Tag Archive | "golf"

Poxabogue Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack.

Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack. Photo courtesy of Poxabogue.

By Tessa Raebeck

On “Poxy days,” Alfred and Robyn Poto would wake up their young children, Jennifer and Eric, get out the family bikes and head down Town Line Road to the Poxabogue Golf Center on Montauk Highway. After breakfast at the Fairway Restaurant, the family would spend their morning hitting golf balls on the range.

“When I think of Poxabogue, I smile,” recalled Jennifer, now a grown woman. “It has a warming sense of tradition and milestones for so many people.”

Opened in 1964, Poxabogue is celebrating 50 years of tradition this year. Originally a small potato farm, the Sagaponack course and driving range was started to give local residents an affordable alternative to the region’s standard of elite, members-only clubs.

Over a half a century, Poxabogue has become the range of choice for locals, tourists and summer residents alike.

“When I was a kid, I loved going to the range, it was a nice little family activity,” said Jennifer Poto, whose family had a summer home in Sagaponack. “It became a family tradition for us. Poxy golf and breakfast both just instantly remind me of my childhood.”

“It was a place where we could interact with our young kids, while surrounded by the beautiful landscape,” her mother, Robyn Poto, said. “No better way to start off a weekend morning, only to end the visit with a great breakfast with Dan [Murray],” who has been operating the Fairway Restaurant, the independently owned diner next to the course, since 1988.

An ad celebrating the opening of Poxabogue Golf Course in 1964. Photo courtesy of the Bridgehampton Historical Society.

An ad celebrating the opening of Poxabogue Golf Course in 1964. Photo courtesy of the Bridgehampton Historical Society.

While the Poto family enjoyed their “Poxy days” on sunny summer mornings, others honed their golf skills at Poxabogue bundled up on winter weekends and after school.

“I’ve always loved hitting golf balls there since I was young,” said Brendon Spooner, who grew up in Wainscott around the corner from the range. “It’s good for learning the game, having the nine-hole course out here.”

When developers threatened to turn the property into a housing development or a miniature golf attraction in the early 2000s, residents—billionaires and longtime locals alike—quickly spoke out to save Southampton’s only public course. In March 2004, the towns of East Hampton and Southampton recognized the public pressure and stepped up to the plate, splitting the cost to purchase Poxabogue.

Southampton bought out East Hampton’s share of the course in 2012 and is now the sole owner. PGA Director of Golf Steven Lee took over the day-to-day operations last June.

Mr. Lee manages the course and runs it as if it’s his own, paying the town in an agreement similar to a lease. He has a relationship with the town, he said, “to provide the people of Southampton and East Hampton with a public golf course in an area that has mostly private clubs.”

“What makes it special is that there’s not a lot of public golf out in the Hamptons,” said Mr. Lee. “And it’s really ironic, because at a time when all of the golf courses started becoming bigger and bigger and more expensive and more challenging—and that’s really one of the things that’s driven people away from the game—now they have Poxabogue, where people are coming out to. They love coming out, they love hitting balls.”

Matt Nielsen started playing at Poxabogue when he was 16. Some of his friends from East Hampton High School worked on the range, driving the caged carts around picking up balls. Mr. Nielsen first came to Poxabogue to perfect his golf game by taking aim at the carts his friends were driving, but he quickly became a regular.

“It’s important because it gives us locals a place to play that we can actually afford,” he said. “Some of the private courses out here cost more money than I will make in my lifetime. It’s a course for real golfers, not the rich stockbroker that just plays to close a business deal.”

Like the regulars on the range, Mr. Lee is hopeful Poxabogue will enjoy another 50 years providing the community with a place to play golf. One of his goals, he said, is to get more of locals to come out and hit balls in the off-season.

“As long as I live here, that’s my course,” Mr. Nielsen said.

Pierson Gets Out Fast

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Whalers Golf: Best performance in 26 years, says coach.

By Gavin Menu

Sean Crowley has been coaching at Pierson High School for 26 years and has seen his share of impressive athletic achievements. But last week at the Noyac Golf Club he witnesses an especially remarkable performance as his team posted a score of 208 in a 9-0 victory over Westhampton Beach.

“It’s the best I can remember in 26 years,” Crowley said of the performance, which featured three scores of 41 from his top three players – seniors Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon and sophomore Ben Kushner. “I am really pleased how much preseason preparation we put in, which will provide important depth throughout the line up.”

Junior Jack Bori shot a 43 against Westhampton, while seniors Brad Reiner and Jake Bennett shot 42 and 45, respectively. Two days later at Rock Hill Country Club in Manorville, Pierson dominated once again in an 8-1 win over Center Moriches. Decker shot a 45 in the top spot, but posted the team’s lone loss of the day, while Bori shot a 4-under 39 to lead the Whalers.

Denon shot a 41 and Kusher, who played junior varsity as a freshman last year, shot a second straight 41 against Center Moriches to impress his coach. Rounding out the Whalers golf roster are Aidan Kirrane, Liam Doyle and Zack Zimmerman.

The win over Center Moriches moved Pierson to 2-0 and set up a huge rivalry week that included a match last night against the Ross School, along with upcoming meetings against Southampton today, September 20 at 4 p.m., and East Hampton this Tuesday, September 25 at 3:30 p.m. Both matches will be held at Noyac.

“The first half of the season we need to win or hold at home, then go on the road in the last week to both Southampton and East Hampton,” Crowley said when asked about the season in general and the hunt for a League VIII crown. “That’s when our senior leadership, depth and maturity will be needed to succeed.”




Pierson Golf Stays Near Top

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By Benito Vila

When a team has a hot streak, they become the ones to beat. So it has been for the upstart Pierson golf team, a 3-1 League VIII mark (5-1 overall) pushing them to towards the top of the standings.

One-sided losses to Southampton and East Hampton cooled the Whalers a bit last week, but an 8-1 win over Westhampton last Wednesday put the squad closer to a first-ever invitation to the county’s spring tournament.

Coach Sean Crowley explained the possibility this week, saying, “The state tournament is a spring event. Most of the schools in western Suffolk also play a spring season and they go for that. Our schools [on the East End] play a fall season.”

 “Still, the county has a spring outing that includes us, usually at Indian Island in Riverhead. Teams that finish above .500 and towards the top of their league in the fall can bring as many as six players. Usually, I go with one or two of my players, even though it’s in the middle of baseball season and no one’s picked up a club for a while.”

Excited at the prospect of taking a bigger contingent this spring, Coach Crowley added, “It’s never been done since I’ve been around.”

What’s Ahead

To secure their spot as a team, the Whalers will need to win matches this week from Center Moriches today at Pine Hills Country Club in Manorville and Ross on Tuesday at East Hampton Golf Club on Abraham’s Path.

The contest with Center Moriches could prove more difficult than last month’s Pierson win at Noyac, the Devils coming on to surprise Southampton at Pine Hills this week. When asked what he has planned to prepare his team for that re-match today, Coach Crowley said, “We’ll talk about the course before we go out to play and we’ll talk about our approach. We want to keep from taking unnecessary chances and we want to play within ourselves.”

Top Scores

In the win over Westhampton, Jake Weingartner brought in the team low, shooting a 42, Gabe Denon, a stroke behind at 43. In all, the Whalers came in with a collective 227, the team low for the Noyac course this year. To earn the three points for the team win Wednesday, Harrison Bayrami, Adam Heller and James Fusco took their pairings.

On Thursday at the South Fork Country Club in Amagansett, East Hampton made off with an 8-1 win, Heller the only Whaler to win his match. Denon posted the team low at 43, with Dillon Decker (45) and Weingartner (48) just strokes behind.

To improve his team’s scores this week, Coach Crowley used practice time “at the range to work on individual shots and individual clubs that have been giving individual players trouble.”

Pierson Freshmen Lead on the Fairways

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Whaler varsity golf is “riding the wave” of success, according to coach Sean Crowley. The team goes into this week’s matches with a 2-1 mark, meeting Ross today on the Noyac Country Club course and Southampton Tuesday on the Southampton Country Club course.

The Pierson team started its season with a 9-0 loss to East Hampton last Wednesday in Noyac. Freshmen Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon brought in the team’s low scores, shooting 45 and 46 respectively.

The one-sided outcome did little to dissuade the Whalers who have since come back to take matches from Westhampton and Center Moriches. In the Westhampton match last Thursday, Jake Weingartner and Harrison Bayrami each shot 44 on the front nine at Westhampton Beach Country Club to lead the team to a 7.5-1.5 win.

In Monday’s match with Center Moriches at Noyac, Decker posted a 42 on the front nine to lead the team. The schools split the six matches, three wins a side, but Pierson finished its collective rounds with a total of 238 strokes to Center Moriches’ 245 to earn the three point for the 6-3 win.

Coach Crowley is using the freshmen duo of Decker and Denon in the top two spots, with junior Weingartner and sophomore Bayrami playing three and four and another freshman, Adam Heller, holding five. There is more depth to the team, seniors Luke Kirrane and James Fusco and freshman Jake Bennett “getting better day by day.”

That improvement has been key to Coach Crowley, who sees all his players working on both their individual game as well as the team game. “They’re taking care of getting better personally and encouraging teammates and celebrating their successes.”

Garypie and Dokjan SHGC Champs

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The Sag Harbor Golf Club held its 2008 championships on September 21. Naree Dokjan took the women’s club title with Lorraine Ingrilli placing second. Marshall Garypie III was the men’s club champion and Tom Ratsep the runner-up. The club’s senior divisions saw Mary Silverman and Russell Miller earn their respective titles, with Linda Early and John Acquino coming in number two.

Claire Blodorn won the women’s nine-hole champion, finishing in front of Lucy Cuomo. Efraim Carballo claimed the 1st flight men’s championship, ahead of Sean Keily. John Falborn fired in a hole-in-one on the 197-yard, par-three eighth hole on his way to becoming the club’s 2008 low gross qualifier.

Time to Shine: Golf Wins First, Volleyball Snaps Streak

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By Benito Vila


Pierson alumni are likely to join the usual crowds of family and friends as the athletic teams celebrate homecoming in the park and in the gym this weekend. The festivities are due to start Friday, with boys’ soccer hosting the Ross School in Mashashimuet Park at 4 p.m. Girls’ volleyball meets Center Moriches indoors at the high school at 4:30 p.m.

Those interested in seeing golf can watch the Whaler team tee off today at the Noyac Golf Club against Southampton at 3:30 p.m. Cross-country fans will have to settle for watching those Whalers run in after-school practices, their next meet not scheduled until next Thursday.





The cross-country teams saw varied competition and courses this past week. The boys ran the 3.1-mile Peconic Invitational in Red Creek Park Thursday with the girls going the same distance in the Bob Pratt Invitational at Sunken Meadow Saturday. Class AA, A, B and C schools participated in those meets giving Pierson runners a sense of what they may see at the state finals.

Kai Leo set the pace for the Whalers Thursday finishing in 19 minutes and 21 seconds, fifth overall. Peter Skerys completed the 1.5-mile freshman course in 10:35, seventh overall.

The girls placed seventh out of 11 teams in Saturday’s meet. Keriann FitzPatrick posted a time of 23:51 to lead her teammates. Ameila Skerys, 24:11, Rafaela Gertler, 24:43, and Brianna Kinnier, 26:37, all came in close behind.

Tuesday took both teams to Indian River Country Club in Riverhead for a meet with Stony Brook. The Bears swept, their boys winning 20-37 and their girls getting away 28-29.

Leo, at 15:24 finished second overall Tuesday, leading his team by running at a 5:55-mile pace across the 2.6-mile-course. Kyle Fetcher, 16:48, was second on the team and fifth overall. James Frazier, 17:04, finished seventh overall and Brendan Sheil, 17:43, was eighth. Coach Joe Amato called the meet “a good showing, but it was not a win.”

Girls’ coach Jim Kinnier had his top three runners take second, third and fourth Tuesday but it was not enough for a win. Keriann FitzPatrick had her squad’s best time at 17:33, with Skerys, 17:43, and Gertler, 18:22, getting in just after her.

This weekend, the girls are going to Richmond, VA for the McDonald’s All-American Cross-Country Festival. The Harborfest 5K, a fund-raiser run earlier this month, made the trip south possible.


Girls’ Volleyball

The Lady Whaler volleyball team had its four-game win streak snapped at home Tuesday by first-place Shelter Island, 3-1. The team is now 4-2, tied for second place in League VIII, 4-3 overall.

Tuesday’s match had Shelter Island take game one 25-8. Pierson, led by co-captain Brianna Hand, out-hustled the Lady Indians for a 25-23 win in game two, but in the end the visitors prevailed 25-18 and 25-22 to close out play.

Coach Stacey Springer praised Hand saying, “She wanted to play so badly. She was hurt, but taped herself up. That helped us come together and stay strong in the middle.” In describing the difference between the two teams, Coach Springer noted, “They had one good server and we needed to cover [the floor] better during blocks and hits.”

In last Thursday’s 3-0 sweep of Stony Brook, Amanda Holder had four kills and two blocks to lead the team. Co-captain Devon Larsen added three digs and three aces. Coach Springer called it “a great game. Everybody played well. They were digging and covering; it was awesome.”

In tomorrow’s match with powerhouse Center Moriches, Coach Springer expects tough games and is looking for “a strong start.”


Boys’ Soccer

The Whalers had their first chance for points get away 3-2 last Friday when Greenport knocked in goal with three minutes left in a second overtime. Kyle McGowin scored both goals for Pierson, the first one giving the boys the lead in the early going and the second one tying the score in the second half.

A trip to Port Jefferson Monday put the team’s record at 0-4 in League VIII, the Royals racking up a 4-1 win. Coach Donnelly McGovern described the loss as “not as disheartening as the Greenport one,” adding, “We possessed the ball very well and had our chances. We were in the game despite the final score”.

In considering his team’s morale and play of late, Coach McGovern feels the players “are seeing where the breakdowns are occurring, so they are not seeing it as a wasted effort. Things we have been working on in training have been improving, but not to the point where it has brought us a victory.”

“Collectively, I was very pleased with our speed of play in the last two matches and the manner in which we have worked to possess the ball as a group.  This is something that must continue to improve when we’re under pressure because obviously we are having trouble finishing our opportunities.

For one, McGowin shares his coach’s optimism, saying after practice on Tuesday, “We think we should win every game. We’ve just been disappointed so far. Coach has been working with us to improve our mental and physical approach when we’re on the attack.” Underclassman Gabe Garro chimed in, “We’re going to pull through. We’ll get some wins in.”

Jake Federico, who has played a variety of positions in the mid-field, likes the team’s prospects, saying, “We have the potential to play with anyone. We’ve been in every game. We just have not put it all together yet. And that’s what we have to do.”


Boys’ Golf

Whaler varsity golf posted its first win Tuesday out-dueling Ross 7-2 at the East Hampton Golf Club. Eighth graders Dillon Decker and Gabe Denon, sophomore Jimmy Fusco and freshman Harrison Bayrami took their matches, Fusco and Bayrami bringing in team-low 45s.

Coach Sean Crowley reported afterwards, “It was a nice win. The young golfers came through for the team. The finishing holes were very difficult and the pressure was on.”  The boys are now 1-3 overall.

In last Thursday’s loss to Center Moriches at the Pine Hill Country Club, sophomore Jake Weingartner recorded a team-low round of 48.

Whalers Tee Off for Season

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Pierson varsity golf coach Sean Crowley has high numbers to round out his varsity and JV rosters and hopes they’ll all shoot low numbers as the season goes on. One of the biggest surprises so far is the play of eighth grader Dillon Decker.

“Dillon worked at his golf all summer, and as a result enters the season playing the best on the team,” reported Coach Crowley on Wednesday. Decker recorded the team’s low score at 47 playing at number one in the match with Westhampton at the Noyac Country Club Tuesday.

Decker’s score tied that of his Westhampton counterpart. Playing at number six, fellow eighth-grader Christian Deger won his first varsity match with a round of 51. Although Jake Weingartner recorded a 49 for the second day in a row, it was not enough to fend off Westhampton as they went home with a 7.5–1.5 win.

In Monday’s season-opening match with East Hampton, captain Ryan Miller played number one and posted a team-low score of 49. The Bonackers made off with the match at all six positions, recording a 9-0 final.

The varsity and JV teams have had a solid turnout once again this year. Coach Crowley also has James Fusco, Harrison Bayrami and Dane Riva on his roster. JV coach Clint Schulman?has middle schoolers Cooper Marienfeld and Adam Heller on his roster, along with a high school contigent of juniors Leftheri Sryianos, Celia Gianis, Chloe Laundrie and freshman Emily Verneuille. 

Varsity plays Center Moriches away on Thursday and the Ross School at East Hampton next this Tuesday. JV is set to play two home matches this week at Noyac, with Center Moriches on Thursday and Westhampton on Wednesday.