The criteria for being named Long Island Course of the Year are varied, according to Richard Rocchio, head of the Long Island Golf Courses Association: Commitment from ownership, excellence in the pro shop, good conditioning of the fairways and greens and, most important, being open to the public. Rocchio added, “Serving a good hot dog is a special requirement.”
By those standards, the jointly owned, neighboring The Woods and The Links at Cherry Creek in Riverhead earned a tie for the 2016 award. Rocchio was at the club recently to present the public-course honor to the ownership group and manager/head pro Eileen McCaffrey.
“Ownership is exceptional — Vinny Sasso and Charlie Jurgens are farmers and they love the land,” Rocchio said, adding that Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski and Riverhead Town Councilman John Dunleavy were there for the ceremony and lunch. “Hot dogs, of course,” the presenter said.
Crenshaw’s nephew at St. George’s
Chris Crenshaw, nephew of two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, is the new pro at St. George’s Golf & Country Club in East Setauket. Chris, hired to succeed retired longtime pro Rod Heller, grew up in Texas with Fresh Meadow pro Matt Dobyns, played with Dobyns on the Texas Longhorns golf team and caddied for his friend at the 2014 U.S. Open.
The younger Crenshaw’s uncle now has another place to go on his Long Island visits. He and architecture partner Bill Coore designed Friars Head in Riverhead and East Hampton Country Club and are doing refinements at Shinnecock Hills for the 2018 U.S. Open . . . Dobyns, the defending national club pro champion, was invited to play in several PGA Tour events and made the cut in his past two, the Shell Houston Open and Wells Fargo Championship.
Charles Martin’s legacy
If you have played a fair amount of golf on Long Island in the past 50 years, you almost certainly have seen the work of Charles K. Martin. He either built, designed, remodeled or maintained 90 percent of the Long Island courses that existed in the 1960s, according to a story in Golfdom magazine back then.
Martin’s passing, earlier this year at the age of 94, is being mourned at Spring Lake (which he designed), Swan Lake (he was among the original owners and the builder) and numerous other courses. Articles in the Long Island Press and Newsday in 1967 indicated he built and/or worked on Nissequogue, Meadow Brook, Middle Island, Tam O’Shanter, Indian Hills, Islands End, Baiting Hollow, Seawane and Middle Island.
As a youngster living in Bayside, Martin caddied at Fresh Meadow until a hot, humid day when there weren’t enough golfers for all the caddies. So he was asked to help out on the greens staff, and was hooked.
History occasionally overlooked him. He said in a 2010 Newsday story, “It is a great shame when a person’s work is credited to someone else.” At the courses that still benefit from his skill, though, his legacy remains strong.
The former Woodcrest Country Club in Muttontown, refurbished and renamed Woodside Acres several years ago, has streamlined its name again. Now it is officially known as Woodside Club. Head pro Paul Glut said that new research indicated the original name of the estate on the site was simply “Woodside.” The club wanted to align with that heritage . . . One Long Island private club received $8,836,000 in dues revenue last year. One spent $8,276,000 on payroll and related expenses. Those were among the nuggets in an annual report on 30 Long Island clubs — all unnamed — released this past week by the accounting firm Condon, O’Meara, McGinty & Donnelly LLP. The report added that the average dues this year are $10,357 — up 1.7 percent from last year. The average initiation fee is $55,435, which is down .8 percent from 2015 . . . Basketball Hall of Famer and St. John’s coach Chris Mullin will be the honoree at the 23rd Annual Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation Golf Outing June 29 at Sands Point Golf Club, Port Washington. Visit liaf.org/golf.
All great putters have these common traits: Start the ball on the intended line, see or feel the correct line, match the line with perfect speed and believe the ball is destined to land in the hole. So says James Sieckmann, a PGA Top 100 teacher, in a new book, “Your Putting Solution.” He emphasizes skill, not any particular technique . . . “Unfriended: The Power Brokers, Political Correctness and Hypocrisy in Golf,” by former PGA president Ted Bishop will be released Friday.