By Bill Brotherton
When it comes to golf, no U.S. president has played the game better than Donald J. Trump. During his term, his handicap has wavered from 3 to 5. His scores are almost always in the 70s.
Granted, that might not be as impressive at the 38-under-par 34 reportedly shot by the late North Korean despot Kim Jong-il, but no resident of the White House has come closer.
Massachusetts’ favorite son John F. Kennedy had a single digit handicap, but odds are Trump would’ve cleaned his clock in a $10 Nassau.
Winthrop’s Mike Eruzione, captain of the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic Gold Medal hockey team, can attest to Trump’s prowess on the golf course. The Tedesco CC member recently teed it up with the president at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In this Summer issue of North Shore Golf, Eruzione, a pretty fair golfer himself, talks about the man, the round, “presidential mulligans” and defeating Phil Mickelson in a closest-to-the-pin contest.
Gary Larrabee, in his Straight Down the Middle column, visits with the Murphy clan of Haverhill. Ted and wife Mary, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary as owners of Garrison Golf Center, look back and talk about how their four children embraced the game as well.
We also catch up with Bobby Baker, who is starting his 68th year at Lynnfield’s Reedy Meadows, and Winchester native/Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino, a former member at Hillview, Andover and Indian Ridge who now plays at Patriot Golf Club in Bedford.
In his Shades of Green column, Tedesco pro Bob Green, examines Tee It Forward, a joint initiative of the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association that’s practically been ignored by most golfers.
Also in this issue: For years, rock ‘n’ rollers were loath to admit their love for the game. As Jim Sullivan, the longtime music writer and now North Shore Golf columnist, writes “After all, the song doesn’t run ‘Sex and golf and rock ‘n’ roll!’ Alice Cooper, Huey Lewis, former Gang of Four drummer/Gloucester resident Hugo Burnham and other rockers share their thoughts about the game with Sullivan on these pages.
More local clubs have joined the PGA Junior League, which, local pros tell us, is succeeding in getting another generation interested in the game. Course owners and superintendents talk about the weird March weather that caused major destruction throughout the region. And, Town Meeting in Lynnfield shot down a development plan for Sagamore Spring GC; what does this mean for one of the North Shore’s most popular courses. There’s also plenty of breaking news in our Notebook, including reports on how our local players fared in numerous tournaments.
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for the magazine. Please let me know what you like, don’t like and how we can make North Shore Golf better.
See you on the links.
By GARY LARRABEE
I have observed them mostly from a distance lo this past half-century from my vantage points in Salem and Wenham. But now that I have given their legacy a closer look, I marvel at the dedication and commitment Ted Murphy and his family have given to the game in this golf hotbed of Haverhill.
“We’ve had a lot of fun,” said Ted Murphy, 82, who bought the sporty Garrison Golf Course on Hilldale Avenue in 1969. It is now known as Murphy’s Garrison Golf Center, as it has grown from simply a nine-hole course to a facility that also features instruction, a roomy driving range and a highly reputable junior program. “Every day I get up and go to the Center, approaching my work for what it really is – fun,” Murphy said.
The Murphys celebrate their 50th season at Garrison this year – a remarkable accomplishment in any business, let alone golf with its mix of loyal and fickle participants.
The “fun” perspective to golf – in work and play – has well-served Ted, wife Mary and the Murphy children (Kevin, Brian, Colleen and Maureen). The great game has embraced all of them profoundly. Mary, even while she raised the four little Murphys while dad spent 16-hour days at Garrison, spent countless hours in the pro shop, giving the kids the run of the place when they were old enough. Their home has always been an ancient farmhouse on the golf course property.
First-born son Kevin became the chip off the old man’s block, living and working the game as he grew up, captaining the state champion 1990 Haverhill High golf team that included Marc Spencer, Keith Cutler and Billy Drohen. After learning the golf business from his dad, Kevin turned professional and, five years ago, purchased the 18-hole, semi-private Bradford Golf Club with wife Kristin. Kevin has been Haverhill High golf coach since 1999.
Brother Brian lives in Connecticut and has been a Titleist sales rep for more than 30 years. Colleen is a physical therapist who plays golf regularly, as does Maureen, who works for DataTech and, prior to that, was a Titleist employee for 15 years.
“I’m thrilled that all my children love the game and three of them chose to work in the game,” said patriarch Ted, a Woburn native and graduate of the famed UMass Stockbridge School of Agriculture (turf management). Ted’s talent with grass was so obvious, his first job out of college was as course superintendent at Lexington Golf Club, a job he held for 14 years before making the big leap – at a cost of $100,000 – and acquired Garrison.
Ted and Mary’s extraordinary promotion of junior golf at Garrison and their endless support of the youth in the area were just two of the many reasons they were honored in 2017 at the Haverhill YMCA’s Legacy Dinner at Bradford Country Club.
Mary, 78, has volunteered at St. Joseph’s School and St. Joseph’s Church, served on the City of Haverhill Parks and Recreation Commission and as a board member of the Haverhill YMCA.
The couple has been big boosters of Haverhill High athletics and for nearly 50 years have co-sponsored the Haverhill Gazette Santa Fund Hole-in-One contest that has raised more than $200,000 for needy Haverhill children and adults.
Ted and Mary also have been honored with the Liberty Bell Award from the Haverhill Bar Association, as Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Persons of the Year, as recipients of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award and the Yankee Clipper Council Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizens Awards.
How soon is the city erecting Ted and Mary Murphy bronze statues?
Ted has done his thing for all these years owning and operating Garrison while providing a strong focus on junior golf. He remains a solid player in his 80s as well. He has, in effect, worn two big hats all these years at Garrison as its course superintendent and a member of the New England Section of the PGA.
“My dad’s as proud of one position he’s held as superintendent as he is of being a member of the NEPGA all these years,” says Kevin, an NEPGA member and heir apparent of the Murphy golf business. “He and our mom have inspired all us Murphy kids and I think we’ve made them proud.”
Bottom line: the Murphy clan, led by mom and dad, are one of the special golf families we are blessed to have here in Boston’s northern neighborhood. May they continue to thrive and champion the game we love.
By BILL BROTHERTON
Mike Eruzione, the longtime Winthrop resident who captained the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic Gold Medal hockey team at Lake Placid, had met Donald Trump many times.
“He has always struck me as a nice guy,” said Eruzione, a Tedesco CC member.
One day, the club pro at Trump International Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, where Eruzione is also a member, approached him and said, “Mike, the president would like to play golf with you.”
A date was set to tee it up at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, but a scheduling conflict meant Eruzione had to cancel. Yes, he canceled on the president.
“A few weeks later, we both were available. So, on Saturday, April 21, we played,” Eruzione said without a hint of awe. “Tiger (Woods) was supposed to play, too, but he canceled at the last minute. So it was Tiger’s business manager, a three-handicap, the club’s head pro, the president and me.
“It was a fun round, with lots of laughter. I never felt I was with the president. It was more like I was with the guy I met before. … except there were lots of Secret Service agents following us around.”
Eruzione said the par 72 championship course, designed by Jim Fazio, is unlike any other course in mostly-flat Florida. It’s hilly, and the elevation of the 18th tee is 58 feet above sea level. Opened in 1999, it’s been rated the No. 1 course in Florida by Florida Golf Magazine and is a top 50 course in both Golf Digest and Golf magazine rankings.
Trump, even at age 70, is considered by many to be one of the finest golfers to ever occupy the White House. During his term, his handicap has wavered from 3 to 5.
Eruzione said the 18 holes sped by in three hours. A lot of short putts were deemed gimmes and “presidential mulligans” were granted.
“He hit it well,” said Eruzione, adding that no one officially kept score. “The fast pace of play is important to him.”
Eruzione, who carries a handicap index of 8.6 and once played to a 3, said he had a “usual round, a lot of pars, one birdie and a few doubles. I lost one ball.”
Primarily self-taught, the 63-year-old hockey hero said he never played golf until his hometown gifted him with a free Winthrop Golf Club membership after the 1980 Olympics. “I still play with the boys there quite a bit. We have lots of fun and giggles. Winthrop is a really fun course. I caddied there, starting when I was about eight years old, and I can see the eighth hole from my house.
“I have four grandchildren, a ready-made foursome for Winthrop … or an illegal fivesome if they invite me along.”
By now, Eruzione must be supremely comfortable socializing with celebrities and all-star athletes. Before the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National GC in Minnesota, team captain Davis Love III asked Eruzione to address the players.
“Fostering a team concept in an individual sport like golf can be tough,” said Eruzione. “I was nervous at first, with (Jordan) Spieth and (Phil) Mickelson and others looking at me. I talked about our Olympics team and how teamwork made the difference. We may not have had the best players, but as a team we played better than everybody. It went over really well.”
Eruzione said after his speech, which took place in Norton, Mickelson approached and shook his hand, praising his talk.
He was invited to follow the team during the Ryder Cup matches. “During that Mickelson-(Sergio) Garcia match, I was right there inside the ropes. They both shot 63. The two made 19 birdies between them. It is considered one of the greatest matches of all time.”
That’s pretty impressive, but Eruzione jokes that he’s one-up on Mickelson. During a pre-Ryder Cup bonding session at Foxboro Stadium, a flag was placed on the football field for a closest-to-the-pin contest. Mickelson knocked it four feet from the makeshift hole. Eruzione said his shot was closer. “I have the photo to prove it,” he said with a laugh.
By Anne Marie Tobin
They don’t make ’em like Reedy Meadow’s Bobby Baker anymore.
Baker, in his 68th season as a self-described jack-of-all-trades at the Lynnfield golf course, is a throwback to the glory days of golf when the workday began at dawn and wound down at dusk.
Baker and his wife, Toni, loved every minute of it. They live in a house that borders the 9-hole course on Summer Street.
“I never called it work, because it wasn’t work at all, it was my passion and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” said Baker, who celebrated his 80th birthday last August. “I lived at the course, first in the ‘cottage’ and then in this house, and I never felt I couldn’t get away from my work, because it wasn’t work, it was love, pure and simple.”
Baker’s love affair with Reedy Meadow (then known as Lynnfield Center Golf Club) began in 1950, shortly after the course had reopened after being closed since 1941. He started as a shag boy and caddie.
“What I first remember about Lynnfield Center is it was a sod farm during World War II until about 1950,” Baker said. “I was 12 or 13 when I started to work here. I helped roll the sod, and I shagged balls and caddied for guys like the golf pro, Rollie Wormstead, Ross Coon, Bob Hawkes, Freddie Best and Bob Davis. I also worked with the superintendent changing the cups. It was different in those days, when there were no golf carts so you had to walk everywhere. We had dirt tees and no tractors, just hand mowers.
“We finally got golf carts in 1960,” Baker said. “We got them for $1,800 each from Musinsky’s in Lynn; they were 3-wheelers. We had two at first, then started adding a couple or so after that every year.”
Born in Lynn, Baker moved to Lynnfield in 1949. He attended the old Center School and South schools before graduating from Wakefield High. “Back then, there was no high school in Lynnfield, so we all went to Wakefield.”
After a 3-year stint in the Marines, Baker returned home to work in his father’s business, Edgewood Oil, while continuing to work part-time at Lynnfield Center.
After his father sold the business, Baker landed a full-time job at the golf course for the Cox family, taking over as manager in 1965. He served in that role until 2005, when the town purchased the course.
1965 was a milestone year for Baker for another reason: He got married. Baker jokingly refers to his wife Tony as “the other half of the Baker tag team.”
Tony worked 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the pro shop after as the Baker family grew. Bobby and Pam were born when the family lived in the nearby cottage; Kevin was born when they resided in the Summer Street house. “They used to go duck hunting all the time. It was great place to grow up,” said Baker.
The children found the golf course was also a great place to raise goats, chickens, rabbits and even horses.
“People used to say, ‘This isn’t a golf course, it’s a zoo.’ When the goats escaped from their pen, they would jump all over the golf carts, sometimes even the people,” Baker said. “Chickens used to roost on the roof of the pro shop, waiting for doughnut crumbs. Once a goat got loose and started eating an old-timer’s cigar, the goat whacked him, then came after me. The old guy asked whose dog that was, (he thought the goat was a dog), and I just said the guy that lives next door. He didn’t know I lived next door.
“Back then, the course and the Danforth House nursing home were still going strong. The kids used to bring the animals there, so the old people who were out sunning themselves could play with them. It was a beautiful place back then, with lilacs and roses and beautiful gardens.”
Baker also worked winters in the early 1960s at Thomson Club in North Reading .
“I worked for Frank Merchel, their first superintendent, repairing all of their equipment that would get destroyed because of all the rocks. That course just destroyed your irons and, if I remember it right, the members used to carry ‘rock irons’ in their bags to use so they wouldn’t wreck their good clubs. They used to have rock parties there, when the members would go out and pick up rocks like they were potato picking.”
Baker has remained a fixture at the golf course since the town bought it 13 years ago. These days, Baker’s role at Reedy Meadow has been cut back due to health issues
“Bobby Baker is why this place is relevant, why people want to come here to play,” said current PGA golf professional Donnie Lyons. “This golf course isn’t the best, it isn’t the best-conditioned compared to some other courses, but people are here because of the way Bobby Baker treated them. He’s one of a kind.”
Editor’s Note: Bobby Baker passed away June 1, just as this edition of North Shore Golf went to press.
By Steve Krause
Golf … for the fun of it.
That seems to be the objective of the PGA Junior League, which is making its debut at Gannon Golf Course in Lynn and other local courses this summer. The goal is to get young boys and girls interested in the sheer fun golf provides, according to Gannon head pro David Sibley.
The Lynn municipal course will be in a league with Beverly Golf & Tennis Club, Wenham Country Club, Nahant Golf Club, Hillview Golf Course in North Reading, and Sagamore Spring in Lynnfield.
Most courses in the North Shore Golf magazine readership area field at least one team of 8-to-12 players. Some, like at Tedesco CC in Marblehead, are by invitation-only. The majority are open to any youngster, primarily ages 8 to 13, who would like to participate. Atkinson (N.H.) Resort and Country Club had a whopping 86 junior players in 2017, giving the club its own league.
Mike Higgins, NEPGA executive director, noted that a record number of players have signed up for the junior league for this time of year.
“We are number one in the entire country in PGA Junior League in terms of both the number of kids playing and the number of teams, with more than 200 teams. One, Atkinson, actually won the regionals and advanced to the final in Arizona last year,” said Higgins.
Sibley said that while the PGA is long on events that cater to golf’s competitive nature, it seeks to foster an interest in the game purely as something enjoyable and social.
“The PGA has already recognized the competitive aspect of golf,” Sibley said, “but in order to get youngsters who will want to go out, and maybe not take it as seriously, who are looking for a more fun aspect of their game, this is what the program was designed for.”
And while teaching the sport is certainly central to the PGA Junior League’s efforts, that won’t be the only aspect of the game the kids will learn.
There is no required skill set, except for an interest in the game and some knowledge of the fundamentals.
“I don’t want to say beginners, because there is some competitive aspect to it, but it doesn’t have to be just the kids who are going and looking at playing in high school or college.
“We’re going to have what I call experiences at the club,” he said. “I say ‘experiences’ because there will be some days where I’ll talk to the kids about what it’s like being on the course – the etiquette, such as how to keep play moving, how to conduct themselves and what it’s like to be out on the course with other folks.”
The league hopes to “bring family and friends together around fun, team golf experiences with expert coaching and instruction from PGA and LPGA professionals,” according to a statement by the PGA Junior League.
Toward that end, Sibley said one of the main criteria for clubs hosting these PGA Junior teams is that a registered PGA professional must be on site to teach.
Toby Ahern, head PGA pro at Nahant Golf Club, compares the program to baseball’s Little League. It is competitive but is also “great fun. It’s one of the best programs the PGA runs. We have a full team of 12 and the goal is to learn about the game, play and have fun.”
Ryan McDonald, a North Reading native who is in his first year at Wenham Country Club after 10 years at Northfield CC in central Vermont, is excited about getting the junior program up and running there. “We have 10 players signed up for the league. We will have a lot of fun and the boys and girls will learn about the game of golf. Hopefully, it will start a life-long love of the game.”
Sibley said the league is structured like many other sports leagues. There will be a series of matches in a scramble format, rather than the usual best ball style.
“A scramble is designed to create a little less pressure,” said Sibley. “A scramble format keeps it more fun, with just enough competition, too.” In this format, two golfers tee off and choose one ball they’d prefer to play, both hit from that spot; this continues for the rest of the hole. In best ball, both golfers play his/her ball for the entire round, with the best score for each hole being the one that counts.
Sibley said there is no residency requirement. “We’re taking juniors from Lynn, and also not from Lynn,” he said.
“What we’ll probably do,” he said, “is start out holding practices, and start our schedule in June. We’ll play a league schedule, with the league champions going to a state tournament, and then a regional tournament. Winner of the regional tournament goes to the nationals in Arizona,” he said. “Those are in November, so it might be cold up here but it’s warm down there.” A team from Atkinson Resort and Country Club made it to the nationals last year.
Sibley said there are still four slots open on Gannon’s team. Interested youngsters can phone the pro shop for more information. “I really think,” he said, “that if we build this up enough, we can have at least two teams.”
North Shore Golf editor Bill Brotherton contributed to this story.
By Bill Brotherton
The downright tropical weather of February had golfers and North Shore course superintendents smiling widely.
And then the harsh snow, rain and wind storms of March delivered an unexpected punch.
Nearly every area superintendent, including such veterans as Salem CC’s Kip Tyler, now in his 37th year at the Peabody club, Tedesco’s Peter Hasak, and Jeff Gudaitis, a 30-year vet and head man at Black Swan in Georgetown since 2001, said they’ve never had to deal with such damage.
It’s unlikely any course super faced challenges equal to those of Anthony De Dominicis at Nahant Golf Club, which is mere steps from the Atlantic Ocean.
Toby Ahern, head PGA pro at Nahant Golf Club, who along with managing partners John Moore and De Dominicis are excited about year 2 at the former Kelley Greens, said “That first night in March, we survived pretty good. I learned about tides very quickly. It was the third day, when the effects of the storm hit us pretty hard. Ninety percent of the putting green was covered with rocks. Seventy percent of the ninth fairway had rocks. There was water in the pro shop, and five feet of water covered the patio. It was devastation.”
But all is well now, thanks to the efforts of Nahant staff and an assist from seven men from the state’s Community Service Program. “Those guys did a great job,” said Ahern. “They worked hard and helped us with the cleanup and to get going again.”
All of Nahant’s nine holes officially opened on March 29. Its well-regarded restaurant Seasons has been busy as well. “We’re up and running and really looking forward to year 2,” said Ahern.
Tyler, too, said he was “in great shape until that first n’oreaster (March 2) with all that rain and high winds. We had 17 trees in play come down. Debris was everywhere. It’s been constant clean-up duty ever since. Every tree, it seems, dropped something of substance. We’ve never been involved with this much cleanup this late.”
Players at Wenham Golf Club will notice that that menacing red cedar tree lurking in front of Wenham’s fourth green is no more.
But it’s demise had nothing to do with the March weather. A windstorm a few days before Halloween felled the 40-footer.
Wenham general manager Norm Tarr snapped a photo of a group of golfers standing in front of the tree the day before it fell. “The next day, it was down.”
Tarr said the tree was at least 80 years old. “Years ago, we moved the green to where it is now. It used to be right near the tree and the rock wall. We’re not quite sure what we’ll do there. If we plant another tree, it’ll be at least 30 years before it grows tall. There is ledge there; a trap is a possibility but it’s a distance from the green and might prove to be a difficult up-and-down for many players,” said Tarr. “We’re looking at options now.”
By the way, Wenham is in great shape, thanks to Eric Still and his hardworking grounds crew.
Indeed, most courses have dried out and the storm damage debris has been cleared away.
Time to tee it up!
Gary Larrabee contributed to this article.
In 2011, the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association announced a new initiative, Tee it Forward.
The idea was “to help golfers have more fun on the course and enhance their overall experience by playing from a set of tees best suited to their abilities.”
The concept encouraged all golfers to play a course at a yardage that aligns with the average distance they hit a drive.
A chart was produced that recommended the following course yardage in relationship to how far you hit your drives:
Driver Distance Recommended 18 Hole Yardage 275 6,700 - 6,900 250 6,200 - 6,400 225 5,800 - 6,000 200 5,200 - 5,400 175 4,400 - 4,600 150 3,500 - 3,700 125 2,800 - 3,000 100 2,100 - 2,300
The theory was that if golfers adopted these yardage guidelines, they’d be hitting more approach shots with 6 and 7 irons instead of fairway woods, hybrids or long irons (assuming someone still hits long irons).
The golf experience would be maximized, scores would be lower, making the game more fun and, hopefully, people would want to play more often. Another positive result: Playing from the appropriate yardage would mean quicker rounds.
In theory, Tee it Forward should’ve worked. But theory doesn’t always translate into reality.
In the years since 2011, only a small percentage of players have moved up a set of tee markers, even as age led to declining distance on tee shots.
The big question: Why hasn’t Tee it Forward been more universally accepted?
Is it due to ego? People don’t want to move up a set of tees because it’s an admission they don’t hit the ball as far as they used to. Who hits it farther as they get older? I know I don’t.
Or are the rest of your foursome playing a longer yardage and you don’t want to upset the chemistry of the group, so you just play from the same tees they’re playing?
Or maybe you just want to play from the same tees you played 20 years ago?
This subject is, again, a logical segue to the continued hot topic of how far the ball goes. The USGA is taking a serious look at whether it thinks the ball is going too far, and whether driving distance gains on the PGA Tour in the past 3 years will destroy the game. If so, the USGA might legislate restrictions on how far the golf ball can travel.
That would be a serious mistake. The PGA of America and the PGA Tour is against any restrictions to the golf ball and have made that abundantly clear to the USGA.
Arccos is a popular Microsoft-based system that captures a golfer’s performance data in real time.
Designed to improve your golf game, Arccos seamlessly calculates all your performance data as you are playing. It then uses the power of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to help you make smarter decisions and, hopefully, results in lower scores.
Arccos captures thousands of data points during every round you play. Users then receive accurate reports about how far they hit each club, what skills need improvement, etc.
Let’s look at data that has been gathered by Arccos, based on more than 10 million drives with a driver.
According to a study of Arccos users’ driving habits since 2015, “driving distances across all age groups have gone down.”
In an examination of data from 2015-18, “the trend showed no real increases in driving distances in that time for average golfers.”
The Arccos data shows the average drive for the average golfer in 2018 is 217.1, down from 220.6 in 2015.
In the USGA/R&A Distance Report, it’s noted that driving distance in the average golfer group dropped by 9 yards.
The data was similar when driving distance was analyzed by handicap. All handicap levels lost yardage except the group with 0-to-5 handicaps. That group had a 2.4 yard increase in driver distance from 2015 to 2018.
Every other handicap group has lost driving distance since 2015.
Does this data scream for a rollback of the distance a golf ball travels? I don’t think so. But the USGA/R&A seems to be zeroing in on the world’s 500 or so tour players.
Arccos data also shows a steady decline in distance as we age. No surprise there. There was a loss of almost 40 yards for those in their 70s to those in their 20s.
In the past 25 years, the average USGA handicap for a man has improved from 16.3 to 14.4.
For women, the improvement is from 29.7 in 1991 to 26.1 in 2016.
Arccos also has accumulated data on the average distance for 7 irons across all age groups and handicaps. The average overall 7 iron distance is 143.3 yards. PGA Tour players average 172 yards with a 7 iron.
This isn’t breaking news, but the average golfer is playing an incredibly different game than that played by tour players.
There have been some gains. New golf club technology is helping the weakest of the average golfers.Those players with handicaps of 6 or higher realized a driving increase of 2 yards from 1996 to 2017, 234 to 236 yards.
Those with handicaps 22 and higher realized a 23 yard increase from 165 to 188 yards from 1996 to 2017.
To sum it all up;
1. We don’t hit the ball farther, or as far, as we get older.
2. We think we hit the ball farther than we really do. We have a simulator at Tedesco with a launch monitor. The first few years we had it, I was constantly being asked if the distance readings were correct. Unfortunately, they were. One member nicknamed the launch monitor “the Lie Detector.”
3. We hit the ball shorter as we get older
4. We should reassess what course yardage we play and try moving up a set of markers.
5. Based on the Arccos data, the USGA/R&A is way off base in their concern the ball is going too far, unless they’re focusing solely on is how far Tour players hit their driver. Tour players are collectively the smallest group of golfers, and their data should not be the only data considered when judging how far the ball goes.
I wish I could play the same tees I did 20 years ago. Actually, I wish I could hit it somewhat near as far with a driver as I did 20 years ago.The sad reality is I can’t. Even with graphite shafts, 460cc titanium driver heads and solid golf balls.
Age has taken a toll on the distance I hit my drives. So I have moved up a set of tees. I try to play the tees that are 6,100-6,200 yards. I have a lot more fun playing that yardage than 6,500-6,800 yards. I hit more greens in regulation. I hit high irons instead of hybrids, and, consequently, I have shorter birdie putts and shoot lower scores than I did from 6,600 yards.
And isn’t that what golf is all about, being with friends and having fun?
Bob Green is in his 40th year as the head golf professional at Tedesco Country Club in Marblehead. Write to him at email@example.com.
The summer edition of North Shore Golf magazine contains a story about Sir Nick Faldo visiting Ferncroft CC in August. That will not be happening. In fact it already happened: in 2010. Somehow an old press release found its way into NS Golf’s inbox. We apologize for the error, and hope it didn’t cause problems for the Ferncroft pro shop staff and members.
Sir Nick Faldo will visit Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton on August 24. The 2008 Ryder Cup captain, a fan favorite at last summer’s U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club, will conduct a golf clinic and host a cocktail party with a question-and-answer format.
All net proceeds will be donated to the Ferncroft CC Junior Golf Scholarship Program.
Tickets to either the clinic or cocktail party are $100 each. Tickets to both the golf clinic and cocktail party are $150. A limited number of tickets will be available.Tickets may be purchased online at www.ferncroftcc.com/faldo or by calling the pro shop at 978-739-4040 x231.
The golf clinic will take place on the range at 3:30 p.m. and the cocktail party will follow in the club’s recently renovated Jones Room. Complimentary cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served at the party.
Head Golf Professional Phil Leiss said, “We are thrilled to have this legend visit Ferncroft CC and the North Shore. Nick Faldo held the number one spot in the Official World Golf Rankings for a total of 98 weeks and won 40 PGA tournaments. It will be a fantastic opportunity to get up-close and personal with this accomplished golfer. We’re trying to keep the atmosphere intimate.”
The Ferncroft CC Junior Golf Scholarship Program seeks to nurture disadvantaged young people ages 8-16 by providing access, instruction and equipment to introduce them to golf.
Since Affinity Management (affinitymanagement.com) purchased the club in 2006, more than $3 million in restorations have been completed. These include renovating and reopening the previously dormant 19th hole restaurant, building a new multi-section golf practice area, performing drainage work on 14 holes, repaving the cart paths and installing a fitness room filled with top-of-the-line equipment.
Ferncroft is known for its Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed championship golf course that hosted the LPGA Boston Five Classic from 1980-90.
By Bill Brotherton
“I Call Him “Mr. President: Stories of Golf, Fishing, and Life with My Friend George H. W. Bush”
By Ken Raynor with Michael Patrick Shiels
Skyhorse Publishers (Available at Amazon.com and local bookstores)
Ken Raynor, the head professional at Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport, Maine, for 38 years, tells the story of how he and President George H. W. Bush became best buddies during Bush’s annual summer golf outings at the seaside town’s course. It’s a fascinating, highly entertaining story of friendship between Raynor, “the president’s pro” aka ”Secretary of Swing,” and the leader of the free world that will appeal to non-golfers as well as players of all stripes.
Raynor and writer Michael Patrick Shiels share personal tales, many of them hilarious, of the pro’s interactions with our 41st president in Maine at the Bushes’ 26-room oceanside home on Walker’s Point, in Washington, DC, at the White House, and on golf and fishing excursions. Raynor helped the president greet world leaders and celebrities at Cape Arundel.
The focus here is about friendship, rather than the typical concentration on golf or politics one expects from books such as this.
Raynor, who points out that golfers have defeated non-golfers in 16 of 18 presidential elections since the second world war (Truman and Carter being the exceptions), delights in sharing tales of Bush’s lightning-fast rounds of golf (18 holes in less than two hours were normal), the president’s joy in playing practical jokes on guests (Gen. Brent Snowcroft, his national security adviser, fell for the exploding golf ball gag) and how Bush was always inviting guests to their Maine estate without telling his wife, Barbara, who would often have to entertain strangers while George was late returning home from a day of fishing.
Best of all are Raynor’s heartfelt tales of the good times he and wife Anne spent with George and “Bar,” who always insisted they sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom when visiting our nation’s capital. The Bushes often visited the Raynor family’s Kennebunkport home for relaxed dinners and conversations.
Bush’s philosophy that “You learn a lot about a guy, playing 18 holes or standing in a river all day in your waders casting side-by-side” is pretty solid. He and Raynor have a special bond that’s clearly evident on these pages, and your views of Bush’s character might change after reading this.
Rhode Island PGA pro Brad Faxon shares stories of playing golf with Bush in Maine and spending time with him at an MGA banquet where Bush received a Ouimet Award for lifetime contributions to golf.
Manchester-by-the-Sea resident Eddie Carbone, who was championship director of last year’s US Senior Open at Salem Country Club and former executive director of the NEPGA, gets a shoutout. Carbone tasked Raynor with getting Bush to the NEPGA hospitality tent at the 1999 Ryder Cup at The Country Club in Brookline. He delivered.
(Note: Before the second edition goes to press, a few errors should be corrected. Matt Young was a Red Sox pitcher not a second baseman, and the proper spelling is caddie. Mere quibbles by a veteran copy editor.)
Raynor’s proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust and Portland Mercy Hospital’s “Gary’s House” via the Gary Pike George H. W. Bush Cape Arundel Golf Classic.