They say the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. If that’s true, then this story is about some very wealthy boys and some very spendy toys.

I met Rick and Devin during a No-Limit Hold’em poker tournament at Talking Stick Casino (formerly Casino Arizona) in toney Scottsdale, Arizona. Besides poker, the three of us shared an affinity for golf and high-performance automobiles, and we hit if off immediately. During the tourney’s first break, I learned about an illegal mano-y-mano road race the two of them had recently engaged in—a forty-some-mile loop, starting in North Scottsdale, ripping south into Paradise Valley, blasting east to Fountain Hills, then swinging around to finish back in North Scottsdale, in the parking lot of an AJ’s grocery store where all the fun began. Their well thought-out course had everything any true sportscar aficionado could hope for—long straightaways, low- and high-speed turns, and a multitude of passing zones.

Rick, a legit “shoe” with nearly a dozen performance driving courses under his belt, used a 2016 Porsche GT3, just one of the many amazing cars in his impressive collection. With 475 horsepower and what many enthusiasts describe as “surgical handling,” the Porsche GT3 is about as close as you can get to a street-legal racecar.

Devin, who also had a stable of thoroughbred speed machines, used a car that was even more “racecar” than the Porsche GT3, although it was also street legal, albeit just barely. His 2017 Dodge Viper ACR has 645 horsepower and, except for a few safety components and track-specific upgrades, was virtually identical to the Competition Vipers you’ll find racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other famous international endurance races. While Devin didn’t have nearly the same high performance driving education or skills as Rick, he was still a talented and capable driver with balls the size of boulders. His approach to high-speed driving was something along the lines of “When in doubt, mash the throttle to the floor.”

Amazingly, while both the cars and drivers couldn’t be more different, they still managed to dead heat their race. Twice!

“Any suggestions on how we should settle our bet?” Devin asked.

I answered without hesitation. “A round of golf.”

Devin and Rick shared a look. “That could work,” Rick said.

“With a catch,” I added.

“What catch?”

“You can only bring two clubs. A pitching wedge and a putter.”

“That’d be a total waste of a round,” Devin snorted.

“Not for the course I have in mind,” I said with a grin.

Three days later, we met in the parking lot of the Desert Hills Par 3 Golf Course in Yuma, Arizona. Now if you’re unfamiliar with Yuma, this Southern Arizona city is famous for its weather extremes and has the distinction of being the sunniest, driest, least humid city in the country, boasting the least amount of annual precipitation and the most days with temps above 90 degrees. It’s absolutely perfect for golf—if you happen to be a Gila Monster!

I suggested the Par 3 course and two-club format mitigating any advantage Rick might have; he plays to a 6 handicap whereas Devin wasn’t quite sure what his handicap was, only that it was north of 15, and that he wholeheartedly embraced the “grip it and rip it” philosophy. I found it interesting that both men had driving styles that seemed to parallel their golf games. I was certain Devin would feel emasculated asking for strokes, and the Par 3 course would allow everyone—including yours truly—to stand on level ground. Or at least that was my intention. And with the majority of holes being between 65 and 130 yards, a pitching wedge would more than suffice. Granted, two holes were outside typical PW distance (#5-180 yards, #17-172 yards), but with a little creativity, it shouldn’t have been that problematic.

Surprisingly, the front nine had no drama whatsoever. All three of us alternated between great shots and shitty shots. Great putts and shitty putts. Sadly, if our “event” were televised, viewers would have switched the channel to a station broadcasting paint drying after only a few holes. That was especially true of my first nine holes. I played like I had feet for hands—someone else’s feet! When we stepped onto the 10th tee, Rick and Devin were dead even at three over par. I was sucking hind tit at six over par.

#10 was 115 yards and both Rick and Devin hit solid shots; each was within eight feet for birdie. More than a little frustrated, I just flicked my ball onto the tee box and swatted at it. No tee, no practice swing, nothing. Incredibly, that haphazard shot ended up being the closest I had ever come to an ace. Less than one full rotation of the ball separated me from being able to write a ‘1’ on my scorecard (without cheating). I tapped in for birdie, fully expecting to have honors and bragging rights, but those two sons-of-bitches each drained their putt, and we moved on to #11 with no change in the hitting order or, in my case, the gap in the score.


For the 65-yard #11, Rick and Devin both hit great shots but got a bit unlucky with the bounces and their balls rolled off the rock-hard green. Hilariously, I skulled my shot, but considering the green was virtually a throw-able distance away, and my worm-burner went arrow straight, I ended up with a two-footer for birdie, which I sank without any trouble. Rick and Devin missed their birdies, allowing me to gloat, if only for a moment. I gained a stroke on both, while they remained deadlocked.

Holes #12 thru #16 were a mixed bag of average tee shots and reasonably good putts (including from me, I’m happy to say) with one exception—Devin hit the flag on the 120-yard 15th and, from our vantage point, it actually looked as if the ball went into the hole for a split second before bouncing out. Obviously, we’ll never know—unless the NSA was keeping tabs on our round for whatever reason and they decide to share the satellite footage—but it sure looked and sounded that way. The five-hole stretch ended with Devin one stroke ahead of Rick, and I was now four strokes back. With only two holes left to play, barring an act of God, I would be buying dinner and drinks for our trio. Rick and Devin still had loose ends to tie up.

On the 172-yard #17, Rick’s superior golf skills proved to be the difference-maker. Whereas Devin tried to simply muscle his tee shot, coming up well short of the green, Rick closed the face of his wedge and hit the shot as if he were holding a 7-iron. The ball flew true, landed soft and came to rest within three feet of the cup. Devin still managed to get up and down, sinking a lengthy putt in the process, but Rick made his easy birdie putt and tied up their match once again, with only one hole remaining.

On the 146-yard 18th, Rick hit a picturesque wedge shot—the kind of shot you expect a PGA Tour pro to hit on Sunday when he’s trying to close out a tournament. He got a bit unlucky on the bounce—it looked like the ball hit a small rock or hard-shelled beetle—but still ended up with a legit shot at birdie from inside of five feet. If I were wagering on the outcome, I would have bet big that Rick was going to emerge victoriously.

Good thing I didn’t put my money where my inkling was!

Devin hit one of the shittiest shots of the day, trajectory-wise—it looked more like a blocked 3-iron than a lofted pitching wedge—but looks don’t mean squat if the result is pretty. And in this case, the result wasn’t just pretty—it was freakin’ pin-up girl gorgeous, coming to rest less than a foot from the hole.

Rick gave it the old college try—he put a helluva roll on the ball, but his putt lipped out. Devin dropped his ten-incher with just a slight brush of the clubhead and the match was his.

Time to settle up.

Now I had no idea what their stakes were. It had never occurred to me to ask. With the vim and vigor with which they competed, I just assumed it was a few thousand dollars or something to that effect. So you could imagine my surprise when Rick went to his golf bag, unzipped one of the pockets, and removed his Porsche GT3’s title. He signed the document and handed it to Devin.

“I hope you wreck it before you insure it,” he said with a chuckle.

“Screw that. I’ll probably just sell it on eBay and buy a real car,” Devin shot back.

My eyes bulged at what I just witnessed. These two crazy rich nutters just played a round of pitch ‘n putt for what amounted to six figures.

“Remember, dinner’s on you,” Rick said when we arrived at the parking lot, seemingly not at all dismayed at losing a $100K+ automobile. “I’m thinking of steak and lobster.”

Sure, take out your angst on the poor writer, I thought to myself. And that’s Poor with a capital P. I wasn’t in their financial league. Not by a longshot. Hell, not by ANY shot!

Standing in the parking lot, I noticed Rick hadn’t come in the Porsche, but another expensive vehicle from his large and pricey collection—a midnight blue Aston Martin Vantage.

Man, I chose the wrong career!