Down the Fairway: Hales Mills owners aim to please
Golf may be their passion, but customer service is their specialty.
The new owners of Hales Mills Country Club vow to set the bar extremely high in terms of the total golfing experience at their 17-year-old club, located just off Route 29 on Steele Road in Johnstown.
Brothers Ray and Roy Dykeman are dairy farmers, while their good friend, Gene Bargstedt, also has been a partner in that business. Ironically, the Hales Mills CC property was once a dairy farm.
But the other two owners in the five-man group are also specialists in customer service. Roy Lomanto ran Perry Lanes in Johnstown for many years, while Rick Cheney has experience as both a chef and a golf course employee at several area courses, including Amsterdam Municipal and Fox Run.
“We’ll set the bar high. We’re not messing around,” said Ray Dykeman, who serves as the managing group’s spokesman. “We’ve done tremendous work on our greens, and there is more to come. People who haven’t seen our course in a while will see noticeable differences. All the improvements we’ve made have created quite a buzz.”
Dykman, a former member of Rolling Hills Country Club, said his group hasn’t spared any expense in improving both the golf course and its beautiful clubhouse.
“Because of what we did, a lot of other courses in our area have noticed. I think they’ll be forced into making some big improvements also,” said Dykeman, who not only is an avid golfer, but also a big bowling fan.
“My brother hung out with Roy Lomanto at Perry Lanes, and I hung out at Imperial Lanes with Karl Wolf,” Dykeman said. “We all became friends over the years because we bowled together.
“Rick Cheney is a golfer. He’s had experience at the Turkey Farm, as well as at Fox Run and Amsterdam Municipal. Rick will mainly run the pro shop for us. He’ll sell golf clubs and golf apparel. Gene basically owns an excavating company now. His job will be landscaping and building repairs. Lomanto, because of his many years in the bowling business, will be our general manager. He’s so good with people. Me and Roy will kind of be the overseers of the course.”
Dykeman said most of the early improvements have centered around fixing the cart paths and re-sanding the bunkers. The managing group hired a new chef, and they are pushing several early-season specials to bring in customers.
“We’re doing a special Mother’s Day brunch that will help kick off the season. We’re also have a men’s day every Wednesday and a ladies’ day every Thursday. We’re going to have a couples day on Fridays,” Dykeman said.
The Mother’s Day brunch runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and features crepes, waffles, bourbon bacon, benedict bar, fruit, mussels, salads and more. There also will be prime rib and ham carving stations, plus side dishes, pastries and desserts. Price is $24 for adults, $10 for children under 12 and free for children under 5.
“We have leagues on Monday nights, and we’re hoping to get more leagues involved,” Dykeman said. “Hopefully, the women’s day will get us more women playing. The men’s days have already brought in 45 players the first night and 48 the next. We’re giving away nice prizes for that.”
Dykeman said two of the most memorable aspects of any visit to Hales Mills will be the beautiful scenery and the magnificent clubhouse.
“The views we have are awesome,” he said.
“We are not just owners. We are golfers who want our course to be the best in the area. We’ll do everything we can to make that happen.”
OPEN QUALIFIER SET
A field of 32 amateurs and 40 professionals will be vying for a handful of qualifying spots in the United States Open Local Qualifier Wednesday at Albany Country Club.
Among the top professionals will be Cobleskill Golf & Country Club assistant pro Scott Berliner, the defending Northeastern New York PGA Player of the Year; Tom Oppedisano of McGregor Links Country Club, Ron Philo Jr. of Stowe, Vt., Steve Vatter of Capital Hills at Albany and Siena graduate Bryan Bigley, who now competes on the pro mini tours.
Notable amateurs include defending Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Stroke Play champion Jim Welch of Olde Kinderhook, defending CRAGA Player of the Year Jim Gifford of Mohawk Golf Club, Dan Russo of Rolling Hills Country Club, Dave Hayes of Schuyler Meadows, former Eagle Crest Shootout titlist Todd Czepiel of Shaker Ridge CC, Victor Fox of Normanside Country Club, Justin Deitz of The Edison Club and David Mooradian of the Country Club of Troy.
7:45 — Wesley Cupp, Chris DeJohn.
7:54 — Jim Welch, Scott Berliner.
8:03 — John Murphy, Clark Leonelli, Marc-Antoine Lamoureux.
8:12 — Stuart Drahota, Dan Russo, Alex Gibson.
8:21 — Matt Horton, Lance Hope, Scott Battiste.
8:30 — Josh Holling, Brian Levi, Billy Houle.
8:39 — Derek Gillespie, Chris Sanger, Tom Oppedisano.
8:48 — Luis-Pierre Godin, Vincent Dumouchel, Jess Esposito.
8:57 — Bryan Bigley, Noah Norton, Jim Gifford.
9:06 — Brad Lusenhop, Jacob Eckley, Jamie Lovemark.
9:15 — Matt Stefanik, Zach Scala, Jeffrey Palmerino.
9:24 — Spencer Sautin, Luca Greco, Patrick Boudreault.
9:33 — Ron Philo, David Gunas Jr., Matthew Parrattino.
7:45 — Brendan Jeffes, Matt Canavan, David Hayes.
7:54 — Todd Czepiel, Kevin Haller, Tim Johnson.
8:03 — David May, Dominic Kanemy, Garren Poirier.
8:12 — Kevin Van Ort, Daniel McCarthy, Michael Tulacz.
8:21 — Davis Jensen, Phil Cardwell, Jocelyn Falardeau.
8:30 — Patrick Murphy, Andrew Rathbun, Joshua Cupp.
8:39 — Steve Vatter, Steve Quillinan, Gerald Fitzgerald.
8:48 — Jim Maynard, Robert Feldman, Taylor Walsh.
8:57 — Yanik Laforest, Chris Ferraro, Victor Fox.
9:06 — Justin Deitz, Jesse Muller, Doug Kleeschulte.
9:15 — Glenn Davis, William Virkler, Massimo Roch.
9:24 — Jim Hirah, David Mooradian, Steve Hoffman.
Entry deadlines are approaching for the first two New York State Golf Association events to be held in the Capital Region this season. The deadline for the New York State Four-Ball and Senior Four-Ball Championship, to be held May 19-20 at Leatherstocking Golf Club, is Tuesday. Entry fee is $300 per team, and the price includes three rounds of golf, cart for both competitive rounds, player banquet and tee gifts and awards. The other event is the New York State Amateur Golf Championship, to be played July 23-25 at Schuyler Meadows Club. Entry fee is $150 per player. Entry deadline is
The Tri-County Golf Association Match Play Championship, one of the first local majors for area amateurs, will be held Friday through Sunday at Colonie Golf & Country Club.
Local pros will compete in the Pro Classic No. 2 at Colonie Golf & Country Club Monday.
Today is the final round of the Stadium Classic. The first round was played under a scramble format. Today will be a best-ball format.
Stadium Golf Club will offer a summer golf league for junior boys and girls. Juniors can play Mondays at 12:45 p.m., Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m. or Wednesdays at 1 p.m., beginning the week of June 24. The program will run for nine weeks. Cost is $185 per player and includes golf, prizes, lunch for the last week, a driving range punch card, a golf towel and an hour clinic on either July 20 or Aug. 3. Call 374-9104, Ext. 1, for more information.
Airway Meadows will host the “Swinging for the Arts” tournament June 1. Cost for the 18-hole scramble will be $85 and includes golf, cart, continental breakfast, goodie bag and picnic lunch. Entry deadline is May 15. Call Ruth Pouliot at 584-7887 for more information.
Eric Freer holed out with a pitching wedge on the 14th hole at Briar Creek.
Also at Briar Creek, Chuck Carrey of Schenectady used a pitching wedge to ace the seventh hole.
At the Country Club of Troy, Lonnie Palmer hit a 9-iron for a hole-in-one on the 124-yard 15th hole. It was his second career ace in 50 years of competition.
Joe Muscatello recorded his second career hole-in-one with a 5-iron on the 160-yard ninth hole at Van Schaick Island Country Club. Muscatello has been a member of VSI CC for 39 years.
Barb Terpening aced the third hole at McGregor Links Country Club.
There were three holes-in-one this week at Schenectady Mun-icipal Golf Course. Bill Schaaf hit a 3-hybrid for his hole-in-one on the 173-yard 15th hole. Andy Cook holed out on the 17th hole while competing in the GE Lab league. Sean O’Brien used a 9-iron to hole out on the third hole while playing in the Misfits league.
Mitch Kierpiec eagled the fifth hole, and Chris Dulysz eagled the 18th hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
At Saratoga Lake Golf Club, Bill Stanley posted the first eagle of the season by holing out with a 7-wood on the 432-yard 18th hole.