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Chicopee Woods championships open Friday

POSTED: August 20, 2010 9:37 p.m.

When the Chicopee Woods Golf Course Championships open today, golfers aren’t vying to be fitted for a fancy green jacket, keys to a new car or have their face put on the cover of the magazines.

However, the 70 golfers that are taking part in the two-day, 36-hole event still have plenty to keep the motivation high with local prestige, including having their name engraved on the tournament trophy and a special VIP spot to park adjacent to a sign bearing their name for the next 365 days.

During this event, golfers play the School and Village, the original portion of the 27-hole course.

“This is the way we determine our championship,” said Chicopee director of golf Jim Arendt. “We feel like the winner is the best golfer in the area.”

Stan Rawl can vouch for that feeling of accomplishment that comes with winning the Chicopee Woods title. Rawl won last year’s event with a 146 (+2), and is joined by Terry Rush (2008) as the two defending champions part of this year’s field.

Rawl recalls winning in 2009 was more a matter of scrambling and saving a 73 each day, rather than dominating from start to finish. Even though Rawl isn’t a long-hitter off the tee, his patience with the course layout lends well to having a good round of golf.

“I was really excited to win last year,” Rawl said. “Chicopee is where I play most of my golf and I was really proud to earn the championship.”

Chicopee Woods has some nuance that makes it challenging, but not necessarily unique to other courses. Rawl points out that one aspect that players must factor in is knowing where to hit a forced carry off the tee to ensure avoiding an unfavorable spot on the fairway. That, and the South Hall course also plays relatively long for golfers from the gold tees.

“The course is fair, but you have to hit the ball well,” Rawl said. “If not, you’re looking at some long approach shots to the green.”

One hole that puts both elements into play in the 430-yard, No. 6 hole at the Village. Off the tee, it requires a drive of at least 200 yards to facilitate a reasonable fairway shot. The hilly nature of the course presents numerous valleys that golfers try to avoid their ball coming to rest.

“There’s a lot of uphill, downhill shots,” Arendt said.

On the approach, golfers also have to calculate the size of the greens. Even if on the green in enough shots to save par, landing on the wrong side of the green could lead to a difficult two-putt. Arendt says another advantage his course has with 27 holes is the ability to let nine holes repair at any time and it’s especially helpful for the recovery of the greens.

“The summer heat certainly presents some challenges for the greens,” Arendt said. “It’s a luxury to be able to play two nines at a time.”

In 19 years played, the tournament record is held by Stuart Moore at 139 (-5). The course’s 18-hole record is a 62.

“The course has always been challenging,” Arendt said. “I don’t expect to see any 7- or 8-under par scores this weekend.”


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