The North Dakota Golf Association inducted Minot residents John (Jack) Hoeven Jr. and Wes Plummer into its Hall of Fame on Friday at Jamestown Country Club. Tim Lynch of Williston was also inducted.
Hoeven and Plummer, along with 2006 inductees Steve Kottsick and Rudy Zupetz, were co-founders of North Dakota's first United States Golf Association First Tee program - the Jack Hoeven Wee Links golf course in Minot, which opened in 2003. WeeLinks.org says Hoeven's "generous donation" made the course a reality.
"(The Wee Links golf course) is more than I could hope for," Hoeven said. "That inspiration came from Steve, Rudy and Wes. Those three pushed for it an then contacted me and I was, of course, happy to help."
Hoeven, 83, grew up in Aberdeen, S.D., and went to Dartmouth College before continuing his education at University of Montana Law School, as well as LaSalle School of Law. Moving to Minot really sparked his interest in golf, he said.
"I really didn't get started playing golf on a regular basis until I came to Minot in 1974, but I played nine-hole rounds with my wife (Raziye) before that," Hoeven said. "It become more serious once I came up here. I began playing 18 holes regularly and keeping handicaps."
His love affair with the sport compelled him to span the globe in search of famous courses. Hoeven has played every Open Championship course in Scotland and also the site of this weekend's PGA Championship, Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y.
Throughout his decades-long career in banking, Hoeven has held many prominent positions and received dozens of honors, but an induction into the NDGA Hall of Fame is as meaningful as any.
"I think it stacks up there real well because one of the things I enjoy most is playing and keeping involved with golf," Hoeven said. "Golf is one thing you can continue to play for years. Although I didn't take it up at a real young age, I did enjoy it and for many years had a decent game."
The 75-year-old Plummer has spent his fair share of time playing the links - he's drained 11 holes in one - but eventually became best known for his rules expertise, along with his instrumental role in founding the Wee Links course.
Plummer's extensive involvement with golf includes 25 years as a USGA rules official and stints as a rules official at both the NCAA Division I and III championships. He most treasures the relationships he's formed.
"I think it's the people I've met more than anything else," Plummer said. "I've met a lot of nice people through the sport."
An induction into the NDGA Hall of Fame is a "fulfillment of a lot of years of volunteering," he said, "and a lot of rules seminars."
Lynch, a graduate of Williston High School in 1971 and Gonzaga University in 1975, served the ND Western Charity Pro-Am board for approximately 26 years, helping raise more than $1.2 million for North Dakota charities.
"I have always promoted golf, and still do, in any way I can," Lynch said in a statement. "My contributions have been small in the great scheme of things, but I'm still proud of them in my own way."
Ryan Holmgren covers high school sports.
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