Friday, April 18, 2014

Obituary For Jock Mackenzie, My Dad.

 The article was published in the Palm Coast Observer this week.

 Wendell C. “Jock” MacKenzie

Jock MacKenzie, 88, of Palm Coast, Florida passed away Monday, April 7 of pneumonia. He was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada on May 11, 1925, to Evelyn and Charles MacKenzie. Jock proudly served in the US Army Infantry and fought in the Pacific Theater in World War II where he was decorated with the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor.

He was married to the late Genevieve MacKenzie in 1947 in Berlin, NH. They lived in Berlin for several years and then moved to Dover, NH and resided there for many years before moving to Palm Coast, FL in 1997. Jock was a sports radio broadcaster. He started his broadcasting career with the Berlin Maroons hockey team. He worked for radio station WMOU. He advanced to WTSN in Dover, NH where he formed the University Sports Network. He served as the voice of UNH hockey and football for over 35 years. He later donated the network to the University. He was a member of both the UNH Sports Hall of Fame and Dover Sports Hall of Fame. He received the prestigious Profile of Service Award from UNH. He also worked with members of the Boston Celtics and the Boston Red Sox.

 Jock received the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Distinguished Service Award in 1959 and 1962. His career included management for radio stations WMOU in Berlin, NH, WTSN in Dover, NH and retired in 1992 after becoming part owner of WTSN. His famous tagline at WTSN was “Next to religion sports contributes more to the American way of life”. He was named Dover Citizen of the Year by the Dover Chamber of Commerce for his efforts to construct the original Dover ice arena and received two keys to the city. He was inducted in the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey in 2003.

In Palm Coast, he wrote golf columns for the Palm Coast Observer and the Flagler Palm Coast News Tribune where he shared his passion for golf. He also worked closely with Grand Reserve and The Grand Club and Cypress Knoll Golf Course doing promotion for the golf courses. He also wrote his own online blog.

He is survived by four children Sally Horneck, (Craig) of Saratoga Springs, NY; Wendy Allen of Bristol, RI; Scott MacKenzie (Judy Mazzella) of Palm Coast, FL; and Mary Beth MacKenzie (Kathy Gerrity) of West Hills, CA; four grandchildren Holly Fitzgerald, Todd Horneck, Thomas Allen, Caitlin Allen and two great grandchildren Hunter Fitzgerald and Kailyn Horneck; His two sisters Margaret Berry, Durham, NH, and Trudy (Clyde) MacDonald, N. Hampden ME. His only brother Carl MacKenzie predeceased him. He will be missed by his many friends and colleagues.

Services will be held on Tuesday, April 29 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 156 Florida Park Drive, Palm Coast at 11 AM. Services will be held at a later summer date in Dover, NH. Burial will be at the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to The Friends of Men’s Ice Hockey, Donations can be mailed to The UNH Foundation Inc., Elliott Alumni Center, 9 Edgewood Road, Durham, NH 03824. Condolences may be shared with the family at Also, please see his online blog

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Jacket Of A Soldier

One of the most cherished items that a soldier will have forever is the jacket he wore while fighting in combat in the Pacific theater of war.

This jacket was meaningless at the time, but one of pride now. It wasn't meant to be on display. It was a major part of a battle against the Japanese as I went from New Guinea with the first of our troops who invaded the shores of the Philippines. They were well ahead of heralded principals who speak to this day of special leaders. But in truth, our soldiers had already fought our way foot by foot on Philippine land. I thought you'd enjoy reading this. 

In addition, when you see someone in the armed services who serves to protect our country, please don't be shy, speak up and thank them. You'll feel good for doing so and you'll make the day of a stranger that much brighter too.  


Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Man Who Whacks Up The Pine Courses of Pine Lakes.


By Jock MacKenzie – twice voted one of 50 best radio sports broadcasters in the United States.

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still gently allows you to grow.If any words could describe a superb golfer, it would have to be that of John Sbordone, who whacks up the Pine Courses of the Pine Lakes string in Palm Coast.

In the year’s I’ve known Sbordone, it was that of a teacher, a highly knowledgeable person who spent his time with many on the stage and does to this day. Even though his golf is always Cypress, I found him one day all by himself at the Pine Course, just sitting their and enjoying life as it should be. My eyes popped and I had the enjoyment all by myself.I wondered, how does this wonderful, dedicated and talented man be alone at a golf layout he rarely plays but their he was, enjoying the site, marveling the golf layout so many of us enjoy.

Sbordone, who is truly a first class finisher on or off the golf course, adds to his golf skills week after week. Then he goes about teaching students the skills they should use, how students on the stage should perform, never a spoken word about golf. This fascinating man can bring young people off the street, the young who want to perform as he does the regular Palm Coast people and make them happier than all get out.
Sbordone’s life is the stage. His sideline is golf. To the rest of us he is a hero. If you are a Palm Coaster and never known how to perform call John Sbordone. You will just have spoken with one of the finest gentlemen in the United States.

Yes, I have known John Sbordone over tons of years and can tell you truthfully he is the best, the talented golfer who is equally good on the stage or off it. John Sbordone, who offers stage lessons ten times per week, a special talent who will cater to all Palm Coasters who want to perform on his stage or your stage. Trust me. When meeting John Sbordone, you have just met the perfect gem in the United States!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


By Jock MacKenzie – twice voted one of 50 best radio sports broadcasters in the United States.

Time is like a river.  You cannot touch the water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again.
So be it by a golf group playing this wondrous game at Pine Lakes and Cypress Knoll.  Sludgehammers is the name by which they go, a take off from visitations by that group while residing in Staten Island, NY.
I’ll always remember standing outside at Palm Harbor in my first or second year here wondering deeply if I would be admitted as a Sludgehammer or thrown to the wolves as a non-admit-tee.
Tony Maltese was my lead guy then just as he is now when we played this fascinating game at Pine and Cypress.  when he came out from the meeting at Palm Harbor, the popular golf site of those days, he was all smiles and that made my day.  I was “in”, and have been since 1996.
While Staten Island was the main lift-off site for the majority, Maltese was flat-out a Brooklyn, NY Dodger and is such to this day.
However, that is just one side of this band of golfers, most of whom had Staten Island as their residence. they played and challenged this marvelous game in Pennsylvania and other sites that would give them a terrific game of golf. 
We also should note that a ton of beer was part of every game and probably still is, excluding of course, Brooklyn’s Maltese.
One notation that might surprise you is the golf ability of Jim Canfield. 
I watched him work his heart out to become the first Mayor of this City and he did it when the position did not exist.  He wanted the City to have a strong leader when it became a reality and he was willing to work his heart out to accomplish that. 
What we never knew is that the guy was an outstanding golfer and is to this day.
I watched him slug the Unbitten apple like a pro and can’t help but be reminded that this marvelous leader  was first and foremost a Mayor, never realizing that he was as good as he is while slugging the apple at Pine Lakes and Cypress Knoll.  Truly, Canfield was and is a very special person.
On the other side of the coin, when I look around the days now during the games played I am always reminded of one of the nicest, most capable golfers one could ever meet.
He goes by the name of Stewart Manthey, a leader, a good player and golf dedicated. He can be a winner at Pine Lakes and Cypress Knoll. but in reality, he is one who loves the game of golf and proves it when he comes off the turf and uses his remarkable ability to make sure that all is done properly.
Most importantly, he is a leader. week in and week out Manthey does whats right for golf but especially for those of us who look his way when a decision is on the hook.
The Sludgehammers boast marvelous people led by Jake Jacoby, easily considered the nicest person this side of the east and one of the best golfers chasing the famed Harry Davis. Also on our list of pride is Kee Ree, a graduate of Tuft’s University located close to Boston, Mike Joyce, a remarkable guy with a career spent in Russia and a terrific golfer, Billy Johnson, a true and fascinating player who spent his entire career in Staten Island.
However, if I had to single out one Sludgehammer for special attention it would be Bob Ross.
I have played the game with this remarkable golfer dating back to the first days of Palm Harbor when golfers from all sources made it a point not to miss this special day and loved every minute.  In my book and in tons of others he is a true Hall of Famer.
You may have guessed that I saved the best for last.  I did that because in all years of my golf life I have never come across a wonderful human being the equal of George Rhatigan.
He could hit the ball straight and true in every match.  It was common for him to say, “My brother is the best golfer.” I don't know his brother but I do know that few in this world can match what he does on our golf courses.
Rhatigan cant play the golf game anymore because of an injured shoulder and arm but he never misses greeting player by player at games end.
One thing I do know about George Rhatigan:  When God hit the round table for golfer’s his choice was easy:
George Rhatigan of Staten Island and Palm Coast was the only number on the table!
Golf is a wonderful game.  Please don't lose yours.  Play a game that gives you joy and satisfaction and makes you a better person. 
Be a George Rhatigan and you'll quickly learn that golf is a very special game.
He played with enthusiasm, played with freedom and played a game that still enriches life.
Finally, when the world socks you in the gut, become a George Rhatigan, one of the nice and very special guys in this world.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Your time will be up, and you won’t be able to play anymore."


By Jock MacKenzie – twice voted one of 50 best radio sports broadcasters in the United States.

The following came my way from Ron Atkinson, a good and close friend from prince Edward Island, Canada.
Ron made annual golf visits to palm Harbor many times in the past where we met for the first time.  he is still in Canada following the death of his wife but, thank heaven, we continue the friendship that started out in palm coast many years ago.

he wanted us to know about the privilege of playing golf via a letter from a “former” golfer who no longer can play but has reflected on his years in golf and would like the rest of us to think about how we approach the game now: good, bad or indifferent.

when I read a golfer’s writing for the first time tears began to form because I know it could happen to me despite those beautiful pine & cypress courses in palm Coast to play.  nah, I keep thinking, not me, i will be like the golfer in Portland, Maine who played the green every day, never missed once.  not, that is, until they found him at the club’s bar instead of enjoying the green.  he had called the end of the day at age 100 and settled his round tossing down his favorite drink.
when I tracked down this story i came away with the thought that, yes, I want to go to one hundred like this amazing golfer in the state of Maine even though I know this wouldn’t happen. who knows?  maybe it will be for me, for you and especially the good guys and gals i will long remember because of their ability on the links
I know this: as time works its special way of doing things, my golf at two beautiful golf courses in Pine & Cypress right here in Palm Cost are places I will remember all the way to the man upstairs.

Please read the heart-felt words of this golfer in Canada because what he says now may be what you will be saying when time has its way. . .

He wrote "I cant play golf anymore. I tried to swing the club the other day but my body would not cooperate.  The best I can do now is sometimes take walks on the course. my eyes are not as good as they used to be so I don't see much.  I have a lot of time to sit and think now and I often think about the game.

Golf was my favorite game.  I played most of my adult life, thousands of rounds.  As I look back, I guess I had it pretty good but now that i cannot do it any more i wish i had done it differently.

its funny, but with all the time i spent playing golf I never thought i was a real golfer.  it does not make much sense since I scored better than average and a lot of people envied my game.

I met a whole lot of different people out on the course.  that was one of the best things about it. So why am I writing this letter, just to complain?  its like i said, my golfing was not that bad.  I really do not want you getting to my age and feeling the same regrets that i am feeling now.
I wish I could have been a better playing partner.  i was not a bad person to be with but i wish i had been friendlier and got to know people better.

I am now inside a lot now and miss the beauty of the outdoors.  for years when i was walking, i wish i could have been a better playing partner. I wasn't a bad person to be with but i wish i had been friendlier, laughed and joked more and given people more encouragement.
it was my favorite game.  i played most of my adult life, thousands of rounds, thousands of hours practicing.  as i look back, i guess i had a good time at it.  now that i cant do it anymore, my wish is that i had done it differently.
it is a wonderful game. please do not lose yours.  play a game you want to play.  play a game that gives you joy and satisfaction and makes you a better person to your family and friends.  play with enthusiasm, play with freedom.  appreciate the beauty of nature and the people around you.  realize how lucky you are to be able to do it.
play a game like golf that enriches your life and do not waste a minute of it. play with freedom.  someday it will be gone.
so why am i writing this letter anyway, just to complain?  no, as i said, my golfing experience wasnt that bad but it could have been so much better, and i see that clearly  now.  i don't want you getting to my age and feeling the same regrets i am feeling now.

i wish i could have played the game with more joy, more freedom.  i was always so concerned with doing it right that i never seemed to be able to enjoy just doing it all.
i wish i could have been a better playing partner.  i was not a bad person to be with but i wish i had been friendlier and gotten to know people better.  i wish i could have laughed and joked more and given people more encouragement.  i wish i could have made more friends and had a better time.

i am inside a lot now and i miss the beauty of the outdoors.  for years when i was golfing i walked through some of the most beautiful places on earth, and yet i don't feel i really saw them, beautiful landscapes, trees, flowers, animals, the sky and the ocean.  how could i have missed so much?

it is a wonderful game.  please, don't lose yours.  play a game that you want to play.  play a game that gives you joy and satisfaction and makes you a better person to your family and friends.  play with enthusiasm, play with freedom.  appreciate the beauty of nature and the people around you.  realize how lucky you are to be able to do it.  all too soon, your time will be up, and you won’t be able to play anymore.  play a game that enriches your life. don’t miss a minute of golf.  someday it will be gone!"


Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Best Friend Demanded I Drop Everything For The Game Of Baseball


By Jock MacKenzie – Twice voted one of 50 best radio sports broadcasters in the United States.

 When the world socks you in the gut, a bad day on the golf course maybe, think of the best friend any of us would be lucky enough to have and let the ball roll from there.
My best friend was a sports columnist, Leo Cloutier by name, who came to my house every week demanding that I drop all I had on tap and join him along with others in a game of baseball
That was when he was a star writer in his home town newspaper. He later became big time in that field so much so that Ted Williams of the Red Sox gave him the car he drove when devoted fans at fenway park gifted a new auto.
The thing about Leo that stays with me was his belief by everyone whether baseball, golf or whatever, is this dictum he used in life. When things went bad he used it. When his sports ability shone like the brightest star, Leo loved speaking it at each turn. Simply said, on each occasion it was “With malice towards none!”
He wrote that belief in column after column because he believed in it and, in actuality, it had become part of his life.
So I ask, what does this have to do with we gofers coming off the links today – especially with individual golf prices happily cut in good sized numbers at both Pine Lakes and Cypress Knoll to a point that you may want to consider joining yourself.  We are enjoyed and happy when playing the game well but when the day is not ours with plenty of available turns the smiles of happiness are too often missing.
I have done it.  Members of my “Sludgehammer” Group at Pine & Cypress have done it. countless other groups in Palm Coast have done it.  We love to boast and smile with what we did but rarely do we think how lucky we are to be on this beautiful grass for hours and then brighten the rest of each day with friends.
However, never in all these groups do I hear “With malice toward none!”
My friend Leo is up there somewhere and I will always believe he is watching us like a bird.
To Leo, enjoying the sport is what counted, whether it be golf, baseball tennis or whatever.  When I get home after a good or bad day on the Pine or Cypress courses I stop and think of my late friend Leo and the words loosen all the anger by nightfall.
Try it.  When the world socks you in the gut, think of my friend Leo and the thousands of times he wrote and spoke those special words: “With Malice toward None! In most cases including myself, life and sports will take a huge turn toward the better!  These few words have so much good meaning for all of us that you may want to consider sparking your day with it.
Wish it and speak of it, do as you prefer.
But always remember, “With Malice Towards None!
Hey! What was good enough for Ted Williams will always be good enough for me.
Including Leo Cloutier’s “With Malice Towards None!”

Thursday, October 17, 2013



By Jock MacKenzie – Twice voted one of 50 best radio sports broadcasters in the United States.

No one could blame the hysteria that fell among the band of leaders who purchased full ownership of three golf courses in Palm coast in the early part of this year.
Flags were flying and enthusiasm was at its highest.  These men and women were walking on air as they abounded with enthusiasm over full ownership of golf courses that had been at top level for decades.
Then the rains came.  it rained in the morning, rained at night. The rains fell nearly every time they and those who worked there tried to put together unmatchable golf games.
Yes, i am fully aware that things happen when those running the show are trying their best. However, whacking them in the morning, whacking them at night, whacking them day after day is a little too far over the hill.
How the owners and leaders prevailed is difficult to imagine. how they carried on with this mess of rain pouring down day after day is difficult to fathom.
For the owners and those who worked at the pine and cypress courses it was always, “Are you ready for some golf?
They refused to give up, not this team.  Leaders like Henry Angle, Brian Malanson and Dora Garcia who is busier than a coat hanger at this time while signing members for this coming year.
I was among those who came to Palm Coast in 1995 and never did I view the onslaught that befell this new ownership.  The constant rains - rain in the morning, rain at night - was enough to put the clubs in a bag and simply give up.  But truthfully, not these people, not this group of owners.  They put the hammer down and hung in there like no one I have seen in action before except for we Americans who fought in war day after day.
Now their day may finally have arrived.  It simply cannot rain day after day any longer than it already has. 
So, with all the golf I’ve seen and played in my life I know it is now their time to play this marvelous game without either being sent back home or whacking away in slush.
Frankly, and from the heart, the owners of The Grand Club of Palm Coast will have golfers who are out there with smiles and joy like it always was and should be now.
Please remember, time is like a river.  No one can touch the water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again.
Enjoy every moment of life like never before.  Reach into your bag for the golf club of choice and do it with the smile that only a golfer knows.
Your time is now because the Henry Angle’s, the brian melansons, the Dora Garcias and more are ready to show you the time of your life at two beautiful golf courses named Pine Lakes and Cypress Knoll but in reality the Grand Club of Palm Coast!
Garcia, by the way, is presently busier than a ten armed paper hanger.  With a new and attractive membership rate, the Club is zooming with entries.
More simply said, the Grand Club has hung in there long enough to win the old ball game and time is now on their side!