By Ken MacLeod
John Hron V received his notice that he had passed all hs requirements and was a full Class A member of the PGA of America last Friday.
The day became even more special shortly after, when he was offered to become the head professional at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville, where he has been an assistant professional since February of 2004.
Not a bad day for the 40-year-old Hron, who was hired by Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame professional Jerry Cozby and now replaces Aaron Speaker. Hron will be the sixth head professional in the 92-year history of the club with its excellent Perry Maxwell layout, three of them coming in the past 10 years.
“John will do an excellent job,” Cozby said. “This is a really good move by the club.”
“I’m honored,” Hron said. “This is a great club. Only six head professionals in 92 years says a lot about the community and the membership and I’m looking to expand on the history, the culture and the heritage of the club.”
Hron played collegiate golf for Scott Varner at Northeastern State University and then served as an assistant coach while earning his Masters. He has been at Hillcrest ever since, but his family has golf roots stretching back decades.
His great grandfather T.J. Cuzalina was one of the founders of the Cherokee Strip golf tournament at Ponca City Country Club and provided much of the early flavor with his friendship with Carl Cohen, who ran the Sands Casino in Las Vegas and was a regular participant.
Hron’s father John Hron IV was a Ponca City attorney who carried on the legend of the Cherokee Strip and was also a multiple time club champion with a plus handicap. He passed away last year but would be especially proud of his son today.
Hron has a relentlessly sunny disposition and posts a positive message most mornings on Facebook before heading to work. He has been around Hillcrest long enough that many of the juniors he taught are now full fledged members and businessmen and women. Expanding the junior program will be one of his early goals.
“We want to really get junior golf rolling again, get in the Junior PGA League and try to get all of our members playing a lot more and utilizing the club,” Hron said.
Hron credited Cozby with much of his training on how to become a first class club professional.
“Jerry had his vision of how he wanted the operation to run and wanted to make sure you were doing what he envisioned,” Hron said. “You might now have understood everything at the time but looking back you understand exactly why he did things. It was very good training.”