May 12, 2017
Ivan Lendl, the champion tennis player who is also, on a lesser scale, a champion golfer, had a rule in his home when his five daughters were growing up. "They were required to play a sport or sports," he said last week at Torrington Country Club, where he is a member. "If they didn't do that, they would not have permission to do some of the things kids enjoy, such as having friends over and so on."
The Hall of Famer didn't have to push too hard. The girls took to golf, equestrian competition, rowing and other sports as naturally as their father, now 57, had taken to tennis in his youth.
A good indication of their abilities can be found on a wall plaque in the clubhouse — the one that lists the club champions through the years. For the past 10 years, one Lendl sister or another has won the women's club championship at TCC. The daughters are Nikki, twins Carolyn and Isobel, Daniela and Marika. Daniela is 23. She is called "Crash" because, as she explained, when she was a little girl, when playing tennis, she would go crashing into the posts etc., and soon her nickname was "Crash," which it remains.
Oh, the old man's golf record isn't so shabby in this regard, either. He's world famous as a tennis Hall of Famer, but he's done a good many impressive things with his golf sticks, too. He has won six men's club championships at TCC, and a good number of other club titles at various clubs in Connecticut and Florida.
TCC is a terrific golf course, one of the better ones in the state, which is why the CSGA Women's Open will be held there May 30 and 31. Crash, a scratch golfer, won't be playing in it. She is the CSGA's director of woman's golf and membership services. Her responsibilities with the Open will keep her busy and she doesn't feel she should indulge herself by entering the tournament. Crash will be the one who lays out the course, determines the pin placements and does a million other duties at the Open.
Dick Weigold is chairman of the Open committee for the club. Weigold is widely known statewide and locally for his amateur golf exploits. There's a lot to hosting a major CSGA event but arrangements are moving nicely, the chairman said.
Ivan and Samantha Lendl and their family have been residents of Goshen for more than 20 years and he's been a TCC member for that long. He loves the place, the course and the good feeling he gets playing there. Yes, and the internationally know tennis player is a holy terror on the golf course, too, but he thoroughly enjoys the camaraderie of the members as well.
"I like to compete, always trying to get better," he said. "And I never liked losing. Also, you know, golf teaches good things. It's a great sport, a sport, for example, in which a player calls penalties on himself."
When his friend Richard Gordon owned the Hartford Whalers, Lendl was on the board of directors. Hockey is another of his favorite sports. Soccer, too. But golf is a real passion and he's pleased that the Women's Open is to be played here.
"It's such a good thing for the club," he said. "We've had a fair number of championships here, and whenever we do, it's a real boost for our club. That's important. And with Wiggy (Weigold) standing behind it and organizing it, well, that speaks well for the club, too."
Indeed. It will be a couple of excellent championship days at the end of May when pros and amateurs descend on the beautiful golf course in Goshen.