Arizona golf loses three of its finest

Skelton, Hardt, Laubach remembered by AGA

died on Nov. 24 in Scottsdale surrounded by family and close friends. He was 63. Born on


Nov. 6, 1952, in Champaign- Urbana, Ill., Paul had an affinity for all things fast, spending a considerable amount of his youth racing motorcycles and spending countless hours as an adult making sure his cars were crystal clean. In 1973 Paul made the trek to

Tucson, where he began his career in the country club/hospitality industry. From his first manager position in 1984 at Skyline Country Club in Tucson, to most recently as general manager and chief operating officer at The Country Club at DC Ranch (Scottsdale), Paul contributed to the development and operation of many golf and country clubs in Arizona, while collecting numerous accolades along the way. In 1988 Paul received the certified club manager designation from the Club Managers Association of America and was elected president of the Greater Southwest Chapter of CMAA, a position he held through 1989. In 1992 he was elected national director of CMAA, and in 1999, he was elected national president of CMAA. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Excellence in Club Management Award. On Nov. 24, 2014, Paul was inducted

32 | AZ GOLF Insider | PREVIEW 2016

aul Skelton, the former general manager of The Country Club at DC Ranch and a member of the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame,

into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame. Paul is survived by Faith, his wife of

29 years; children Emily and Paul II; dogs Harley and Mack; brothers James and William; sisters Anne (Weber) and Peggie (Simon). He was preceded in death by his father, William, and mother, Virginia. The family is asking that donations be made in his name to one of the charitable organizations he supported: Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree, St. Vincent de Paul Society and Tee It Up For The Troops. Condolences can be sent to The Skelton Family at P.O. Box 800, Carefree, AZ 85377

AGA volunteer Ken Hardt, 82 Ken Hardt, a longtime volunteer for the Arizona Golf Association and its allied partners, died on Dec. 1, with his wife of 59 years, Harlene, and his daughter, Kathy, by his side. He was 82. For most of their marriage, the Hardts

were surrounded by golf. When they decided to retire (Ken enjoyed a successful career as a medical administrator for a public service company in the early 1990s), the Hardts moved from Denver to Arizona to be closer to Harlene’s mother. They also thought Arizona would be a good place to enjoy their passion year round. Ken took up the sport on the couple’s 17th wedding anniversary and was immediately hooked. Harlene recognized that if she was going to see her husband, it might be wise to join him on the course. What began as a recreational pursuit

expanded to include volunteerism when the Hardts learned about the Arizona Golf Association. Most of their volunteer work was with the AGA’s tournament program. They were always the first to arrive and the last to leave. When Ken and Harlene were the AGA’s Volunteers of the Year in 1999, Ken’s response was, “We volunteer because we love golf and enjoy the camaraderie outside the community. We love to get involved.”

He was preceded in death

by his daughter Nancy, who died on Nov. 19, 2015. He is survived by his sisters,

Dorthy Hinman and Marlene McKeown, and his brother, John.

AGA volunteer Robert Laubach, 92 Robert Laubach, the Arizona Golf Association’s Updegraff Award honoree in 2005 and a longtime USGA committee member, died Nov. 30 surrounded by family. He was 92. Bob’s lifetime contributions to the

game were immeasurable. A longtime USGA volunteer, he was a member of the Green Section Committee for 35 years, served on the USGA Sectional Affairs Committee (1981-1999), was a rules official for the U.S. Open Championship for 22 consecutive years, and served on the Senior Amateur Championship Committee (1994-1999). In 1999 he received the Ike Grainger

Award, given by the USGA in recognition of at least 25 years of volunteer service to the organization In 2002 he was honored with the USGA Green Section’s Piper and Oakley Award. Bob’s love of the game goes back

60 years and was evident even during the hardest of times. During 14 months he spent in a notorious POW camp in Sagan, Poland, he established a makeshift golf course to help WWII prisoners pass the time. “It helped a lot of us keep our sanity,” he said. “I think it was very important to have something like that. In that situation, we needed ways to keep us going.” A longtime member of Crystal

Downs Counry Club in Frankfort, Mich., Bob was instrumental in bringing national acclaim to the remarkable Alister MacKenzie-designed golf course. Upon retirement from his insurance agency, Bob split his time between Frankfort and Scottsdale, eventually residing permantly in Frankfort. n

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