Like many businesses, golf is about connections and in some cases luck.

When Waterville native Abby Kershner applied for a job this summer at Prout’s Neck in Scarborough, she found the position was for six months instead of the three for which she was available. But an employee acquaintance put her on to a job at The Country Club In Brookline, Mass.

Kershner, formerly Abby Spector, landed the job at the nation’s oldest country club and began her duties this week teaching junior golf.

“I took the kids out on the course,” said Kershner, who played it once last year. “I didn’t have a clue how I was going or how I’d get back.”

Fortunately, one of her pupils knew the way and led the group back to the clubhouse. Kershner, 30, is in the third and final level of her PGA apprenticeship and hopes to become a Class A professional by this fall. By then, she’ll have returned to Gasparilla Inn and Club on Gasparilla Island, Fla., where she’s worked the past five years for nine months each season.

“Eventually (I’ll be) looking for a teaching position or a head pro’s position,” Kershner said.

Had she not been derailed with a life-threatening heart condition at age 23, Kershner might well be in the midst of a successful professional career. But she never fully recovered the playing form that led her to seven Maine Amateur titles and a New England championship by her 21st birthday. Thrown into that mix was a successful career at the University of North Carolina where she earned a four-year golf scholarship.

“I’m shooting in the 80’s,” said Kershner, who plays occasionally when work allows. “I feel great.”

She’s made a successful transition to the teaching side of the game, however, and built solid credentials in putting together a popular program for young girls while she worked at Val Halla in Cumberland.

She gets weekends off at The Country Club and often comes home to Maine. While she’s there she lives in the massive clubhouse.

“It’s more amazing than it looks,” she said. “It’s huge. Twelve buildings are part of the complex.”

* * *

Josh Kershner, who is married to Abby, returned to Miacomet Golf Course on Nantucket Island this summer where he’s an assistant pro. Among his many duties are giving lessons. A Winslow High School and University of Maine graduate, Kershner plans to return to Lemon Bay Golf Club in Englewood, Fla., this fall.

At level 3 and in his fourth year toward becoming a full-fledged PGA professional, Kershner expects to finish his training this winter.

“My goal is to become a director of golf or to be a general manager,” said Kershner, who has a business degree.

Toby Spector, who is Abby’s younger brother, is playing on the Carolina Hooters Tour. A former Maine schoolboy champ, Spector, 25, turned pro shortly after graduating from Skidmore College three years ago.

“He’s doing really well,” Abby said. “He made a few cuts and a little bit of money.”

* * *

Clinics and golf schools for kids are in full swing at T’s Golf in Manchester under the direction of owner Rawn Torrington and his son, Tom. “It’s going pretty well,” Torrington said. “We’re about ready to start with our pee wees and juniors.”

The clinics for kids ages 6-8 and 9-11 run two hours a week for six weeks and cover all the basics. Kids from a couple of nearby summer camps also showed up this week at T’s and began a similar program that also takes them out to local courses.

* * *

Seth Sweet of Madison and Joe Walp of Portland have both qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur which will be played July 18-23 at Golden Mountain Golf Club in Washington state. MSGA players who would like to help Joe and/or Seth with tournament related expenses can donate MSGA voucher winnings. Cash donations are welcome, too. Details are available on the MSGA website.

Chip shots . . . The Maine Amateur will be held July 12-14 at Portland Country Club while the New England Amateur is scheduled July 18-20 at Matacomet Country Club in Rhode Island . . . The Women’s Amateur will be played at Penobscot Valley on Aug. 8-10.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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