Molori Unplugged: Dave Goucher

Posted in Golf Writers Column, Molori Unplugged by on October 23rd, 2012

When Dave Goucher was 13-years-old, he slid headfirst into the boards and fractured his neck while playing hockey. Years later, he was cut from the Boston University hockey team. Happily, Goucher’s hockey life eventually improved. The talented Boston Bruins’ play-by-play announcer on 98.5 The Sports Hub has intermingled hockey and golf since young adulthood.

“I played hockey and tennis in high school, but my parents got me a set of golf clubs for Christmas when I was 18 and I was hooked,” says Goucher, a Pawtucket, RI native who now resides in Milton, MA. “Some of my friends had started playing, but none of us really had any money. We’d always walk because we couldn’t afford carts.”

The son of working class parents, Goucher looked for affordable opportunities to get his golf fix, with some interesting hazards. “I played a lot at a par-3 course called Firefly in Seekonk,” says the 1993 BU graduate.] “A car dealership bordered the left side of the 10th fairway. The dealer got tired of golf balls crashing into his lot so he put up a net. I also played at Stone- E-Lea and Chemawa Golf Club in Attleboro. I think Chemawa had power lines or phone towers running through a couple of fairways. They were in-play, so you had to plan accordingly.”

Goucher explains that ingenuity often led to greener golf pastures. “Every once in a while my friends and I would sneak into Pawtucket Country Club, but we’d only play the same four holes because we didn’t want to venture too close to the clubhouse. Years later, I was invited to play in a tournament there. It was the first time I got to see the rest of the golf course, but I knew those four holes like the back of my hand.” The 43-year-old Goucher has a real fondness for some classic northeast courses. “Hyannisport has incredible ocean views. I also like the Ocean Course at New Seabury. Wannamoisett in RI has just one par-4 on the course. It’s a great test. I like Warwick Country Club because it has some great views of Narragansett Bay. Salem Country Club, Granite Links, and Point Judith Country Club in Narragansett are also on my list.”

The man whose broadcasting career began in Wheeling, WV shares an anecdote from a golf experience outside of New England. “I was fortunate enough to play 36 at Pebble one day. It was just a phenomenal day. It took me a few holes to wrap my head around the fact that I was actually playing there. I’d seen the course my whole life on television, but even that doesn’t do it justice. I think holes 6 to 9 are the best stretch of holes I’ve ever seen.”

Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Bubba Watson are among Goucher’s favorite current duffers, but ever the historian, he holds Payne Stewart, Bobby Jones, and Ben Hogan in high regard. “I’m in the camp that says Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors is safe,” says Goucher, who counts Bobby Orr, Larry Bird, John Lennon, and JFK among his non-golf idols. “His 19 runner-up finishes in majors is even more impressive. Thirtyseven top twos, I don’t see that happening again.”

Like many of his Boston media brethren, Goucher enjoys mixing golf with business and philanthropy. “Most of the golf I play is in charity tournaments,” he explains. “I always find it amazing that you can be paired up with total strangers and in five hours get to know them pretty well. We’re all in the same boat out there, some good, some bad, some in the woods, some down the middle.”

An avid guitar player and unabashed Bruce Springsteen fan, Goucher is a worthy heir to the throne of great Bruins broadcasters. His style builds the drama of hockey and his knowledge is apparent. While hockey defines Goucher’s profession, golf has always been a bit more emotional. He relates, “I’m very competitive by nature and used to lose my temper out there when I was younger. That’s very rare now. I’m mostly out there to enjoy the day. A nice day on the golf course is tough to beat.”

John Molori is the co-author of “The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball’s Prized Players” to be released in the fall of 2013. Email John at MoloriMedia@aol.com.

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