News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rub of the Green

June 14, 2008

Rub of the Green: Terre Haute director of golf wants to improve services

TERRE HAUTE — It’s definitely no accident that Ryan Klopfenstein, Hulman Links’ head professional and director of golf in Terre Haute, developed an interest in golf at an early age. Dave Alumbaugh, Ryan’s stepfather, is the long time course superintendent at Hulman Links and in Terre Haute the name Alumbaugh is synonymous with “golf”.

Dave’s brother, Don, is the course superintendent at Rea Park, whereas another brother, Bill Jr., is the father of Billy Alumbaugh III, who is greenskeeper at Lost Creek at the Elks as well as the professional and greenskeeper at the Marshall (Ill.) golf course. To top it off, the late Bill Alumbaugh Sr., the patriarch of the Alumbaugh family, at one time was the pro-manager of Mathews Park Golf Course in Clinton.

It must have been difficult for five-year-old Ryan and his two-year-old brother Chad to remember names since the Alumbaughs have always acquired more nicknames than a boatload of gangsters. You see, Bill Sr. was always known as “Pops,” Dave is regularly called “Al,” Don is known as “Chick,” Bill Jr. is “Bum” and Billy III has been known as “Wedge Head.” Not to be left out, Ryan is known as “Choppy” whereas Chad answers to “Nutto.”

Ryan didn’t gravitate toward golf at an extremely early age as some might think. In fact, Klopfenstein recalls shooting a score of 105 in the Terre Haute North Invitational as a member of the Patriots’ golf squad during his sophomore year. However, he demonstrated the fact that he was a fast learner by firing a 76 in the same tourney one year later. He also shot a 75 in sectional competition that same year.

Ryan owes much of his improvement to being a member of such a prolific golfing family. In addition, he recalls, “My grandfather Pops and I played in the Firecracker Open at Rea Park every year from the time I was 13 until I reached the age of 22. I also recall practicing on Hulman’s putting green with Gene Verostko for hours at a time, even after it was dark.”

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