Western Massachusetts Family Golf Center is one western mass attraction that I frequent regularly. Centrally located on Route 9 in Hadley, it includes a driving range, a miniature-golf course, batting cages, a pedal car track, and even a golf simulator. Sometimes you will even find a legendary PGA Tour pro as I did.
I am primarily a driving range patron due to my constant frustrations with my swing. One can either tee up off the mats or off the grass for a dollar more. I usually pay the extra dollar because it more accurately reflects hitting the ball on a golf course.
Last week I went to the driving range to play with my new driver. It is a Taylormade Rocketballz Stage 2 and I was consistently launching golf balls to the back of the range. My driver has always been my weakest club. I just could never get it together. Of course, once I did, the rest of my game suffered. I couldn’t even hit my wedges, which I have never had a problem with in the past―such is golf.
Because I was having such a hard time last week, I bought two large buckets and a small bucket to fix what should never have needed fixing. It was like I was starting over. I kept hitting balls off to the right like I had never played before. Sigh.
I would occasionally pick the driver back up and continued to nail shots to the back of the range.
Eventually, I grew tired both physically and mentally. I noticed a small crowd gathering at what looked like a presentation of sorts. I figured that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain so I moseyed on over and joined them.
Once there, I learned that the gentleman who was giving the presentation was Bob Toski, a former PGA Tour Professional who was number 1 in money earned in 1954―making him a contemporary of the likes of Ben Hogan and a young Arnold Palmer. Palmer actually turned pro in ’54.
Why was Toski at a driving range in Hadley? He was born in the Williamsburg village of Haydenville and learned to golf at Northampton Country Club. So Hampshire County is where his roots are, even if he calls Boca Raton home these days.
Earlier this year, the Pioneer Valley native was inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the World Golf Teacher’s Hall of Fame in 1990.
I took away some tips while watching Toski’s presentation, but I don’t think that I have the coordination at 40 that Toski has at 86. For example, to demonstrate the importance of balance, Toski hit the ball with a running start like a hockey player would hit a hockey puck as portrayed by Adam Sandler’s character in Happy Gilmore. He then did the opposite by running backwards toward the ball before striking it. Both times he made solid contact to the awe and applause of everyone watching.
Although I can’t say that the lessons learned by watching and listening to Toski will result in any amateur championships, I was encouraged by another PGA pro who sold me my new driver. He was at Toski’s presentation so I approached him and told him that I was very happy with my new driver. The golf pro shook my hand and said that I swung well. Apparently he saw me hit my driver, but not my irons. Regardless, it felt good.
For more attractions in the Pioneer Valley and western Massachusetts, check out the “Western Mass Attractions” category of this blog. If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.