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|The Girls of Playboy Golf were the real trophies at the 2009 Playboy Golf Scramble in Los Angeles. (Jack Fleming/Eclipse Sportswire)|
LOS ANGELES - No, the Playboy Golf Scramble is not an exotic frittata served by buxom bunnies while you languish in your red satin smoking jacket. Wake up, Hef-wannabes and smell the heather - the Scramble is an annual tournament involving golf and girls, ever a recipe for healthy mischief, now in its ninth raucous year.
Starting each April, teams of amateur golfers compete in regional events, vying for a spot in the semi-finals. If their prowess prevails there, it's on to Los Angeles for four days of a Playboy-themed bacchanal, both on and off the golf course.
As for the ladies, they put their best, um, feet forward and try to woo the selfsame golf combatants to vote for their feminine virtues as a ticket to the festivities on the West Coast the following March.
The 2009 kickoff event was held at Los Angeles' venerable Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel March 26, where the pool area and adjacent Tropicana Bar was a controlled explosion of biceps, bleach and strategic silicone, ever so judiciously covered by strings and thongs and such.
"Every girl wants to be a Playmate," cooed Terry from Charlotte, N.C. "But I'm too old now. I'm 27 - the average age is 22."
But not to worry, soon enough shuttles were boarded for the Playboy Mansion, that mock-Tudor castle in Beverly Hills that has seen its fair share of such receptions.
"I just wanted to make it to the mansion, and here I am," said Crystal, a wild-eyed brunette from Dallas, one of the Girls of Golf.
There were 25 Playmate hostesses, 300 "Girls of Playboy Golf," and 150 actual golfers on hand for the four-day weekend beginning March 26.
"This never gets old," said Vince B., a Red Sox cap-wearing gent from Boston, one of 14 competitors from Beantown.
It should be noted that some of the finalists win regional events to qualify for the big week in Cali, while others simply lay down $20,000 per foursome to avail top salesmen and important clients.
"Most of the girls are pretty," said Keith Willis, a father of three from Dallas, Texas. "But the guys just want someone to talk to."
Drinks flowed, some courtesy of Woodford Reserve, a Kentucky distillery. The bartender suggested mixing it with Coke and I complied, using the heady mid-afternoon concoction to wash down all manner of deep-fried this and that: wontons, skewered shrimp and empanadas.
Then it was on to the tented area, where Nickent Golf was displaying their hybrids and Playmates dealt blackjack for fun and no profit. Nobody complained.
And finally, it was time for golf. The following morning at the Pacific Palms resort, about 45 minutes from L.A. proper, the entire posse of players and Playmates stationed themselves on every hole of the lush, 36-hole facility.
Celebrities showed up dutifully: Eric Dickerson, Kevin Dillon and Jose Canseco among them. But golf was only half the story: DJs blasted music, drinks and comestibles flowed freely and massage stations offered succor to the suffering competitors.
The next day was comparatively staid: Just the finalists doing their best to go home with a trophy and bragging rights. No gorgeous girls, just marshals and starters.
Of course, all winners and losers were just golfing as prelude to the "Lingerie and Pajama" party at the Mansion Saturday night. The women were in spectacularly flimsy flotsam, the men offered Hef-style smoking jackets upon entry. It was reported that some of the girls were wearing nothing but paint, which is allowable under USGA regulations, as long as it's just one coat. More liquor flowed, lots of pictures were taken, and all went back to their hometowns with some big-time memories.
"Believe it or not, most of the guys are here for the golf and the camaraderie, not the girls," said our good pal, Keith. "Most of us are married anyway!"
The madness begins again this month, with semifinals slotted for October at the Green Valley Resort in Las Vegas.
For more information, see www.playboygolf.com.
March 30, 2009
David Weiss, a Detroit native, divides his time equally between the worlds of golf and music. In the former, he was west coast editor and frequent contributor to Golf & Travel magazine, and in the latter he is known as David Was, half of the writing/producing team that created the band Was (Not Was).
The Olde English District -- which runs 20 minutes south of Charlotte down toward Columbia, S.C. -- has a whole lot going for it when it comes to golf and history. But today's battles can be played out on an array of more than 20 golf courses. Here are some top picks.
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