Len Nguyen is the sort of guy who comes through for you in a pinch – his friendly disposition outshined only by his stealth-like ability to anticipate a golfer’s every need. When tournament time rolls around, Len is the only representative to come in contact with the pros’ bags, and as a valuable behind-the-scenes coordinator, he runs the bag room at the Colonial Country Club with a level of precision the likes of which most golfers rarely see.
“I started swinging a golf club when I was 3 years old,” recalls Marty Leonard, whose father, Marvin Leonard, founded Colonial Country Club in 1936. Marvin and Marty were the first father and daughter to be inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, but their close bond went beyond a shared love of the game. “My father was an exceptional man by anyone’s standards, a visionary who could not only look ahead, but could and did complete his visions, both as a businessman and golf course builder,” she says.
If there is one rule in life for Leigh Crates’ father, Wally Schmuck, it is to play by the rules. “Since he was a boy, he has abided by the rules of golf and the rules of life – adhering to both with equal fortitude,” said Crates.
Whether it is the rules of golf or of life that are in question, Crates has always known exactly whom to turn to for help. “Whenever there was a dispute at my son’s competitive golf tournament, I would call my dad,” she said. “And without missing a beat, he would cite the rule book and explain the proper resolution.”
Mike Rushing, general manager of Colonial Country Club, played his first games of golf in a field across the street from his childhood home. “There were several U.S. Opens won in that field,” Rushing said, laughing.
Recognizing his son’s early love of golf, Rushing’s father wanted to ensure that he understood the value of earning his way to the golf course. “It took a while before I was allowed to play on an actual golf course,” he said. “The first time I saw Pecan Valley, I thought it looked like Augusta National.”
As a young boy, Ben Hogan would leave school to sell newspapers or caddy to help his single mother put food on their table.
Despite his own difficult circumstances, Hogan placed immense value on the importance of education. The Ben Hogan Foundation honors this legacy through a number of programs, including its longstanding support of First Tee of Fort Worth, a youth development program that teaches life skills and leadership through golf.
The Colonial community welcomes thousands of fans to the neighborhood each May, and nothing says hospitality like a glass of fresh lemonade. Before they became Colonial Kids for a Cause, they were kids with a lemonade stand. A testament to this community’s values, their parents empowered them to think bigger and encouraged them to donate their proceeds to those in need.
“Golf is one of those rare sports where you don’t have a referee. You call a penalty on yourself and you keep your own score. It’s a game of integrity and it’s a game where you have to be accountable,” said Robert Stennett, CEO of the Ben Hogan Foundation.
These attributes – honesty, integrity, self-determination – describe the very man the foundation honors and the legacy it is committed to preserving.
Lucky for you, we have a way to test your PGA IQ. Enjoy the challenge!
Read our complete tribute to the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational: click here
President and CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty with offices in Dallas, Fort Worth Cultural District, Fort Worth-Mira Vista, Uptown, Lakewood, Southlake, The North, Ranch and Land, Ranch and Land West, and The Ballpark. Visit the Best Neighborhoods Site in DFW.
For 22 years, Johnny Baylor has been the smiling face that welcomes visitors as they step out of their cars at Colonial Country Club. And, with Danny Sumberlin by his side for the past eight years, Baylor has made it his mission to put a smile on the face of every member that pulls up to the valet.
“The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight,” said the late Ben Hogan.
I’ll second that!
The more time we have to spend soaking up the magnificent atmosphere surrounding the beautiful Colonial Country Club this time of year, the better.