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Golfers loved leagues at the Big G

Ed Townsend - Columnist
Posted 8/13/20

So many Sullivan County golfers have told me how much they miss playing their leagues at the famous Grossinger's Golf Course .... but there appears little hope that league play will take place …

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Golfers loved leagues at the Big G


So many Sullivan County golfers have told me how much they miss playing their leagues at the famous Grossinger's Golf Course .... but there appears little hope that league play will take place anytime soon.

As we have previously announced the famous Big G (Grossinger's) golf course is still closed but, if one drives by the course, you would never know that the facility is closed to golfers because maintenance and upkeep is keeping the golf course from growing over.

Grossinger's has always been labeled as a beautiful country oasis and indeed one of the elite courses in the Catskills.

The course was perhaps the best work of Houston architect Joe Finger.

In designing Grossinger's, Finger took a blessed piece of land with natural elevation changes, lakes, creeks, hardwood trees and wonderfully routed it to reward ball flight and touch rather than brute power and distance.

One of the most memorable holes on this course and one of the most recognizable holes in this area is the par-5 (13th) and its island green.

Before you get to the green there is the tee shot over a creek 220 yards away to a narrow sliver of fairway framed by a lake on one side and a bunker on the other. It's a special hole that can be a relatively easy par if you play safely, then again, if you tempt the island green, any score is possible.

Always considered a great course, great players who have toured this facility include Lee Elder, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Joey Sindelar, Jim Thorpe and George Burns.

Golfers await the rebirth and reopening of Grossinger's because it offers the opportunity to use every club in your bag and the course has unsurpassed beauty.

Every time I drive by this famous golf course I come away from Grossinger's singing Mary Hopkin's lyrics in the song “Those Were The Days, My Friend We Thought They'd Never End” as it brings back great memories of my early teens as a caddie at Grossinger's Golf Course when it was often referred to as The Big G.

I always loved golf courses and the game of golf, and I did some caddying before going to Grossinger's. My previous caddying experience was at both the Sullivan County Golf & Country Club in Liberty and the Young's Gap Hotel located on Old Route 17 near Parksville.

My brother-in-law was going to college and did caddying at the Big G, and I have to credit him for introducing me to Caddy Master Frank Kerns.

In those days there were no golf carts and the caddy carried the golf bags and, if he knew the game and the course, he could club (giving the golfer the correct club for playing that shot) and you always had to be alert as to where the shot went.

I remember well what my brother-in-law taught me about taking care of the caddy master at the end of each week and by that I mean making sure I gave him a good $20 tip which always assured me of caddying for good golfers who gave big tips after 18-holes of golf and that was both in the morning and afternoon.

Got to meet several professional caddies at Grossinger's, these men worked Grossinger's in the summer and Florida resorts in the winter but many of them were heavy drinkers and gamblers.

Will never forget one professional caddy named “Irish” who arrived each morning in his expensive sharp looking Cadillac, wore top of the line golf slacks, shirts, sweaters and golf shoes, did not drink, smoke or gamble and was a pure gentleman who, of course, got what we called the best rounds of golfers and made an exceptionally good income which I can attest to when I saw him put a $50 bill in the church collection box.

It was interesting work for a high school or college student, and if you were good at what you were doing, it provided an above average income and always gave you the opportunity to play golf for free when the course was available.

The Professional Golfer and instructor at Grossinger's when I caddied there was Joe Turnesa, one of seven famous golfing brothers who turned professional in 1925 and who had 18 professional wins, 14 on the PGA Tour and ended up second in the U.S. Open in 1926 and second in the PGA Championship in 1927.

Joe was a great guy to be around, and I frequently caddied for him in special events at the Big G.....also enjoyed caddying for entertainers like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin and baseball greats like Jackie Robinson.

The antics that went on when caddying in a foursome with Lewis and Martin were something that I could write a book about.

Of course at that time the golf course only consisted of the front nine and the back nine which is now called the Vista and much redesigning has taken place since the late 40's and early 50's with the addition of another nine holes of golf.

Great memories of “Those Were The Days,” and we know so many are looking forward to this great facility opening up once again.

Ed's Outlook

It's official folks......Liberty University's Jonathan Yaun has been selected to play in the 2020 United States Amateur Championship this week (August 10-16) at the Bandon Dunes at Bandon, Oregon.

The 120th U.S. Amateur is indeed a great honor for Yaun who has played well in recent tournaments.

Yaun is the son of Radford (Rad) and Meredith Yaun who are part of the Liberty (Sullivan County) based Yaun family and now make their home in Mineola, Florida. Rad, while living in Liberty, is well remembered for winning the New York State Amateur Championship in 1976 at the Grossinger Golf Course.

The Bandon Dunes golf facilities offer five different courses and is a true spirit of Scotland's ancient links. The golf courses are part of the grandeur of Oregon's rugged coast, and they combine with all the essential elements to reveal a new golf experience.

This tournament can be viewed on ESPN.

The tournament is closed to spectators due to the virus standards.

Golf Tip

By Bob Menges

With some pretty good rain showers recently we are talking this week about wet and soggy golf course conditions and, if you are playing golf in these conditions, here are some tips for your to consider.

The temperature also has an effect on how far the ball will travel. With cool damp conditions and if you hit a 7 iron 150 yards in July....it might only carry 140 yards in early May. Also, you must remember that the ball is not going to roll or bounce so the shot you hit must be all carry.

Choose your club based on the conditions of the course. Another factor to consider is how much your feet are going to sink into the turf depending on how wet it is. I notice many golfers hitting what we call “fat” shots in early spring.

This happens when the club contacts the ground before the ball and sod build up between the ball and club, thus making the ball travel much less than you intended. One way to correct this is to select one club more and grip down slightly.

Your weight will make your body sink into the ground and be lower than normal conditions. This should help you make clean contact with the ball.

Anyone who has played golf in this area in May knows, another factor to deal with is the wind. When you are hitting shots into the wind make sure to use an extra club or two. The wind will knock the ball down and travel less than what you would normally hit that club. You may also try keeping the ball at a lower flight, cutting off your follow through, by slightly keeping your arms and hands lower.

If you are hitting with the wind, use less club as the wind will help the ball travel further.

When playing with a cross wind, try to adjust your aim slightly to allow for the wind to curve your ball in the same direction as the wind, whether it is left to right or right to left.

Above all try not to get frustrated during the rounds you play.

Robert Menges is the head golf professional at the Swan Lake Golf & Country Club, Mt. Hope Road, Swan Lake. He is available when the course opens in mid-May. If you have a question or subject you would like covered, he can be reached at 845-292-0323, 845-866-5567 or via email at bobmenges22@gmail.com

Putting Tip

By Geoff Walsh

Reading the greens is a skill that is critical to becoming a good putter. Some players seem to have a natural ability to see the “break” but it also can be learned by a few simple observations.

First of all most greens slope from back to front so keep that in mind when checking your line. The general lay of land is easier to see from a distance than when standing on the green so check that out as you approach the green. Especially in our area greens positioned on side hills have breaks that are much more than meets the eye. Good examples of that would be #9 and #18 at TarryBrae.

Another factor that has an effect on the break will be large bodies of water or even streams that putts will always break towards. Morningside Lake and Echo Lake are perfect examples of that.

Once on the green I believe reading the putt from behind the ball is the most effective way to see the break. Some players read putts from all angles which for the most part I feel can confuse and slow down play. Usually your first is your best and you need to learn to trust that.

It seems most players miss putts on the low side of the hole because they don't trust the read of don't get the right speed.

Speed will always determine how much a putt will break, and it is much more common to be way off on speed than it is on read.

Practice your speed and work on some of the simple observations above and your putting will improve.

Geoff Walsh is a Class A PGA Professional at the Tarry Brae Golf Course at 387 Pleasant Valley Road, South Fallsburg. At this time private lessons are not available. If you have a question or subject you would like covered, he can be reached by telephone at 845-434-2620.

Ed Townsend is a Public Relations Consultant to the sport of golf and brings over 60-years of sports journalism experience in writing and compiling the information for this column. When leagues and courses are fully in operation send your league or tournament information to Ed at 845-439-8177, email to bghtnews@aol.com or fax to 845-205-4474. View this column and Ed's photos at http://bght.blogspot.com We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Twin Village

Monday Mens

1. Green & Glantzis 130.0

2. Husson & Husson 119.5

3. Trask/Mooney/Huggins 115.0

4. Brock & Brock 113.5

5. Haas & France 109.5

6. Harris & Spalding 108.5

7. Templin & Lee 108.0

7. Madera & Madera 108.0

9. Tallman & Ackerly 102.5

10. Jester & Winters 100.5

11. Thomas & Hendrickson 99.5

12. Wilcox & Gray 98.0

13. Rampe & Hill 94.5

14. Tucker & Smith 93.5

15. Ryder & Ryder 93.0

15. Darbee & France 93.0

17. Rowan & Bennett 92.5

18. Murphy/Murphy/Reed 83.0

Tuesday Ladies

1. L. Kuehn & E. Kuehn 114.0

2. A. Husson & B. Ackerly 110.5

2. A. Bury & S. Clark 110.5

4. E. Casey & E. Carlson 106.0

5. C. Bowers & S. Feeney 103.5

6. Bye, Team 89.0

7. Y. Rowan & D. Mantzouratos 88.5

8. L. Hendrickson & D. Greenthal 80.5

9. S. Ferber & J. Husson 67.5

10. K. Harris & S. Green 50.0


Tuesday Night Birdie Division

1. J. Sazoff & S. Ottino 129.5

2. C. Roth & C. Roth 121.0

3. D. Byrne & T. Byrne 115.5

4. H. Kerhley & J. Rhupert 109.0

5. J. Franke & R. Franke 107.5

6. A. Torrens & Z. Cody 106.0

7. D. Luczyski & M. Garigliano 95.5

8. T. Ditmar & N. Rusin 91.5

9. T. Merklin & S. Austin 88.0

10. K. Torrens & M. Lagatutta 86.5

Tuesday Night Eagle Division

1. N. Bell & M. Freaney 126.0

2. Todd & Taylor VanKeuren 118.0

3. N. Huggler & M. Murphy 114.5

4. J. Tanous & J. Wilhelm 109.5

5. W. Herzog & K. Clifford 106.5

6. P. Donovan & K. Scheibe 103.5

7. P. Fanning & A. Marciano 102.5

8. J. Finn & J. Russell 100.5

9. M. Diehl & A. Bradley 95.0

10. B. Strong & P. Umphries 72.5

Tuesday Night Par Division

1. K. Wheeler & S. Hamlin 120.5

1. J. Van Keuren & T. Nieman 120.5

2. C. Hicks & B. Garber 120.0

3. T. Gallo & T. McCausland 104.0

4. E. O'Malley & T. Ellison 103.5

5. J. Rusin & R. Ellison 103.0

6. M. Williams & D. Divita 99.0

7. P. Clifford & A. Hauser 91.5

8. C. Schadt & W. Mall 84.5

9. J. Merklin & O. Trask 82.5

Wednesday Night League

1. B. Orr & D. Tanous 100.0

2. J. Fink & J. Graham 92.5

3. M. Brand & E. Stratton 92.0

3. R. Schmidt & H. Russell 92.0

4. J. Hinkley & P. Alden 91.5

5. F. Barrett & D. Hendrickson 91.0

6. D. Immoor & H. Tighe 85.0

7. F. Stabbert & T. Krantz 81.0

8. L. McAllister & R. Lennon 78.5

9. D. Kuebler & R. O'Mara 76.5

10. D. Hoskings & R. Esposito 65.5

11. M. Kovsh & C. Rodriguez 36.5

Thursday Travel League

1. Thomas & Husson 144.5

2. Bacigalupo & Mitchell 139.5

3. Martinez & Sherman 139.0

4. Gilmore & Bernstein 138.0

5. Collura & Fisher 137.5

6. Winters & Winters 130.0

7. Schmidt & Ackerly 128.5

8. Jardine & Stanley 113.5

9. Lubniewski & Martin 111.0

10. Stevens & Snihura 110.5

11. Coney & Mace 104.5

12. Hutchins & Mack 101.0

13. Cawley & Todora 93.5

14. Benzenberg & Benzenberg 90.5

15. Poli & Cunningham 80.5

16. Heavey & Magill 68.0


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