History of American-Korean Golf Challenge

By Verne Smutz

April 26, 2014


They are American citizens!  When they began to arrive in numbers we referred to them as “Korean-Americans”.  Soon, we learned that they proudly call themselves “American-Koreans”.

 

We knew the earlier arrivals – Tom Koh, Sung Pak, Joe Choi, Peter Oh, Peter Kim, - they joined the Club and participated in our events.  By the middle of the decade, others were arriving in numbers.  They played golf among themselves and many did not join the Club. That was a concern to Club leaders.  We wanted them to join and become active participants.  But, Club leaders were not finding ways to get acquainted and interest them in our Club.

 

Then it happened!  One of our members lost his Club cover and went back to the group playing behind (a group of Korean players) to ask if they had seen the Club cover.  When they said “No”, he accused them of lying, called them a few racial names, and physically attacked one of their players.  The club cover was later turned in at the Pro Shop by another individual who had found it on the golf course.

 

After conducting a hearing, the Board asked the individual to apologize in writing to the Korean players.  When he refused, he was suspended by the Board.  This ugly incident created considerable tension and ill will between the two groups.

 

It was Fred Yune who first suggested to Verne Smutz that we organize a series of golf games in which Korean and American players would play together.  The goal would be to get acquainted and form friendships.  Of course!! The power of golf – it is a universal language understood by all who play the game.  Verne thought it was a great idea, so Fred and Verne started immediately to organize events which they called the “American-Korean Golf Challenge”.   The word challenge referred to the idea of challenging some difficult and interesting golf courses, but to Fred and Verne, it was also the “challenge” of bring the two groups together as teammates, and eventually as friends.

 

We started in June, 2008 by playing a competition at our home golf course with 8 American vs. 8 Korean-American players. Later, our format changed so that we played with American and Korean- American players on each team. In all, there were 13 events – 3 at Laguna Woods, and 10 at some very interesting and challenging courses in the surrounding area.  In most cases, the out-of-town events consisted of 6 or 7 foursomes.  Golf Courses chosen included Arrowood (twice), San Clemente, Tijeras Creek (twice), Eagle Glen, Carmel Mountain Ranch, Oak Quarry, and Pala Mesa.

 

In all, 75 players participated in the 13 events over a two-year period.  Leaders in both groups stepped up in a big way to support the idea, and it changed our history.  The ill will which had been generated by the unfortunate racial incident was quickly overcome as members of the two groups got acquainted and became friends.  Korean-American players did indeed join our Club and become active participants.

 

Fred Yune and Verne Smutz deserve credit for their leadership in organizing the events, but many of the men who participated were also leaders who believed in the goals of getting acquainted and creating friendships.  Fred Yune has an exceptional ability to bridge the communication gap between the Korean and American players.  His 6 years of service on the Board was enormously important in bringing the two groups together. In all, 22 of the participants were men who have served on the Men’s Club Board of Directors.  Men who participated in three or more of the American-Korean Golf Challenge events are listed below:

 

Marc Bayer, Bill Bellatty, Bill Blaine, Bill Brodt, Jim Brown, Frank Buday, Paul Burry, Won Chang, Joe Choi,  Bob Cunningham, Dan Davis, Don Durbin, Dwayne Ellison, Warren Han, Bill Hogan, Bob Howe, Tom Imler, Michael Jang, Hak Kim, John Kim, Thomas Kim, Yoon Kim, Tom Koh, Roger Landis, Jae Sun Lee, Richard Leigh, Dick McGrath, Kay Mun, Sam Murad, Bob Off, Peter Oh, Yong Paik, Dale Paisley, Sung Pak, Howard Smith, Verne Smutz, Robin Sparke, Dean Stafford, Jim Stewart, Jon Strlekar, Fred Teixeira, Ron Whitley, Mike Yoon, Fred Yune.

Beginning in 2014 ... after a four year hiatus ... the American-Korean Golf Challenge is being re-energized by the Laguna Woods Men’s Golf Club.  Between the years of 2008 and 2010 there were 13 events played at a variety of SoCal courses but unfortunately, in recent years the matches dropped off the calendar and none were planned or played.  The series of golf games was designed to pair Korean and American players in foursomes playing together.  The goal would be to get acquainted and form friendships.  Of course!! The power of golf – it is a universal language understood by all who play the game.

Fred Yune and Bob Off will be the Club focals for reinvigorating the series and coordinating the matches.

                     
              American-Korean Golf Challenge Event History   2008 – 2010


COURSE

FORMAT

DATE

TEAMS

Laguna Woods

Ind & Team Match A vs. K

6/6/2008

Bellatty, Bill

Clarke, Ron

Kim, Hak

Koh, Tom

Laguna Woods

Ind & Team Match A vs. K

6/6/2008

Brodt, Bill

Pak, Sung

Yune, Fred

Smutz, Verne

Laguna Woods

Ind & Team Match A vs. K

6/6/2008

Teixeira, Fred

Brown, Jim

Lee, Jae Sun

Yoon, Mike

Laguna Woods

Ind & Team Match A vs. K

6/6/2008

Whitley, Ron

McGrath, Dick

Leigh, Richard

Choi, Joe

Arrowood

Best 3 balls of Foursome

7/17/2008

Brodt, Bill

McGrath, Dick

Smith, Howard

Oh, Peter

Arrowood

Best 3 balls of Foursome

7/17/2008

Burry, Paul

Kim, Hak

Teixeira, Fred

Jang, Mike

Arrowood

Best 3 balls of Foursome

7/17/2008

Loughrey

Yune, Fred

Whitley, Ron

Sparke

Arrowood

Best 3 balls of Foursome

7/17/2008

Murad

Brown, Jim

Ellison, Dwayne

Choi, Joe

Arrowood

Best 3 balls of Foursome

7/17/2008

Stafford, Dean

Smutz, Verne

Leigh, Richard

Kim, John

Laguna Woods

Points for Par - Teams

8/29/2008

Bellatty, Bill

Landis, Roger

Kim, Peter

Jang, Mike

Laguna Woods

Points for Par - Teams

8/29/2008

Brodt, Bill

Teixeira, Fred

Yoon, Mike

Koh, Tom

Laguna Woods

Points for Par - Teams

8/29/2008

Clarke, Ron

Oh, Peter

Smutz, Verne

Kim, Thomas

Laguna Woods

Points for Par - Teams

8/29/2008

Pak, Sung

Lee, Jae Sun

Whitley, Ron

Talcott, David

Laguna Woods

Points for Par - Teams

8/29/2008

Stafford, Dean

Yune, Fred

Kim, Philip

McGrath, Dick

San Clemente

Best 3 balls of Foursome

9/11/2008

Brodt, Bill

Bellatty, Bill

Choi, Joe

Buday, Frank

San Clemente

Best 3 balls of Foursome

9/11/2008

Davis, Dan

Teixeira, Fred

Jang, John

McGrath, Dick

San Clemente

Best 3 balls of Foursome

9/11/2008

Murad, Sam

Leach, Larry

Smutz, Verne

Kim, Thomas

San Clemente

Best 3 balls of Foursome

9/11/2008

Off, Bob

Oh, Peter

Ellison, Dwayne

Cunningham,B

San Clemente

Best 3 balls of Foursome

9/11/2008

Stafford, Dean

Whitley, Ron

Kim, Peter

Jang, Michael

San Clemente

Best 3 balls of Foursome

9/11/2008

Yune, Fred

Tsurusato, Ken

Kim, John

Sparke, Robin

Hidden Valley

Best 3 balls of Foursome

11/20/2008

Yune, Fred

Blaine, Bill

Ellison, Dwayne

Buday, Frank

Hidden Valley

Best 3 balls of Foursome

11/20/2008

Davis, Dan

Jang, John

Lee, Jae Sun

Bayer, Marc

Hidden Valley

Best 3 balls of Foursome

11/20/2008

Stafford, Dean

Brown, Jim

Koh, Tom

Sparke, Robin

Hidden Valley

Best 3 balls of Foursome

11/20/2008

Off, Bob

Bellatty, Bill

Smutz, Verne

Jang, Michael

Hidden Valley

Best 3 balls of Foursome

11/20/2008

Burry, Paul

Oh, Peter

McGrath, Dick

Choi, Joe

Hidden Valley

Best 3 balls of Foursome

11/20/2008

Murad, Sam

Newman, Tom

Kim, Hak

Durbin, Don

Tijeras Creek

Best 3 balls of Foursome

2/26/2009

Blaine, Bill

Yune, Fred

Paik, Yong

Bayer, Marc

Tijeras Creek

Best 3 balls of Foursome

2/26/2009

Davis, Dan

Bellatty, Bill

Ellison, Dwayne

Choi, Joe

Tijeras Creek

Best 3 balls of Foursome

2/26/2009

Douglas, Tom

Koh, Tom

Ermacoff, Demetre

Fox, Richard

Tijeras Creek

Best 3 balls of Foursome

2/26/2009

Landis, Roger

Smutz, Verne

Kim, Hak

Smith, Howard

Tijeras Creek

Best 3 balls of Foursome

2/26/2009

Off, Bob

Oh, Peter

Kim, John

Lang, Ron

Tijeras Creek

Best 3 balls of Foursome

2/26/2009

Stafford, Dean

Chang, Won

Brown, Jim

Jang, Mike

Laguna Woods

combined with Wed tourn

3/25/2009

Pak, Sung

Yune, Fred

Brown, Jim

Bayer, Marc

Laguna Woods

combined with Wed tourn

3/25/2009

Blaine, Bill

Bellatty, Bill

Whitley, Ron

Jang, Michael

Laguna Woods

combined with Wed tourn

3/25/2009

Mun, Kay

Ermacoff, D

Smutz, Verne

Kim, Philip

Laguna Woods

combined with Wed tourn

3/25/2009

Off, Bob

Imler, Tom

Kim, Hak

McGrath, Dick

Laguna Woods

combined with Wed tourn

3/25/2009

Murad, Sam

Oh, Peter

Paik, Yong

Buday, Frank

Laguna Woods

combined with Wed tourn

3/25/2009

Stafford, Dean

Koh, Tom

Cunningham, Bob

Choi, Joe

Eagle Glen

Best 3 balls of Foursome

4/30/2009

Burry, Paul

Kim, Hak

Choi, Joe

Collins, Howard

Eagle Glen

Best 3 balls of Foursome

4/30/2009

Murad, Sam

Oh, Peter

Brown, Jim

Yoon, Mike

Eagle Glen

Best 3 balls of Foursome

4/30/2009

Off, Bob

Chang, Won

Teixeira, Fred

Bayer, Marc

Eagle Glen

Best 3 balls of Foursome

4/30/2009

Pak, Sung

Koh, Tom

McGrath, Dick

Saltz, Gerald

Eagle Glen

Best 3 balls of Foursome

4/30/2009

Stafford, Dean

Bellatty, Bill

Paik, Yong

Strlekar, Jon

Eagle Glen

Best 3 balls of Foursome

4/30/2009

Yune, Fred

Davis, Dan

Smutz, Verne

Jang, Michael

Carmel Mountain

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/18/2009

Belitz, Ralph

Landis, Roger

Lee, Jae Sun

Jang, Michael

Carmel Mountain

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/18/2009

Bellatty, Bill

Yune, Fred

Leigh, Richard

Ellison, Dwayne

Carmel Mountain

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/18/2009

Howe, Bob

Oh, Peter

Whitley, Ron

Bayer, Marc

Carmel Mountain

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/18/2009

Murad, Sam

Obal, Don

Chang, Won

Saltz, Gerald

Carmel Mountain

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/18/2009

Pak, Sung

Koh, Tom

Buday, Frank

Teixeira, Fred

Carmel Mountain

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/18/2009

Rochelle, Paul

Imler, Tom

Smutz, Verne

Kim, Yoon

Carmel Mountain

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/18/2009

Stafford, Dean

Kim, Hak

Brown, Jim

Smith, Howard

Tijeras Creek 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

10/8/2009

Bellatty, Bill

Leigh, Richard

Kim, Yoon

Strlekar, Jon

Tijeras Creek 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

10/8/2009

Blaine, Bill

Koh, Tom

Brown, Jim

Kim, Thomas

Tijeras Creek 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

10/8/2009

Brodt, Bill

Yune, Fred

Durbin, Don

Choi, Joe

Tijeras Creek 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

10/8/2009

Murad, Sam

Oh, Peter

Stewart, Jim

Paik, Yong

Tijeras Creek 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

10/8/2009

Off, Bob

Chang, Won

Whitley, Ron

Bayer, Marc

Tijeras Creek 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

10/8/2009

Pak, Sung

Smutz, Verne

Han, Warren

Fox, Richard

Tijeras Creek 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

10/8/2009

Stafford, Dean

Kim, Hak

Ellison, Dwayne

Jang, Michael

Oak Quarry

Best 3 balls of Foursome

1/7/2010

Davis, Dan

Brown, Jim

Kim, Thomas

Stewart, Jim

Oak Quarry

Best 3 balls of Foursome

1/7/2010

Hogan, Bill

Park, Yang

McGrath, Dick

Han, Warren

Oak Quarry

Best 3 balls of Foursome

1/7/2010

Howe, Bob

Blaine, Bill

Jang, Michael

Bayer, Marc

Oak Quarry

Best 3 balls of Foursome

1/7/2010

Murad, Sam

Brodt, Bill

Postier, Dave

Teixeira, Fred

Oak Quarry

Best 3 balls of Foursome

1/7/2010

Off, Bob

Yune, Fred

Durbin, Don

Kim, Yoon

Oak Quarry

Best 3 balls of Foursome

1/7/2010

Pak, Sung

Whitley, Ron

King, John

Paisley, Dale

Oak Quarry

Best 3 balls of Foursome

1/7/2010

Stafford, Dean

Chang, Won

Smutz, Verne

Strlekar, Jon

Pala Mesa

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/17/2010

Deblois, George

Fong, Young

Cunningham, Bob

Bayer, Marc

Pala Mesa

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/17/2010

Howe, Bob

Leach, Larry

Han, Warren

Chang, M

Pala Mesa

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/17/2010

Mun, Kay

Blaine, Bill

Berkowitz

Jang, Michael

Pala Mesa

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/17/2010

Myung, Bob

Oh, Peter

Smutz, Verne

Figeira, Bob

Pala Mesa

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/17/2010

Pak, Sung

Chang, Won

Paisley, Dale

Miller, Glenn

Pala Mesa

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/17/2010

Stafford, Dean

Hogan, Bill

McGrath, Dick

Kim, Yoon

Pala Mesa

Best 3 balls of Foursome

6/17/2010

Walo, Mike

Yune, Fred

Hwang, Chung

Ellison, Dwayne

Arrowood 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

8/12/2010

Stafford, Dean

Mun, Kay

Stewart, Jim

Bayer, Marc

Arrowood 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

8/12/2010

Shetler, Jeff

Myung, Bob

Smutz, Verne

Paisley, Dale

Arrowood 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

8/12/2010

Howe, Bob

Imler, Tom

Durbin, Don

Choi, Joe

Arrowood 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

8/12/2010

Pak, Sung

Blaine, Bill

Fong, Young

Vickers, Ron

Arrowood 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

8/12/2010

Tsurusato, Ken

Hogan, Bill

Cunningham, Bob

Jang, Michael

Arrowood 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

8/12/2010

Loughrey, Paul

Murad, Sam

Oh, Peter

McGrath, Dick

Arrowood 2

Best 3 balls of Foursome

8/12/2010

Yune, Fred

Brown, Jim

Whitley, Ron

Lamoreaux, Brad