While much of his time has been spent working to get approval to build a country inn at Waubeeka Golf Links, course owner Mike Deep also made two important hires for the 2016 season.
After operating without a full-time club professional last year, Deep has added experienced Class A professional Drew Keaffaber to his staff and hired Brian Bartlett to replace Greg Tudor as the course superintendent.
Tudor, who stayed on the job after Jim Goff sold the course to Deep in March of 2014, did a spectacular job in making Waubeeka one of the best-conditioned courses in Berkshire County. He has taken a new position at Schuyler Meadows Country Club in Loudonville, N.Y. His new course is just minutes from his house.
"He did such a great job here for us, but this is best for him," Deep said.
Tudor's replacement has spent the past six years as the superintendent at Crown Point Country Club in Springfield, Vt., and before that worked at the historic Dorset Field Club in Vermont's Green Mountains.
"Brian is a great, great guy and is easy to work with," Deep said of Bartlett. "He's met with the members and he has their support."
Meanwhile, good timing helped lead to Deep being able to hire an experienced Class A PGA professional with an impressive resume.
Keaffaber had relocated from Maine, where he worked at Sunset Ridge Golf Links, to Indianapolis when his wife got a great job there. However, her job changed and made it possible for her to work from home.
"We loved New England but didn't wanted to go back to Maine," Keaffaber said. "We looked in the Boston area first, but the Berkshires had been on our radar. We found a great house in Williamstown and the schools are amazing."
The couple's 7-year-old son is currently attending Williamstown Elementary School.
The 47-year-old Keaffaber didn't expect to find a golf job but, while playing with a member at Waubeeka last summer, he met Deep and it eventually led to his hiring.
"I was playing on the first hole and Drew had hit a shot way over the nearby eighth green," recalled Deep. "I said 'you have to learn to hit your wedge,' and he said that it was his second shot (on the par-5 eighth). ... He hits it a long way. We started talking and it's turned out really great."
Keaffaber has a resume that includes working at Walt Disney's Lake Buena Vista Club in Florida, the Stratton (Vt.) Golf School and the San Diego Golf Academy, giving him experience in every facet of the golf business.
"Getting the job here was amazing," Keaffaber said. "I love the game of golf and here I find a club that didn't have a pro just 10 minutes from my house."
And it's not just any course.
"It's beautiful and it's enough of a challenge and it doesn't beat you up, and I also love the people here," he said.
With the help of longtime PGA pro Peter French, who has been hosting clinics over the past few years, Keaffaber said the club will continue to hold free Sunday clinics for juniors as well as clinics for ladies and beginners. He's also been working with other head professionals in the Berkshires to start up a local PGA Junior Golf League. We will have more details on the league in the weeks ahead in this column.
It will be a very busy summer for Keaffaber and Deep with the club celebrating its 50th anniversary but Keaffaber hopes his relationship with Deep and Waubeeka goes well beyond 2016.
"We want our son to go to school here, so I expect to be here 10 years," Keaffaber said. "I hope we can build something [at Waubeeka]."
The Berkshire Senior Golf Association is accepting new members for the 2016 season.
This year's tournaments will be held at Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort on June 6, Wahconah Country Club on July 25 and Stockbridge Golf Club on Sept. 19.
All three tournaments will feature a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start with divisions set up based on age and handicapped index.
A membership for the season is $190, which includes green fees, food and prizes. Contact Tom Halstead at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Area club professionals and golfers are encouraged to contact me via email at email@example.com with any news, tournament results and notes regarding county golf.
WAUBEEKA GOLF LINKS
2016 Ladies Spring Classic
1. Kathy Lyons-Lisa Fontaine, 71; 2. Jennifer Dilorio-Heather Morrision, 73; 3. Laura Couch/Sue Delanoy, 75. 4. Carolyn Bersaw-Beth Brady, 76; 5. (tie) Linda Petrozzi-Linda Haskell, 77; Wendy Dominick-Lynn Thompson 77
1. (tie) Sara D'Arcangelo-Theresa Collins, 70; Karen Williams-Heidi Nejaime, 70; 3. (tie) Chris Eugin-Kathy Nicoll, 71; Angie Lingner-Debra Wiencek, 71; Fran Vandermeer-Marion Hyde 71.
6. Jane Patton-Emily Eakin, 72.
To contact Richard Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-281-2226.