Sunday June 3, 2012

Bob Ahlen has seen just about everything you could witness in his 60 years on a golf course. But this week, he accomplished something he says even he hasn't seen at Berkshire Hills Country Club.

Two, two.

The 83-year-old Ahlen, who has shot his age countless times and still plays from the challenging blue tees at the Hills, birdied the par-3 fifth hole and topped that by holing out from close to 200 yards with a 5-wood on the par-4 sixth for an eagle.

"I was just delighted," Ahlen said. "That was something new for the old geezer. I thought it was pretty rare. I know I haven't seen that before."

For those who haven't played at the Hills, the sixth hole is one of the course's toughest unless you are a long hitter who can bomb it over a lake to cut off distance on the dogleg right. In his heyday, Ahlen could do that, but not these days. This time, that didn't matter.

"[Playing partner] John Dahrouge said it was on the flag all the way," Ahlen said. "Then he told me it went in."

That came after Ahlen hit a 7-wood on No. 5 and drained a long putt for a birdie.

"Bobby missed a 4-foot putt on No. 1, a 2-footer on No. 2 and a 3-footer on No. 3," Dahrouge said. "He was down in the dumps. Then, he hits it on the front of the green on No. 5 and the pin is in the back maybe 50 feet away. Then, boom, he makes that putt and all of a sudden his whole attitude changes.

"On six, his tee shot was short of the water and I watched the second shot land on the front of the green and roll up and in.


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I got to pick the ball out of the cup for him. I was fortune to get to see it."

The short missed putts helped keep Ahlen from breaking 80. He shot an 81.

"I made a couple of double bogeys," said Ahlen. "I seem to be making those more often these days," said Ahlen. "But I beat my age by two shots playing by USGA rules from the blue tees at Berkshire Hills."

Ahlen remains an ageless wonder and local golfing treasure with a golf club in his hands.

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On the of great things about Berkshire County's head professionals is their willingness to help each other, even if it costs them once in a while in tournament play.

Berkshire Hills Country Club's Josh Hillman leans on advice from Taconic Golf Club's Rick Pohle and Wyantenuck Country Club's Tom Sullivan, for instance.

Stockbridge Golf Club's Steve Mazzariello also has given credit to Sullivan for helping him earn a spot in the Massachusetts Open last fall.

This week, it was Sullivan who was thanking a fellow pro after the Hoosac Bank Pro-Am at Berkshire Hills.

Sullivan, who said he felt ill and was also having a bad practice session prior to teeing it up, had his day saved by Greenock Country Club's Bob Mucha.

"I asked Bobby to take a look at my swing," Sullivan said. "He saw one thing I wasn't doing. After he helped me get the club into a better position, I stripped it all day. I hit 13 greens and only missed one fairway. I was hitting it so well, I couldn't wait to get to the next shot."

The result: a 1-under 71 for Sullivan, who said he actually didn't putt up to his normal standards.

"I was thankful to Bobby," said Sullivan. "I'm not one to ask for much help. ... This was just another case of pros helping each other."

And how did the student repay the teacher?

"When he came in, I saw he shot a 72 and it was like, oh, darn, I beat him by a shot."

Of course, with Berkshires' pros there's little doubt they have all been on both sides of that coin.

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The 28th annual John F. Fraser Scramble at Skyline Country Club attracted a field of 52 teams and 104 players last weekend while raising $7,5000 in scholarship money for local students.

In its long history, the tournament has now raised nearly $170,000 for deserving students.

Taking home top honors in the two-day event were the teams of Chris Hoffstedt, John Segala, Dave Rosier and Andy Pozzoni (Blue Moon Division); Brad Stewart, Jesse Rivers, Pete Stockwell and Ernie DeChaine (Miller Lite Division); and Art Holmes, Pooey Heidel, Matt Clement and Pete Manzolini (Coors Light Division).

Bill Fraser won the Friday Shoot Out.

The tournament is held in honor of former Skyline member and Pittsfield Councilman John F. Fraser.

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It was business as usual as Waubeeka Golf Links last weekend with brothers Peter and Chris Baran capturing top honors in the club's two-ball tournament.

The Barans, long a dominant force at the Williamstown course, had rounds of 66 and 68 for a 134 total to win by a comfortable eight shots over Kent Hudson and Don Mead.

Waubeeka will host a one-day member-guest tournament on Friday.

To contact Richard Lord:
rlord@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6236.