#GAPMidAm Round Two: Notebook - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 23, 2023

#GAPMidAm Round Two: Notebook

Green Pond’s Fry sizzles at OYR

The culmination of Nate Fry’s professional golf career was 2012. 

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A PGA Professional in the Philadelphia PGA Section from 2009-14 at Woodstone Country Club & Lodge, Southmoore Golf Center and Great Bear Golf Club, Fry won the 2012 Section Assistants Championship in a playoff at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club

Nathan Fry, Green Pond

Since then, his golf game and path has been one full of bumps and bruises. He applied for his amateur status back in 2013 but didn’t get reinstated until 2014. He’s been scrapping and clawing to find a way to get back to being himself.

“Other than that victory, I have been struggling the last eight years or so,” Fry said. “I haven’t been swinging the way that I want to and definitely not putting well.”

The last two days at Old York Road Country Club during the 40th GAP Middle-Amateur Championship presented by NJM Insurance Group, Fry proved to himself he’s on the right track to being who he wants to be on the golf course.

“When COVID-19 started, my back began to give me issues,” Fry, 40, of Center Valley, Pa., said. “I have spent the last two years trying to get back to the old me. My back has gotten better and I have been trying to put that behind me by making some swing changes. I shot 80 at Green Pond Country Club last Wednesday in tough conditions. I wasn’t expecting a lot.”

Last year, he shot 85 to miss the cut by six at Jericho National Golf Club in the 39th #GAPMidAm. This year, he finished T8 thanks to rounds of 73 and 76.

“I would say having the motivation and desire to play competitively again changed my perspective. I played in the Lehigh Valley Amateur the last couple of years but I told my wife in 2019 I wanted to get back to competing. I missed it. My juices started to flow again. When you have your hands shaking and the nerves flowing, it is a good kind of feeling.

“I made a couple of swings that cost me a few shots this week. Without those, I would have probably had a Top 5. I am a much better tournament golfer than I am playing casually at Green Pond. This is my kind of golf course. It isn’t long but you have to know how to place yourself in the right spots.”

Once he got out of the golf business, he found himself playing and practicing more than he did as a professional. But when he started working in insurance and car sales, he struggled to find the time to play and practice. 

“I didn’t have the game to compete,” Fry said. “I wasn’t coming out here to play in events to shoot 80 and get cut. Having the time to play and practice more has changed all of that.”

He’s qualified for the #GAPMidAm the last two years and also changed careers. He now works as a Lead Processing Clerk at the United States Postal Service. His work week is from Thursday night to Monday night. 

Better hours for golf and a more predictable schedule. 

“We have a good group of guys at Green Pond that have been supportive of me,” Fry said. “They have pushed me to get better and to compete again. You are always going to make a couple mistakes out there but to know I can make mistakes and get a Top-10 finish means that if I limit mistakes I can finish in the Top 5. Big-time confidence boost for me for sure. It is great to be playing well competitively again.” 

Old York Road’s Marterella Impressing

Bobby Marterella’s list of GAP Member Clubs he’s worked at includes Philadelphia Cricket Club, Lookaway Golf Club and Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. All championship venues.

When he was hired as the golf course superintendent at Old York Road in January, Marterella was excited to host the 40th GAP Middle-Amateur.

“It means a lot to the club to host one of GAP’s Majors,” Marterella, 28, of Doylestown, Pa., said. “This event has been circled on the calendar since I started here in January. Everyone at the club was excited. We have gotten great compliments from competitors this week.”

Marterella and his 19 staff members continued to prepare for the event by adding a tee on No. 13 (par 4, 425 yards) for this Championship as well as clearing out debris in the pond on No. 18 (par 4, 422 yards). The club also underwent a bunker restoration with the work being completed in 2021-22.

“Old York Road is always looking to better the club in all aspects,” Marterella said. “They have been supportive of me and what I hope to accomplish here. I am excited for what this club can be.”

Marterella grew up in Levittown, Pa. and went to Delaware Valley University. Although he is relatively young, he’s put in the work. He and his crew started at 5 a.m. the last two days to get the course ready.

Now the course will get some relief. They will be aerifying the golf course starting tomorrow morning. 

“The hardest part of having a championship like this here is to find hole locations,” Marterella said. “You can get caught using the same ones because of the speed and shape of the greens. From an agronomic standpoint it is hard to control the foot traffic. But we do our best to keep everything in shape. We are proud of the course we displayed here.”

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The organization’s 340 Member Clubs and 100,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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