2011 DSGO: “En-Joie” Your Hometown Golf Course at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open!

Golf writer Andy Reistetter continues his exclusive “Play-Write” series with his hometown golf course: En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, New York—site of the upcoming 2011 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Loren Roberts edged out Fred Funk at the 2010 Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

Loren Roberts edged out Fred Funk at the 2010 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

I guess maybe there are a few better places to call home if you are a golfer.

Perhaps growing up in Augusta, Georgia and playing the National where the world’s best golfers come each spring to play in the Masters.

Or the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland would be a treat.

Maybe Pebble Beach Golf Links would be a spectacular site.

But for this kid from the west side of Binghamton, which along with Johnson City and Endicott is known as the “Triple Cities” of the Southern Tier of New York State… there is no better place in the world than En-Joie Golf Club.

Born in 1959, I came of age the same time as the PGA TOUR.

The touring pros were a new, different and emerging business than the club pros.

Read former Commissioner Deane Beman’s book Golf’s Driving Force to understand why even a little triple play town like Endicott was a key component of that rising starship enterprise known as the PGA TOUR.

The Triple Cities with founder William Bingham and industrialists like Thomas J, Watson Sr. and George F. Johnson and his Square Deal was always a community like no other.

Like the tour, the Valley of Opportunity surrounding En Joie is about charity, hard work and helping one another even in the most difficult of times.

The B.C. Open tournament founder Alex Alexander was the “little engine that thought he could and did” starting with a one-day satellite event in 1971.

The now famous golf instructor “Butch Harmon” won that event, his only win in a short three-year playing career.

To his credit Alexander staged a PGA TOUR event for more than three decades without the benefit of a major title sponsor.

Though named after a comic strip written by Endicott’s own Johnny Hart the B.C. Open was never a joke—it was a world class golf tournament built upon the fabric of a golfing community.

When George F. wanted to build a course for his workers he wanted it to be flat so that while they recreated that did not become overly exhausted—he wanted them to “en-joie” their time away from the shoe factories.

So En-Joie was built on the flatlands along the Susquehanna River.

Along with that decision, flooding became a constant challenge for the golf course and tournament.

A flood in 2006 washed out parts of the golf course and what was to be the last B.C. Open was played at and presented by the Turning Stone Resort a hundred miles away.

Professional golf returned quickly to the Triple Cities and En Joie in 2007 with a Champions’ Tour event—the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.

Dick’s first store was in Binghamton so now the tournament held at En Joie has a major sponsor with roots in the community.

The Champions tour event is a good fit for the community as well.

The Champions Tour golfers remember the Triple Cities, and the locals remember them as well.

Current Dick’s Sporting Goods Open Tournament Director Jon Karedes is carrying on in the tradition of Alexander and the En Joie tournament continues to benefit the Broome County Community Charities.

If you have the chance, go to the Triple Cities and “en-joie” everything good about life, golf and a great tournament!