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A Letter From the Club President

Dear Members,

Happy New Year. May 2018 be full of peace, prosperity and many rounds of great golf for all of you.
While reading “Golfdom” magazine, the resource magazine for Golf Superintendents, I came across a prediction stating that among the Association Executives, high level Golf Executives and “boots on the ground” Superintendents, all agree that 2018 looks to be an excellent year for the golf industry.

We are pleased to inform you that Lanie Gerken Cahill intends to return as our Golf Professional. In addition to operating the Pro Shop, which will be well stocked with clothing and accessories, Lanie has plans for new tournaments and promoting golf instruction to all levels of golfers.

Kylie Pleskach also plans on returning for her fifth season to again provide excellent food and service both at the clubhouse as well as on the golf course.

Ken Hicks, Superintendent, also plans on returning. Ken has provided over 26 years of excellent service. I’m certain the golf course will be in excellent condition for our eagerly awaited spring season.

A new slate of Officers has been elected for 2018:
President: Kelley Campbell
Vice President and Treasurer: Gene Hughes
Secretary: Gary Dietterich

As we ring in 2018, many prospective positive outcomes hope to be achieved for the Watertown Golf Club. With this in mind, we ask that you continue to encourage friends and acquaintances to become new members of our club.
As I am writing this letter on December 27, 2017, the temperature in Watertown hit a record low of -32 degrees this morning. THINK SPRING! I look forward to seeing you all at the club.

Best wishes,
Kelley Campbell, President

Spring Fling 2017

Our 2017 season is underway! Please join us for a party to kick off the season on Friday, May 5, 2017. The course is recovering from the winter very nicely and we are looking forward to a great 2017 season!

5 pm: 9 Hole Fun Match
2 person teams; $10 per team for prizes
Shotgun start at 5 pm
Prizes for 1st place men’s, ladies’, and co-ed teams

6:30 pm: Cocktail Hour and Appetizers
$10 per person for appetizer buffet

Please RSPV by May 2 by calling 315-782-4040 or in person with Kylie or Lanie at Watertown Golf Club.

Meet our New Golf Pro

Watertown Golf Club is pleased to announce that we have retained Lanie Gerken-Cahill as our new Class A and Teaching Professional for the upcoming 2017 golf season.

Lanie is well known to the Watertown golfing community since first winning the women’s Watertown city golf championship in 1978 at age 15, the first of eight consecutive years as the tournament’s champion.

She was an All-American golfer during her college years, turned professional in 1987 and has competed in many tournaments in the United States, Canada and Asia.

Lanie has served as the teaching professional at other courses in the local area and in Canada and we are fortunate to have her on board as our Pro and as a senior member of our management team.

Please stop in and welcome her to our club!


Hughes Defeats Algie 1 up to Claim Fourteenth City Championship

WATERTOWN — In between the morning and afternoon sessions of the 36-hole Watertown City Golf Championship final, Bob Hughes was frustrated about his lack of consistency and not being able to string together a few good shots in a row.

The longtime mainstay of local golf managed to get the shots he needed as he edged Rick Algie, one-up, to claim his 14th city championship on Sunday at Watertown Golf Club.

Hughes continues to add to his legacy as he holds the most city crowns, including three of the last four titles.

Winning the event has become almost second nature to Hughes, but he enjoys the thrill of it.

“Each one is a little different, but they are all satisfying,” said Hughes, who won his first city title in 1981. “The process of getting here is still fun and I enjoy playing.”

Hughes was one-up after the first 18 holes, but was concerned about his consistency early in the round.

“I just never seemed to hit two good shots in a row,” said Hughes, who won the event the last time it was held at Watertown Golf Club in 2014. “I just couldn’t get any momentum.”

Algie, a former standout at South Jefferson, gave Hughes all he could handle by matching him shot-for-shot and even grabbing the lead after 23 holes. The first-time finalist was pleased with his effort despite the loss.

“I went 36 holes in an up-and-down match,” said Algie, a former two-time Frontier League tournament champion. “I’m going to use it as a learning experience and will move forward with it.”

Hughes had nothing, but praise for his opponent after the hard-fought victory.

“I played him a last year at Ives Hill, and I knew what to expect from his game,” Hughes said.

Hughes won that match over Algie in last year’s quarterfinals, 4 and 3.

The championship came down to the last hole with the match all square.

Algie’s tee shot went into the right rough, while Hughes hit one of his textbook drives right down the center of the fairway.

Algie managed to get himself out of trouble and hit a shot in front of the green.

“I knew it was going to be hard to get to the green from where I was, so I just wanted to get a decent pitch onto the green,” Algie said. “I figured if I got it there, I’d be in the front where it would be great.”

He had a chance to force sudden death, but his put rolled wide to the right of the cup.

After halving the first three holes on the second 18, Algie won two straight holes to take the lead by one. He had a chance to go two-up, but his ball stayed on the lip of the cup and didn’t go in.

The veteran Hughes then ran off three straight wins in as many holes to lead by two after 28 holes. Hughes regained his two-hole lead after Algie got within one-up on the next hole.

“I finally hit consecutive good shots and made a couple of putts,” Hughes said.

After halving the 31st hole, Algie won the next two holes to even the match, including a tricky birdie putt at 15 to square the score. The former Jefferson Community College golfer, who is now an assistant coach for the school’s golf team, made it a habit of rallying throughout the week.

“This tournament has been like that all week,” Algie said. “I’ve had three matches where I had to come back to win.”

Hughes won $500 for winning the championship flight, while Algie took home Algie took home $240. Semifinalists John Bufalini and Tim Phillips each earned $80.

Last year’s city champion Brian Phillips rebounded to win the first flight title on Sunday, while Josh Woodward won the second flight championship and Anthony Burgess took the third flight crown.



Hughes, Ambrose each advance to quarterfinals in City championships

WATERTOWN — Bob Hughes and James Ambrose became the latest former winners to reach the Watertown City Golf Championship quarterfinals, highlighting the completion of the championship flight’s second round of match play Wednesday at the Watertown Golf Club.

Hughes, who has won a record 13 titles including back-to-back crowns in 2013 and 2014, claimed a 4-and-3 victory over Steve Ahlgrim.

Ambrose, the 2009 champion, captured a 4-and-3 victory over Mike Bufalini, and Andrew Marks advanced with a 19-hole win over Rick Becker in Wednesday’s other championship flight match.

Ambrose and Hughes will face off in the quarterfinals, one of three matches consisting of former champions.

Five-time champion John Bufalini, who last won the title in 2012, will play 2003 champion Joe Tufo. Tufo has reached the championship match seven times and lost to Mike Burgess in last year’s quarterfinals.

Tim Phillips, the 1984 champion who reached the final in 2014, will be matched up against 2005 champion Adam Brown.

Marks, who reached the quarterfinals in 2014, will face Rick Algie in the quarterfinals. Both golfers are seeking their first City championship.

All quarterfinal matches will be played today and Friday at the Watertown Golf Club.

The winners of the Hughes-Ambrose and Phillips-Brown matchups will face off in the semifinals at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The Tufo-Bufalini and Marks-Algie winners will square off in Saturday’s semifinals and are slated for a 7:10 a.m. tee time.

The 36-hole championship match is scheduled for Sunday in the same location.


Elder Phillips one of five to advance to Watertown City Golf Championship quarterfinals

WATERTOWN — Tim Phillips claimed a bit of family revenge Tuesday at the Watertown City Golf Championship, highlighting a slate of second-round matches in the championship flight at the Watertown Golf Club.

Phillips, the 1984 city champion, captured a 3-and-1 victory over Brad Lalone, a South Jefferson graduate who golfed for Jefferson Community College before graduating this past May.

Lalone reached the second round by ousting Phillips’ son and the defending champion, Brian Phillips, in Sunday’s opening round of match play.

Three other golfers advanced to the championship flight quarterfinals on Tuesday, and five have qualified overall. Four of the five quarterfinal participants are former city champions.

Joe Tufo, who won the title in 2003 and has competed in five finals since 2002, claimed a 6-and-4 win over Brian Navarra.

Five-time city champion John Bufalini beat Chris Denesha, 3-and-2. Bufalini last reached the final in 2014.

Rick Algie, who fired the low score in Saturday’s qualifying round, beat Jeff Fallon in 20 holes. Algie reached the quarterfinals last year before losing to 18-time city champion Bob Hughes.

On Monday, former city champion and South Jefferson golf coach Adam Brown beat recent Watertown High School graduate Gabe Lafex, 6-and-4.

Other second-round matches featuring former champions like Hughes and James Ambrose, along with the quarterfinals, will be contested during the week.

The two semifinal matches are scheduled for Saturday at Watertown Golf Club and the 36-hole championship match is slated for Sunday at the same venue.



Tufo overcomes 4 Stroke deficit to win Club Championship

Congratulations are in order for Joe Tufo who shot rounds of 76-69 for a two day total of 145 (+1) to win the 2016 Watertown Golf Club Club Championship.  Tim Phillips (72-74-146) finished one shot back in second place.  Tim’s older brother, Bob, finished third with two consecutive 75’s for a two day total of 150.

Rounding out the top 6 are Toby Draper (159), Scott Taylor (161), and Matt Russell (164).  These six individuals have the opportunity to represent the Watertown Golf Club in the NNYGA Six-Man Team competition held this year at Gouverneur Country Club August 5-6.

Dave Chestnut had a two day total of 163 to claim Senior Club Champion honors.

Ralph Larsen shot rounds of 83-84 to win as Super Senior Club Champion.

Both Mr. Chestnut and Mr. Larsen will also have the honor of representing the Club at the two day NNYGA event.

Click here

The Northern New York Junior Tour is a great way to get young golfers interested in competitive play with an emphasis on having fun!!!

Click here to visit the NNY Junior Golf Tour Facebook page for all 2016 registration and event info.

Registration forms are available at area golf courses such as Watertown Golf Club, Ives Hill Country Club, Willowbrook Golf Club, Adams Golf Club, Highland Meadows, and LA Golf Course.

A big “Thank You” is owed to Mr. Jon Christopher and Mr. Jack Hammond, as well as all of the sponsors and donors that make this tour possible.

USGA – Dustin Johnson

OAKMONT, Pa. — It was a bad moment for the USGA. But, man, it could have been a million times worse.

Dustin Johnson bailed out the governing body by playing well down the stretch on Sunday at the 116th U.S. Open, and his challengers cooperated by playing poorly. It created a big enough stroke swing that what could have been the toughest rules decision in USGA history basically was of no consequence.

Thank you, Dustin! But some advice for the USGA: Please take a hard look at what almost transpired.

A quick recap. On the fifth hole during the final round at Oakmont Country Club, Johnson ran a seven-foot birdie putt four feet past the cup. As he prepared to hit his second putt, Johnson took some practice strokes besides his ball. As he stepped in to address the putt—but before he grounded the club—Johnson noticed his ball had moved slightly. Quickly, he called in rules official Mark Newell. Johnson told him that the ball moved a bit backward, but he had not addressed his putt by grounding his club. Newell confirmed with Johnson “and you didn’t address it?” At that point, with playing partner Lee Westwood confirming Johnson’s view, Newell determined that a rule had not been broken. Johnson played on, making his putt.

About the time Johnson reached the ninth hole, however, Jeff Hall, managing director of rules & competitions for the USGA, had video brought to his attention that he said had caused concern. After studying the video and consulting with Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of Rules of Golf and Amateur Status, the two met Johnson on the 12th tee, where Johnson arrived with a one-stroke lead. They told Johnson that the USGA had reviewed video and that officials needed to talk to Johnson about his being the possible cause of his ball moving on the fifth green.

“We told him he could very well be assessed a one-stroke penalty,” Hall said.

Johnson crushed a drive on the 12th hole more than 350 yards. He later said that the rules issue didn’t weigh on him as he played on. “I just told myself, we’ll worry about it when we get done,” said Johnson, who felt he was safe because he had not grounded his club behind the ball. “I didn’t think I was going to be penalized. They said they were going to review. There was nothing I could do about it. Just focus on this next shot. I tried to do that from there, all the way to the house. It was just me and the golf course.”

But Johnson wasn’t as sharp with his shot-making, which had been superb, over the next few holes. With only 210 yards remaining for his second shot on the par-5 12th, he hit a bad push into long rough, from where he didn’t get up and down for the birdie he was counting on. On the par-3 13th, he pulled his approach into a bunker, but managed to make a great recovery and saved par. But on the par-4 14th, he three-putted, and the pressure looked like it might be getting to Johnson, just as it seemed to in several other instances throughout his star-crossed major career.

By this time, the other contenders also had been notified of a possible penalty. But Shane Lowry, Sergio Garcia and Scott Piercy began making mistakes, leading to speculation that they had become distracted by the uncertainty over Johnson’s possible penalty.

The whole thing didn’t sit right with qualified observers. On the Fox broadcast, analysts Paul Azinger and Brad Faxon were both adamant in their view that Johnson had done nothing to cause his ball to move.

Then an influential trio of young stars took to social media, issuing declarations on Twitter that were devastating to the USGA in the court of public opinion.

Soon after, Tiger Woods complimented Johnson for his “strong way to finish overcoming that rules farce.”

So let the second-guessing begin.

First, let’s give the USGA the benefit of the doubt over a few obvious questions. Like why it took seven holes for the decision to notify Johnson.

Or why it was necessary to second-guess Newell’s original decision and let his clearance of Johnson on the fifth green be the end of the matter. Or what good did it do to inform Johnson of the potential problem while he still had such crucial holes to play. This is the one that the players—and Jack Nicklaus, who said, “I told [Johnson] what you did with all that crap thrown at you was pretty good”—questioned the most.

But let’s move on to the central issue, Rule 18.2: Ball at Rest Moved, which states that all available evidence should be used to determine whether a player caused his ball to move.

Hall and Pagel had video evidence they felt they could not ignore, regardless of Newell’s earlier ruling. Moreover, the current rule revised an old one that stipulated if a player was deemed to have addressed his ball by grounding his club, and if the ball subsequently moved, then a penalty stroke should be assessed. Under the new rule, a player can ground his club and still not be the cause of his ball moving. Instead, the rule now states that officials are to base their decision to assess a penalty on any number of player actions, the standard being whether it is “more likely than not” he or she was the cause of the ball moving.

In Johnson’s case, Hall and Pagel determined that by virtue of moving the putter in close proximity to the ball, and the ball moving “almost instantaneously” after he lifted it from practice stroke to begin his address position, it was more likely than not that Johnson had caused his ball to move.

But consider that early in the round on Sunday, there was a question about whether Romain Wattel of France had inadvertently caused his ball to move on the green. According to the USGA, even though Wattel had grounded his putter behind the ball, because the ball did not move for some five seconds after the club was grounded the golfer’s actions had not been the cause of the movement.

So here’s the problem: It’s strictly a judgment call. Very subjective. Subject to human error. Where Hall and Pagel saw a violation, Azinger and Faxon didn’t.

Furthermore, the standard of “more likely than not” can be theoretically broken down to as narrow a margin as 51 percent “more likely” to 49 percent “than not.” It just seems like too close a call—especially when the player and his playing partner are in agreement that the ball moved on its own—to issue a penalty that can decide a major championship. It’s a lower standard than the preponderance of evidence used in civil trials. And much lower than “innocent until proven guilty” standard used in criminal cases.


The USGA is to be respected for wanting to get its rulings right and making sure the rules are followed. But it seems that in trying to fix a flawed rule (players were drawing penalties for wind-blown balls moving just because they had grounded their club), the governing body created other potential problems that almost became a living nightmare at Oakmont.

Imagine if Johnson had finished in a tie but ended up losing by one because of the penalty. As he said, “I’m glad it didn’t matter. That would have been bad.”

The lesson to be learned from the bullet that the USGA dodged on Sunday? Rule 18 needs further fixing, and fast.