Pine Lakes host to 1st Greatest qualifier
Hubbard course features sharp, undulating greens
By Ryan Buck
Chris Carfangia grew up in the Mahoning Valley immersed in the game of golf and always impressed with the quality of the players at every level.
“All my life, being in junior tournaments and being from the area and playing high school golf, as well as adult tournaments in the area, we’ve always been really strong in juniors,” he said.
The Hubbard native and professional at Pine Lakes Golf Club is confident with the prospects for its growth in the region.
“As the equipment changes, as things change, it’s bringing other kids into the game.”
Sunday, Pine Lakes will play host to the opening qualifier in The Vindicator’s Greatest Golfer of the Valley Junior Competition, now in its second year.
It’s the first of six qualifying rounds for a spot in July’s championship. The top two finishers in the four divisions of boys and girls will land a spot in the 48-player final at Trumbull Country Club.
“The host courses are important to the Greatest,” Vindicator editor Todd Franko said. “We need great courses, but it’s great course directors who make Greatest happen.”
Carfangia and his colleagues are excited to host the tournament for the first time, eager to showcase Pine Lakes’ commitment to growing the game with their younger patrons.
“We have some family nights. We have our junior academy every summer. We also have the driving range that’s conducive to kids,” Carfangia added.
Pine Lakes, built in 1927 and renovated several times, features sharp, undulating greens that make up for the course’s short yardage. Players’ short games will be critical.
“It’s not very long, but the greens are tricky, as are the complexes around the greens where the bunkers are and the approaches. A lot of the old greens, the ones from 1927 that we did get rid of, are sloped back to front and severe in most cases. So that’s tough,” Carfangia said.
If a player can avoid trouble at the signature 16th, a 160-yard par-3 fortified on the right by a stone-lined pond and a sand trap, he or she must cap their round at the difficult 18th.
“It’s the number 1 handicap hole. Being 440 yards with a severe green, it’s not easy,” Carfangia said of the small dog leg-shaped set-up. “So you’ve got to kind of pad your score before you get there in case something happens.”
Opportunities for birdies or better will come at the shorter par-5 holes.
“The par-5s are pretty easy. Number 1 is only 465 yards, 14 is about 485, but plays a lot shorter. Number 10 is tough, but the par-5s are where you can score on this golf course,” said Carfangia.
Player registration and information can be found at the Pine Lakes facility and on The Vindicator website. The opening tee time is set for noon.