The CSGA Links Volume 3 Issue 6 September 2015 - Page 14

FEATURE A Man with a Mission Reflecting on 66 years building and tending his family’s golf course The following article appeared in the New Haven Register on August 15th, and was written by Randall Beach. The article is reprinted courtesy of the New Haven Register and the above photo is courtesy of Peter Hvizdak. A t age 90, Walter “Bud” Smith feels he’s entitled to relax a little at his Orange Hills Country Club, to “b.s.” with the golfers and let his “kids” do the heavy lifting. When we spoke last Thursday on a warm, sunny summer afternoon, Smith greeted his customers, virtually all of them old friends of his, and remarked to me, “I’ve come full circle.” “For the first 40-50 years here,” he noted, “I always had a mission. I didn’t want to make any small talk with the golfers. But now I sit down and talk to them. I don’t work that much anymore. I’m not too productive.” Even if this isn’t really true for a guy who comes into work seven days a week, it’s OK for him to kick back a bit; his daughter, Judy Smith, 14 | CSGA Links // September, 2015 is doing plenty of work in the office as the club’s general manager and his son, Jud Smith, is out overseeing the grounds as the course superintendent. “Bud” helps draw business just by being around, according to Bob Nugent, a longtime customer. “So many people come up here because he’s here,” Nugent told me. “He’ll ask them, ‘What did you shoot today?’ And then he’ll say, ‘Ah, that’s no good! Play better!’ He knows all the golfers and he likes to razz them a little bit.” Nugent said when you go to other clubs, the managers come and go, year after year. “But when you come here, it’s the same people. They remember you and so you continue the friendship.”