In his more than 40 years as head pro at scenic Glens Falls Country Club, Rexford native and Niskayuna High School graduate Tom Haggerty figured he’d seen just about everything you can observe in his profession that often deals with strange bounces from a tiny white ball. But the Northeastern New York PGA Hall of Famer witnessed a rare event last month.
Haggerty, whose late father, longtime Edison Club head pro Bob Haggerty Sr., and deceased brother, veteran Schenectady Municipal Golf Course head pro Bob Haggerty Jr., are also in the NENY PGA Hall of Fame, was happy to verify three holes-in-one at his course on the same day last month. The odds of any one player recording an ace are pretty steep. To witness three on the same layout on the same day is almost unbelievable.
“Never in my memory have I seen or even heard of something happening like this,” Haggerty said. “It’s amazing. We have a hole-in-one deal at our club. If any male golfer records a hole-in-one, everyone, even if they don’t play golf, gets a drink. That day, the bartender did quite well.’
Stu Ginsberg started the parade of aces with a shot from 110 yards off the green tees on the third hole. He used a 9-iron, and the shot went in about 8:30 a.m. Then, it was Bob Huntz’s turn, as he flew a hybrid 184 yards into the cup on the 12th hole around 2 p.m. Closing out the super shots was Joe Richardson, who hit an 8-iron on the third hole again, this time from the 142-yard white tees at about 4 p.m.
“It’s mind-boggling,” Haggerty said. “The percentages are tremendous against anything like this ever happening. Some years, we have three holes-in-one all year. Then, sometimes we have 15 holes-in-one in one season. But three in one day is really something.”
The barrage of aces isn’t the only thing keeping a smile on Haggerty’s face. His course, designed by fame architect Donald Ross, has been ranked 86th in the country by GOLF magazine.
“We’ve had so many accolades recently,” Haggerty said, “We are very proud.”
Glens Falls CC, a private club located in Queensbury off of Round Pond Road, began as a nine-hole layout in 1912 and, expanded to 18 holes by 1921. It’s known for its rolling hills, outstanding scenery, challenging approach shots for players of all abilities and its superb drainage that allows the course to open quickly after even the worst storms.
The course has been host to some of the greatest players in the game, especially from 1929 to 1939, when it was the site for the Glens Falls Open. Such legendary players as Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead and Walter Hagen competed at Glens Falls CC.
Haggerty was asked why Glens Falls CC is so special.
“First of all, we were lucky to be designed by one of the greatest architects in history in Donald Ross,” Haggerty noted. “But the thing I think is great is that you can play here every day and not get sick of it. There aren’t many flat lies, it’s very a very picturesque course, and it’s quite unique. We get calls all the time from people who to want to play here, but unfortunately, we can’t accommodate outsiders unless they are invited by our members as guests.
“Almost all of our local pros think this is the best course in the area. We have quite a reputation.”
Haggerty is one of the area’s most experienced golf professionals. After graduating from Niskayuna in 1970, where he was the No. 1 player on the golf team that went to the state tournament, he attended Miami-Dade College for a year before serving as Al Stein Jr.’s assistant pro at Glens Falls CC for eight seasons. Haggerty earned his PGA membership in 1981 and took over the head pro duties from Stein that same year after Stein left to become part owner of a golf course.
Among Haggerty’s career highlights was serving on the NENY PGA’s nominating committee, tournament committee and board of directors. He was named the winner of the Bill Strausbaugh Award for club relations and community service in 1988, was the Merchandiser of the Year for private clubs three times and was also the honorary captain for the pro team in the annual Challenge Cup. He was named the section’s Professional of the Year in 2006.
“The thing I’m most proud of is my longevity,” Haggerty said when he was inducted into the section’s Hall of Fame in 2005. “Making sure I give 100% to my membership and my service between teaching and running tournaments is what I’m all about. I feel fortunate to be here at Glens Falls. My goal is always to give top service. We are in the happiness business.”
SOLID LOCAL FIELD AT STATE OPEN
Ten-time Northeastern New York PGA Player of the Year Scott Berliner, the 46-year-old assistant pro at Saratoga Spa Golf Course and the winner of this year’s Donald Ross Classic, headlines a strong local contingent at the prestigious New York State Open, to be held Tuesday through Thursday at Bethpage State Park’s famed Black Course in Farmingdale.
Other local pros besides Berliner include CC of Pittsfield head pro Eric Mabee, who ended Berliner’s 10-year string of consecutive NENY PGA Stroke Play Championships this season at the Country Club of Troy; former NENY PGA Match Play champ Scott Battiste of Eagle Crest Golf Club; Woodstock Golf Club head pro Chris Sanger and assistant pro Justin Lane; Twaalfskill Club pro Andrew Deforest; and Schuyler Meadows assistant pro Michael Shine.
The two local amateurs in the field are Saratoga Springs High School graduates Nolan Crowley of Saratoga Golf & Polo Club and Saratoga County Amateur champion AJ Cavotta of Ballston Spa Country Club. Crowley and Cavotta played for Siena College and Southern New Hampshire University, respectively, this past season.
The NYS Open is one of the most challenging tournaments for all players, not only because of the extremely demanding course at Bethpage State Park but also because of the talented field that is dominated by Metropolitan PGA section golfers. Left-hander Jeb Buchanan of Albany, a longtime mini-tour competitor, won this event in 2015.
NINETEEN MAKE STATE AM FIELD
This week’s New York State Amateur local qualifier at Colonie Golf & Country Club produced 19 players for the NYS Men’s Amateur Golf Championship to be held Aug. 10-12 at Schuyler Meadows Club. Seventeen of those qualifiers are from the greater Capital Region.
The Shaker Ridge CC duo of Christopher Rush and Joe Fitzsimmons shared medalist honors at 2-under-par 70. Aidan Fitzgerald (NYSGA eClub-Capital District) shot a 71, and AJ Cavotta posted an even-par 72.
Other area players who qualified were Scott Kleeschulte of Wiltwyck Golf Club (73), Steve Quillinan of the Country Club of Troy (73), Ryan Davis of Normanside CC (73), Chad Stoffer of Town of Colonie GC (74), Schenectady Classic champion Paul Pratico of Schenectady Municipal (74), eight-time Schenectady Classic victor Jim Mueller of Orchard Creek (74), Travis Deuel of Hiland Park CC (74), Nick Lyons of Schuyler Meadows (74), Travis Koch of Saratoga National Golf Club (74), Tom McGinn of Saratoga Springs (74), Matt Welch of the Country Club of Troy (74), Connor Adams of The Edison Club (74) and Jeff Lewandowski of the Country Club of Troy (74).
Kennedy Swedick of Albany continues her extremely busy and successful golf season at the 72nd annual U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship beginning Monday at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She tees off at 2:21 p.m. Monday and 9:21 a.m. Tuesday in the qualifying rounds. The U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship has players from 13 countries and 33 states represented. There are also three USGA champions in the field. Swedick, the first Section II girls’ individual champion for Albany Academy, has already won numerous local junior titles and also will represent the area at the Symetra Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship at Pinehaven CC July 23-25.
The Catskill Classic will be played Friday and Saturday at Catskill Golf Club. The first round will be a two-man scramble, and the second round will be two-man best ball. Flights are based on handicaps, Entry fee is $140 per player. The field is limited to the first 32 teams. For more information, contact the club at 518-943-0302.
Next up on the NEWGA schedule will be the Gail Purdy Best Two of Four Championship July 19 at Glens Falls CC.
Local pros from the NENY PGA travel to Waubeeka Country Club Monday for their Pro Classic No. 4.
Ryan Quinn of RPI was named to the Division III PING All-America second team, making him the first player in school history to repeat as a national All-American after earning the honor last season as well.
Siena College rising junior Isabella Diaz, graduate Grace Cuttone and sophomore Emily Nash were named to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholars team. Diaz, from Ballston Spa, held an 82.13 stroke average and made the team for the second time.
Van Patten Golf Club hosts the RVP Two-Player Scramble on Saturday with tee times beginning at 1 p.m. There will be gross and net scoring, with official handicap required, Entry fee is $80 per player unless you are a VPGC member. Then the entry fee is $30 per player. Call 518-877-5400 for more information.
Dave Castle hit an 8-iron for a hole-in-one on the 171-yard 17th hole at Airway Meadows Golf Club.
At Western Turnpike Golf Club, John Harrity recorded his first career ace with a 4-hybrid on the 165-yard fifth hole on the blue nine.
Ken Teriele of Rotterdam holed out with a 9-iron on the 120-yard 14th hole at Briar Creek Golf Course.
Jack Schanz eagled the par-5 second hole at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Schenectady Muni, Brett Armstrong Jr. chipped in for an eagle-2 on the par-4 eighth hole while playing in the Bugundi league.
Jack Conroy chipped in from 25 yards to eagle the par-5 third hole at Briar Creek Golf Course.
Also at Briar Creek GC, Mark Brucker eagled the 475-yard par-5 sixth hole while competing in the Rotterdam Senior Men’s league.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected].
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