By Will LeBlond
ITHACA — Six straight. Nine overall.
That is the number of city golf titles Ithaca native Tim Lane has to his name, and he’s just 33 years old.
The dream of garnering more championships and writing his name into even more of the record books is what is still driving him to win. When it comes to the ultimate goal of Lane’s journey in playing for Ithaca City Golf Title, he just wants to be the all-time top dog.
“Eddie Mazza has won 13 or 14 city titles, and I think he has the record of seven in a row at one point,” said Lane. “As a young kid starting out at Newman (Municipal Golf Course) it was always something in the back of my mind that I wanted to do was to win more city titles than him. And when I got on this run it was definitely to win eight in a row and to try and beat him.”
The passion to win so much on the links and love the gentleman’s game started way back in Lane’s youth.
“My dad would just drop me off down at Newman downtown when he went to work and we had a group of probably 10 or 12 kids that would just play golf all day,” said Lane. “Sometimes 54 or 72 holes, we just keep going round and round, and that’s kind of how I got started.”
The passion to play was there, but winning so many championships and establishing his name in the local golfing scene did not come easy for Lane, who played at Ithaca High School, but said he was around the 9th or 10th best golfer on a very good Little Red team. After high school, he stayed in the area, which is where his game took off.
“After high school I started working, and that’s when I really started taking it more seriously,” said Lane.
The work that Lane referred to is on the grounds crew of local golf courses. Lane has logged many years manning the links at Newman and Robert Trent Jones golf courses in Ithaca as his love of the game has driven him to make it his profession. The grind of getting up at the crack of dawn each morning and doing physical labor is not for the faint of heart, but he has made it a love of his.
“I love being out on the course, that’s why I work in maintenance, because I wanted to do something golf related,” said Lane. “It’s easy to get up in the morning for me, but we do work really crazy hours. For example we had a college tournament recently where we were getting up at four in the morning, it’s a lot easier to wake up for that when you love doing what you do.”
With all the hours spent under the sun on the golf course, Lane’s game has understandably improved as he spends an abundance of time mowing greens, fairways and taking care of all things involved with the course. With the time spent working in golf, he can have a hard time giving hours to other aspects of his life, but the seasonal aspect of the game has helped Lane in raising his young son with his wife of nine years.
Lane’s year of work ends in November when the golfers put away their clubs for the season, but picks up again in March as he helps in readying the course at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, where he is currently employed.
All the while, his drive continues to be the pursuit of success in golf. Next summer he will have the chance to tie his old friend Mazza and win his seventh consecutive city championship. Before that, however, Lane takes part in amateur tournaments nearly every weekend throughout the season, including the Mid-Amateur Championships of the New York State Golf Association, which took place this past weekend.