The North Shore of Massachusetts boasts a rich golf history. In the late 1880s, the North Shore was the summer playground for the wealthy and golf played a major role in attracting and engaging the well-to-do. A few holes began popping up on private land from Ipswich to Beverly to Gloucester. Then, in 1893, construction of the area’s first course began in Manchester and Essex County Club was established. Many more would follow.
The game of golf has been an integral part of North Shore life since the late 1800s, as the eager gents who posed for the above photo show. Photo courtesy of Tedesco Country Club.
Historians, even those who never struck a guttie or a liquid core ball with a niblick or a persimmon wood, have long been enamored with the North Shore and its rich golf legacy. The intrepid snow-bound crew of investigative journalists at North Shore Golf magazine decided to put their off-season to good use: Since we couldn’t dig up divots on frozen ground we opted to dig up little known facts, trivia and even best kept secrets about our courses, clubs and the people who helped make our region such a hotbed for golf.
We’ve finally made it to 2017, a huge year for our resurrected North Shore Golf publication and our golf-crazy region.
Nothing looms larger than the area’s hosting of the 38th United States Senior Open championship, set for Salem Country Club in Peabody June 26 to July 2, featuring the greatest players in the world age 50 and older.
Play the world’s greatest courses at The Clubhouse in Middleton
By BILL BROTHERTON
Bob Bowman takes a mighty swing and splits the fairway with his tee shot. His playing partners, Mike Bondanza, Marc Jean and Jim Varzakis, applaud his effort, but not without a bit of good-natured ribbing. The foursome is about halfway through their round at Wildstone Golf Course in Cranbrook, British Columbia.
A colleague once took me to the driving range to teach me the basics. After a few swings and misses, I finally connected with the ball. It ricocheted off the divider and somehow sailed behind me, nailing him between the legs. As he folded toward the ground, I apologized profusely. I then gave away what remained of my bucket of balls while my friend tended to his. I never tried golf again. And not surprisingly, no one, especially my male friends, has since offered to teach me.
Matt Sawicki, director of championships for the United States Golf Association, says he spends about 180 days a year on golf courses. “Recently I spent five weeks in a row on courses and I didn’t hit a single golf shot,” said the St. Louis native. “I play five to 10 times a year, and my 10 handicap reflects that. … though it’s a trending-up 10.”