By Bob Arnett
When it comes to winning club championships it would appear that amiable Ron Holmes has held a “corner on the market” while winning a total of 28 of these titles throughout his 50 years as an amateur golfer.
By 1998 Holmes had captured 20 club championships at Country Club of Terre Haute. He added seven more at Grenelefe C. C. in Haines City, FL. And he topped it off with one more at Green Tree C. C. in Indianapolis, a course that once was the site of a PGA Tourney held in conjunction with the 500 Mile Race.
If you have ever watched Ron swing a golf club you would have witnessed poetry in motion.
Holmes has also won the Terre Haute City Seniors crown on four occasions. A few years back Ron tied for first in the Indiana Senior Amateur at Prestwick C. C. in Avon before settling for runner-up honors after a sudden death playoff. He has twice been runner-up in the Terre Haute City Championship.
You might think that a golfer of Holmes stature got an early start in learning the intricacies of golf, but that was not the case. As an “all-around” athlete while attending high school in Seymour, and at Cathedral High in Indianapolis, Holmes pitched for the baseball team, captained the basketball team, and quarterbacked the football team, but he didn’t play golf.
As a scholarship college athlete Holmes played baseball and basketball for Butler University before transferring to Murray State where he also received a scholarship in both baseball and basketball. It was later that Holmes served an eight-year stint in the U.S. Army Reserve. After rising to the rank of captain, he retired and took a serious interest in golf; a prelude that would lead to a most memorable golfing career.
In recalling a highlight of his golfing experiences, Holmes quickly answers, “Some time ago I had the opportunity to play Augusta National Golf Club, the home of The Masters. Everything about Augusta is done to perfection. The course is superb and every aspect of its operation is first rate. I played the course twice and scored rounds of 79 and 80.”
Another Terre Hautean who has played Augusta National on multiple occasions is Jack Ragle who remembers, “I was on the fifth green, the hardest hole on the course in my estimation, with a downhill putt when my caddy said, ‘Just touch that putt Mr. Jack, that’s all, just touch it.’ I touched it and it sped quickly off the green. Cliff Roberts, a co-founder of the course, was looking on.”
As a testimonial to Ron Holmes’ iron play, he has scored seven holes-in-one, two accomplished with a two iron. One was made at Grenelefe during a special tourney and Ron’s portion of the prize pot for an ace totaled $350. It was the duty of the winner to buy the drinks. Later when Ron received the bill for the drinks, the total of $596. In golf, sometimes you lose even when you win.
Holmes low scores include a course record 65 at Grenelefe and another 65 at C.C. of T. H. Ron has shot his age each year from the time he was 67 until the present. He is 73.
His golfing has earned him an induction to the Terre Haute Golf Hall of Fame, an honor he richly deserves.
Holmes has had the pleasure of playing many of the top ranked courses in the United States. They include: LaCosta, Doral, San Francisco Golf Club, Merion, Olympic Club, Bellerive, San Francisco C. C. and of course, Augusta National.
Ron Holmes and his wife, the former Judy Goheen, have parented three children. Their son Jeff passed away several years ago, and his parents and sons, Taylor and Brady, survive him.
The Holmes’ son, Bret, and his wife, Nicole, are parents of Alexa, Samantha and Matthew. Daughter Amy and her husband, Jeff Thixton, are the parents of Tye and Trey Thixton.
While Judy is an accomplished tennis player, all grandsons have exhibited an interest in baseball in addition to their favorite sport. There certainly could be some more proficient golfers or tennis players named Holmes in the offing.
In this writer’s estimation, you could look far and wide and still not find a golfer who exudes the charisma, the character and the class that Ron Holmes has demonstrated throughout his golfing experiences.
n Tip of the week — Poor shots are a fact of life in the game of golf. The proficient player is one who can forget those “clinkers” and come back with an excellent swing that results in an outstanding shot. Forget the past and concentrate on the next shot if you want to be an outstanding player.