Goodbye to Three Special People

Within the last few weeks, Arizona Golf has had to say farewell to three friends and lovers of the game:

Paul Skelton, General Manager of Country Club at DC Ranch and member of the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame
passed away peacefully in Scottsdale, AZ on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at the age of 63 with his family and close friends by his side. A beloved husband, father, brother, mentor, and cherished friend, Paul lived and loved every moment of life. He always looked for the good in things and people, never putting himself first. His smile, kindness, love and hospitality were never-ending. Paul is survived by his wife of 29 years, Faith; children, Emily and Paul II; dogs, Harley and Mack; brothers, James and William; sisters, Anne (Weber) and Peggie (Simon). He is preceded in death by his father, William, and mother, Virginia. He had an extraordinary love for his family and treasured every moment they spent together. Born on November 6, 1952 in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Paul had an affinity for all things fast, spending a considerable amount of his youth racing motorcycles and spending countless hours as an adult making sure his cars were crystal clean. In 1973 Paul made the trek to Tucson, Arizona where he began his career in the Country Club/Hospitality Industry. From his first Manager position in 1984 at Skyline Country Club (Tucson), to most recently as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer at The Country Club at DC Ranch (Scottsdale), Paul contributed to the development and operation of many golf and country clubs in Arizona, while collecting numerous accolades along the way. In 1988 Paul received the Certified Club Manager designation from the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and was also elected President of The Greater Southwest Chapter of CMAA, a position he held through 1989. In 1992 he was elected National Director of CMAA and in 1999 he was elected National President of CMAA. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Excellence in Club Management Award and on November 24, 2014, Paul was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 1:00pm at Scottsdale Bible Mountain Valley Campus 17800 N. Perimeter Dr., with a reception to follow. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Paul’s life. The family is asking to make donations in his name to one of the charitable organizations he supported: Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and Tee It Up For The Troops. Condolences can be sent to The Skelton Family at P.O. Box 800, Carefree, AZ 85377 

Ken Hardt, long time volunteer for the Arizona Golf Association and its allied partners.
Ken Hardt and wife Harlene were married for almost 60 years and had been around the golf course a majority of that time. When they decided to retire (Ken enjoyed a successful career as a medical administrator for a public service company) in the early 1990s, the Hardt’s moved from Denver to Arizona to be closer to Harlene’s mother. They also thought Arizona would be a good place to enjoy their passion 12 months a year. Ken took up the sport on the couple’s 17th wedding anniversary and was immediately hooked. Harlene recognized that if she was going to see her husband, it might be wise to join him on the course. What began as an involvement from the recreation end expanded to include volunteerism when the Hardt’s learned about the Arizona Golf Association. They saw the AGA as a way to stay involved with the game outside of their immediate area. Most of their volunteer work was with the AGA’s tournament program. Always the first to arrive and the last to leave, they would do anything we asked – always with smiles on their faces.
When Ken and Harlene were the AGA’s Volunteers of the Year in 1999, Ken’s response was “We volunteer because we love golf and enjoy the camaraderie outside the community. We love to get involved.”
Services for Ken will be held at Broadway Christian Church at 7335 E. Broadway Rd., Mesa (between Power Rd and Sossaman) on Monday, December 14th at 2:00 p.m.
Wherever Harlene was, Ken was there too. The staff and volunteers past and present loved Ken and will miss him dearly. Farewell, friend!

Robert Laubach, the 2005 AGA Updegraff Award winner and long-time USGA committee member.
Bob Laubach was the AGA’s Updegraff Award winner, the AGA’s “Spirit of the Game award” in 2005.
Bob’s lifetime contributions to the game are immeasurable. A long time USGA volunteer, he was a member of the Green Section Committee for 35 years, served on the USGA Sectional Affairs Committee (1981 -1999), was a rules official for the US Open Championship for 22 consecutive years and served on the Senior Amateur Championship Committee ( 1994-1999).
In 1999 he received the Ike Grainger Award, given by the USGA in recognition of at least 25 years of volunteer service to the organization, and in 2002 he was honored with the USGA Green Section’s Piper and Oakley Award.
A long-time member of Crystal Downs in Michigan, Bob was instrumental in bringing national acclaim to this remarkable Alister Mckenzie golf course.
Bob’s love of the game goes back 60 years and was evident even during the hardest of times. During 14 months in a notorious POW camp in Sagan, Poland during World War 11, he established a makeshift golf course to help prisoners pass the time. “It helped a lot of us keep our sanity,” he said.” I think it was very important to have something like that. In that situation, we needed ways to keep us going.”