MARBLEHEAD — Bob Green has rubbed elbows with the creme de la creme of golf. But he says that at the end of the day, what gives him the most satisfaction is knowing he’s been involved in the happiest parts of people’s lives.
Green, 69, announced Monday he will be stepping down at the end of next year, which would be his 41st as the club pro at Tedesco Country Club.
Green hasn’t lost his passion for the game of golf or the business of overseeing a pristine golf course and the ever-rotating group of young people who help him do it. But, he says, the grind of all can wear him out, and that he wants to enjoy retirement — and golf — while he’s still healthy enough to do it.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be healthy,” said Green, who spent the fall as coach of the Marblehead High golf team — a job he loves and hopes to keep after he retires from Tedesco. “That’s a big thing to consider. I want to feel good in retirement, and be young enough to enjoy it. And I want to play more golf. That’s one of the things that weighed on my mind.”
Green says one of the contradictions of being a club pro is that he doesn’t get to play much golf.
“I liken it to being the guy who runs the Dodgems (bumper cars) at Coney Island,” he said. “Everyone else is having a great time, and he’s sitting there running it.
“But,” he said, “it’s part of being in the recreation business. You’re going to work when others aren’t.”
The hours are long (70-80 a week), he says, and wearing.
But they were never wearing enough for him to dread going to work in the morning.
“I can honestly say, that every night, when I went to bed, I couldn’t wait to get up the next day and go to work,” he said. “It’s not as if everything that happened there was wonderful, but there was nothing that I didn’t think I could handle.”
Green said he often felt the things he worried about the most are the things he couldn’t control anyway.
“The weather,” he said. “Is it going to rain for the Tedesco Cup? Are we going to have to juggle rounds? We play six rounds in four days during Fourball. Is the weather going to affect that?”
Even when the club was in the spotlight — such as in 2003 when it hosted the Mass. Open — the weather got in the way.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “It rained.”
Green’s greatest memories, however, go in another direction from the glitter and lie more in terms of the effect he might have had on the youth who passed through his system. As of this year, Tedesco will have produced 147 Francis Ouimet Scholars, and that’s something of which Green is very proud.
“To think I may have had a role in that is awfully gratifying,” he said. “Those kids will have that on their résumés the rest of their lives. I take great pride in any role I’ve played in that, and I’m tremendously grateful that the club has been a big supporter of the program.
For a man who, 18 years ago, played 18 with the late Arnold Palmer at the U.S. Senior Open in Concord (“my greatest memory as a pro,” he said), his life experiences on the job are different.
“My greatest memories are the relationships I’ve established with members and guests, and the outstanding number of people who have worked in my golf operation — caddys, kids in the bag room. You spend so much time with them. They gave up their weekends so people can play golf.”
He loved the idea of being a part of an activity that is usually fun for people.
“You’re dealing with something that means a lot to people,” he said. “They’re having fun. As frustrated as you can get (during a bad round) it’s still a positive thing.”
Club president Luke Tsokanis expressed his gratitude of Green’s service.
“Bob has built relationships with our membership that span three generations,” Tsokanis said. “He has been able to transfer his passion for the game, which began when he first picked up a club at age 12, into a remarkable career at Tedesco that started in 1970 when he went to work for Les Dunn as his No. 2 assistant professional.
“While it’s hard for most of us to imagine a Tedesco without Bob, his special place in the history of the club will be a long lasting legacy,” he said.