Rick Wright, head pro at The
Edison Club, has worn many hats over the years, and he should feel quite comfortable in his newest one as honorary captain for the club pros’ team in Wednesday’s sixth annual Gazette Cup competition at Albany Country Club.
The pros from the Northeastern New York PGA will square off against an all-star team comprised of many of the top players off the Capital Region amateur point list. Starting times begin at 10 a.m., and admission is free.
It is fitting that Wright is the honorary captain for the professional team, because he has been the consummate professional.
“I enjoy the people. The camaraderie I have with the people at the club is one of the things I most enjoy about this job,” said Wright, who is in his 27th year as the head pro at The Edison Club.
“The other thing I love to see is the junior golfers coming up through the ranks. I’ve been able to watch them grow up through the years as a member of this club. They’ve become mature players, and then they’ve moved on.”
During his career, Wright became well known for his enthusiastic support of junior golf. He established a junior golf day that often drew more than 300 youngsters to his club.
One of Wright’s many strengths is as an administrator, both at his own club and as a member of the NENYPGA. He was elected president of this PGA section twice, serving a total of five years. Later, he served four years as national district director for District I of the PGA, which includes Northeastern New York, New England and Connecticut.
He is a member of both the
NENYPGA and The Edison Club Hall of Fame.
“Another thing I’m most proud of is that I’ve had eight or nine of my assistant pros go on to become head professionals at their own course,” said Wright.
He also stocks one of the most complete pro shops in the region.
“I’ve never been scared to do business. I try to offer the best possible merchandise to my members. If we don’t have it, I can usually get it,” he said. “It’s much different doing business in a pro shop nowadays, because of the Internet and all the discount stores.”
Wright learned his trade as an assistant pro at Glens Falls Country Club in the mid-1960s. He went on to share ownership of a golf course in East Amherst, near Buffalo, and was also the head pro at a course near Utica, as well as the general manager at a course in Webster, near Rochester. For the first 13 years of his run at The Edison Club, he was also the club’s general manager.
“You’ve got to have a passion to do this job,” said Wright. “I’ve still got that passion.”
Wright’s 12-man professional squad includes 2007 Player of the Year Peter Gerard of Mill Road Acres, Steve Vatter of Capital Hills, Glenn Davis of the host club, Paul Jaycox of Onteora Club, Bob
Meheran of Cobleskill Golf & Country Club, Jeremy Kerr of Oneonta Country Club, Keith Sprenger of Catskill Golf Club, Ian Breen of Canajoharie Country Club, Josh Hillman of Berkshire Hills Country Club, Frank Mellet of Colonie Golf & Country Club, Tom Siddon of Massena Country Club and
either Tom Sullivan of Wyantenuck Country Club or James Marston of Stockbridge Golf Club, who will replace Bob Mucha of Greenock Country Club.
Capital Region amateur honorary captain Joe Quillinan of the Country Club of Troy, who among his many playing credits are numerous Tri-County Golf Association titles, a couple of Troy Invitational wins and an appearance in the U.S.
Senior Open, will now be pressed into duty as a Gazette Cup participant, because Matt Clarke, also of the CC of Troy, had to pull out.
The amateur team includes Dave Mooradian and Dave Arakelian of the Country Club of Troy, Aaron AuBuchon of Saratoga Golf & Polo Club, Jim Mueller of
Orchard Creek, Jim Cocca and Mike Wheeler of Shaker Ridge Country Club, John Vaccaro of Wolferts Roost Country Club, Dan Russo of Rolling Hills, Jon-Michael Socaris of Colonie Golf & Country Club, Steve Owens of Normanside Country Club and Dave Hayes of Schuyler Meadows.
The pros lead the series, 3-2.
The competition will be individual and team match play, with three points (front side, back side and total) awarded in each match.
Jon-Michael Socaris-Dave Moordian (Amateurs) vs. Peter Gerard-Jim Marston/Tom Sullivan (Pros).
Dave Hayes-Dan Russo (Amateurs) vs. Steve Vatter-Glenn Davis (Pros).
John Vaccaro-Mike Wheeler (Amateurs) vs. Paul Jaycox-Bob Meheran (Pros).
Dave Arakelian-Joe Quillinan (Amateurs) vs. Jeremy Kerr-Keith Sprenger (Pros).
Jim Cocca-Steve Owens (Amateurs) vs. Ian Breen-Josh Hillman (Pros).
Aaron AuBuchon-Jim Mueller (Amateurs) vs. Frank Mellet-Tom Siddon (Pros).
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