Jonah Karzmer: Looking back at some ‘oldies’
Welcome, August. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Tiger Woods’ major return at Augusta, and now here we are.
With only a few columns remaining, I’ve spent some time pondering the final topics I’d like to cover. To that end, I went through my archives (nothing more than the “my documents” folder on my laptop) and read old columns in an attempt to identify topics I haven’t covered yet. What an unexpected treat that was.
I have to say I was struck by the nostalgia I experienced reading some of my older columns. It made me want to share some of my favorites one last time.
If you read this column at all, you know I’m a softie who has probably over-shared personal stories of my experiences with family and friends over the years. Personally, those have been the most special pieces for me to write. I feel like there are a ton of golf people out there who can talk about our sport. But getting to remember, relive, and share the personal stories that have helped make the sport so special to me has hopefully been a little “different” than a purely analytical piece.
Some of my favorites have been; my first Mother’s Day piece. I think it was 2012. I’m a little sad I can’t find a copy of it now, but I remember it was the first time I wrote a piece that made me “tear up” writing it. And then that Sunday I had multiple people tell me they “teared up” reading it. That was something special.
I remember writing about my grandfathers for an early Father’s Day piece. My wife Beth after our second daughter Vivienne was born in 2017. My family’s generational experiences at Mill Creek Par 3. And of course, my last Father’s Day piece remembering my trip to Pebble Beach with my dad.
Over the years I’ve gotten to share stories of my Kent State roommate Ben Curtis winning the 2003 British Open. And my experiences (leading and then not leading) from the 2000 NCAA National Championships.
I traveled to Muirfield Village to cover local professional Jason Kokrak in his first Memorial Invitational. I got to share thoughts on the collapse and eventual major resurgence of the greatest player of my generation, Tiger. And together, we’ve gotten to see — and I’ve gotten to write about — the emergence of the next generation of great golfers — Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, etc.
Light heartedly, I loved sharing my thoughts on; betting on the course, great nick names, special holes, handicaps, and so many other fun topics.
I’ve covered Greatest in one way or another from our inaugural event in 2010 to what will now be 10.0 in a few weeks. To say the Greatest Week we get to experience this year has exceeded my expectations is an understatement.
And second only to the personal stories mentioned above, I have been so lucky to get to write about special people within our local community.
Jerry McGee is the single greatest golf story-teller I’ve ever met in my life. I consider him a dear friend of mine, and a lot of that has come from the time I spent with Jerry for Vindy pieces. This year I got to learn more and write about the special LaRocca family. And over the years I’ve been lucky enough to share memories on George Bellino, Billy Santor, Rick Jones and other great Valley golfers.
I started out this piece thinking I was going to do some sort of “Top 10” list. How lucky am I that I couldn’t come close to getting down to 10?
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a Sunday golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at Jonah@thekarzmerinsurance.com.