Charles “Charlie” Haratsis (1922 – 2016)
Long-time Woodland GC Employee & Friend of The Fund
The Ouimet Fund and the Massachusetts golf community recently lost a good friend and long-time supporter when Charles “Charlie” Haratsis passed away in October 2016 at the age of 93. Charlie worked for over 40 years at Woodland Golf Club in Auburndale in a variety of roles, including many years as an Assistant Pro with former club professional Francis “Ancy” Doyle. The son of Greek immigrants, Charlie’s introduction to golf was unconventional in that he was born and raised in the then hardscrabble neighborhoods of Somerville. Charlie continued to live in his hometown for much of his early career where he and Mary, his wife of 72 years, raised their 3 daughters, Lucille, Stephanie, and Adele.
While establishing himself in the pro shop, Charlie took it upon himself to introduce a succession of boys from his Union Square neighborhood to the game of golf by encouraging them to become caddies at Woodland. He would provide the transportation and they would provide the strong shoulders and hustle needed to be successful loopers at the course where Francis Ouimet had become a junior member back in 1910.
Once at Woodland, Charlie’s “Somerville Boys,” under the direction of long-time Caddiemaster Dominic Dougherty, were introduced to the rules of the game and its etiquette. They even got to play the game on “Caddie Mondays” and if the course wasn’t busy, maybe a few holes as the summer twilight slowly faded over Woodland’s beautiful Ross/Cornish layout. In addition to earning spending money and some savings, Charlie provided his Somerville charges the invaluable opportunity to regularly mingle with members while caddying. That interaction often provided the young men with their first exposure to the potential of higher education and professional careers, which were prospects infrequently encountered in their blue collar homes and neighborhoods. The Ouimet Scholarship was a natural for these boys and Charlie made sure they applied for it as it would usually make the difference in their being able to afford college.
In a very real sense, Charlie developed his own inner-city golf feeder program at Woodland, long before such initiatives became formal outreach efforts. He did it because he was a good man who wanted to see others from his neighborhood benefit from involvement in the game that he loved and from which he earned his livelihood. In so doing, he changed the course of a number of boys’ lives for the better and presented them with opportunities they likely would never have had without him.
The legacy of Charlie Haratsis is one that Francis Ouimet would be proud to have his name associated with and prouder still that it occurred at Woodland, the golf club that Mr. Ouimet called home.
– As told by Ouimet Alumnus Thomas W. Byrne ’80 (Boston College // Woodland GC)