As my birth month revs its engines, it’s a nice time to introduce a new series: a look at what happened in western New York golf, and golf across the world. I’ll try to balance the two realms, with a lean toward the local. When the weather turns, and only the hearty tee it up in snow and wind, focus will shift to the world. Send your thoughts for what should be included via Twitter (@buffalogolfer) and Instagram (@buffalogolfer) with our anticipated gratitude for your crowd-sourced material.
The passing of Fred
Western New York lost a luminary this week, with the passing of Fred Silver. Fred was a long-standing member at the Niagara Falls Country Club, an ardent supporter of its Porter Cup series (Regular, Ladies, Senior) and a fierce competitor. It was my good fortune to get to know Fred Silver over the past two decades. I first met him during media days for Porter Cup, and he knew who I and BuffaloGolfer.Com were. He was grateful that someone would begin a website about golf in his adopted region, and we maintained a cordial relationship over those 20 years. When I joined the board of directors of the Buffalo District Golf Association, Fred was the president of the group, and ran an efficient meeting. Fred was remembered for challenging Scott Verplank (alongside Mike Slipko) at the 1983 Porter Cup. In Hollywood, one of the two locals would have emerged the champion; in our world, neither one did. Fred Silver was that rare amateur golfer who carried the reputation of western New York to amateur events across the country. His dignity and integrity were his advance committee, and it shall be a long time before we are blessed with another Fred Silver. Godspeed, fairways, and greens to you, good sir.
High school golf begins its closing act in western New York: Part 1
I have the great fortune of the inside story on this one. As convener of the MMHSAA and possessor of a collegial relationship with the director of Section VI boys golf, news comes my way. A bit beyond a week ago (October 4th), the MMHSAA held its team championships at Harvest Hill and Springville. This Monday (October 7th), the best individual golfers returned to Springville for the All-Catholic individual championship and state qualifier. From the season and the championship, 20 golfers qualified on to the NYSCHSAA championship, in June of 2020. Storylines from the season were: the strength of the Canisius program, the rise of the St. Mary’s squad, the great sportsmanship of all golfers involved, and the ease and efficiency of the iWanamaker NYSPHSAA app, which allowed the league to measure scores across all host courses. Teams traveled to Erie, PA, for the Midwest Prep Classic in September, and individuals competed in the Erie County-supported Junior Series, at Grover Cleveland and Elma Meadows. Despite its brevity, 2019 was a remarkable season for the local private/Catholic schools league.
High school golf begins its closing act in western New York: Part 2
ECIC held a wildcard playoff for its team championship, for the first time in history. In addition to the four division champions (large and small, north and south delineations), the next 4 teams were invited to play off. Division winner Depew was upset by Frontier in the playoff round; as the number 4 and 5 seeds, the outcome was a potentiality. Williamsville East, Orchard Park and Iroquois, the other division winners, preserved their status and advanced to the team championship. The individual and team championships will be contested on Tuesday, June 15th, at the Tan Tara Golf Club, in North Tonawanda. State boys champion Charlie Fisher, league leading individual Kevin Zhao, and double Erie County Junior Series winner Tyler Birdd will share the spotlight with their many challengers. See how the top teams and individual stacked up across all leagues below.
OnCore announces mega-facility
If you haven’t read about it in the Buffalo News or on GolfWRX.Com, Buffalo’s golf ball company is going all-in on our town. A massive facility will take shape over the next two years, situated on Kelly Island, in the shadow of the grain mill towers. What it could mean to golf, especially during the wretched-weather months, is limitless. What is will mean to the continued re-emergence of the Queen City is pride.