- Golfer Benefits
- Member Login
PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts – On a picturesque day in the Berkshires, women mid-amateur golfers from across the state arrived at Berkshire Hills Country Club for the two-day championship and were treated to ideal conditions for the first round of play.
The Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship for the Keyes Cup brings together a variety of handicaps with its various Divisions offering not only a competitive atmosphere but also celebrates the social nature of the game.
Taking full advantage of the course’s open fairways and scoring opportunities, Megan Buck (Thorny Lea Golf Club) and Pam Kuong (Charles River Country Club) are tied atop the leader board at 2-under par 71. The two are joined by Shannon Johnson (Thorny Lea Golf Club) with the only under-par rounds of the day with a 1-under 72.
“I could tell just looking around the course that this was a strong field,” Buck said of her fellow competitors. “I started a little bit slow but this is the first time I’ve been to this course so I was trying to figure out where to hit it and stay out of trouble. I rolled in a few good putts to make some birdies and it ended up being kind of an easy day by the end of it.”
Local legend and Berkshire Hill CC member, Diane Breen, is off to a hot start with a four-stroke lead over her closest competition. Finishing her round at 6-over par 79, the 25-time club champion was happy to play on her home course.
“I hit the ball well and my misses were in good spots on the green, so I felt that I just kept it in play today,” Breen said.
With her husband caddying for her, Breen is comfortable and confident heading into her second round with a similar game plan.
“It will be straightforward, keep it in play and stable,” she said. “That is always a good plan here.”
In the Flighted Division, formerly the B, C, D & E, Fran Vandermeer (Taconic Golf Club) took home the honors despite a 2-stroke penalty during the round.
“It was a really fun group to play with and it was a gorgeous day, so it made it a fun day to be out there,” said Vandermeer. “I got off to a good start and pared the first three holes.”
As a retired volleyball coach from Williams College, Vandermeer enjoys being competitive but has great perspective during her tournaments rounds.
“I enjoy the camaraderie with the players. My goal is always, if I play well or if I play poorly, to have fun with the people I’m out there with. That is how I play golf nowadays.”
Carolyn Beard (Fresh Pond Golf Club) enjoyed her debut in a Mass Golf Women’s Championship on Tuesday and didn’t leave empty-handed. Beard, who began playing again two years ago, won the low-net honors in the Flighted Division with a 4-under 69.
More importantly, she said she her fellow competitors made her feel welcome.
“I got really lucky,” Beard said after her round. “I was paired with some really lovely ladies. It was just like playing with old friends. They’re very supportive. It was great playing a beautiful course, and at some point, I was up a couple of strokes and just knew that I had it in me to get under par.”
Though Beard carries a handicap in the 20s, she said the LPGA Amateur Golf Association has been encouraging her to give championship competition a try.
“I’ve definitely been inspired by my friends,” Beard said. “They’re really active in Mass Golf, and even though I have a higher handicap, I’m really grateful that there are these opportunities for me to be competitive in golf.”
Beard’s full story will be featured in the Fall edition of MassGolfer Magazine, which will be available in early September.
Berkshire Hills Country Club has a unique origin story. The financial support for the construction of the club was two-fold. Influential members within the community coupled with support from the General Electric company purchased 120 acres of land on December 22, 1924.
The property sold for $25,00 (equivalent to nearly $400,000 today) and A.W. Tillinghast was hired to implement a design for an 18-hole golf course. Tillinghast, a Philadelphia native, was a World Golf Hall of Fame course architect.
He joins Tom Peters (first golf professional) and Tom Nocker (first groundskeeper) as some of the early influential faces that helped mold Berkshire Hills into the club it is today. The initial membership consisted of the 306 members who helped to found the club and a clubhouse was constructed by 1927.
By 1928, Tillinghast completed his design and the course continued to grow and expand. A 1941 fire burned down the original clubhouse, but the money was quickly raised by members to rebuild a new clubhouse. Today, as Berkshire is 9 decades into its existence, their clubhouse is considered one of the premier buildings in the region, and the waitlist to join the club is over 500 people long.
View this post on Instagram