Peter Cronan’s career turning point came in August 2001 when wife Jeanette dropped a newspaper ad on the kitchen counter.
“There was an assistant manager opening at The Meadow,” Cronan recalled. “I was managing a couple coffee shops at the time and realized this might be my best chance ever to get into the golf business; better still at my hometown course.
“I was interviewed by Cindy King, hired by Mayor (Peter) Torigian and here I am all these years later, grateful for the opportunity I got and the support I have received throughout.”
The last 15, it should be noted, as head golf professional following the departure of Rich Nagle, the course’s first pro when the 18-hole facility opened that same year of 2001.
“Once I was promoted, I knew I wanted to make this job my career. This is where I wanted to be,” he said.
And fortunately for everyone involved with The Meadow, employees and golfers alike, it’s been the ideal marriage.
Cronan has thrived with, he points out, Jean Quigley as his assistant manager, since being elevated to head professional in 2005. “I could not have done an effective job all these years without Jean,” Cronan said. “She. has made my job so much easier with all the work she does in the office and the pro shop; background work that has freed me up to do the golf-oriented duties up front.”
Caddying at Salem Country Club, like so many Peabody and Lynn kids, in his case from 1979 to 1982, under Don Lyons and Jack Driscoll, Cronan played for George Hennessey and the Peabody High golf team. He moved on to attend North Adams State for one year before transferring to Salem State.
He played on George Jacobson’s powerhouse golf team for one year before graduating in 1988. He played sporadically during the following years while working a variety of jobs, always considering the best way to break into the golf business.
Golf was not on Cronan's immediate radar for a possible career opportunity. After he graduated from Salem State he worked for Regional Waste Service, a company based in Peabody. He worked there until 1998, then went to work for his brother-in-law, managing two coffee shops called Quikava. He ran the two locations until 2001, when, after 9/11, golf opened the door.
“In some ways I started a little late, becoming head pro when I was 40,” Cronan admits. “But I like to believe 40 was the right time. Every day I’ve come to the course I’ve enjoyed. Some days are more hectic than others. But I love connecting with people in the golf environment, helping them any way I can. Best of all, I’m doing all this on my hometown course.”
He is also grateful for the working relationships he has with his three reports, City Finance Director Michael Gingras, Park and Rec Director Jennifer Davis and Mayor Ted Bettencourt.
We mourn the passing of Artie Collins, Phil Singleton, Greg Taylor, Frank Whitehead and Ginny Symmes...Rob Oppenheim missed the cut at last week’s Korn Ferry Tour event, but is in the field this week at the PGA Tour’s Travelers in Connecticut ...Bass Rocks’s Todd Scarafoni has been cashing in on the start of the New England PGA tournament season. He. tied for seventh with Myopia’s Greg Kelley with 72s at the Stroke Play Series Event at Newport National. Kernwood’s Frank Dully shot 74. Frank and Salem’s Kirk Hanefeld scored 72s at second similar event held at Kirkbrae, sharing eighth. Ipswich’s Aaron Harper shot 73...Scarafoni also shared second with Point Judith’s Brandon Roy, shooting a best-ball 64 at the NEPGA Senior-Junior at Wanumetonomy. Dully and Belmont’s Matt Zdon tied for fifth with 65.
Brendan Mills is the 18th and final recipient of the George J. Hennessey Memorial Scholarship, honoring the aforementioned late, long-time Peabody High golf coach who died, at 69, in October 2006. He served 28 years as Peabody High golf coach. Several of his players became noted club professionals, such as Brian Hamilton, recently retired after 20 years as head pro at Eastward Ho!, and Peter Cronan, now in his 15th year as head pro at The Meadow in Peabody, where George worked before he died as a ranger and starter.
“A great coach, a great employee,” Cronan said of Hennessey, whose PHS record was 324-48-8. “He loved the game like so many of us. He was always positive, a great face to meet when you arrived at The Meadow to play golf. He had a great sense of humor he shared with everybody and he was a good player in his own right; a great ambassador for the game.”
Author and historian Gary Larrabee has covered the North Shore golf scene for more than 50 years.