It was mid October in Moncton, New Brunswick on the east coast of Canada. The short days, crisp air and red tree leaves signaled the end of our golf season. The trunk of my car was slowly transitioning from golf clubs and an array of golf shoes to hockey gear and an array of hockey sticks. Suddenly my cell phone rang. A Connecticut, ‘203’ area code suggested that I should pick up. “Zach, it’s Todd Carroll, whaddya doin on Monday? NYAC has an outing at Winged Foot and I need two guys. You and Matt wanna come play?
There are some opportunities in life that create a ‘drop everything and go’ reaction. This was one of them. I called Matt with the news and hopped on a Sunday flight to LaGuardia so that we could polish our clubs and get an early night’s sleep for our Uber ride from Pearl St, Manhattan to Winged Foot’s majestic grounds on Fenimore Rd. in Mamaroneck, NY.
We pulled up to two large beautiful cast iron gates that had the famous logo, adorned in gold, centered on each of them. A greeter spoke through the intercom. “Welcome to Winged Foot”. We answered. “Zach Dallaire and Matt Eldridge with Todd Carroll for the NYAC outing”. The gates opened. We drove up a beautiful tree lined road to the hundred year old stone club-house (castle) and got dropped off at the bag drop. We walked through the arched entrance and out the other side was a golfer’s paradise. The 18th and 9th green sitting just off of the large beautiful patio seemed as pristine as a picture. After a session on the range and practice green, we were greeted by Todd and his good friend Frankie ‘Misty” Mistero over a large brunch buffet which sat off of the iconic Winged Foot bar and lounge.
A young but seasoned caddy named Danny Graziano met Matt and I at our golf bags and we headed off to the 4th hole for our shotgun start. He filled us in on the course’s rich history, the revered people that he’s been fortunate to caddy for and helped us play the course the way it should be played. With smarts and precision. A notable fact was that the Mulligan (a free do-over shot common in golf) was invented by a Canadian, David Mulligan, who coined the term in the 1920s after a bad first tee-shot at Winged Foot. The four-man best ball format let us all play our own game but in a team effort to take the NYAC Trophy. There were memorable shots and some that we’d sooner forget about in this battle with one of the toughest tests of golf but overall we felt nothing but gratitude to be walking the same fairways as some of the best to play the game.
As the evening sun still glowed through “The Foot’s” elm tree-lined fairways, we walked off of the final green and walked back to the club house for a shower and to get dressed in mandatory sport coats for dinner. Knowing that we had played a pretty good round but unsure of the other teams scores, our team accepted the second place trophy and longest drive of the day. Celebratory scotch and cigars took us late into the night on the beautiful patio overlooking the flood-lit 9th and 18th greens.
That one day at Winged Foot was not only a bucket list course checked off, but really bonded the five of us as friends who have gone to battle on one of the most beautiful battlefields in the game. Todd, Frankie and Danny have become dear friends of Matt and mine and we’ll all be watching attentively and reminiscing this weekend as the US Open is played at Winged Foot.
- Zach D.
Zach heads up Business Development for SNAPS and like our CEO is an avid golf nut. Playing Winged Foot was a dream come true for Zach, who will be geeking out during this weekend's US Open.