Carolinas Golf Magazine

Winter 2018

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Page 22 of 43

W I N T E R 2 0 1 8 | | 21 Above: Bob Hamrich Jr. (pictured right, with his club's head professional) dedicated the club championship at Highlands Falls to his late father, Bob Sr. (pictured left in a series of images), a PGA Master Professional. Opposite: Jason Richeson won the 2018 Club Championship at Pinehurst by 12 strokes. Richeson," the starter announced. Says Richeson: "Yeah, for me, that's my great moment at Pinehurst." Paying Homage to a Heritage of Golf Bob Hamrich Sr. gave his son more than his name; he instilled a love of and commitment to the game of golf. The longtime club professional, who passed away four years ago at age 86, was a steward of the game. The senior Hamrich became a member of the PGA of America in 1956 and went on to become the ninth ever PGA Master Professional – the highest level of accreditation offered to PGA Members. Young Hamrich, who is 61 today, still carries with him many of the principles embedded by his father. As a teenager he worked as a caddie and doing other odd jobs at Makefield Country Club outside of Cleve- land, Ohio, where senior was the head professional. He'd go out on the course in the late afternoons and his dad would join him on the back nine after his shift ended. On a particular day, Hamrich Sr. caught up with his son on the par-3 13th just in time to see him place a ball out of bounds. "I re-teed, as the Rules of Golf state I should, and pro- ceeded to knock the ball right in the hole from 176 yards," says Hamrich Jr. "Being a young kid, I looked over at him with all this excitement and ready to claim my first hole in one. In a very calm way, he said to me: 'Nice three.' It was really a teachable moment and a fantas- tic lesson. It helped me respect the game and its Rules even more. "I sit here today and truly love golf, my father gets all the credit for that. He was the consummate pro- fessional and a wonderful teacher." Many of his father's teachings still resonate in his game, and have helped propel Ham- rich Jr. to three consecu- tive club championships at Highlands (North Caro - lina) Falls Country Club. His mettle was tested more than ever this year. He began the opening round 4-over-par through the first five holes. He righted the ship, rattling off a stretch of pars before reaching the 16th hole where he recorded a nine. "I finished that round at 10-over-par, and was lucky to only be four strokes back," he says. "I was remembering some of the lessons my dad taught me about staying composed and hitting the shot that's in front of you and just stayed in it." He shot 74 on the second day, which was enough to win by a single stroke. "My dad is the only person I've ever taken lessons from. He wasn't very tech- nically oriented, he had a caddie's swing in fact, but he knew how to play," Hamrich Jr. remembers. "He'd come out while I played a few holes to watch, communicate and just impart a few gems – things that I still think about on the course to this day. I guess in a strange way, I still get lessons from him. The most recent one helped me win this club championship." ■ Tony Starks is PGA Magazine's Associate Editor and lives in San Diego.

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