Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Suhey
Steve Suhey’s father introduced him to the game of golf when he was 6 years old in 1956. They spent Sunday evenings looping the nearby course in central Pennsylvania. Today, Suhey continues to create lasting memories on golf courses more than 1,500 miles away from where he grew up and learned to play.
“I love the challenge of golf throughout your lifetime,” Suhey said. “It’s a game you can play your whole life, and as you grow older you face new challenges. I’ve really enjoyed that.”
In 1982, Suhey and his wife, Louise, moved to Texas. The avid amateur golfer played in competitive events across the state, including championships conducted by the Texas Golf Association. He’d always loved and appreciated the Rules of Golf, but it wasn’t until met Marty Javors that he began to get involved as a Rules official.
“In the late 1980s, I met Marty, who had been a TGA and USGA Rules official for many years,” Suhey said. “He encouraged me to get involved with the Rules, but because of my businesses and travel schedule, I could never do it. I promised Marty that when I retired I would turn my attention to the Rules and get involved as a Rules official.”
In 2016, Suhey delivered on his promise. Following his retirement as an insurance broker, he attended his first USGA/PGA Rules of Golf Workshop, took his first Rules of Golf exam and volunteered with the TGA.
“When he finally pulled the trigger he didn’t hold back at all,” Javors said. “He’s a very smart guy and learned the Rules very quickly. He loves the game and he’s been a huge help to the golf community in Texas.”
Over the years, Suhey has become one of the most dedicated TGA volunteers. In 2020, he officiated over 40 days at local and statewide men’s, women’s and junior championships.
“As a volunteer, my goal is to help the competitors play by the Rules,” Suhey said. “In order to do that, you have to ask a lot of questions to find out the exact situation and make sure the player knows what his options are.”
Suhey values the interactions he has with players, working with TGA staff and building relationships with other volunteers. His “team-first” mentality has not gone unrecognized by the TGA.
“Steve’s presence makes our championships better and our job as a staff easier,” TGA Tournament Director Ian Davis said. “It doesn’t matter what his assignment is for the day, he is the first one on site and he is the last to leave. Steve is a staunch individual and you can always count on him. He’s always available to stick around for a playoff or help with packing up the equipment when we finish.”
Golf is an ever-evolving game. It teaches lessons on and off the golf course, and Suhey has been a part of unique lessons for so many amateur golfers across the state. Sixty-four years since he touched his first club, Suhey continues to grow from the lessons of golf.
“Because of what golf has given me over the years, this is my way of giving back,” Suhey said. “I learn something at every tournament I officiate and every meeting I attend. And like the game of golf itself, you keep learning and learning and learning and it never stops throughout your life.”
The TGA extends its sincere appreciation to Steve for his efforts in making our championships a success. The work and dedication from all our volunteers allows the TGA to grow and continue to support the game we all love.
To learn more about the TGA Volunteer Program, click here.
Jim Brown Honored with Bob Wells Volunteerism Award
The Texas Golf Association is pleased to announce longtime director and past president Jim Brown has received the Bob Wells Distinguished Service Award, the TGA’s highest honor for individuals who’ve contributed to the growth of the game through their volunteerism and meritorious service.
The words volunteerism and service define Brown, a retired personal injury attorney who joined the TGA Board of Directors in 2010 and in less than a year promptly received the North Texas Volunteer of the Year Award. From the outset, Brown annually has averaged more than 50 days a year working both on the course as a TGA Rules Official at multiple men’s, women’s and junior championships and off the course attending to association-related business matters at board meetings. That’s in addition to the time he’s given volunteering as a Rules Official for the United States Golf Association, Southern Golf Association and Trans-Mississippi Golf Association.
Brown was surprised when he received the news – “aghast” is the word he used – but there’s been no one in recent TGA history who is more deserving.
“I have admired the people who previously have received this award ever since I’ve been involved with the TGA,” Brown said. “Those people have mentored me, with or without their knowledge, with all the dedication they’ve shown. That’s what makes me so gratified to just be considered among those people. I’m so grateful I found the Texas Golf Association. The people and the association add immense value to my life.”
TGA Executive Director Stacy Dennis said there is no better representative for the game of golf and the association than Jim Brown.
“He is the kind of person I imagine this award was created to honor,” Dennis said. “He has meant more to the TGA than the deep Rules knowledge and countless days he’s contributed as a volunteer. He is a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He sincerely loves the game and, most importantly, he loves our players.”
One of the foremost experts on the Rules of Golf in Texas, if not the entire country, Brown served as TGA President from 2016-18.
“His heart and soul are in the TGA,” said his friend, neighbor and colleague Carey Schulten, an esteemed Rules Official in his own right who succeeded Brown as TGA president from 2018-20. “Jim has done everything. The number of days he does Rules work is virtually every tournament that is within his reach.”
Schulten, who lives two streets away from Brown in central Dallas, met his friend back in 2010 when they found themselves working TGA championships together. Schulten, a former U.S. Air Force and Delta Air Lines pilot who won the Legends Junior Tour’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015, said it’s the lawyer in Brown that makes him such a trusted expert on the Rules.
“I think he sleeps with a Rules book,” Schulten joked. “He drinks and sleeps the Rules book. He’s on it all the time, and it reflects his background. He’s down to the fine print on that Rules book.”
First presented in 2005, the Bob Wells Distinguished Service Award is named after the late Bob Wells, who served as TGA president from 1980-87.
Current president Leslie Henry met Brown in 2012 when she began serving on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Texas Golf Association, which eventually merged with the TGA in 2014. Henry said Brown joined her in championing the idea of the men and women golfers in Texas coming together as an inclusive statewide association.
“I’ve had the privilege of working closely with Jim,” Henry said. “He is one of the most caring, compassionate human beings I have met in my lifetime. He’s the true example of treating everyone with respect and fairness. The award is so deserving, and we are all proud to call Jim Brown our friend and a force for the TGA.”
Brown, 75, is in his 12th year as a director of the TGA. Prior to his tenure as president in 2016-18, Brown served two-year terms as 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President. He’s also put in countless hours as a member of several sub-committees, including Nominating, Finance, Compensation and Rules & Competitions.
A longtime advocate for amateur golf, Brown has also been a member the Southern Golf Association’s Board of Directors since 2001 and a member of the Executive Committee since 2011. He’s a former SGA president, too, and previously served as the SGA’s 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President and Treasurer.
Brown received his BBA and JD from SMU in Dallas. He was a letterman on the Men’s Golf Team from 1963-1965 and has continued to support his alma mater by taking an active role on the Payne Stewart Cup Committee, the SMU Golf fundraiser, since 2003, serving as Chairman in 2009 and 2011. He’s also just about the biggest SMU fan anyone will ever meet.
Brown and his wife Camille have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Volunteer Spotlight: Tom and Alice Wohlgemuth
Tom and Alice Wohlgemuth committed to a life together on June 19, 1971. Since their wedding day, the Wohlgemuths have been inseparable. They do everything together.
In 1975, the couple lived just outside of St. Louis. Tom was in the restaurant business and worked many nights. He consistently had a local band called “The Par 3” come and play at his restaurant. All three members loved golf.
“We became very good friends with the drummer and his wife, and they invited us to go on a vacation with them to Florida,” Alice said. “So, he taught Tom how to play golf so they could play on our trip.”
Tom quickly fell in love with the game. He soon was spending all his off-hours playing golf, and Alice was not going to be left out of the fun.
“I told him, I am already a restaurant widow, and I will not become a golf widow,” Alice said. “So I found an instructor and took lessons. Thus, our golfing career started.”
Since then, Tom and Alice have played countless rounds together. They have traveled throughout the country on golf vacations and raised their two kids to love the game, as well. In the mid-1990s, both underwent joint replacement surgeries. Despite slowing down as players, the Wohlgemuths found a new way to stay involved.
“With my hip issue, I started to think about the time that I wouldn’t be able to play,” Tom said. “So I thought doing Rules would be the best way to stay in the game and be associated with it. I went to Rules school in Nashville and started getting involved with the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association of St. Louis. Alice and I do everything together, so the following year she came to Rules school and got started in it also.”
Through the years, Tom and Alice have volunteered as Rules officials for three different amateur golf associations (Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association, Arizona Golf Association and the Texas Golf Association). They have worked with different tournament officials, players and golf courses. They have seen the game they love grow and develop together.
“It’s been a very rewarding experience for both of us,” Alice said. “We get to go together and we have a great time doing it. I find being a Rules official is a very honorable job and that you are responsible to help the players.”
Tom and Alice share the same mindset when it comes to the role of a Rules official. They want to protect the integrity of the game while making sure the players are the top priority. They don’t hesitate to seek help over the radio on a Ruling and they cherish the fellowship and camaraderie.
“The majority of people in golf are very friendly,” Tom said. “They’re so accepting of other people and we have built many friendships along the way.”
Today, Tom and Alice continue to volunteer with various golf associations across the country. They still play golf together, travel together and even ride a tandem bicycle together. Their dedication to each other and the game of golf has not gone unrecognized.
“I was lucky enough to learn from them during my internship with the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association of St. Louis,” TGA Tournament Director Ian Davis said. “Tom and Alice showed me what it means to be passionate about the Rules of Golf and the game as a whole.”
The TGA extends its sincere appreciation to Tom and Alice for their efforts in making our championships a success. The work and dedication from all our volunteers allows the TGA to grow and continue to support the game we all love.
To learn more and volunteer in 2020, click here.