GREENSBORO – Golf competition took a back seat to remembrance this past Tuesday night at Mountain View Country Club when the league paid its respects to longtime league favorite Richard Brochu.
Brochu was a decades-long participant in the league and dedicated much of his life to helping the Tuesday night league survive and thrive. When he passed on June 1 of this year, Brochu left a big void in the league. He was easily one of the most popular and loved league figures.
Known for his impeccable wit, entertaining banter, unmatched memory and his dedication and love for the league and the sport, Brochu was a fixture dating back to the ’90s, when he gave up softball and took up golf. He was a social giant around town and was universally loved by all who came in contact with him.
Nicknamed “The Mayor” because of his extensive knowledge and love of Hardwick, Brochu contributed mightily to the Tuesday night league’s success. Over his 30-odd years helping the league, Brochu’s generosity was unmatched.
His time and energy helped keep the league on its feet. Brochu’s donations included things like grills, refrigerators, picnic tables and, each season over the last decade, he also donated plates, silverware, condiments and cleaning supplies for the league’s barbecues. He would always remain to the very end of the night each week to make sure everything was properly picked up and cleaned.
Brochu, who rarely, if ever, gave a yes or no answer to a simple yes or no question, was a master conversationalist, as are all his brothers and his sister. He loved conversation, was a renowned storyteller and always added funny tidbits to help generate a laugh.
The absolute love for Brochu was on full display Tuesday night. A record crowd of 60 golfers participated in what was billed as “The Mayor’s Cup Part I.” The crowd nearly swelled to close to 100 people as many others showed up just for the post-round ceremonies. They included his wife Marsha, daughters Ashley and Bridget, and brothers Larry, Charlie, Tom and Mike.
There was a big buildup to the evening. Once golf was completed, the league put on a major cookout to help salute the years that Brochu helped run the league cookouts. Players and participants brought dishes and the long barbecue was followed by a series of speeches that paid tribute to Brochu.
Patrick Hussey, who spent many years coordinating with Brochu on league matters, spoke first of Brochu’s many contributions and of his fond memories of them working together. He informed the crowd that Brochu was part of a championship group in 2017, playing with Dan Miko, Dan Hudson, Rob Lewis and Dave Upson. When he finished, Hussey unveiled a new league plaque dedicated to Brochu. He also said the league plans to purchase a new trophy for the end of the year tournament. The tournament will now be billed as “The Mayor’s Cup” in Brochu’s honor.
He was followed by Scott Calderwood, who came to town in the early ’70s and quickly formed a lifelong friendship with Brochu. Calderwood, who along with Richie Ohlrogge, Tom Berd and Robbie McKay, started the Tuesday league back in the mid ’80s, was responsible for getting Brochu to give up softball and to join the golf league.
The two enjoyed a long history together and Calderwood spoke to Brochu’s love of Hardwick, his loyalty, his work ethic, their friendship and credited Brochu for blessing the evening with ideal temperatures and clear blue skies.
Dan Gauthier, one of the league’s longest-tenured players, entertained the crowd with a couple of golf stories and also spoke to Brochu’s wonderful singing voice. Gauthier, Brochu and Richard LeCours were known for their gifted singing in local church services.
Others who spoke to Brochu’s legacy included longtime friends Bear Bessette, Mario Fradette, Matt Kiley, Mike Clark and Dan LeCours. Once the speeches ended, the entire crowd gathered for a photo on the porch outside the shack where Brochu spent many nights cooking for the Tuesday night crowd.
A huge toast to Brochu was staged there as Bessette provided the crowd with drinks to salute him with. It was a wonderful tip of the cap to a much-loved person.
Record attendance golf preceded the ceremony. It was the second week in a row that new attendance records were set. Last week 54 golfers came out. Many arrived Tuesday just to pay tribute to Brochu, including Calderwood, Fradette, Bessette, town manager Opie Upson and his father David, Mike Gauthier, Bob Blake, Slade Farnham and John Robb.
Co-champions were crowned in the night’s scramble, with both net and gross winners. It was a complete dogfight for the net crown that the winning threesome of Dan Gauthier, Mike Gauthier and Brad Ferland ended up capturing by a mere tenth of a stroke.
That winning threesome shot a one-under 34 and netted out, after averaging in their handicaps, a 19.4. Right behind them, shooting a three-under 32 and netting a 19.5, was the foursome of Nate Brown, Ryan Hall, Tim Bellavance and Jake Drown. This same foursome also won second place in the gross category.
Back in a tie for third place with a 20.5 score was Hardwick Town Manager Opie Upson, his father Dave Upson, Calderwood and Aasha Gould. This group, for posterity’s sake, included Richard Brochu on their card.
Tying them for third, after a gross 33, was the foursome of John Robb, Dale Rowell, Rowdy Doyon and Patrick Hussey.
The gross winners, in a bit of a runaway, was the foursome of Joe Mulligan, Neal Mulligan, Patrick Mulligan and John Hogan. They shot a round of six-under par 29 despite some very slick greens.
The Brown, Hall, Drown and Bellavance foursome ended up in second place with their 32 and three teams shot 33 to tie for third. Along with the Robb, Rowell, Doyon and Hussey group, the threesome of Darwin Thompson, Dan Miko and Matt Kiley carded a 33 as well as the foursome of Aaron Molleur, Colton Niemi, Nick Crum and Julius Rosendahl.
Hussey won closest to the pin on three by leaving his drive 35 feet10 inches from the pin. Patrick Mulligan got closest on the fifth hole, landing just six feet, five inches from the cup. Up on eight, Darwin Thompson stuck his approach just one foot, nine inches from the pin. Jake Drown did the honors on nine, landing his chip just nine inches from the pin.
The blissful evening was a memorable tribute to a person the league, his friends and the town will endlessly miss.