ substitute playing partner, fellow board member Scott Zoladz, with whom Lyons frequently plays regulation golf and had a tee time set for later in the afternoon at Ocean Acres Country Club. To his credit, Zoladz accepted a short-notice plea after Debbie Lyons, Kevin’s wife, was unable to play.

“He sent me a text to play something and to meet him at Hartland at 1 p.m.,” Zoladz said. “His text read, ‘Do that mixture golf thing with me please.’ I had no idea what he was talking about.”

Zoladz, who later said he hadn’t played at Hartland in “at least 10 years,” found out soon enough what was going on and quickly proved to be the more easily adjusted player to the miniature golf course. Through eight holes, Zoladz trailed me by a mere stroke, while Lyons – struggling mightily through the first eight with four 4s, and a 6 on the fourth hole – was down by 11.

Fortunately for me, Zoladz botched a few putts on the ninth hole and I led by three, 20 strokes to his 23, at the conclusion of the front nine. A hole-in-one on the 10th, while he stroked a 2, staked me to a four-stroke lead. However, a pair of 3s and my only 4 for the course during the next three holes dropped my lead back to one heading into the 14th.

After Lyons two-putted and Zoladz dropped an ace, my lead was in jeopardy. But a solid uphill putt ended up scoring me a hole-in-one, and my one-stroke advantage held up, temporarily. On the 16th, Zoladz birdied the par-3 while I shot for par, knotting the match at 37-37.

Zoladz was first up on the 17th, and his long, second putt just missed the cup. He ended up with a 3, giving me the chance to regain the lead. It was time to drop the Biggy hammer – a hole-in-one did the trick, giving me a two-stroke lead going to the 18th. I shot a 3 and gave up a stroke to Zoladz, but the victory was mine as I ended with a 3-under 41 and he carded a two-under 42. Lyons finished with a 9-over 53.

“Kevin played great today,” Zoladz said after the match, which immediately was followed by laughter from all of us. “It’s not often you get to see him eat crow. This was awesome.”

Once Lyons provided the revelation about the last time he had played Hartland, I had to ask the obvious.

“You really thought you could beat me? You know I’ve been playing all summer. You weren’t concerned at all?”

“I didn’t realize you were going to have charts with the breaks in the greens and all that,” he replied, laughing (for the record, I last played at Hartland two summers ago and shot a 44, barely tying my wife). “But, no, I wasn’t concerned. It’s miniature golf. How concerned could I be about it? This was just for fun.”

— David Biggy

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