Six-year-old Raegan Curtin skipped school on June 13, but she didn’t get in trouble. In fact, it was her parents’ idea. The day before, she told her class she was going to visit the place where Mommy and Daddy met.
Kerrilyn (Clausman) Curtin’s tenure at five-time U.S. Open host site Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was one born out of necessity.
“I wanted a new car and my dad told me to go get a job,” said Curtin, who grew up in nearby Hampton Bays, N.Y., and was studying sports marketing at York College of Pennsylvania at the time.
The waitressing gig during the summer of 2001 was not only her introduction to the game but to her future husband as well.
Unlike his wife, Brian Curtin grew up with golf. As early as elementary school, he would tag along on his dad’s outings and during the summer, he played in a junior camp league.
“I got pretty good,” he said. “I was better than I am now.”
Golf eventually took a backseat to baseball, a sport in which Curtin was named 2nd Team All-American while playing for Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, but he got back into the game after securing a food service job at Shinnecock.
Curtin broke into the industry as a 16-year-old dishwasher at a restaurant in his central New York hometown of Sherrill, the same place Shinnecock executive chef Terry O’Brien grew up. Every summer, O’Brien would recruit a few kids from the old neighborhood to come down and help. Curtin got the call in 1997.
“Everyone that worked in that kitchen was from Sherrill, the smallest city in New York,” he said. “It was pretty overwhelming in the beginning. It was a little culture shock being plugged into the Hamptons at 21 years old. You’re seeing and serving celebrities; it was a whole different world. I fell in love with Shinnecock and take a lot of pride that I worked there. It was my home away from home.”