Mass Golf Competitive Season Begins Monday - MASSGOLF

MASS GOLF COMPETITIVE SEASON OFFICIALLY BEGINS MONDAY, ARE YOU READY? WE ARE

After months of waiting, the PGA TOUR officially restarted its season down in Texas on Thursday. And whew, Mass Golfers won’t be far behind from beginning theirs. If you close your eyes and breathe in, imagine that freshly-cut, event-ready grass that greets you when you step out of your car and lets you know today’s going to be a good day.

From The Berkshires to Cape Cod, Monday marks the return of state-wide competition as there will be qualifying events at Marshfield Country Club, Stockbridge Golf Club and Pocasset Golf Club, with hundreds of golfers competing for spots in the Mass Amateur Championship.

ONLINE: MASSACHUSETTS PHASE II GOLF GUIDELINES | MASS AMATEUR EXEMPTION LIST | MARSHFIELD CC QUALIFIER TEE TIMES | POCASSET GC QUALIFIER START LIST | STOCKBRIDGE CC QUALIFIER START TEE TIMES | GREEN HILL GC QUALIFIER TEE TIMES (THURSDAY)

Everybody from high school seniors to, well, seniors will be battling it out to earn a spot in the Championship Proper at The Kittansett Club, a marvelous seaside track in Marion that Golf Digest has ranked in its top 100 courses in the U.S. (The Bay Club At Mattapoisett will be lending a hand for stroke play.)

Among Monday’s entries is former NHL pro and now Barstool podcast host Ryan Whitney (Old Sandwich GC), who will play in the Marshfield qualifier. Whitney, like many others, has been anxiously awaiting a chance for championship-level play ever since the USGA called off the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball — which he qualified for — along with most other national events. His playing partner Andrew DiRamio, will represent his home course in the Marshfield field. (Say “Marshfield field” five times fast.)

The field also includes Michigan-bound Jack O’Donnell (Boston GC), Notre Dame rising senior Alex Jamieson (Marshfield CC), two-time champion John Hadges (Thorny Lea GC) and two-time Mass Mid-Amateur champion Brian Higgins (Franklin CC).

2008 – John Hadges won the Mass Amateur Championship in 2008, the last time it was played at The Kittansett Club

Out in the Berkshires at historic Stockbridge Golf Club, you have 2003 champion Andy Drohen (The Ranch GC), as well as Kevin Quinn (Charles River CC), the last amateur to win the Mass Open. And there’s Trevor Lopez (Winchester CC), who won an MIAA state title in the fall and was a finalist in last year’s Mass Junior Amateur.

The Pocasset qualifier, taking place in one of Bourne’s coastal villages, will include Hartford University standout Ryan Tomaso (KOHR Golf), Babson College captain Bryan Eger (Kittansett), 2016 Mass Amateur semifinalist Dan Capucci (Boston GC), and then there’s Kevin Blaser (Fall River CC), who, fun fact, once made 3 aces in 24 hours.

Monday also marks the first Member Day at Indian Pond CC in Kingston. These single-day events give Mass Golfer the chance for Mass Golf to play one of many exclusive courses throughout the Bay State. And with most people relegated to their homes for the past few months, meeting new people on the golf course will feel even more like a luxury (just keep your distance).

Indian Pond CC in Kingston will be the first host site of what is slated to be over 25 Mass Golf Member Days this year

In short, we’re finally keeping score again.

If nothing else, that’s at least one sign we’re inching back to the new normal, whatever that ends up being once the uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

But these are just the formalities in the grand scheme of things. What’s really been missing is the shared struggles and achievements that take place on the golf course, plus the joy of traveling to different clubs across the state, some familiar, some not so much.

So, here are five things we’ve missed and we’re looking forward to as we begin to gear up for the competitive season.

  1. Stepping up to the first tee: We miss the familiar banter at the first tee with the Rules Officials, as they wish everybody well with their round before introducing the players as they step up for the first shot. And if the group is lucky, “good ball” is uttered with each tee shot.
  2. New England weather: In the morning it could be sunny and 75 (like the song), then by afternoon the skies open up and everybody is drenched. Unpredictability is the only certainty for weather in New England, and it keeps you on your toes. But at the end of the day, it makes for some good stories. Still, word to the wise: plan accordingly.
  3. The Pressure Moments: “Great moments are born from great opportunity.” Anybody who’s seen the movie Miracle knows the speech. But there’s nothing quite like having that pressure putt in front of you or figuring out whether to risk cutting the corner over the trees. These moments are where memories are made and later become the subject of stories told.
  4. New gear: You probably have a few new sleeves of golf balls, and perhaps you have a new polo and hat as well. At long last, you can use the equipment or apparel you’ve been saving for competition. Look good. Feel good. Play good.
  5. The camaraderie: This might as well be 1-through-5, but we saved it for last because at the end of the day, these competitions bring the best golfers in the Bay State together. I know many have been anxious to see one another again and where it’s permitted, enjoy a post-round beverage. Either way, these bonds help make the Massachusetts golf community as special as it is.

One final note to the players: Be safe, play well and welcome back!

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