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Pleasant Valley may woo pros to our area.

Could professional golf return to Pleasant Valley Country Club?

PV owner Jay Magill wants to be prepared if it ever does. Magill built three new tees to add another 85 yards to the Sutton course and would like to land a Champions Tour event.

"We would take one,'' Magill said, "but we certainly don't have anything in the plans right now. We just feel if we continue to get ready for something like that and the opportunity came along, it's best to be ready for it.''

Magill said two years ago representatives of Peter Jacobsen Sports approached him about moving the CVS Caremark Charity Classic from Rhode Island CC in Barrington, R.I., to PV before PJS signed to remain at RICC.

PV hosted 32 PGA Tour events and 13 LPGA Tour events from the 1960s through the end of the 1990s. Some of the PGA Tour golfers who won at PV currently play on the Champions Tour, which is for golfers aged 50 and older.

"There's no question about it that we can host it,'' PV head pro Paul Parajeckas said of a Champions Tour event, "and that would bring back a lot of memories.''

There hasn't been a Champions Tour event in New England since the Bank of America Championship lost its title sponsor and left Nashawtuc CC in Concord in 2008. The Senior Players Championship will be held at Belmont CC next year and the U.S. Senior Open will be held at Salem CC in 2017, but no regular Champions Tour event is scheduled to be held in the region.

After receiving input from Parajeckas and former PV head pro and current PGA Tour rules official Gary Young, Magill built new back tees that will add 40 yards to the par-4 12th, 20 yards to the par-4 13th and 25 yards to the par-4 17th, stretching the course's length beyond 6,900 yards. The 13th tee is already open and Parajeckas expects the other two to open in August.

Among Magill's many other projects was building a stonewall two years ago aside the hill along the left of the first hole in order to widen the fairway.

Two weeks ago, Magill tore down PV's former tournament office across Armsby Road from the clubhouse and he's begun building three single-family homes in its place. He doesn't plan to develop the rest of the 60 acres he owns across from the clubhouse in case he needs it for parking.

Magill hopes to begin building a new clubhouse facade at the end of the season. A design of the new frontage sits on an easel in the clubhouse.

"We never want to say we're going to do something and not come through with it,'' Magill said. "So we tackle one thing at a time. Obviously, with golf courses you're never done.''

After an outing cancelled, PV had an open Monday on June 30 so the club decided to hold a member-for-a-day tournament for the public. For $65, golfers can ride in a 10 a.m. shotgun. The course is closed to members on Mondays.

All PV did to publicize the member-for-a-day tournament was place an advertisement in the Telegram & Gazette last Sunday. The calls started coming in the following morning and all 118 spots were sold out by noon on Tuesday.

"It shows the power of the T&G is still there,'' said PV membership chairman Bob Recore, the former advertising director at the T&G.

The quick sellout also said something about the popularity of PV where Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus once played. There's a waiting list for the member-for-a-day tournament of more than 20 golfers.

"New members,'' Recore said, "say, 'I used to come here with my father to watch the tournaments. I never thought I could ever join this club.' ''

"Everybody I talk to,'' Magill said, "wants to play Pleasant Valley at some point if they can get the opportunity.''

Recore said the member-for-a-day tournament will provide PV with good exposure and could result in some of the golfers deciding to become members. Recore also said PV may decide to hold another member-for-a-day tournament in the fall, but cautioned golfers not to get the idea that the tournament indicates that PV is in a financial crisis.

"We're not hurting,'' Recore said. "Our membership is healthy.''

Berry gets more juice

In his 17th year of working at Gardner Municipal GC, Dan Berry has taken over as manager.

Berry, 39, had been an assistant golf pro, but he took over the top job after head pro Ben Egan left this spring to become an assistant pro at Vineyard Golf Club on Martha's Vineyard.

"I feel blessed and lucky,'' Berry said. "It all fell into my lap. Hopefully, it will be a long-term thing.''

Berry and his wife, Kelli, have two sons, Lucas, 4, and Tyler, 21/2.

Berry passed his playing ability test years ago, but he didn't complete the program to become a certified PGA pro so he couldn't replace Egan as head pro. Berry hopes to eventually complete the program, but he's been busy running Gardner. He didn't take many days off this spring until his assistant, Kyle Cellana, joined the staff recently. Cellana, a Gardner resident, had been working in outside operations at The International in Bolton.

A few years ago, Berry represented Gardner at a golf expo in Worcester and people told him they thought the course was too far away to play.

"It's only 30 minutes from Worcester,'' Berry said.

Not everyone believes Gardner is too far to play. The course has members from Chelmsford, Norfolk and even Cambridge.

Gardner has reduced its rates. In June, weekdays cost $20 to walk an unlimited number of holes and $38 to ride 18 holes. Weekends in June cost $25 to walk and $43 to ride 18 holes.

"It's better to have people here than elsewhere,'' Berry said.

Lucky putt a rich one

Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for Woody McEntee.

On June 13, McEntee, 67, of Norwood rolled in a 50-foot putt to win $10,000 in a putting contest as part of the WAVE (Women's Association of Verizon Employees) Tournament at Juniper Hill GC in Northboro.

It was the first time that anyone won the putting contest in the tournament's 26-year history and Juniper general manager Dudley Darling said no one had ever won so much money by making a putt at the club.

"It was blind luck,'' McEntee said.

McEntee described himself as a 20-handicapper who has broken 80 only once and had never made a 50-foot putt before. Apparently, he waited to make one that paid off. McEntee said he called his wife Maureen to tell her about his prize and by the time he got home she was already checking out items to buy on

McEntee said his group didn't play particularly well in the tournament, but he was one of 10 or so golfers who earned the right to take part in the putting contest afterward by paying $10 and hitting the green on a par-3. Soaked from the rain that fell earlier that day, two qualifiers didn't bother sticking around for the putting contest. McEntee was the last one to putt and he saw others come up well short.

"My only thought standing over the putt,'' McEntee said, "was to hit it hard enough to get it to the hole.''

A video was taped of McEntee's winning putt, but the camera stayed on the cup and didn't show McEntee's reaction.

"I was jumping around.'' McEntee said. "People were running up and high-fiving. Because it is primarily a women's tournament, there were a lot of hugs. It was a lot of fun. It was pretty amazing.''

McEntee was told he'd receive his money in two or three months after the tournament files a claim with its insurance company.

McEntee used to work at Verizon in Marlboro and he has played in the WAVE tournament for about 15 years and also plays at Juniper on Tuesday mornings.

Locals in Hyannisport

Congratulations to Mary Gale of Bedrock GC for finishing third in the Edith Noblit Baker Trophy last week. Gale shot 83-77--160 at Hyannisport CC. Tara Joy Connelly of Cohasset GC shot 76-75--151 to repeat as champ.

Gale won the Baker in 1974 at Allendale CC and in 1987 at Hyannisport. In her final-round 77 on Thursday, she carded four birdies and shot a 36 on the back nine.

Chris Coughlin of Green Hill (84-85--169) placed 10th, Chris Gagner of Bedrock (87-83--170) was 11th and Joanne Catlin of Oak Hill (86-86--172) was 12th.

Contact Bill Doyle


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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jun 22, 2014
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