Most of the golfers who play in the tournaments out at Paradise Point Golf Course on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune have been playing there for years and have become more like brothers than competitors.
“The majority of us are all retirees,” said Dean Smith, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. who volunteers his time to help out with the tournaments at Paradise Point. “Most of the time it’s the older retirees hanging around trying to relive glory days … I’ve been out here from 20-some odd years and know a lot of the same people, so we are all just one big, little, happy golfing family.”
Though this past weekend’s Paradise Point Open is one of five tournaments in the Paradise Point Grand Slam series, the majority of participants play for the bragging rights and the camaraderie that’s involved more than anything.
“It’s the camaraderie,” said Larry Rosenfeld, a retired U.S. Marine, about what keeps him coming back to the course to play three or four times a week. “Everybody tries their best and works on their game. It’s a lot of fun.”
For Rosenfeld’s playing partner, Dan Becker, a retired civil service worker, it’s the sense of community he gets from playing at Paradise Point that he enjoys most. The tough love that most of the golfers give and take every now and then makes for an entertaining, playful atmosphere.
“It’s the same old farts out here all the time,” Becker said. “You play a round, go in and they talk trash in the clubhouse. Everybody just has a good time … I’m not a good golfer, but I come out here to have a good time.”
The Paradise Point Open was a two-day, 36-hole stroke play tournament. On Saturday, the competitors played the Scarlet Course, a par 70 track that is short and tight. The lowest rounds on Saturday came from a couple of well-known names among the Paradise Point regulars. James Simpson and Filipo Bartley both carded rounds of 71 to finish atop the leaderboard after round one. Ron Scott, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt., and Grant Beck each shot 72 as Smith rounded out the top five on day one with a 73.
On Sunday, the final round of the tournament was held on the Gold Course, a par 72, which is longer and more open than the Scarlet Course. Simpson led the pack again on Sunday by shooting an even 72, but was matched by Wayne Nelson who also shot 72. Beck (74), Jim Head (75), Bob Simpson (78) and Rick Canida (78) rounded out the top six scores in the final round.
In the end, James Simpson took first in the Open Flight with a score of +1 for the tournament. Scott’s two rounds were good enough for second as Smith took third. In the Senior Flight, Nelson got first, Bob Simpson took second and David Monaghan placed third.
In the Super-Senior Flight, Head was the top finisher, edging out Rick Canida by a stroke, as Duane Wischnowsky claimed third. In the Legend Flight, Beck took first, Gil Richard placed second, and P.G. Smith was third.
Paradise Point Golf Course is open to the public and many of its frequent players would like to see more young newcomers playing in the tournaments. Several of the golfers also credited Paradise Point’s head PGA professional John Johnson for leading the course in the right direction.
“I can’t say anything but good things about what [Johnson] does out here,” Smith said. “He does some phenomenal things for us. The course has turned around. His attitude is very contagious about his love of the game.”
The next tournament to be held at Paradise Point is the Firecracker Open, July 6. The Red & White Tournament will be July 13-14 followed by the Pro-Am Series on July 21.
1st – James Simpson: 71, 72 (+1)
2nd – Ron Scott: 72, 79 (+9)
3rd – Dean Smith: 73, 79 (+10)
1st – Wayne Nelson: 75, 72 (+5)
2nd – Bob Simpson: 74, 78 (+10)
3rd – David Monaghan: 78, 80 (+16)
1st – Jim Head: 80, 75 (+13)
2nd – Rick Canida: 78, 78 (+14)
3rd – Duane Wischnowsky: 81, 80 (+19)
1st – Grant Beck: 72, 74 (+4)
2nd – Gil Richard: 79, 80 (+17)
3rd – P.G. Smith: 78, 88 (+24)