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Gannon female starter is at home on the range

LYNN – If necessity is the mother of invention, perhaps aggravation and mosquito bites are the instigators of a break in tradition.
About a dozen years ago, Eloise Deveney was playing in a women?s league at Gannon Golf Club. It was getting late and the annoying bugs were making their presence known.
?I was in (an evening) league, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and it was really slow,” Deveney said. “I saw (another golfer) took 12 practice swings, then missed the ball. I said to the ranger, ?Please tell that lady that we?re getting eaten alive out here, and it?s getting dark. Could you please not take 12 and just move??
?She was holding everybody up. He goes, ?No, you go tell her yourself.? I said, ?But it?s your job.?”
But soon, it was Deveney?s job.
She went into the pro shop and talked to Mike Foster, then Gannon?s head pro.
?I said. ?If you want someone to do this, I?ll do it,?” Deveney said. “So, that?s exactly what happened.”
And with that, Deveney became a starter at Gannon — and the first female employee out on the course. While not a totally rarity, it is still unusual to see women working as starters or rangers on most courses.
She was joined on the course this summer by Jay Varriano, who works once a week as a ranger on the front nine. Varriano started under similar circumstances, offering a challenge last summer to Dave Sibley, who was then in his first year as Gannon?s head pro.
?We joked a lot about pace of play,” said Varriano, who has been a member at Gannon for about 25 years. “So, when he decided to put (an additional) ranger on ? I threatened him. I said, ?I can move these guys.? Last year he only had one ranger on who was monitoring all 18 holes, and on big league nights, it was really too much for one ranger.”
Sibley took Varriano up on her challenge . She works Wednesday evenings, one of Gannon?s busiest times.
?I?ve worked a lot up and down the East Coast, and it?s not normal,” Sibley said of women working on golf courses. “The golf business is, work-wise, predominantly men. I think people here, it?s one of the things they enjoy about it. Everybody knows Eloise. Everybody?s beginning to get to know Jay out on the golf course. It?s part of Gannon, who we are. It?s just fun. Both of them are really good at what they do.”
Deveney had no misgivings about taking the job.
?No, because I didn?t know enough,” she said. “But after the first couple weeks I thought, ?What did I get myself into?? It?s a lot to remember — names, faces. When they ask you a question, you really should have an answer; which most of the time I do. (Sibley) is a great help. Tara (Friedman, a part-time assistant in the pro shop) is a great help.”
?Eloise and I always feel good if we?ve managed our side, that we?ve managed to keep them on pace of play,” Varriano said. “Most people respond to it pretty well. We do have a few people who don?t like to be told they?re pokey, but you kind of learn to manage that. You try to move them along without being rude, but helping them understand that everyone is trying to get their round in.”
Neither Deveney nor Varriano have ever been confronted because of their gender.
?The men that play on a regular basis at Gannon are used to seeing a lot of women golfing,” Varriano said. “They acknowledge the fact that there are women like Tara and Janey Fiste and Mary Hunt and Ann Dawson, who have single-digit handicaps. There is a very large number of high-caliber women golfers at Gannon.”
Although, Deveney said, early on she had to do some behavior modification among players.
?They don?t swear anymore,” she said with a laugh. “I used to charge a quarter for F-bombs.”
Some of the men appreciate the diversity.
?They?re more delightful than the guys, are you kidding me?” said Dave Solimine Sr., with a laugh.
He plays twice a week in Gannon?s Shoe City League.
?We love Eloise,” he said. “It?s great to get a kiss before you start your round. That?s not going to happen with the guys. No,

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