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The Ranch Golf Club Now Open For Play


The much anticipated opening of The Ranch Golf Club, in Southwick, took place on Saturday, July 14. The first shot was taken by 13 year old Matthew Rebitch of Delmont, PA. Matthew was playing with his father, Ed Rebitch and William Orr Cass.
Over 80 players tested their skills against Western Mass' newest public course. Another new course, that is also public, the Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley is slated to open to the public on August 15.
The entry fee at The Ranch was lowered to $75 for opening day and will remain at $75 until further notice.
The championship course tips out at 7,174 yards. All four par three's can be played at over 200 yards. The course boasts a 618 yard par 5 and several lengthy par 4's. The number one handicap hole plays to 441 yards with an uphill approach. The tenth hole measures 447 yards. The finishing hole is a mere 438 yards.
To help you navigate this new course is a Global Positioning System computer installed in all carts. The GPS gives you exact yardages on every shot. The course is also well marked with yardages on every sprinkler head. The greens are fast and true. The GPS also lets you order lunch at the ninth tee to speed up play.
The driving range at The Ranch is also second to none. Large greens at measured distances help you maximize your practice experience. New range balls stacked in a pyramid sit next to several perfectly manicured hitting stalls. A time clock sits at one end of the range to remind you of your approaching tee time. Tee times are ten minutes apart to spread out play.
On your golf cart is a cooler with complimentary ice and bottled water. In addition free tees and a divot repair tool are rolled in a towel for each player.
The range can be used for a daily fee of $30 that can be applied to your course fee should you elect to play. A replay fee of $50 is also available. There is a fully stocked pro shop with top of the line merchandise complete with The Ranch logo. For more information about The Ranch Golf Club visit www.theranchgolfclub.com.

WMG Reporter Shatters Course Mark by Six Strokes


NO, it is not Steve Kelly, who in his prime could have broken a course record at any time he teed it up. Jim Cline spends very little time on the course or practice range, which leaves me to claim my fifteen minutes of fame.
My day started out the same as any other day, except for my 7:10 am tee time. I forgot my golf bag in the garage but quickly noticed on my way to the course that in order to play my best the five clubs in the back of the van would not be sufficient. After reloading I was off. When I arrived at the course I headed for the range. My practice session the night before was atrocious. On the range I hit everything solid and figured my good nights sleep was the reason. Today I was paired with John Beltrandi (real estate tycoon) and Agawam police officer Tom Marmo (fellow teamster). On the first three holes I had easy tap -ins. I found a greenside bunker on the 196 yd par 3 5th and hit a career sand wedge to save my round. The course reminded me of Nashawtuc CC where they play a Senior Tour event. If you hit it in the plush fairways your chances to score are greater. I must have been looking ahead to the par five ninth because I bogeyed the seventh from 100 yds out. The ninth hole is a downhill 540 yd reachable par five. My six iron second shot was past the green and I failed to get up and down and settled for par. I thought I was in trouble with my tee shot on the tough 447 yd (playing the back tees) 10th hole but found my ball on the edge of the fairway. It was then that my playing partners began to talk course record. In order to shoot a good score you need to get some breaks. On the back I hit two career shots. On the 445 yd. 14th hole I was faced with a downhill 210 yd second shot to a bunkered green with the flag tucked left. No problem on this day. My approach landed ten feet but I could not convert the putt. My length is my strength and I reached the 618 yd 16th in two. Now my partners were thinking if I could avoid disaster on the two tough finishing holes the record was mine. I bogeyed 17 and pushed my tee shot on 18. When I found my ball it somehow found the fairway. Faced with a tough 190 yd downhill approach, my five iron landed six feet from the pin and the course record was mine. Can you imagine me and Tele Wightman mentioned in the same breath. Tele after all did set two course records this year at Chicopee CC and Westover. The difference pointed out to me was that Tele had played those courses in the past and in my case this was the first time I played the course and set the record. How about Jay Nomakeo and Steve Bys. Steve shot an unbelievable 62 At Chicopee. Or Curt Wajda and Tom Sullivan who shot 60 at Wyckoff and Quaboag respectively. Kevin Piecuch scored a 61 at The CC of Greenfield as did Wayne Leal at Agawam and they're both pros. Amateur Rick Leal matched his brother at Agawam. Will Kelly Gosse want me as a partner? Kelly has played sparingly on several pro tours and set the East Mountain course record with a 61. Billy Downes owns the record at Hampden where he shot 62.
Did I fail to mention in all my excitement that my course record is at the new golf course in Southwick, The Ranch. My 7:10 tee time was the second tee time on opening day. Since I was the only one to play from the tips, all I had to do was break 95 the score I was told was shot two days prior to opening. My record, according to pro Peter Chapman, lasted little more than two hours. I wonder if I will have a tough time finding a partner now that I am just an 8 handicapper searching for notoriety. My record score on opening day was 89.

Ledges Golf Club readies for play

South Hadley's new course sets mid-August opening


It will be the second new, upscale public course to open in Western Massachusetts this summer.
The Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley is set to open on Aug. 13 with invited guests and then "officially" on Aug. 15. The Ranch GC in Southwick opened in July.
Mickey Sanchez, the general manager and current head pro at the Ledges, is confident those who play his new course won't look at it as a "number two" kind of venue. The nearest course, The Orchards Golf Club a few miles away in South Hadley, has become very private and is not a true rival for "public" dollars.
While the Ranch hopes to attract public play with it's sweeping and difficult holes despite originally announced green fees of $100, the Ledges thinks its moderate fees and sporty layout will keep the players coming back.
Sanchez, who works for Environmental Golf (which operates courses on both coasts and in the south) says customer service will be a main ingredient.
Green fees (Monday through Thursday) will be $28 ($22 for town residents) and golf carts will priced by the seat at $12 a player.
"The course is brand new, not yet in the condition we want, but in playability it's ready. The tees, fairways and greens are ready," Sanchez said.
Architects Howard Maurer, who formerly worked with Amherst-based Geoffrey Cornish, has designed a par 72 layout that Sanchez says will force many longer hitters to abandon their drivers.
"It's really tight with a lot of doglegs," Sanchez said.
While calling it a "links-style course", Sanchez said the nearest link to the sea - the nearby Connecticut River - does not come into play and may be barely in view
The Massachusetts Golf Association has already visited and is due back in early August to rate the Ledges.
One MGA official told Sanchez that the course rating is likely to fall at about 127 to 128. The Ranch is about 140.
When Ledges GC opens there will be a modular building that will serve as the pro shop and clubhouse. Eventually, as revenue comes in, the modular structure will vanish and a new clubhouse and pro shop will appear.
Now the offices are in trailers near the course's entrance off of Alvord Street but with phone hookups expected by the beginning of August there will be a move to the modular building for Sanchez.
"It better happen by July 31. We're stepping on each other's toes right now," Sanchez said.
He is sharing office space with food and beverage director Kenny Langlois. They both transferred from an Environmental Golf facility in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Michael Jordan is the superintendent and he left (no joke) Chicago for his new role. "He can't jump but he's getting things done," Sanchez said with a laugh.
There is still lots of work to do to get the course "more aesthetically pleasing" according to Sanchez.
There is no driving range now but Environmental Golf is also in the driving range building business and plans for consturction of a practice
facility have been submitted to the town. Sanchez said he envisions a driving range sometime in the 2002 season.
While Sanchez will hold the dual role of general manger and head pro this season, Wayne Leal of Chicopee Country Club has been hired and should take the head pro role by next year.
"I was given a list of names by the golf commitee and Wayne was on the list. I've become friendly with Tom DiRico (Chicopee CC pro) and he made a pitch for Wayne," Sanchez said.
`"Most of our positions were filled by people from outside so it was nice to get someone from the area," Sanchez said of Leal, an Agawam native and longtime area pro at several facilities. Leal will begin his new job at Ledges GC on August 6.

Leal moving to Ledges GC

By Steve Kelly

On August 5 Wayne Leal will put in his final day as an assistant pro at Chicopee Country Club.
The next day he will be at work at Ledges Golf Club in South Hadley.
He'll have about a week to get things prepared for the unofficial opening on Aug. 13, when invited guests will play. The official opening will take place on Aug. 15.
Leal has essentially been hired as the head pro but the management company (Environmental Golf) that will operate the public course requires that it's employees serve a 90-day probationary period.
"Then we are likely to say 'it's your job' to Wayne," said Mickey Sanchez, who will serve as general manager and head pro for the balance of this year. Sanchez began his duties in June.
Leal's new office at the Ledges will be the pro shop in a modular structure in the center of the course.
He has been a pro for a dozen years since beginning as an assistant at Holyoke Country Club. He was the head pro for five years at Agawam Country Club until the town of Agawam purchased it, changed the name and brought in a new staff.
Leal also worked at Longhi's in Southwick before taking his current
position at Chicopee as an assistant to Tom DiRico. Leal has been at Chicopee for five years.
"It was tough on Tom, coming late in the season, but it's a very good move for me. Tom was all for it," Leal said.
At the Ledges he will run the golf end of the operation this year.
Leal, a strong player when motivated, has walked the new course.
"It's really nice and the shorter holes have plenty of trouble," he said.
Leal has won the Western Mass. Chapter PGA assistants championship three times and in 1994 qualified for the PGA Tour's New England Classic played at Pleasant Valley Country Club.
He shot 69, 2-under par, in the first round ("I was in the mix of things"), but missed the cut by two shots after a 75 in round two.

Special Holes in One


Tony Mack, 81 recently aced the 12th hole at Shaker Farms CC in Westfield. This was Tony's third career ace. Tony is a charter member of Shaker Farms CC dating back to 1953 and can remember when the course was being built. He played the course even before it opened. "We used to play five or six holes. We would skip around construction and play the completed holes." said Tony.

JOHN SEVIGNY playing in the Thursday night Post Office League holed out his tee shot on the 383 yard, par 4, first hole at Chicopee CC. John, not a long hitter by any means, toed his tee shot (John is left handed) off a tree and down the roof of the cart garage, onto the practice green, through the legs of an unsuspecting golfer and into the hole. This was John's first time hitting a ball into the hole with his driver.

Walt Niejadlik of Oak Ridge GC recently scored his ninth career hole-in-one at Twin Hills CC. Walt recorded 3 holes-in-one in 2000.

Franconia GC

The Grand Old Course lives on forever


On July 2, the flag was raised as Franconia Golf Course celebrated its 72nd birthday. But the real celebration was on Friday, June 22, as Mayor Albano, Park Commissioner Sullivan and a host of dignitaries and friends toasted the revival of this grand old course - a day to remember forever in the glorious history of Franconia.
Going back to 1949, for me at age 10 - Franconia was already 20 years old, but it was at that time that I could first realize the impact of the course and the wonderful golfers who worked and played there.
This public golf facility has history and stories to spin that could fill volumes on a best-seller list. The course has been called "The Country Club of Public Courses" on a New England basis.
Henry Bontempo, my dad, served Franconia as Golf Professional from 1929 until his retirement in the Fall of 1968, a legend of 40 great years at the club. He instilled a spirit of family at the course, from the most important golfer and association member to the capable men who worked on and groomed the course. His playing ,teaching and leadership paved the way for a successful venture for all golfers, for the total novice to the accomplished tournament winner.
Golf Course Personnel - Henry was blessed to have John Raimondi as his assistant for many years before John took over at the old Memorial Golf Course on Roosevelt Avenue. John was one of my favorite pros in Western Mass., and his great wisdom as a pro will live on forever. Ray Bongiovanni and Patsy Verlotta served as Caddie-Masters back in the 30's and 40's. Many of us recall starters and rangers: George McKeown, who sunned on a chair on the 10th fairway and would" see and hear no evil." In the starter's booth we recall Mrs. Marie Tongue, Floyd Hodge, Leon "Buddy" Patterson, Bobby Mitchell, Joe Longtin, Fred Bushey and a host of great people.
On the course, head Greenskeepers were Fred Postk Jim Twohig, Louie Grimaldi, John Hudyka from the 30's to the 60's. Joe Lacivita and Henry Thelen would add fine work to these crews.
In the Clubhouse, we found Joe and Ollie Rheames, Eddie Burns and his staff along with the Sullivan-McDonald dynasty which added great enjoyment and hospitality to the clubhouse. Mrs. Sullivan and Walter Sullivan along with Bob and Ruth Jennings and family assisted Paul and Mimi McDonald...and they were sensational there for many years.
All golf courses have their list of important characters and Franconia had its full share. We all enjoyed "Mossie" Fenton, a great caddie and golf technician, Dick Misterly, Benny Giuliano, Al Baker, Maurice Tisner, John Skinner, Fred Mascola and the "Birdie Crew" along with Millie Richmond, Don Strong, Mike DeMairnes and many folks who simply made your day much brighter. Raymond "Brud" Mansfield won the 1955 club title....Let's not forget Joe Vacirca, Gerry Woods, Tom Fitzgerald, George Jones, Carl Binsky, Eddie Mantovani and Phyllis Sipple, who worked in the pro shop for over 20 years and later became Mrs. Henry Bontempo. In the post "golden era" of 1935 to 1960, Dick Murphy emerged as a great player and true gentleman of golf at Franconia. Today, the professional duties are in the hands of Dan DiRico, a very accomplished player, teacher and genuine friend to all who tee it up at Franconia.
Great players were bountiful - Walter Kupiec was the king, as he won several New England titles along with 11 City Republican championships and eight club championships. Walter was loved and respected by friends and opponents alike - a true champion in every aspect.
In junior golf circles, Jimmy McDonald shot 77 at age 11 and went on to win both city and club titles - and he was absolutely the best junior golfer of the club's early era. Bobby Albano, Danny Denoia, David Barry were terrific players and I enjoyed competing against may of the top players.
I recall the other top players and personalities: Marion Suss Ruggiero, shooting in the 70's with many titles, Julius "Hooky" Feldman, Phillip Giovanelli, WIllie Walsh, TImothy Dunn - our great ranger - the super Megliola Brothers, along with th e Giblins, the Moorehouses, the great hot dogs on the 5th tee with Herm Kronvall and the hospitality on the 12th tee with the Haywood Family.
Like Celine Dion has sung, "It's all coming back to me now." My brother David was a great asset in the pro shop and on the club's tournament committee. He once shot 73 and tied for 3rd in the Gold Star Tournament and played fine golf on the Tech High Team. Today, he is a noted sports historian.
There were little vignettes that remain always: When I caddied double for John Skinner and Ray Snow, the fee was $1.25 per bag. When it came time to pay for my chocolate milk on the 5th tee, there was always a moment of silence.....who would reach for the 15˘?
The McDonalds make fantastic lime Rickees at 25˘...the best ever. Don Strong was the first golfer to pay $2.00 for a caddie, and we all hid in the bushes in the parking lot waiting for his arrival each Saturday morning..... Leonard Kelley, a long-time favorite at the course once said to Mrs. Tongue in the starters booth after we had a drought of ten weeks one summer, "Mrs. Tongue, I got rained out last week, how about a raincheck?...it didn't work
"Hooky" Feldman said to me, "Bob, you're charging me only 50˘ to shine my shoes and the liquid polish is costing you 95˘ a bottle...not a very good profit." He was right.
My dad had a "Bargin Barrel" with used and traded clubs on the porch. One day, Al Baker, at age 65 tried an old driver traded in by Joe Olko with an extra-stiff shaft...After the round, Al said to my dad, "Can't use this club...too whippy."..end of story.
So when Mayor Michael Albano presided from the podium at the Barney Estate on June 22, I was able to add a few words. I nominated the Mayor to be "Honorary Mayor of the World" after his dedication and insight to the renovation of Franconia GC. Today, I would state that for 72 beautiful and bountiful years, Franconia has had the finest golfers and greatest people in the world to be part of its historic place in golf
Yes, I love this grand old course with all my heart and will forever.
Note: There were so many legends at Franconia that perhaps I'll write a sequel. Comments? Call me at the Family Golf Center.

The Jimmy Fund Golf Program
Western Mass. Golf Courses fit it to a Tee

The 22nd Annual Jimmy Fund Golf Tournament - Jeffrey Vinick Memorial, the flagship tournament of the Jimmy Fund Golf Program was held on June 18 and raised an impressive $315,000 for innovative cancer research and care at DFCI.

One of every three Americans is expected to get cancer in his/her lifetime. In order to improve this statistic, the Jimmy Fund Golf Program hosts 140 tournaments held in New England and throughout the country. In particular, Western Massachusetts is a special place for this program for it plays host to some of our finest events including the Vinick Tournament.

The success of this tournament is due to the team effort that goes into it, says Andy Cohen. Cohen, chairman of this years event, and has been a part of this tournament for 15 years. The participants, the volunteers, the sponsors, and the Jimmy Fund staff all work tirelessly to make the day something that we can all be proud of.

This year's tournament, one of the program's most successful, was held on June 18 and included 620 golfers who played on five of the Springfield area's premier courses which include: Ludlow Country Club, Twin Hills Country Club, The Orchards, Crumpin Fox, and Crestview Country Club. The event raised $10,000 in 1981 and has raised a total of $3.1 since its inception

This year Anthony Frasco and Dan Murphy joined Cohen as co-chairs of the event, which was founded in 1983 to honor the memory of Jeffrey Vinick, a heroic young man from Longmeadow who lost his battle with cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Perhaps this year's most memorable moment was when Vincent Weseliza, of Enfield, Conn. sunk a hole in one at the Orchards Golf Club. That one shot enabled Weseliza, an employee of Lego, one of the tournament sponsors, to drive away in a new Saab convertible, generously donated by Pioneer Saab/Volvo in South Deerfield

One of the strengths of the tournament is that there are 100 corporate sponsors, each giving what they can, says Jim Sadowsky, head of the Sponsorship Committee. He and wife Barbara are long-time friends of the Jimmy Fund, as well as Institute Trustees and have played an important role in this tournament's incredible success story.

The Jimmy Fund Golf Program is generously supported by American Airlines, Dunkin Donuts, Polaroid and Spalding, and media sponsor, Community Newspaper, Inc. Gold sponsors who generously support the Vinick Tournament are Burke Beverage, The Davis Family Foundation, Northstar Pulp, Waste Management, Williams Distributing and the Vinick family.

For information on how to volunteer, organize or sponsor a Jimmy Fund Golf Tournament, call 1-800-552-6176 or visit www.jimmyfund.org.

The Call for a Point System
Older Players claim PGA Tour Money List Not Valid


As the end of the previous millennium drew near, the Associated Press conducted a series of polls to determine the top athletes of the century.
They were grouped by the sport they played and writers who covered the sport did the voting. The writer pool was not particularly large so one opinion could certainly alter the final tally, but I thought the golf writers did a pretty good job of nailing a top 10. Jack Nicklaus was at the top. Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Bobby Jones and Byron Nelson rounded out the top 5 as I recall. Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Walter Hagen, Tom Watson and Gene Sarazen rounded out the top 10. Tiger Woods was just out of the money.
However, this was prior to the sensational season he had in 2000. He now has six majors under his belt and he's working his way up the ladder. David Duval just downplayed the importance of winning his first major, the British Open, but in the end, it's the majors and not the money by which you will be judged.

So where does Tiger figure on that list now? The six majors doesn't quite do it really. Sarazen, who was the first to win all four, won seven in all.
Watson's won eight. Don't even suggest that the money should have anything to do with it, although that is one of the ways players are ranked on the tour. You cannot accurately compare what any player makes on today's tour to the tour of yesteryear, not even taking inflation into account. The purses today are so much higher than they were just a few years ago. Watson was the first player to pass the half million mark in 1980. Eight years later, Curtis Strange became the first to collect more than one million. Woods led the tour with two million in 1997, six point six million in 99 and nine
point nine million last year. And that's underpaid, according to Lee Trevino, who points out that Tiger would make considerably more if he played football or basketball.

Trevino was one of the former champions who came to Cromwell in late June for the Celebrity Pro-Am on Monday. And what a field that was. Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Dave Stockton, Bob Murphy and others showed up to entertain. A couple of them brought up the idea of a point system to rate players new and old. Stockton says you have to rate great players by what tournaments they won, who they beat and what golf course it was played on and not how much money. Trevino says the only way to evaluate is to come up with a point system. He wants to consider the number of tournaments played, the number of cuts made, the number of top 10 finishes and the number of majors won. He says he can't believer the Tour has not done that. And he says he's not buying into the World Ranking, because if you don't play you don't lose your spot. Both players pooh-poohed the idea that money won should have anything to do with it, pointing out that Ben Hogan won about a quarter of a million in his career, a figure that's surpassed by players who finish third in today's majors.

Of course the money list has been around for quite some time and is used to determine eligibility in various instances. Trevino and Stockton may be a bit off-base if they think it carries much weight in determining greatness.
The whole money issue has gotten completely out of hand. Take horse racing for instance. In 1951, Citation became the first horse to win more than a million dollars. It took him four seasons to do that. Seventeen years later, only six horses had surpassed him. Fusaichi Pegasus won almost 900-thousand in the Kentucky Derby alone last year. It doesn't compare, not in horse racing and not in golf. Curtis Strange was the first to win a million in 1988; Forty-five golfers won a million last season. Fourteen of those won more than two million. The only way to compare money is on a year by year basis.

The PGA does have a formula for comparing players to determine PGA Player of the Year and it's not that far off Trevino's base. It's based on a mathematical formula that weighs tournament wins, official money standing and scoring average. A player receives 30 points for winning one of the four majors,20 points for winning the NEC World Series of Golf or The Players Championship and 10 points for any of the other tour events. There's also a 50-point bonus for winning two majors, a 75-point bonus for three and a 100-point bonus for winning all four. Tiger Woods has won it three of the last four years. Tom Watson won it five times, including four years in a row. Jack Nicklaus won it five times. Ben Hogan, the first to win the award in 1948, won it four times in all. No one else has won it more than twice.
The Vardon Trophy is awarded to the professional golfer with the lowest scoring average. Woods won the Vardon the past two years. Greg Norman won it three times. Watson won it three years in a row. Trevino won it three years in a row and five altogether. Palmer won it four times in the 1960's. Billy Casper won it five times in the 1960's. Interestingly enough, Jack Nicklaus never won it.

There is another category that looks similar to the Top 10 that I originally mentioned. Sam Snead is numero uno on the all-time tour winner list with 81 victories. He claims there were a lot more but the PGA wouldn't count them. Nicklaus, Hogan, Palmer and Nelson round out the top 5. Walter Hagen is tied for 7th, Gene Sarazen is 9th and Watson is 11th. Bobby Jones is not on the list. He retired young, as an amateur. Gary Player has only 21 tour victories, but he's won more than 120 worldwide. He's also won all four majors.

A point system to determine what? Tiger Woods is already in the Top 20 for tour wins. He'll make the top 10 soon enough. He wants to win majors, and will probably do just that in the years to come. He's only 25. Jones retired at 28. Nelson was 34. Nelson's two great years occurred during World War II. Do we minimize those records? Nicklaus was at the top of his game for a longer period of time than any of them.

I don't need a point system. I'd rather argue.
Legends Return to GHO

The 50th Greater Hartford Open was held earlier this summer. One of the older tournaments on the tour was celebrating its 50th anniversary and to mark the occasion it added an anniversary pro-am. This was something a bit unique, featuring past GHO champions. Ted Kroll, the very first champ, was there. So were Dave Stockton and Bob Murphy and three of the greatest legends of the game, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Sam Snead.

They played on Monday and it was the highlight of the week. It was the one day that week that I did not want to miss. The galleries were thin. You could join Arnie's Army and not get trampled. This army wasn't going to witness the charge of yore. Arnold Palmer is 71 years old now and the swing doesn't follow through the way it used to. But Arnie still has some game. He had a long putt for birdie on the 9th. The knees still angled in; there was still a little wrist in that stroke and he knocked it right in the back of the jar. Arnold has always been a great putter.

And there was no one in the pro-ams played later that week that could talk a blue streak like Lee Trevino. He goes non-stop. Lee won the GHO in 1972, the same year he won the British Open. He says the thing he remembers most about the tournament at Wethersfield that year was he won a Cadillac. "I wanted that car. You don't see very many Mexicans in a Cadillac, you know. Not in 1972."

My all-time favorite, Sam Snead, did not play. Sam turned 89 this year. He could have shot his age out there, but chose not to. Sam and Gardner Dickinson won the first Legends of Golf competition in 1978. Sam was 66. His last victory on tour was at the age of 53. He still managed to tie for third in the PGA Championship at 62.

When Bob Jones retired there was a lull in the sport of golf. Sam Snead came to the rescue when he joined the tour in 1937. He had the finest natural swing of any golfer and his name almost became a household word. His good ole boy charisma was highly promotable. He did take a back seat to two other golfers in the prime of his career. Byron Nelson had that 11-tournament winning streak in 1945 and Ben Hogan came back from his auto accident and won back to back U.S Opens in 1950 and 1951. Snead wound up winning more tournaments and money than the other two put together. . Interestingly enough, Snead, Hogan, and Nelson were born in the same year, 1912. There must have been something in the water back then.

Snead talked about his career at a news conference Monday morning. He had been quite the athlete in high school. He played football, baseball, basketball, tennis and track. He could run the 100-yard dash in 10 flat. He was a good enough football player to get scholarship offers from a couple of colleges. But he says golf is the hardest sport of all. If he could turn back the clock, the only thing he would change about his game would be the putting. He experimented with that particular aspect of the game. He even putted between his legs, croquet-style. They called it The Snead and it was soon outlawed. He modified it to a sidesaddle stroke. Both feet were on the same side of the line to the hole. He still uses it. He says there are three clubs you must learn to master: putter, driver, wedge. "If you master those three, you can win."

He was called the Great Runner-up early in his career because he came up just short in two U.S. Opens, two Masters and two PGA Championships. But he managed to win the Masters and the PGA three times each and the British Open once. It was the U.S. Open that eluded him.

The 9th hole at Yale has a big swale in the middle of the green. You can walk down into it and not be able to see the cup. Legend has it that Sam landed on the wrong tier and rather that putt through the swale, elected to chip across it. He says he doesn't remember the shot, but he's sure he took what he thought was the best way. Sam knew how to win.

Arnold Palmer was struggling on the practice tee Monday morning. Everything was going right. He was still struggling when he teed off on the first hole.
He bent over, picked up his tee and strolled to the edge where Sam Snead sat quietly. Many in the gallery were unaware he was even there. "I hit it right to right Sam," Arnold said, somewhat dejectedly. Sam nodded. He knew just what he was saying.

Wyckoff Open 4-Ball


Is there a better 4-ball partnership than Fan Gaudette and Mike Majka? Few would argue. Yesterday, in the championship finals of the Wyckoff CC 4-Ball, it was Doug Riel and Mike Riley (Orchards) who had their shot at the formidable duo. Majka entered with a total of 23 championship wins. Gaudette has played in so many he can't remember the total but as a team they have won the last five years at Ludlow CC. They also won as a team in 1998 at The CC of Greenfield, (Gaudette won in '84 with Gary Burt) and have captured the title at The Orchards. Gaudette is a first year member at Wyckoff.
After a rather uneventful front nine (One Gaudette birdie), both teams headed to the back all square. On 11 Riel - Riley won with a bogey for a one up lead. Then Majka took charge. A mammoth drive on 12 left Majka with a flip wedge which he put five feet and made birdie to tie.Mike Majka reacts after his 40 footer went in for birdie on the 14th hole at Wyckoff CC. Majka's putt turned out to be the difference in the match.On the par 5 13th hole, Majka's second shot landed 12 feet away for eagle and possibly a one up lead. Riley(nursing a very sore back), seeing his opponent close, knocked his 95 yard approach shot into the cup for eagle! Majka then converted his eagle putt to halve the hole. Riley almost repeated his heroics when his third shot from the bottom of the hill on 14 almost found the hole. Majka put his team 1-up with his 40 footer for birdie on the same hole. A ten foot putt for par on 17 by Gaudette saved his team's 1-up lead. On 18 Both Majka and Gaudette hit their tee shots on the 215 yd, par 3 to 10 feet leaving their opponents in an unenviable position to make birdie. Majka two putted for the win when their opponents failed to make birdie. Gaudette said afterward "we played solid, this is a tough golf course where par is a good score"

2001 Long Drive Competition

In the "Tournament of Giants" long drive contest July 29, 2001 at CC of Greenfield Josh Hillman dethroned the defending giant with a winning blast of 359 yards, 2 feet on the third fairway.
Amateur Jay Nomakeo, at 6'7" a true giant from Holyoke and the defending champ, was second at 349 yards, CC of Greenfield pro Kevin Piecuch was third at 348 yards and amateur Colin Hanley of Greenfield was fourth at 346 yards, 2 feet.
Hillman, a second year pro from Greenfield who turned 24 on July 30, received $500 in cash, Nomakeo got $300 in merchandise, Piecuch $200 in cash and Hanley $100 in merchandise.
Hillman had an advantage over many of the sluggers because he can generate amazing club head speed and hit the ball straight. He also knows where to hit it "you have to carry it 310 yards to hit the firmest ground," he said. "I couldn't swing this hard while playing in tournaments. If I did I wouldn't last more than four holes. Hitting the ball long is more about mechanics then swing hard."
He got his start in the game in the CC of Greenfield junior program and this long drive event, now four years old, benefits the club's junior program. Hillman actually needed two long drives to win this event. He drove six hours the day before to get home in time to enter the contest after playing in the Bangor (Maine) Open.

Salinetti Wins Greater Bangor Open

Jim Salinetti of Lee shot a final round 66, 3-under par, to win the Greater Bangor Open at Bangor Municipal on July 28. His 54-hole total of 200 brought him $10,000. He is the second consecutive winner from Western Massachusetts. Billy Downes of Hamden won last year.

Orchards GC hosts Massachusetts Amateur

After carding a spectacular 5-under-par 65 during the first round of last month's 93rd Massachusetts Amateur Championship at The Orchards in South Hadley, 51-year-old Joe Keller of Osterville immediately dressed down his accomplishment.

When one reporter asked the eventual leader, in jest, "I thought the kids were supposed to win this tournament, "Keller, one of the oldest Mass Am contenders, replied, "And they will."

When he spoke, Keller, a finalist three times, meant one of the college-aged players who have dominated this tournament over the past five years. Since 1996, no one other than James Driscoll or Jim Salinetti had won the Mass Am. Driscoll is still an amateur, while Salinetti is competing on the North Atlantic pro series.

Little did Keller know, a 17-year old, Jim Renner of Attleboro, was not only going to beat him in match play, but make a serious run at the title. Renner fell just short of becoming the youngest Mass Am champion, falling to 31-year-old Brendan Hester, 3 & 2.

Youth or experience? There was a difference of opinion at the Mass Am, and the result seemed to back up both. Joining Hester and Dean Godek, 35, were Tele Wightman, 23, and Renner.

"In the past, they said the college kids had the youth, but us mid-amateurs had experience," Keller said. "Now the college kids have youth and experience. They're playing three times the medal play that I'm playing. This (Mass. Am.) is nothing for them."

Later on at The Orchards, one of those "kids," Larry Nuger, 22, of Longmeadow, the 2000 Mass Am runner-up who eventually bowed out to Renner in match play, disagreed with Keller.

"This course is only 6,400 yards long, it's a short-hitters golf course, anybody's course," Nuger said. "I think one of the elders could win."

Yet all eyes were on the youth movement, led by Renner, and also Nuger, Joey Pohle, 21, of Williamstown, and Robert Oppenheim of Andover, an All-American at Rollins College, along with Wightman, 23, of Chicopee.

"On any given day, I could beat Wightman or Oppenheim, but can I beat them over three straight days? I don't know if I can," Keller said.

"It (the Mass. Am.) wears on you," said Oppenheim, of the grind that is five days of golf. "The first two days, you just want to get into match play, no matter what your score is."

While some of the younger players may have had the advantage physically, most thought the mental edge belonged to mid-amateurs like Keller.

Pohle knocked Keller out of the 1999 Mass Am at Kittansett Club. Pohle won on the 19th hole, and advanced to the semifinals. This year, however, it was Keller beating Pohle, on the first extra hole in the second round of match play.

"I'd like to think I have an advantage out there, but I don't know if I do," Pohle said. "If anything, I think the older players have a mental edge. Mentally, it's such a strain to hang in there. The person who's going to win will be totally focused."

As the week progressed, and Renner's name and accomplishments became more and more prevalent, Keller's thoughts became more and more poignant. However, one of the mid-ams, though 22-years Keller's junior, eventually won. Nuger summed it up.

"No matter what, you still have to play good golf."


Dan Lapierre
cashes often
in tour starts

Dan Lapierre of Chicopee found a nice part-time job in the month of July. The assistant pro at Springfield Country Club played in three North Atlantic Tour events in the month and had a win, a second and a third. He won at Chicopee CC using an opening-round 65, 6-under, and a closing 71 for a three-shot win, worth $1,000. He also picked up checks for $900 (second at Westover GC with 68-71, 139) and $500 (third at Triggs Memorial in Providence with 72-70, 142).
While Lapierre was cashing checks, Tele Wightman, 23, of Chicopee hopes his strong play this summer will help him cash in next year, when he is likely to turn pro. Wightman, 23, has authored some sensational golf this summer. He was medalist with 66 (6-under) at CC of Wilbraham in qualifying for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship. He then reached match play at The Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, winning twice before bowing out. Wightman, who will be a senior this year at U. of South Florida, also twice shot 8-under in his two appearances in North Atlantic Tour events. He won an 18-hole event at Chicopee CC with a 63 and led a 36-hole event at Westover Golf Course with a course-record 64 in the first round before slipping with a 76 in the second round. In the prestigious Francis Ouimet Memorial Tournament tourney played at three Boston-area courses, he finished second with a 54-hole total of 219, three shots behind winner Frank Vana Jr. of Marlboro CC. Wightman closed with a 76 at Woodland GC in windy conditions. In the 72nd New England Amateur at the Quechee (Vt.) Club Wightman's third round 67, 5-under, moved him to within a shot of the lead but he fell back on the final day (double round) with a 77 in the afternoon for a 287 total and a tie for 11th. Craig Steckowych of New Hampshire was the winner at 280. Larry Nuger of Crestview had 72-71 on the final day for 288 and Joey Pohle of Taconic had 73-72 for 290. Wightman also shared the medal with 71 in at Franconia in qualifying for the Mass. Public Links Championship, which will be played Aug. 13-14 at Chicopee CC. John Molta of Oak Ridge GC and K.C. Finley of Agawam Municipal also shot 71. Other qualifiers at Franconia: 72 - Mark Gibson, Bay Pointe CC; Ken Simone, Cyprian Keyes; Christopher Kostek, Beaver Book GC; 73 - Michael Kelly, Heritage CC; Artie Fitzgerald, Green Hill CC; Bill Skiba, East Mountain CC; Dan Engstrom, Cherry Hill GC; 74 - Mark Pandolfi, Franconia. Also at 74, Steve Reilly, Veterans Memorial GC, is first alternate after a playoff, and Wayne Farnum of Cherry Hill is second alternate after a 75.
While the long-standing North Atlantic Tour make several Western Mass. visits each summer, the inaugural New England Pro Tour offers much more in prize money (though players must put up $7,000 at the start of the 10-event tour) with $8,000 for each tourney winner and has attracted strong fields. The NEPT does not hit WMass but is has lured three of the area's strong players. Jim Salinetti of Lee, a three-time winner of the Mass. Amateur, Josh Hillman of CC of Greenfield and Matt Donovan of Pittsfield are regulars on the NEPT. Salinetti is fourth on the money list with $9,383.33 in three events. Hillman is seventh with $5,100 in four events and Donovan is 20th with $2,450 in four. Former Rhode Islander Joe Cioe, transplanted to Florida, leads the way with $23,783 in four starts. There are six events left this year.
In the New Hamphsire Open at Bretwood North in Keene, Billy Downes of Hampden and Salinetti tied for sixth at 142. Downes had a 69, 3-under, in the final round and Salinetti closed with a 70. Shannon Sykora of Plantation, Fla., birdied the first playoff hole to win the title and $7,000 after he finished tied at 140, tied with John Fields of Belmont and John Connelly of Stow. Sykora, who left the course to go swimming after finishing early in the day, had to rush back to make the playoff (which he did with a couple of minutes to spare). Hillman shot 71 for 143 and Donovan had 70, 144. Downes and Salinetti were both Monday qualifiers for the PGA Tour's Greater Hartford Open, where they both missed the cut. Then they headed for Hershey, Pa., where both were Monday qualifiers for the Buy.com Tour's Hershey Open. Downes had 75-70, 145 and just missed the cut which fell at 144. Salinetti posted 149.
Springfield native and well-traveled NBA guard Vinnie Del Negro can take it to the hole. He is adept at dropping the ball in those small holes on the greens, too. Del Negro had rounds of 75-86-76, 237 to tie for 30th in the Celebrity Players Tahoe Classic at Edgewood Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada in early July. The winner at 9-under par 207 was Dan Quinn. Rick Rhoden, the tour's "King" was second at 210. Quinn earned $100,000. Del Negro got a check for $4,448. Former tennis champ Ivan Lendl of Goshen, Conn. shot 236 (80-78-78) for $4,560. Lendl, a lefty, was a regular years ago on the North Atlantic Tour. Charles Barkley, an amateur, was next to last with 107-94-94, 295. The Greater Hartford Open and U.S. Senior Open ended on the first day of July, too late to make our last issue. Phil Mickelson used a "thoughtful" approach in which he prepared mentally for the challenge at TPC in River Highlands on the way to his victory. He said he visualized the shots and spent the week prior to the GHO on vacation, hitting almost no shots but thinking about them. One of the features of the 50th GHO was the "Celebration Pro-AM" on Monday of tournament week. All former winners were invited to attend and Sam Snead was among those who came. He did not play but was in a talkative mood. Among the tales and ideas he offered was an invitation to Arnold Palmer to join him in hitting the ceremonial tee shots on the first hole at Augusta National GC before the start of the Masters on Thursday. Gene Sarazen is gone and Byron Nelson said he can't do it anymore, leaving just Sam in the starting lineup for 2002. It would be surprising if Arnie wanted the role. But, Western Mass. Golf is considering starting a campaign to have CC of Greenfield pro James "Bucky" O'Brien join Snead next year. "I'll do it," said Bucky, "But I might have to take Kevin (Piecuch) with me to tee the ball up."
At historic Salem CC in Peabody, Bruce Fleisher shot even par (reduced to 70) 280 to win the Senior Open by one shot over Gil Morgan and Isao Aoki.
The annual Toski Family reunion will take place August 11 at Northampton CC. Brothers Bob and Tom Toski will take part in the invitation scramble.

Cusick may have a future on another tour

AVON, Conn. - There is a L-O-N-G list of LPGA Tour players, some of them among the best ever to play the game, who spent some time learning their craft on the Futures Golf Tour.
Dottie Pepper, Laura Davies, Meg Mallon, Michelle McGann, Kelli Kuehne, Grace Park and Jane Geddes are among those whose past includes the Futures.
Will Floridian Kathyrn Cusick, a rookie at 25, join that group someday?
There is, of course, no way to know the answer now.
Cusick won three college tournaments but her first five weeks on the SBC Futures Golf Tour might have been graded "F" - or at best incomplete.
She missed cuts for five straight tournaments this season, her first five.
Things are better now and in the Futures Tour's stop in late July at Blue Fox Run GC she stopped being a nowhere lady by winning her first title in a playoff.
For most of her rookie season winning "seemed impossible" Cusick said after her improbable win in the Lincoln Futures Golf Classic.
She shot a final round 72, 1-over par, and then defeated Angela Buzminski with a par in a playoff that lasted one hole.
Prior to that Cusick, a former University of Alabama standout from Jacksonville, Fla., had just $1,165 in earnings in 12 events with a best finish of T-30.
She began the final round with the lead but with two holes to play she trailed Buzminski, a 30-year-old lefty from Ontario, Canada, by three shots.
They were together in the final group.
Did winning seem possible?
"I didn't think about winning or losing. I was just trying to play well," Cusick said.
She did that with a birdie putt of 25 or so feet on the par-5 17th, where Buzminski took a bogey after driving into trouble and sending her long third shot into the sand. She missed a par putt of about six feet. The margin was one.
Cusick hit the green at the par-3 18th and Buzminski missed, just right. Cusick rolled her putt nicely from about 30 feet and Buzminski pitched to about 8 feet and then just missed her putt for par and the win when it slipped off the lip on the high side. Cusick nailed a two-footer for par and they were tied at 212, 1-under par, and headed back to the tee on the same hole for the playoff.
Buzminski hit first and blocked her iron shot well short, left of the green.
Cusick hit "a choked 4-iron" into the heart of the green some 40 feet from the hole, which was back right. Her task was simple after Buzminski pitched poorly from deep grass and eventually took a double bogey after charging her long putt for par.
Cusick had lagged up well and had only to two-putt from about three feet for the win but she did it in one, right in the middle.
A check for $8,400 boosted her from 101st to 29th on this year's money list.
Buzminski, in her seventh season on the Futures Tour, was without a win until last year and has three wins this year. She is fourth on the money list at $39,967 after earning $6,000 for second. Had she won the additional $2,400 would have boosted her into third and the top three at the end of the season (mid August) will earn exempt status on the 2002 LPGA Tour.
Two years ago Grace Park, who was loaded with credentials after a glorious career at Arizona State, jumped onto the Futures Tour in mid-season and ran away with the money title, winning earning $50,592 and earning her way to an LPGA Tour future without having to enter its qualifying school. She entered 10 tournaments and won five times in 1999.
This year Beth Bauer, the All-America from Duke, is going the same route. She had three wins through July 21 and is virtually uncatchable atop the money list with $61,067 through the Lincoln event.
The Futures Tour, which offers purses of $60,000 in most of its events, is full of players with promise, nationally unknown players and those who have played a lot, some moving up and down from the LPGA Tour as the years pass.
The players mostly travel by auto as the Florida-based Futures Tour tours the south, midwest and east coast. It is a different scene than the big tour.

For example, former LPGA Tour player Jenn Brody (and formerly Jenn Kangas) won the week before in New Jersey, then after missing the cut here caddied here in the final round for a friend.
Nicole Jeray, a native of Berwyn, Ill., joined the Futures in 1990 and is currently in the top 10 on this year's money list. While the top three earn LPGA Tour status, the next seven are exempt from the first stage of LPGA Q-School and go straight to the finals, to be held in the fall at Daytona Beach, Fla.
"I'm playing so good. I'm going to be back out there next year," said Jeray of the LPGA Tour after her closing 70 here gave her a top 10 finish.
Jeray played the LPGA Tour in 1994-1996 and in 1999.
Chris Greatrex, a Canadian and former teaching and club pro with the Canadian PGA, admitted she wasn't ready to play the LPGA Tour when she qualified in 1995. She also played the big tour in 1996 but has been trying to find her niche since.
In 1998 she was medalist in the European LPGA Tour qualifying tournament, winning by 14 shots in a field that included current LPGA Tour standout Marissa Baena. Then Greatrex decided criss-crossing Europe wasn't for her and she played only a few events.
In 1999 she could have won at Blue Fox Run but lost the title to a birdie by Riko Higashio after entering the final hole tied for the top spot.
She spends part of her season as a caddie on the LPGA Tour for friend Carmen Hajjar and looking around for the "right" place to test her game.
After shooting 219 to pick up a check for about $600 here, she dropped off the Futures Tour and went to Hamilton, Ontario to play in the Women's Canadian PGA Championship. She posted a 36-hole total of 151, tied for eighth and earned $2,663.33.
LPGA Tour star Lorie Kane also returned home and won the title and $13,000 with a record 13-under par 131 at Glendale G & CC.
Greatrex then hurried back to the "States" to caddie for Hajjar at Vienna, Ohio in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic. She'll rejoin the Futures Tour in August.
Jeray and Greatrex were members of the LPGA Tour and in the field for the first Friendly's Classic held in 1995 at Crestview Country Club in Agawam, Mass.
Other Futures Tour members, like Melanie Curtin of South Weymouth,
Mass., planned to drop off the tour for a week or so, here and there. Curtin entered the Massachusetts Women's Open, to be played July 31 and Aug. 1 at Poquoy Brook in Lakeville and Olde Scotland Links in Bridgewater.
Current LPGA Tour regular Moira Dunn won the Mass. Women's Open several years ago.
There are usually many stops along the way before reaching the LPGA
Tour and those playing the Futures Tour have their maps open, looking for the right route.

Mockett to teach at The Ranch GC


Cathy Mockett, a resident of East Longmeadow, has joined the staff at
The Ranch Golf Club in Southwick and will give lessons three days a week, Thursday through Saturday.
Mockett, a native Californian, is a former regular on the LPGA Tour and is mentioned in the recently published book "The Story of Golf in Oklahoma".
She was a two-time All-America at the University of Tulsa in 1989 and 1990 and played on the Hurricanes' NCAA Championship team in 1988.
In 1990 she won the Trans-National and the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links titles.
In 1984 Mockett won the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.
MICHELLE DOBEK of Chicopee had a fast start and was in good shape but a tough finish brought a second straight 75, 3-over par, for 150 and she missed the cut on July 28 in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek CC in Vienna, Ohio.
Dobek, playing in her third LPGA Tour event of the year, had birdies at the first two holes in round two and made the turn in 35. She had bogeys at 14, 15 and 17 before a double bogey at 18 as she played the back in 40 strokes.
In mid-July Dobek missed the cut in the Michelob Light Classic at St. Louis and flew home to prepare for a Monday qualifier on July 16 for the Sybase Big Apple Classic at New Rochelle, N.Y. But her clubs did not make the same TWA flight she was on and she headed to New York with sister Anne's clubs. She shot 74 in the qualifier then lost in a playoff for the second of the two open spots.
CHERYL KRUEGER of The Orchards GC shot 82 and STACEY WOLEJKO of Crumpin-Fox shot 87 as they qualified for the championship division in the WGAM Association Championship at Dedham Country & Polo Club in the last week of July.
Krueger won her opening match before losing in the round of 16 to Marion McInerney of Charles River. McInerney lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Laura Torrisi of Stow Acres. Wolejko lost in the first round, 1 up to Dana Harrity of Ferncroft.
BONNIE CATTO of The Orchards drew a first-round bye then lost in the second round 3 & 2 to eventual Presidents Cup flight winner Kerry Whalen of Charles River.
SHERI METRAS, formerly a resident of South Hadley, has turned pro and is now at Cranwell Resort. She is entered in the Massachusetts Women's Open, to be played July 31 at Poquoy Brook in Lakeville and August 1 at Olde Scotland Links in Bridgewater.
LORI DESIMONE, formerly of Agawam and now a pro at Arcadian Shores in Myrtle Beach, S.C., took two weeks off and planned to play two Futures Tour events. She opened with a 77 in Manalapan, N.J., in mid-July but a shoulder injury grew worse daily and after missing the cut she withdrew from the event
in Avon, Conn., July 19-21 and was undergoing therapy before heading back to work.
DEB BLOOM and DEB PATTEN of Hickory Ridge teamed to shoot 75 for the
first round lead in the 72nd Rosamond Sherwood Invitational at Stockbridge GC
but posted a 78 in the second round to finish second, four shots behind winners Joyce Martin and P. Mayne (76-73).
JULI WIGHTMAN, 15, of Chicopee improved by five shots with an 81,
9-over par, in the second round of on-site stroke play July 24 in the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship at Indian Hills CC in Mission Hills, Kansas.
But her 167 total was not enough to reach match play.
A week earlier, Wightman shot career best scores of 3-over 74, then 73 to finish third at 147 in the WGAM Junior Championship at Juniper Hills GC in Northboro.

Longmeadow Country Club to host Sr. Women's qualifier

Longmeadow Country Club will be the site Aug. 13 for sectional qualifying for the 40th USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship.
The event is for women age 50 and above with a handicap index of 18.4 or below.
The Senior Women's Amateur will be played Sept. 8-13 at Allegheny CC in Sewickley, Pa.

The Game's Going to the Dogs


One of the great things about the game of golf is that it offers the opportunity to get a little closer to nature. I must admit there have been many days I've struggled so with the game that I've failed to pay much attention to my surroundings, but there have also been many memorable occasions particularly on courses that has been built with scenic backdrops.
Playing the 17th at Harbour Town out across the marshland toward the sound is a great way to end the day. Torrey Pines has some great views of the pacific coast and the 3rd hole at Kittansett goes right across the ocean. The mountain courses are just as dramatic. There's nothing quite like rounding a corner at the Grandfather Golf and Country Club in North Carolina and seeing that majestic peak towering above you.

And then there's the wildlife. The Country Club of Wilbraham has bluebird houses placed about the course and if it's your lucky day, you'll see one.
There's a bat house at Mt. Snow right next to a tee. You can peer right up into it. The bats won't come out to chase insects until the sun starts to go down.

The welcome mat is not out for all the animals though. The Canada goose is magnificent in flight, but the birds like to hang around golf course ponds and leave their "fertilizer" behind. I've watched them attack golfers at Oak Ridge in the spring defending their young. Bobby Downes has a dog at Veterans that keeps the honkers on the run though. Ted Perez has one at East Mountain. Watching this guy work reminds me of a day grouse hunting in Wisconsin. We didn't get a single bird but it was great being out there with the dog.

But we are infringing on their space as much as they infringe on ours and it comes as no surprise that they are fighting back. I recall playing the Palms at Disney and watching deer run across the fairway and then having a raccoon saunter out of the woods and make off with the sandwich my partner left on the cart. He was fortunate his Rolex was zipped up in his bag. Alligators liked to sun themselves on that course. My foursome decided that an errant shot that came to rest in the vicinity of a reptile was a free drop. And the gator got to keep the ball.
One of the biggest gators I've ever seen resides in a pond at Hilton Head very close to a friend's house. He tells me people let their dogs roam loose and they disappear from time to time. Duh!

On the way to the golf course this morning I heard on the radio there's an alligator at Hilton Head that's become a problem for golfers. If it's that same guy and he's looking for bigger game, I know where not to play.

But I am dumfounded by some of the criminal acts being committed by other animals. Like the blacksnake in Norfolk, Virginia that mistook a golf ball for an egg. There just happened to be a veterinarian at the course, (I know that racetracks have vets, but golf courses?) and he performed an operation to retrieve the ball, sewed up the snake and turned it loose.

There is a hawk in Illinois that has been dive-bombing golfers. And squirrel's at Southern Hills apparently attacked Nick Faldo. I know that red squirrel's are pretty aggressive little creatures, but Nick's 6 foot 3. Those guys have a real David-Goliath complex.

There was a hawk that patrolled the fairways and woods at Brown County in Green Bay. I'm not aware that he ever attacked golfers, but he did keep the squirrel population in check. Perhaps that hawk in Illinois could be caught and relocated to Southern Hills to deal with the vicious squirrel's. Or maybe
the squirrel's could go to Illinois to deal with the hawk. An opportunity like that could make you forget about your round for while.

Palmer, Nicklaus among stars in new team event

Arnold Palmer said recently that his poor play was going to reduce his tournament schedule.
But the King just added an event.
Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are among the golf greats who will participate in the inaugural UBS Warburg Cup, a Ryder Cup-style event for older players.
A 12-man team from the United States will compete against a World squad, with six golfers on each team in their 40s and the rest at least 50.
The $3 million event will be played Nov. 16-18 on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., site of the 1991 Ryder Cup Matches. The United States won that event when Germany's Bernhard Langer missed a short putt on the final hole.
Also on the U.S. squad are Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson and Ray Floyd. The under-50 group has Mark O'Meara and Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange.
Gary Player will captain the World team which is to include Japan's Isao Aoki and New Zealand's Frank Nobilo.
Palmer and Player each will select six players. The rest of the American team will be made up of leading players from the Senior PGA Tour, plus the top three golfers aged 40-49 in the world rankings. The rest the World team will include the top two international players from the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit, and the top three international players from the European Tour's money list as of Oct. 1.
There will be six foursome matches Nov. 16, six four-ball matches Nov. 17, and 12 singles matches Nov. 18. Members of the winning team will earn $150,000 with each member of the losing side receiving $100,000.
Despite its format, the event has no connection to the Ryder Cup Matches. The 34th Ryder Cup Matches will be staged in September at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England.

With Silvia Bertolaccini

“Move the triangle”


Silvia Bertolaccini learned to play golf at the age of 9 or 10 ("And I still remember it so it can't be that long ago") in Rafaela, Argentina. She came to the U.S. in 1975 and successfully made it through the LPGA Tour qualifying school in her first attempt. A stylish swinger, she went on to win four times on the LPGA Tour before retiring as an active player. She remains a professional golfer but now does commentary for ESPN's Spanish-language golf broadcasts and is one of three partners who own and operate Mill Valley Golf Links in Belchertown. She has many theories when it comes to hitting a golf ball and this is one of them:

“If you are not hitting the ball solidly, try this. Once you take your stance make sure that you move the triangle formed by your arms, shoulders
and chest together for about the first foot of your backswing.
That will move your weight to the right side (left side for lefties).
This should help you understand the takeaway.
If you just move your hands you'll stop your body and won't get a proper weight shift.
If you move the triangle back together, you give your body time to get back.”
Wyckoff Country Club pro Tony Kelley has won the Connecticut Section PGA Championship four times and has been Conn. Section PGA Player of the Year for the past two years. If you want to think like a pro and improve your game try his advice:
"Each spring golfers are anxious to get a good start to their seasons. Part of that process is practice.
The mistake most golfers make is they don't practice at all or they have an unproductive practice session.
A large bucket of balls hit with only drivers or just one or two clubs is not good practice.
The following is what I suggest, depending on available time. You'll notice the emphasis is on the short game.
- If you have 30 minutes:
- Hit 10 putts from 3 feet.
- Hit 20 putts from 10 feet.
- Hit 10 putts from 20 feet.
Use only one or two balls and focus on the same routine you use on the golf course.
Then, using a sand wedge or pitching wedge, hit 10 chips from 10 feet off the green, hit 10 chips from 20 feet and 10 chips from 30 feet.
If you have an hour:
- Add 10 bunker shots.
- 10 lob shots.
- 10 full swings with a sand wedge.
- 10 full swings with a pitching wedge.
If you have more than an hour:
Go through your bag and hit all of your clubs, and mix it up, trying different shots.
Use your imagination when practicing. Imagine you're playing your favorite course, hitting clubs you would hit if you were actually playing.
Keep it fun and interesting and remember short game first."
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Letter from the editor

July saw many great performances from several Western Mass amateurs and pros alike. Tele Wightman continued his torrid play and in the process set two course records. Fan Gaudette and Mike Majka won the Ludlow CC 4-Ball title for the fifth straight year. They also won the 4-Ball at Wyckoff CC. The Jimmy Fund Tournament set yet another record when they raised over $300,000.00 in this year's tournament. Dan LaPierre won his first pro tournament in a North Atlantic Tour event at Chicopee CC.
They are among the many talented players we are keeping an eye on. And with golf continuing its growth there are so many tournaments.
We are trying to keep you up to date by updating our web site (www.westernmassgolf.com) on a daily basis while also bringing you this magazine at the beginning of each month during the golf season.
Billy Downes, Jim Salinetti, Tony Kelley and Josh Hillman continue to make news almost everytime they play and Juli Wightman, 15, is making her mark this year and we hope she continues to add to her collection of tournament titles.
We know by all the positive feedback we've received that the golfing community is behind us and we're trying to live up to the responsibility.
Let us know how we are doing and what you would like to see. We are committed to bringing you the best reporting that we can.

Jay Nomakeo

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