DERRYFIELD COUNTRY CLUB’S Dan Arvanitis called it the putt of his lifetime.
Playing on the last day of the 2001 New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur Championship, Arvanitis made a 15-foot curling putt on the 16th hole at North Conway Country Club during the afternoon round of the scheduled 36-hole final. That putt allowed Arvanitis to maintain a two-hole lead over Portsmouth Country Club’s Josh Allard with two holes to play.
Arvanitis won his only State Am when he and Allard halved the 17th hole, handing Arvanitis a 2-and-1 victory.
“That was the putt of my lifetime,” Arvanitis said earlier this week. “I don’t know of a bigger putt on a bigger stage. I’d been searching for 30 years to win it and that putt really did it.”
Arvantis, 66, was likely battling some nerves on the 16th green, since he had three-putted from 20 feet on the previous hole. He played exceptional golf that week, as none of his matches went to the final hole.
Arvanitis was 6-up on Allard after the final match’s morning round, but, despite opening the afternoon round with nine consecutive pars, his lead shrunk to 2-up with nine holes to play.
“Allard shot 4-under during that stretch to gain four holes,” Arvanitis recalled. “Now I’m only 2-up going to 10, which was the 28th hole, and I’m saying, ‘Nothing comes easy.’
“Non-golfers … I don’t think they understand how much of a grind six days of golf is, mentally and physically.”
Arvanitis plans to be back at North Conway Country Club when the 118th State Am is played there this summer (July 12-17).
“I love the competition,” he said. “It’s not really long and I think it’s a great match-play course. I used to be a long hitter back in the day, but now these kids are driving it 50 yards by me. It’s a course where I can maybe compete, with consistency and knowledge.
“If there’s a tournament I ever wanted to win it’s the State Am. You want to win your State Am. You’re always known for that if you can win it. I was beyond thrilled.”
The NHGA restructured the divisions for its NHGA Junior Tour (18 and under) following the 2020 season. The Junior Tour used to offer two divisions based on age. A third division has been added and each of the three divisions is now based on yardage.
“We switched it to a yardage-based system so the players have complete freedom to choose which division best suits their game instead of being trapped in a division based on their age,” said Kinsey Hoffman, the NHGA’s director of junior golf and tournament operations.
The three divisions the NHGA is using for the Junior Tour starting this year:
— Birdie Division: (9 holes) 2,500 yards and below for both boys and girls.
— Prep Division: (18 holes) Boys 5,300-5,900 yards; Girls 4,800-5,300 yards.
— Elite Division: (18-36 holes depending on the event) Boys 6,000 yards and up; Girls 5,400 yards and up.
“We’re gearing the Prep Division toward kids who are trying to make their high school team or for those who are younger and trying to become a little more competitive,” Hoffman said. “The Elite Division is for kids who want to play longer yardages to compete at the college level. That way they have the chance to see what collegiate golf is going to be like with those longer distances, and they can get a feel for it.
“The changes were made to give kids more freedom and allow them to play in a division that best suits their game and have a more enjoyable experience on the course.”
The NHGA has also added an event for the Elite Division called the Junior All-Star Championship, which will be played at Mt. Washington Resort Golf Course on July 6-7. Hoffman said she is hoping that event as well as the Mike Ryan Memorial Championship at Derryfield Country Club (July 19-21) will be granted American Junior Golf Association star status, which would allow players to earn performance stars and gain entry into other AJGA events.
Applications are being accepted for the 2021 New Hampshire Women’s Golf Association Scholarship and the Jean E. Lyons Scholarship. These scholarships are open to females who will be enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at an accredited school during the 2021-22 academic year. Information about these scholarships can be found at nhwga.org/foundation.
The NHWGA Scholarship is open to active NHWGA members and their female family members who meet the eligibility criteria. The deadline for submitting an application is May 15. Those with questions can contact the scholarship committee at email@example.com.
Nashua Country Club’s Tommy Ethier, a senior on the Bentley College golf team, was named to the Northeast 10 Honor Roll this week after he tied for second place in the Saint Anselm Invitational, and tied for third in the Mike Bello Invitational. Ethier shot a 5-over par 147 at the Saint Anselm Invitational, which was played at the Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth. He finished with a 1-over-par 145 at the Mike Bello Invitational, which was held in Baldwinsville, N.Y.
The Louisville women’s golf team began the ACC tournament Thursday, but did so without Hampstead resident Lauren Thibodeau.
Thibodeau, who attended Pinkerton Academy, opted out of the current season, which was her junior year.
“I spoke to our coach (Whitney Young) and we’re still not sure what she’ll do next year,” Louisville associate sports information director Rocco Gasparro said. “We’re hopeful that she’ll return.”
NH GOLF CALENDAR
April 22: NHWGA Spring meeting (virtual)
April 29: NHGA Stroke Play Series (Campbell Scottish Highlands)
May 1: NHGA Tournament Series (Wentworth by the Sea CC)
May 8: NHGA Mixed Club Team Championship (Derryfield CC)
May 16: NHGA Spring Four Ball
May 17-19: NHGA Match Play (Cochecho CC)
May 18: NHGA Stroke Play Series (Candia Woods GL)
June 1: NHWGA Spring Fling (Owl’s Nest)
June 3: NHGA Tournament Series (Lake Sunapee CC)
June 5-6: NHGA Players Invitational (Baker Hill GC)
June 9-10: NHWGA Women’s Team Championship (Beaver Meadow GC)
June 10: NHGA Four Ball Championship (Owl’s Nest)
June 13: NHGA Junior Spring Preview
June 15: NHGA Stroke Play Series (Pembroke Pines CC)
June 21: Junior Team Championship (TBA)
June 22: NHWGA President’s Cup (Pease GC)
June 23: NHGA State Am qualifier (Breakfast Hill GC)
June 25: NHGA Junior Tour Mini Series (Intervale CC)
June 25: NHGA State Am qualifier (Bretwood GC/South)
June 27: NHGA State Am qualifier (Beaver Meadow GC)
June 28: Hoodkroft Junior Open
June 28: NHGA State Am qualifier (Abenaqui CC)
June 28: NHGA State Am qualifier (Maplewood GC)
June 28-30: New England Women’s Amateur (Agawam Hunt/East Providence, R.I.)
June 29: NHGA State Am qualifier (Loudon CC)
June 30: Junior Tour (Owl’s Nest)
July 1: Mini Series (Rockingham CC)
July 6-7: Junior All-Star Championship (Mt. Washington Resort GC)
July 8: Junior Tour (Candia Woods)
July 12-17: NHGA Amateur Championship (North Conway CC)
July 19-21: Mike Ryan Memorial Championship (Derryfield CC)
July 20-22: New England Amateur (Great River Golf Club/Milford, Conn.)
July 22: Junior Tour (Keene CC)
July 26: Junior Tour (Breakfast Hill GC)
July 27: Junior Tour (Loudon CC)
Aug 2-4: Junior Championship (Pease GC)
Aug 15-17: New England Junior Amateur (Val Halla Golf Course/Cumberland, Maine)
Aug. 19: Junior Invitational (TBA)
Sept. 14-15: New England Senior Amateur (Manchester Country Club/Manchester, Vt.)