Craig Hocknull is not interested in trying to impress his golf students. He just wants them to get better.
If some teachers use big words and technical jargon, “I try to take the opposite approach,” said Hocknull, Glenwild Golf Club’s director of instruction. “I simmer everything down to its most basic points.”
Not every great golfer is an excellent teacher, but Hocknull combines the two skills. Having qualified for consecutive PGA Championships in 2018 and ‘19 via the PGA Professional Championship, the Australian is one of the Utah Section PGA’s top players. He’s also a Teacher of the Year in the Southwest Section.
Marty Bauer, Glenwild’s director of golf, credits Hocknull with an ability to cater his lessons to his students, determining how they learn most readily.
It obviously helps that Hocknull has been doing this for a long time – since he was 12 years old. He would teach his father’s friends and his high school friends, and he continued that assistance with his Jackson State golf teammates.
His enrollment at the historically black college is part of the background that led PGA.com to suggest that Hocknull “might be the most interesting man in the 2018 PGA Championship field.” Hocknull is such a good storyteller that one of his weekly clinics this past summer offered the opportunity for Glenwild members to ask him questions about his life in golf. He also addressed green reading and recovery shots, not the usual clinic subjects. He has invented a putter (the Saber Cat) and training aids that supplement his teaching.
Hobble Creek Golf Course’s Craig Norman, the Section’s 2019 Professional of the Year, has the traditional background of a golf pro who grew up in the game and started on that track in his teens. Joel Grose is another story entirely. His career path took a sharp turn into the golf profession in recent years, yet his previous experience plays into his success as Norman’s assistant.
Having worked in various jobs in marketing and advertising, Grose understands consumers. A level of knowledge that comes with an MBA from the University of Utah certainly helps in the competitive golf industry, when it comes to meeting golfers’ needs.
“I enjoy the blended opportunities that my position at Hobble Creek allows me to use and develop skills in business management, marketing, merchandising, customer service, teaching and creativity in developing new programs and supporting the goals and visions of Hobble Creek,” Grose said.
Grose formerly worked for Soldier Hollow Head Pro Chris Newson, the Section’s Merchandiser of the Year -Public. He’s thankful to mentors including Norman, Newson, Jon DeBore, Devin Dehlin, Steve Elliott, Ken Clark and the late Doug Vilven for guiding his transition into golf and to his wife, Julianne, and three children in supporting that move, as he became a Class A PGA member in 2016.
A certain degree of destiny must have been in play in Park City, where Jake Hanley grew up in a house formerly owned by Doug Vilven, the Utah Section PGA’s first Professional of the Year award winner in 1986.
Hanley is now the award’s 35th recipient, recognizing his work as Jeremy Ranch Golf & Country Club’s head professional.
He’s been a Jeremy Ranch fixture since 1996, having learned of a job opening that enabled him to follow through on his start in the golf industry. He rode his bicycle to Park Meadows Country Club to pick up range balls and clean carts in his high school days.
At Jeremy Ranch, he eagerly learned from former Pro Tom Costello. “To say that Tom Costello was my mentor would be an understatement,” Hanley said. “Cos gave me the opportunity to grow as a golf professional and as a person.”
Hanley can trace his development in the profession to specific strengths of other key influences. He learned about tournament operations from Carl Sarahs, merchandising from Marty Bauer, work ethic from Scott Flick and business relationships from Phil Deimling, a manufacturer’s representative.
Hanley was named the Section’s Assistant Professional of the Year in 2008 and the Merchandiser of the Year-Private in 2016.
In addition to this year’s recognition from his PGA peers, Hanley received appreciation from the Utah Golf Association in 2020 when Jeremy Ranch hosted the State Amateur.
“I cherish being a PGA Professional,” Hanley said, “and I thank everyone who has been on this ride with me. I look forward to growing professionally and being a part of golf in Utah for many years to come.”
The American Junior Golf Association announced on November 17 its annual list of AJGA Scholastic Junior All-Americans, the 2020 list recognizes the achievements of top junior golfers who also demonstrated excellence in academics.
Making the list from Park City, Utah is Wyatt Petersen a senior at Park City High School with a GPA of 4.780 and ACT score of 34. Petersen played three 2020 AJGA tournaments with two top 20 finishes including a T9 at the Sung Hyun Park Junior Championship.
“For me, being selected to the AJGA Scholastic All-American list is a recognition of lots of hard work. I’ve put in hours and hours of work into my golf game and in the classroom, and it’s extremely rewarding to have that recognized, especially on a national level,” Petersen said. “It’s a select group of guys, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I worked very hard to achieve this, but would not be where I am without a lot of people around me, especially my parents and swing coach Clay Ogden. Golf is an individual sport, but it takes a team of support around you to have success.”
Petersen played in 12 Utah Junior Golf Association events in 2020 with six top 5 finishes including three 3rd place finishes at the Fairways Preview/FCG International Qualifier, the Spring Opener/Utah State Amateur Qualifier and the Utah State Junior Amateur.
Petersen gave credit to Utah’s allied golf associations for the ability to compete at a high level in 2020. “My senior year of golf was a lot of fun. Despite the COVID pandemic, I still was able to play tournament golf from the spring through the fall, thanks to a lot of work from organizations like UJGA, AJGA and the Utah PGA. It was a great learning experience this year, as it was the first time I was really able to perform well in national events. I also had my best season in UJGA, and continued that success into high school, having lots of fun with my Park City teammates, finishing in second both as a team and individually at the 5A State Championship.”
Petersen, who has verbally committed to Colgate University, is the 2020 Region 8 medalist with a 70.1 scoring average. Park City finished first in the Region 8 final team standings. At the State Championship, Petersen shot consecutive rounds of 66-66 – 132 on Soldier Hollow’s Silver Course Oct 5-6, 2020 to claim the second spot on the Utah High School Activities Association record book for individual low 36-hole scores. Skyline High’s Tyson Shelley holds the top spot at 128, also recorded at the 2020 State Championship at Soldier Hollow GC. Park City finished second to Skyline in the State Championship this year.
“I will be playing for Colgate University in New York in 2021 and hope to continue to have success on the course and in the classroom. I am not sure what I will be majoring in yet, but am considering mathematics, economics, or business,” Petersen said.
Former AJGA Scholastic Junior All-Americans from Utah that have gone on to successful amateur and professional golf careers include Boyd Summerhays in 1994. Boyd, was once the top-ranked junior in the country. He played college golf at Oklahoma State, and was a PGA Tour member from 2004-06. Summerhays is the swing coach for PGA Tour star Tony Finau, Scott Harrington and Wyndham Clark.
Looking back at his time playing AJGA events Summerhays said, “My parents always made sure that as I was focusing on my golf and goal of being a professional golfer, that I took learning and school work seriously. More so now as an adult, I look back and take a lot of pride in being a Scholastic All-American.”
In the last event of the year for the Utah Section PGA the membership headed south to St. George to compete in the Utah Section PGA Pro-Assistants Championship at Bloomington Country Club and Sunbrook Golf Course November 16-17.
It was Glenwild PGA Professionals Marty Bauer and Craig Hocknull (-13) that pulled ahead in the final round, thanks to Bauer’s 93-yard eagle on the 6th hole on the Woodbridge nine, to win by one-stroke over Jimmy Blair and Chip Garriss of Bloomington and David Hall and Doug Roberts of Entrada.
When asked what was working well, Bauer immediately pointed to his teammate.
“I was pretty consistent,” Hocknull added, “but Marty brought the fireworks.”
“It was about 93 yards with my 58-degree wedge,” Bauer said. “We had three good shots in there already with our group, I clanked it off the pin and right in the hole. It was fun.”
Bauer and Hocknull trailed by one stroke after the first round, sitting behind Bauer and Glenwild Assistant Pro Carson Willis and three other teams in the two-person Fourball format. With a final-round 64, they secured the win.
In the net division, it was Cedar Ridge Head Pro Jared Barnes and long-time PGA Professional John Evans who won with rounds of (-25) 59-60.
“It was all John,” Barnes said. “He was driver, three-wood, two-putt all day.”
That concludes the 2020 Utah PGA season with the next event being the Utah PGA Winter Classic, traditionally held in Southern Utah near the beginning of each year.
We owe a big thank you to Chris Nugent of TaylorMade and Kelly Jo Wikes of TravisMatthew for sponsoring the event this year and taking good care of our Utah PGA Members. Thank you to Bloomington Country Club and Sunbrook Golf Course for hosting us and providing great courses to play.
Even as the 2020 season winds down, Utah PGA Omega Player of the year Joe Summerhays’ game continues to shine.
With rounds of (-9) 64-69 in the Southern Utah Open played at SunRiver Golf Club November 14-15, Summerhays picked up yet another victory to his 2020 season, making this a total of six wins on the year.
“I definitely won this with the putter,” Summerhays said. “I played pretty solid otherwise, not as good tee-to-green as I wanted, but my putting made up for a lot of those mistakes.”
Summerhays’ first round card was a little more exciting than the final round with an eagle, seven birdies, two bogies and a back-nine 30.
His final round was a little more contained, finishing with three birdies and a bogey to edge Sunset View Head Professional Casey Fowles who finished (-7) 65-70.
Mountain View Head Pro Mark Owen (-5) won the pro senior division with rounds of 70-67. Kim Thompson (-4) won the pro super senior division with rounds of 70-68 and Tom Storey won the pro dinosaur division with a pair of 73s.
The season-long Utah Section PGA Senior Match Play Championship has ended with Mountain View Golf Course Head Professional Mark Owen defeating Bloomington Country Club Director of Golf Scott Brandt 1 up on the 18th hole of the championship match November 13th at Sky Mountain Golf Course.
“Well it was the first time for me, so it feels great,” Owen said about competing in his first Utah PGA Senior Match Play Championship. “The match was incredible. Scott never does anything wrong, we both played well. it just came down to one putt on the last hole, really. I won 1 up after a grudge match all day.
“I was 1 up on 18 and he had a chance to tie it, he had a birdie putt that lipped out and my par ended up being good enough for the win.”
Owen started as the four seed and defeated Jeff Green 4 & 3, Tom Costello in 19 holes, Todd Meyer 1 up and then Troy Watkins in the semifinals 5 & 4.
Brandt reached the finals as the third seed and won matches against Doug Roberts, Charlie Taylor, Henry White and then Ryan Rhees in the semifinals.
Owen went onto win the Southern Utah Open senior division that same weekend in St. George and finished third in the 2020 Utah Section PGA Senior Omega Player of the Year race.