By Joe Soraghan
"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening, and it is, without a doubt, the greatest game mankind has ever invented." — Arnold Palmer
For many of us, this past weekend was a time to celebrate the work of friends and a time to remember a legend. Family, friends, colleagues and members of the North Conway Country Club gathered on Saturday evening to honor and recognize the work of Larry and Kathy Gallagher.
For 25 years this team worked to help make NCCC one of the finest golfing venues in the Granite State. More than 200 people came together to acknowledge the couple. At the end of this golfing season, Larry and Kathy are retiring from NCCC and the work of running the pro shop.
The event had been planned for months by a committee of members who made this a memorable evening for all in attendance. Dick Goss, serving as emcee, kept things moving. Speakers delved into the different aspects of Larry and Kathy's professional lives and careers. Dr. Ed Duffy reflected on working with the pair as a past president of NCCC, and spoke of their professionalism and the effect on local golf with the success of the Junior Golf program.
Ken Donabedian talked of his time as Larry's caddy, when the goal was playing golf at the highest level. Todd Gallagher, Larry's brother, took us into the family with some light and heartfelt moments that brought both laughter and tears to the audience.
Two NHPGA members, Wayne Natti and Jim Sheerin, talked about Larry's competitiveness, and how well all the pros were treated when they played their annual event at NCCC. Finally, PGA Pro Kevin Walker, who will take over at the end of the season, told the audience what he has learned during his time working in the pro shop. He touched upon the "legacy of excellence" which started with John and Pat MacDonald and continued with Larry and Kathy Gallagher.
At the conclusion of the evening, there was a feeling of "family" which blanketed those in attendance.
Everything worked out perfectly. From the opening ceremony, with bagpiper and presentation of the flag, to the decorations, the fantastic menu, the speakers, the gifts, and the genuine appreciation from the honorees, the evening was special. Larry and Kathy, I wish you good health and continued happiness. For you pro, I hope you will find the time to "hit some balls", and remember, the "swindle" awaits.
Sunday brought a beautiful day for golf, albeit a bit on the cool side. When players had completed their rounds and retreated to their homes, word started spreading about the passing of golfing legend, Arnold Palmer. The stories regarding his golf, his persona, and contributions to golf have been shared on the news. Palmer wrote the following piece about his feelings for the game when he could not play due to his bout with prostate cancer. I think this paragraph sums up his passion for golf, and some feelings many golfers share:
"There were reasons I had to get back to golf. I've always said that when you play a round with someone, you can tell just about everything you want to know about him. I now recognize that the golf course is where I learn about myself. All the qualities we define as 'character' — discipline, concentration, honesty, humor, composure — get exercised over 18 holes of golf, even if it's only a casual round. The golf course is where I feel most comfortable with people I know casually. An instant camaraderie develops when you tee it up with someone, and it doesn't matter if that person is a banker or a bricklayer."
There are numerous reasons why Arnold Palmer was referred to as "The King." That paragraph tells you much about the man, and the golfer.
This unusual weekend held events that parallel our lives. We work at a job, hopefully one we love. We earn respect and success with our time and effort. We spend time enjoying other endeavors, and with those who mean the most to each of us.
• North Conway Country Club, 50 Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-9391: The Mixed Scotch Tournament was held last Sunday. Sixteen teams competed in this annual event. Two teams tied for first with a score of 65. After a match of cards, it was the team of Gay Folland and Al Worcester taking first place. Second place went to Donna Wallace and Crawford Butler, while third place went to Nancy and Al Goyette. The Shootout will take place on Oct. 16, at 1 p.m. Ten members have qualified to play in this fun event.
• Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: The Fall Don Ho continues to provide players with some competitive golf. The New Team is in the lead with a score of -31. There is a two-way tie for second between the Golfaholics and GB Carrier who are at -26. Individually, it was Keith Deluca who claimed closest to the pin, while Chris Roule, Nickie Lynn, Nate Ela and Jeff Frechette took long drive honors. The Thursday Eagle League saw Dave Powell, Gretchen and Dennis Soraghan take first place. Second place went to the team of Roger Aubrey, Jeanne and John Chanley. The closest to the pin winner was Michael Smither.
The 2016 Ryder Cup is being played this week at the Hazeltine Golf Club in Minnesota. In 1970, the U.S. Open was held at Hazeltine. The course was criticized by players for having too many blind shots. Scores that first day were abnormally high: Nicklaus shot 81, Player 80, and Palmer 79. No player was more critical of the layout than eventual runner-up, Dave Hill. His comments were legendary. When asked about his experience, he said, "They ruined a good farm." After the second round, he was asked, "How did you find the course?" He replied, "How did I find the course? I've been trying to find it since I came to Minneapolis. Just because you cut the grass and put up flags, it doesn't mean you have a golf course." When asked what it lacked, Hill replied, "What does it lack? Eighty acres of corn and a few cows." The Hazeltine Club has been revised since Hill's experience, and will give players a great test.