Golf: Kroll a mainstay in a vanishing breed

Bob Weiner's golf column
Nancy Kroll of Schenectady is one of the few Capital Region women playing elite-level tournament golf.
Nancy Kroll of Schenectady is one of the few Capital Region women playing elite-level tournament golf.

Schenectady resident Nancy Kroll is one of the very few elite-level Capital Region women golfers still competing regularly in 
major tournament golf.

She remembers a time when her colleagues on the links often numbered closer to 100 instead of the several dozen or so that dare to play their own ball in individual, medal play championships.

The 55-year-old Pinehaven Country Club member will attempt to add to her already impressive resume this week when she competes in the New York State Women’s Amateur & Mid-Amateur Championships Wednesday through Friday at Yahnundasis Golf Club in New Hartford.

No matter how well she plays, this short tournament trip will be a memorable one.

“I’m really looking forward to it. My father grew up there as a caddie when he was just 9 years old. It will be very sentimental for me,” she said. “My dad lived there on a farm off the second hole, and he used to tell me plenty of stories about the place. I’ve heard there are a lot of blind shots there, but I haven’t played there myself in a long time, maybe when I was in my 30s.”

Kroll’s father was the late Ed Kroll, a legendary golf instructor at Leatherstocking Golf Club in Cooperstown.

“I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had a good golf life,” Kroll said. “I had an awesome teacher, my dad. My dad pretty much taught everyone in Cooperstown how to play golf. He loved to teach. Maybe that’s why I’m a teacher.”

Kroll is a special education teacher in East Greenbush. When she’s not in class, she’s working on her game, which has produced plenty of accolades and trophies over the years.
She won the 2014 New York State Women’s Senior Amateur Golf Championship and owns six Northeastern Women’s Golf Association trophies. She also won the last two women’s divisions in the revamped Schenectady Classic.

“I would say that winning the NYS Women’s Seniors was my most memorable achievement,” she said. “I was also runner-up in the regular Women’s Amateur, but I’m also very proud of playing in the USGA Team Championships. I played for New York State one year, and I played for the Connecticut team when I was living there. Those are on the top of my list.”

Kroll is finally back to nearly 100 percent after suffering a severe sprained ankle during a fall in this year’s Schenectady Classic

“I’ve been going to therapy twice a week, and I’m doing what the doctor has been telling me to do as far as exercising it,” she said. “I’m wearing a brace. It feels pretty good now, and I’m coming back strong. I’m very relieved it wasn’t broken.”

Kroll’s vast experience in state and regional events over four decades should go a long way in keeping her competitive this week.

“For me, it’s more mental when I’m playing in these state events. It’s about having confidence in myself and in my swing,” she said. “Getting off the tee, hitting greens and being consistent is the key. I’m trying to make a lot of pars and also trying not to make many mistakes. That’s what I focus on. I try to play every hole as best as I can and not worry about the score.”

Other Capital Region standouts competing in the Mid-Amateur division of this week’s event include former NYS Women’s Amateur titlist and fellow six-time NEWGA champion Mary Jo Kelly of Wolferts Roost Country Club, multiple NEWGA winner Pat Mayne of Western Turnpike and Ella Kellogg of Glens Falls Country Club, who is also a NEWGA champion.

Former Shaker High School standout Madison Braman of Shaker Ridge Country Club, Emma Vandecar of The Edison Club, Heidi Vittengl of Queensbury Country Club and Laura Rentz of Olde Kinderhook GC round out the open division field.


Any junior golfer age 12-18 can compete in the Capital District “Fun” Golf Tournament at Eagle Crest Golf Club July 25. Entry fee is $30 and includes golf, lunch, trophies and door prizes.

The overall medalist receives four greens fees to Saratoga Spa Golf Course. The top players advance to the 63rd New York State Elks Junior Golf Tournament at Bath Country Club Aug. 12-13. Participants need not be affiliated with the Elks. Applications are available at For more inform­ation, contact Paul Ungerland (518-384-0221) or Michael Bloss (518-877-5200).

The NYS Boys’ & Girls’ Junior Championship local qualifier will be Monday at Town of Colonie Golf Course. Qualifiers advance to the state event July 24-25 at Seven Oaks Golf Club.


At Briar Creek, Steve Morrison aced the 120-yard 14th hole.

There were two holes-in-one recently at Normanside Country Club. Packy 

McGraw picked up his fifth career ace using a 9-iron on the 128-yard 17th hole, while Luke McGrath slam-dunked a 9-iron on the 
148-yard third hole for his second career hole-in-one.


Eric Wright eagled the 547-yard par-5 17th hole while competing in the Brookliner’s league at Saratoga Spa Golf Club.

Mark Fuller of the Goldcrest Electronics Divots league drove the par-4 seventh hole and made the 25-foot putt for an eagle at Stadium Golf Club.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected] or @BobWeiner58 on Twitter.

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