The three hats that Dick Osborne proudly wore for 22 years fit so well that he couldn’t help donning them again.
At 76 years old, Osborne once again became owner, greens superintendent and PGA head professional at scenic and historic Sacandaga Golf Club earlier this year.
Osborne sold the course in 2008, but he held the mortgage on the Northville property, which hosts one of the oldest courses in the state. When the new owner had trouble keeping the course in top condition, Osborne ended up buying it back, despite plenty of personal sacrifices.
To take control of the course once again, Osborne had to spend much of his life savings, but fortunately, many of his former staff, which had left for other job opportunities, came back to help him
return the course to its past glory.
“I put in close to 70 hours a week as course superintendent, mechanic and owner,” said Osborne. “There were some problems with the course, like a grub infestation, but I think we’ve got it back to close to 80 percent of where it was.”
Rick Hayes, local club pro Gerry Fitzgerald, Holly and Dave Johnson, Warren Hyde and Kim Werner, who runs the restaurant, returned to Sacandaga to join Osborne in the renovation project.
“Golf is my pleasure, but friends are a treasure,” said Osborne, who noted that many of his old friends donated their time.
“I can’t believe so many of my staff came back to help. I must have done something right to have this many friends,” he said.
Osborne has never been afraid to put all the time he could into his course, which he bought in 1986.
“Work is my play, and play is my work,” he said. “The community needs this course, and I think I would have been enraged to see it go under if I didn’t step in to bring it back.”
I had a chance to see the course again earlier this week, and it was indeed in excellent shape. There were a few small patches here and there on a few of the greens, but for the most part, the course looked great, thanks to Osborne and his staff’s hard work. Every time I go there, it reminds of my old camping experiences. That’s the feel you get from that entire region
While I was there, Osborne was in the process of getting the course’s liquor license back so that the restaurant could once again be full service.
Sacandaga GC, which opened in 1898, has always been one of my favorite places to play because of its moderate length and interesting layout that features several holes that are punctuated by a pair of deep ravines that swallow up golf balls like peanuts if you aren’t careful.
“This is a risk/reward kind of course,” said Osborne. “It’s not very long, but there are plenty of challenges. You must know where to hit the ball, especially on the holes with the ravines. Plus, I think people like it because it’s usually dry. We have a sandy base here, and it drains very well. We can usually open up pretty early and stay open later than most courses in the area.”
Although Sacandaga GC is a nine-hole layout, you can play 18 holes with the use of two separate tees. The course measures 5,878 yards from the blue tees.
“We’ll hopefully stay open to about Thanksgiving this year,” said Osborne. “In terms of greens fees, we are already way above the amount of people they had here last year. I think we’re almost all the way back to where we used to be.”
Osborne is one of the most experienced golf professionals in the
region. He started out as a 9-year-old caddy at the old Stanford Golf Club in 1945. Eventually, he became an assistant pro at The Edison Club and also was the pro at Pinehaven Country Club for five years. He was best known for being the head pro at Ballston Spa Country Club for 20 years before buying Sacandaga Golf Club.
Osborne has been a member of the Northeastern New York PGA since 1960, and has been a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America since 1962.
“I don’t know of any other pro in the area who is also an owner and a greens superintendent,”
“Golf is definitely my life. I spend a lot of time on the golf course, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it.”
Fall is still a great time to play, so if you haven’t played Sacandaga Golf Club in a while, or if you would like to play it for the first time, stop by and give it a try. It’s an easy trip right off of Route 30 on Pine Avenue.
RUSSO ON THE ROAD
Dan Russo is competing in his sixth USGA event during this week’s 32nd annual U.S. Mid-Amateur Golf Championship, which started Saturday and runs through Thursday at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.
Russo, who plays out of Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club, has won every major championship in the Capital Region, including several Capital Region Amateur Golf Championship Stroke Play Championships and Troy Invitationals, considered the top two events for local amateurs. He is a multiple CRAGA Player of the Year who
also has competed in the U.S.
u Cobleskill Golf & Country Club hosts the NEWGA Senior Championship Monday and Tuesday.
u The Eastern New York Golf Association heads to Fairways of Halfmoon on Wednesday.
u The New York State Golf
Association will hold one of its final
State Days Series events of the
season Tuesday at the Country Club of Troy. There will be a 1 p.m.
start, and entry fee is $70 per player.
u The 19th annual Taconic 4-Ball Classic, for scratch amateurs, will be held at Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, Mass., on Sept. 24. There will be a noon shotgun start. The gross-only event will feature a senior division for players 55 and older. The field will be filled by the 60 teams with the lowest combined handicap indexes as of Saturday. Entry deadline is Monday. Call Taconic GC head pro Rick Pohle at 413-458-3997 for information.
u The 40th annual Gazette Bryce Hume Memorial Golf Tournament, for Gazette employees, retirees and friends, will be held Sept. 16 at Orchard Creek Golf Course. Entry fee is $50, and includes golf, cart, prizes and lunch. Entries are limited to the first 32 golfers, and Gazette employees and retirees will be given first consideration. Drop off or mail entries to Dan Beck, The Daily Gazette, 2345 Maxon Road Ext., P.O. Box 1090, Schenectady, NY 12301-1090. Make checks payable to The Daily Gazette.
u The Adirondack Phantoms will host their second annual scramble golf tournament Oct. 15 at Hiland Golf Club. Teams of three will be paired with a Phantoms player or a member of the hockey team staff. Entry fee is $240 per threesome or $100 per individual, and includes golf, cart, lunch, hors d’oeuvres and awards. Call 480-3355 for more
u Nick Lamarca, 83, of the Hank’s Rotterdam Elks league, beat his age with an 82 at Briar Creek Golf Course.
u Mark Hannon won the
A Flight, and George Ringland took the B Flight in the Charlton Divot Club league at Ballston Spa Country Club.
u Dave Mooradian defeated Jimmy Sullivan for the club championship at the Country Club of Troy.
u The Northeastern Golf Course Superintendents Association and the New York State Turfgrass
Association will sponsor their annual Poa fundraiser Sept. 24 at Glens Falls Country Club. Entry fee is $150. Entry deadline is Sept. 24. For more information, contact the NEGCSA at 783-1322.
u Pinehaven Country Club will host the UAlbany Slam Dunk Golf Classic, to benefit the UAlbany men’s basketball team, on Monday. Entry fee is $199 a player, and includes golf, cart, driving range, lunch, beverages and snacks on the course and a buffet dinner after golf. For more information, contact Jerrad Knotts at 442-3036.
u The Union College Golf/Basketball Fundraiser will be held at Mohawk Golf Club Sept. 24 at noon. Entry fee is $550 per team, and includes lunch at 11 a.m. and appetizers and awards following golf. The format is either two best balls of four or a scramble. It’s your choice. Contact Mary Ellen Burt at 388-6546 for more information.
u SUNY-Cobleskill’s inaugural Fighting Tigers Club Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 28 at
Cobleskill Golf & Country Club. Entry fee for the two-person best-ball tournament is $90 per team member, and will be limited to the first 136 players. There will be a 10:30 a.m. shotgun start. Call
255-5127 for more information.
Kevin Mulvey aced the 165-yard 11th hole with a 4-hybrid at Airway Meadows Golf Club.
Jim Reilly of Saratoga Springs eagled the sixth hole at Fox Run.
Butch Marx eagled the 15th hole while playing in the AC Body Works league at Briar Creek.
At Hiland Golf Club, Wayne Carrara holed out with a sand wedge from 95 yards on the par-5 18th hole.
T.J. Sumigray eagled both the 14th and 15th hole while shooting a 65 at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
Also recording eagles at Amsterdam Municipal were Matt Nasadowski and Dave Niezgoda on the third hole, Ethan Kreisel on the seventh and the 10th holes and Jim Dybas on the 10th hole.
Tom Kirkpatrick eagled the
par-5 eighth hole at Airway Meadows Golf Club.
Scott Stopera eagled the 285-yard,
par-4 fourth hole with a sand wedge at Stadium Golf Club while playing for the Scotia-Glenville High
School team against South Glens Falls.
In another scholastic match at Stadium, Gloversville’s Kevin Johnston eagled the 331-yard third hole.