A Request to Kevin Larizza Regarding the Upcoming Chippewa Championship

Northeast Ohio Golf

In the past, Chippewa Golf Club owner Kevin Larizza has set a few of his championship’s hole locations in what only can be described as “ironman scramble pins”. This setup has led often to huge scores for a number of players, as the sloping greens of Chippewa can send even well-played pitches and putts racing off down the hills.

Kevin has pulled back on this practice a bit in the last couple of years. But here and now I ask Kevin directly to eliminate “ironman pins” from the Chippewa Championship all together: the quality golf course conditions that superintendent Brad Stewart provides should stand alone as the challenge of the event.

I want to be clear: “difficult” or “challenging” hole locations are not the same as “crazy” or “ironman” positions. Rest assured, I am not suggesting that Kevin set up the golf course “easy”, as it most certainly should be set up “tournament tough” for the event.

But I do suggest to Kevin that he make ALL of the hole locations on both days “challenging but eminently fair”. My definition of this: from ANY location on a green, I should be able to make a GREAT lag and have the ball stay on the putting surface.

If I hit a poor putt from an above-the-hole location and the ball rolls off the green, I get what I deserve. But if I hit a putt with perfect speed and my ball trickles past the edge of the hole going slow enough that I can read the writing on the ball, that putt shouldn’t roll off the green.

No player wants to hit the green in regulation then make a score of 8 or 10 or 12 — or 31 as was the case for one player last year. And players don’t want to face a 4-5 group backup when they reach the Chippewa Triangle; that doesn’t help make the tournament fun either.

I suggest that other tournament players make their feelings known to Kevin on this setup issue, too, so that mine isn’t the lone voice on this. Log in and post a comment below; I’m sure Kevin will read what you have to say.

Then I ask that Kevin state publicly his intent to keep ALL of the hole locations completely fair for both days of the Chippewa Championship for 2010 and going forward.

Reason? I believe a larger group of players will sign up for the tournament if the hole locations are all “challenging but eminently fair”. Personally, I know a number of players who have chosen to stay away from this event because of the setup, and that’s too bad. Because it’s always “the more, the merrier” and this is a truly fun event.

So what say you, Kevin?


  1. Avatar
    August 16, 2010

    I won’t throw Al under the bus, I was one of the people who has said I won’t play in the event because of the pin placements. My partner and I played with Al a couple of weeks ago in the Monday scratch league and Al asked if I was going to play and I told him no cause it doesn’t sound like fun after I hear alot of players comment on the pin placements. I do like the golf course, its always in great shape and I have fun in the Monday scratch league. The pin placements make the tournament so changing them wouldn’t be right, but because of the pin placements your looking at a 5 1/2 to 6 hour round that really makes it sound unfun.

  2. kevinlarizza
    August 14, 2010

    Of course this is all in fun, and no way would I compare Allen to the Benedict Arnold guy that used to play for the Cavs. I do have a much more serious response to the questions posed by Al, and will be posting those responses on Monday. The fact of the matter is, no I do not like 5 1/2 hour rounds. I absolutely HATE seeing 3 or 4 groups backed up on the tee. I absolutely do not want to see anyone make a double digit score on a hole, to lose the tournament or drop way out of contention. And given those concerns, you can expect a fair but demanding layout, and like I said, I will address more of these issues on Monday. I appreciate everything Al does on his site, it’s a wonderful site that serves a great purpose for all golf in Northeast, Ohio, and Al indeed is a GREAT friend and supporter of Chippy. I’m glad he got this started and we could have fun with it, and indeed Al, I’m looking forward to seeing you on Monday…..

  3. Avatar
    August 14, 2010

    Wow–you really got Kevin stoked, Al–nice work! Looks like we’ll all be laying up ten yards short! Don’t suppose you’ve got him riled up enough that he would actually set tough pins BOTH days??? As for larry birdie’s comments about the length of the round–all I can say is, it’s by far the best value around for an adrenaline rush! Where else you going to get 5 1/2 hours of death-defying thrills and chills–watching the man-made disasters unfold around you is a major part of the fun! For my money–there really is no better public venue. See you all at the cocktail party!

  4. Avatar
    August 13, 2010

    I believe I read in the plain dealer not long ago that Mr. Larizza was quoted as saying at Chippewa we try to get players around in 4 to 4 half hours.The one time I played in the Chippewa Club Championship,I was dismayed to find 3 groups on 14 tee as I walked off 13 green.These are the best players in the area taking 5 half hours to play.It takes all the enjoyment out of what should be one of the most enjoyable tournaments of the summer.I also agree with Mr.Freeman in regards to player participation in this wonderful tournament.The amount of entries would increase greatly.

  5. Avatar
    August 13, 2010

    Being a past champion, for me there is a sense of accomplishment by winning the chippy club championship. The field is deep and the pins are unforgiving. It is the U.S. Open of local golf tournaments. Keep the pins and let the “tradition” continue.

  6. Allen Freeman
    August 13, 2010

    OUCH! To equate my request for “eminently fair pin positions” to anything related to that whining, quitting former Cleveland Cavs player is a dagger to the heart! I am not a traitor! LOL!

    Look, I play Chippy as much as anyone. I know the place well and I do know where to hit it. I just want a chance to recover during the Chippewa Championship if I hit don’t always hit it on the front fringe of every green! (Ask Oates if that’s where he aims on every hole on Sunday; he’ll tell you! He’s good enough to do it; me, I have to get up and down after my wild ones then try to get after it on the next hole.)

    Come on tournament players, I’ve heard you complain about this year after year; somebody back me up!

    P.S. — for more on this debate, check out the Chippewa website home page and Kevin’s Chip Shots commentary at ChippewaGolfClub.com!

    P.P.S. — BTW, Kevin’s comments to me are all tongue-in-cheek. He’s my buddy and he’s not really mad at me for calling out his pin location choices. I think so, anyway. Guess I’ll find out Monday at the Scratch League — if he takes a swing at me, you’ll read about it here on Northeast Ohio Golf! ;)

  7. Avatar
    August 13, 2010

    Keep the pins how they are Kevin!!! The Chippewa club Championship is know for the crazy pins!!! This is why many people choose to play in this tournament. It is know for having the pins that it does. Everyone that I talk to talks the whole year about how the pins are during the tournament. I think make Chippewa stand out and everyone that plays know how the pins will be set up. So I say that it would be a shame if he would change it now. Keep the same pins!!!!!!!

  8. Avatar
    August 13, 2010

    Valid points, Al, but you have to admit, the Sunday pins do make the Chippy Championship unlike any other! And for me and my fellow masochists, Kevin is the consummate host–“thank you sir, may I have another?!” You can’t NOT be entertained by the malevolent look in his eye when everyone starts asking him whether he’s going to go easy on the second day pins. Or his devilish drunken grin at the Friday cocktail party after he’s kicked back his tenth T&T and he’s getting ready to head out onto the course with Dan and Brad to do his evil bidding. He somehow consumed by the notion that he can prevent Mallette and Oates from humbling his beloved turf. Sure, he may reply for the record and say he’s going to go easy on us, but you gotta understand he can’t help himself any more than John Daly can help the fact that all his exes wear rolexes. There may be better public courses out there, but there’s no more enjoyable public club championship than his. Besides, it’s somehow consoling to see so many players much better than me go out and self destruct on such well known terrain. Doylestown’s own style of Schadenfreude. There’s something almost macabre about grabbing a cart and running out to watch the leaders navigate the triangle–you don’t WANT to see the train wreck, but you know you won’t be able to look away if it does!. As Howard Keel once said, “The only way to enjoy golf is to be a masochist. Go out and beat yourself to death.” Chippy’s Sunday pins should do the trick–no matter Kevin might feel compelled to tell us otherwise.

  9. Avatar
    August 13, 2010

    It would be a travesty to change that tournament if you can’t man up and play real golf don’t enter!!

  10. kevinlarizza
    August 13, 2010

    Dear Chippy Fans all over Northeast Ohio,

    wherever you may be today, as you know, our former hero, Allen Freeman, who has been a longtime Chippy fan and supporter, is snarling at the Chippy Club Championship pin locations, something we have been doing since 1987.

    This was announced with a no thought, narcissistic, self promotional build up culminating with a lead story on his website that is unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of Chippewa Golf Club or probably the history of golf in Northeast Ohio.

    Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

    The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard working, loyal, and driven staff over at Chippewa Golf Club in Doylestown have not betrayed you nor never will betray you.

    You simply don’t deserve this type of cowardly betrayal.

    You have given so much and deserve so much more.

    In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you today. ” I persoally guarantee you that a local regular player who knows the Chippy layout inside and out, and can execute shots to the proper locations, will win the Chippy Club Championship every year before some lame outsider that hits greens in regulation but can’t hit them to where they are supposed to, will ever win the Chippy Club Championship.

    You can take that to the bank.

    If you thought we were motivated before last night to hand our Chippy Cup Crystal Trophy to someone other than our very own, our motivation has now shifted to set the pins to previously unknown and never experienced levels.

    This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown voice of golf in Northeast Ohio sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow up to be.

    The self proclaimed “voice” of Golf in Northeast Ohio will now be bringing the “curse” with him down South to Doylestown, Ohio to participate in next week’s Club Championship. And until he does right by the Chippy Club Championship fans everywhere, unfortunately, he will continue to make big numbers on the Bermuda Triangle.

    Just watch.

    Sleep well Chippy fans, tomorrow will be a new and much brighter day.

    I PROMISE you, our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only.

    Keeping the Chippy Club Championship Trophy in the hands of a regular Chippy customer that knows the golf course.

    Kevin Larizza
    Chippewa Golf Club

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