Expect some major changes both on and off the course at scenic Schenectady Municipal Golf Course this season.
One of the top public courses in the Capital Region is due for some upgrades to several tee areas, cart paths, fairways (drainage) and the clubhouse. Fourth-year head pro Matt Daley also has plans for some major alternations in the annual County Amateur Golf Championship.
The first item on Daley’s list of upgrades is already in place. There is a new starter’s clock near the first tee, and it’s named in honor of the late Bobby Haggerty Jr., the longtime head pro who spent 30 years at Schenectady Municipal.
“The clock was an idea I had for a long time,” said Daley, 43, who started his 22-year pro golf career as Haggerty’s assistant in 1994. “Tommy Haggerty [Bob’s brother] had a clock very much like it on their driving range at Glens Falls Country Club. We had funds remaining from Bob Haggerty’s Memorial tournament a few years ago, and we donated the money from that.”
Daley, who had a special unveiling ceremony of the clock before last week’s season opener, is proud of the new addition. “It looks sharp on the first tee, and everybody will think of Bobby every time they tee it up,” he said.
Other changes are both functional and cosmetic.
“We did a lot of brush clearing on several of the holes that were in shaded areas on the course,” Daley said. “For instance, on the 15th hole [long downhill par-3], we cleared out about 40 feet of brush to the left of the tee area. You can even see the tee now from the corner of Consaul Road, although you might not be able to see it later in the season when the trees are in full bloom.
“We are also building a new cart path, and we will expand the tee area there. The prime reason for the changes is to get more light there. It’s a very secluded area. By the time June comes around, there is no grass left on that tee.”
Daley said that the grounds staff is also doing similar work on the par-3 17th hole, expanding the tee and clearing brush to the left. “It will address two problems in that it will make that tee area bigger, and it will make it look a lot better,” he said.
In August, plans are in the works to start improving the drainage on the eighth hole.
“It’s always been a major issue for us and has been very problematic when we get a lot of rain,” he said. “We will finally give that hole the attention it deserves.”
Also planned are more cart path and tee renovation on the front nine.
“The front nine is where we usually have the most problems. That’s why we don’t allow carts out early in the season” he said. “If we fix these problems, we can let carts out and make it carts-only most of the season.”
Daley hinted that the Muny clubhouse is also in need of some improvements, but they won’t be announced until later.
Other major changes will affect the tournament schedule and format of some of the major events. Although the Schenectady County Amateur still will be played on Father’s Day weekend in June, Daley has tentative plans to change the name and the format. Previously, only Schenectady County residents and former champions were eligible to play in the three-day event, but Daley wants to allow out-of-towners to play.
“It looks like we will tentatively call it the Schenectady Open,” he said. “We also are thinking about changing the format.”
Unlike previous tournament, where there was a cut after each round, Daley wants plans to let all players compete during the first two rounds and then make a cut for the final round on Sunday.
“Those changes should help bring in more players,” he said. “The attendance figures have been dwindling for years.”
The Schenectady County Senior Amateur will keep the same format it’s always had from the beginning and will be played Aug. 4-5. The popular Bob Haggerty Two-Man will be switched to the fall and will be played in either September or October.
Schenectady native Rick Wolcott was named the Golf Professional of the Year at last month’s Northeastern New York PGA spring meeting at Saratoga National Golf Club.
Wolcott, now the head pro at Pioneer Hills, has been a member of the PGA for 41 seasons, including head pro and/or director of golf jobs at Leatherstocking Golf Course (1992-1996), Lake Warnamaug Country Club in Connecticut (1997-1998), Mohawk Golf Club (1998-2008) and Rolling Hills Country Club at Antlers (2008-2015). In his early years, he was an assistant at both Mohawk and the old Willows Country Club which is now Mohawk River Country Club & Chateau.
Wolcott has earned numerous section awards over the years, including the 2015 Roland Stafford Sportsmanship Award (2015) and the NENYPGA Merchandiser of the Year (1995-1996). Also a solid player, he won the senior division of the Donald Ross Classic in 2012, qualified for the PGA National Seniors Club Professional Championship in both 2005 and 2007 and also qualified for the National PGA Club Professional Championship in 1994.
Other major NENYPGA special award winners included The Edison Club director of golf Craig McLean (Bill Strausbaugh Club Relations Community Services), Kay McMahon of EduKaytion Golf (Teacher of the Year), Colonie Golf & Country Club head pro Frank Mellet (Horton Smith Education), Columbia Golf & Country Club head pro Marc Levesque (Roland Stafford Sportsmanship), New York Golf Park head pro Lucas Cohen (Youth Player Development), Stadium Golf Club head pro John Souza (Player Development), Eagle Crest Golf Club assistant pro Scott Battiste (Assistant Golf Professional of the Year) and Saratoga Golf & Polo Club general manager Ron Ireland (Patriot Award).
Clifton Park’s Stuart Miller of Stuart Miller Golf received the Sales Representative of the Year award, while Saratoga National Golf Club director of golf Peter Tavares (public), Stockbridge Golf Club head pro Steve Mazzariello (private) and The Sagamore Resort head pro David Cummings (resort) won the three awards for Merchandiser of the Year.
Numerous members of the NENYPGA have shifted duties over the off-season.
Mark Jorgensen, formerly general manger at The Edison Club and the head pro at Hiland Golf Club, is the new director of golf at Shaker Ridge Country Club. He replaces longtime head pro Chas Conrad, who retired last September. Charlie Winn is the new head pro at Cobleskill Golf & Country Club, replacing Paul Jaycox. Kyle Kressler has been named head pro at Kingswood Links Golf Club.
Keith Sprenger, formerly at Pioneer Hills, moves over to Burden Lake Country Club as the new head pro, while Sean Bond, formerly at Northway 8, is the new head pro at Hales Mills Country Club. Johnathon Hines is the new head pro at Saratoga Spa State Park, and Tom Siddon takes over as GM at Malone Golf Club, where Derek Sprague, current president of the PGA, was the longtime head pro. Benton Sullivan is the new head pro at Massena Country Club. Brian Hampson, formerly at Burden Lake Country Club, is now an assistant for Steve Vatter at Capital Hills at Albany.
The first event for the area professionals will be the Triple Play tournament April 25 at Town of Colonie Golf Course.
Anyone wishing to post their holes-in-one and eagles should email the appropriate information to me at [email protected]. For the holes-in-one, please include name, age, course, hole, yardage and club used, as well as the number of holes-in-one you have. For eagles, please include your name, club, hole, yardage and whether it’s a par-5 or a par-4.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected] or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.