When he dejectedly walked off the course last summer with his second consecutive loss in the Long Island Amateur final, Darin Goldstein did not immediately seek out a teaching pro. He went right to the calendar. “I circled these dates,” he said, referring to the past week, when the 2016 event was to be held.
The week always will be encircled in his memory. The 34-year-old who plays out of Noyac Golf Club was fueled by disappointment, experience and wisdom and won the title, beating Don Enga, 7 and 6, in the 36-hole final Friday at Cherry Valley Club in Garden City.
“I learned how to stay in the moment. I played solid golf. It started last week at the Long Island Open,” said the man who won low amateur honor at Garden City Country Club the week before. Entering the L.I. Amateur, he said, “My caddie and I had a game plan from day one on how we were going to play each hole. We stuck to it.”
That meant laying up on all the par 5s and targeting spots from which he could hit his 60-degree wedge. “We looked at the course like a chess board,” Goldstein said, crediting caddie Kyle Moffitt.
Enga looked at the course as home. He is a longtime member at Cherry Valley, which hosted the championship as part of its 100th anniversary celebration. “He knows the course like the back of his hand and he played some good golf,” Goldstein said. But the eventual champion took firm control of the momentum on the 18th hole of the morning round. With Enga on the green, looking at a birdie putt and the potential to cut his opponent’s lead to three, Goldstein chipped in and won the hole to go five up.
Now he can look forward to 2017 and defending his title.
Tending Tallgrass in its final season
Veteran course superintendent Richard Struss has come out of retirement to tend Tallgrass Golf Course through its final season. Struss spent 24 years as superintendent at Glen Oaks, after having worked at Wheatley Hills and Nissequogue. He also is former president of the Long Island Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Tallgrass is scheduled to be converted into an energy-producing solar farm late this fall, but the current ownership is determined to keep it going as a golf course throughout this season and wants the condition to be first rate. The course was designed by Gil Hanse, architect of the Olympics golf course in Rio and an analyst for Fox at the U.S. Open.
Isles come together for charity
One of Long Island’s top annual celebrity golf events was held yesterday at Middle Island Country Club. It was the McMahon Family Outing but it really was a de facto Islanders reunion. Various generations of former Islanders, from Jude Drouin and Andre St. Laurent to Pat LaFontaine to Pierre Turgeon were there to raise funds for charities. Among the beneficiaries is the one for research on the rare liver disease that claimed the 18-month-old son of former Islanders equipment manager Joe McMahon. He said people still can donate at lam-foundation.com.
Reversible course to open
This month will mark the opening of one of America’s most unique courses: The Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Traverse City, Michigan. The Tom Doak design is North America’s first completely reversible public course. It has 18 greens, which will be approached from different directions on alternate days.
On one day, the course will flow clockwise, the next it will be counter-clockwise from 36 teeing areas. So, one green will be host of a par 3 one day, and a short par 4 the next. Doak, whose Long Island credits include a co-design (with Jack Nicklaus) of Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton and a redesign of North Shore Country Club in Glen Head, got the idea as a teenager when he learned that the Old Course at St. Andrews was designed to be reversible (although it has played in only one direction for more than a century). He later learned that William Flynn, a desogmer of Shinnecock Hills, built a reversible course, Pocantico Hills, for the Rockefeller family in Tarrytown.