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11/21/15 3:00pm
11/21/2015 3:00 PM

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Sibling rivalry is defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “competition between siblings, especially for the attention and approval of their parents.” The competition may be when one sibling keeps his room cleaner than the other, gets better grades in school, does things around the house without complaining and eats everything on his plate. READ

04/12/15 12:00pm
04/12/2015 12:00 PM

Kathy and Jim Mulligan had finished packing their golf gear in anticipation of a golf vacation that was only a few days away. Both are decent players and enjoy the game regardless of how well they score.

A few days before setting out for their golf get-away, Kathy said to Jim: “I’ve been thinking. We always play golf with Joan and Harry and they are such great company. What happens if we get teamed up with a beginner, a club-thrower, a cheater, or even worse, someone with a potty mouth? That could ruin our whole day.”  (more…)

06/16/13 3:00pm
06/16/2013 3:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Jay Dempsey and his wife, Jean, far right, with the defending United States Women’s Open champion, Na Yeon Choi.

So often in life, when you’re looking for something, you might find that it’s right under your nose. From June 24 through June 30, the best women golfers on the planet will be right under our noses. I cannot encourage you enough to attend the United States Open Women’s Golf Championship, which will be played at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton. Not only will you see wonderful, textbook-perfect golf swings, but you will also get to waltz around a golf course that is normally seen only by the rich and famous.

People have asked me which days are the best to go: practice round days or days of the actual competition. Both options will provide you with a great opportunity to see the best women golfers in the world up close and personal. And, yes, the women are extremely accessible, friendly and available for autographs, especially during the practice rounds. Treat yourself, your family, your spouse, to a day or two watching a world-class sporting event right in your own backyard. And you’ll be home in time for dinner.

During my time as your golf writer, I have had the good fortune to interview and speak with some of the top golf personalities in the business and feel very fortunate and blessed to have been given this opportunity. Last month I had the chance to walk nine holes and then sit down with last year’s United States Women’s Open champion, Na Yeon Choi.

The time I spent with “NYC,” as she asked me to call her, is at the top of my list as a golf writer.

On May 19 there was an event held at Sebonack where members of the media could walk nine holes with Na Yeon Choi. I asked my better half, Jean, if she would like to go along with me. “Do you think I’ll be allowed?” she asked. I countered, “What’s the worst that can happen?” That is my usual response to most things these days now that I’m in my ho-hum senior years.

So, with a light rain falling, we left for Sebonack, rain gear in tow.

Having been to Sebonack last fall to cover an international amateur event, I knew the lay of the land. We pulled into an almost-empty parking lot and were greeted by Southold resident and Newsday photographer Randee Daddona, who parked right next to us. Always nice to see a friendly face to start off the day.

Jean and I settled comfortably on the deck of the clubhouse overlooking Peconic Bay and were tended to by the friendly Sebonack waitstaff. Not wanting to push our luck, we ordered only coffee. An important lesson I’ve learned when out of your element: Look like you belong. I guess we passed the test.

After finishing our coffee and enjoying the surroundings, we were alerted to the arrival of the lady of the day, NY Choi. NY, along with her manager and caddy, drove their cart up to the first tee. Jean and I hustled down to the tee to find ourselves, along with Randee and one other photographer, the only ones in attendance. Greg Morrison, NY’s manager, introduced himself. After NY hit two balls, she walked over to us. “NY, this is Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey,” Greg said. “Mr. Dempsey writes a golf column for a local newspaper.”

Offering her hand, NY said: “It’s nice to meet you both. Thank you for coming.”

Now, this is really cute. I told Greg not to worry about us since they had a cart and we were walking. I told him we would catch up. “No, we’ll walk with you,” Greg said. “NY feels bad that you’re walking, so she wants to walk with you.”

So walk and talk we did. Jean and I with our intimate little group, walking by ourselves with the defending United States Women’s Open champion.

NY took various shots from different locations on the course and would scribble down notes.

Yes, she was working and preparing to defend her title, but in between shots we talked with her about all different things. She was delightful.

After our round we posed for a photo with NY that will be a prized possession in the Dempsey household. Can you guess who Mrs. D. and I will be routing for at Sebonack this month?

06/27/11 1:58pm
06/27/2011 1:58 PM

How difficult can it be? We’ve all pushed a lawn mower, spread some fertilizer and watered our lawns. No big deal, right? So how hard is it being a golf course superintendent?

Ladies and gentlemen, being a golf course superintendent requires the skills of a meteorologist, a farmer, a horticulturist, a public-relations expert, a personnel manager, a bookkeeper and a salesman.

Oh, one more thing. You had better like going to bed early, waking up hours before the sun rises, and working 15 hour days, seven days a week.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the Laurel Links Country Club superintendent, Bill Shuford, to talk about his job.

“I consider myself like a farmer who looks at his soil and decides what needs to be done,” Shuford said. “Most of my time is spent riding the course, looking around.”

With the help of two assistants, Shuford drives the course up to 15 times every day, taking detailed notes along the way.

Like vineyards, golf courses have micro-climates. “We can have a 15-degree temperature difference from one section of the course to another,” said Shuford. “Every night we set up our plan for the following day based on soil samples and by checking moisture levels. We decide what areas to water, fertilize and are in need of treatment.”

JAY DEMPSEY PHOTO | Bill Shuford's job as the Laurel Links Country Club superintendent is multifaceted.

In addition to the daily hands-on duties the job requires, Shuford is also responsible for making regular reports to governmental agencies regarding the chemicals used on the course.

Shuford’s love of golf began when he was 5 years old and continued into his college years.

“I couldn’t afford to play golf when I was in college, so I got a job working on a golf course,” he said. “I never considered golf course maintenance as an occupation, but once I did it, I loved it.”

After graduating with degrees in sociology and psychology from Lenior-Rhyne College in North Carolina, Shuford took a trip up the East Coast watching baseball games and playing golf.

“I played at a course on Long Island and spoke with the superintendent,” he said. “I told him I really loved golf course maintenance and asked him if I needed to go back to school for it.”

The superintendent responded, wisely, “Do you think you can talk to a blade of grass and get it to grow?” Shuford got the message and went on to the University of Massachusetts, receiving a degree in turf management.

After working at Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton for eight years and at Island Hills Golf Club in Sayville for almost three years, Shuford landed at Laurel Links where he has been for the past decade.

Shuford continues to educate himself in his field by attending conferences, taking continuing education classes and reading trade publications. “The day I stop learning I might as well just pack it up,” he said. “If I think I know everything, I’m done.”

When Bill is not working, which isn’t too often, you can find him spending time with his wife, Patricia, and sons, Liam, Ryan and Tyler. The Weather Channel is a constant in the Shuford household along with reruns of “Seinfeld.”

Shuford ended our chat with a statement which summed up why the course conditions at Laurel Links are phenomenal. “I welcome input from our members,” he said. “When someone tells me how great the condition of the course is, it makes me work that much harder to make it even better.”

TEE TIMES Island’s End Golf and Country Club professional Ed Burfeindt qualified for the New York State Open, shooting a 71 at The Hamlet in Mount Sinai. Burfeindt finished tied for 11th place in a field of almost 100 players. The finals will be held at Bethpage Black in July. … Cherry Creek Golf Links in Riverhead will hold junior player development programs this summer. Age groups vary with programs available to both experienced and inexperienced players. Contact Vince Scheraldi at (631) 369-6500 for information.