Five stand for three open seats on SoHG board
Five SoHG members have kindly offered to serve on its board of directors to fill three open seats. Vacating the Board on Jan. 1, 2018, are Barbara Kopec, Bill Ernst, and Rob Ahlschwede. Board positions are for three-year terms.
Standing for election are: Rob Ahlschwede, of Olympia, Wash., who is standing for re-election; Deal Hudson, of Fairfax, Va., Bo Turocy, of Summerville, S.C.; Greg Smith, of DeForest, Wisc., and Jeremy Rahn of Howell, Mich. Their information and photos are below.
The election period is from Nov. 1-31. Make sure you have a viable, current email address in the SoHG database as ballots will be emailed to all current members. The new board members will be announced on Dec. 1.
I grew up on a Nebraska farm where my first exposure to golf was television’s “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf.” I pestered my Dad until he made me a “one-piece” club from a branch of an osage orange (hedge) tree. I hit it until it broke! I graduated from the Univ. of Nebraska and did my graduate work at the Univ. of Washington, Seattle. After college, I taught physical education and coached in Bellevue, Wash., Munich, Germany, and Omaha, Neb. I retired after 33 years in education.
In Seattle, I often spend my free time sailing, including racing off-shore yachts on Puget Sound and the Pacific. Played at golf some during school years, but did not really take up the game seriously until moving to Omaha in the late ’70s, then worked hard at the game. Went totally to the “dark side” – hickories – about 12 years ago and have not played modern clubs since.
I have worked the pro shop at a public course in Omaha, restored and repaired hickories at Classic Golf with Randy Jensen after retirement, and hosted several GCS events in Omaha. I also began the River City Hickory Classic in Omaha, which was defunct for several years, but has not been resurrected, have played in many hickory events in the U.S., Canada and Scotland. In 2017 I chaired the organizing committee for the U.S. Hickory Open held on the Del Monte GC in Del Monte, Calif. And I have long been involved in the SoHG’s equipment committee as its chairman.
My wife, Susan, and I have been married for more than 45 years, and we have one daughter, Willa, who is currently in Oakland, Ca.
[In 2016, Rob was honored with the SoHG’s Mike Brown Award, which recognizes respect for the traditions of hickory golf, a dedication to growing the game of hickory golf, and a passion for promoting lasting friendships through hickory golf.]
Deal was born “Deal Wyatt Hudson” in Denver 67 years ago, although he claims Texas as his birthright – his parents being both 4th generation Texans. “My father, Jack, introduced me to golf at age 11, but he was ‘too cheap’ to get me golf lessons, so I taught himself by clipping articles from Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. It helped that as a teenager I often hid in the woods watching Ben Hogan practice at Shady Oaks Country Club in Ft. Worth.” Deal was a 7-handicap by 10th grade but says he never really improved until he took up hickory golf five years ago. Deal feels he pre-qualified for hickory golf due to the fact he had been wearing plus-fours for over 20 years and had been taught to always remove his cap on the 18th green. Deal loves golf for its beauty, its unending mystery, the camaraderie it arouses, the challenge it presents, and the friendships it fosters.
Jeremy Rahn, 36, grew up in Troy, Mich. where his dad, Dale Rahn, a physical education teacher and high school golf and swim coach, taught him golf at an early age. The elder Rahn’s summer job was pool director with the Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills where Jeremy was exposed to many fine golfers, including organizers an annual Hickory Stick Invitational, which is a fundraiser for the Evans Scholar Foundation and Chick Evans Caddie Scholarships. He has played in a few of these events at Forest Lake and Edgewood CC. Jeremy says he plays hickories about 90 percent of the time now. “My passion for this game has grown into an ‘unbelievable addiction,’ as my wife, Allison, tells me,” he says. Jeremy is project manager/sales for Air Comfort Solutions, a heating and cooling company in Clarkston, Mich. He and Allison live in Howell, Mich., with their 9-month-old son, Kayden.
In November 2006 after reading an article in a golf magazine about a group of golfers playing with hickory clubs, I picked up four hickory golf clubs that I had leaning up against my fireplace as decorations and played 11 rounds that month with them. After that I searched for clubs to play with. I struggled to find play clubs but after many acquisitions I had multiple sets from both pre- and post-1900. I entered the 2007 National Hickory Championship (NHC) in White Sulfur Springs, W. Va. I average 12 events per year.
I am active with the Wisconsin Hickory Golfers and participate in all our annual events. I was chairman of the Wisconsin Gutty Challenge played in July 2017. 2018 will be our fourth year. I also helped the Wisconsin organizers with the U.S. Hickory Open at the Links of Lawsonia in 2016.
From the over 500 clubs I first acquired, I have refurbished several short sets for play and put them in the hands of many new hickory golfers. Some of them have won multiple events throughout the U.S. I manage to win some myself.
I am most proud of two awards presented to me, both from the NHC – the 2016 Lynah Sherrill award [to recognize “a gentleman or gentlewoman golfer who upheld the principles of the game of golf and had fun while doing it”], and in 2012 the Dundee Prize [the NHC Director’s award which honors “stalwart participation, dignity and honor on the course”].
I plan to stay involved with Wisconsin hickory events and to keep repairing clubs to provide sets for new players.
Prior to playing hickory golf, I was chairman of a fundraiser golf tournament for 22 years. I have also been a volunteer for two PGA championships and several other USGA events as well as a department chairman for the American Family Insurance Championship (a Champion’s Tour event held in Madison, Wisc.).
Although I am relatively new to world of hickory golf, I have been involved with the great game of golf for over 30 years. I have been a member of the PGA of America since 2001 and have been fortunate enough to have refined my trade while working at some premiere facilities across the southeast United States: Sea Pines Resort, TPC Sawgrass, Chechessee Creek Club, The Olde Farm, and currently The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek. The business of golf is my livelihood, and I feel that the SoHG could benefit and should take advantage of my knowledge and experiences as a golf professional to continue promoting and playing hickory golf, from a casual round to high-profile events.
When you do something day in and day out, it can become too routine to remember why you used to love it. Like many golf professionals before me, not too long ago I had lost the interest in playing golf. I had grown disinterested in the direction in which the modern game continues to move. I have always had an ingrained affiliation and respect for history, so it made sense to explore hickory golf.
I began playing with hickory clubs 18 months ago, and I have not looked back. As a matter of fact, I have abandoned my modern clubs and play only hickories. I have joked that they are my fountain of youth; they have renewed my passion and they inspire me to once again “play” golf to the point that it reminds me of the joys I experienced as a youth.
During the last year and a half, I have found myself playing in tournaments (including the last two U.S. Hickory Opens), which I had not done in quite some time. Also, because of a serendipitous pairing and a friendship sparked in the last U.S. Hickory Open, I will now be traveling to Scotland for the World Hickory Open. The game of hickory golf has given me so much in such a short time, I am excited at the opportunity to give back to it. I will always be doing what I can for hickory golfers, and I believe as a member of the Board of Directors within the SoHG, I will able to do so much more.
When not working or playing, I can be found enjoying the company of my wife and two children (ages 8 and 11). Before hickory golf, my spare time was spent procuring and restoring U.S. WWII vehicles…but that story will take too much time to adequately explain.