July 14, 2006
There was something really noticeable about the golfers I met while playing in Bill Schab’s Hawaiian Open Tournament, in addition to the motley collection of Hawaiian shirts worn by most of the players.
The one-day golf-filled event, held July 10 at Kings Creek Country Club, featured several golfers with some fairly colorful nicknames.
“Chopper” is actually short for “Pork Chop,” which is itself something I wouldn’t normally call anybody, much less a guy who looks like he could easily split me in half.
“Dr. K” is not a baseball strikeout artist. It’s actually David Kirchman, the affable associate dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies in Lewes, whose golf game was sure and steady.
And “Skin” is Bryan Duprey, a full-bore Marine currently stationed in the Washington, DC area. You could balance a plate of spaghetti on his flat-top without any problem. If you stood in the fairway 310 yards out from the tee box, he could also hit a drive that would roll up to your feet.
On the other hand, among the thirty or so golfers who spent much of the day laughing at each other’s lack of talent, there was one player everyone called “Mister.”
That was Henry “Hank” Schab, the 90-year-old patriarch of the Schab clan, who played and laughed along with everyone else.
Schab, who lives near Annapolis, Maryland, retired after working at a Federal laboratory for over 40 years. He clearly enjoyed this reunion of his sons and their friends, which his Cape Region attorney son, Bill, has organized and run for many years.
“This morning’s round was really something,” the elder Schab said. “I played with three sons. One shot 78, one shot 88, one shot 98, and I shot 108. That’s pretty amazing, eh?” he laughed.
For the record, that was Bill who scored the 78, and he’s the one who’s a member of Kings Creek. His brother Ray shot the 88, and his brother Jim scored the 98.
During the afternoon scramble event, Hank joined up with Bill and his grandson, Corey, as well as Vince Robertson, another local attorney who is apparently unafraid to display his taste in Hawaiian attire.
The youngest Schab is usually far more comfortable with a lacrosse stick in his hands, as a leading All-State midfielder and captain for the state championship Cape Henlopen High School Vikings. Nonetheless, during the Open he ripped a few long drives that soared far past his dad, who is no slouch himself off the tee.
The three-generation foursome caught up to the group I played with for the last few holes. We all watched “Mister Schab” hit a nice tee shot on the par-3 16th hole that nearly reached the green. His group picked someone else’s tee shot to play from, sitting in the right greenside rough a yard or two from the fringe.
Corey, Bill, and Vince hit chip shots that weren’t so great. “Mister Schab” quietly took a few practice swings, and then hit a very pretty chip that ran up to within three feet of the hole. It was clearly the best of their bunch.
The assembled group all applauded him for the great shot, and he grinned broadly at the praise.
“Mister Schab” had enough stamina to keep going after the 36 holes of golf, and help his son Bill with the evening’s putting contest. Golfer after golfer tried to roll a putt into a cash-covered hole, with only a few ever succeeding during the competition on the Kings Creek putting green. The elder Schab would stop the missed balls as they rolled by the hole, and then quickly hit them back to the unsuccessful putters.
Finally, as darkness finally overcame the one working lightbulb’s ability to light up the putting green, “Mister Schab” announced he was going back to his son’s house.
It certainly was a long day for everybody, including the only 90-year-old in the bunch—and I don’t think anyone else had more fun than he did.