Keeping up with the Jones: Cheers to Ron Hall and Alan from McAllen

By |  September 12, 2023 0 Comments

There are two passings to note this month. I’ll start with Ron Hall.

Hall was a veteran journalist covering the turf industry, working in it for 30 years, covering the business of turfgrass for various publications, including Landscape Management and Athletic Turf, both sister publications of Golfdom. Though he wasn’t directly tied to Golfdom, he was very much in this universe, working closely with everyone in the green industry.

He was perhaps the industry’s best storyteller, and it came naturally to him. North Coast Media’s CEO Kevin Stoltman likes to tell the story about how Hall once packed up his lunch in the break room and excused himself, saying he needed to leave so he could start work on his column … for a magazine that was due to press that afternoon. Another editor at the table was flabbergasted — he spent days grinding out his column. “Ron could fall out of bed and write a better column in an hour than most editors could produce in days,” Stoltman says.

I didn’t know Ron well, but I did read his stuff, and I was thrilled the day I realized he read mine as well. I share this story with reluctance because it’ll come off as a brag, but it was a day I felt I had maybe ‘made it’ in the industry. I was a few years into my tenure with Golfdom. Ron and I were covering the same event when he walked by me and asked, “Seth, how does it feel?” I gave him a stupid look — huh? Then he continued, “To have made Golfdom the best magazine in the golf industry?”

Whether that was true or not, I was fortunate I didn’t have to compete against him. His writing was more insightful and intelligent than anything I ever wrote (But it could be said that insight and intelligence are two things that I just don’t go for.) Here’s a cheers to Ron Hall, a great man and a great writer who will be missed.

Me and my Father-in-Law, Alan, celebrating a Chiefs playoff win. Alan passed away last month, two weeks shy of his 79th birthday. (Photo: Seth Jones)

Me and my Father-in-Law, Alan, celebrating a Chiefs playoff win. Alan passed away last month, two weeks shy of his 79th birthday. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Cheers to Alan from McAllen

Recently, I was in my father-in-law’s closet. It turns out we wore the same size. Alan passed away last month. His widow, my wife’s stepmom, told me to take any of his clothes I was interested in.

Alan was a fellow Kansas University Jayhawk and Kansas City Chiefs fan. Lucky for me, he had good taste in clothes. While Alan was alive, he would have given me the shirt off his back. Now, in death, he has.

Alan lived in the Rio Grande Valley in McAllen, Texas. To give you an idea of how far South this is, we’d have to drive past the U.S./Mexico border wall to visit one of our favorite bars, The Riverside, which sits along the Rio Grande. Alan loved Texan and Mexican culture. He was fluent in Spanish and put it to good use, working for years as a private investigator.

Besides his work as a P.I., he also served in the Army and worked for the Peace Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture. He traveled to 30 different countries in his lifetime and Mexico extensively.

Alan was funny and a great storyteller with a quick wit. We found some of his letters from the 1970s. He wrote home, telling the family, “This town is so small, we don’t even have a town drunk — so we all take turns.”

Alan was buried in the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery. Motivated by a cancer scare, he filled out the paperwork for his plot ten years ago. He wrote his own message for his headstone: Life’s a journey without maps.

This tequila shot is to another great storyteller, my friend Alan from McAllen.

This article is tagged with , and posted in Columns, From the Magazine

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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