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The Yankee Express

WCRN, Shining Rock partner up for thank-you golf tournament

Joe O’Donnell, 77, of Natick, spent some time on the putting green before joining friends for a round of golf at Shining Rock on June 24. “There are six to eight of us and we play different courses,” he said

Mr. Thompson is general manager of the Westborough-based station, which touts itself as “full-service radio.” Mr. Papadellis is GM of Shining Rock, an award-winning track that has been compared to “a Vermont mountain course with a number of holes built into the sides of hills.”
Shining Rock is also nestled high above School Street, and surrounded by expensive homes. New ones are being constructed as part of a large development.
Despite his lack of credentials swinging a driver or a nine iron, Mr. Thompson is no slouch—in terms of professional accomplishment. He is in fact “Dr. Christopher Thompson,” with a degree from the University of Phoenix and a solid resume as a published scholar and marketing executive. Steeped in sales and the broadcasting industry, he has been an adjunct professor of marketing at Quinsigamond Community College, Mount Wachusett CC and Fitchburg State.
The son of immigrants, Mr. Papadellis is a former Framingham North soccer standout and Natick boys soccer coach whose initial interest in the sport was sparked by George Wheeler—Framingham’s “father of soccer.” Mr. Papadellis developed his skills playing alongside talented Portuguese kids from the south side of town and in the rivalry between North and South, and went on to star at Boston College where he set school records and led BC to an ECAC title his senior year.
He is a member of BC’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
He ran the pro shop at Hopkinton Country Club for three years. The owners of that club brought him with them when they bought Shining Rock.
Its collaboration with Shining Rock has been beneficial for WCRN and the tournament is the station’s way of saying thank you to its clients, Mr. Thompson said. Few tournaments in the area boast as many incentives to register and participate. There is a continental breakfast, a post-event barbecue and awards, closest-to-the-pin, longest drive and hole-in-one contests, cash and door prizes and hole sponsorships—for instance.
Of particular appeal is a $1500 advertising package that can be scheduled for airing on WCRN before September 1 and that also includes a round of golf that day, four invites to the post-tournament barbecue and pre-registration, and a gift bag from local merchants.
This year, WCRN is adding a hot-air balloon to the mix.
“We’re getting there,” Mr. Thompson said on June 21, of signups so far.
Talking about Shining Rock at the club on June 22, Mr. Papadellis said, surprisingly enough, “the pandemic was very good for the golf industry. We had a good year, for two reasons. It was safe to be on the course, and when restaurants were allowed to open ours became a destination to eat outside” (on a patio overlooking the first tee).
All of Shining Rock’s leagues are back and running.
“Two took last year off, we have seven going” in 2021, he said.
“Tournaments, that suffered, but overall it didn’t hurt us because we filled tee times seven days a week, and 90 percent of our tournaments are back this year. The course is in good shape and doesn’t get burned out. We have irrigation.
“It’s also the first year for our driving range.”
With a pro shop, a restaurant (fried scallops with sweet potato fries and steak tips are among the favorites), a driving range, putting green, mixed tee boxes and spectacular layout, 6735-yard, par-72 Shining Rock, a semi-private course, has settled in as one of the Blackstone Valley and Central Massachusetts’ premier golf courses.
An elevation change of two hundred fifty-five feet from its highest and lowest points results in stunning views.
WCRN is also doing well, Mr. Thompson said.
“It’s like everything else. COVID changed the rules. Things are looking optimistic,” he said.
Individual and team entrants for WCRN’s golf tournament are being accepted. Contact WCRN’s Harry Berkowitz at 508-769-1591 or [email protected]
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Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.By Rod Lee
Chris Thompson would probably be the first to admit he is not as good a golfer as Lou Papadellis was a soccer player.
Asked recently whether he is proficient on the course, Mr. Thompson laughed and said “I’m terrible. The last time I played I shot 139 and I lost thirty-seven balls. I’m just the casual guy who rides around in a cart.”
Regardless, he and Mr. Papadellis are both looking forward to WCRN 830 AM’s 15th annual golf tournament at Shining Rock Golf Club in Northbridge on July 27.