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Volunteer of the Year - Fred Fawcett, Orange Hills Country Club
Club of the Year - H. Smith Richardson Golf Course
Dick Tettelbach Player of the Year - John Flaherty, TPC River Highlands
Dick Siderowf Senior Player of the Year - Bill Hermanson, Black Hall Club
2015 Hall of Fame Inductions - Richard J. Zanini and J.J. Henry
Fred Fawcett first became interested in golf when he was a teenager bussing tables at Pine Valley Golf Club in Southington. When he became a waiter he had enough money in his pocket to go out and play.
“We were right there at the golf course working in the restaurant,” recalls the 70 year-old retired attorney, “so every chance we had we’d get out there and play.”
Fred was born on January 31, 1945 in New York City. “It was during the war, so my parents got an extra food ration the day I arrived. I like to think I was an early contributor to the Fawcett household.”
The family moved to Bristol when Fred was five years old, and he’s been in Connecticut ever since. He went to Bristol Eastern High School where “my brief basketball career began and ended,” then on to the University of Connecticut. After graduating from UConn in 1966, Fred went straight to UConn Law School earning his J.D. in 1969.
“Golf and really all sports were always a part of my life,” says Fred, “When we were in law school we started a tournament we called The Asylum Open, because the Law School was on Asylum Avenue. Students and even some professors played and it was a lot of fun.”
Fred went into private practice for ten years before becoming an Assistant States Attorney in Bridgeport. The family settled in Orange in 1979 and with two sons and a daughter Fred took a leading role in youth sports in the town. He became president of the Orange Little League and Babe Ruth League as his boys advanced through the ball fields, and helped launch a girls softball program when his daughter was old enough to swing a bat.
Fred struck up a friendship with Bud Smith, the patriarch of Orange Hills Country Club and began to play his golf at the Smith family’s course. When the CSGA’s Bruce Guthrie asked Fred to be the Club Representative for Orange Hills Fred quickly accepted.
“Bruce was the one who first got me interested in volunteering with the CSGA over fifteen years ago. I liked being out there helping the players find their golf ball or providing any help I could.”
Soon after he began volunteering at tournaments Fred became interested in studying the Rules of Golf.
“Just listening to the Rules Officials discuss various situations got me excited about learning all the Rules,” says Fred, “I thought of it as a real intellectual challenge and I started thinking maybe I can try to master all of this information.”
After he retired in 2009 Fred immersed himself in studying the Rules with the same vigor he had applied to studying and practicing law for more than forty years. He attended Rules of Golf workshops and soon became a certified Rules Official for the CSGA.
“I really enjoy the CSGA,” says Fred, “The tournaments and schedules are so well organized, and it’s a lot of fun to be with fellow officials and volunteers. Our host courses are just great, and the people couldn’t be nicer when we visit these clubs. It’s a wonderful environment, seeing really good golf from players who are gracious and appreciative of what we do.”
As the CSGA has taken a more active role in assisting Connecticut’s high school golf championships, Fred has also been the lead official at the CIAC Girl’s Championship.
“I look forward to all our tournaments, but the girls championship played at Orange Hills is one of my favorites. It’s exciting to see how enthusiastic these young women are about golf. They are such an important part of the next generation of golfers.”
Fred has continued to bring people into the CSGA the way Bruce Guthrie once did. Still the Club Representative for Orange Hills, Fred has taken on the recruitment of new club reps at other clubs in his role as a Regional Vice President for the CSGA.
“Fred Fawcett is one of the best people we have in our organization,” says CSGA Executive Director Mike Moraghan. “He’s a sharp guy and an outstanding Rules man with great enthusiasm. Whatever the assignment Fred is always willing to help, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”
The Connecticut State Golf Association has named H. Smith Richardson Golf Course, located in Fairfield, as the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Club Award. The club is being honored for its record of supporting and advancing the game of golf, supporting amateur golf and serving as a model of excellence to other Connecticut golf clubs. H. Smith Richardson has a distinguished history of hosting tournaments, instructing junior and adult golfers and encouraging league and tournament play.
In response to the need for more access to public golf facilities in Fairfield County, “Smith” was opened in 1972. Hal C. Purdy and Malcolm Purdy, who were active in the Northeast in the sixties and seventies, designed the layout using 153 acres of a 271 acre parcel donated by H. Smith Richardson who was president of the Vicks Chemical Company.
Today, H. Smith Richardson serves 60,000 Fairfield residents plus many others from all over Fairfield County and play each year averages 45,000 rounds. The course covers varied terrain, including some of the highest views in town, and features a wide variety of uphill, downhill, short, long, straight, or dogleg shots and large, undulating greens. Tees range from 5,334 to 6,662 yards.
Mickey Homa was the first golf pro at the course serving from its opening until his retirement in 1995. Homa apprenticed under Tommy Armour at Rockledge Golf Club after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and then worked as a Playing Pro at Westchester Country Club from 1950-1962. He was the Head Pro at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton for ten years before coming to the “Smith” in 1972. Homa had some memorable achievements in golf, winning three straight Westchester Opens (1955 to 1957), and competing in three PGA Championships (1954, 1959, and 1963) and eight U.S. Opens (1951, ‘52, ‘53, ‘56, ‘57, ‘59, ‘60 and ‘64).
H. Smith Richardson has consistently supported amateur golf through club-sponsored activities, hosting state competitions, and member participation in CSGA events. The club has hosted the Connecticut Public Links more than any other course (1989, 2007 and 2012); USGA Public Links qualifying multiple times; and the Connecticut Senior Amateur in 2004 and the 2011 Mixed Team Championship. More than sixty players from the course have played in CSGA events in the recent past and the club has provided many dedicated volunteers over the years.
H. Smith Richardson employs three Class A PGA professionals who, in addition to providing private and small group instruction, run a series of youth and adult programs. Introduction to Golf clinics and camps are geared for youths who are just starting out while the Junior Players Camp is for the more serious young golfer. The team also hosts free, weekly junior open play at the Carl Dickman Par 3 golf course in town. Adult Coffee and Happy Hour Clinics are held regularly each spring teaching all aspects of the game.
The golf course has an innovative pace of play policy where groups are given Pace of Play Cards when teeing off that list the times that they are to be on any given tee. The expected pace of play is no more than 2 hours, 8 minutes to play the front and no more than 2 hours and 7 minutes for the back. Rangers monitor the pace but, according to Jim Alexander, Head Professional, “we have turned everyone into a ranger and it is very effective”.
Several clubs and many leagues play at H. Smith Richardson. Independently operated and self-governing, the Men’s Club, Women’s Club, Women’s 9 Hole League and Senior Men’s Club are all open to residents and non-residents. Each club has a full schedule of league and tournament play and combined have over 650 members.
H. Smith Richardson is managed by Jim Alexander, Head Professional and Peter Grace, Golf Course Superintendent with oversight from the Town of Fairfield Golf Commission (Ryan Morris, Chairman) and the Fairfield Parks & Recreation Department (Gerry Lombardo, Director).