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The 19th Hole: Jim VanHerwynen

By |  January 4, 2019 0 Comments
Jim VanHerwynen (Photo: Abby Hart)

Photo: Abby Hart

Jim VanHerwynen

CGCS // South Hills G&CC, Fond du Lac, Wis.

Jim, what can I get you? Budweiser. I call it “The Diesel.” No unleaded for me.

Tell me about your family. I met my wife (Kimm) in the seventh grade. I asked her to every dance in middle school and high school and she said no every time. We were out of high school, and she finally said yes. That was in 1985, and we’ve been married since 1992. Mitchell is 20 and going to turf school at UW-Madison, Madelyn is 18 and going to UW-La Crosse for biomedical.

So, you and Kimm are empty nesters now! How did that go? It was a tough, emotional weekend… but I have adjusted very quickly.

Tell me about South Hills. It’s the only private country club in the city. The first nine was built in the 1920s by a couple farmers. It was called Takodah Country Club until the second nine was built in the late 1940s, then it became South Hills Golf and Country Club in 1951.

What teams do you root for? The Green Bay Packers and the Kimberly (Wis.) Papermakers. I went to Kimberly, in the Fox Valley. Back in the day, we were known for the paper industry. The football team won like 70 games in a row before losing to Fond du Lac this season by a field goal. Their mascot is a paper wasp.

Do you have any hobbies? I’m a train fanatic. I have a model railroad in my basement and I take photos and videos of real trains. It’s called “railfanning.” Every family vacation we go on, every GIS I go to, I take one day and go look at trains. My dad had a model train set, and I got my first set at age 10. I’ve been into it ever since.

I’ve never heard the name VanHerwynen before. Where is it from? My family is 100-percent Dutch, and 80 percent of my relations live in the Netherlands. Dad moved here as a 32 year old. My mother and her family got here on a boat through Ellis Island. Back in their homeland there’s a town, Herwijnen. The van means, “from there.” I’ve visited there twice.

Do you have any fun maintenance tricks you can tell me about? We’ve devised a drag hose made out of a 5/8ths hydraulic line with no oil in it. We hooked up mountain climbing clamps on both ends. It’s 120 feet long, hook it to two carts and it’s great for dragging dew or moving clippings. It’s not cheap — we just purchased our second one — but the first one lasted 15 to 18 years.

Tell me about your crew. I’ve got a great crew. We don’t have any trouble finding people to work here, I think it’s because we are lenient with our schedules. We tell people to take a vacation! That has worked tremendously for us.

As interviewed by Seth Jones, Nov. 20, 2018.

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