The aura of a beautiful golf gift named Winter Sludge is no more. After years dating back to the 1990s, Staten Islanders will no longer trek to Palm Coast where former natives of that city welcome them with widely open arms and a glorious four days of golf, drink, dine and jokes galore. The golf was pretty good, too!
Jake Jacoby was the leader most years and one could sense the dab of a tear as he knew inside that this one at Pine Lakes would be no more.
“I would like to thank all who participated in this year’s tournament, and I would like to announce that the nicest man in Palm Coast won this year’s Sludge: Kee Rhee,” Jacoby said.
Jacoby hit that announcement right on the button. If there is a nicer person anywhere than Rhee, a graduate of famous Tufts University in the Boston area, I sure would like to meet him. Following Rhee to the post in second place was Dennis Willerth two shots behind, and former Mayor Jim Canfield another shot shy, in third.
Jacoby, as nice a person as Rhee and a darn good golfer in his own right, wound things up by stating he hopes Canfield is ready to put the sophisticated trophy in a hermetically sealed place: the Historical Society.
I tried to convince Jacoby, an original Staten Islander along with Canfield, to run this tournament next year under a different name, but he wouldn’t budge. The warmth in general, like George Rhatigan, Jerry Scully, Billy Johnson, Bert Kramer, Jerry Ippolito and Bob Keating, is once a Staten Islander, always a Staten Islander.
An invitation to learn
Mike Dempster, a Nova Scotian due to return there in a few weeks as he does each year from Canopy Walk, was quick to jump on my offer of special golf teachers such as Dane Winger and others.
His choice is Ciaran Monaghan, a U.S. Citizen from Dublin, who resides in Crescent Beach and teaches at St. Augustine Shores and Grand Reserve.
“He challenges you to grow and face your quest to a better game,” Dempster said. “He has a natural talent to see what a student needs to do to improve their game.”
Ciaran played the European Tour and is widely credited for his ability as a teacher.