Welcome to My Desert

Welcome to My Desert

“Welcome to My Desert”

Although I don’t live anywhere near the Phoenix Convention Center, I want to welcome all the GHS leadership and members to Arizona!

This has been my home since 2006 when I moved to Troon Village, in what is known as north Scottsdale. My Scottish friends always raise an eyebrow when I say I live at Troon. Thirty-five years ago when developer Jerry Nelson hired Tom Weiskopf to design the course at Troon Country Club, he named the whole project Troon, as a tribute to Tom’s Open Championship win at Royal Troon in 1973.

It’s been a great privilege to be part of this golf community. And it is also a great privilege to be part of the Golf Heritage Society travel team — except this time I don’t have that far to go!

2024 GCSAA Show 

GHS exhibits for the 3rd time

My first experience being part of the GCSAA Show was in 2022 at San Diego. It was quite a thrill to be among all the major exhibitors like Toro, and of course the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) who are strategic partners with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America to put on this extraordinary Conference and Trade Show. I wrote a story about it — Ship Ahoy! — you can find it here.

It’s exciting for me and the other GHS board members who got to be entrenched with thousands of other passionate golfers, and especially the ones who take care of the turf on which we play the game we all love so much.

Some GHSers at our booth in 2024: Deb Haueisen, Ben Ellis, Glenn Haueisen, and Mel Lucas

The GCSAA was established in1926 and Donald Ross was one of the original founders. The more than 19,000 members from the United States and 78 countries are the men and women who manage and maintain the game’s most valuable resource — the golf course. Their mission is to advance their profession and improve communities through the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf.

That’s why members of GHS resonate so much with these golf enthusiasts, since we, too, seek to promote an appreciation of the history and traditions of golf, played on the largest golfing landscapes the world over, that are maintained by our golf brethren.

This 2024 iteration of the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show was like no other, as it was billed as, and delivered on, bringing interactive experiences .

The agenda included many educational sessions for the 10,000 + golf industry attendees plus the awesome session that I got to attend called “Ladies Leading Turf” with three exceptional women who told their inspirational stories to a standing-room only crowd.

Taba with Forrest Richardson

Ladies Leading Turf Session

Jan Bel Jan with Amy Bockerstette

A golf course – a story to be unfolded…

Since I don’t drive at night anymore, I was not able to hang out for fun dinners but I did get to experience one great event hosted by ASGCA Past President, Forrest Richardson, called ”Taco Social” — since he had a 3-5pm option. Lucky me.

I got to eat great food, meet Forrest’s wife Valerie and drink Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc! What a fun event in a spectacular setting! Forrest is a golf course architect and among the many courses he has created he also re-designed Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley. It is one of the best short courses I have played anywhere in the world. Forrest has designed courses from Utah to Sweden to India. Part of his design philosophy that I really like is:

“A golf course is a story to be unfolded. For the greatest enjoyment there should be anticipation, intrigue, the occasional chase scene and even a pinch of humor.”

I hope everyone comes away with a sense of accomplishment, especially if some new members decided to join GHS as they have done at the other GCSAA Shows we have participated in!

This should give you more of a sense of Forrest Richardson’s sense of humor and style — check out this restored BMW 1959 Isetta car. Forrest said similar ones have sold for as much as $200,000 at the Barrett-Jackson auctions that take place here in Scottsdale.


Taba with the Forrest Richardson 1959 BMW car

Ship Ahoy

Ship Ahoy

GHS goes to the GCSAA Show!

The Invitation

When I saw a GHS ad for A History of Greenkeeping; Golf’s Cause and Effect, I called the author, Mel Lucas, and bought his book. That’s when I learned of his commensurate background and he mentioned, “Ya know, GHS has been offered a free table at the GCSAA Show for years.”

The GCSAA, of course, is the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. It’s 2022 show was scheduled for Feb. 8-9 in San Diego. Mel, is a longtime member of GCSAA, and past president, as well as a past president of the GHS (then GCS).

I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for our Society to promote brand awareness. GHS President Bern Bernacki, his wife, Mary, and board member Glenn Haueisen and I would form the GHS Team who would attend the convention.

Trip planing included working with Melissa Householder, the trade show manager, to select a booth among other things. What a saint she was! She also told us about the before-show social mixer on the USS Midway on Feb. 7.

Aha, or rather Ahoy! I thought this sounded like so much fun. And it was. What a great introduction to the huge, congenial crowd.

“Ship Ahoy” is a perfect metaphor for what we were doing at this major golf industry show. Bern often describes our organization as a vessel. And in San Diego we would be physically and intellectually attracting the attention of another “vessel,” the GCSAA, an important society itself of golf industry stalwarts.

The Mixer

Bern, Mary, and I eagerly attended the mixer, arriving at the great ship to take an elevator to its Main deck — the Hangar Deck — where a fascinating array of airplanes from the World War II era were on display.

Eventually we made our way to the Flight Deck. This is where the real action was. We circulated around the ship, which is about the length of three football fields and is as high as a 20-story building. The 10 bars and food stations featured pulled pork, chicken, mac and cheese, and fish salads served in cocktail glasses. Lord only knows how many deserts we left up there!

I only just began to learn the history of the Midway. The ship was built in only 17 months and was the largest ship in the world until 1955. She was named after the climatic Battle of Midway of June 1942, and was the longest-serving aircraft carrier in the 20th century.

A recent movie filmed in 2018, Midway, covers roughly six months of the war in the Pacific, from the attack on Pearl Harbor through the decisive battle around Midway Atoll, which turned the tide of the war in favor of the U.S.

There was plenty of mingling with the big crowd of GCSAA officials and hundreds of attendees, including superintendents from across the world.

Our GHS connection Mel Lucas was in fine form, schmoozing with dozens of people he knows both nationally and internationally.

Tuesday, Feb. 8 – Set Up

The convention officially kicked off at 5 p.m. and went for just two hours. That gave everyone a whole day to finish setting up and wander around a little bit to chat with people while they are doing the same thing.

I had a great time over at the Toro stand and even got my photo taken on a gigantic Groundsmaster 4500 rough mower. What a thrill that was. Almost as exciting as sitting on Arnold Palmer’s ancient Toro tractor at Latrobe at our GHS National Convention this past autumn. Toro is now in its 107th year and has equipment and products in more than 125 countries in the world. Just a few courses where you’ll find Toro include Pebble Beach, Augusta and the Old Course at St Andrews.

Bern was busy. He had interviews with Dean Knuth, contributing editor with Golf Digest magazine; Tim Moraghan, of Golf Industry Magazine; and then at 5.30 pm by turf expert and superintendent Matthew Wharton.


Wednesday, Feb. 9 – The Main Event

Though only a one-day show, the GCSAA packs a lot into it. Bern, myself and Glenn were busy all day long. Lots of people stopped by our booth to drop off their GHS card to enter our Giveaway for a collectible golf item, Scores of others just stopped by to visit and learn about us.

During a presentation titled “Tiger Woods’ Reimagination of The Hay Short Course at Pebble Beach,” Bern did not miss an opportunity to ask a question. He really stood out in his very natty period clothing when he queried the group on stage that included Bubba Wright, Pebble Beach Golf Links superintendent, Beau Welling, Woods’ lead architect on the project, and Jason Nau, vice president of builder Frontier Golf. GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans moderated the panel discussion.

One group of ladies, led by Azucena Maldonado of the Latina Golfers’s Association, stopped by our booth and wasted no time in becoming GHS members – “We want to join right now!” Some took an application form, but most said they will go on the website and join right away. (Something to consider next time is to have a computer with us so we can show off the GHS website and make it easy for people to join on the spot.)

Later on that day, I attended a panel event called “Ladies Leading Turf: Mentoring Women Power Hour.” Jan Bel Jan was supposed to be the moderator, but an injury kept her from flying, much to my dismay.

The presentation was moderated Kimberly Gard, a territory manager for Syngenta, the presentation sponsor, who stepped in for Jan. The four panelists were each involved in various aspects of the golf industry.

Mel was on hand for the social networking hour following the day’s networking. He was accompanied by Vanja Drasler, head greenkeeper at the Attersee Golf Club in Austria, in the foothills of the Austrian Alps. Mel also introduced us to Leasha Schwab, superintendent for the Pheasant Run Golf Club in Canada. It was she who, in 2018, created the Ladies Leading Turf program.

As important as signing up new members was, three more significant conversations took place — one was with Bern and the USGA. Another was my conversation with Josh Tubbs, Toro Senior Marketing Manager, about Toro becoming a sponsor for GHS. He asked me to email him information and before we said goodbye, Josh said, “I’m really glad you tracked me down.”

Also terrific was getting to meet Chad Ritterbusch, executive director of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and his colleague, Jeff Brauer, director of outreach. We are honored that ASGCA will now be a “spiritual sponsor” of GHS. They have offered to lend articles to The Golf and have their members participate in our Grand Zoom calls, and more. Donald Ross is one of the original founders and their organization is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Gaining education, meaningful interaction and building synergy with this segment of the golf industry is all thanks to Mel Lucas who had for years been patiently prodding the GHS to attend the convention. We have been invited by Melissa Householder, the trade show manager, to participate in the next GCSAA show, scheduled for January 2023.

Ahoy! I say let’s go!

Golf Heritage Society Experience

Golf Heritage Society Experience

GHS Outing at Latrobe Country Club — Arnold Palmer Country

The first time I went to Europe I was eighteen years old. I came back to the U.S. six months later and was a different person. When I went to the Golf Heritage Society Annual Conference in Pittsburgh I came back five days later and was a different person. I was amazed and delighted beyond words. The people I met, the things I saw, the laughter I shared — the complete GHS experience — changed me.

Let’s start with the GHS outing at Latrobe Country Club — Arnold Palmer Country. What an extraordinary event from top to bottom. Thank goodness the weather was superb. I’m sure our host and incoming GHS Vice President, Bob Muir, was sweating bullets over that and a myriad of other items. Like having an outdoor wedding, right?

It couldn’t have been more perfect. And, so many of us had our picture taken with Arnie’s ancient Toro tractor. It was a special way to feel a connection to The King, and all that he represented, both on and off the course.

Then there was the energy of longtime Latrobe fixture, and Arnie’s Amigo Number One: John Rusbosin. No detail was overlooked. Whatever the question, John always had the answer. He worked tirelessly and always with a smile.

You ask about other Arnie’s Amigos? Front and center were Carol and Denny Clawson. These people are so generous and genuine. Among other things, they organized the putting contest by the first tee and raised a ton of money for the Winnie and Arnold Palmer Foundation.

I was supposed to help out but I found myself so engaged with the huge number of people who registered to play — some hickory, some classic clubs, all I did was take six tries at hitting a gutty ball into a far away hole and barely came close.

This was really my first exposure to some of the 900+ members who are active golfers and there are many. The men sometimes wore plus-fours, and Gillian Alexander’s mother and grandmother, Clara Lochmiller, and Carolyn Lochmiller, dressed in period costume — complete with parasol. They all lent an elegant note to the genial atmosphere. Speaking of notes, a special shout out goes to the Greater Latrobe School District Band that sent our spirits soaring when they played the Star Spangled Banner.

When Bob Muir and his foursome, which included Leila Dunbar, George Petro, and Pio Adamonis, made the turn and teed off on the first hole, myself and my friend, Mary Nokes, who came up from the DC area, decided to follow their group. When we got down to the green, Bob said, “If you go across the road and continue up the hill, you can see Arnold’s office. There is an umbrella over the door.”

Mary and I took off in our cart and did exactly that. Bob also pointed out, “On the right is the family home and on the left is a modern house where Arnie lived with Kit after Winnie died.” That was a special side trip that very few people got to do.



Latrobe Country Club

Latrobe Country Club

Arnold Palmer’s office with umbrella

Arnold Palmer’s trophy case

Masters Tournament trophy 

George Petro in plus-fours (left) and Clara Lochmiller with Carolyn Lochmiller in costumes

Latrobe school band 

Taba and Mary Nokes

Carol and Denny Clawson in a putting contest at Latrobe

Taba and James Kaiser holding hickory clubs

Rich Five Days with Many Events

Golf Art Symposium: This was organized and moderated by Frank Cantrel, a board member and art lover. This segment was a wonderful opportunity to see artwork in many media up close and personal. The three artists, Steph Moraca, Keith Campbell, and Bob Fletcher, all contributed works to the auction. They enlightened us with their answers to Frank’s questions about what triggered their interest in golf art, what was their process like, and how did they handle commissions. Very entertaining and educational. (Linda Hartough and George Lawrence were meant to join us remotely but the hotel internet let us down that morning.)

Presentations: There were many. I was particularly fascinated by Rand Jerris, Ph.D, the Senior Managing Director, Public Services of the USGA. Rand singled out sheet music focused on golf that they held in their massive collection. It was truly fascinating. Along with Peter Lewis, he is publishing a book about this unique category of literary works. Rand also showed us renderings of what the new USGA museum will look like in PInehurst including floor plans for the 16,000 square foot building.

Banquet Dinner: I had asked Jan Bel Jan, the immediate past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects to sit with me for this dinner. She was easy to spot in her red tartan jacket — which is a tribute to Donald Ross — one of the founders of their organization in 1946. The keynote speaker was the legendary Bob Ford, longtime Head Professional of both Oakmont Country Club and Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida.

Jan, a native of Monroeville, PA, knows Bob well. Her entire family also knew the Palmers intimately. In fact, Jan told me that her uncle Carl often played in pro-ams with Arnold Palmer decades ago. Arnold was the amateur! (Watch this space — more to come on Jan Bel Jan.)

There were a great many Awards and Recognitions, including the Harris-Wolke Award, Golden Quill Award, and GHS Advancement Awards. It is hard to express my admiration for the dedication of so many people for so many years. Just being in the audience while the accolades were bestowed was so heart warming. It is hard to put into words.

Another highlight of the dinner was the ceremony of the four inductees to the Golf Heritage Society Hall of Fame. They are: Pete Georgiady, Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Glenn Moore, and Bill Reed. These extraordinary men represent nearly 200 years of dedication and vitality to the GHS.

The trade show: I know that the GHS was originally called The Golf Collectors Society. As a new member, and a new board member, I got to really see the heart and soul of this organization.



John Rusbosin and Rives McBee (left) and Bob Muir, chair of the 2021 GHS 50th Anniversary Celebration and National Convention (right)

GHS trade show floor at the conference.

GHS trade show

The three artists, Keith Campbell, Bob Fletcher, and Steph Moraca

Bill Reed, left, Pete Georgiady, and Dr. Michael Hurdzan – GHS Hall of Fame 2021 inductees

Taba with Pete Georgiady (left) and Bern Bernacki

(From left)Brad Baird, Gillian Alexander, Frank Cantrel Jr., Taba Dale and George Petro – award recipients

A group of ardent collectors who LOVE the game, its history and traditions!

This is truly an amazing group of ardent collectors who LOVE the game, its history and traditions. You will not find a more passionate core group of golf enthusiasts anywhere in the world. Unless you consider the British Golf Collectors Society, that was formed AFTER the GHS. That’s right. We predate them and we are celebrating our 50th anniversary!

Here’s to us! We are awesome. And with your help we will grow our membership and brand awareness exponentially by leaps and bounds.

If anybody is looking for passion and appreciation of the heritage and history of golf — it’s here! And nobody embodies all these qualities more than our esteemed president, Dr. Bern Bernacki. Big thanks also have to go to Bern’s wife, Mary, who is an angel and guiding light to our inspired leader, and therefore, our entire organization.

Next up: The GHS is scheduled to participate in the GIS/Golf Course Superintendents Association of America conference in February in San Diego.