Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bumbaco Turned in His Bat for a Golf Club

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bumbaco Turned in His Bat for a Golf Club

Article excerpt

Paul Bumbaco's 20th high school reunion started out as a lovely stroll down memory lane.

The 1992 Bergen Catholic graduate relived the glory of so many victories on the baseball diamond with some of his former teammates.

The former outfielder and pitcher for the Crusaders, however, threw his classmates a curveball when he revealed that he's now the head golf pro at Skokie Country Club in Illinois.

"I did have to field a lot of questions that night about where did the golf come from to a lot of my buddies," Bumbaco said. "And it was funny; that night I also got a lot of questions about how to fix their golf swings."

Fixing swings, running tournaments, playing in tournaments, making sure the pro shop is running smoothly - there's always something to keep him busy at the private club in tiny Glencoe on suburban Chicago's North Shore.

He feels at home on this hallowed golf ground that saw 20-year- old former caddie Gene Sarazen beat out legends Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen and others in 1922 to win the National Open, a precursor to the U.S. Open.

Bumbaco has been the head pro there for six years, but admits the long, harsh winters on the banks of Lake Michigan have taken some getting used to.

"We don't really have a spring season here," Bumbaco said last week. "Even today, it's 53 degrees here. So I don't get a chance to play as much as I would like to, but I get to play enough."

It seems like a lifetime ago he was hitting a different little white ball. The Bergenfield native batted .474 and led North Jersey hitters with 47 RBI as a junior at Bergen Catholic. As a senior, he hit .414. On the mound, he racked up a 19-1 career record. When an emergency arose, he even caught a few games as a senior for the Crusaders, who went 51-8 over his final two seasons.

The pinnacle of his baseball success, however, would come at William Paterson. …

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