May 12, 2012
Affable Twin Ports golf pro dies at 59
By Kevin Pates
A stellar athlete who became one of the better-known
golf figures in Northeastern Minnesota was remembered Friday for
the compassion and dignity displayed in 20 years as a golf course
Steve Anderson of Duluth died Friday afternoon
at St. Luke’s hospital after suffering a stroke Tuesday at
home. He was 59.
Anderson had been a golf course manager and teaching
professional at Cloquet Country Club, Lakeview National Golf Course
in Two Harbors and Duluth’s Enger Park Golf Course before
spending the past three years at Duluth’s Ridgeview Country
He was a three-sport letter winner at Duluth Denfeld
High School in the Class of 1971, playing football, hockey and baseball,
and was an NAIA hockey All-American at Wisconsin-Superior as a senior
captain in 1975-76.
“Steve treated everyone like royalty, a
great people person, who made you feel comfortable,” said
Nemadji Golf Course professional Mark Carlson, a high school classmate.
“He was a great host, a great teacher of the game and loved
taking care of people.
“He was one of the most talented athletes
I’ve known, one of the top multisport athletes to come out
of Denfeld. In hockey, no one hit harder. He was tough.”
The affable Anderson was noted for his gentlemanly
demeanor in working with club members and employees, and for his
promotion of youth golf leagues.
Brother-in-law Mike Hill of Duluth likened him
to the late Henry Jensen, a longtime manager and professional at
Enger Park Golf Course.
“One of Steve’s mottos was that life
is about the journey, and he’ll be remembered by so many people
that he touched on his journey,” said Hill. “He was
respected and loved, and epitomized what it means to be good at
your job and humble at the same time.”
As a Denfeld senior in 1970-71, he was an All-Lake
Superior Conference football halfback, scored 15 goals as a hockey
left winger and hit over .400 in baseball as a shortstop and pitcher.
He played three hockey seasons for UWS, recording 78 points in 58
games, culminating in a 4-3 win over Bemidji State in the 1976 NAIA
title game at Wessman Arena. He led the Wisconsin Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference in hitting during the 1975 and 1976 baseball
seasons, and was named the school’s outstanding athlete in
1976. He was captain of the hockey, baseball and golf teams.
Anderson coached the UWS hockey team the next
season, in 1976-77, and was inducted into the UWS Athletic Hall
of Fame in 2004. He had other hockey coaching stops including Superior
High School and Duluth Marshall, and Minnesota Duluth, as an assistant.
“Steve’s nickname was ‘The Rock’
and it fit him,” said Gary Fritch, a senior at Duluth Central
in 1972, and a hockey teammate of Anderson at UWS. “He was
an incredible athlete; a natural-born leader. I think he was a captain
on every team he played and that alone speaks volumes.”
Anderson had a brief stint as a UMD assistant,
under coach Gus Hendrickson, in 1980-81. Mike Sertich, also an assistant
at the time, said he especially remembers Anderson for two things.
“He had an effervescent smile and a tremendously
strong handshake,” said Sertich, now retired. “As an
athlete he personified intensity and as a coach he had a way of
making the players feel special.”
Anderson became a golf professional in 1993 and
spent nearly 10 years at Cloquet Country Club before moving on to
other courses. This was the first year he was listed as general
manager and golf director at Ridgeview Country Club, taking charge
of golf and social management, while his son, Aaron, has become
golf pro and superintendent.
“Steve would light up a room wherever he
was. He had that kind of wonderful personality,” said Jud
Crist of Duluth, the superintendent and manager at Enger Park and
Lester Park Golf Course, and worked for Anderson in Cloquet and
at Enger Park. “He was so generous with his time and especially
looked out for the future of the game. He really enjoyed helping
the younger players.”
A note of Anderson’s passing was posted
on the Ridgeview Country website Friday:
“No one has made a more positive impact
on Ridgeview Country Club and the many people he touched. Please
keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Anderson is survived by his wife of 36 years,
Nancy, and daughters, Jennifer and Julie, and son, Aaron, and brother,
Rick Miller. Services are pending.