HAVERHILL, Mass. — Upon graduating from Orono High School in 2000, Stuart Cady started pursuing a career as a golf pro.
His determination and perseverance have landed him the job as head golf pro at Renaissance Golf Club, an upscale facility in Haverhill, Mass.
“I had an ambitious five-year plan out of college,” said Cady.
That plan included becoming a head pro. He was close.
“I’m 30 right now,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have this opportunity, and it’s nice to achieve it.”
And club management appears happy to have him.
Renaissance is marketing itself as an “all high-end, well-run facility,” said general manager Mike McGillicuddy. “We wanted someone who could come in and handle it, and he was just what we were looking for.”
Cady graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State in 2004 with a degree in professional golf management.
He immediately started working as an assistant pro at a world-renowned facility, the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., site of three U.S. Opens and the memorable 1999 Ryder Cup.
In 2008 he became an assistant pro at Weston (Mass.) Golf Club. He made a strong impression on the Weston membership in his four years there, and it was reflected in the support Cady received as he applied to be head pro at Renaissance.
“I’ve been [hiring pros] for 20 years, and I’ve never had so many people reach out proactively and speak out on his behalf,” said McGillicuddy, who has been the GM at Renaissance for about 16 months.
Cady was thankful for the support.
“They [Weston] have a very knowledgeable membership,” said Cady. “They know an assistant’s job is to keep taking that forward step. … There’s a sense of pride in it for them, too.”
Still, he added, “It does make you feel good when they go to bat for you.”
His getting the job was no easy matter, though.
McGillicuddy had used a PGA professional site to put out the word on the post, and he received 100 resumes. He interviewed 10, and trimmed that list down to three finalists, including Cady.
The finalists met with the club’s board and David Southworth, the president and CEO of Southworth Development, which bought the club in 2008 after the club’s original owners declared bankruptcy.
“The first interview went two hours longer than it was supposed to,” said Cady.
“Stu distinguished himself and his resume was phenomenal,” said McGillicuddy.
His high school coach, Traditions Golf Club co-owner and pro Colin Gillies, gave Cady his first golf job in the bag room at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono.
“He was an all-sports kind of kid in high school,” said Gillies. “Once he started dedicating himself to golf, it was full speed ahead.”
Cady is responsible for all of the golf operations, including hiring the shop staff, the inside staff and the assistant pros. He will coordinate general golf instruction while two-time Maine Open winner and Champions Tour player Kirk Hanefeld has signed on to handle a separate training facility for world-class players.
Cady has been working almost from square one since he started Feb. 13.
“One assistant returned and he has since moved on [by his choice],” said Cady. “So it’s a whole new staff, and I’ve had to train and hire them right away. The shop was basically empty.”
He has done all that work before, but not from scratch. Plus, the club had its earliest opening ever, March 30, so a time crunch was added on top of everything else.
“I don’t have time to sit around wishing I had something to do,” he said.
Membership has doubled to near 200 — about halfway to the club’s goal — since Southworth purchased the facility, and Cady is impressed with the members.
“They’re golf fanatics,” he said. “They want to play all the time. … There are eight single-digit [handicap] women members, and there are a lot of very talented men, also.
“It’s nice to see everybody golf crazy in the best sense of the word.”
Cady, who was the high school state Class C individual champion in 1997, still plays some.
“There are few who get to play as often as they want,” he said.
And he and his fiancee, Erin Walker, the volleyball coach at Holy Cross in Worcester, are getting married July 8.
“It’s been an interesting year,” said Cady. “There’s a lot going on.”
‘Pop’ up for No. 115
The Pop Erswell Golf Tournament will be held for the 115th straight year May 5-6 at Brunswick Golf Club.
Organizers believe it may be the oldest continuously held tournament in the country. The first one was held in 1898, when it was originally called the Patriots Day Tournament.
Erswell started a golf organization in 1903 that later became the Maine State Golf Association and also started the Maine Seniors Golf Association in 1932.
The tournament was renamed in his honor within the last 10 years after the tournament was moved away from Patriots Day weekend. The original nine-hole course dried very well and could always be played early, but the second nine, which was added much later, was less able to dry as quickly.
Four-person teams, who will compete in a best-ball format, can sign up to play either May 5 or May 6, with tee times running from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Gross and net prizes will awarded for both teams and individuals.
The tourney, which usually has around 100 players each day, is approximately half-full now, according to the club staff. It’s open to the public and the tourney fee is $40. Call 725-8224 to sign up.