Down the Fairway: Former assistant pro Jorgensen returns as Edison Club’s GM
After nearly a quarter of a century, Mark Jorgensen has returned to The Edison Club, and in a way, he feels like he never left.
An assistant pro at the Devereaux Emmet-designed 27-hole layout in 1988 and 1989, Jorgensen served as the head pro at both Hiland Golf Club (1990-1993) and Battenkill Golf Club (1994-97) before landing a job as both the head pro and general manager at his home course, Yahnundasis Golf Club, in New Hartford. He remained there for 15 years.
But he returned to The Edison Club this season to serve as the new general manager, and he’s thrilled to be back.
“The reason I was glad I got the job at Yahnundasis was that I grew up in New Hartford,” Jorgensen said. “It was a very high-end private club, and it was a nice place to work.
“But when I heard there was an opening for general manager at The Edison Club, I was very interested. I always considered the Edison Club to be one of the better clubs in the Albany area, and for me personally, it was very important that the job was strictly as the general manager and not as the head pro, as well. The other reason I really liked the idea of coming back was that the Capital District is such a great place to live with the Saratoga region, Lake George and the greater Albany area having so much to do.”
Jorgensen, who was an accomplished player in his youth and demonstrated his business expertise by bringing the New York State Open to the area when he was at Hiland in the early 1990s, was surprised that the transition back here has been so smooth.
“I’m excited to be back at The Edison Club. A lot of the members here today were still there when I was an assistant pro all those years ago. When I walked into the clubhouse that first day, a lot of them remembered me. It was like seeing a lot of old friends.”
Jorgensen said he brings a var iety of business-oriented views to go along with his golf expertise in his new job.
“I think the biggest thing is that I want to focus on helping our members enjoy their time at the club. I want to create membership value,” he said. “Those are our goals.
“Most private clubs are looking for new members, and we’re also looking. But we have a solid base right now. Like any club, we could use a few more, but we have a few special incentives to bring a few more in. We have different types of memberships available. Right now, I would say we have close to 500 members of various types.”
Jorgensen said the size of the club and the fact there are three different nines to play make it very appealing for members who like to play often.
“That’s one of the beauties of having 27 holes here,” he said. “The members get to play almost any time of the day during any season, with just a few exceptions. In general, there is always a chance to play. I would say The Edison Club is a very social club and a very golf-oriented club. A lot of people here play a lot of golf. It’s a fun place to play, but we also have our share of social functions. Our mission is to make it a fun experience for all the members.”
The Edison Club is definitely fortunate to have such an experienced and capable staff. Head pro Craig McLean grew up in the Capital
Region and worked at Mohawk Golf Club as an assistant before working as the head pro at the Dorset Field Club in Vermont. Assistant pro Nathan Kain is one of the better players in the Northastern New York PGA assistants’ association.
Speaking of The Edison Club, the Edison Invitational, the area’s premier one-day event for scratch players, will tee off Monday afternoon with an all-star field, as usual.
Competition will be divided into regular, senior and super senior divisions.
Among the top players in the regular division are defending champion Dan Russo of Rolling Hills at Antlers Country Club, Todd Czepiel and Bryan Gorman of Shaker Ridge Country Club, Kevin Cassidy of Albany National, former Shaker Ridge CC standout Jim Cocca, Eagle Crest general manager Bill Paulsen, former New York State Mid-Amateur champion Jim Welch of Olde Kinderhook, host standout Justin Deitz, Mohawk Golf Club stars Tom Salmon, Chris Barach and Mike Wheeler; Mike McCarroll of Saratoga National, Dave Hayes of Schuyler Meadows, Steve Owens of Normanside Country Club and Louis Walsh of Ballston Spa Country Club.
John Deitz of the host club, Gary Grimaldi of Shaker Ridge Country Club and Ralph Maru of Van Patten top the senior division players.
I was thrilled to play Schuyler Meadows Club for the first time this week with host member Dave Hayes, his favorite best-ball partner Dan Russo of Rolling Hills at Antlers and Times Union golf writer Pete Dougherty.
We had a blast, although Dougherty and myself have perhaps a combined 10 percent of our playing partners’ ability.
Russo has won numerous Capital Region Amateur Golf Association player of the year awards and has secured just about every major tournament title in the area, including several Troy Invitationals. He has also competed in the U.S. Senior Open.
Hayes, a former U.S. Amateur competitor and Troy Invy champ, has been a member of the CRAGA Gazette Cup team for years. They both play to 0 handicaps.
Unfortunately, Hayes and Dougherty rallied from four holes back to tie the best-ball match on the final hole. I let Russo down on the back nine after pulling a groin muscle in a bunker, but we plan on making this an annual match with a special cup.
Meanwhile, Hayes, who played inspired golf on the back nine after making a huge bet with Russo, gave us a tour of Schuyler Meadows’ many improvements during our round. Numerous trees have been taken down, and many bunkers have replaced them. There are now 71 bunkers on the course.
Not only is this historic course one of the most challenging in the area, but the greens were the quickest I’ve ever putted on. Fortunately, they rolled true, so I made a few here and there on the front nine before my game collapsed. I wish I had already received the putting lesson that Gazette general manager Dan Beck gave me during the Newspaper in Education Junior Championship Friday at Schenectady Municipal. It would have helped.
This week’s CRAGA Stroke Play Championship was played at Schuyler Meadows, and many of the area’s premier players got a chance to play this revamped jewel of a layout.
u Town of Colonie hosts the next Eastern New York Golf Association tournament Wednesday.
u Area women from the Northeastern Women’s Golf Association compete in the Taconic Invitational Monday through Wednesday and the Cobleskill Invitational on Friday.
u The third annual Jack Scaccia Sr. Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled for Aug. 13 at 7 a.m. Entry fee is $125 and includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, a gift bag and golf cart. Proceeds will provide scholarship assistance for local youth bowlers in Scaccia’s name. Call Chris at 337-8128 for reservations.
u Mohawk Golf Club hosts the ALS Pro-Am for Northeastern New York PGA club pros and top area amateurs on Monday.
uThe Gazette Senior County Amateur Golf Championship will be played Aug. 16-17 at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. Net prizes will be awarded to winners of the 50-59, 60-69 and 70-plus divisions. Only the top 20 and ties gross advance to the final round. Defending champion Jim Mueller won’t compete because of surgery.
u The Union College Golf/Basketball Fundraiser will be held at Mohawk Golf Club Sept. 24 at noon. Entry fee is $550 per team and it includes lunch at 11 a.m. and appetizers and awards following golf. The format is either two best balls of four or a scramble. It’s your choice. Contact Mary Ellen Burt at 388-6546 for more information.
u The Peter Famiano Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 9, at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. There will be a continental breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by a scramble with a shotgun start at 9. There will be gross and net winners. The cost is $300 per foursome, and includes green fees, cart, continental breakfast and buffet following golf. Interested golfers can sign up by calling Bob Pezzano at 346-9297 before Aug. 24. The tournament will be limited to 30 foursomes. The event is held in honor of Peter Famiano, a member of the Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame.
u Saratoga National is the site for the fifth annual Teeing Off on Cancer Golf Classic, to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society Aug. 27. Entry fee is $250 and includes golf, cart, lunch and dinner. There will be a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Call Darren Bennett at 580-5363 or Michele Mack at 454-4054 for more information.
Kathy Jones wielded a 9-iron for her hole-in-one on the 135-yard ninth hole at Airway Meadows.
At the Country Club of Troy, Grafton resident Gene Brown aced the 129-yard second hole with a 6-iron.
Nelson Davis holed out with a 6-iron on the 150-yard sixth hole while playing in a fundraiser at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Jack Lyons hit a 5-iron for his hole-in-one on the 150-yard 13th hole.
Mike Baker swung a 4-hybrid for an ace on the 165-yard 12th hole at Mohawk River Country Club & Chateau.
Matt Sames holed out with a 5-hybrid for a double-eagle on the 17th hole at The Edison Club.
Jerry Nethaway (third hole), Bill Brzezicki (third hole) and James Phelps (sixth hole) recorded eagles at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
Seth Adams eagled the ninth hole while competing in the Mohawk Valley Golf League at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Mark Cintula eagled the ninth hole while playing in the A.O.H. league at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Marc Blackstone eagled the ninth hole while playing in the City Hall league.
Clyde Driggers eagled the fourth hole while participating in the Frog Island league at Mechanicville Golf Club.
At Airway Meadows, Donna Denue eagled the fifth hole.