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Local golf notebook: Statler still at it after all these years

| Sunday, May 12, 2013, 12:06 a.m.

When Marty Statler and his father opened a par-3 golf course more than 60 years ago, it cost 50 cents to play nine holes.

The course is long gone, and the business that is now Statler's Fun Center features miniature golf and a go-kart track.

One thing hasn't changed after all of these years when it comes to Statler. The man affectionately known as “Pappy“ can still make his way around a golf course.

Statler recorded his eighth career hole in one recently, and the ace allowed him to shoot his age (81) at Totteridge Golf Club in Greensburg.

Statler has shot his age every year since he turned 68, and that is not his only distinction when it comes to golf.

Statler was a pupil of Deacon Palmer, and the latter helped him earn his PGA teaching professional card not long after Statler's Golf Course first opened. Statler also goes way back with Arnold Palmer, Deacon's son.

“I've known him all of my life,” Statler said of Palmer, who won seven majors and did more than any other player to make golf popular. “He's quite a gentleman. He has been all of his life.”

Statler plays golf twice a week, and he would get out more if his body permitted. He also stays close to the game by giving lessons at his house, which is near the business that has remained in the family and is still off Route 30 in Greensburg.

Statler is not allowed to get any strokes when he plays golf because of his status as a teaching professional. That can make it difficult when he is out with his son and grandson as they hit short irons into greens that Statler has to reach with a long iron or fairway wood.

“It gets tougher every year,” Statler said, “but I still make a few quarters.”

Locals look to advance

Rick Stimmel and Oakmont Country Club head professional Bob Ford are among the 69 players who are scheduled to play in a U.S. Open local qualifier Tuesday at Grove City Country Club.

The golfers will try to advance to sectional qualifying, and the top two or three finishers will move within a step of playing in the U.S. Open.

The Open will be played June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club outside of Philadelphia.

Stimmel, a Pittsburgh resident, qualified for the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Dan Obremski, Dan Konieczny and Kevin Shields advanced from the local qualifier last Thursday at Westmoreland Country Club.

One step from U.S. Women's Open

Rachel Rohanna will try to return to the U.S. Women's Open when she tees it up Wednesday at Butler Country Club.

Rohanna, who played in the 2011 U.S. Women's Open, is among the 40 players who are scheduled to play in a sectional qualifier.

The Waynesburg graduate played at Ohio State and turned professional earlier this year. Fox Chapel graduates Nadia and Katerina Luttner also will play in the 36-hole event at Butler.

Nadia Luttner is on Coastal Carolina's women's golf team. Katerina plays for Ole Miss.

The U.S. Women's Open will be June 27-30 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.

Chip shots

Greensburg native Rocco Mediate will be featured on the Golf Channel on Monday night. Mediate will reflect on his life and career on “Feherty,” which is hosted by David Feherty. The show starts at 10 p.m. ... Butler Golf Course will start its junior summer golf program June 24. The week-long teaching programs run through July. The cost is $100 for ages 5-8 and $150 for ages 9-16. For information call 412-751-9121.

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