Rich Tock, Dwight native and DTHS graduate, recently retired after a 50-year career in the golf business. Growing up in Dwight, he spent many hours at Dwight Country Club golfing as well as working. In l965, a freshman in high school, he and then football coach Bill Gilkey, started the golf team, which at that time was a spring sport.
After playing four years in high school and four years at Southern Illinois University, he officially started his golf career as an Assistant Golf Professional at Oakcrest Country Club in Springfield, Illinois. One year later he moved on to Milwaukee Country Club working under world-renowned Manuel de la Torre. It was during this time that Rich started the Wisconsin Assistants Association. In l977 he was voted Assistant Golf Professional of the Year for his volunteer work promoting the Association and tournament performances.
His first PGA Professional position came at South Hills Country Club in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. While at South Hills, he ran for the Wisconsin PGA Board of Directors, won, and spent the next nine years serving on the board, two of which he was president. Before leaving South Hills, he was voted Wisconsin PGA Teacher of the Year and later Wisconsin Golf Professional of the Year in l988.
In 1989 he became head professional at Ozaukee Country Club in MeQuon, Wisconsin where he would spend the next 21 years. It was during this time he received several awards, among them the Horton Smith Award and the Bill Strausbaugh Award (national awards presented to professionals in each section of the country for promoting the game of golf, mentoring young assistant professionals, and continued work with the PGA of America). Rich was also voted Merchandiser of the Year while at Ozaukee and credits his wife Barbara of 42 years as a major factor for receiving this award.
Rich continued to play competitively for many years in the state of Wisconsin playing on 26 Nelthorpe Cup teams, (the most ever by a Wisconsin PGA Professional), and over 40 Wisconsin State Opens, but his most memorable was qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open Championship at Caves Valley Country Club in Baltimore, MD. These competitive years earned him 6-time Senior Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Decade from 2000-2009.
His playing days slowed down, somewhat, as he was asked by Mr. Andy Ziegler, the new owner of Erin Hills Golf Course to come on board and run the property for him. Before accepting he was told that Erin Hills would host the U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship in 2011 and the Men’s U.S. Open Championship in 2017 (which was won by Brooks Koepka, his first major). Rich accepted the offer on November 10, 2009, and held many titles during his 13 years at Erin Hills including General Manager, Director of Golf, Director of Operations, President, and for the past several years, Ambassador to Erin Hills. A 2nd Strausbaugh Award and 2nd Wisconsin Golf Professional of the Year came in 2018.
A memory of a lifetime came in the fall of 2019 when he was voted into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame joining the likes of Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly, Andy North and many others who competed and promoted the game of golf in the state of Wisconsin.
Congratulations to Rich Tock for an outstanding 50-year career in golf as a player, merchandiser, teacher, promoter of the game, and all-around dedicated, complete PGA Professional.