Aug 22 – SOME KNOW Jim Cilley as a college boy basketball coach at Belmont High School, but he is also known as one of New Hampshire’s top amateur golfers.

Cilley, a 40-year-old Belmont resident, won the NHGA Stroke Play Championship at Keene Country Club earlier this month. The win was his fifth NHGA title. He also won the 2011 NHGA Amateur Championship, the 2008 Mid-Amateur Championship, the 2020 State Four Ball (with Mike Mahan), and the 2020 Mid-Amateur Team Championship (again with Mahan).

To get to know Cilley and his golf game better, the Union Leader asked him to answer the following 10 questions:

Q: What is your favorite New Hampshire golf course?

A: Baker Hill and Golf Club of New England (tie).

Question: How old were you when you started playing golf?

A: 5 years old.

Q: What is your best result in a competition round?

A: A 65 at Green Meadow (jungle course).

Q: What’s the most memorable recording of your career?

A: My semi-final match against Ryan Kohler in the State was all right on 2011 when my third stroke from the trees to the left of the 16th hole at Nashua CC (now the second hole) was 3 feet. A close second is the victorious 7-foot putt that Nick MacDonald defeated on the 36th green during the final match of the tournament.

Q: What do you think is the strength of your game?

A: I manage my mistakes and avoid mistakes.

Q: What part of your game needs the most improvement?

A: Consistent ball hitting and wedge play.

Q: What’s in your golf bag? (Bat, ball, shoes, glove)

A: Too much! Lots of used exercise balls, 14 rackets (plus a few more when I train), gloves, balls, tees and half a dollar, that was my gram that passed away last June out of luck.

Q: What is your favorite club to hit?

A: My putter.

Q: What tip / swing thought would you recommend to amateur golfers?

A: Try to hit the ball firmly. Take a good, balanced posture and have a good ball position and you can keep it on the planet. It’s easier to score like this.

The story goes on

Q: Do you name anything other than golf that you are good at?

A: Hopefully to be a father. I think I’m pretty good at being a real estate agent and I love being a basketball coach at Belmont High School.


Rule question: In a match play event, player A is two minutes late for the first tee and player B is four minutes late for the first tee. Which judgment is correct? (Read on for the answer.)


Nashua’s Bryce Zimmerman was the boys’ best New Hampshire finisher in the New England Golf Association’s Junior Amateur Championship held Monday and Tuesday at Val Halla Golf Club in Cumberland, Maine.

Zimmerman finished 12th with a 12 over par 225 (70-74-81). Atkinson’s Mat Gover tied for 16th place with a 228.

Two New Hampshire residents finished in the top five for girls. Hampton Falls’ June Doerr finished fourth with a 237 (75-78-84), and Dover’s Carys Fennessy was fifth with a 238 (81-79-78).

Ben James, who lives in Milford, Connecticut, shot a 199 and finished first in the boys’ division for the third year running. Annie Dai and MacKenzie Whitney, both from Massachusetts, shared the girls’ class championship. Each finished 7 over par (230).

The team results:

Boys’ Division: 1. Massachusetts, 2. Connecticut, 3. Rhode Island, 4. Maine, 5. Vermont, 6. New Hampshire.

Girls Department: 1. Massachusetts, 2. Rhode Island, 3. New Hampshire, 4. Maine, 5. Connecticut, 6. Vermont.

Each state brings seven boys and three girls to the NEGA Junior Championship. The guys count their top five scores. The results of all three girls are counted towards their team total.


Results of the Valley Seniors Golf Association event at the New Hampshire Country Club:

Top 10 gross: Jeff Garland, Keene (79); David Howell, Walpole (80); Steve Tullar, Manchester (80); Steve Liakos, sheet (81); Ralph Cody, Antrim (82); Jim Putman, New London (84); Dave Johnson, Walpole (85); Jim Cook, Jaffrey (86); Bob Carlson, Nottingham (86); Bob DeMary, Penacook (86).

Age 55-74 Gross: Garland (79) Tullar (80); Cody (82).

Age 55-74 Net: Cook (68), Liakos (70), Paul Keenan, Manchester (71).

Age 75-85 Tall: David Howell, Walpole (77); Johnson (82); Jack Martin, Henniker (88).

Age 75-85 Net: Bob Carlson, Nottingham (67); Mike Onners, Townsend, Massachusetts (70); Dan Zapton, Hopkinton (71).

Closest to the pin: Tullis.

Score adjusted by 3 strokes due to different teas.


Harvin Groft, a member of The Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth, qualified for this year’s USGA Mid-Amateur by shooting a 68 during a qualifying tournament at Albany Country Club in Voorheesville, NY on Wednesday

Groft made seven birdies and was the tournament medalist. The field consisted of 83 golfers battling for two spots in the USGA Mid-Amateur, which will run from Aug.

Answer to the rule question: The game should start with a tie on the second hole.

Source: USGA Golf Rules (Interpretation 5.3a / 5)


August 31: Stephanie Thomas Memorial Cup (Windham Country Club)

14.-15. September: New England Senior Amateur (Manchester Country Club / Manchester, Vt.)

September 28: NHWGA Fall Classics (Nashua Country Club)