The mentors of a mentor

By |  June 15, 2016 0 Comments

golfdom3033_webThe USGA’s Executive Director Mike Davis comes through the little borough of Oakmont, Pa., so often he might as well have his own room named and reserved for him in the clubhouse. Usually he is coming to see Oakmont Country Club’s Superintendent John Zimmers.

Since he took over the golf course in 1999, Zimmers has hosted the 2003 U.S. Amateur, and watched Angel Cabrera and Paula Creamer hoist the 2007 U.S. Open and 2010 U.S. Women’s U.S. Open trophies, respectively.

So who does the man that is about to host his fourth USGA event turn to for advice?

“Well I think the biggest mentor I had coming up was Paul Latshaw,” says Zimmers. “That’s whom I started working for. I worked under him at Wilmington (Del.) CC and Congressional CC. So he’s probably had the biggest influence on me.”


On Sunday, Zimmers surprised everyone with WWE style championship belts for his mentor Paul Latshaw and another legendary superintendent Dick Bator. Latshaw is unable to attend the championship with a back issue.

Latshaw is unable to attend the championship this week because of an issue with his back. If he can’t get in touch with the former Augusta National and Winged Foot Golf Club superintendent Zimmers doesn’t have to go much farther in his cellphone’s contacts to get to his next mentor.

“Second to that is probably more of my closest friends and that’s his son, Paul B. (Latshaw),” says Zimmers. “I still talk to him pretty much weekly.”

It’s the eve of the 2016 U.S. Open, the course is ready and the challenge is set for the 156 participants. When asked who he is most excited to see play the course Zimmers picked one of the players tied for first place going into the final day of the 2015 U.S. Open, and then he gave the diplomatic answer.

“I hope at this point that Jason Day is in it and competitive. He seems to be close to the top for the last couple years at the majors and not just been hot,” says Zimmers. “At the end of the day you kind of hope it’s just a good leaderboard and a good championship. Right now the USGA seems to be very pleased and our membership seems pleased as well, and that’s all that matters.”

Photos: Golfdom

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