Jay Dolan (left) and Jeff Susdorf stand on the 10th tee at the Bethel Inn. Samuel Wheeler

BETHEL — Golf is a passion for Jeff Susdorf and Jay Dolan. Between them they have more than a century’s worth of experience playing the game.

Susdorf has been the Head Golf Pro at the Bethel Inn for three years. Dolan has been teaching at the Bethel Inn’s golf school a month.

Dolan’s experience as a professional goes back decades. He has been a golf pro since 1961. He spent 10 years on the U.S. Tour. He ran his own golf course in Worcester, Mass., which he inherited from his family. Afterward he went on the European Senior Tour for 11 years. Since then, Dolan has found himself at different golf schools around the Northeast.

“I’m a snowbird. I want to be in Florida all winter and up here all summer,” Dolan said.

Dolan is a lifelong golfer who followed the same path as his father, who was also a golf pro.

“I started very early. It’s in the family,” Dolan said.

Susdorf’s road to golf was different. He was a late starter with the sport.

In his early teenage years, he suffered a football injury which kept him sidelined from the field. His family also had recently moved into a condominium that was on a golf course.

“I snuck out there and found a golf club and some golf balls and started hitting them out there,” Susdorf said.

The pro at the course “chased” him off multiple times, and the fourth time he caught Susdorf, the pro realized he actually had some talent and decided to let him keep playing golf.

A month later Susdorf’s father bought him a set of clubs and he’s been attached to the game ever since.

Susdorf was running a national junior program in Florida when he learned that the inn was looking for a golf pro. Susdorf knew the former pro at the inn and expressed his interest in the job. He was offered it.

“I needed a change in my life,” Susdorf said.

Dolan has hit the links all over Maine.

“You name it, I’ve played it,” he said.

He has competed in and won many tournaments across the state. Outside of his tournament wins in Maine, Dolan has also won The Massachusetts Open, The Vermont Open, The Rhode Island Open and the New Hampshire Open. Some of the tournaments he was won several times.

Susdorf played on the Florida Mini Tours. He was a pro at “The Villages” in Florida for 13 years also.

Susdorf is thankful to have a golfer as skilled as Dolan around.

“Jay brings a lot of experience with him,” he said. “One of the things I look for in teachers is someone who has the knowledge obviously, but I also think it is important to have people who have been very good players and past champions. Not only do they bring the mental side of the game, but they also have those technical skills. I am thrilled to have him.”

Dolan said he’d always been accustomed to instructing experienced players, so teaching a wide range of skill level has been something different for him.

“You have to have good patience and make them promise that when they leave here to do a little practice,” he said of teaching at the school. “We’re getting a lot of beginners, so it’s all together different set up.”

For more information on the Bethel Inn’s Golf School, visit https://bethelinn.com/site/golf-school/

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With more than 100 years of experience between the two golfers, it’s no surprise they have plenty of favorite moments to reflect on. Dolan recalled one with one of golf’s most prolific players.

At Doral Golf Course, Dolan was coming up the last hole with Jack Nicklaus in the same group. Dolan parred the hole, but lost by one stroke to Phil Rodgers.

Dolan was friends with Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, he said. He was neighbors with Palmer for 18 years.

Susdorf was fortunate enough to play a couple rounds of golf with Palmer while he was at The Villages. Susdorf played a round with Palmer and then professional golfers Chi Chi Rodriguez and Nancy Lopez.

“I was very fortunate to be able to play with them. That was one of the best experiences,” Susdorf said.

Another memorable time in Susdorf’s career was with former Bethel Inn pro Jimmy Gilleon. The two played on many mini tours across the country and had an incredible time, he said.

“Being able to share that with my best friend, travelling all those years and seeing the country, the game of golf allowed us to do all of that,” Susdorf said.


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