This will be but the first post on the legendary Eastmoreland Wolves. As Bob MacReynolds, past president of the OGA, in a series of notes he called "Golfers I knew" he shared some insight into these Eastmoreland Wolves:
These Players owned more golf titles than a person could count and included Lou Jennings, Tab Boyer, Eddie Beck, Lou and Chuck Stafford, Bennie Hughes, Tom Marlowe, the Cooney Brothers, Ted Westling, Nick Farchi and many others.
The tradition still holds true... the players who lope around the course need to grow thick skin and sharp fangs to survive. It's simply not an option to let the driver fly anywhere, you'll be down 1 before you even hit your second shot. The course is still roamed by a pack of wolves that have continued their winning ways over the years, consistently placing at or near the top of the leaderboard. In a few weeks the Eastmoreland team will be heading down to Bandon Dunes for the OGA's team championship. This years team is lead by the grizzled veterans, 2016 club champion Byron Patton, 2015 champion Jack Schneider followed by three-time City Champion Jason Wood and anchored by the club's president Vinny DiGiano - who's due to win a championship since his last at Suburban CC in Jersey. Vinny, like his forebears the Wolves, will take any action anytime, as long as you have the cash.
One of the main goals of this website is to capture some of the stories of these great golfers from the Eastmoreland Men's club through the ages, and try as much as possible to get to know them. Thankfully we have all the guys here now and many of them remember the guys that came before them. We also have the Women's Club, who have been much more dutiful in maintaining their club records. Interestingly, the separation of the Men's and Women's clubs occurred in the early 1960's and prior to then the Eastmoreland Club was comprised of both men and women together - playing golf and building friendships.
We all speak reverently for the game, like a beautiful drive "right down broadway" as Vinny would say. Or as Jack fondly remembers, old Bennie Hughes (pictured above in suit and tie) - Jack's vote for the best golfer of Eastmoreland - who had the biggest strongest hands because he was a meat cutter by day" and also the most delicate touch around the greens. The current title of best touch around the green is now held by Ray Comella, the head pro at Eastmoreland, and it was Bennie who coached him since his teenage years on how to chip it close.
And don't think the other clubs and players don't know... I've seen them click their teeth at how Emo brings out the survival instinct and will to win. After all, you don't get around 18 without having a few wayward shots that require an artist's' touch to weave around huge pine or a delicate chip on bed of pinecones and roots up to quick greens that "don't have a single straight 10' putt anywhere" according to Justin Ball.
This summer I got the call from Vinny to help carry his bag for the second day of the OGA's Mid-Amatuer (open to top players over 25 years old) for which he was a few shots off the lead. It's a singles match - but every golfer is announced along with their home club. In the first four holes at Ghost Hollow he managed to hit two bunkers, drive so far to the right on #2 it was almost on the 9th tee box, a layup that flirted with the environmental area - and yet managed to stay even par. He finally hit a green in regulation on #5 and then #6 duck hooked into the woods, though by great fortune stuck the wood square that knocked the ball back to fairway (his first of the long day, as I congratulated him). He then proceeds to fly it left almost into the stream on the right. By miracle he has a shot, though as tough a flop as you can ask for, and just missed an up and down for his first bogey of the day. So then he comes to #7 with a powerful drive, again overcooks the second shot over the green left - and that's not the place to be on #7 especially with the pin cut into the high top left corner of the green. So he's short sided chipping over grass valley bunker and comes up a few feet short of the apron. Leaving the stick in goes right to the ball take a moment to visualize the shot and chips in in for par!
His playing opponent that day John Quisenberry a scratch player from Salem Golf Club just whistles and says "Those Eastmoreland boys" and I'm thinking - "nah... he's a Wolf"
Vinny would go on to birdie #8 and add two more birdies to the card in the next 10 holes and just missed winning the tournament by a single shot. What makes a great golfer, is not just hitting perfect shots, it's the tenacity to stay in the hole and in the match for every single shot - believing you can make it. That in my opinion how Eastmoreland Wolves got their name. Well, that and.... because they'd be eating lunch on your dime.