SAN FRANCISCO, Calif – Nothing since March 2020 has been easy, has it?
When the world was much more care-free (and COVID-free), Mike Gui knocked off Davis Lee in 2019 and took home the Dragon Cup trophy. The 10th anniversary Holiday Party & Awards Banquet was as boisterous and sumptuous as ever at The Olympic Club.
Alas, our world got flipped upside-down in March 2020, on the eve of a great tournament slate that board member Carol Lee had put together. Bleeping #2020 was an (un)forgettable year, in which Mike, a former club president and long-time treasurer, fought nearly-singlehandedly to keep the club active. Working on the game and the title defense was set aside in favor of community, and holding as many outings as ever-changing public health policies would permit.
2021 saw the Dragons coming back with a vengeance – four private club venues, thanks to the generosity and pride of our own members, were featured on an unrivaled associate club schedule. Indeed, the NCGA Magazine recognized the Dragons GC as one of the best associate clubs in its “Faces of the NCGA” edition, even though our signature event, The Weekender, had to wait another year, along with the Club Match Play Brackets.
It was a spirited chase for the Dragon Cup, but no, nothing comes easy, as the season finale was rescheduled not once, but twice. The Dragons finally closed out the 2021 season in a two-tournament October, at Green Hills, which was supposed to be played in the summer, but had to be postponed to October 24 due to a last-minute punch. And when we got to the 24th of October, a “Bomb Cyclone” of slammed into the Bay Area and shuttered the course.
Finally, on Halloween 2021, Mike spooked Dr. Karen Fong, who was contending to be the first lady to hold the Dragon Cup, with a downright scary 81/net 63 at Green Hills. Karen did give Mike a fight and a fright (93/net 68) in the B Flight, on a generally benign Green Hills course.
Jon Chong, the 2015 Dragon Cup champion, came in third in the 2021 Dragon Cup race, with an 85/net 73 on his home course. The A Flight tournament title as well as low gross honors went to Xiaoliang Chen(80/net 72), no small thing with legendary 2011 and 2012 Dragon Cup champion Paul Loui (Handicap 0) in the field.
And so, two years after he took home the Dragon Cup, Mike Gui had the privilege of leaving the ginormous permanent trophy at home (although he would have to haul it to the engraver), as the Dragons once again gathered at The Olympic Club for the 2021 Holiday Party & Awards Banquet. As he enjoys a 3-year-run as a two-time Dragon Cup champion, board members also recognized Mike for both his valiant efforts in #2020 and his long and dedicated tenure on our board, with a coveted Dragons GC custom bag of his own. Well-deserved, and an example is Mike to all. Clubs like ours are only as good as what we all are willing to contribute to it.
The club was also pleased to award the Rookie of the Year honor to Anne Huang, who finished fourth in the 2021 Dragon Cup race. The Most Improved Player honors went to Fan Li, who went from 18.4 to 10.2.
Although the pandemic is not quite over, booster shots are now going into arms, and life is beginning to slowly return to a “new normal.” 2022 promises to be an epic season, as everything that makes the Dragons great will be back. The Match Play Brackets, under new commissioner Fan Li, will be back, with the season opener at Poppy Hills as the seeding tournament. Thanks to Paul Nakada and Jeff Yee, the Dragons will return to Mayacama in 2022, and Green Valley CC too, with Chris Chong and Tom Yee hosting us there.
As Lake Merced undergoes a Gil Hanse renovation, Green Hills will take over as the June tournament and the Weekender Draft Dinner. And yes, that means the Weekender is back! The annual Ryder Cup style battle between Teams Black and Red will be held in July 2022 at Whitehawk Ranch and Grizzly Ranch in the High Sierras. Oh and it gets better – The Bucket List returns, as Chris Wong will lead a 20-person pilgrimage to Bandon Dunes, September 22-26.
Until then, make sure you renew your membership, because the Dragons will welcome 11 rookies in 2022, and no, the privilege of membership will not be expanded beyond the cap setforth in our founding charter, one that has made us the best in the business.
Happy Holidays and see you at Poppy Hills in 2022!