Charles Ladies’ Golf League Says Final Farewell

J.D. O’Gara
Shown are the last members of the Charles Ladies’ Golf League, who bid their final farewells to their afternoon group at Restaurant 45 in Medway. The group will dissolve with the planned development at the location of the Glen Ellen Country Club in Millis.
Issue Date: 
December, 2017
Article Body: 

When the Toll Brothers move forward with their plan for a 324-unit senior residential community on the 230-acre parcel on which the Glen Ellen Country Club has sat for 54 years, another era will have ended – that of the Charles Ladies’ Golf League. The group of 40 women, including eight “subs,” who played every Wednesday afternoon, met for a final farewell in late October with a dinner at Restaurant 45 in Medway.
The League was established in 1976, when Mary Ariel, a local golfer, and Dan Cross, the pro at Glen Ellen Country Club, invited the wives and friends of the Charles Men’s League to join the afternoon league, which started at 3:15 p.m. with foursomes playing into the evening. The women were offered the use of The Charles Restaurant as an “after golf” location, and Don Cross donated fifty cents of his $3 greens fee for each member who wanted to learn to play golf.
Sue Locklin, who’s lived in Millis since 1960, found the ladies’ golf league after the premature passing of her husband, then the Chief of Police in Millis.
“I wanted to do something different, that we didn’t do together,” says Locklin. She asked her friend Janet Walsh, then a school secretary for the Clyde Brown Elementary School, if she’d be interested in taking golf lessons through the Millis Recreation Department. Once they learned, she says, “we wanted to join the league, and they were happy to have us.”
“They were so nice to us, patient, and we were swinging and swinging, and sometimes, it would take 16 shots to get to the hole,” says Walsh.
The golf league was a blessing to the women, who’d grown up viewing the sport as male dominated, as well as one only wealthy people played.
“It was something to look forward to. It was outside; it was good exercise, and there were some wonderful people, and the older people and the younger people intermixing – I think it keeps everybody younger,” says Locklin.
Walsh equates losing the golf league to losing a good friend.
“I joined the League in 1983 and consider my golf days some of the very best times of my life,” says Walsh, who always kept Wednesday, golf day, sacred, missing it only for family events or medical problems. “Golfers are a fun group to spend time with. Yes, we are competitive, but half the time during a game, we root for our opponent with ‘good shot,’ or ‘great putt.’ I am so glad I have had the camaraderie of my golf friends over the years.”
“I wouldn’t have met all these wonderful women if I hadn’t joined,” says Pat Diatelevi, of Millis, who has been a member of the Charles Ladies’ Golf League since 1986. “I’ve made many friends, and I’m just so sad that it’s not going to happen anymore.”
Kim Latosek, of Millis, whose father played in the men’s league, says she always appreciated that the group matched players of certain ability. Mary O’Leary, a 30-year member from Medway, agrees. “I learned how to play golf at Glen Ellen. I went from a D, to a C, to a B, to an A, and at 83, I’m back to a D,” she laughs. “I like the friendships and the attitude of the group. No matter what level, you’re accepted.”
Even the newest players, like Wendy Barry, who just joined as a sub this year, speak to the camaraderie. “This is my first year, and last. They took me under their wing,” says Barry, of Millis, who heard about the league through friends Val Hughes and Kelly O’Brien, of Holliston.
“I can’t say enough about the league,” says Holliston resident Joyce Schiff, whose house is just two miles from the Glen Ellen. “There are ladies in their 80s and ladies in their 30s and 40s, and it’s like they’ve known you forever. I’m very sad Glen Ellen is going away.”
Mary Lucey, formerly of Millis and now of Medfield, adds, “It’s all about the peeps. I can join any league, but it’s not the Charles Ladies Golf League.”
Some of the group will continue getting together as foursomes, making tee times at other golf courses such a Brookmeadow Country Club in Canton. Some of the older members, however, who don’t feel like doing the 40-minute drive home in the dark, will stop playing altogether.
And it’s something they’ll surely miss.
“Glen Ellen, it’s beautiful out there. All the years we played, the fairways have been kept up - just gorgeous,” says Walsh. “To think they’re going to tear it down and put housing up there is a little hard to understand.”