By Kurt Kragthorpe
The late Doug Vilven may or may not have approved of the new Utah Section PGA annual award that carries his name, but he undoubtedly would have endorsed the first recipient.
Robert McArthur, now retired after serving as Riverside Country Club’s longtime head professional, shared Vilven’s commitment to educating PGA pros. They worked together for 25 years or more as faculty members in the PGA training program in what McArthur describes as an effort to “help people along the way; that’s what this business is all about.”
Of course, McArthur’s response to receiving an award for his service is to insist that his instructor’s role was partly self-serving.
“You kind of get reenergized, going out and teaching young golf professionals that are coming along,” he said. “It helps you to refocus on what you’re doing at your club.”
McArthur did his job well, for a long time. He was named the Section’s Professional of the Year in 1989, and his influence will be noticeable for years to come. Just look at recent Utah Section PGA awards. Craig Norman, a former Riverside assistant pro, was the 2019 Professional of the Year. Kent McComb, who succeeded Norman, is the 2020 Jeff Beaudry Golf Ambassador Award recipient. And to extend the McArthur tree, Joel Grose – Norman’s assistant at Hobble Creek Golf Course — is the 2020 Assistant Professional of the Year.
McArthur, directly or indirectly, had a lot to do with the way those pros approach their jobs. “Just knowing him has made me a better person,” McComb said.