Mass. Golf Hall of Fame ready to induct six new members
After a 12-year gap from its inaugural induction ceremony, the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame will induct seven new inductees this year.
The Hall of Fame was launched in 2002 in concert with the grand opening of the William F. O’Connell Golf House and Museum, which is located on the grounds of TPC Boston in Norton.
The inaugural class -- memorialized as part of a metal Hall of Fame ring that hangs from the museum ceiling, including LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, golf promoter Fred Corcoran, legendary amateur Francis Ouimet and golfer and renowned golf course architect Donald Ross.
That group is a tough act to follow, but the new class is a strong group as well and points to the state’s long golf history.
"Massachusetts has arguably the richest golf history of any state and we are honored to recognize the contributions of these deserving inductees," Tom Bagley, chairman of the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame Committee said in a statement. "Their impact on the game was felt both on and off the golf course and their individual legacies are second to none."
See the accompanying box for the inductees and their qualifications.
To say it has been a difficult spring for area golf courses is a major understatement. The difficult spring weather has impacted every course in the area, both in terms of conditioning and a lack of play, with the resulting loss of revenue.
It would be easy for new Waubeeka Golf Links owner Mike Deep to be downcast as a result. That, however, doesn’t appear to be the case.
"One day last week, I took in $1.25 for a bottle of water," Deep joked, "and the course superintendent (Greg Tudor) is the one who bought it."
Seriously, though, Deep is taking a long-term view of the short-term concerns.
"I’m still optimistic," Deep said. "What are you going to do? There is nothing you can do about the weather. One Friday, on a sunny day, our parking lot was full. It’s going to happen."
Deep reports that his membership total is at about 110. That’s well below past years, but given the uncertainty surrounding the club and his late purchase, that is not unexpected.
"I believe memberships will take a huge jump next year," he said.
Deep is making a major push to encourage golfers to use the club’s practice facilities and, with the lack of round-length windows of good weather, he says he’s making more money from the range than from play on the course.
Perhaps the biggest news for the moment is Deep’s push to open a full-service restaurant that will serve breakfast and lunch and serve dinner five nights a week.
"It has been proven over the past five years that we will not survive on golf alone," he said. "We need a new wrinkle and maybe a restaurant is the answer."
Deep has secured one of the key ingredients to that end, hiring what he calls "a top-notch" chef. That’s Patricia Boudreu, who once owned a restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey, but who has returned to her native Berkshires. She has built up a following catering, Deep reports, and she also has worked on cruise ships.
In a step toward opening the restaurant, the clubhouse has all new carpeting. The restaurant -- to be named the Waubeeka Pub and Grill -- will be open on Monday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. A separate fine dining room is also being planned.
Meanwhile, Deep expects the golf business will pick up as the weather warms up.
"We should have a real golf course by June," he said.
A total of 36 golfers are entered in a Massachusetts Open qualifier set for Wahconah Country Club a week from Wednesday.
Included are six local players, four of whom are amateurs.
The amateurs who will look for a spot in this year’s Mass. Open, slated for June at Weston Country Club, are Pittsfield’s Hayden Jarck, Wahconah’s Paul Briggs, Worthington Golf Club’s James Patterson and Wyantenuck Country Club’s member Adam Trivilino.
The pros entered are Pittsfield native Matt Donovan, who currently lives in North Palm Beach, Fla., and Williams golf coach and Taconic Golf Club head professional Josh Hillman.
Reigning Allied champion Andy Congdon’s title defense at the South Carolina Senior Amateur Championship didn’t go as planned.
The Wyantenuck Country Club club champion shot uncharacteristic rounds of 83-78-81 in finishing in a tie for 33rd at Old Tabby Links in Okatie, S.C.
To contact Richard Lord;
Hall of Fame
n Ted Bishop: Born in Natick, he followed in the footsteps of the legendary Francis Ouimet and Jesse Guilford to go on to success as a member of Woodland Golf Club. Bishop, after a brief pro career, was reinstated as an amateur and eventually won the U.S. Amateur title in 1946. He won the Massachusetts Amateur Championship three times (1940, ‘46, ‘61) and New England Amateur twice (1941, ‘46). Played on two winning Walker Cup teams.
n The Curtis sisters: Playing out of both the Country Club in Brookline and the Essex Club, these sisters are being honored not only for being the only sisters to win one or more U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships, but also for their unceasing efforts to promote golf in Massachusetts. Harriot won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1906 and her sister, Margaret won three times, most notably in 1907 when she beat her sister in the final.
n Joanne Goodwin: Plymouth Country Club’s Goodwin won the Helen Lee Doherty Tournament three straight times (1956-58), reached the final of the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1959, played on the 1959 U.S. Curtis Cup team and was named the winner of the 1960 DJ Manice Trophy as the top women’s amateur in the country. She also won four Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts Amateur Championships and numerous other state events.
n Paul Harney: Voted the best male golfer of the 20th century in Massachusetts in 1999 by the readership of MassGolfer magazine, the Worcester native arguably developed into the best part-time player ever on the PGA Tour. He won six PGA Tour events, the last three came as a husband and father after he kept a promise to his wife, Pam, and "retired" as a full-time PGA Tour player.
n Bob Toski: A native of Haydenville, Toski was a renowned player and for years has been considered one of golf’s elite instructors. In 1954, he won the World Championship of Golf and led the PGA Tour in earnings. He eventually walked away from the tour in his prime -- he won five times -- because he wanted to be a club professional and be at home with his family. Elected into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame in 1990 and the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in 2013.
Fred Wright: Wright, who started his golf life as a caddie at Oakley Country Club, became the only seven-time Massachusetts Amateur champion with his first title in 1920 and last in 1938. He was also the oldest finalist in the tournament in 1956 at age 58.
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