November 19, 2017
|David Haugan - Golfer And Bowler|
By R.J. SmileyDefinition "Athlete": A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.
In athletics there a lot of flash-in-the-pan players who achieve brief success then disappear never to be heard of again. Today, as the age of 80 is only two more trips around the third rock from the sun, David Haugan and his twin brother, Dennis, continue to prove they are athletes.
My friend, who will turn 78 in November, finished 1st in the 2017 MGA Senior Amateur Championship, Grand Masters Division. Since David turned 75, the qualifying age for Grand Master status, he has finished 1st, 2nd and 1st in the State Championship. In the 2015 Championship at Deacon's Lodge at Breezy Point, David and Dennis pulled off the twin brother coup finishing 1st and 2nd.
Earlier in their adult lives David and Dennis Haugan proved that they were athletes in the smoke filled bowling alleys around the Twin Cities. For over 50 years David carried a bowling average over 220 while Dennis remained close behind with an average in the high teens. In the past few years their averages have slipped a bit, but both still carry an average of well over 200. David has had seven perfect games of 300, but he is even more proud of the fact that he has eight 800 series. (800 series: average 267 for a 3 game series) David says, "you have to be on to roll an 800!"
The twins, who love competition, took up golf late in life at age 53. These self taught golfers have never looked back. They are regulars at Hiawatha Golf Course near their homes where they refining their natural skills. These twins, who are always dressed alike, red golf shirts and kaki shorts, are blessed with supernatural hand-eye coordination. I am sure that they could shoot pool, throw darts or shoot skeet with the best. Utilizing a combination of natural strength, enhanced by years of hard work as carpenters, exceptional coordination and eyesight, the Haugan Twins have excelled in both bowling and golf.
On most days David is a few pins better on the lanes and a stroke or two better on the links than Dennis. But Dennis, who has won his share, is just as competitive as David.
At the recent MGA Senior Amateur Championship at Island View Golf Club in Waconia, David won the Grand Masters Division with rounds of 77, 78 edging Mike Howell of Fargo by one shot. (Guess who tied for third? - That's right, Dennis)
David Haugan is a great putter! For most golfers putting is the most difficult aspect of the game. Not so for David, he just grabs the putter and putts the ball into the hole. Sometimes he grabs his putter with all 10-finger; sometimes with a left hand low; sometimes with a conventional grip. The result is always the same, the ball goes into the hole with the right speed. When asked how he chooses which grip to use? He answers, "I don't even know how I grip it." Neither of the Haugan twins ever look over a second putt. They saw the line as the ball rolled past the hole. They just walk up and putt it into the hole.
Choke is not a part of their game, bowling or golf. Soft hands are another aspect of their success in golf and bowling. There is absolutely no tension in their hands as they stroke a golf ball or roll the bowling ball.
As impressive as David's MGA Championship record is his record of success on the MGA Sr Tour and the MPGA (Minnesota Public Golf Association) is even more impressive.
Proof of his "no-choke stroke" was obvious when David whipped this writer down the stretch at the recent MGA Sr Tour Championship. In the Super Senior Division David had 7 one putt greens in the last 9 holes. The 7 one putt greens included a 25 footer and a 12 footer for birdies along with two 10 footers and an 8 footer for pars.
From their peak as golfers (where ever that was) it does seem that as time passes the skills of these two twin brothers has deteriorated slightly. But, much slower than most players.This tribute to David Haugan (and Dennis) is written to draw the attention of Geriatric Physicians who need to study these two men to learn the secrets of long life athletic success.
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