By Dick Harmon
All Craig Norman ever wanted to be was a golf professional, make the game his life. When he got his wish, it was all he dreamed it would be. Going to his job as head golf professional at Hobble Creek Golf Course is a step towards heaven for the Provo native.
Norman was named the 2019 Professional of the Year by his peers in the Utah Section of the PGA of America in October, an honor that left him stunned and speechless, humbled to his core. “I had no idea and I may not be deserving of that great honor,” he said.
“If you look at the names on that list over the years, that is a lot to live up to. I am deeply honored and cannot believe it, no, not at all.”
Humility aside, Norman has etched a profile in Utah as a consummate pro, uniquely gifted to strike the right balance between manager of manicured acres and a facilitator of fun with clubs, balls, grass, and cups. It takes an artist to put it altogether.
Norman, the nephew of one of Utah’s longest-tenured golf professionals, the retired Sonny Braun, replaced Braun a few years ago after being his assistant since 1993. Before that, he was an assistant at Riverside Country Club in Provo from 1986-1993.
Norman’s work in 2019 is highlighted by overseeing the return of one of the state’s favorite public courses after issues with pump and water rights reduced irrigation by 30 percent for the 2018 season. He has increased corporate tournament play to 40-plus events a year, organized an efficient, hardworking staff, increased participation in the men’s, women’s and junior associations tied to the course and traveled the state as a volunteer rules official. He was the official starter at the Siegfried and Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club, just 11 days after undergoing back surgery.
A friendly, upbeat, accommodating face in Utah golf, his dedication and love for the game is evident in everything he does. It is a natural offshoot of his upbringing by parents who made golf their lifetime hobby and a sister, Terry Norman Hansen, one of the most prolific women’s amateur players in state history. Craig, who played at Provo High School, played collegiately at Utah State University.
“I wish my mom and dad were here to see this,” said Craig who lost his father in 2007 and his mother, a prolific association winner at East Bay and old Timpanogos Golf Courses, in 2017.
Norman has always been enchanted by the draw of golf. “It’s the most unfair game you play because it’s a chase of the unattainable yet attraction of the belief that you can master it. You can hit it perfectly, but if you can’t make a 3-footer, it’s all for naught.”