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2011

Steve Hogan

August 20, 2011

Each week during Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf.

This week’s honoree is being recognized posthumously – Steve Hogan, founder of the First Tee Program.

Steve became a legend for redirecting the lives of city youth through his “Hogan’s Junior Golf Heroes” program. He leveraged the appeal of the sport to motivate children to pick up a book, make friends, share ideals and grow. In 2002, Hogan founded the First Tee Program of Omaha, which taught golf training and life lessons to more than 7,000 youth. The program was used as a model for similar programs around the world.

“Steve Hogan was a real-life hero to the many young people he touched through a program that elevated our profession,” said Jim Remy, former PGA of America President.

On November 22, 2008, Steve lost a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 55. He is survived by his wife, Danette, his two sons, Anthony and Steve, and his daughter, Sierra.

Utilizing the game of golf as a vehicle for change, Steve made a difference in the lives of thousands of children. On May 1, 2009, Omaha officially honored him by changing the name of Miller Park Golf Course to Steve Hogan Golf Course.

The Steve Hogan Golf Course and the First Tee Program will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing Steve as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Stu Pospisil

August 13, 2011

Each week during Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf.

This week’s honoree is Stu Pospisil.

As the golf writer for the Omaha World Herald since 1986, Stu has supported the Metro and Nebraska golf scene for over two decades. A 1980 Benson High School graduate, Stu went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in Journalism at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and began working at the Omaha World Herald shortly thereafter.

He has had the privilege of meeting golf king Arnold Palmer, as well as legends like Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Hale Irwin and Phil Mickelson. One particularly memorable time for Stu was the 4 hours he spent in a Chevy suburban with golf icon Ben Crenshaw at the Sand Hills Club. Crenshaw drove Stu around the property, showing off the layout of the course prior to its construction.

Stu has supported golf at all levels: juniors, men’s, women’s, amateurs and professionals. He has been part of the Cox Classic since its inception and was responsible for giving The Metro Golf Championship its name.

While he devotes much of his time to the golf community and serves as the face for high school sports in Nebraska, Stu is also a committed family man. He is married to his wife, Sherry, and has twin boys, Adam and Kyle.

Stu Pospisil will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf”.

Nick Kelley

August 6, 2011

Each week during Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf.

This week’s honoree is Nick Kelley

Have you ever wondered how the Cox Classic got its start in Omaha? Well, it wouldn’t have if it hadn’t been for the efforts of Nick Kelley.

While serving as the President of the Omaha JC’s, Nick decided a professional golf tournament in Omaha would be a great fundraiser. However, things weren’t quite that simple. He had only 3 months to meet the PGA requirements and raise over $100,000. Most people thought he was crazy, but he was determined to make this dream a reality. He got on the phone and made cold calls, and showed up at influential Omaha business offices asking for support. Just when his time was nearly up, Nick was able to convince Jim Venuto of the Blackstone Group to buy in. The first tournament was thrown together in just 4 months; now, 15 years later, Omaha is proud to host this annual golf event that is part of a nationwide tour – all thanks to the outstanding efforts of Nick Kelley.

When asked to share his best memories while planning the Cox Classic, he first points to the nearly $2 million donated to charity. Aside from the funds raised, Nick truly enjoys seeing the mass of fans envelop the 18th hole as the final groups make their way up the fairway each year. He also makes a point to mention the fun shared at the 19th hole – it has been said that someone threw a party and a golf tournament broke out.

For all his hard work and dedication, Nick was named this year’s honorary chairman. He has been married to his wife, Sarah, for 28 years and they have two daughters, Beth and Katie.

Nick Kelley will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf”.

Mick Shonsey

July 30, 2011

Each week during Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf.

This week’s honoree is Mick Shonsey

At 63, Mick has experienced his fair share of life’s ups and downs.  Through it all, golf has been a constant source of happiness for the “Old Bull,” a nickname his friends at Champions Run so aptly named him.

Mick overcame prostate cancer over a decade ago in 2000.  However, in February 2010 he discovered that he had stage 3 colon cancer.  Surgery was immediately performed, followed by 10 months of chemotherapy.  During his treatments, Mick often thought about the sport that had meant so much to him – golf. It served as a powerful motivator for the Old Bull to get healthy again.

While he was undergoing chemotherapy, Mick would go to the golf course every other day and hit balls, chip and putt. The activity helped keep his mind off of his health issues. Despite the fact that his handicap jumped from a 7 to a 14 and he had a hard time concentrating when he played, being on the golf course helped him find peace as he dealt with his own mortality.

This past spring, Mick received a clean bill of health and was able to confidently get back into the swing of his normal life. The Old Bull has accomplished many great things in his lifetime. In addition to overcoming cancer twice, he married his wife Barb and had three kids, including twins (Miles and Meg) at the age of 48. Mick served his country in Vietnam and has become a successful businessman.  He is an avid Husker basketball fan and booster, and he currently serves as a board member and tournament director for the Nebraska Senior Golf Association.

Mick didn’t start playing golf until he was 30. Little did the Old Bull know that he had found a game that would help him through some of the most challenging times of his life.

Mick Shonsey will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s
“Champion for Golf.”

Steve Shanahan

July 23, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Steve Shanahan.

This week members noticed a man tossing around stone blocks, building a retaining wall. It was Shanahan, owner of Shadow Ridge Country Club.

Celebrating his 40th year in the golf business, Shanahan has retired from his role as point man on so many of the great events that helped popularize the game of golf in Omaha. These events include the Mutual of Omaha Pro-Am of the 90s and the Show Downs at Shadow Ridge.  The events brought such stars as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Chi Chi Rodriquez, Payne Stewart, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin and Tom Sieckman to the Omaha area.

In 1971, Wes Melnick offered him his first job in the golf business. He went on to become the head golf professional at Highland Country Club (Ironwood) from 1976-1992. Then in 1993, he realized his dream when he built one of Omaha’s most successful and beautiful country clubs, Shadow Ridge.

He takes great pride that he created interest in the game of golf by being a “pros’ pro” and by bringing golfing events to the Omaha area. He speaks often about how important the relationships he has developed over the years are to him, especially with his right hand man of 31 years, Gary Gabrielson.

Shanahan has left his mark on the Omaha Golf Community. He doesn’t play much golf anymore. He’s has more important things to do, like building retaining walls, remodeling restrooms and playing with his grandkids.

Killian, his 3-year-old grandson, recently told Shanahan at the pool while sipping on a cool drink, “Granddad, life is good.” For Steve Shanahan, life is good!

He has been married to wife Linda for 33 years and has 3 children: Lindsey, Nick and Justin (who is Shadow Ridge’s General Manger).

Steve Shanahan will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Jim Gabrielson

July 16, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Jim Gabrielson.

Jim Gabrielson has been a public golfer all his life. In 2003, he won the Omaha World-Herald’s Public Links Masters Division (ages 65 and above), beating Andy Vassios. He has carded five holes-in-one in three different states, including two at Stone Creek and one at Miracle Hills.

Jim is no ordinary golfer. He has shot his age 4 times and is now 75 years old. The first time he did it was at Shoreline GC when he posted 66. If you can’t find Jim on the golf course, you can find him at the Open Door Mission serving meals. As the current Chairman of Board, he is proud to say they serve over 2,000 meals a day, year in and year out. He has also volunteered his time and taught Bible Study at the Douglas County jail for over 20 years.

He may not hit it as far as he used to, but his contributions to the Omaha golf community and the people of Omaha have made a difference in the lives of many. According to a close friend, Jim is just a class act and a gentleman.

He has been married to wife, Jean, for 47 years and they have three wonderful children: Jenny, Matt and Jill, plus 10 grandchildren.

Jim will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Jim Kingsley

July 9, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Jim Kingsley.

Jim Kingsley has overcome outstanding odds just to be alive. Last Thanksgiving he awoke from a nap to find himself in the hospital surrounded by his family and friends. He was told he had a brain aneurism and had a 1 in 10 chance of surviving the next few days. Now he’s back on the golf course where he belongs, acting as Platteview Country Club’s Ambassador, Peacekeeper and Mayor, if you will.

Jim embodies all that is right about life and the game of golf. His handicap has gone from a 6 to 14 and he’s lost the vision in his left eye, but that hasn’t dampened his passion and spirit for the game of golf.

Last Saturday, with one good eye, 48-year-old Jim Kingsley won the Firecracker Championship at Platteview Country Club.

Jim is married to his wife, Kelly, and has 2 daughters, Maggie and Molly.

Jim Kingsley will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Jay Lueke

June 11, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Jay Lueke.

Being called the “Mayor” of Tiburon is quite an honor, but well deserved, as Jay Lueke has played golf and organized events at Tiburon for over 22 years. He is responsible for organizing between 30-50 players every weekend to play in what he calls a “little game” at Tiburon.

His goal was to recruit as many people as possible to be involved in the game. “I was hoping everyone would have as much fun playing the game as I do,” he said.

On top of being Tiburon’s Handicap chairman, he has created such events as the TIB Cup and the Caddy Shark, a game loaded with props from the golf classic Caddy Shack.

According to Tiburon owner and friend, Bob Hill, “He’s a stickler for the ethics of the game and he makes everything fair. He loves the game whether he shoots 75 or 85.”

Lueke has been married to Ann for 24 years and has two Labradors, Buster and Casey.

Jay Lueke will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Tony Pesavento

June 4, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor ONE local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Tony Pesavento.

According the Omaha Country Club member Nick Vondrak, there’s a reason Pesavento is so well respected. “He’s genuine, sincere, truthful and honorable. There are no hidden agendas with Tony; he’s committed to doing the right thing.”

Pesavento spent 11 years under the tutelage of the legendary Gene Johnson at Applewood, now Johnny Goodman, before moving on to The Field Club, Platteview Country Club and Skyline.  He landed at Omaha Country Club (OCC) and has been the Head Golf Professional for the past 18 years.

As Omaha Country Club prepares to host the 2013 US Senior Open, of which SilverStone Group, is a sponsor, Pesavento says the buzz has a momentum of its own. “The excitement among our members and the general public is amazing; people will ask me about it as I’m standing in line at the convenience shop.”

“He makes anyone who comes into his shop feel special, member or guest. His knack for remembering names is amazing,” said former state champion Ed (Moose) Person.

“Tony is the dean of golf at OCC,” said member Patrick Duffy.

A true professional and one of the good guys in golf, Tony has been a PGA professional for 30 years. He is married to wife Jackie and they have 3 beautiful children: Tony, Annemarie and Ellie.

Tony Pesavento will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Kim Mann

May 28, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Kim Mann.

You might recognize Kim, either from her success as a golfer, winning 8 Omaha World-Herald Public Links Championships, or as the accommodating person behind the counter at Dodge Riverside Golf Course.

Kim Mann has been involved and around the game of golf for over 20 years. According to Dodge Riverside Director of Golf, Tom Potvin, “Kim has always volunteered to help with our junior programs and high school girls’ golf teams in Council Bluffs.”

She recently befriended high school senior, Emily Story, taking her under her wing and mentoring her. Emily received a college golf scholarship at Iowa Central.

“Seventy-five percent of the people that walk through that door are looking for Kim. She a very caring, loyal employee and friend,” said Assistant Pro and Colleague Jeff Neilsen.

Kim Mann will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing her as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

R.B. Loomis

May 21, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor ONE local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is R.B. Loomis.

R.B. has been in the golf business for over 15 years, as the owner of Hidden Valley Driving range in Bellevue, Nebraska.

He is an expert club fitter and repair specialist and he takes pride in being able to match up a golfer’s talent with clubs that will best fit them.

According to friend Murray Krambeer, “He’s a special guy because he cares about golfers. When you golf Hidden Valley, he makes you feel like you’ve known him forever.”

Tim Halpenny shares the same feeling, “Working 60-80 hours a week can be a real grind. But R.B. always has a great attitude. Any time you walk into Hidden Valley, he can make you smile—he’s always upbeat.  He lives and breathes the game and it rubs off on everyone around him.”

“I remember one year at the metro it rained all day. I mean all day. The power went out and we were all sitting around with candles in the clubhouse. R.B. comes in totally drenched, smiling after posting the low round of the tournament, a 67. I’ll never forget it,” said Metro Golf Championship Committee Member John Turek.

R.B. Loomis will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Craig Ames

May 14, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Craig Ames.

Ames has been the Executive Director of the Nebraska Golf Association (NGA) since 2001 and has been instrumental in the growth of golf in the state of Nebraska. Under Ames’ guidance, the NGA’s junior golf association has gained over 600 members and has produced golfers, such as Brandon Crick, John Hurley and Andy Sajevic.

His accomplishments include establishing a statewide volunteer program, expanding the Match Play Championship from 32 to 64 players, adding a Mid and Senior Amateur and Match Play Championship, along with helping the NSAA run both their boys and girls state championships. He also spearheaded efforts to create the Nebraska Golf Foundation, which raises money towards scholarships for deserving junior golfers in Nebraska.

According to former NGA President and former state champion Pete Godwin, “Craig Ames is the face of amateur golf. He represents us with class and style both in Nebraska and on a national level.”

Ames is an accomplished USGA rules official and officiated at four US Senior Open Championships, the US Women’s Open and yearly at the Men’s Big XII Championships.

“We are lucky to have Craig.  All you need to do is play in another state’s event to realize how good we have it. I hope we never lose him,” said NGA Tournament Committee Member Mike Krumland.

Ames is married to wife Dane of 16 years and has 4 boys ages five through eleven.

Craig Ames will receive a plaque from SilverStone Group recognizing him as this week’s “Champion for Golf.”

Don Germer

May 7, 2011

Each week during the Golf season, SilverStone Group will honor one local individual with the “Champion for Golf Award” for achievements in promoting, teaching and making a difference in the game of golf. This week’s honoree is Don Germer.

According to Dr. Harris Frankel,”Don Germer is the most genuine, kind-hearted person I’ve ever met.”

Germer, an ex-marine, started his career 32 years ago as an assistant professional at Benson Park Golf Course. He spent 12 years at Miracle Hills and 18 years at Highland Country Club (Ironwood), which closed its doors on January 22, 2010. He is now the head golf professional at The Players Club at Deer Creek.

His playing accomplishments include winning the Nebraska Section of the PGA’s Match Play Championship in 1990, winning the Senior Championship in 2007 and qualifying for 7 consecutive Club Pro Championships.

When asked who his dream foursome to play with would be, he said Ben Hogan, his dad and Seve Ballestros. Germer is a huge Ben Hogan fan, as illustrated by his office, which is tastefully decorated with photos, books and memorabilia. If he could play one golf course for the rest of his life it would Prairie Dunes, in Hutchinson, Kansas.

He is married to wife, Christine, and they have three boys together named David, Mark and John.

Don will receive a plaque recognizing him as this week’s SilverStone Group “Champion for Golf.”