Joe Lazzari, the bicycle policeman, knows all about the mission and the service.
After four years of active service in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, 26 years as a Schenectady policeman and a stint as a security guard at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Glenville , Lazzari’s passion for giving back to his community is undisputed.
But he and his family also gave many decades of service to the mission of the city of Schenectady. Although he’s only been playing golf “seriously” for about five years – 12 years in total – he’s using this new found love for the game to help his favorite charity.
Lazzari, 73, recently joined Mohawk Golf Club, and this prestigious Niskayuna course will host the ninth annual golf tournament with a mission tournament, in memory of his son, Joseph Lazzari Jr., on September 12. The registration fee is $750 per foursome, or $195 per person, and includes golf, cart, lunch and dinner. There will be registration and lunch at 11:00 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. A fellowship hour, silent auction and dinner/prize presentation will follow at 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit citymission.com./golf/.
Lazzari, his wife, Susan, and their children, the late Joey Jr., retired firefighter Mike, Theresa and Matt, were all extremely involved in Schenectady’s good works and charity for many decades. Lazzari was a street cop for 24 years before becoming a detective. It was there that he started the department’s bicycle patrol.
“That was my niche,” Lazzari said. “We started the first bike patrol in 1995. I rode 36,000 miles in six years and loved every minute. It’s hard work there. Some guys train with weights, but I was training athletically on my bike.
Susan, an emergency room nurse at Ellis Hospital for 42 years and two-time Nurse of the Year, is a former member of the Schenectady County Legislative Assembly. Joey and Michael Lazzari both played basketball at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons for Herb Crossman. Michael, also an Air Force veteran, ran the 26.2-mile New York City Marathon in full firefighter gear, including the air tank on his back, for six hours to raise money for the Wounded Warrior project after 9/11. He raised over $40,000.
But Joey Jr., a longtime member of the 109th Airlift Wing Air National Guard Unit, died suddenly last year at just 45.
“He was going to be a firefighter, but it didn’t work out,” Lazzari said. “He worked for a meatpacking company in New York and he drove his truck from Duanesburg to New York three times a week after loading it with half-frozen cows. He was his own boss, and he said lifting all that beef on his own kept him in shape. Joey wasn’t just my son. He was also like a brother to me. He loved his family and he was a great boy. God took it away from us too soon, but our faith kept us going.
It was City Mission executive director Mike Saccocio who suggested that this year’s City Mission golf tournament be named after Joey Lazzari Jr.
“The money has flowed in so far, and it’s one of the highest donation amounts they’ve received at the City Mission,” Lazzari said.
Joe Lazzari Sr. was a natural athlete. He played center field for the legendary Don Blaha on the Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons baseball team, and he also played football for a few years before getting injured.
It was during his long career with the Schenectady Police Department that he became acquainted with the Schenectady City Mission.
“Being on the street, I met a lot of people,” he recalls. “I can truly say that when I met a homeless person, my first thought was to bring him to the mission. Seventy-five percent of the people I took there got better. I would say Mike Saccocio is a godsend. He changed so many lives.
Lazzari, who recorded an eagle and made the cut in the super senior division of the recent Schenectady Senior Classic at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, has spent countless hours on the mission trying to help.
“I went to the City Mission every holiday to help out as much as I can, and I give as much as I can. We know what they are doing and where the money is going,” he said.
“Joe has a long history, even as a police officer, for bringing people who need help to the mission,” Saccocio said. “After his retirement, he became a great volunteer. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas he served coffee and helped out. He and his wife, Sue, became great friends in the mission. When his son, Joe Jr., passed away, we wanted to both celebrate his life with an opportunity for a memorial, but also celebrate the service of the Lazzari family. The City Mission is honored to have its name linked to ours.
Nolan Crowley of Siena College and Saratoga Golf & Polo Club tied for 17th place (2 on par 286), Jim Gifford of Mohawk Golf Club finished tied for 22nd (5 on par 289) and Jim Welch of Olde Kinderhook GC finished 44th (17 over par 301) at the 99th Annual NYS Men’s Amateur Golf Championship hosted by Onondaga CC this week. These three players were the only players from the capital region among the approximately 25 challengers to have completed the 36-hole cut.
The first Charity Skins Game to benefit the Schenectady Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs will take place Tuesday at Mohawk Golf Club. Former world No. 1 player David Duval, whose late father and grandfather were Schenectady residents and golfing legends; Blaine McCallister, Fred Funk and this year’s Senior Open champion Darren Clarke are competing. Tickets are $40. For more information, visit Schenectady Boys’ & Girls’ Clubs bgcschenectady.org.
Albany CC pro Glenn Davis went over par 7 over 36 holes and then won a playoff to win the PGA Northeast New York Senior Stroke Play Championship last week at Glens Falls CC. Saranac Inn G&CC’s Ian Breen and Saratoga Spa Golf Course’s Terry Manziano also shot 7 over par and tied for second.
Burden Lake CC head pro Justin Hearley won the Stableford Individual Pro competition at the Pro-Lady Pro-Am at Ballston Spa CC. He collected five birdies.
Maria Glavin recently won the Van Schaick Island CC Women’s Club Championship with scores of 82 and 75 for a two-day total of 157. Charlee Kennedy finished second (85-84-169).
Section II champion Brayden Dock, 15, of Queensbury won the Men’s Club Championship at Hiland Golf Club with scores of 70, 70 and 69 for a total of 209 at 7 under par. He won by 15 strokes.
The next major tournament on the NEWGA schedule is her Gail Purdy Best Two Balls of Four Championship on Monday at the Edison Club.
Van Patten Golf Club will host the first Cooley Kill Cash Classic 2-Player Scramble on October 11th. Over $7,500 in cash and prizes will be awarded. The scratch event has an entry fee of $125 per player or $250 per team. There will be a shootout at 10 a.m. First place will be $1,500. Lots of contests and giveaways are included. Call the Van Patten GC pro shop at 518-877-5400, ext. 306 for more information.
The Van Patten GC Club Championship is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday with tee times starting at 8 a.m. An official handicap is required. Entry fee is $150 per player ($50 for members) and includes a small bucket and cart. Call Van Patten GC to register.
The fifth annual Schoharie County Amateur Championship will be held Aug. 27 at Cobleskill G&CC with tee times beginning at 9 a.m. All amateur golfers are eligible to compete, regardless of residency. The competition will be divided into Championship Division, Men’s Division, Super Senior Division and Women’s Division. The cost will be $60 for non-members and $15 plus cart for members. Contact the pro shop at 518-234-4045 to register or for more information.
The old Evergreen Country Club in East Greenbush, closed for many years, is now open and called Olde Post Road Golf Club.
The Schenectady Municipal Golf Course will host the 14th Annual Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame Golf Tournament on September 18. The format will be a modified four-person race. The registration fee is $420 per foursome and includes golf, cart, buffet and prizes. This event is named after SCSD Hall of Famer Pete Famiano. Call Bob Pezzano at 518-346-9297 for more information.
Albany FireWolves’ annual “The Pack Gives Back” golf outing will take place September 26th at Normanside CC. There will be a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. for the four-man race. Admission is $600 per foursome and includes breakfast, on-course snacks, and post-golf dinner/cocktail. For more information, call 518-362-4900 or visit www.albanyfirewolves.com.
HOLES IN ONE
At Hales Mills Country Club, Dan Szabo used an 8-iron for a hole-in-one on the 11th hole.
Also at Hales Mills CC, Mike Morris finished with a 9-iron on the eighth hole.
Joe Imperial hit the 115-yard seventh hole with an 8-iron at Van Patten Golf Club.
Charles Frazier used a pitching wedge for his hole-in-one on the 110-yard seventh hole at Briar Creek Golf Course.
Also at Briar Creek, Dave Newvine completed the same seventh hole with a 50 degree corner.
At Schenectady Muni, Joe Daley, father of head pro Matt Daley, hit the third hole to celebrate the 30th birthday of Matt’s brother Jeff.
Replacement in the Ballbusters league at Stadium Golf Club, John Fuelner made the par-5 16th hole with a left dogleg with a 4-wood approach shot and a 10-foot putt.
Dave Quivey posted an eagle-2 on the par-4 11th hole at Schenectady Muni.
Contact Bob Weiner at [email protected].
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