LINCOLN – Nick Maresca is back home – in more ways than one.
After growing up two minutes away from Lincoln Country Club and spending most of his teenage years at the Dexter Rock Road facility, Maresca became the club’s head professional in February.
“I grew up here and I learned the game of golf here,” said Maresca. “It’s just a great place, and I always thought that I’d end up here with my career.”
And while he will readily admit that he’s thrilled to be back at the club, he’s also excited to return as Lincoln High’s head golf coach after spending a year away from the team.
Last year was an eventful one for Maresca, who was not only named the state’s Assistant Pro of the Year and the president of the PGA of America’s R.I. Chapter (RIPGA), but also became the new head pro at Glocester Country Club that March.
Maresca had spent the past 15 years as an assistant pro at Kirkbrae Country Club and the Lions’ head coach, but taking this next big step in his career at Glocester meant not having the time to drive back to Lincoln to coach his players.
But returning to the area meant that Maresca was able to return to the program, and on Monday afternoon, his Lions hosted neighboring Cumberland and North Smithfield in their North Division opener at the club.
“It was probably more difficult to give up the coaching job than to give up my full-time job,” admitted Maresca, who twice in his career, had won the RIPGA’s Youth Player Development Award. “I enjoy coaching this team, and I enjoy interacting with the kids, helping them improve, and seeing their progress.”
Maresca spent a few minutes talking about his team during a break in Monday’s match, as well as the journey that led him back to the club, which began “from the time I was in probably in 7th grade through graduation,” he said. “I joined for a couple of years as a junior member, but I worked here, cleaning clubs and carts and working in the shop. It was just a good place to be.”
Maresca graduated from Lincoln High in 1997 and earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Bryant University in 2001, “and I started working at Kirkbrae (Country Club) when I was in college,” he noted. “I went into the golf business after that, and then I came back to Kirkbrae in 2007. I had a lot of great relationships there, and it was a great run.”
Then came the move to Glocester, but when Lincoln’s longtime head pro, Bruce MacDonald, retired last winter after more than 20 years of service and that job opened up, “I didn’t think that opportunity was going to pop up so soon,” admitted Maresca. “I had to move, because I knew that if I didn’t, someone else was going to snatch it up.”
As for returning to the Lions’ program, “I have 13 great kids, which makes my job a lot easier,” added Maresca, who has six sophomores among his numbers. “The team I have this year is really into it. They’re practicing on weekends and at other times when we don’t have practice. A lot of the kids have joined (the Lincoln Country Club) because they want to improve their games and be really competitive.”
Unfortunately for the Lions, Cumberland ended the afternoon with a 2-0 record by shooting a four-player total of 178 to top North Smithfield’s 185 and Lincoln’s 188. Three of the Clippers’ top players from last spring’s team led the way, as senior Jonny Walsh, who was a First-Team All-Division selection last year, and sophomore Sam Medici shared the medalist honors by shooting nine-hole rounds of 41, and junior Marcus Ziniti added a 46.
The Lions received 45s from junior Jack Lawson and freshman Josh Bergeron and 49s from junior Beckett Cournoyer and sophomore Hugh Sousa, and the Northmen were guided by junior Josh Neves’ 43 and juniors Cooper Carlson and Anthony Paiva’s 46s.
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