Don’t say Western New York ain’t God’s Country! We have been peddling that yarn for years and now our recent heavenly weather proves us dead right. The season of 2013 goes down as one with a slow start, but generally good conditions and lots of family golf at Shelridge. The course has enjoyed a busy autumn, but finally this weekend the end appears in close proximity.
Tomorrow brings a best-ball event for men that is a “blind draw” for partners and is listed as the closing day. There will still be random golf for some time yet, and one week from tomorrow will bring a special event called “Flags and Pins." A round of golf has been scheduled and then the gang will head for Medina Lanes on Maple Ridge for some bowling.
Two official tournaments were held last week to salute the arrival of October. On Wednesday, Oct. 2, a good crowd assembled for the annual SCC Pro-Am when area club professionals become local guests. The headline news that day was the performance of 22-year-old Brittany Henderson, a Canadian lass who is stationed at Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Country Club and who has serious hopes of joining the LPGA Tour. She was low among the pros with 73 and her runners-up were Dan Antonucci of Niagara Frontier C.C. and Steve Latimer of Niagara Univ. golf shop, both with 74.
The results in the division for mixed professionals and amateurs were as follows: FIRST PLACE with 201, Brittany Henderson, Dave Boice, Alex Misiti and Dick Barry. SECOND PLACE with 202, John Benson, Mike Paul, Dave Stupnick and Butch Stupnick. THIRD PLACE with 205, Marc Rosa, Steve Barnes, Gary Murphy and TR Ryan. FOURTH PLACE with 206, Steve Latimer, Tom Morien, Jon Dorin and Dave Bellucci.
On Saturday, Oct. 5, eleven Shelridge competitors, chosen by qualifying scores, went roaming down the first fairway like a herd of cattle. It was called “Shootout at High Noon," a standard October event of recent years. Players were eliminated on each hole and by the time they reached No. 9, Rich Mesi was the only golfer left “alive." He fully savored the victory. Others who almost made it to No. 9 were Butch Stupnick (second place) and Brad Nudd (third place).
Doug Beltz of Lockport, who has been a Shelridge member for some years, can put his clubs away this season with a big smile on his face. He was out on the course Wednesday with Rich Howell and John Ossont, and when they reached No. 14, lady luck turned on the charm. Beltz took a No. 4 hybrid to the tee and lofted a nice shot the full 176 yards for an ace. This broke a drought at the club. Four or five holes-in-one were registered one after the other at the beginning of the season, but the intervening months produced none.
The club closes the season with 240 members from all over four counties, and there is a general feeling among staff members that Shelridge is a fairly strong survivor. “As the country faces harder times there is no longer any guarantee that a golf or country club can take things for granted," said Assistant Pro Dave Rose (who will get his permanent PGA card in a few months). The golfing industry has gone on record as knowing that the U.S. was over-built with golf courses from 1975 to 2000.
Nevertheless, there is optimism as Shelridge faces its 55th season next May. The annual meeting of the club in November will elect directors, and they in turn will choose 2014 leaders.