I got a chance to chat briefly with Scott Nye, the head pro
at Merion Golf Club, when I was there
early in the spring of 2013 to speak to Hank Thompson, the USGA’s advance man
for the 2013 U.S. Open.
The Open, which by almost any measure was a smashing
success, was about 10 weeks away and preparations were heading into the
homestretch. Nye was a very busy man, yet he perked up when I mentioned I had
covered a player he had given lessons to as a youngster, Radnor High’s Jackie
Calamaro, when she won the PIAA Championship in 2009.
Nye knew there was a lot of hard work ahead. And in a couple
of weeks from now all that hard work will pay off when Nye accepts the
Merchandiser of the Year (private facilities) award from the PGA of America in
a ceremony Nov. 20, part of the organization’s annual meeting.
Nye joins a list that includes Aronimink Golf Club head pro
Jeff Kiddie, who received the Merchandiser of the Year award in 2011.
Nye has a solid group at Merion, including head of
instruction Mark Sheftic, who has qualified for the PGA Championship three
times in the last five years out of the PGA Professional National Championship.
Sheftic and Merion assistant pro Robby Bruns will be in the field at next year’s
National Club Pro when it is staged at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
Nye is in his 14th year as the head pro at
Merion. He manages a 950-square-foot golf shop. The 51-year-old native of Wooster, Ohio and 1985 graduate of
the College of Wooster oversees a 30-member staff involved in both inside and
Nye is from a golf family. His father Bob is a PGA
professional and coached golf and men’s soccer at the College of Wooster. His two
brothers are PGA professionals. Greg is the head coach of the Penn State men’s
golf team and Gary is the Director of Golf at Stockfarm Club in Hamilton, Mont.
The Merion head pro job is not a stepping-stone job. Guys
get that job and stay there. I can remember being a fledgling looper there in
1969 in the last couple of years of the reign of Fred Austin, a Scottish
gentleman who seemed to have sprung directly from the place where they invented
the game. Not long before the 1971 U.S. Open, Austin gave way to Bill
Kittleman, who is credited with creating the almost iconic Merion logo that
incorporated the wicker basket pins and some of the native grasses that
populate the gem of a golf course in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township.
The Merchandiser of
the Year award is proof that Nye is just adding to the legacy that is the head
professional at Merion Golf Club.
Sturgeon headed for the Cricket Club
Speaking of the 2015 Professional National Championship at
Philadelphia Cricket Club, Grant Sturgeon, an assistant pro at Winged Foot Golf
Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., earned a spot in the field at the Cricket Club by
winning the PGA Assistant Championship, which concluded Sunday at PGA Golf Club’s
Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Sturgeon, a native of Mamaroneck, was in a three-way tie for
the lead after 54 holes, but blew away the field with a final round of 7-under
65 to win the title and the $9,000 winner’s share of the purse by seven shots.
Heading the Philadelphia Section PGA contingent in Port St.
Lucie was Billy Stewart, an assistant at The ACE Club and a product of the
junior program at Llanerch Country Club. Stewart, a veteran of nearly a decade
on the Florida mini-tours, got off to a fast start with a 5-under 67, but
cooled off with rounds of 74, 80 and 71 to finish in a tie for 18th
at 4-over 292.
Rusty Harbold of Lancaster was another shot back of Stewart
in a tie for 22nd at 293, Tony Perla, an assistant in George Forster’s
Radnor Valley Country Club pro shop, finished in a tie for 43rd at
298, and Gulph Mills Golf Club assistant Josh Rackley finished in a tie for 53rd
Junior Tour stop is hardly a breeze
The weather conditions for the Philadelphia PGA Junior Tour’s
stop at Olde Homestead Golf Club in New Tripoli were downright brutal last
Sunday, but 19 junior golfers challenged the conditions and the 6,060-yard
D.J. Colleran of Radnor was the only Delco golfer to make
the trip and he finished fifth in the 13-to-15 division with a 101. Buddy
Hansen IV of Blue Bell won the division in a match of cards with Timothy
Chaykosky Jr. of Ambler after both tied for first with 90s, which should give
you some idea of how tough the conditions were.
Andrew Lombardo of Lansdale won the 16-to-18 division in a
match of cards after sharing the top spot with Rob Robinson Jr. of Hatfield and
Nickolas Mokay of Moscow after all three of them carded 88s.
Top honors in the 13-to-15 girls division went to Alexandra
Voight-Shelly of State College with a 103 and Emily Gilbert of Gilbertsville
was the only 16-to-18 competitor to finish her round and won the division with