Cedars Golf Club is a local jewel with history

07/08/2010 12:00 AM |

At Cedars Golf Club, which was founded in 1964, golfers of all ages can be seen trying their luck. Some of the golfers at Cedars include (from left) John Dennison, Lorraine Cassidy, Catherine Chaudhuri, Rose Farrell, Pat Livechhi, Anne Cutolo and Henry Stasiukiewicz.

Twenty-five years ago I attended my 20th high school reunion — my first and only trip down memory lane.

What is it about high school reunions? Is it having to spend time with people you didn’t want to be with when you were in school? Maybe it’s the boring, “What are you doing now?” chatter that is mandatory at these functions. And if you could only quash the DJ playing golden oldies from your graduation year — in my case, 1965. Classics such as “I’ve Got You Babe”, “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” and “Woolly Bully.” Another glass of vino, please.

What I find incredibly strange, though, is being in a room with a crowd of people who are all roughly the same age. An unusual and peculiar phenomenon, to say the least.

One place you won’t see a grouping of individuals the same age is on a lovely 14-acre tract of land in Cutchogue. On any given day you are likely to see folks in their 80s, youngsters not yet 10 years old and a smattering of every age group in between. What makes this place so unique is that these folks are all doing the same thing — and having fun doing it.

Cedars Golf Club is the special place I’m talking about. Cedars Golf Club was founded in 1964 by Russell Case, whose dream had been to build a golf course on his family’s property, which was being used as a sheep pasture. I sat down with Mr. Case’s nephew, John Dennison, who shared with me some of the history about this local jewel.

Russell Case always had a passion for golf. In 1924, he was offered a job in a pro shop by George Heron, who was instrumental in promoting golf on Long Island. Many years later, Case called upon Heron to help with the design and layout of Cedars.

After retiring from a career as an accountant, Case returned to the North Fork, where he’d been born, and began to formulate his plan to build a golf course. With the financial help of a few local businesspeople, Case started construction of the course and clubhouse in the early 1960s.

A newspaper article from 1992 quoted Case: “We built this course for less than it would cost for someone to put it on paper today. We used cut-outs of each hole and shuffled them within the available boundaries.”

“My uncle wasn’t interested in making money,” Dennison said. “He just wanted to build a nice golf course for the people of the community to enjoy.”

When the course opened in May 1964, Case received many congratulatory letters and telegrams, which Dennison shared with me. One came from famous author and broadcaster, the late Alistair Cooke, which read: “Long life with lots of eagles and birdies. No bogeys. All the best for Cedars — Alistair Cooke.”

Dennison also let me in on a little-known secret. On nights when there was a full moon, Cooke would come out and play the course by moonlight.

Dennison, a retired structural engineer, took over the day-to-day operations at the Cedars in 1988, and continues to handle the books for the club. He also opens the course in April and closes it down in November.

The 1990s saw the creation of a league for women, now known as the Cedarettes, along with a league for men. Both remain extremely popular today.

In 2001, Henry Stasiukiewicz began working behind the counter at Cedars and eventually became general manager and jack of all trades there.

“Henry has brought the course to a different level and made it what it is today,” Dennison said, referring to the many improvements made by Stasiukiewicz. An accomplished painter, Stasiukiewicz has used his creativity and artistic flairto turn Cedars into a truly magnificent and scenic par-3 course. A place for people of all ages to enjoy.

TEE TIMES New members of the hole-in-one club include Keith Roberts, who aced the third hole at Calverton Links; Vic Milligan, who had an ace on the fifth hole at Cherry Creek Golf Links; and Dennis Barrett, who aced the 13th at The Woods. Kudos, guys.

Jack Rudder, who has recently taken up golf with a passion, broke 100 for the first time a few weeks ago. Way to go, Jack! A little bird told me that, forever young, Jack Levin, 101 years old, played a round of golf recently. Jack said it was the best he’s ever played. There you have it, folks. Our best days on the golf course are yet to come.