The 2008 Invitational was perhaps, our finest hour. Amid all the gloom and doom (at least if you listen to the media) of the economy, the 2008 Invitational was our most well attended event to date.

For the third year, the Invitational was held at our incredible flagship site, Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa in Arizona. We were fortunate this year to have David Masche with us, who is responsible for most of the stunning photographs that you see. Thank you, David!


Wild Horse Pass Resort. Photos by David Masche

Carey Mumford Clear Key

Carey Mumford

As always, the incomparable, Carey Mumford began the Invitational with a fascinating presentation. The theme of this year’s discussion was the recent Ryder Cup at Valhalla. Carey has worked with two of the Ryder Cup assistant captains, Olin Brown and Dave Stockton (Stockton was also the winning captain at Kiawah Island in 1991) and his insights into the reasons why the US team finally won back the Cup, were illuminating!

We were honored this year with the attendance of students who have served the United States in the most selfless way possible, in our Armed Services. Not only do we thank these great Patriots, but all of the men and women who serve today, and have done so in the past.


Roland & Pat Gustafson / Jake & Jennifer Hansen / Tom & Teri Clark

Roland and Pat Gustafson actually met whilst serving in the Army. Roland was a Doctor and Pat was in the Airborne Command. Today, their son, Kyle Gustafson is on active duty in Iraq, in the 4th Armored Division. Tom and Teri Clark both retired as full Colonels in the US Air Force, finishing their distinguished careers at The Pentagon. Jake Hansen, pictured with his lovely wife, Jennifer, retired after a 25 year career in the Army as a full Colonel. Jake also served two years of active duty in Iraq where he was in charge feeding all of all the military. In June, Jake became a Director of FEMA.

The Bird Golf Academy Flagship Rock

Bird Golf Academy Flagship Rock

The first day of the tournament was another hotly contested Scramble and some fantastic scores were recorded. Tied for third place with a score of 54, were the teams of Jake and Jennifer Hansen & George Yost with their professional Lee Maiden and Steve and Jim Crawford & Lora Masche with pro, Shirley Furlong. In second place were Roland and Pat Gustafson, Rick Rose and their pro Marty Hoeffken who shot 53. The winners and thereby the leaders after the first day were Don and Barb Raymond (2004 Champions), Hub Donald and their professional, Heath Morden, who shot a superb 49.

For the second year, everyone enjoyed the putting contest that followed the first round. Our Director of Student Services, Bob Willis, designed an even more “Dye-Abolical” course than last year. In the men’s division the winners were Doyle Palmer and Michael Wachs while Sandy Cable captured the ladies title. There was also a pro only even this year, which was won by Jim Samsing.


If you were the ball, you would listen to what this lady says, wouldn’t you? The Ladies Putting Champion, Sandy Cable / Men’s Putting Co-Champion, Doyle Palmer prepares to putt on the 9th hole. Watching from L-R are, Rob Lodsin, George Yost and Jeff Goodrich

Day two of the tournament produced more heroic performances. In the format of Two Low Net (best two of four balls with handicap) the team of Warren Dyer, Stephan Strasser and Chuck Hunt with their professional, Pam Wright, played incredible golf and finished with a score of 117. In second place were the Crawford/Masche team again, with pro, Jay Ewing, and a score of 127 (the star of the team of this day was Lora Masche who shot a 50 on the back nine). Finishing third, with a score of 128, was the team of Ted Bast, Sandy Cable, Jerry Bing and their professional Heath Morden.

This year’s Invitational also gave us an unexpected but very special memory. At dusk, on a serene Sonoran night, Clay Joiner and Susan Thomas were married. Clay is a very talented golfer who is hoping to make it to the PGA Tour (his teacher, Tim Peightal is confident that if Clay continues to improve as much as he has in the last few months, that this will happen), while Susan is a prolific and widely acclaimed author. Congratulations, Susan and Clay!


Carey Mumford, golf icon and marriage officiant, Clay’s mother and Matron of Honor, Phyllis Joiner, Susan Thomas Joiner, Clay Joiner, and Rocky Joiner, Clay’s father and Best Man.
Photo courtesy of Erik Merkow, Merkow Photography

Sunday’s round was another thrilling affair. The winning team in this, one low gross/one low net were, Dominic and Nancy Torcivia, Will Schatz and their pro Tim Peightal with a score of 130. One shot behind in second place were Michael Wachs, Traci Aldridge, Rob Lodsin and their pro Jay Ewing. The day’s third place team, with a score of 133,, were also the 2008 overall Champions; Warren Dyer, Stephan Strasser, Chuck Hunt and professional, Mike Passmore.

The final cumulative results were:

CHAMPIONS: Warren Dyer, Stephan Strasser, Chuck Hunt
RUNNERS-UP: Jim Crawford, Steve Crawford, Lora Masche
3rd PLACE: Michael Wachs, Traci Aldridge, Rob Lodsin
4th PLACE: Dominic & Nancy Torcivia, Will Schatz
5th PLACE: Roland & Pat Gustafson, Rick Rose
6th PLACE: Tom & Teri Clark, Tiny Gregory
7th PLACE: Doyle Palmer, Zdzislaw Chabowski, Jon McMahon (2007 Champion)
8th PLACE: Sandy Cable, Ted Bast, Jerry Bing



Jerry Bing, Ted Bast, Sandy Cable. The “Best Dressed” team who drew their inspiration from Ted Bast and his traditional, “Sunday Pink”. Tiger wears his red on Sunday but we think Ted has him beat!



From L-R: Jay Ewing, Rob Lodsin, Mary Mills, Traci Aldridge, Michael Wachs, Steve Godley and presenter, Don Raymond



From L-R: Troy Weise, Jay Ewing, Steve Crawford, Jim Crawford, Lora Masche, Shirley Furlong and Don Raymond



From L-R: Jay Ewing, Mike Passmore, Pam Wright, Chuck Hunt, Don Raymond (holding the perpetual, “Eagle” trophy aloft), Stephan Strasser, Warren Dyer and Jim Samsing.

For the second consecutive year we had co-champions in the professional division with Heath Morden and Jay Ewing finishing in a first place tie.



The Invitational is a celebration of golf and our students give us so much to be proud of. Max Hillier who has been playing for only 4-months shot an incredible 84 on the second day of the tournament. Jennifer Hansen, who is also new to the game, made two, “net” ‘zeros’ (two birdies on par 3-holes that she had two strokes on). Joining us all the way from Poland, Zdzislaw Chabowski also recorded a net “zero” on Sunday.

But the real story is all of you who came to the event, and allow us the privilege of sharing your journey with you. You make what we do meaningful and we are so very grateful to have that opportunity. Thank you.

The ninth Invitational will be at Wild Horse Pass, November 12-16, 2009. We will be creating a new tradition in 2009, by honoring our two founding professionals, Jim Samsing and Sharon Miller, and hope very much to see you there.

See all the reasons why Bird Golf Academy
is the World’s Top Golf School.

Call 877-4-BIRDGO To Learn More!


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