There’s an old story that makes the rounds from time to time, about touring professionals and course records. If they set one during a professional event, all is well. If, however, they are invited to play a course for fun or an exhibition, they inquire about the record and its owner. If the holder is or was a touring professional, they take aim. If the holder is/was a local amateur or pro, they tend to leave it alone. In either case, South Park golf course, on the Buffalo/Lackawanna line, is now just a bit tougher on those who take aim at the record.

On Father’s Day, Chris Carroll went out for a round of golf at South Park. 18 holes later, something unexpected had happened. It’s not often that we have a new course record anywhere in western New York. Dustin Johnson set the low at the Links at Ivy Ridge as an amateur, back in the late 2000s. Many other records date even farther back.

1. Introduce yourself–name and what you do in life.
Hi my name is Chris Carroll, I am the tournament director for the South Park men’s club. I am also the courses Manager.  I have been working for Olmsted for the past four years. I joined the men’s club about two years ago and have loved the experience all together, other than when all the members ask for free carts! Lol jk
2. How did you get started in golf? Who brought you to the course, influenced you, that type of thing?

I started playing golf mainly cause everyone on my street did. I grew up playing Cazenovia golf course as a kid. Cazenovia always some of the best players in the area playing so it was treat for me to kinda grow up there as a kid. My grandfather was a member at Springville Country Club as well so it felt I was going to Disney World every time I was asked to play there. 

3. You recently did “a thing” at South Park. Tell us about it.

A funny story about the round. The round actually started at Cazenovia that day. Myself, Mark Stanz (club president), Jimmy Miller and my buddy Tom Deering aka Pickles went to play the South Buffalo 18. The South Buffalo 18 is nine at Cazenovia and nine at South Park. The round at Cazenovia wasn’t all that great. I had shot 37 and was down in skins heading into South Park. I decided to stop at home and grab my oldest Son Jack to ride along with us. It was Father’s Day after all. When we got to the South Park I stared the round off with three birdies in a row finishing the front nine with a 29. My lowest nine hole score there for sure. I was all set to go home , when club president Mark said “dude your not going home, we have to finish this round”. The back nine stared off with a birdie so I decided to stay! I had shot 31 on the back nine. Making a birdie on 8 gave me the record lowest score with a par or better on 18. I did have a 10 footer for 59 that day, sadly I left it two feet short. The funniest thing about this round is we played skins that day. Combined score (2 man teams) me and my buddy Tom vs Mark and jimmy. I ended up owing money….. Thanks Tommy. All kidding aside it was a very special day for me , to have my son along with me made it that much better and something him and I will share forever.

4. What had been your previous low at South Park. We have our reasons for asking.

My previous low at South Park was a 64. 

5. What allowed you to chop 4 shots off your best previous score? (if 62 or 61) Was there any one thing that allowed you to eliminate those two more shots?

I really think I was able to chop four shots off my round due to my work with Fredrick Lindblom. I stared working with him this off season on short game stuff. I will say it has truly paid off. I owe a lot to him. 

6. When you go out for a round of golf, do you have a particular mindset, or do you take the day as it is, and as it reveals itself?
My goal each round I play is just to grind it out as much as I can. Whether I am shooting 60 or 80. Nothing really changes for me at all. I grew up a hockey player so always battling to the end is what I try to do. 
7. If your round is not going the way you want, what swing or swing thought brings you back to center?
When things aren’t really going my way I try to remember what I have been working on. One thing as I get older is just to really slow down. Slow down my walk, slow my mind down and do my best to relax. I also realize that golf is a very hard sport and there is always tomorrow! 
8. If your round is trending positively, how do you keep the momentum up?
When things are going my way on the course that day, I just try and keep everything the same. Walk the same speed keep my routine the same speed. My goal is to keep everything the same. I never wanna get out of my comfort zone if I can control it. 
9. What question haven’t we asked, that you would love to answer? Ask it and answer it, please. Thanks for your time.
How long do you see this record holding for?  Honestly I think someone shoots 59 soon here. The course is playing very friendly  with the summer time roll we get. Our club has some very good players that I could see having a crack at it in the coming years.  Sum of this experience in one word? Magical .
Footnote: Chris Carroll lowered the South Park course record by one. Liam Friedman, currently a PGA professional in Massachusetts, holds the nine-hole record of 27. Friedman recorded 9 3s on his card that day. He did not continue on for a second nine. For those who take the time to read about the first South Park course record (also 60) keep in mind that it was established over a shorter version of the course.