Tracy K. Lorenz / Outside Chance


Pinehurst (revisited)

Editor’s Note: Consistent readers may have noted that Tracy Lorenz never takes a week off. Well, this week is different. He is on his way to the Pinehusrt golf weekend as he is every year, so to honor that august event – despite the fact that he will probably write about it in next week’s column – we are substituting his 2012 column about his visit.
Sometimes it’s not the event, it’s the surroundings. I just returned from a three day golf tournament at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, Pinehurst will be hosting its fifth US Open next year [which would have been 2013] which means I had absolutely no business being there. Luckily other golfers succumbed to the oppressive heat and humidity and I was able to bring home a third place trophy for the second year in a row. Well, technically I didn’t bring the trophy home because there’s only one guy who makes Pinehurst trophies and he died recently so they’re going to mail me the trophy after they find a new guy.  Either way the golf was less enthralling than the experience.

I stayed at the Carolina Inn on the Pinehurst grounds and the place just drips with “quiet money,”  I was there for four days and didn’t see one pair of flip-flops, not even at the pool.  Blue jeans aren’t allowed, you have to wear collared shirts, and yet somehow we survived. It was just so nice to be around people who know how to act, people who know that when you cut a steak you put the knife down and switch hands with your fork before taking a bite. You also don’t take the knife and wipe the sides of the blade on the meat prior to eating it, the knife wipe is a Muskegon favorite. Well, Muskegon and logging camps.

Then there’s the wait staff. They both gave and received respect and they knew how to pour water. Hint to you waitresses out there:  You stand to the person’s right, take their glass and fill it by using the spout in the pitcher, replace the glass, move to the next person and repeat the process. You don’t turn the pitcher sideways, stand in one spot, and try to hit every glass on the table from there. You also shouldn’t refer to the customer as “Hon.”

Here’s something even more unbelievable, in four days I didn’t hear one person swear (except maybe on the golf course) and I didn’t see any ankle tattoos, tribal arm bands, or toe rings.  I saw no “do rags,” no white Nu Balance shoes, and not a single woman who had to lean backwards to walk because that second stomach below her waist threw off her center of gravity. I guess that’s the thing about rich people, they’re having a good time, they want to stay alive.

But sometimes even at the best resorts things take a turn and you have to Muskegon it up a little.  We ran out of beer.

To me it wasn’t a big deal because I don’t drink (much) but to others it was a tragedy of biblical proportion.  We were out on the veranda when it was discovered the coolers full of beer and pop they have sitting around had been taken in and stowed away because it was after midnight. If you’re playing in the tournament all the beer and pop is free. We could have gone into the bar but that costs money so a plan was hatched; my brother Nick, myself, and my friend Steve were sent out to find the cache.

The beer was locked in the kitchen so my brother found a member of the wait staff and said that Nancy, the woman who runs the joint, said that he, the waiter, should open the kitchen and get us some bags so we could haul more beer out. The waiter kind of gave us the hairy eyeball but opened the door anyway and left us in a cooler packed with beer, we quickly loaded up some empty cases but when we went to head back to the veranda there were a dozen or so staff members, including Nancy, standing in the hallway directly between us and our final destination. We went back into the kitchen and out the back door.

We exited into a courtyard that had no visible means of escape. We took a couple laps in the ninety degree heat but there was nothing. We went back into the kitchen and out another door that went to a parking lot surrounded by a giant fence and a locked gate. There was no escape.  Back into the kitchen we went.

So now we’re trapped; we have the loot but there’s no way to get the loot out.

Then Steve remembered that when we checked in they gave us gift bags full of shirts, jackets, golf balls, iPods, and the like.  The bags were plastic. As Nick and I sweated it out in the kitchen waiting for someone to ask what we were doing there Steve ran back to his room to get two plastic bags. When he returned we stuffed the bags with beer and ice and then calmly walked past the employees in the hall as if we had just gone shopping at midnight and bought bags full of lumpy things that dripped and clunked. No one said a word. I guess they figured at a place like Pinehurst no one is moronic enough to try and steal free beer after hours and bring it out onto a veranda with a big “Closed at 11:00” sign on it.

But they were wrong.

In the end it didn’t matter, no harm, no foul.  And if a place that size that charges that much to play there can’t cough up a couple (dozen) free Bud Lights then that’s their problem, it wasn’t like we were going to drink and ... drive.

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Outside Chance

Boater Safety

Recently we enjoyed having the Coast Guard at the walleye club to inform us of the regulations, and also to inspect the boats that the members brought down. The most important item that was brought forth was the proper life jackets or PFD as they are called. You must have on board one per angler/boater. If you are counting an inflatable it must be worn at all times. In Canada they suggest bright colors such as yellow, orange or a chartreuse.

In Michigan, only the inflatable must be worn at all times unless you have another coast guard approved vest. Slowly more anglers are wearing a PFD start to end. This is a good habit to have and one that many anglers do not follow, myself included. One of the reasons is that many PFD devices are not that comfortable to wear while casting or fishing in the hot sun.
This is where the inflatables come into play. There are some great inflatables on the market that are lightweight and extremely comfortable. The theory in wearing one at all times is in case you somehow end up in the water. If you are trolling at 1 or 1.5 mph and fall in, it will take time for the boat to turn around. The negative of an inflatable is if you would fall in and bang your head you might not be able to employ the PFD. However, more anglers fall in without a PFD and panic and drown than being hit on the noggin.

You must carry a throw-able PFD. You do not need a rope attached to it. However, if you fish Canada or Ohio you should investigate this.

You need a fire extinguisher and you might want to consider carrying two. The marine extinguishers do not last very long when attempting to douse a fire.

You need flares or a flare gun. Some boaters carry the breakable flares. Just remember if you are in Canada and you are carrying a flare gun and if stopped, this is considered a firearm. Be sure to notify them. Once again, this might be a place for the breakable flares.

A horn or some type of whistle is also mandated. The noise device must be loud enough to be heard 2 miles away. This really is not that far on a calm day. Some boats come with a horn or you can buy an air can-horn. The Coast Guard even stated that a marine whistle will suffice and they can be bought for under five bucks. There is a difference between a regular whistle and the Marine whistle. The Marine whistle will work when wet!

An anchor is not required in Michigan but highly suggested. If your boat becomes disabled an anchor will keep you from drifting and will be much easier to be found. The amount of rope should be at minimum three times the depth of water that you will be in. Some states require six times. Walleye anglers, carry a drift sock or two if you do not want to carry an anchor. It will at least slow down your drift and make any search and rescue efforts easier.

As we move fully into the summer season we find ourselves on big bodies of water. Lakes like Muskegon, Houghton, Hamlin, Hubbard and Mullet all come into play. Drifting the mud flats for perch or vertical fishing with either a teardrop or rubber spiders for gills and crappie, off shore is the place to be. Trolling  night crawler harness rigs for walleye or working offshore weedbeds with a plastic worm for bass, safety comes into play. Do not get complacent this summer while enjoying our many lakes and streams – stay safe and have fun.