WINDSOR – I was looking over the scorecard after playing 18 holes of golf this past Wednesday, and upon some quick reflection, I realized that my actually golfing would play a minor role in this article.
Perhaps more than any course we have reviewed, the story of Golden Oak Golf Course goes beyond the happenings within the fairways.
It's a layered story in which majority owners Rebecca Ellsworth and Ken Ellsworth threw themselves a midlife curveball by purchasing the course. It's a story of superintendent and course manager, Jack Gill Jr., living the American dream by working himself up the ladder from laborer to part owner. And lastly, it's the story of longtime members who willingly volunteer their time, not at the behest of ownership, but just because.
To those who call Golden Oak their home course, it is the social epicenter of a rural area on Route 79, three miles south of Windsor – and just seven miles north of the Pennsylvania border.
After enlisting my GPS to get me to the course, I arrived a few minutes ahead of my tee time, and was greeted in the parking lot by a nice gentleman. He asked me if I was the reporter writing the story about the course. I said, "yes, are you one of the owners?"
He told me no, but "Becky (Ellsworth) was in the clubhouse, and was expecting me."
The gentleman, who introduced himself as Dave Gorman, said he had found playing partners for me, and he had my golf cart ready to go. I inquired after the round if Dave worked for the course. I was told "no, he just likes to help out."
As I learned during my 5 1/2-hour stay, there are a lot of Dave Gormans at Golden Oak Golf Course, and that pitch-in-and-help-out mentality is fostered by the people-friendly Ellsworths.
"The biggest change (since the Ellsworths) took over is the culture here," Gill said after my round. Gill is in his 21st year with the course, and fifth as the course superintendent and manager.
Gorman, who had a ready smile and an anecdote or two to tell before I played, let me know that he arranged for graduating Windsor senior Joey Roberge and recent Broome Community College graduate, Jeremiah Coyd (also a Windsor alum), to play with me.
I quickly noticed that both were swinging the club from the wrong (I mean) left side. In over 30 years of playing the game, I believe this would be the first time I was the only right-handed golfer among my threesome or foursome.