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Golf notebook: Peek n’ Peak in full planning mode for event

John Coolbaugh sat inside the resort at Peek n’ Peak on Thursday watching the snow fly.

It might have seemed like an odd time to be worrying about the logistics of a golf tournament, but for Coolbaugh, that never stops.

As the director of operations and volunteer management for the upcoming Tour LECOM Health Challenge, which will be held in early July at Peek n’ Peak’s Upper Course, Coolbaugh is in the process of rounding up 500 volunteers to make sure the tournament goes off without a hitch.

“We’re watching people ski while we’re thinking about planning a golf tournament,” Coolbaugh said Thursday. “A big part of the success of this tournament is the volunteer program. The volunteers are crucial. We couldn’t conduct the tournament without them.”

Volunteers will assist in a number of different jobs during tournament week, which runs from July 4-10, with competitive play starting Thursday, July 7.

“They work in everything from scoring, to serving as gallery marshals, to player services and transportation and parking,” Coolbaugh said. “They’re really my army to make sure the tournament goes off without a hitch.”

Coolbaugh most recently held a similar position for the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open last month at Torrey Pines outside San Diego. That tournament was won by Brandt Sneaker – a Tour graduate who participated the last time the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit had an event at Peek n’ Peak, from 2002-07. Other current PGA stars who played back then include Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson, Bill Haas and Jason Dufner.

“It’s a nice experience,” Coolbaugh said of volunteering. “It gives them more of an ‘inside’ look at the tournament itself and what it takes to put something like this together.”

Those who are interested in the various volunteer opportunities that are available can visit


Niagara Frontier Country Club in Youngstown received some national accolades recently when it appeared on a pair of lists put out by the website

The course ranked No. 47 on Golf Advisor’s list of top 50 courses in the United States, and an impressive No. 6 on its list of the top 25 courses with the best conditions.

To be eligible for the top courses list, a course needed a minimum of 20 reviews on Golf Advisor in 2015. From there, the course’s score was comprised by taking 50 percent of the overall rating and 50 percent of the subcategory rankings. According to Golf Advisor, more than 2,000 courses received 20 or more reviews, making them eligible for the top 50 list. More than 121,000 reviews from more than 75,000 golfers over the course of the year were submitted.

“We’re ecstatic, because it was totally unsolicited,” said Dan Antonucci, NFCC’s head professional. “We’re extremely happy and honored.

The best-conditions list was based on solely on users’ ratings of “course conditions.”


The First Tee of Western New York has recently expanded to include the Amherst School District. The First Tee’s National School Program is now part of the curriculum at Windermere Boulevard Elementary and Smallwood Elementary schools.

The National School Program is based on physical-education standards and utilizes equipment designed for children. Physical-education teachers receive training and activity guides from the First Tee to use in the classes throughout the school year.

The program, which has been implemented in more than 7,000 schools nationwide since its inception in 2004, promotes character development and life values through golf. Locally, 10 schools from the Buffalo, Tonawanda and Holland, and now Amherst, participate. The First Tee also has partnerships with the Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo, the two courses run by Erie County (Grover Cleveland and Elma Meadows) and the Brighton Golf Dome in Tonawanda. Andrew Bennett, the First Tee’s Western New York executive director, says more than 3,000 young people have taken part in program offerings.

“We’re proud to partner and together promote lifelong values and healthy choices to their students,” Bennett said of the new partnership with Amherst schools.