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Casagrandes cross the bridge for Northampton and Amherst golf

  • Northampton golf coach Jim Casagrande, left, and Amherst Regional coach Todd Cromack get their match organized last week at Northampton Country Club. Casagrande’s daughter, Anna Casagrande, front, plays for Amherst. BULLETIN STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Caitlyn Richmond, of Northampton, watches her second shot on the fourth hole during a macth against Amherst Regional, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst Regional Head Coach Todd Cromack, left, and Northampton Head Coach, Jim Casagrande, watch their players during the fourth hole Thursday at Northampton Country Club. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Light and shadows make a silhouette of Caitlyn Richmond, of Northampton, as she watches her putt on the third hole during a match against Amherst Regional, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Anna Casagrande, of Amherst Regional, heads to the first tee during a match against Northampton, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. Her father, Jim Casagrande, background left, is the Northampton coach. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Trace Whalen, of Northampton, watches his second shot on the first hole during a match against Amherst Regional, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Anna Casagrande, of Amherst Regional, lines up a putt on the third hole during a match against Northampton, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Alex Cantor, of Amherst Regional, watches his drive on the fifth hole during a meet against Northampton, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Eli Kayser-Hirsh, of Amherst Regional, putts on the fourth hole during a match against Northampton, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Anna Casagrande, of Amherst Regional, chips to the green on the fourth hole during a match against Northampton last week. BULLETIN STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brad Moreau, of Northampton, chips from a sand trap on the fourth hole during a meet against Amherst Regional, Thursday at Northampton Country Club. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — Amherst Regional golfer Anna Casagrande approached her tee shot on the fifth hole at Northampton Country Club.

The junior hit it into a small river out of bounds and had to take a drop.

Her dad, Jim Casagrande, was standing near the fringe and told her, “Keep your head in it, play your game. you’ll be OK.”

If it sounds like advice from a coach, it is.

He’s just not her coach. He coaches Northampton, which lost to Amherst 180-185 on Thursday.

The Casagrandes live in Pelham, so Anna attends Amherst Regional, but Jim works as the club professional at Northampton Country Club and coaches the Blue Devils’ golf team.

“It’s fun because it’s kind of like this rivalry and we always look forward to it every season,” Anna said.

Anna didn’t grow up obsessively playing golf. She only picked up the game in the summer before her freshman year.

“She says, ‘daddy how about you give me a bunch of lessons and maybe give me a part-time job at the golf course because I want to start playing a bunch of golf?’” Jim said. “I was ecstatic but couldn’t believe she was saying it. I wanted it to be on her own terms.”

Once Anna started to play for the Hurricanes, her first match was against her dad and Northampton.

The Blue Devils prevailed that time and last year during her sophomore season.

This year was the first time Anna’s Amherst team beat her dad’s Blue Devils.

“I just want to win for my team and also to rub it in my dad’s face,” she said.

Golf runs through the fabric of the Casagrande family.

Both Jim and his wife Christine play often. Their dog is named Bubba — Bubba Watson after the professional golfer.

It comes home with them.

“It’s kind of like our lifestyle,” Anna said. “It’s kind of like every day talk.”

Jim may have taught Anna the game and still works with her to improve, but he knows where the coach/dad line stands. He doesn’t talk to her about the match when they are playing against each other.

“That’s her coach, and I don’t want to interfere with it,” Jim said. “I want to say something, but you can’t.”

Amherst coach Todd Cromack has a great relationship with Jim and Anna.

He used to be a member at Northampton Country Club.

“I’m thrilled to have her on the team. It doesn’t affect anything. She’s a player like anybody else,” Cromack said. “Personally I think she’s one of the best women golfers coming up in western Mass. There’s no question about that.”

Sometimes she has an off day, though. Thursday was one of them. She shot a 45 and struggled putting.

After the scores were tallied and she talked with Cromack, Anna walked over to Jim.

“Can you give me a lesson tomorrow?” she asked.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.