Season Wrap Up

Did the season go by fast or what?

I can’t believe it's already well into November. Scott and his crew have finished putting the course to bed. I heard rumors of a few brave souls poaching a few holes, but what do you expect in a ski town? I'll admit that there have been a few decent days, but for the most part the weather hasn't been conducive for much golf.

Every fall people ask me; "So, how was the season?" and I've been struggling to come up with an answer. I think I’m going with “It was a great 8 weeks.”

May & June were the wettest on record; we could only let out carts 3 times...one wet stretch lasting 12 straight days! As the Kirkwood approached Scott and his crew worked feverishly to get the course in shape and things were beginning to come around when - wouldn't you know it...it rained all four days of the tournament…ahh, Spring in northern New England. July and August were really beautiful, but the course had suffered from all the spring rains and never really had a chance to recover. For the first time in 20 years we had to order a second batch of range balls because a majority of our spring delivery was three inches under-ground on the bog of a driving range we sometimes jokingly refer to as “Lake Lehmann”.

By the 4th of July Mother Nature had began to get her act together. We had a great weekend for the Stowe Cup, The Leagues all played consecutive weeks, the new Founder’s Cup was a great success, and just when we were firing on all cylinders the Club Championship fell on what would become one of the most devastating weather events in the State’s history- Hurricane Irene. Thankfully, Stowe dodged the bullet that caused millions of dollars in damage just down the street. Even with Stowe escaping Irene with minimal damage, it’s not hard see that it had an effect on our fall business. The Leaf peepers never seemed to peep. The fall season just seemed to fly by…with maybe the exception of the match play:)

Overall there were some great highlights. We managed to grow the membership for the third consecutive year. Participation in all of the member events increased dramatically, the highlight being the Member Socials. I have to point out that Evan and his staff did a tremendous job pulling off these events given the fact they often went from 40 to 80 people in a matter of hours. That’s hard to accomplish when you ordered food for the Saturday function the previous Wednesday.

Other highlights - both Dan Ruane and Dustin Ribolini achieved Class A membership into the PGA. Dustin shot a miracle 62 during the July TB II Cup event. We also grew as a family when Dan Ru became a father for the second time and Superintendent Scott Rossi added a new daughter to his family. Scott alo added some much needed equipment to the mowing fleet. I for one was very pleased with the new wooden tee markers and cart direction signs Scott hand crafted. I also think the addition of the 150 yard posts was a nice touch; I for one do not miss the red white and blue stanchions or the ropes that previously lined the course. We were also thrilled with the results of the Dry-Jecting that we did to the greens. For those who didn’t hear or see the process, Dry-Jecting is the act of injecting sand into the greens and we added over 70 tons which will certainly help improve the greens next season. In the clubhouse we began upgrading the much maligned locker rooms by purchasing wooden lockers and just after we closed the clubhouse got a new heating system, replacing the underground oil tank and boiler with a cleaner more efficient propane system. And you didn’t even get an assessment.

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m already laying the plans for next season. I hope to have pricing for our Memberships done soon and we’ll be putting together the event calendar hopefully in time for Christmas, but I’d be remised if I didn’t take the opportunity to thank all of you. You are the blood that keeps this place going. I don’t think we have been as much of “a club” as we are currently, and that is something I have not been able to say for many, many years.

If the lights are on…stop by for a visit. Thank You for another great year.

Joshua Nicholls
Operations Manager
Stowe Country Club

Stowe Mountain Resort
5781 Mountain Road
Stowe, Vermont 05672
802.253.3690
Fax: 802.253.6358
Mobile: 802.793.6026
Jnicholls@stowe.com


A Fall Golf Trip for the Ages

Dan Lehmann, Dan Ruane and I had the opportunity to play The Country Club last week…most people immediately say "what country club?"...”You know, The Country Club” I respond with to a blank stare…yes, THE Country Club...in Brookline, Mass, site of Francis Oiumet's 1913 miracle US Open victory, the 1999 Ryder Cup and 12 other Major championships. Every course with “Country Club” in its name pays tribute to the original. It was the first "tour" course I have played and it was a real treat to play holes that I’ve watched on TV. My over all impression was that they go out of their way to be as un-pretentious as possible: the mannequin named “Woody” in the guardhouse, the old-school metal tee markers and trash bins, the unadorned rain shelters dotting the course, and the locker room- although reeked in history- was untouched since the ‘50’s.

It wasn't the first time I had been there however. I went to a practice round during the ’99 Ryder Cup, but there was a slight difference between the two visits - in 1999 golf was as popular as ever, there were thousands of people, 10 rows deep on every hole and 20 on Tiger's. On my recent visit there were a total of 7 golfers on the course with 4 caddies, and about 30 maintenance workers blowing and picking up leaves. The course was a beautiful parkland layout, hillier than I would have thought and sneaky long. The course called for you to hit every club in your bag and there are a number of blind shots, the best being the approach to the third green. The most noticeable part of the course is that the greens are tiny; the size reminded me of some of the Mountain Club’s greens. The green complex bunkers where deep and un-maintained and I can vouch because I have never been in so many bunkers.

The highlight of the day was the 17th hole. This hole has quite possibly the most historical significance in the game because it was here that Francis Ouimet birdied to get into a playoff with England’s Harry Vardon and Ted Ray and he again birdied the 17th in the playoff  against Vardon’s double bogey to win the most impractical victory in major championship golf’s history. In more recent memory; needing 8 ½ of the 12 points available on Sunday, the Americans had already done what no other team in Ryder Cup history had done by winning 8 of the 11 matches, but it was up to Leonard to win it. Few remember that Leonard was incredibly 4 holes down at the turn and in tears. What they remember was that his 45 foot birdie on 17 that slammed the back of the cup and went it. Overcome with emotion, the American’s stormed the green in celebration in their god-awful team uniforms, forgetting the Olazabal had a birdie chance half the length of Leonard’s. Olazabal tried to gather his composure, but he ultimately missed that 20 foot putt s sealing the half point for Leonard and the victory for the Americans.

It was a great thrill to walk down that fairway. I managed to salvage par after being in the “Vardon Bunker” off the tee and in the greenside front bunker after my approach…a double sandy! We all played well…I kept the scorecard.

A History of Stowe Country Club

I don’t know if I ever took the time to thank Lynn Altadonna for all of the hard work he did putting together his book The History of Stowe Country Club. Lynn’s labor of love is a testament to the rich history of our golf club as well as his love of the game. What a great idea for a holiday gift…you can find copies at Bear Pond Books or Shaw’s General Store. I look forward to part II.


Member Survey

I’m putting the finishing touches on our Member Survey and I’m asking you to keep an eye out for it. We had just over 75 respondents last year and I’m hoping to grow that amount significantly. The “voice of the customer” is an incredibly important aspect to our business and as members of the club you are our most invested customers. Your input weighs heavily on our planning, please take a few minutes to complete it when it arrives.


Tournament Summary

This just in….the match play is finally over!

Congratulations to Tom McNair, Donna Ditoro, and Ralph Heath for surviving the four rounds.

Winter Golf Free Lesson Trial

The golf season has ended for most of us, but that doesn’t mean golf at Stowe Mountain Resort has ended.  As many of you can attest to, over the past 8 winters, it is possible to enjoy swinging the club and improve your game during those cold winter months. To get things kicked off this season now through November 18thyou can take a FREE TRIAL LESSON in one of our two winter golf studios.  If for no other reason it gets you out-of-the-house on a dreary day which we often seem to be stuck with.  You’ll get a good idea of how we improve golf games between powder days. 

New this year is our studio located in the fitness area of Stowe Mountain Lodge.  The room is a great place to practice and is open to winter golf participant’s 7-days a week.  Equipped with a full wall mirror to get a good view of that new and improved swing.

How does winter golf work and what do I get?

December – April: students will take 10 private lessons and are eligible for unlimited practice.  Lessons or practice sessions can be scheduled at either of our two facilities (SCC or SML).  In the spring, students will receive an additional lesson outdoors to dial in that new swing or work on something special.

How do I know where my ball is going?

Our studios are equipped with P3Proswing simulators which allow players to not only see the flight of the ball, but all the impact conditions that went into creating that ball-flight.  Check it out at www.p3proswing.com.

In addition to using the simulator, video is available each session. Whether you’re a "feel player" or more technical, video is a great way to see if what you feel is the way your swing looks. Check it out a www.cswing.com.

The fee for winter golf is $550 for 10 lessons plus unlimited practice or $125 for individual lessons plus a practice session.

If you have questions or would like to register contact Dan Lehmann at danlehmann1@yahoo.comor 802.224.6786.

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