A Round to Remember

Cooperstown Golf Classic, held on Father’s Day, brings fans together with baseball’s legends

March 21, 2012
The picturesque Leatherstocking Golf Course will once again play host to the Cooperstown Golf Classic. (Milo Stewart, Jr./NBHOF Library)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Mike Mantle has played some of the most famous golf courses in the world: Pebble Beach, TPC Sawgrass and Riviera Country Club, just to name a few.

But it’s his annual trip to Cooperstown’s Leatherstocking Golf Course – and the camaraderie with the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame on that course – that brings the biggest smile to Mantle’s face.

Mantle, a longtime Hall of Fame supporter, has his plans all set for the third annual Cooperstown Golf Classic on Father’s Day, June 17, in the National Pastime’s hometown. The Cooperstown Golf Classic, a fundraiser for the Museum, is played on the same course where Hall of Famers relax during the annual Hall of Fame Weekend festivities. The legendary Leatherstocking Golf Course, located on beautiful Otsego Lake,  is recognized as one of the premier golf courses in the United States.

“I think it’s one of the top four or five courses I’ve ever played. It’s a Hall of Fame golf course,” Mantle said. “And even if you don’t play a lot of golf, you can still really enjoy this thing. The camaraderie with the Hall of Famers is unbelievable.”

The perfect Father’s Day gift or the chance to play an unforgettable round with your favorite foursome, the Cooperstown Golf Classic will feature a scramble format comprised of six teams, with 24 lucky individuals and six Hall of Famer team captains. The festivities begin Friday night, June 15, with an exclusive cocktail reception in the Hall of Fame Gallery, featuring your chance to meet several Hall of Famers, including Bert Blyleven, Phil Niekro, Tony Perez and Ozzie Smith.

A behind-the-scenes archival tour follows Saturday’s Hall of Fame Classic, taking you into the heart of the Museum's collection. The annual Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field will feature six Hall of Famers and more than 20 other former major leaguers in a seven-inning legends game at Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field.

On Sunday morning, June 17, a private breakfast precedes the golf tournament. All golfers will get the chance to golf with a Hall of Fame member, and each golfer also receives a Hall of Fame goodie bag, a golf shirt and a foursome photo along with two Grandstand seats for Saturday’s Hall of Fame Classic. An awards luncheon concludes the event. For more information about the golf tournament, please call 607-547-0310.

“The Hall of Famers go out of their way to make you feel at ease and make sure you’re having fun,” Mantle said. “Everyone out there is a competitor, but you can hit a bad shot and you’re still going to get more laughter than anything else. They’re going to pick you up.

“And there’s nothing better than when a Hall of Famer hits a bad shot and you pick them up!”

Mantle has played in the Cooperstown Golf Classic every year – and brings along friends and family so they can experience Cooperstown. Mantle has participated in many Hall of Fame events over the years, yet always finds something new when he returns to the home of baseball.

“I have so many memories, like the time our group got an eagle on the 18th hole last year,” Mantle said. “Phil Niekro was in our group, and after the eagle he actually shined our shoes on the green!

“This year, I’m bringing some buddies I played Little League baseball with – and I’m bringing my son, Graig. I can’t think of a better way to spend Father’s Day.”

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum