Love: Shaffer knew course would be rough

Last week’s U.S. Open venue – Merion Golf Club – received rave reviews from tour players and golf analysts alike.

Martinsburg native Matt Shaffer, Director of Golf Course Operations at Merion, was also highly praised for his work preparing the course – before and during the event.

Prior to the event, there were plenty of concerns that heavy rains would lead to ‘soft’ and easy conditions for the world’s best players. I have to admit, I found myself feeling sorry that all the rain would result in a wet Merion course, ultimately remembered as a pushover, and many experts predicted that record low scores would be set.

The ever-cool Shaffer knew better. On a nationally-aired television program on the eve of the tournament, Shaffer calmly defended a golf course he’s been in charge of for the past eleven years. When asked if he thought the winning score might approach record scores of 10-12 under par, Shaffer dryly responded, “not a chance.”

He was right. Justin Rose took home the trophy on Sunday with the winning total of 1-over par.

Bagley’s holes-in-one rare

Hollidaysburg’s Walt Bagley scored a hole-in-one last week at the 13th hole of Iron Master’s Country Club – it was his second of the year. Bagley had also aced the club’s third hole earlier this spring.

According to the National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds of scoring a hole-in-one is approximately 1 in 5,000 for the average golfer.

For a golfer to have two in one year is a much more rare – the odds for this are approximately 1 in 200,000 – making Bagley’s ‘double ace’ one of the best, local golf feats so far this year.

Jessie Reighard steps down

Jesse Reighard, Down River Golf Club’s longtime manager, has stepped down after 22 years at the helm.

His last day at the Everett course was Sunday – at the conclusion of the club’s annual best-ball event. Reighard worked tirelessly over the years to help make this tournament one of the area’s best.

Reighard always handled his duties as club manager with a sense of assurance and class. If you ever needed a question answered, Jesse was the man to see. In fact, anything that you needed, Reighard was always there. He always made a point to learn everyone’s name and had the ability to make every golfer feel right at home.

Additionally, Reighard is one of the most knowledgeable, golf-savvy professionals I’ve ever met. He’ll be sorely missed.

Ken Love covers area golf for the Mirror. His column appears on Fridays.