Guest Guru: Andrew Catalon


Full disclosure:  Andrew’s a good friend of mine going back to our days at Syracuse (where we never played golf together because, you know, it’s Syracuse).  But I can objectively say that he’s one of the top young sportscasters in the business right now.  Not only did he just return from calling his second straight Masters for CBS Sports (he was the voice of one of the “Featured Group” channels), but he announced the last two US Open tennis tournaments also for CBS, and this summer, NBC Sports will send him to London to broadcast his third consecutive Olympic Games.  Throw in some Giants preseason TV,  hosting gigs on SNY, plus his “day job” as sports anchor at the NBC affiliate in Albany, and you realize why people out there are starting to take note of this 32-year-old from Short Hills, New Jersey.

Stepping onto Augusta National’s hallowed grounds for the first time last year, Andrew was quick to realize he wasn’t exactly at his hometown East Orange Golf Course anymore.

“First of all, it was the most beautiful place in the world, I can say that for sure, ” Andrew recalls.  “But when you actually walk the course, you get a sense of the elevation changes, which are something I’ve never seen before.  On 18, it’s about a sixty foot rise from tee to green.”

Andrew honed his golfing skills growing up on Essex County’s public courses (his grandpa taught him the game), where he shot his lowest round – an 80 (“I choked on my last putt on 18 for a 79”).  Just one week after a “dream job” of doing play-by-play of golf’s greatest tournament from golf’s greatest course, he shares his own local favorites with us.


ANDREW CATALON’S GOLF COURSE PICKS

Most Difficult:  Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield Township, NJ:  “An absolute beast.  It’s always fun to play where the world’s best have competed, but for a 20-handicapper, it’s quite a challenge.”

Solid Local Muni:  Francis Byrne Golf Course, West Orange, NJ:  “Really good track, some really fun holes, lot of different shots you have to hit”

Hidden Gem:  Spring Meadow Golf Course, Wall Township: “Next to a State Park, has some great elevation changes and some challenging holes.  It’s a great course to play if you’re vacationing down the Jersey Shore – not too far from Seaside, Point Pleasant, places like that.”

Most Scenic:  Gambler Ridge Golf Club, Cream Ridge:  “Well-manicured, water comes into play.  Beautiful course nestled in Central New Jersey.”

Best 19th Hole:  “Johnny’s On The Green” – East Orange Golf Course, Short Hills, NJ:   “Great food – some of the best days I can remember are going out to East Orange with my buddies, playing eighteen and then going to Johnny’s and hanging out after the round.  The course itself is not going to win any beauty pageants, it’s not the most scenic – but it’s a fun place to go out and play with your friends.”

For more on Andrew, check out his bio on WNYT’s website.
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