The torch has been passed in the Eastern New York Golf Association.
When longtime secretary-treasurer Bonnie Clark passed away last summer, president Ron Farrigan assumed her duties along with his own, guaranteeing the continued success of one of the Capital Region’s most popular golf organizations.
“I’ve got it all now,” said Farrigan with a chuckle. “It won’t be the same without Bonnie. We were great buddies. We worked together and thought alike. I’ll miss having her around. We were a lot of help for each other, and we did everything for the ENYGA together.”
Farrigan is an avid golfer himself, but he can’t afford to play and still run the weekly ENYGA events at the same time.
“You can’t play much in this situation,” he said. “I get to every event about 6 a.m. By the time all the guys come in, it’s about 5 p.m., and I don’t get out of there until 6 or 7 p.m. Then I’ve got to fax all the results to the papers. I’m probably not done completely until 7 or 8 p.m. that night. Then, the next day, I’ve got to make sure all the money is in the bank before getting all the scores into the system for the handicaps. I’ve also got to make sure the guys are set for their golf carts for the following week. It’s like two days’ work.”
But Farrigan isn’t complaining.
“I’m actually the president/golf director now,” he said. “I love doing it. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it. The guys keep asking me to play, but even if I had the time, I would be too tired.
“The good thing is that I get plenty of help from Jack Porter and Corey Tymchin. Jack is my vice president, and he does all the computer work and makes up my paperwork. Corey is my new starter. I used to be the starter, but now I can spend my time doing other things.”
Farrigan still gets his share of playing time in when he’s not working for the ENYGA.
“I still play three or four times a week, most of the time at Town of Colonie,” said the 75-year-old former Kellogg’s employee who owns an 8 handicap. “I play in the state seniors tournament, the Albany County Amateur and some other local tournaments. I get my golf in, don’t worry. I still love playing.”
Although entries were down last year, Farrigan said the ENYGA is still healthy and a great way for players of all abilities to play competitive golf with their friends.
“Last year, we only averaged 97 or 98 players. It was down. But right now, I’ve got 130 players signed up,” he said. “If we maintain that through the season, it would be great, but there are some guys who play for a few months and then stop because they are frustrated, or because they are on vacation. The numbers usually drop by September.”
Three players dominated the ENYGA tour. Chuck Connolly won 16 of the 24 events, while John Vaccaro won six times and Ralph Maru picked up the other two victories.
“Chuck keeps getting better and better. The only one who gave him much competition was Vaccaro, but he couldn’t be there every week,” Farrigan said. “The good thing is that we still have different divisions, so everyone still gets a chance to win something.”
The ENYGA is divided into Class A, Class B, Class C and Class D, according to handicaps. There are gross and net divisions in each class.
“It’s still a pretty good deal,” he said. “We charge $26 to play every week, and the dues are $25 for the year. We still have
regular tee times. If you signed up five or six years ago, you still have the same tee times you signed up for originally. The only way you lose them is if you quit. Then, we give your tee time to somebody else.”
The ENYGA kicks off April 21 at McGregor Links Country Club. Special events include the Harry and Bonnie Clark Memorial ABCD Championship July 16 at Orchard Creek, the Lou Torre 2-Man Championship at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course Aug. 6 and the Hi-Lo Blind Partner Championship at Hiland Golf Club Aug. 27.
Most events require the renting of mandatory golf carts. Some events have shotgun starts rather than tee times.
April 21 — at McGregor Links CC, April 28 — at Ballston Spa CC; May 7 — at Van Patten GC; May 13 — at Queensbury CC; May 21 — at Burden Lake CC; May 28 — at Mt. Anthony CC; June 4 — at Alban Hills; June 9 — at Sycamore CC; June 18 — at Cobleskill G&CC; June 24 — at Brookhaven GC; July 3 — at Town of Colonie GC; July 8 — at Winding Brook CC; July 16 — Harry and Bonnie Clark Memorial ABCD Championship at Orchard Creek; July 23 — at Rolling Hills; July 30 — at Pioneer Hills GC; Aug. 6 — Lou Torre 2-Man Championship at Amsterdam Municipal; Aug. 13 — at Kingswood; Aug. 18 — at Mohawk River; Aug. 27 — Hi-Lo Blind Championship at Hiland; Sept. 3 — at Frear Park; Sept. 10 — at Fairways of Halfmoon; Sept. 16 — at Schenectady Municipal GC; Sept. 24 — at Eagle Crest GC; Sept. 29 — at Stadium GC.