By Brett Peruzzi, Contributing Writer
Region – For decades golf has been a popular pastime for seniors, but Dick Lisi of Sturbridge and Joe Condelli of Auburn see it as not only a sport but a social opportunity as well. That’s why they and Lisi’s brother Tom formed the Worcester County Senior Golf Club for both men and women over age 60.
“Dick Lisi and I, with Tom Lisi as a consultant, formed the club in November 2018,” recalled Condelli. “During the 2018 season, Dick and I played with a similar traveling golf group in western Massachusetts, and we felt that the same type of club could be a fun experience for central Massachusetts seniors.”
The club travels to play 18 holes at a different golf course in central Massachusetts one Thursday a month from May to October.
“We try to negotiate the best deal possible with each course,” said Dick Lisi. “Our greens fees are in the range of $35 to $50 for 18 holes and a cart. We also have each of our golfers contribute $5 for prizes, which include prizes for the three players closest to the holes on all par threes. We also have chipping and putting contests for prizes.”
Lisi stressed the enjoyable, inclusive nature of the events over a winner-take-all competition. “Usually we give out 18 to 20 prizes at each event. Our idea is to have a good number of members go home a happy winner,” he said.
“Our first golf event took place in May 2019 with 34 players,” he explained. “We have grown to 50 to 55 players per event, and we are still growing, through word of mouth and media coverage.”
“We want to continue to recruit new members and at the same time we want to keep our club manageable and continue having fun, quality events,” Condelli added.
The club gives members an opportunity to play together at a discount at premium courses in the area. Foursomes, threesomes, twosomes, and singles are all welcome. All levels of golfers are encouraged to join.
Past club events have been held at venues like Green Hill Golf Course in Worcester, Heritage Country Club in Charlton, Blackstone National Golf Club in Sutton, Cyprian Keyes Golf Club in Boylston, and Shining Rock Golf Club in Northbridge.
While the club does not have dues, it asks that members donate $25 to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield.
“We wanted to contribute to a cause that helped families and have heard of many cases where children were cared for regardless of family insurance or income,” observed Condelli.
Lisi takes great satisfaction from the community of golfing seniors he and Condelli have created. “I really enjoy showing up at a golf course on our event days and seeing so many of our members talking, laughing, and ready to enjoy a great day of golf. It’s great putting faces to the names of new members that we have only known previously via e-mail,” he said.
“Our club is both a golf and social club,” Lisi affirmed. “New friendships continue to develop just as mine and Joe’s did when we met at the western Massachusetts golf group in 2018. We would like to see member carpooling evolve as friendships solidify.”