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Issue Date: May 2004 Issue


Par Power

For most golfers, the perfect shot carries powers of attraction that rival gravity, pulling us back to the course for another round (no matter how bad the last one was). We've found some notable Clevelanders who reveal what drew them to the game and wha
Dalia Wheatt

Jimmy Malone doesn't golf. He's tried putt-putt a time or two, but that's as far as it goes. Still, when the WMJI Majic 105.7 radio personality and his wife were seeking a way to increase donations to Cleveland Scholarship Programs, a friend suggested a golf tournament.

"It's a good avenue for raising scholarship money because so many people like to play," says Malone, 50. Indeed they do. For Ωeven years, local celebs, business leaders and other Clevelanders have teed off to raise scholarship funds for area students. Last year's Jimmy Malone Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament, held at Aurora Golf and Country Club, generated a record $115,000 to provide partial college scholarships for 20 students.

Jith such a great cause bearing his name, why won't Malone take up golf?

"I really don't know," he shrugs. When we ask Malone why he doesn't golf, he counters by asking why we don't play jai alai. In other words, it's just not how he prefers to relax.

But for a growing number of people, golf is the ideal leisure activity. Some play purely to unwind, while others hone their swing in order to get ahead in the business world. Now that Northeast Ohio's grievously short golf season has finally arrived, we catch up with some golf enthusiasts to find out what makes them tick.

Name: Mark "Munch" Bishop

Age: 52

Occupation: Sports director, WMJI Majic 105.7 and 100.7 WMMS

Handicap: "It's so bad, I don't keep it."

Best score: 84; Grantwood Golf Course, Solon

Clubs: "They are passed down from my dad and I don't even know what they are."

Background: Munch caddied for his father during grade school and golfed for fun in high school. After a hiatus in college, he got back into the sport in 1979, when his radio career began. He now plays five or six times per year, mostly at charity tournaments. "I always make sure I'm in a good foursome so they can pick up my slack," Munch says.

Where he plays: Metroparks courses or wherever he's invited

Name: Tim White

Age: "Old enough to know better"

Occupation: WKYC-TV 3 news anchor

Handicap: 9

Best score: "I shot a 69 one time. -- I can't remember if I cheated or not."

Clubs: "I am famous for having too many clubs in my golf bag. I always think that if I just put in one more club, that'll make for the great shot of the day," White says. "The magic seems to jump from club to club."

Where he plays: Manakiki, Sleepy Hollow and a private East Side club

Most famous playing partner: President Bill Clinton. "He's a nonstop talker and he takes mulligans very liberally."

Toughest competition: "I did play Tiger Woods one time. He beat me by only three strokes. He was 6 years old."

Name: Ross Verba

Age: 30

Occupation: Offensive lineman, Cleveland Browns

Handicap: 12

Best score: 79; course unknown, Estero, Fla.

Clubs: Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons

Background: Verba took up golf six years ago because he enjoys the constant challenge. To improve his game, he read magazines, watched others and took lessons from LPGA medalist Catherine Cartwright. He now plays about three times a week at Pine Hills, Weymouth Country Club, Fox Meadows and in Florida.

How he vents: Verba occasionally will toss his putter into the ocean.

Title of the book he's writing: "Why Does a Man Look for His Golf Ball?" The work explores the parallels of golf and life and is due out in five years.

Name: Bill Wills

Age: 40

Occupation: Morning host, WTAM 1100 radio

Handicap: 16

Best score: 78; Blue Ash Golf Course, Cincinnati

Clubs: TaylorMade offset irons

Background: At age 10, Wills began tagging along with his father to public courses. He went on to play for his high-school golf team and later joined a country club in Cincinnati. Since moving to Cleveland, Wills plays twice a week at public courses. "When I moved here five years ago, I actually didn't join a course because there are so many great public courses that are in great shape," he says.

Where he plays: Sleepy Hollow, Pine Hills and Mallard Creek

What's in his golf bag: His good-luck charm, a Sacagawea dollar

Name: Rennae Coe

Age: 50

Occupation: Program assistant, The Cleveland Foundation

Handicap: 20 (nine holes)

Best score: 45 (nine holes); Shawnee Hills Golf Course

Clubs: Advanced Golf Technologies Shur Stroke OSS Graphite, Ping putter

Background:óIn the early '80s, Coe took a six-week golf class at Tri-C. She continued lessons to keep up with a boyfriend who enjoyed the sport. Now, any guy she dates must be golf-savvy. Coe plays once a week with the Master Builders ladies golf league.

Where she plays: Shawnee Hills, Pine Ridge, Green Ridge and Airport Greens

Advice for women: Take lessons at a community college. They're affordable and convenient.

Name: Casey Blake

Age: 30

Occupation: Third baseman, Cleveland Indians

Clubs: Mizuno MP-29 blade irons, Callaway driver, Titleist 56-degree wedge

Handicap: 8 to 12

Best score: 76; course unknown, Syracuse, N.Y.

Background: As a boy, Blake accompanied his grandfather to the {ourse, but he didn't get serious about the game until college. As a sophomore at Wichita State University, he took a golf class to fulfill a course requirement. Blake was hooked. During baseball season, he plays every off day and sometimes squeezes in a round before a night game.

His relationship with golf: ΩSurprisingly, it seems like golf doesn't fit with my personality. If you ask any of my family members, they'd say I had attention deficit disorder. I'm just impatient at times," Blake says. "But it seems like I get on the golf course and I can kind of control that. I guess I respect the game. I respect it as a slower-moving game."

What baseball player makes the best golfer: "Starting pitcher, because they throw once every five days. The days they're not pitching, they don't do a whole lot."

Name: Jeanne Hauer

Age: 50

Occupation: Regional marketing director, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Handicap: She'll never tell.

Best score: Won't tell, but her greatest golf moment was when her foursome won the 2002 Dress for Success golf outing.

Clubs: Callaway Big Bertha driver, Callaway 5-wood, Jan Stephenson 5-iron

Background: After years of prodding from her husband and his mother, Hauer took up golf in the late '80s. "I had always heard from my mother-in-law that some of the most beautiful places in the world were on golf courses," she recalls.

Where she plays: Mayfield and Aurora country clubs

What's in her golf bag: A pink putter

Advice for women: "Start with a group of other women because you get much less anxious about the fact that you're not hitting the ball as far as the men," Hauer says.

Name: Austin Carr

Age: 56

Occupation: Director of community and business development, Cleveland Cavaliers

Handicap: 5

Best score: 71; course unknown, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Clubs: Titleist 762 irons, Titleist 983E driver, Titleist Scotty Cameron putter

Background: Bewildered by his inability to control a tiny, inanimate ball, Carr began golf lessons in 1977. He now hits the driving range once a week and plays twice a week with several travel groups.

What's in his golf bag: Cigars

What basketball player makes the best golfer: "The guard positions are good because you're not that tall of a person, so you're able to be a little more connected to the ground," Carr says.

Name: Patricia Horvath

Age: 52

Occupation: Executive director and CEO, HealthSpace Cleveland

Handicap: Unknown

Best score: 92; The Country Club, Pepper Pike

Clubs: Mizuno irons

Background: üorvath's uncle was a caddy for Bobby Jones, so she picked up the game early. After a decades-long hiatus, she reacquainted herself with golf four years ago as a way of spending time with her husband. She took a few lessons from The Country Club's pro flnd now plays there once or twice a week. She also plays in charity events, including HealthSpace Cleveland's annual golf outing.

What's in her golf bag: Sunblock, visors, a comb and extra makeup for when she starts to sweat.

Advice to women: "Just do it," Horvath says. "Get the outfit and just go."

Name: Gary Kleinhenz

Age: 56

Occupation: President, Kleinhenz Jewelers

Clubs: Titleist 983K driver, Callaway X-14 irons, Odyssey Two Ball putter

Handicap: 7

Best score: 73; Lakewood Country Club

Background: Kleinhenz's father played at a private club and introduced him to the game at age 7. He spent his teen-age years caddying at Avon Oaks Country Club. As a member of Cleveland Athletic Club's traveling golf league, Kleinhenz plays twice a week all over northern Ohio. He also plays once a week at Lakewood with his wife.

What golf teaches him: Integrity, honesty and hard work. "I'll take salesmen on the golf course that want to do business with me, and I can size them up on the first three holes and find out if I want to do business with them."

What's in his locker: A collection of more than 500 bag tags. Kleinhenz also owns about 100 pieces of golf photography.

Name: Nick Rossi

Age: 54

Occupation: Secretary/treasurer of West End Land Development and partner, Grey Hawk Golf Club

Handicap: 12

Best score: 75; course unknown, Orlando, Fla.

Clubs: Titleist 983 driver, Titleist Forged 690.CB irons, Titleist Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum putter

Background: Always interested in sports, Rossi took up golf when he was 38. Now, this self-proclaimed "golfaholic" plays every Sunday in the summer and more frequently during the construction off-season.

Where he plays: Rossi and friends rotate between Red Tail, where he is a member, and other private clubs, including Signature of Solon, Quail Hollow and Tanglewood.

His superstition: Rossi must have four tees in his pocket at all times.

Why golf is the great equalizer: "A guy might be a multimillionaire, but he's on the golf course and he's hacking the ball around just like you are," Rossi says.

Name: Monica Turoczy

Age: 32

Occupation: Associate director, Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education

Handicap: Unknown

Best score: Around 100

Clubs: King Cobra irons, Nike putter

Background: In the mid-1990s, Turoczy took lessons from the golf pro at Tanglewood Country Club so she'd be able to network on the course and participate in charity outings. She now plays three to four times each summer at Tanglewood, Aurora and Fowler's Mill.

What's in her golf bag: Chanel Dragon lipstick. "It actually has SPF in it, so that's a plus," she notes. "And it doesn't run in the heat."

Name: Matthew Hollern

Age: 39

Occupation: Dean of the craft environment, Cleveland Institute of Art

Handicap: 7

Best score: 74; Myrtle Beach National Golf Club, South Course, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Clubs: Wilson Killer Whale driver, Ping EYE2 black-dot irons, homemade woods, additional woods passed down from grandfather, Ping putter

Background: Hollern learned from his father and grandfather, who was a teaching pro at a country club in Wausau, Wis. Growing up, Hollern played about 100 rounds each summer. He now plays once a week at Berkshire Hills, Fowler's Mill, Wicked Woods and other public courses.

Why golf is a great sport for artists: "It takes so much creativity, because all your best plans go out the window and then it's responding to the situation."

Name: Melvin Fowler

Age: 25

Occupation: Offensive lineman, Cleveland Browns

Handicap: 12

Best score: 81; Pine Hills, Hinckley

Clubs: Titleist 975K driver, Ping 3i irons, Callaway Big Bertha irons, Adams Tight Lies 7-wood

Background: Fowler first picked up a club nine years ago and is primarily self-taught. He now takes lessons under John Zupan at Stonebrook Golf Academy. When the weather is nice, Fowler tees off every day.

Where he plays: Red Tail, Sand Ridge and Pine Hills. He also plays in Wild Dunes, S.C.; Miami Beach, Fla.; and his hometown of Long Island, N.Y.

What's in his golf bag: The University of Maryland graduate has a driver headcover made in the likeness of Testudo the turtle, his alma mater's mascot.

What football player makes the best golfer: Quarterbacks and kickers, because of their hand-eye coordination

Name: Paul Yancich

Age: 50

Occupation: Principal timpanist, The Cleveland Orchestra

Handicap: 15

Best score: "I've broken 80 maybe 10 times," Yancich says.

Clubs: Ping EYE2 irons, TaylorMade Gold Shaft driver, hickory-shaft putter from his grandfather

Background: Because his father played in an orchestra at the Lake Placid Club, 7-year-old Yancich and a friend had free rein of its courses for only $10 per season. The self-taught golfer played on his high school's team but abandoned the sport during his senior year to focus on music. Now, Yancich plays 20 to 25 times per year, around Cleveland and internationally.

Favorite country for golf: Scotland, for its historic courses and lack of golf carts

How music is like golf: "The only way you get really good is spending countless hours and years practicing."

Name: Jason Kapono

Age: 23

Occupation: Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

Handicap: "When I'm not playing a lot, 10 or 12."

Best score: 75; last summer, Lake Tahoe

Clubs: Titleist DCI irons, an old Ping Si3 8.5-degree driver, Ping Zing putter

Background: In fourth or fifth grade, Kapono began accompanying his grandfather to a public course. He started taking the game seriously three or four years ago, and now plays an average of three times per week during the summer.

Favorite course: Spanish Bay on the Monterey Peninsula in his home state of California. "It's Pebble Beachesque."

What's in his golf bag: A 50-cent piece, which he uses to mark the ball.

What basketball player makes the best golfer: Point guard. "Fundamentally sound basketball players translate into fundamentally sound golfers," he says

Name: Tim Taylor

Age: 60

Occupation: WJW Fox 8 news anchor

Handicap: 12

Best score: 77; Aurora Golf and Country Club

Clubs: Cobra 427SS driver, King Cobra Men's SS-i Oversize irons, Mizuno Hybrid iron, Ping lob wedge, Cleveland sand wedge, Odyssey White Hot belly putter

Background: At 13, Taylor began caddying for his father at Shawnee Hills Golf Course. His dad taught him the game, including a right-handed swing (golf is the only thing Taylor does right-handed). These days, he golfs two to three times per week with his wife and friends, primarily at Aurora Country Club. He also spearheads the annual Tim Taylor Pro-Am Golf Invitational to benefit the Epilepsy Association.

Worst golfing injury: Last year at Barrington Golf Club, Taylor's ball ricocheted off a fairway bunker. "It came back like a bullet and hit me right in the you-know-where."

Name: Rob Gerberry

Age: 34

Occupation: Assistant counsel, Summa Health System

Handicap: 8

Best score: 75; Sleepy Hollow, Brecksville

Clubs: Callaway X-14 irons, Titleist 983D woods, Odyssey Two Ball putter

Background: At age 10, Gerberry began caddying for his father at Youngstown's Tippecanoe Country Club. He soon picked up the sport and eventually made it to the state finals with his high school golf team. Gerberry now plays a few times a week in an Avon golf league and with friends or clients. You can find him at a number of public courses, including Sleepy Hollow, Pine Hills, Stonewater and Fowler's Mill

Worst golfing injury: "The last time I went out to play I got taken to the emergency room after getting hit in the head with a 6-iron," Gerberry recalls. He wound up with eight stitches.

Name: Tom Porten

Age: 40

Occupation: Head men's and women's golf coach, Cleveland State University

Handicap: Scratch

Best score: 65. Briardale Greens, Euclid

Clubs: Titleist 975D driver, Ping i3 irons, Odyssey Two Ball putter

Background: When Porten was 13, Briardale Greens was put in behind his house. Out of curiosity he hopped the fence, joined Briardale's junior program and fell in love with the game. He went on the play for the Euclid Senior High and Cleveland State golf teams before turning pro in 1990. Porten then spent five years as a teaching professional at Mayfield Country Club, home of his all-time favorite course. During Cleveland State's off-season, he teaches golf at Fowler's Mill and plays for fun twice a month with his 12-year-old son or with friends.

What's in his golf bag: Three dimes. "I grew up idolizing Jack Nicklaus," says Porten, who once read that Nicklaus carried three dimes in his left pocket for luck.

Name: Kelly Holcomb

Age: 30

Occupation: Quarterback, Cleveland Browns

Handicap: 8 to 10

Best score: 71; course unknown, Gainesville, Fla.

Clubs: Nike driver and Nike blades, 3-iron through pitching wedge

Background: Holcomb's parents and great-uncle turned him on to golf at a young age. At 9, he began taking lessons and he went on to play for Fayetteville, Tenn.'s junior-high golf team. He took a break during high school ("Back then, I thought it was kind of a sissy game," he admits), but returned to the sport during his senior year at Middle Tennessee State University. These days, Holcomb plays about once a week, mostly at Red Tail and Sweetbriar.

Name: Rick Manning

Age: 49

Occupation: Outfield and base-running instructor, Cleveland Indians, and color commentator, Fox Sports Net

Handicap: 12

Best score: 76; course unknown, Arlington, Texas

Clubs: Titleist 983 driver, King Cobra irons, Odyssey White Hot mallet putter

Background: Manning began golfing after retiring from baseball in 1988. He never took lessons, but learned the ropes by asking a lot of questions and watching golf on television. Manning spends his winters in Arizona, where he golfs three times a week. During baseball season, it's once a week.

Where he plays: Fowler's Mill, Little Mountain, Firestone and Sharon country clubs

How baseball is like golf: There's instant camaraderie. "When you're out there, you're enjoying it with friends and even people that you don't know," Manning says.

Name: Gary Trivisonno

Age: 47

Occupation: Head golf professional, Aurora Country Club

Handicap: +2

Best score: 61, on two different occasions. He also shot a 64 at Aurora last year, tying the course record.

Clubs: Titleist 983K driver, 3-wood, 690.CB irons and wedge, Callaway Odyssey putters

Background: At age 9, Trivisonno learned the basics of the game from his father, who golfed as a hobby. He competed in junior tournaments throughout his adolescence, but took only one or two lessons after determining that the instructor was causing him more harm than good. Trivisonno attributes a lot of his golf savvy to Conrad Rehling, his coach at the University of Alabama, which he attended on a golf scholarship. He turned pro after college and joined the 1981-82 PGA Tour, followed by the Asia Tour in 1984. After starting a family, he worked as a golf pro at several country clubs. In 1991, Trivisonno became head pro at Aurora. These days, he golfs two or three times a week with club members.

Why he plays: "I like the individuality of it. If you play good, then you get the credit. If you play bad, then you can't blame the quarterback or the left fielder," Trivisonno says.

Biggest mistake people make: "A lot of them don't set up for the ball properly," he notes. "That's going to cause a lot of faults."


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