100 Years and Counting for Connecticut PGA Legend Stan Staszowski

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Stan Staszowski at 100th Birthday Celebration with Suzy Whaley, Vice President PGA and Ian Marshall, Connecticut PGA Section President

Being 100 years old in accomplishment. Tack on having been a PGA Professional for 79 years and you really have quite a story in Winsted, Ct. native Stan Staszowski.

Staszowski is the longest tenured pro in the PGA Connecticut section and it is believed that he is the second longest tenured professional in the national PGA. Stan served as head pro at Green Woods Country Club for 40 years.

“Stan is a legend at Green Woods,” said current head pro Jared Smith, “from teaching, playing, and the management of the entire operations of the facility. Nowadays, his daughter (Mary Ellen) still takes care of the flowers, his son Jim works for TPC and provides for our equipment needs, and his grandson Adam is currently a member.”

Staszowski, whose late brother, Frank, was also a longtime head pro at Torrington Country Club in Connecticut, is honored each year at Green Woods with the “Stan Open”. It’s actually two separate events, one for amateurs and a pro-am format with 28 teams taking part.

Stan Staszowski was born only 15 years after Green Woods first opened in 1903. His father, Joseph Staszowski, served as course superintendent.

At 21, Stan Staszowski was the youngest-ever qualifier for the National PGA Championship. Gene Sarazen beat him 3 and 2 (the PGA was then match play), but Staszowski had seven more tries at the tournament, the last in 1968. Stan, whose brother, the late Frank Staszowski, was also an accomplished golfer and longtime professional at Torrington Country Club (he also was head pro for a brief time at Green Woods),  joined the Connecticut PGA in 1939. He served four years in the Army during World War II.

In his younger days Stan Staszowski dabbled at what was then a PGA Tour that hardly resembled today’s Tour, with its mega-million dollar purses and glamorous lifestyles for the pros that make it big. Stan once shot a 66 in opening round of the Miami Open, good for the lead. His best finish was a 10th in the Western Open, then considered almost a “Major” tournament.

Stan’s golfing career was put on hold for awhile after he was involved in a car accident and wound up with a broken pelvis. He left the Tour with some great memories and played with the likes of Tommy Armour, Sam Snead, Sarazen, Walter Hagen and other legends.

Back at Green Woods, Stan served as head pro, course superintendent and manager. He continued to play competitively and enjoyed a fine career in state and regional tournaments. He won the Connecticut PGA Championship and the state senior tournament a number of times, and was named Golf Pro of the Year in 1968. Stan and Frank won the Connecticut Pro-Pro twice, and Stan qualified for two Insurance City Opens (now the Travelers Championship) when it was played at Wethersfield Country Club.

He held Connecticut PGA Section positions as secretary and vice president. He was elected to the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2008. In the 1980’s, Staszowski gave up two of his positions at Green Woods and served only as professional, teaching the game to youngsters (one of whom was Bobby Gage, a former PGA Tour and Champions Tour player and recent Connecticut State Senior Open champ). Stan retired in 1986, but remained a presence around his beloved Green Woods Country Club, always quick with a smile and words of advice for anyone smart enough to listen to his take on golf and how to play, and enjoy, the game. One of those people who paid attention was his grandson, Adam, who was a Berkshire League star at the Gilbert School and went on to play for the University of Connecticut golf team.