Padecky: Round of speed golf beat more than darkness at Windsor


The thing was, it was thrown together at the last minute, Jason Schmuhl, Manny Vivero and the rest of the guys going out on the golf course. It already was late in the day on March 30, 5 in the afternoon, as Schmuhl remembered it.

“I was counting inventory,” said Schmuhl, the head pro and teaching professional at Windsor Golf Club.
As a moment that will launch a forever memory, counting inventory typically proves to be as memorable as counting one’s fingers and toes. It’s not the perfect jumping-off place to set a course record, or to make a hole-in-one. When the Windsor course record is 63 and it’s held by three guys, with one of them David Duval, a standout PGA Tour player and once ranked No. 1 in the world,

Schmuhl didn’t say to himself, “I think I’ll get ready to shoot a 62 by counting the number of golf shirts I have in stock.”
And as for a hole-in-one? Schmuhl guesstimates about 10 a year are shot at Windsor and it was probably a good idea Vivero didn’t know those kind of lottery odds before he teed off.

So when Santa Rosa’s Kris Moe, a former Tour player, approached Schmuhl to play, Schmuhl said just give him a minute until he finishes counting. He’ll play the front nine, then bag it. It’s getting dark. Vivero overheard the offer, asked to tag along to complete the foursome with Rene Purugganan, also from Santa Rosa.

After four holes, Schmuhl had a birdie with three pars. Nothing there to elevate the blood pressure. And then it began … birdie on No. 5 … and then another birdie … and another.

“I said I’d keep playing if I finished the front nine with a 30,” Schmuhl said. Anything more than that and he’d quit. But 30, well, that’s right on record pace.
“I felt I should have a notebook with me out there to take notes on what Jason was doing,” said Vivero, 23, an Analy grad with a 5-handicap and dreams of going pro one day.

Schmuhl finished the front nine with five consecutive birdies. He had his 30. He was going for it. Moe left and Nick Daniels, a SRJC golf from Windsor, joined the foursome.

“At that point, because it was getting dark,” said Vivero. “We were playing as fast as we could just for Jason.”
They were playing so fast that Vivero’s hole-in-one on No.11 was, in his words, “under-celebrated.” It was a five-iron that Vivero used on the 186-yard hole. Ball hit about a foot past the hole and back-spun into the cup. Schmuhl made a move to pick up the ball and Vivero said, hold on, dude, that’s not going to happen. And then the moment was over, almost as quickly as it began.

“We weren’t really paying attention,” Vivero said. “We just wanted Jason to finish.”
Schmuhl will remember No. 11. That’s where he made a three-putt bogey. But it hardly interrupted his momentum. He was playing with so much confidence, Schmuhl stepped up with a wedge on both No.15 and No.16 — the first 50 yards out from the pin, the second 100 yards out — “and I actually was thinking I would hole each one.” He nearly did, the ball two feet past the hole on No.15 and a foot past on No.16.

“One day I want to be where Jason is,” Vivero said. “I felt I was a better golfer just watching him shoot. That 1½-foot arc before he hit the ball, and the 1½-foot arc after he hit the ball, that was pure commitment. He was so calm, so peaceful.”
Until Schmuhl made that birdie on No.16. All he had to do to set the course record was make par on Nos.17 and 18. It wasn’t as if he was a stranger to setting course records. He has the course record (66) at Fountaingrove. He shares the course record (63) at Silverado with World Golf Hall of Famer Johnny Miller. Schmuhl’s been around the block. But this was Windsor, his home course.

“And if I start thinking,” said Schmuhl, also an Analy grad, who turned 40 Thursday, “I’m in trouble.”

It was speed golf the foursome was playing. Beat the darkness. Just get up there, grip it and rip it. Don’t think. Just play. It took 90 minutes to play the first nine, one hour to play the back nine. Now looking back on it, Schmuhl said it was to his advantage to play so quickly, avoiding the murkiness of thinking. In what seemed like a comparative eternity to the first 16 holes, he parred the last two holes for a 32 on the back nine, setting the course record at 62. He made 11 birdies.

“I made a few mistakes,” Schmuhl said. “I didn’t birdie the two 500-yard holes (4 and 17). And I bogied 11. I could have shot a 59.”

Golfers have to live with imperfection. Like what happened on No.7. He sank a birdie putt that caught the edge of the cup and rolled in.

“But it wasn’t perfect,” Moe said to everyone.

“Why?” asked Vivero incredulously.

“It didn’t go into the center of the cup,” Moe said.

For more North Bay sports go to Bob Padecky’s blog at You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or