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Golf: Ramirez is latest Links With Locals golfer

Cats and dogs gettin’ along

Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 11:34 p.m. CST
Caption
(Michael Krabbenhoeft/mkrabbenhoeft@saukvalley.com)
Sam Ramirez tees off on the third hole at Timber Creek Golf Course on Wednesday afternoon in Dixon.

Who said Clippers and Comets can't get along?

That combination was put to the test on Wednesday afternoon at Timber Creek Golf Course in Dixon, for the next-to-last Links With Locals article for the summer. This time it was yours truly, Amboy, class of 1983, teeing it up with local radio personality Sam Ramirez, 37, a 1994 Newman grad.

Truth be told, the whole Amboy-Newman thing was barely brought up, as Sam and I had many other things to chat about. For instance, both us had recently returned from vacations in Michigan – he in the Traverse City area and me in Saugatuck.

Northern Michigan is one of my favorite spots, as it's where my family vacationed all of the time when I was a kid. We went southwest of Traverse City, to a little town called Beulah – less than an hour from where the Ramirez clan stayed.

Both of us agreed that slow-paced vacations, with time set aside to plop next to a pool, river or lake with something cold to sip on, are the best vacations indeed.

We had a chance to talk about Sam's job with NRG Media, which has him working for three radio stations. He works the 6-to-9 a.m. shift at 101.7 FM, spinning country music songs.

Six times a day, he does sports broadcasts for 1460 AM. During the fall, he's the play-by-play voice of Oregon Hawk football on 95.7 FM, a task he's performed since 2000.

That particular season, the Hawks advanced to the Class 3A state finals. He points to a semifinal victory against Addison Driscoll as his Hawk highlight.

"That was my first season calling Oregon football," he said, "and I took that train all the way to state. There's nothing quite like broadcasting a high school football game."

NIU football is also close to his heart, especially with the run the Huskies have been on of late. He's a regular in DeKalb, and he and his wife of 10 years, Carie, make many of the road trips to Mid-American Conference towns throughout the midwest. Of course, they were in Miami when NIU played Florida State in the 2013 Orange Bowl.

And then there is fantasy football. Sam and I happen to be in the same league, and if there's a certain Denver Bronco I covet, I always make sure to snap him up before it is Sam's pick. He would take almost all Broncos, given the chance, which last year would have been a great thing.

As for our round of golf, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Sam posts a lot about his games on Facebook, though in hindsight, many of those posts were about the social aspect of his rounds. That became crystal clear soon enough.

As I pulled into the parking lot, Sam was already in the riding cart, wearing flip flops. He indicated that's his footwear of choice when playing.

Near the clubhouse, when I asked if he needed something to drink, he indicated he already had a some cold ones in the cooler. The tone had been set.

Sam hits the ball well enough to work in a par here or there, but more often than not, needs to hole a putt for bogey, double or triple. If he's not finished with a hole in eight strokes, more often than not, it's time to pick up and move on.

After two great shots on the par 5 seventh hole, he dumped his third into a pond. I indicated he could hit from the other side, if he wanted to, and he said he always does that after hitting into a water hazard.

"That's one of my own rules," he said. "I already lost one ball, so why should I lose another one?"

Sam and I ended up completing 13 holes on the day, before running into a logjam of ladies playing multiple scrambles. It was good, however, as I needed to get to work and Sam needed to get to Davenport, Iowa, for a Lady Antebellum concert.

One of the perks of his job is he gets to hobnob with country music stars before they put on shows. Often, when they find out he's a disc jockey, the stars are the ones kissing his rump.

"Reba McIntyre gave me a hug once, thanking me for playing her music," Ramirez said.

Us sports writers don't quite get that kind of treatment, but come to think of it, I don't really want to hug most of the people I write about anyway.

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