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Back where it all began for Aqulino

Mark Aquilino took over as club pro and general manager at Twain Harte Golf Club in March. (Photo by Dan Goldman, The Union Democrat/copyright 2003).
Mark Aquilino took over as club pro and general manager at Twain Harte Golf Club in March. (Photo by Dan Goldman, The Union Democrat/copyright 2003).


A bit of fair warning for summer visitors or local golfers who have not visited the Twain Harte Golf Course in the past few months — no need for gawking, that is not Jesse "The Body" Ventura prowling the tree-lined, nine-hole course.

At 6-foot-2-inches and 260 pounds, Mark Aquilino, 47, may bear a striking resemblance to the former professional-wrestler-turned-Minnesota-governor at first glance, but he's actually Twain Harte's new club pro and general manager.

For local golfers who have been around a while, Aquilino, a 1973 Summerville High School graduate, should be a familiar sight. He first made his mark on the local golf scene as a member of the Bears' back-to-back-to-back Mother Lode League championship golf teams from 1971-73 and captured the league's individual title during his senior year.

After earning a degree in kineseology from Cal State University at Hayward in 1979, Aquilino spent 11 years with the Hayward Area Recreation District. From 1991-95, while working as the first assistant head professional at the Lake Chabot Golf Course in Oakland, Aquilino also coached volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball at a variety of Bay area high schools.

As enjoyable as all that was, the old saying held true — you can take the boy out of the Mother Lode, but you can't take the Mother Lode out of the boy.

"I always kept my eyes open for a PGA job near home," said Aquilino, who grew up in Brentwood Park and now lives in Twain Harte with his wife, Cindy, 16-year-old son, Roman, and 10-year-old daughter, Ariel. "But, it's tough with the few number of courses we've got in the area."

Flash-forward to this spring, and Aquilino's journey came full circle when he learned then-Twain Harte pro Derek Clavern and his wife, Ronnie, were moving to Hawaii. After meeting with the board of directors, Aquilino was hired on March 1 at the course where he first learned the game as a boy.

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