I was reading Peter’s Blog entitled “Golf’s Vernacular” and it reminded of the great times and people I met in golf during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (that’s the 1900’s not 1,800’s) when many of those terms were popular. Golf, people and the times were much simpler then and as we enjoyed playing, competing and of course socializing together with our favorite past time.
Besides the terminology that transpired then equally unique were the “sudo/nick” names that were anointed to many players. The tour of course had the “King”Arnold Palmer, the “Bear”Jack Nicklaus, “Slammin” SammySnead and many more. For whatever reason New Hampshire golf held its own when came to these nick names, starting with of course “God”, Dr Robert Elliot who headed the NHGA. Whether it was the NH Amateur, the NH Open or one of the any Four Balls held annually “Doc Elliot” was the man in charge, it was his way or the highway, hence the name “God”.
While the golf professional at Amherst CC many of our players and guests from surrounding clubs were better known by their “sudo” name rather than their given name. Many of the names were bestowed by an infamous character from the Nashuaarea, John Wholen or better known as “Satin”. (John’s grandson is the current Director of Golf at Souhegan Woods…”Bucky” Johnny Wholen). “Satin’s” knack of giving these names was uncanny and never ending. If he played golf with you it wasn’t long before you were now known as “Evil” Paul Moriarty, “Unsavoy” Eddy Rouselle, “Dirt” Tom Stanley, “Sweet” Phil Pleat, “Savage” Keith Bakaian,“Muffin Man” Jake Crosby, “Smoothy” Art Devlin and many more…and some I can’t tell you!
We had a member of the cloth (more like polyester double knit) “Father Leo”Bartlett at Amherst who led his flock around the course. Leo was big guy with an equally big heart and a lot of fun to play with. Leo was often joined by Harry “The Younger” Young who was my Titleist rep and lived close by. Who could ever forget “Birdman” Harvey Bernierand “up in the air Jr. Birdman” being sung after a few cold ones. I was fortunate not to have played much golf with “Satin” but I did get the handle at Amherst as “TheBlade” for rolling in my share of putts. My infamous employer did not escape the nick name era either as “Palm Beach” and Peter Harrity were synonymous. Many clubs had a common sudo/nick name (not always welcomed!) “Nudge” given to those players who thought no one saw them improving their lie!
Even many of my contemporary golf professionals were given some sudo names like “The Whip” or “Whip O’ Will Bill” Bill Meier, “The Machine” Mo Dichard, “DP”David Friel, “Bust Out” Ed Lapierre, “Action Jackson” Jack Gale, “The Imp” Bob Dichard… since Bob’s passing his twin brother Dick Dichard is affectionally now known . Two golf courses also were given names that still live today “The Prairie & The Jungle” at Green Meadows in Hudson.
There were even some golf events that had these sudo names attached and both were held at the “Maplewood Golf Course” in Bethlehem, NH. George “Dutt” Dutton from Amherst CC would coordinate the “Black Fly” and the “Honeydew” both couples event held in mid may and mid July. My good friend and fellow golf professional Mo“The Machine”Dichard would host these annual fun filled events. Often times there would be 20 plus couples playing and having a grand time on and off the course!
To this day I still associate many of these sudo names with the players and friends of my era. I’m sure some of you that played then knew many of your friends better by their sudo/nick name than their real names. I must admit I did have to spend a little time recalling some of these sudo names and even consulted with “Palm Beach” to confirm a few! We had some good times then and it was fun reminiscing. If you have a few of your own please pass them along!