GL’s Mid-December Notebook

Catching up in all different directions, starting with sincerest condolences to former Salem Country Club presidents Arthur Frawley and Dan Sullivan on the deaths of their daughters, to the Santin clan on the passing of Ginny Santin, and to the Bevan clan on the death of the patriarch and a wonderful booster of all sports in Danvers, Dave Bevan. Ditto to the Thyberg family on the passing of Jack Thyberg…Our warmest wishes and prayers also go out to Devon Quigley, son of Dana Quigley, the talented Rhode Island native who became a star on the Champions Tour. Devon, who caddied for his dad when he contended at he 2001 U.S. Senior Open at Salem CC, continues to battle for his life after being severely injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida recently.

Lots of talk last week on TV, radio and internet networks on the similariies between Patriots” tight end supreme Ron Gronkowski and North Shore favorite Mark Bavaro, the fomer Danvers High ll-scholastic. Notre Dame All-Amrican and  two-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion (with TD catches in each game) for the New York Giants.

Congrats to Haverhill native and Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein, not just for the extraordinary young man he and the missus raised in Peter, who just announced he’ll turn pro after the holidays and skip his one remaining semester needed to graduate at Oklahoma State, but also for another phenomenal year running his billion dollar enterprise based in Fairhaven, Mass. Based on PGA Tour equipment usage statistics from the past season, Tileist was No. 1 in golf balls (by a zillion miles, as usual), irons, wedges and putters, second in drivers and faiway metals, third in hybrids. In fact, Titleist balls were played by 66 per cent of the field weekly and its Vokey Design wedges held a 2-1 advantage over every other brand…More congrats to The Nicks of St. John’s Prep golf. Nick Pandelena was named Salem News Golfer of the Year and Boston Globe Division 1 Player of the Year. Nick McLaughlin joined Nick P. on the Globe all-star team with Masconomet’s Charlie May, while Masco’s Ben Hodges was named Division 2 Coach of the Year after leading the Chieftains, who will be loaded again next fall, to the Cape Ann, Division 2 North and Division 2 state titles. The aforementioned players made The News team along with Pingree’s Sam Cregg, Hamilton-Wenham’s Luke Farley and Ryan Richard, Peabody’s Athan Goulos, Masco’s Alex Kane, Swampscott’s Trevor Massey, Peabody’s Athan Goulos, Beverly’s Brandon Mitchell, Salem’s Tim Richmond and Marblehead’s Andrew Scholnick. Personally, this may be the strongest all-star golf team I have EVER seen published by The News, and I picked those teams myself for 25 years, ending in 1995.

Did you see the reference to Thomas Lake, Sports Illustrated’s youngest senior writer, in the November 28 cover story on “Sport in America?” Thomas’ heartbreaking cut from the Gordon College basketball team is mentioned as an example of the ups and downs we all experience as fans or participants in the wild and wonderful world of Sport. It’s a masterful piece you must read by editor Terry McDonnell…Please also read the “Think Young, Play Hard” story in the January 2012 issue of Golf Digest.

The same issue issue of Golf Digest lists America’s 75 toughest courses. The only Greater Boston course to make the cut was No. 62 The Country Club, based on its composite course. Locally, here on Boston’s North Shore, my top 5 would be, from the tips, sans stimpmeter readings above 11, but with the toughest pins possible, for professional and hacker alike, at least today, December 20, as follows: 1. Salem 2. Ipswich 3. Winchester 4. Vesper 5. Bradford.

Best wishes to Bay State’s Mr. Amateur, Frank Vana, the North Andover roommate of MGA Communications Director Becky Blaeser, on his upcoming corrective surgeries: December 28 to take care of his shoulder, January 10 to make his cranky knee good as new. The two-time Mass. Amateur champ and multiple-time Player of the Year recipient, nearly won another Mass. Amateur in July, losing in the final to Ryan Riley, despite ongoing issues with his shoulder and knee. His surgeon has all but assured Frank that he will be better than knew come golf season; a good thing as his 50th birthday approaches in less than a year. These operations should make Frank the odds-on favorite for the 2012 Amateur at Tedesco.

And…. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to one and all. The 2012 golf season will be here before you know it.

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