Every kid who played golf at the Highland View Golf Course knew exactly where the plaque hung on the wall of the old clubhouse.
It was on the west wall, about halfway between the men’s and women’s restrooms.
We looked at it all the time, and we dreamed. (Click here for the podcast version of this column.)
The plaque showed the scorecard from a round by Dave Cashell on Monday, July 11, 1983.
Cashell shot a 32 on each nine for a 6-under-par 64. He broke the course record, set by the legendary Ed Zemljak, by one shot.
There was not a day that went by that we did not look at that plaque and imagine what it would be like to shoot such a score.
To us, that 64 was the same as Babe Ruth’s 60. Or Joe DiMaggio’s 56. It was a magic number that we all dreamed that we could beat.
For years, I could have told you what Cashell shot on each of his 18 holes. I would spend hours on the putting green pretending that I was making a run at his record.
At least for me, Cashell was the hero of the place we called the “Muni.” A mere sighting of the golfer, who was short in stature but could hit the ball a mile, was something to talk about.
“I saw Dave Cashell today.”
That was like saying you saw Mickey Mantle to the Muni kids.
In 1995, Mike Rapp tied the great record, and a new plaque was put up. In 2011, Luke Schulte tied the record, but his round was never recognized with a plague.
When the new clubhouse opened, the course record plaque disappeared, and that is a shame. A plaque gives the next generation of golfers something to shoot for.
The plaque is not only for the record holder. It is for those who think they can beat it.
Rapp had a putt for a 62, but he hit it too strong. Then he missed the comebacker for a 63, and he has blamed me for that for the past 27 years. Even though I was thinking positive thoughts as he three-putted, it was my fault.
Something I said on the No. 14 tee box jinked him. He said it was like telling a pitcher he has a no-hitter.
Perhaps if Mike did not believe in such silly things, he would have shot a 59.
It does not matter anymore because I am off the hook.
Now, we have a new guy to beat and a new magic number.
Kaven Noctor, a 2020 Butte High graduate, shot a 62 during his practice round for the Highland View Men’s Invitational this past summer.
He shot a 31 on each nine, and nobody said a word about it.
His round included nine birdies and one bogey. Like Rapp’s round, it also included a ball in the water on No. 15. Like Rapp, Noctor still took a par on the hole.
Cashell played with Paul Riley and Cliff Champeau when he broke the record. Rapp’s witnesses were Jack Weis, Norm Snell, Jack Penny, my brother Don and me. Schulte played with Jake Hogart.
The witnesses for Noctor’s round were Brian Kingston, Mike Blastek, Brian Noctor and his father, Kevin Noctor.
“I was hitting a lot of iron shots to like 10 feet and making the putts,” the humble Noctor said of his record-breaking day.
He sank a putt of about 20 feet for birdie on No. 17 before going up the hill to drain a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
The funny thing is that Noctor also shot a pair of 63s — one last year and one after his 62 — and it went by without a word.
“I don’t know if I told anyone,” Noctor said of his 63 in 2021. “At the time, I thought you had to do it in a tournament, so I don’t think I told anyone.”
While some might say the record has to be set in a tournament, that has never been the case at Highland View.
Cashell, Rapp and Schulte did not hit their 64s in tournaments.
My brother told me that Zemljak, Rick Lyons, Jerry Rap, Pat O’Rourke and Dave Starcevich have all hit 65 in the Highland View Men’s Invitational.
There could be more, and there are no records of a women’s record, which really is too bad because it is important to celebrate such marks.
A plaque commemorating Noctor’s round needs to be put up at the new clubhouse at the Highland View Golf Course, and it needs to be done yesterday.
They should also recognize the record for tournament play, and the research needs to be done to honor the women’s record holder, who is probably Shirley Shea, Sheila Penaluna, Helena Sprunger or Inge O’Mara.
I could tell you that the record for fastest round of golf at the Muni will always belong to my grandma Jean and her best friend Inez Barger.
That will never be broken.
Noctor, who was known as “The Dragon” as he helped lead Butte High to the 2020 Class AA State boys’ basketball tournament, is still only 20. He has aspirations for making a living in golf — either by playing in tournaments or as a club professional.
The way he is playing now, his record of 62 is not safe from himself. He has the skill and he has the mentality to go really low on the golf course.
Still, a plaque to honor Noctor needs to go up. That round must be recognized and romanticized.
The plaque, however, will not be for Noctor. It will be for the kids who come behind him.
Like we did with Dave Cashell, the new Muni kids will dream of one day beating Kaven Noctor.
— Bill Foley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.
Thank you Bill! As usual a great article I love to hear about those stories of our local athletes , heros and sports that are not always covered. This was a very exciting day for Kaven and he has had many great memories growing up on the Muni course and learned from the local golfers as so many have! I really appreciate all your articles about!! Katie
You go Kaven! Congratulations and best wishes for the future!