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Bring your own balls - Larrimac's turning 90
By Anastasia Philopoulos
Oldest Chelsea business celebrates milestone
During the Second World War, the Larrimac golf club couldn't buy new golf balls because of wartime restrictions on rubber. Instead, the club asked its members to retrieve their own golf balls while playing their nine-hole. Imagine yelling 'fore', then running after your ball regardless of marsh, forest, or pond. It's a whole new level of golf that makes Secretary of Larrimac's board, David Stockwell, chuckle to himself.
"It's a historic recreational facility that is an absolute jewel," Stockwell added.
Chelsea' s Larrimac Golf Club turns 90 July 27 and will be holding a set of events to celebrate its big birthday. Back in 1922, Larry McCooey dreamed up the idea of a golf course along the rolling pastures below his cottage. He rented a portion of land from owner/farmer Owen Lacharity and by 1924 had convinced about a dozen local cottagers to join the fun. They named it 'Larrimac' in recognition of its founder. Today, the semi-private club is owned by its 199 shareholder members.
Stockwell says the club has evolved tremendously over the years, starting out as a haven for cottagers from the 1920s to the 1950s. They would take summers off and use the club as much for the golf and tennis, as for time to just socialize.
"The activities were very family oriented, there were many small golf tournaments, and events were heavily subscribed to. People would come up here for months at a time and stay at their cottage, they were in vacation mode," Stockwell said.
Over time, the club's membership moved towards more permanent residents, many of whom are retired. Today, about 80 per cent of Larrimac's golfers are 55 and up.
For its anniversary, the club has a whole day of events planned, including a celebratory dinner and special guest speakers Preston and Adriana Reynolds- Peskin, the son and wife of the late Hy Peskin. Peskin was the first staff photographer for Sports Illustrated Magazine, and was responsible for several famous photographs of American athletes and celebrities, including an iconic photo of golf star Ben Hogan.
"They'll be discussing Hy Pesking and the work he did," Stockwell said. "It's a good fit for us, the nature of his work and how he's a figure in golf history. We're trying to promote our own historical part of the golf industry."
The day-long event will also include a morning nine-hole, BBQ lunch (complete with cake) and old-school five hole golf event, organized by Stockwell and based on a scorecard from 1924. Folks will also have to hilariously use hickory-shaft golf clubs, also known as plain-old wooden clubs, sure to provide some delightful afternoon entertainment.
And despite its 90-year birthday, Stockwell says the course remains in excellent shape.
The five course dinner tickets are on sale at the pro shop and cost $70 (including wine, taxes and gratuity). For more info about the various events call the club at 819-827-1506.