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Connecticut Resident Dennis Gorelick Relives Rounds with Ben Hogan

(March 25, 2022) – Ben Hogan walked into the pro shop at the legendary Seminole Golf Club looking for a game. He needed two players to round out his foursome that already included George Coleman. The first person inside the pro shop to agree was head professional Jerry Pitman.
The second? Orange, Connecticut resident, and brand new Seminole GC teaching and playing pro Dennis Gorelick.
“I was so anxious the first time I played with Hogan,” Gorelick, 23-years-old at the time said of the experience. “This was 50 years ago and I still have fond memories about getting a chance to play with him. He was dressed like a movie star. It means a lot to me that I was able to be around him.”
Gorelick began his journey in golf in the early 1960s when his family joined Brownson Country Club in Shelton. It was at Brownson CC where Gorelick picked up golf and where he instantly fell in love with the sport. Gorelick would spend his time at the club caddying and also sharpening the tools of his trade. As a 15-year-old Gorelick set the Brownson CC course record firing a 63 and a few years later as a senior at Trumbull High School he earned medalist honors at the 1969 CIAC state tournament.
Ultimately his fine play landed him a scholarship at the University of New Mexico where he had a successful career winning the 1972 Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate and was a key member of the Lobo team that finished tied for fourth at the 1973 NCAA Championships.
However, despite the success on the course once his collegiate career was complete Gorelick knew that competitive golf wasn’t his calling. During his college career he had played against the likes of Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite and he knew that his game was good but not good enough. So, he sat down with Brownson CC head professional Bob Rodgers to discuss what came next. Gorelick knew he wanted to remain in the game he just didn’t know where his spot in the field was.
That conversation led to Gorelick landing a position as an assistant professional for Billy Farrell at The Stanwich Club and eventually to his role at Seminole GC.
“Billy Farrell and Jerry Pittman were the best of friends,” Gorelick said. “I’ve met a lot of people in golf and they were the nicest pros to work for. They knew each other and Billy recommended me and I ended up getting the job in 1975 at Seminole GC.”
Seminole GC – located in Juno Beach, Florida – is one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the country. Located directly along the Atlantic Ocean, Seminole is a seasonal club typically opening on the last Saturday of October and closing for the season on Mother’s Day. Uniquely the club has a hard closing time each day of 6 p.m.
Gorelick began his three-year stint at Seminole GC in October of 1975 and almost immediately found himself rubbing elbows with not only golf royalty but the leading politicians of the day. In addition, to playing with Hogan six-times Gorelick played with Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, and president Gerald Ford.
However, it is the rounds with Hogan that stand out the most. “I got to know Hogan very well and saw him mostly on a daily basis when he was in Florida. One day when I was playing with Hogan it was just us, a cart, a caddie, and when we finished, I shook his hand and looked him right in the eye and said, ‘Thank you very much for inviting me.’ He said, ‘I had a nice day.’ That meant a lot to me then and to this day it still does.”
Shortly after leaving Seminole GC Gorelick changed careers but the memories from those days have never left him.
“Being around somebody that famous and seeing him on a daily basis and watching him play golf just sticks in your mind. I can still think of some of the shots he hit and I think about how nice he was to me. It resonates in your mind that you are with somebody that good and to have had an opportunity to play with him is so special.”

Photos courtesy of Joe Morelli and Hearst Media

About the Connecticut State Golf Association

The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.