Cohasse CC to host “Fore Our Heroes” fundraiser June 18

Cohasse Country Club, a private, nine-hole golf club located in central Massachusetts, will host a fundraiser golf tournament June 18 for first responders, medical personnel, fire firefighters and police officers.

SOUTHBRIDGE, Massachusetts – You see signs all over the place thanking first responders for their heroic efforts during the pandemic.

Cohasse Country Club is taking an extra step to show its appreciation – by inviting first responders to play in a golf tournament at the private, nine-hole Donald Ross design in Southbridge at no charge.

The Fore Our Heroes Golf Tournament is scheduled to be held on Friday, June 18, with an 18-hole shotgun start at 1 p.m. for 64 medical personnel, fire firefighters and police officers from Southbridge, Sturbridge and Charlton. Lunch and dinner will be provided.

Cathy LaBonte, the club’s golf chair and a member of the board of governors, said Cohasse will donate the cost of the greens fees and carts, but she said the club is seeking donations ranging from $100 to $5,000 from local individuals and businesses to cover the costs of the meals and prizes. Anyone interested in making a donation should contact LaBonte at

Cohasse Country Club, known for outstanding conditions and greens that roll true, was recently rated as one of the best nine-hole courses in North America.

LaBonte said the Southbridge Credit Union has already pledged $2,500 and Harrington Hospital in Southbridge has also pledged a generous contribution to allow their employees to play.

Cohasse CC president Chris Dono said the club’s board of governors decided last winter to hold the event to honor those on the front lines of the pandemic.

“We have a hospital that’s a driver down the street, Harrington Hospital, that’s dealt with a lot of these COVID cases,” Dono said. “These people work tremendously hard and it’s an opportunity for us to thank them and help them in the community. We haven’t conquered this yet, but we’re on our way to beating this and moving forward with our regular lives. So we decided what we could offer was a golf tournament.”

“It was a way to give back to the people in our communities who have kept us safe for the last year,” LaBonte said. “We had a lot of examples of all of our (police, fire, medical) departments going above and beyond.”

Designed by Donald Ross in 1916 the course includes nine-holes and encompasses 3,061 yards of golf for a par of 35.

Dono’s neighbor in Charlton and good friend, Kayla Kimball, is a nurse in the COVID unit at Harrington Hospital and she is scheduled to play in the tournament.

“She’s explained how difficult it’s been when it peaked,” Dono said, “and all the people they’ve had to treat, and watching people pass away, watching people recover. It’s been a very up and down emotional roller coaster for the last 15 months.”

LaBonte said whatever profit the tournament generates will be donated to the local fire and police departments and to Harrington Hospital.

“We’re looking forward to this event,” Dono said. “It’s the least we can do for people who have been through a lot.”

Cohasse CC celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018. The Wells family, which owned American Optical Company in Southbridge and founded Old Sturbridge Village, hired Donald Ross to design a nine-hole golf course for the AO employees. They named it Cohasse, which is a Nipmuc word for land of the tall pines. Eventually, the Wells turned ownership of the club over to the members.

Cohasse Country Club celebrated its 100th year in 2018.

LaBonte said Cohasse CC has become more family oriented than ever and is up to 215 members.

“The nine-hole Donald Ross is our emerald, it’s our diamond out here,” LaBonte said, “but we’re moving into the future of golf and that’s something that I think we realized we really needed to do.”

Bill Doyle brings 45 years of professional sports writing experience to New England dot Golf. His resume includes 40 years as a sports writer for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette where he wrote a Sunday golf column and covered professional and amateur golf. He also wrote about all four of the major professional sports teams in the Boston area, mostly about the Boston Celtics, as well as college and local sports. Working for the newspaper in the city where Worcester Country Club hosted the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927, Doyle covered the improbable comeback of the U.S. team at the 1999 Ryder Cup at The Country Club in Brookline. He also covered the 1988 U.S. Open at TCC, the 2001 and 2017 U.S. Senior Open championships at Salem Country Club, the U.S. Women’s Open championships at The Orchards in South Hadley in 2004 and at Newport Country Club in 2006, the PGA Tour stops at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton for nearly 20 years and at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, for several years; and every PGA Tour event at TPC Boston in Norton from the inaugural event in 2003. He will provide regular contributions ranging from interviews, travel, lifestyle, real estate, commentary and special assignments. Bill can be reached at

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