Ed Montone is winding down his first season as the Head Professional at the Winthrop Golf Club. Year 1 can be described as challenging but successful.
Montone’s first golf season began late because of the COVID-19 pandemic that continued through the summer and fall. Players had to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines on the property. Golfers were not required to wear face coverings on the golf course.
But golfers filled the course each day during a summer that produced several beautiful, sunny days and little rain.
“Overall I thought the first year went great,” said Montone, a Winthrop resident and former WHS golfing standout. “Between COVID-19 and the increase in membership, we basically had everything we could possibly see thrown at us. And we handled it and we got through it, and here we are at the end of the season now.”
Course in great shape
The WGC season officially opened May 9 after receiving the go-ahead from state officials.
“Typically we open our season in late April, based on weather and how ready the course is,” said Montone. “We had a mild winter so we were planning to open the first week in April.”
Montone reported that the golf course itself “was in the best shape it’s ever been.”
He credited course superintendent Sam Hasak for his dedication to his responsibilities all season. “The kid is phenomenal – his first day off in six months was a couple of Tuesdays ago,” lauded Montone. “I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as he does. He takes great pride in his work. He really took this venue to a whole another level.”
One long-time club member told Montone that the greens were in the best condition they’ve ever been in for the 49 years he held membership at the club.
Members were also impressed by the new look of the Winthrop Pro Shop. Andy Montone helped his son remodel the entire shop that had been in need of renovations.
Montone also thanked Assistant Professional Dean McCann and staff member and ‘go-to’ guy Ben Weed of Marblehead for their contributions to the club during the season.
Former high school golfing star Casey O’Leary won his first WGC championship this summer. O’Leary was also a member of the winning foursome in the Robert M. DeCarlo Memorial Tournament that drew 80 golfers.
Jake Rand delivered one of the most exciting days of the season when he shot a course record score of 62. “Jake is an exceptional golfer,” said Montone. “We’ve had our battles on the course throughout our lives. I was definitely very for him when he set the record.”
Montone also directed a very successful ladies’ golf instructional clinic at the club in coordination with WGC board member Elise Nolan.
A group of junior members participated in several rounds of golf during the season. Viking athletes past and present, Jack Sicurella, Connor Murphy, Evan Smotrich, and Conlan Petersen helped the club professional in various capacities. “All of them have worked shifts for me and they’re phenomenal kids,” said Montone.
Looking ahead to The 2021 season
Montone will be back for his second season as WGC Head Professional next year.
“We’re hoping to start up again on April 15,” said Montone. “So now we’ll just gear up for 2021, improve on what we can in the off season, and then hopefully add my own touch to things now that I have a year under my belt. I have a lot of good ideas and I hope to put them in motion in the future and keep improving.”