Ted Fass, the Rockville Centre man who organizes and plays in major golf tournaments for blind golfers, always has looked at the game this way: "It's a challenge. I like challenges." Now he has a new one, as does everyone else who was involved with Middle Bay Country Club.
Fass, who runs an entertainment business, hosted the U.S. Blind Golfers Association championship last summer at Middle Bay, where he was a member. "Was" is the pertinent term because the club in Oceanside filed for bankruptcy in January because it could not overcome the $3.5 million in damage caused by superstorm Sandy.
So he is starting from square one at Woodmere Country Club, where he must find his way around a new locker room, pro shop and course. More important, he needs to find a new "coach," someone at the club to accompany him on his rounds and align him for every shot. "I pay these people. It's not like I ask them to donate their services," he said.
Still, he is not giving up.
Nor, it turns out, has Middle Bay itself. Although no one won the course's lease at an auction last month, talks have continued.
"We are in serious negotiations," said Ron Wright, an assistant pro at Middle Bay for the past 12 years, who taught Fass and was his coach at his first national championship in San Antonio. He is heading one of the groups vying for the lease. "I'm optimistic, but with something of this magnitude, there are so many variables."
Middle Bay never was owned by the members. The club leased the property from Lloyd Shulman, whom the Oceanside Herald reports is an heir to the J.H. Mays department store fortune.
A revival would be good news for the employees who have not found work yet. Fass, who lost his vision to a tumor in childhood, mentioned that his former coach, Dave Santucci, is now an assistant pro at Cherry Valley. The new Woodmere member never considered taking a break from golf. "No way," he said. "It's my life."
Baiting Hollow Club cited
The Baiting Hollow Club has been named Long Island Course of the Year for 2012 by the Long Island Golf Course Association, a group consisting of course owners. It is a departure because the association usually honors daily-fee courses and Baiting Hollow is private.
"A new administration, new staff and commitment to the game all fit well with our purpose: For the Good of the Game," said Richard Rocchio, executive director of the association.
Richardson forced to move
The Richardson Memorial Invitational, the LIGA's first major event every season, will have a temporary new home this year at the Engineers Club in Roslyn Harbor. Seawane in Hewlett Harbor, the traditional site, still is recovering from superstorm Sandy.