Golf Night Milestone Year, Bittersweet Goodbye
GREENSBORO – The 2022 Tuesday night golf league at Mountain View Country Club experienced probably its most successful year in 2022, but the many milestones were bittersweet because the league also had to say goodbye to one of its most popular members ever, Richard Brochu.
One of the most recognizable figures in Hardwick, Brochu passed on June 1, at the age of 72. It was a very sad day for not only his wife Marsha, whom he married on June 2, 1973, but also for his family, the town, his friends and the league.
The Tuesday night golf league responded by making sure Richard Brochu’s legacy would live on. League members chipped in and purchased a 60-year perpetual plaque that has Tuesday night league champions dating back to 2001. Brochu was a league champion three times in that span and the plaque was dedicated to him.
In addition, the plaque also recognized the league’s founding foursome, Scott Calderwood, Robbie McKay, Tom Berd and Richie Ohlrogge, as they started the league circa 1985. It also honors two other popular league members who have passed on, McKay and Terry Magoon.
The highlight of the season arrived on June 28, when the league honored Brochu during a wonderfully sunny evening. It was the most attended event in the history of the league as a record 60 golfers participated in the night’s scramble. The crowd swelled to over 100 for the post-tourney banquet, which included most of Brochu’s immediate family. Several people spoke to Brochu’s legacy, including Pat Hussey, Scott Calderwood, Mario Fradette, Matt Kiley, Dan Gauthier, Bear Bessette, Mike Clark and Dan LeCours.
The new plaque was unveiled that evening as Marsha Brochu and her daughters, Ashley and Bridget, got to view it for the first time. The league also announced that evening that they were purchasing a new league trophy in Brochu’s honor and naming it “The Mayor’s Cup.” Brochu developed “The Mayor” as a nickname because of his unmatched knowledge of Hardwick.
On Sept 25, at the end-of-the-year Tuesday night tourney, Marsha Brochu was on hand and unveiled the newly purchased “Mayor’s Cup”, an Italian silver cup trophy. That afternoon, she christened a new league tradition, opening Brochu’s favorite beverage, a Budweiser, and pouring it into the cup so the newly crowned league champions could drink from it.
The winning fivesome of George Gattone, Rowdy Doyon, Jeremy Kaufman, Mike Clark and Pat Hussey, shooting a seven-under 63, were very happy to be the first to initiate the new tradition. Also on hand that evening was Brochu’s daughter Bridget, brothers Larry, Charlie and Bernie Brochu along with his wife Nancy.
It was a colorful season dedicated to a colorful man. Warm spring weather allowed things to begin on May 3 when 17 players opened the season. Very early on, beginning on May 10, the league began attracting scores of new participants as Dale Rowell, Brian Bailey, Mike Cloutier, Roger Boone, Andy Lemieux, Greg Edwards, Josh Ledwith and Aaron Molleur arrived and league numbers swelled to 37 players.
The contests early on were dedicated to seasonal pests, beginning on May 24, with the Black Fly Open, the May 31, Wild Turkey Open, the June 7, June Bug Open and the June 14, Horsefly Roundup. In the roundup, Mike Clark set a record, winning $19 for the biggest single payout in league history.
Dress codes were a big thing early in the season. Golfers wore black for the Black Fly tourney, hunting colors for the Wild Turkey Open and anything ugly for the June Bug Open. Then on June 21, the annual Summer Solstice Scramble was held and golfers were encouraged to wear the color of summer: green. After the match, Matt Kiley treated the parking lot crowd with his rendition of the Irish ballad “Wearing of the Green.”
MVCC superintendent Steve Parker was working at the U.S. Open during this time. Again, new players kept arriving, including the likes of Darwin Thompson, Cole Leroux, Scott Wentzel, Nick Crum and Julius Rosendahl.
The league drew large crowds all summer. A record 54 golfers attended the Solstice event as late arriving players couldn’t find an open space in the crowded parking lot. For the first time ever in 2022, the league averaged 40 players a night throughout the 22-week season.
The last Tuesday of each month crowned a monthly champion. In the May 31 Wild Turkey Open, Mike Clark, John Sperry, Bill Richardson and Shayne Carr won the first monthly title.
There was a gross and a net monthly winner for the June 28 Richard Brochu Scramble event. The foursome of Rob Montgomery, Ivan Menard, Slade Farnham and Ian Drown won the net monthly title as Joe, Neal and Patrick Mulligan and John Hogan won the gross division.
The Midseason Championship followed on July 12 as Jefferson Tolman, Bill Richardson and Shayne Carr shocked the field with a resounding win. The biggest purse in the history of the league, $102.00, was fought for on July 19 between 52 golfers. In a game of putts, the foursome of Brad Ferland, Mike Clark, Dave Bellavance and John Sperry won.
Ferland shot a 40 during a morning practice round with 12 putts. That evening, his brother Karl Ferland also shot a 40, which were career lows for both of them. Karl Ferland did his brother one better, winning the individual putting crown, needing just nine putts, a new league record for low putts. He had three zero putts, three one putts and three two putts and almost chipped in from 80 yards out on the sixth hole. He putted better than Cam Smith at the British Open, who used 12 putts to win over his final nine holes.
The July Championship happened on July 26, which was also the opening night of the highly anticipated FIFA championship. The dress code came firing back as 14 teams, representing FIFA countries, adorned themselves in their country’s colors. The foursome from Switzerland, Reg Allen, Doug Allen, Dan Rogers and Jeremy Kaufman won the July title. Also coming back then were the weekly post-round barbecues, which had been a victim of the pandemic.
In Round One of FIFA, France, led by Bill Richardson, Pete Deschamps and Shayne Carr tied for the lead with Denmark. But on week two of FIFA on Aug. 2, Denmark, featuring Aaron Molleur, Colton Niemi and Nick Crum, captured the FIFA title with strong performances in Rounds 2 and 3. That evening was also free beer night, sponsored by none other than Richard and Marsha Brochu.
Dave Burnham is the league’s statistician and he hadn’t played all year. His first night out came on August 24, after hip replacement surgery. He was supposed to get a new hip in May, but contracted Covid and it was delayed to June. That same night, Marty Renaud arrived from Texas, his first appearance in two years, also because of the COVID pandemic.
The two ended up on the same team. They were joined by John Sperry and Bob Blake. Sperry would shoot a 36 and carried that team to the weekly championship. He hit straight balls all night, but walked all over the course to help find the balls of his not-so-accurate teammates.
The August Championship on the 30th featured the largest tie for first place in league history. Random draws for teams were used many times during the 2022 season, and on this night, five teams tied for first place. A random draw also decided the September 27 monthly championship that Dan Gauthier, Mike Nixon, Nate Brown and Aaron Molleur won.
Neal Mulligan posted the league’s best scoring average in 2022, a 37. His father Joe Mulligan was one stroke behind with a 38. Another father-son duo, John and Nat Fixx, tied for third with a 39 scoring average. New this year, the league also kept track of the leading money winners. Joe Mulligan was the top man that category, winning $84. Mike Clark was second with $79, as Nate Brown and Aaron Molleur tied for third with $70.
The league drew 99 different players throughout the summer and paid out just over $2000 in prize money from the weekly $2 cost to players.
The season was magnificent in so many ways, but yet, surreal in that the league didn’t get to enjoy the laughter and joy that Richard Brochu brought each week for the last 30 years. Brochu was greatly missed, but certainly not forgotten.