By BILL BROTHERTON

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.”

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By ANNE MARIE TOBIN

The late Bill Flynn accomplished many things during his lifetime. A member of the Professional Golf Association of America for 52 of his 74 years until he passed away in 2011, he excelled as a player, was a skilled businessman and, when it came to giving back to the game of golf, had an unparalleled passion for serving others and promoting the game, especially when it came to juniors and inner-city youth. He believed that the game of golf could teach children some of life’s most important values.

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“The players, they love to come to this area. A lot of them bring their families for the week.” ~ Andrea Bruno 

By BILL BROTHERTON

The art of hospitality is defined as the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Andrea Bruno, Salem Country Club’s executive committee division chair of the Hospitality Committee for the 2017 U.S. Senior Open, says it’s the perfect job for her. And it’s easy to see why, after sitting in the clubhouse and chatting for a bit with the affable Lynnfield resident. She’s having a blast, and the hip surgery she had 2½ months prior hasn’t slowed her down one bit.

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The New England Professional Golfers Association has announced that Ed Carbone, the executive director of the U.S. Senior Open at Salem Country Club June 26 to July 2, and Jim Lane, the retired head PGA professional at Winchester Country Club, are major award winners for 2017.

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Courtesy photo

Bill Paxton, right, directs Shia LaBeouf in “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the film that chronicled Francis Ouimet’s unexpected 1913 U.S. Open victory at The Country Club. Paxton died on Feb. 25 at age 61.

By ANNE MARIE TOBIN

Bill Paxton’s death last week brought back a few memories. Most people remember him as Helen Hunt’s co-star in the movie “Twister” or as Brock Lovett, the treasure hunter searching for the Heart of the Ocean diamond in “Titanic.”  

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Rob Oppenheim had quite the successful week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tourney.

By Gary Larrabee

He knew he was going to make the biggest paycheck of his professional career, but that was not uppermost in his mind as Salem-born Rob Oppenheim faced his third shot on the 72nd and final hole of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Sunday afternoon.

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It’s been a busy week for Tiger Woods. He switched from Nike to TaylorMade equipment, and yesterday he returned to the PGA tour after a long hiatus. How did he do? Check out ESPN’s report here.

 

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PHOTO BY MARK LORENZ

Matt Sawicki, director of championships for the United States Golf Association, met with U.S. Senior Open managers at Salem Country Club on Wednesday and Thursday.

By BILL BROTHERTON

PEABODY – The U.S. Senior Open doesn’t arrive at Salem Country Club until late June, but Matt Sawicki, director of championships for the United States Golf Association, and his team have been planning the event for some three years. Those efforts are heating up in advance of the June 26-July 2 championship, the crown jewel of the Senior circuit.

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PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE

The new management team at Nahant Golf Club, formerly Kelley Greens, from left, Anthony De Dominicis, Toby Ahern and John Moore.

By BILL BROTHERTON

NAHANT — A golf pro, a restaurateur and a greenskeeper walk into a bar. Sawzalls are buzzing, nail guns are pounding. Dust fills the air. What was once a dark, tired-looking space is being transformed into a clubhouse/dining/function facility that will serve as the base of operations for Nahant Golf Club.

The threesome — PGA professional Toby Ahern, restaurateur John Moore and longtime Golf Course Superintendents Association of America member Anthony De Dominicis — are pleased with how quickly Wilson Brothers Construction is rehabbing the former home of Kelley Greens.

Moore and De Dominicis are partners in Play it as it Lies Golf Management Inc., chosen by the town to manage its nine-hole public golf course, which sits on 39 oceanfront acres of conservation land on Willow Road. Ahern, the St. John’s Prep and University of Richmond grad who cut his teeth at  the former Colonial Country Club course in Lynnfield, has spent the past 25 years as golf director at Ferncroft Country Club.

For the past decade, the property has been managed by Michael O’Callaghan. His lease expired on Dec. 31. Jeff Chelgren, town administrator, and the Golf Course Management Committee selected Play it as it Lies’ lease proposal. The new managers were on site on New Year’s Day, ready to start ambitious improvements. Their deal with the town is for five years, with the opportunity to go to 15 years. The managers declined to say how much they are investing in the project. “It is ongoing; we don’t have a final figure yet, but it is more than anyone has ever invested here,” said De Dominicis, who lives in town.

An April opening is planned.

“Jeff Chelgren and the town have been fantastic, very supportive and encouraging, very forward-thinking by extending the potential length of the lease,” said De Dominicis. “It feels very much like a partnership with the town,” added Moore.

Each of “The Big Three” brings a distinct skill set to the table.

Moore, whose Navy Yard Bistro in Charlestown is a frequent Best of Boston winner, grew up in Nahant and played the course often as a boy. “We are a hospitality company, first and foremost,” said Moore. “This will not only be a golf club; we are also committed to providing a fine dining experience, a nice bar and lounge, upgraded function space and entertainment. Good food at a reasonable price. I’d like to see yoga classes here and see dance companies like Forty Steps Dance here. I would also like to bring in some of Boston’s top chefs for cooking demonstrations in the new patio/grilling area.”

A second entrance will lead directly to the 42-seat Season’s restaurant; families will not have to walk through the lounge to access the dining room. The bar area will be upgraded and will feature 20 high-top tables and 22 seats at the bar. The Keno and lottery machines will not be returning, Moore said. The pro shop will also be updated.

“Everything will be new,” said Moore. The husband-wife team of Bill and Jeanne Finnerty served as architect and interior designer.

Grounds superintendent De Dominicis said many capital improvements are planned for the course. “We’ve invested heavily in golf course maintenance equipment,” he said. “The grounds will be beautified. … Having Nahant Country Club become a certified Audubon sanctuary is something I’d like to make happen.” He plans to install two wells and modernize the irrigation system, so the course could be self-sufficient for water.

“Above all, I’d like to bring the course up to its potential,” he said.

Both said they will rely heavily on Ahern, who plans to beef up the golf programs for juniors and women in addition to assisting the many leagues that play the par-30 course regularly. “Given people’s lifestyles today, where time is so valuable, the nine holes we offer is a more realistic option. People won’t have to spend six hours on the course, about one hour and 45 minutes for nine holes on Saturday will be the norm,” said Ahern.

The three also heaped praise on Alisa De Dominicis, Anthony’s wife, who “helped a million different ways and kept us on track.”

For more details and membership information, go to nahantgolfclub.com.

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Haverhill women led the charge for change at clubs

Karen Richardson (left) and attorney Marsha Kazarosian reuniting in the conference room at Kazarosian’s office in Haverhill. Of the nine plaintiffs, Richardson received the largest award, a total of $342,000, which included $250,000 in punitive damages. | Photo: Spenser Hasak

BY ANNE MARIE TOBIN 

The year was 1996. The Spice Girls’ hit single “Wannabe” was at the top of the chart, a website named eBay was launched and the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial began.

In Massachusetts, an equally noteworthy event was taking shape that would change the way country clubs nationwide would conduct business: Ten female golf members of Haverhill Country Club filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the club, the first suit of its kind against a golf or country club in the United States to be tried in front of a judge and jury.

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