1. Danny Russo – What do you do all summer when your Mom and Dad run the clubhouse concession at your hometown golf course? You play golf of course and no kid played it more or any better than Danny Russo. He has grown up to become the greatest golfer in Amsterdam history. His local trophies include four Amsterdam City Championships, a phenomenal 25 at his Antlers/Rolling Hills home course, 14 Capital District Majors plus Russo qualified for and competed in the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Senior Amateur and the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He is also one of the all-time great best-ball competitors in New York State.
2. Howie Derrick – Want to know just how good a golfer Howie Derrick was as a teenager? I’ll explain it with this analogy. He was the young Tiger Woods of Amsterdam golf. This guy won his first City Golf Championship when he was just 16- years-old. He won it the next year too and had to defeat the great Babe Stratton to defend his title He won this City’s top golf trophy a total of five times in nine years and he probably would have won at least three times that many if he remained in Amsterdam his entire life. He was also an outstanding basketball player for Amsterdam High School. Derrick played collegiate golf at St. Lawrence. Upon graduation from college he tried his hand at turning pro and won the Tupper Lake Open.
3. Clifford “Babe” Stratton – Unlike Russo or Derrick, Babe Stratton took up golf pretty late in life but he proved to be a quick-study. Getting valuable lessons from the legendary pro at Antler’s CC, Frank Stuhler, Stratton became this town’s very best golfer by the mid 1950’s and remained on that pedestal for the next quarter century. He won several Amsterdam City and Antlers CC championships during that time. An Industrial Arts teacher in the Amsterdam school district who later became a guidance counselor at Amsterdam High School, Stratton was also the Varsity Golf Coach at AHS for many years.
4. Clarence Carpenter – An office worker at the Sanford Carpet mills and a long-time resident of Guy Park Avenue, “Carp” was Amsterdam’s very best golfer during the 1940’s and early fifties. During that time, he became the second man in history to win the Amsterdam version of a golfing grand slam by winning both the City and Antler’s Championships. In fact, he was a three-time winner of the City title and an eight-time winner of his home club’s top tourney.
5. Dianne Wilde – No list of all-time greatest Amsterdam golfers could be complete without this amazing lady on it. All this former resident of Harvard Avenue did was win three prestigious New York State Amateur titles in 1965, 1971 and 1973. My favorite story about Wilde occurred during the ’73 State Amateur. The Amsterdam High School graduate played and won that event with a severe case of tendinitis in her left wrist that sapped the strength from her swing. How did she manage to win? By using two clubs lower than normal on every shot! Dianne went on to get her PGA Card and the last I knew she was the Pro at Eagle Vale Golf Club out near Rochester, NY.
I will reveal choices 6-through-10 in my new book; 50 Top Ten All-Time Amsterdam Lists, which will be released later this year. If you subscribe to my free monthly Amsterdam Top Ten Newsletter, you will receive a special offer that will permit you to order my new book at a special discounted price. You can subscribe to the free newsletter here.