Confessions of a golf family: PGA and Glenmoor golf pros share how they got game—for a lifetime
Jul 08, 2019 03:43PM
● By Jennifer J Johnson
The family that golfs together… keeps on golfing together? On the left, what the Utah Golfing Association once dubbed “the ultimate golf power couple” Joey and Darci (Dehlin) Olsen. Utah PGA Executive Director Devin Dehlin in the center and daughter and son Carly Dehlin and Connor Dehlin. (Photo/Devin Dehlin)
By Jennifer J. Johnson | [email protected]
Many remember the year 1976 as the year of the American Bicentennial.
But Devin Dehlin remembers it as the year his family discovered Glenmoor Golf Course, a move that would change the lives of his family for generations to come.
He and his dad, Pat “Sweets” Dehlin, spent a joyous part of a day playing nine holes on a quaint course, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, except a Parade of Homes community.
Golf before groceries
He and his father enjoyed such a spectacular day, that the following afternoon, his father brought his mother out to the site.
A “low-ball” offer was put in on one of the last two houses remaining in the Parade of Homes inventory. Remarkably, the offer was accepted, and the next thing Devin knew, he and his family were moving from Taylorsville to South Jordan.
Southwest valley was so underdeveloped at the time and the Glenmoor Golf Course location so remote that Devin recalls the family’s having to commute all the way to Redwood Road and 9000 South to go the grocery store.
“Glenmoor Golf Course is pretty near and dear to my family,” Devin said. (Even if the grocery store was not.)
His youngest sister, Darci (Olsen), said Glenmoor was a five-minute walk from their home. She recalls her brother’s being gifted with golf clubs one Christmas, and his and her father’s suiting up and playing the very next day.
‘It’s where we live’
As a teen, brother Devin started working in the Glenmoor Pro Shop. Then he played golf at the University of Utah.
When it came time to earn a living, golf was a given. Dehlin exhibited “county golf wanderlust,” working as a golf pro at numerous clubs before settling in at his long-term gig as executive director of the Utah Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA).
Sister Darci followed a somewhat similar route, in terms of playing golf for her alma mater Weber State, and vacillating between turning pro and committing to a career leveraging her triple-threat combination of sales-communications-merchandising.
Darci Olsen is the only female PGA head golf pro in Utah. To this day she lives proximate to Glenmoor.
“[Glenmoor is] a huge part of our history — it’s why we live where we live,” Olsen said. “It’s especially special to me, because it is where I learned.”
Carrying on the golfing torch
Those two words say a lot to those who understand the joy of the swish of a perfect swing and getting that little white ball to land in that little hole that somehow, at times, seems smaller than the ball.
Besides loving golf, the late Sweets Dehlin and wife Jeanne, loved names that begin with the letter D. Devin-Dana-Dustin-Darci went the enviable boy-girl-boy-girl lineup of children who shared their father’s golf lust. All of the children played junior golf. All played college golf. Now two of the four siblings are golf professionals and have golf as an omnipresent aspect of their lives.
And the golf generations continue with the Dehlins.
Devin said his daughter, Carly, did not engage with golf until she was a senior in high school. But then, she “got really good, really fast.”
When she decided to marry (another golfer), her father counseled her to “keep her last name — it does carry clout in Utah,” he said. “She kept the hyphen!” exuded the proud golf dad.
Utah golf families: ‘THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!
There are quite a few golf dads around.
And golf moms.
Devin estimates Utah has “about five to 10” prominent golf families.
Back in 1989, the “Los Angeles Times” ran a story with a San Diego dateline and a headline style vaguely reminiscent of prominence given to “WAR!” in newspaper headlines chronicling the outbreak of World War I.
Only this time, the exclamation point was reverent appreciation for a prominent Utah golf family.
“THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!: Utah’s Summerhays Families Put 11 Golfers in Tournament,” the headline read. “They are the Summerhays entourage, 11 golfers from two related families plus a supporting cast of five,” writer Jim Lindgren gushed.
The Summerhays family, from the Farmington area, today continues to be prominent in golfing headlines with Preston Summerhays, Lynn Summerhays’s grandson, holding a Utah State Amateur title and being “one of the best juniors in the country.”
The Branca family is another storied Utah golf clan.
The Salt Lake Country Club provided a lasting monument to the late H.T. “Tee” Branca, naming a bridge patterned after Augusta National’s famous 12th hole after the late PGA golf pro. Branca lived until age 92,
In 2015, when Ron Branca, Tee’s son, retired as head pro from the Salt Lake Country Club, Joe Watts of the Utah Golf Association (UGA) mourned “the end of the Branca era.” The father and son, combined, headed golf for the club more than 75 years. Ron Branca now works with Darci Olsen at Glenmoor. His brother, Don, is also a PGA professional, according to Devin Dehlin.
Glenmoor’s happily golf-obsessed Darci Olsen, who used to go by the name Darci Dehlin-Olsen, has now dropped the hyphenated part of her name, a loss of a powerful asset, according to brother Devin Dehlin.
You can take the hyphen out of the name, but not the golf out of the girl, who UGA writer Beaux Yenchik reports, as a pony-tailed bouncy blonde youth, drew a picture of herself playing golf for a career day at her elementary school.