At 89, Harry Manoogian thrives on league play at Heritage Country Club

The Worcester resident is the oldest player in all leagues at Charlton Golf Course

Harry Manoogian is 89 and admits he’s not a great golfer, but he’s certainly not out of his league playing at Heritage Country Club in Charlton.

In fact, he is still very active in his league. Manoogian played Thursday afternoon golf league at Heritage for more than half a century.

And he has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Manoogian, of Worcester, said he started playing in the league in 1968 or 1969. He is the oldest golfer in any Heritage league.

“It makes me feel good that I’m still standing,” he said, “but I still think of myself as 50. I still think young. I’m pretty healthy.

Manoogian said his league hasn’t changed much over the years.

“But real estate has,” he says. “It seems to me that the trees are taller and the ground is further away than before. I say this because when I bend down to get the ball out of the hole the few times it goes into the hole, it’s hard to bend down that far.

He also finds that it is longer from tee to green than before.

“I can’t understand this, but it’s a natural fact,” he joked.

Heritage has 10 golf leagues – eight men’s, one women’s and one varsity. Most consist of two-player teams and hold competitions throughout the season from late April until Labor Day and some until the first week of October.

Heritage owner Bill Plante estimated that leagues make up 30-35% of the game at Heritage.

“Obviously they’re very important,” Plante said. “It’s important to have the people there and the game there, and of course the spin-off from the lounge, the restaurant, the food, the driving range and the culture of your club so that active people get involved. have fun there, and we certainly have that at Heritage.

Plante, 57, isn’t sure if Heritage would be that busy late afternoon without playing in the league, but he doesn’t intend to find out because he’s a big believer in leagues. He plays in one of them, the Wednesday Night Sweeps, which he started 30 years ago when his late father, Joe, bought the club. Teams are drawn and prizes and skins are awarded each week.

Plante said one of the biggest changes to league play over the years is that golfers are now checking the weather on their phones and canceling if rain is forecast. Many years ago they played anything. Most league players at Heritage are members, so for league play they only pay the $15 cart fee if they want to ride. Non-members pay $35 to go nine holes when they play, but nothing when they cancel.

At the end of the season, Heritage donates a buffet for each league.

Since leagues play nine holes, non-league golfers can usually start on the other nine.

Manoogian and Jose Garcia, 74, of Worcester is one of 14 teams in their league. The 58-player Budweiser League plays later on Thursdays.

Manoogian and his former partner won the league many years ago, but the owner of a 10-handicap for nine holes readily admits he’s not the best golfer.

“Don’t make me look too professional because they will reduce my handicap,” Manoogian said.

He is happy to break 50 of the front tees.

“I can’t wait until I’m around 110 so I can shoot my age,” he said.

Manoogian is a retired stockbroker. “And I wasn’t too good at it either,” he laughed.

Manoogian obviously doesn’t take himself too seriously.

“I like to be with the guys,” he says, “and the competition is sometimes interesting. I like meeting up with them afterwards too. The 19th hole is always a good time for us. In the summer we can sit outside on the terrace and not only have a few beers, but maybe a cigar or two. It’s camaraderie. »

“Harry is a gentle soul,” Plante said. “When you see him walking the course, he brightens everyone’s day. I’ve never seen him upset about golf or anything in over 45 years. I think he is a person who appreciates every day.

Clyde Chapman58, of Spencer played in the Budweiser League on Thursday nights for 10 years and served as league president for four years.

“It’s very competitive,” Chapman said. “There are great players of all ages.”

Fifty-eight players with nine-hole handicaps ranging from 2 to 10 form two-player teams. Higher handicaps are not allowed because the league does not want to award two strokes on a hole.

“If you don’t like it, you can leave,” Chapman said, “or get better. Go see a pro.”

Cash prizes are awarded weekly and at the end of the season.

“It’s just a great place,” Chapman said, “where you can chat with the guys and kick your ass. It’s a really nice group of guys. If we have someone bad, they get kicked out by the committee.

Watering from a mobile phone

Last Monday, Heritage began installing an automated irrigation system worth over $500,000. Plante said installing one hole at a time will likely last six to eight weeks.

“It’s a huge project,” he said, “but it’s time to move into automation because the place will go through the roof in terms of its condition. It’s very important to us and we looking forward to it.”

Heritage will no longer have to manually open the valves on each hole. Automated irrigation on all 18 holes can be activated at any time from a mobile phone.

Great to come home

From Worcester Jim DeMallie is the head golf pro at Bolton International.

DeMallie caddyed at Worcester CC, graduated from Worcester Academy and played golf at Tatnuck CC.

DeMallie left Worcester to attend Roanoke College in Virginia where he became captain and most valuable player on the golf team and was an all-conference draft pick for four years.

After graduating, he was an assistant pro at Tamarack CC in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Wilmington CC in Delaware before becoming head pro at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. Later, he was director of golf at a club in Naples, Florida, then at Cherokee Town and CC in Atlanta.

In Naples he got to know Paul Celano, who was director of instruction at a nearby club. When Celano became director of golf at the International, he hired DeMallie as head pro. DeMallie’s first day was April 3.

“I wanted to go home,” he said. “I’ve been gone since high school.”

His mother, Betsy De Mallielives in West Boylston.

I can’t stay away

Former General Manager of Red Tail Golf Club Jim Pavlik also works internationally. He just couldn’t stay away from golf.

Pavlik, 70, was general manager and director of golf at Red Tail for the club’s first 21 years, starting his job even before Brian Silva Design opened in Devens in 2002.

“We started from scratch,” he said, “so we had to get everything from starting boards to designing and making scorecards, starting markers. There was so much to do, write manuals for employees, so we were all on the same page. It was by far the best golf experience I have ever had.

Red Tail hosted the 2009 USA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. Jennifer’s song defeated Kimberly Kim7-6, in the 36-hole final.

When the club was sold in March 2021, Pavlik left Red Tail and now works internationally in member and outdoor services.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s a great group of members, and things are looking good.

“I’m so grateful to do this because I exercise a lot and stay active,” he said. “I take 13,000 to 20,000 steps a day.”

Red Tail was built on the grounds of a former military base, Fort Devens, and Pavlik still likes to tell people that Red Tail is the only golf course that had three types of bunkers – sand bunkers, trash bunkers and, to the right of the 17th hole, old ammunition bunkers.

—Contact Bill Doyle at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BillDoyle15.

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