Golf course crew member still going strong at 90

Mowing fairways on a small-town Iowa course is “kind of like heaven” for Kenny Hartsock.


Filed to: Iowa

Kenny Hartsock
Kenny Hartsock on the job at Spring Hills Country Club. Photo courtesy of Tony Hartsock

The Hartsock family has been making an impact at Spring Hills Country Club in Mallard, Iowa, for 42 years.

Thirty-two-year GCSAA retired member Tony Hartsock was on the crew at the nine-hole course in 1976 and on and off for several more years. Now, his uncle, Kenny Hartsock, is carrying on the family’s ties there.

What makes Kenny’s presence so interesting is his age: He’s 90.

“I’ve been here 24 or 25 years,” says Kenny, who has been a farmer for nearly four decades and mows greens and fairways at Spring Hills. “I had a bad back, but I can get on that fairway mower, and it’s kind of like heaven.”

Mallard, located in northwest Iowa, has a population of approximately 300 and features an amusing sign as you drive into town: “Welcome to Mallard. We’re friendly ducks.”

Tony, who was the superintendent at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., when it hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2010 and the Solheim Cup in 2013, is one proud nephew.

“Uncle Kenny is an absolute angel. He’d do anything for anybody,” says Tony, who earned his turfgrass degree at Iowa State University and nearly made the men’s basketball team there as a walk-on guard.

Time spent at Spring Hills is therapeutic for Kenny, whose wife, Jean, passed away in July. “We were one month short of our 70th anniversary,” he says.

Although Kenny has informed Spring Hills that this will be his last year there, he doesn’t exactly sound convincing. “It depends how I feel come March 1,” he says.

Howard Richman is GCM’s associate editor.

Filed to: Iowa

You may also like: Family ties at Wausaukee Club