Thursday, December 10, 2015

December 2015 SDADA Column

Since June 16, 2015, one person has been on the news virtually every night. Every Sunday he is on some (or all) of the Sunday morning news shows (often on the phone!). His presence has made typically uninteresting early campaign debates “must see” TV. Despite pledging to spend as much as $1 billion on his campaign, he has spent less than $2 million as of the most recent election reports.

But why would Donald Trump spend any more than that? That attention has propelled Trump to the top of virtually every national and early-state poll. Facebook has a tool (Facebook Signal) that journalists use to identify trends, photos, videos and posts from Facebook and Instagram for use in their storytelling and reporting. According to Facebook Signal, he is responsible for 80 percent (or more) of the conversation around the 2016 presidential race on any given day.

Love him or loathe him, Trump could teach all of us a thing or two about getting free publicity. I would love to see a dollar value for the publicity that he has gotten the past six months. Which raises the question: Is all publicity is good publicity?

I don’t know what will happen in the Republican race over the next six months but I do know we can count on two things: we will see much, much more of “The Donald” and it won’t be boring!

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Gets Thrashing in Press

Since the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 1737, the Reforming CFPB Auto Financing Guidance Act, on Nov. 18, 2015, the CFPB has been deservedly ridiculed in the media. Many news outlets have found the CFPB actions so onerous that they have called for most drastic actions.

The Wall Street Journal has been particularly pointed in its criticism as they published an opinion piece entitled “Shouting ‘Racism’ Is a Career Move” in which they detail how the CFPB justified framing people for crimes they didn’t commit presumably if it serves a policy or political agenda. The WSJ also posted a video entitled “Consumer Financial Profiling Bureau” on their website in which they discuss the federal enforcement agency’s flawed model of racial discrimination in auto lending. Then on December 9, the WSJ followed up with “The Consumer Bureau Cover-Up” in which they suggest that the CFPB knew their data showing racial bias was false but sued anyway.

U.S. News and World Report published a December 2 article entitled “Take Away the CFPB's Keys” in which they rip the CFPB for overreach and call for the abolition of the federal agency. They praise Congress for their bipartisan rebuke of the CFPB and ordering it to ensure that a cost impact and other real studies are conducted before this kind of policy can take effect.

All of this criticism of the CFPB has me crying crocodile tears! I only wish I have had the chance to shed these tears five years ago!

New York Times Takes Cheap Shot at Auto Dealers

The New York Times published an article in their December 1 issue suggesting that car dealers won’t sell electric cars. They could not cite any reasons why we might not be interested in selling electric vehicles but we were the reason electric cars haven’t reached the heights they were supposed to.

Peter Welch, president of NADA, wrote a Letter to the Editor, published in the December 9 issue of the NYT. In it, he explains that dealers sell what consumers want and the reality is that electric vehicles — and the infrastructure that supports them — unfortunately do not yet suit the needs, desires or budgets of most car buyers.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It…)

Dealers accused of running a monopoly?

Do you remember this Saturday Night Live skit about bows on cars?

Are people ready to buy cars through vending machines?

Hey boss – what do I do with the $50,000 cash I found in this trade-in?

This New Yorker was scammed in Billings by fake auto dealership.

Woman destroys her husband's car after catching him with his mistress.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Knust Kronicle

2015 Knust Kronicle

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Knusts!

Click here to see the 2015 Knust Kronicle

You can find previous Knust Kronicles and Christmas letters here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 2015 SDADA Column

Are you my friend? Or are you family? Do you want to buy the tag vehicle? Or does that one have a "super" tag? Is it "Black Friday" yet? It's Thursday but we can give you the "Black Friday" deal! But I'm not sure that you can buy on "Black Friday" if you're in the military! That's not confusing!

When the salespeople are confused, it's a pretty good bet that the customer is confused. Are the incentives designed to confuse? That seems like a rhetorical question. But is it?

Most dealers want to offer the customer all the incentives available. They typically are not an additional cost to the dealer. Dealers, however, may not offer all the incentives available to the customer because there are so many, they are so confusing and they are poorly communicated to the dealership personnel.

Customers are NOT confused about one thing - they do remember the biggest number they hear on the television ad. They may not be certain what vehicle it applies to, how to qualify or when it ends. But they DO remember the number!

Who gets to clarify the incentives for Mr. Customer? The dealer does. How does that work when the dealer is buried in the 60 page bulletin that explains the incentives. Hey manufacturers, maybe you should consider simplifying the incentives!!!

Perhaps the dealership compliance officer can help us with the incentives!

CFPB Bill Passes by Wide Margin House in Bipartisan Vote

Congress rejected the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's attempt to eliminate dealer discounts in the showroom. Eighty-eight Democrats joined all the Republicans in passing the "Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act" by a 332-96 vote.

The bill requires the CFPB to withdraw the flawed guidance that attempts to eliminate a dealer's ability to discount auto financing for consumers. The bill also requires the minimal safeguards the agency failed to follow, such as public participation and transparency. Nothing in the bill would restrict the CFPB's ability to enforce fair credit laws in auto financing.

Before the vote, the Wall Street Journal weighed in on how some Democrats are fed up with the Administration's unending parade of regulations.

NADA Convention Registration Now Open 

Online registration for the 2016 NADA Convention & Expo in Las Vegas is off to a fast start. Nearly 2,200 dealers and their managers registered to attend the convention during the first five days of registration, up 12 percent compared to the same time a year ago. And as one of the most popular destinations in the country for meetings and conventions, four hotels in NADA’s convention block have already sold out. They are Encore at Wynn, Marriott Convention Center, Renaissance Hotel and Wynn Las Vegas.

Sixteen hotels are still available in NADA’s block. Other top hotels include the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Aria Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa. Aria and Vdara are located in CityCenter, which is considered a city within a city spread out over 67 acres on the Las Vegas strip and includes hundreds of restaurants and shops, spas, shows, nightclubs and other unique attractions.

The NADA convention—which runs from Thursday, March 31, through Sunday, April 3, 2016—will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.For more information or to register, visit

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It…)

Why are there no Malibus in Malibu? Are there Tacomas in Tacoma?

But the factory guys are the industry's smartest people...just ask them!

Your car got hacked; not jacked - HACKED...who's problem is it?

Driving a new Corvette through the showroom windows is a very expensive way to learn how to drive a manual transmission!

Ford wants more friends and a bigger family.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Another Point of Views

South Dakota adopted the slogan "Great Faces, Great Places" in 1990. It refers to the famous faces of Mount Rushmore and all the other interesting people and places across South Dakota. The slogan is seen on license places, promotional materials and some road signs.

The Chamberlain-Oacoma area, my home, has some of those great places. I have chosen my five favorite views in our area. It was difficult to narrow it down to just five. We have many spectacular views and I reserve the right to add to this post at a later time!

I need to point out that the most difficult part of this post was in choosing just one of the many photos that I have of each of these views. It seems that regardless of whether they come from my phone or my DSLR, these great views cannot be spoiled!

(I encourage you to click on each of the photos.)

Sunrise from my Deer Blind

The only thing that would make that sunrise better is the silhouette of a big 5x5 buck on the right or left side of that horizon. There is nothing like being reminded of the majesty of God's creation first thing in the morning. I admit to being a bit drowsy on some of those early mornings but a sunrise like that snaps me out of it better than a strong cup of java! (as does the silhouette of a nice rack of antlers!)

Chamberlain-Oacoma Bridge from ANY Angle

The Chamberlain-Oacoma Bridge (Old Highway 16 Bridge) has an interesting history. Perhaps, more importantly, it has personality. One only needs to look a mile to the south at the Lewis & Clark Memorial Bridge (Interstate 90 Bridge), which was built in 1974, to see a comparably functional, but completely vanilla bridge spanning the Missouri Bridge. The lights make it a great model 24 hours a day. Trust me when I tell you that I have many, many photos of this bridge taken at all times of the day!

Any Fireworks Display Over the Missouri River

If you've ever watched a fireworks show near water, you understand this one. The show is magnified by the reflection in the water. Chamberlain's "Rock the Bluffs" show is one of the area's best every year. Sometimes (as above) Mother Nature contributes to the grandeur.

Cliffs North of Chamberlain at Sunset in Summer

I've told many people that this is my favorite view in our area. Most have seen it from the the deck of Cedar Shore Resort. While this is a spectacular view, the best venue for this view is on a boat in the middle of the river. Ironically, I do not have photo of this view at my favorite time. The best time is when the sun has begun its descent behind the bluffs on the west side of the river casting a shadow on the water. The cliffs are still lit by the setting sun and are glowing in contrast to the deep blue of the water and the emerald green of the bluffs on the east side. This lasts about for only 12-15 minutes. I will have to capture that vista on pixels this coming summer!


 Any November, December, January Sunset from my Backyard

This is my favorite despite what I tell people! Those who visit us in the summer tell us how spectacular our sunsets are. They are right...kinda. While our summertime sunsets are great, our sunsets in the late fall into winter are the best. They are even better from our our backyard because the sun sets behind the bridge straight down river which gives us the most reflection possible. I am partial to the orange and red sunsets but the purple and yellow one are equally amazing.

I have learned over the years to identify when we will experience one of these breathtaking sunsets. We need a few clouds in the southwest sky later in the afternoon. The reflection in calm water adds to the splendor as does an ice covered river.

I literally have thousands of photographs of sunsets from my backyard. It took me a half hour to narrow them down to the six photos above. I can't help myself. When I see one of these glorious panoramas, I have to get a shot.

Follow me on Instagram (@DougKnust) for more #SDsunsets!

Update 2/15/2018: How about this one - absolutely untouched! November sunset from Amreican Creek Campground in Chamberlain.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

October 2015 SDADA Column

What if you were asked to travel over 1,400 miles to a place of complete dysfunction, where people
think differently (not raising the budget is viewed as cutting it); act differently (people says things they don't believe to get recognition); fight with their friends (members are known to battle it out on the Hill before breaking bread together later that day); and generally act like they have no connection to the people who sent them there in the first place?

Your mission (should you decide to accept it): to change minds, affect policy change and to make it all happen fast (before the makeup of Congress changes again!). Sounds easy right?

Our South Dakota delegation to the NADA Washington Conference in September (Chairman Bruce Eide, Jim Burgess, Dutch VanSanten, NextGen delegate Nick Simon, Myron and me) accepted the mission. The jury is still out on the success of the mission!

As any South Dakota dealer who has attended the NADA Washington Conference can attest, the experience of traveling to DC to learn the issues and lobby our Congressional delegation is invaluable. Not only do dealers learn the current issues that NADA is addressing, they get an opportunity to meeting Senators Thune and Rounds and Representative Noem on their turf and seeing how our government works up close and personal.

The addition of the NextGen program keeps our national association relevant. Many trade organizations are struggling to remain pertinent to their young members. I am extremely pleased that we have brought a NextGen member of the delegation each year that NADA has offered the program. I believe that Nick found this year's NextGen program to be of value.

The Washington Conference is one of the best investments of time and money our South Dakota Automobile Dealers Association makes each year.

Safety Recalls into the Foreseeable Future

One of the issues we discussed with our South Dakota Congressional delegation was legislation that would ground all vehicles under open recall at a dealership. This "one size fits all" concept is flawed because it fails to differentiate between recalls that involve a defect that should be immediately addressed and those with a negligible impact on safety, such as an incorrect phone number in the owner’s manual, or an airbag warning sticker that might peel off the sun visor.

At our October NADA board meeting, we had an extended discussion about how dealers should handle safety recalls. NADA has issued guidance for this topic. It can be found here. (Because of the sensitive nature of this topic, you must log on to with your user id and password to access this guidance.)

I want to encourage you to look at this valuable information. Dealing with recalls will be a significant part of our business going forward. We are the front line for almost all safety recalls and thus promote the safety of the motoring public. We need to handle these recalls effectively and correctly.

NADA Convention Registration Now Open 

Considered the “Automotive Industry Event of the Year,” the NADA convention includes dealer-manufacturer franchise meetings, new educational workshops for dealers and managers, hundreds of exhibitors on the expo floor showcasing the latest equipment, services and technologies for dealerships and numerous networking events for attendees.

The NADA convention—which runs from Thursday, March 31, through Sunday, April 3, 2016—will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Dealers and their managers who register by Nov. 27, 2015, will receive the early-bird rate—a $100 discount from the onsite registration rate.
For more information or to register, visit

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It…)
A 60-year dealership employee receives a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado truck as a parting gift.

The mind-numbing number of automobile color choices and color names can paralyze customers.

One industry consumer magazine asks the question: Why Do We Keep Buying Vehicles at Dealerships? 

Will Volkswagen AG's twelve brands survive the recent emissions cheating scandal?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Basking in the Sun

Our local paper, the Chamberlain-Oacoma Sun, as part of their "From Behind the Sidelines" series, featured a local automobile dealer in their October 14, 2015 issue. I was honored to be included with Chamberlain High School football announcer Donn DeBoer.

From the Sun:

DeBoer, Knust discuss what it's like being the 'Voice of the Cubs' 
There are voices that everyone recognizes and remembers - the voices of your mother and father, best friend, a son or daughter. For Cubs fans, there are two more that ring through clear as day: Donn DeBoer and Doug Knust. 
They've been dubbed “The Voice of the Cubs" for their game and other school function announcing, which when added together racks up over 30 years of talking, yelling and cheering. 
"It's been a longtime... I guess it’s a good thing I like to hear myself talk," joked DeBoer, who has announced Cub football games for approximately a decade. He’s also dabbled in basketball, track, the prom grand march and other school events whenever he's requested. 
All that talking has made his voice recognizable - even to strangers he doesn’t even know. 
“Sometimes it’s as if I can’t all anyone on the phone without them already knowing whoit is before I tell them,” said DeBoer. “There’s no disguising this voice." 
Knust keeps his vocal chords ready as well and calls basketball games during the winter season. He's been a Cub announcer at the Armory – the very same gym that he himself used to play in as a Chamberlain High School student while his father’s voice rang through the speakers for close to 23 years. He said  it seems like just the other day he started taking over the announcing duties from his father, Harry. It’s only when he starts doing the math that time is put into perspective. 

“I remember sitting with my dad as he was announcing games for the Cubs - probably hitting him up for a quarter for some popcorn or whatever it was I wanted," said Knust, smiling at the memory. "It's been pretty special." 

It's fitting the two men who perform the Cub announcing have voices with hear like qualities. Each has a deeper voice and one that can roar when necessary, like when there's Cub touchdown or the winning shot for the home team just went swish. Although part of the art of announcing is that announcers are supposed to show neutrality to both teams. But, diehard Cub fans like DeBoer and Knust say that rule doesn't apply to them. 

"I'm definitely a ‘homer.' I want my home team to win and get excited when we do," said Knust, who estimates he's called at least 450 basketball games for the Cubs. "Because it's those home games that are special for athletes, parents, students, and so on. The bleachers are packed. The band is playing. The fans are roaring. This all added together creates the perfect storm for announcers. They feed off that energy and get excited - especially when a win is in reach." 
"Like those Homecoming games - now those are the games you really want to win," said DeBoer. "You can't help it. Your voice gets louder and louder and more excited when home team does something good." 
But announcing is more than just running a play-by-play of the court or field. Every year athletes come and go and it seems like just as they start getting a handle on the athletes' names, the students graduate and new students step-up in their place. It's a never-ending cycle. But, both Knust and DeBoer admit that, for them, it's a bit easier than it looks because both are very active in the community and other Cub events. But, there's always the visiting team that comes with its own, unfamiliar athletes and a few last names that can trip-up even the greatest speakers who can conquer anything during a battle of linguistics. 
"Sometimes you have to get out your phonetics on the tricky ones," said Knust. There's also the aspect of time. It seems to slip by so quickly and both men put in hours and hours during their respective seasons. Although Knust owns Harry K's Chevrolet in Chamberlain and Winner and DeBoer works at Sanford Chamberlain Medical Center, the two don't seem to mind putting in a second shift for the Cubs. It's that and several other traits that make them so important to the Cubs. 
"One thing that both Donn and Doug bring to the events is a great deal of enthusiasm for the Cubs. They are truly Cub Fans. This enthusiasm spills over to the crowd and helps create the atmosphere that I envision our venues having during the events," said CSD Athletic Director Todd Palmer. "The second thing that both bring to the table is knowledge of the game. They help the crowd understand what is going on during the contest by explaining to them officials signals, giving stats out at half time, etc."Palmer said they also bring professionalism to the game and always are there to help out whether it's announcing or another task. 
"They are two individuals that I can count on thus taking that specific stress off of me," said Palmer. 
Neither man does it for the recognition, nor do they do it for the money. Rather, the two fanatics of football and basketball say they do it for other reasons. 
"It keeps me young," said DeBoer. 
"And really why wouldn't I keep doing it?" said Knust. "I've got the best seat in the house."

As the article mentions, I took over for my father. He was the original Cubs basketball announcer and started in 1963. I succeeded him in 1992. That's over 52 years of Knusts at the microphone announcing Cubs games.

I've enjoyed it immensely and am grateful to Sun editor Hannah Ruhlman for her thoughtful article.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September 2015 SDADA Column

Do you remember Groundhog Day, the 1981 movie starring Bill Murray? Murray plays a television weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. I feel that same sentiment each month when Michelle sends me the email asking for my monthly column.

I try to sit back and look at the issues that are most pressing in our industry and how our industry is dealing with them. But it has seemed like Groundhog Day for the last three years as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has taken dead aim at car dealers and lenders. The CFPB remains the preeminent threat to our industry and business model. And so it goes again this month...

I have written about transparency in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's processes in this space before, but evidence against this agency continues to mount. Investor's Business Daily recently wrote:
In a series of internal documents obtained by American Banker magazine, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials acknowledge that the "disparate impact" and "proxy" methodology used to investigate car lenders for racial bias hypes the evidence. Yet they say they prefer that to underestimating bias.
It continues:
But recently uncovered documents show that the assumptions that Obama's race bullies make while sifting through the limited auto loan data are even wilder than the ones they make against mortgage lenders, which already have forked over $100 billion to the government.
You can read the entire opinion here.

In July, the House Financial Services Committee passed NADA-backed H.R. 1737 to rescind the CFPB's flawed auto finance guidance that would limit or eliminate a customer's ability to receive a discounted auto loan in the showroom. The bill, which passed by a bipartisan vote of 47-10, has increased momentum with 133 cosponsors (76 Republicans and 57 Democrats). H.R. 1737 will likely come up for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives this fall and will likely be a priority at our Washington Conference.

Consumers Tell Their Stories of Saving on Finance at the Dealership

The stories of real consumers who saved money by financing new vehicle purchases through local dealerships are at the center of an initiative by NADA to showcase the true economic value of dealer-assisted financing. Through video testimonials and a new website NADA is bringing the voices of consumers back into the debate over dealer-assisted financing. Dealers have been fighting to preserve the fiercely competitive, pro-consumer financing model ever since it came under threat from the CFPB in 2013.

I encourage you to take a look at these powerful videos!

NADA Announces Keynote Speakers for 2016 Convention

On Friday, April 1, comedian and entertainer Jeff Foxworthy and 2015 NADA Chairman Bill Fox will address the convention. On Saturday, April 2, Mike Allen, Politico's chief White House correspondent, will moderate a panel session with Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, and Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Incoming NADA Chairman Jeff Carlson will also speak. On Sunday, April 3, Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, will provide an inspirational address.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It…)

Former GM executive, Bob Lutz, thinks Apple is in for a surprise when they enter the automobile industry.

Does Volkswagen's deception hurt the entire industry? One writer thinks so.

What will the driving and auto insurance worlds look like in 2025? Here's one opinion.

Is this the answer to the shortage of automotive technicians?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fairway to Heaven

I have a group of friends that I have gone on a golf trip with each year since 1986. We have been going to the Brainerd, Minnesota area each year and played the Madden's courses, the Pines courses, the Preserve, Deacon's Lodge and several others through the years. In fact, we played the Pines the first year it opened and we've played Deacon's Lodge every year since it opened.

I consider Deacon's Lodge my personal home course. There is nothing in the golf world better than the twilight scramble with these friends at Deacon's. I have a mural of the 17th green on my basement wall.

In 2000, we went to Ireland with our wives. We played golf five times while on the Emerald Isle. It was a lifetime experience that left us with some wonderful memories that we often rehash.

For the past several years, we've been talking about another trip abroad. We discussed Scotland in 2015 and informally planned to make that junket. But circumstances didn't come together to make that trip a reality. So a trip to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, a complex of four links courses and a par-3 golf course, located just north of Bandon, Oregon, in the southwest part of the state, became the consolation prize.

Needless to say, one could do much worse than this resort that has been described as "the last great meeting of sand and sea on American soil". Six of us made plans in May to make this journey to the west coast to experience the golf nirvana that is Bandon Dunes.

Our cast of characters included:

Tom Helland: Turk is a high school classmate and lifelong friend (over 50 years). We grew up two blocks from each other. He was our travel agent for this trip (which ain't easy for this crew!).

Mike Casey: Mike too, is a high school classmate and lifelong friend (again over 50 years). We grew up three blocks apart. Mike, Tom and I have been playing golf together for almost fifty years!

Emmet Kenney: Emo is a friend from our days at Creighton University where we were fraternity brothers. Emo is a friend of over 35 years. Emo is also a Final Four trip traveler with me each year.

Pat Goetzinger: Goet is my attorney and a friend for over 30 years. He was a USD college friend of Mike and Turk's. Our friendship really began with the Cahoona trips back in the mid-eighties. We share a passion for good whiskey and fine cigars.

Bob Milligan: Bob is a friend of Mike's. I did not know Bob before our Oregon trip. I think Emo was the only other one who previously knew Bob. We found Bob to have a sharp wit and quick laugh. He was a great addition to the group.

In the days leading up to the trip, Tom had a detached retina which forced him to forgo the flight to Oregon in favor of a road trip! The plane trip presented some risks that were not acceptable.

I had a scare of my own with a little "cardio event" one week prior to our junket but the doctor gave me the green light to go golfing upon my discharge. He told me to "listen to my body" (which told me to go on the trip!!).

Day 1 - Travel

So on Sunday, August 16, we all made our way to the "Beaver State" for our golf retreat. Turk had set out in his truck early the prior day. Everyone's flight went well and we met at the Eugene, OR airport just as Turk came into the baggage claim area. We grabbed a quick lunch while we waited for Mike's arrival.

Emo looking good despite a early wake up call!
It was a full day journey for all. Emo got up at 4:45 local time (which was 2:45 PDT). We arrived at the airport at noon and after lunch and a trip to the liquor store, we left Eugene about 2:00 pm. A few nature breaks later we rolled in to Bandon Dunes around 4:30 PDT.

We unpacked and headed to the practice facility. Mother Nature was showing off when we got to the practice facility. The wind was blowing 25-30 mph out of the north. It was unbelievable. We didn't last long on the practice range. It didn't seem like real effective practice when you had to cock your body into the wind as you addressed the ball. We learned then and there that you got what Mother Nature gave you at Bandon Dunes!

Goet leans in to a gust on the practice range
We went to McKee's Pub for dinner. It was pub grub served in fine fashion. The Cahoonas sampled some of the heartier selections including the braised lamb stew and roast chicken pot pie. They didn't get cheated on the beer and wine either!

Braised Lamb Stew
Roast Chicken Pot Pie

Grilled Charleston Rock Fish
(From left) Goet, Emo, Casey, Turk, me and Milligan at McKee's Pub
After dinner, a short Cahoona "session" was in order back at the the quarters. We caught the highlights from Jason Day's PGA victory earlier in the day. But mostly, we did what we do well, highlight the problems facing the world today and offer our best solutions. Of course this is all bathed in top shelf wine, scotch and whiskey (except for the heart patient who vowed to be on his best behavior!).

Day 2 - Bandon Dunes Golf Course and the Punch Bowl Putting Course

Our first day of golf found us on the tees at the Bandon Dunes course, the first course and namesake of the resort. We were two threesomes and we had a caddie in each group.

Rich was the caddie in my group. He looped for Turk and me while Goet took on Bandon Dunes by himself (with an assist here and there from Rich!).

Rich is a big strapping guy that we decided reminded us of Sam Elliot. He's about 6'4" and a hulk of a man who looks like you could hang a couple more golf bags on his frame. He guides steelhead trout fisherman during the fishing season. An avid hunter, he loves life and is a "salt of the earth" guy.

In the other group, Patrick caddied for Mike and Emo while Bob hoofed it on his own. Patrick the caddie is a laid back guy. He is a former Dakota Tour golfer who played some tourneys in "God's Country" (South Dakota). He is a free spirit who has has a lotta "use to be's" and suggested that he might still be searching for his "calling".

As advertised, the Bandon Dunes course is a spectacular layout with views that are distracting. We had 65 degree weather with a north wind that continued to build after our 10 am tee time into the afternoon. It was blowing 20-25 by the end of the round but we didn't see anything like the prior evening on the range.

I was able to put a string of five consecutive pars on the card just before and after the turn. Unfortunately, I bookended it with a few bogies and doubles. Goet and Casey carded birdies and Goet was the medalist. Scores be damned, it was a great day of golf.

With my group: Caddie Rich, Goet and Turk
After discussing our round over a couple of beers, we made our way to the Punch Bowl, the resort's 18 hole putting course. The Punch Bowl was the perfect way to quench the Cahoonas thirst for scramble golf without another 7 miles of walking.  The bonus was cocktail service on the course. In a "turd in the punch bowl" moment, Goet got  a good draw and had Emo carry him to a victory on the 18-hole putting course.

Goet looks on as Emo strokes a putt at the Punch Bowl
We returned to our rooms to clean up before dinner at the Gallery. Emo was in charge of ordering wine and hit the bullseye with a magnum bottle of Cabernet (which brought the obligatory needling from the Cahoonas).

After dinner, the Cahoonas made their way to the inner sanctum of the Bandon Dunes Resort to the Bunker Bar which featured scotch, whiskey, port wine and stogies. The centerpiece of the bar was a pool table, where Goet and Turk almost got into a rumble. What?

The Bunker Bar is one of those places that just makes men want to piss in every corner and mark their turf. The boys experienced a group like that. While you'll never meet two more diplomatic guys, Turk and Goet met their match. There was never the threat of a rumble or even an argument, but the other group were assholes! The Chicago boy (Milligan) was pushing their button at every opportunity.

Editor's note: I did not witness this incident as I was a good cardio patient and had retired for the evening! Perhaps there was some embellishment but I can only report what I heard.

Day 3 - Pacific Dunes and Bandon Preserve

We woke on Tuesday to find we had a beautiful forecast- 70 degrees and 10-12 mph wind. Anytime the wind is under 20 mph is cause for celebration here. I played with Goet and Casey on Pacific Dunes. Rich caddied for Casey and me.

With Casey and Goet at Pacific Dunes

Patrick had to chase down Casey from about 100 yards on the second hole to deliver sand wedge that he discovered he had put in Emo's bag at the end of the previous day. We were all proud of Emo for recognizing that it was not his sand wedge. Word is that it took Patrick a couple holes to recover from the 200 yard sprint!

Patrick later told Emo that he found himself some places he'd never been during the round. But it was alright because they were all very scenic!

Casey takes dead aim

Goet adds a little "body english"

Goet looks on as Casey throws a dart
Casey had birdie on Pacific Dunes which helped him be the medalist for the day. That earned him a pairing with Turk and Emo for the three man scramble at Bandon Preserve.

Goet would suggest than he made three birdies by himself at the Preserve. As Emo says, Goet puts the "I" in "teamwork". Milligan and I were so lucky to ride Goet's magic carpet. What a ride!!!

Goet did hit a marvelous shot on hole eleven. He skulled it off the box and it sliced off the backstop on the right side of the green. It rolled down the hill at the hole and settled inside a foot away. Fortunately for Goet, Milligan was there to make a putt! The magic carpet carried us to a resounding 5 shot victory.
Waiting to tee off at Bandon Preserve
Goet will also claim to have birdied hole fourteen, but the record will show that there are only thirteen holes on the Preserve. Our starter told us that designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw set out to design a par 3 course with 12 holes in the tradition of some of golf's oldest and greatest courses. But they found a spot for another hole so they added it, making it a baker's dozen and thus, the unorthodox number of holes on the Preserve.

Goet skulls one to within a foot

It looks like he threw a dart (we know better!)
Between Pacific Dunes and the Preserve, I logged over ten miles and my feet felt it! I could have used a foot massage! It felt real good to sit down to a glass of wine in the room at the end of the day.

Turk lays a smooth stroke on his ball

I have the Cahoonas' complete attention
We had a wonderful dinner over at Trails End in the Bandon Trails Clubhouse. The vista at dusk offered a spectacular view of the 18th green at Bandon Trails, dunes that roll to the sea and a half dozen blacktail deer. The view was punctuated by the sound (and power) of the Pacific surf hammering the coast. Outstanding!

Blacktail deer silhouette over Bandon Trails #18

Bandon Trails clubhouse

A short "session" followed but the Cahoonas were tired. After a bit nodding off without spilling their drinks, the boys made their way toward their pillows.

Day Four - Old Macdonald and the Punch Bowl

The report on Old Macdonald was that there was more than 250,000 square feet of putting surface which translates to the largest greens in America. When you putt like me, that ain't good news!

We got a calm(!) foggy day for our final golf day at the resort. With a late morning tee time, we expected the fog to burn off and the wind to pick up. But it didn't burn off all day - in fact, it got a bit thicker.

It gave a surreal feeling about the golf - like playing in a cloud. Perhaps St. Peter would be sitting by the 18th green!

Turk, Goet and Casey at Old Macdonald
We decided Rich and Patrick the caddies, were ying and yang. Both are great guys. Rich was the kind of guy I sell a new truck to and Patrick is the the kind of guy that Turk sells a craft beer to!

I played with Emo and Milligan. Rich looped for Emo and me while Bob went solo. I three putted the first four greens and generally did not play the first several holes very well. I got it together later and even carded my only birdie of the week.

Emo's golf lessons seemed to pay dividends on this round. When they heard he was coming to Bandon Dunes, his wife and youngest son went to work on getting him in (golf) shape for the trip. Diane (his wife) set him up with golf lessons and his son drug him out on the course a few times.

Milligan's misses were always in the fairway. Like a good lawyer, he stayed out of trouble and actually played better than he scored.

In the other group, Casey and Goet lit it up. The word is that there were three or four birdies between them. They shot low eighties and were both strutting around the clubhouse after their round.

From left: Me, Turk, Goet, Caddie Rich, Casey, Milligan and Emo
Before more putting at the Punch Bowl, we sat down for some beers and light lunch. Goet decided to teach Hannah, our server, how to mix a "Skirt Chaser", some libation that fueled Goet through the summer at Arrowhead. Hannah is memorized and tells Goet what a wonderful barkeep he is. The Cahoonas collectively roll their eyes. This on top of his hot round of golf cause us to suggest to Hannah that she is starting the fire and will leave it for us put it out!!

Next is eighteen (or more) holes of putting and cocktails at the Punch Bowl. First the boys broke out the winter gear. It was misting and cold - great weather for Irish coffee! Milligan was the trend setter and the Cahoonas followed like lemmings! The putting scramble was great fun and a perfect way to put and exclamation point on the golfing part of our trip.

Emo ready to drain a long one as the Cahoonas look on at the Punch Bowl

With Milligan and Casey after a little Irish coffee

Our final dinner of the trip was at the Pacific Grill which was back at the clubhouse for the Pacific Dunes and Punch Bowl. Seafood and wine was a perfect compliment to our discussion of three days at this golf nirvana. We had a great dinner and a lot of laughs.

Emo displays dessert at the Pacific Grill
A short "session" followed but after three nights, we had solved most of the world's problems. It's a lot of work and we were tired!

Day 5 - Travel

Perhaps part of the magic of Bandon Dunes is the journey involved. But that magic is lost on the way home. For me, it began with a 2 1/2 hour drive from Bandon beginning about 9:00 am local time. We arrived in Eugene about noon for a 1:00 pm flight to Salt Lake City.

After a 2 hour flight and a 90 minute layover in Salt Lake City, we boarded the first flight on which I flew over my final destination, a 2 1/2/ flight from Salt Lake City to Minneapolis, After another hour on the ground in Minneapolis, I again flew over my final destination on an hour and a half flight to Rapid City. I arrived at 10:30 local time in Rapid and after claiming luggage, I set off on a 2 1/2 hour drive home. I arrived home about 2:30 am, about 14 1/2 hours after I departed Bandon Dunes.


I did not include photos of the golf course here. You could spend a more time than it takes to play eighteen at Bandon Dunes looking at incredible photos of this marvelous piece of landscape. If fact, I encourage you to do just that. But they will not do it justice.

One of the ironic anecdotes of the week came from our caddie Rich who told us that he had never seen a puffin (the bird on the Bandon Dunes logo above) there.

I bought a copy of the book Dream Golf by Stephen Goodwin when I made my obligatory trip through the pro shop on our final day there. It’s a wonderful book about the site selection for and the building of Bandon Dunes. I found it to be a great resource to more fully appreciate this little slice of golf heaven.

As I reflect on my 92 hours at this golf resort, I realize how lucky I am to make the trip to this golf bucket list destination. But more significantly, I am blessed to have such great friends with whom I am able to share such a journey. Cheers boys!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 2015 SDADA Column

You may have heard that I had a bit of a health setback this past month. If you’re interested in the details, you can read about it here.

If you were around Myron at any meeting last year, you heard his story about his heart screening and how he discovered his heart blockage. He encouraged everyone to get the screening done.

I had the best of intentions. Though I remember having conflicts on a couple of the days the screening truck was in town, I did have the phone book out one day before I was interrupted by something urgent (like a car appraisal or something comparable).
I was lucky. I tempted fate and the grim reaper took a swing. Apparently the creator has some work left for me to do!

So let me encourage you to do two things. First, get the screening done. I, like Myron, was in pretty darn good physical condition and took care of myself. But we all exist in a rather stressful industry. Stress is a significant risk factor that most car dealers are exposed to.
Secondly,  EVERY day is a gift. We should not take it for granted and we should enjoy it and make the most of it.

47-10: Fair Credit and Consumer Competition Wins a Round   

On one side of the arena is the Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act (H.R. 1737 for short.) This is where NADA and its allies stand, working hard to preserve dealer-assisted financing.

This grassroots battle started at the steps of the Capitol. And members of Congress have listened to the earnest call from NADA, industry partners, and franchised dealers everywhere. The U.S. House Financial Services Committee responded by passing a bill that would rescind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's flawed auto finance guidance; a guidance that threatens to eliminate a customer's ability to get a discount in the showroom.

H.R. 1737, introduced this April by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), passed in committee by an overwhelming 47-10 vote last month. This vote represents countless hours of hard work and dedication, dozens of meetings and phone calls between the industry and Congress, and an ingrained commitment to do what's best for consumers nationwide.

On the other side of the arena stands the CFPB.

Since 2013, the CFPB has led a crusade to alter the auto finance market in a way that would make it less competitive and more costly for consumers. For the past two years, the CFPB has pressured auto lenders to eliminate a dealer's discretion to discount auto financing for customers. It's 2015 and NADA has shown empirically that the CFPB's policy will harm car buyers because it eliminates the competition that brings lower rates for customers. Taking away a customer's right to find the best loan possible, or the right to negotiate, or the right to find a better deal, is not what Washington should be doing.

NADA and its members are clear that we also support the nation's fair lending laws and the commitment of federal agencies to ensure fairness. But the CFPB's plays are misguided and its policies are wrong.

The progress of H.R. 1737 demonstrates our elected officials understand this important dynamic and are willing to halt the CFPB's harmful actions on a supremely successful market. The bill places some necessary safeguards on the agency, including:

  • Giving notice and a public comment period before issuing a future auto guidance;
  • Making critical information public, such as data and methodologies;
  • Consulting with the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and the Board of governors of the Federal Reserve System; and
  • Studying the costs and impacts on consumers for any future auto guidance.
  • Most importantly, H.R. 1737 will help ensure that any future regulation is based on accurate analysis that truly acts on the best interests of consumers. 

As the bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration, NADA salutes Reps. Guinta and Perlmutter for their efforts on behalf of our industry and our customers. We greatly appreciate their bipartisan leadership and steadfast commitment to fairness and competition.

And with the resounding vote of 47-10, NADA appreciates our industry allies who have stood with us in this arena to protect the right of consumers to find the best credit possible.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It…)

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson called Honda Finance’s settlement with federal regulators for alleged discrimination in auto lending a “win-win-win”.

Some thoughts on how car dealers can keep regulators at bay.

Cyber thieves see car dealers as great targets.