Check out what has been happening in Utah Golf.
When Tommy Sorensen graduated from Olympus High School in 1958 he went job hunting to earn enough to go to college. He found a job on the maintenance crew at Nibley Park and it changed his life. He never went back to school and Salt Lake City became his lifetime employer. It was a win-win relationship.
After two years on the maintenance crew he shifted to the golf side and became a starter under head pro Alex McCafferty. In 1964 he joined the Rocky Mountain Section of the PGA and became the assistant pro. Four years later, at the young age of 26, he became the head professional at Nibley.
In 1974 the greens died at Mountain Dell and Mayor Conrad Harrison asked Tom to rescue the course, who in turn asked Mark Ruff, his superintendent at Nibley, to join him. The duo and their crews turned the course into a very successful operation for Salt Lake City and in very short order the revenues doubled. The successful turnaround was one of Sorensen's memorable achievements.
Another big challenge came in 1988 when Salt Lake City decided to expand the course to 36 holes and included a new watering system and a special water line to supply a cross country skiing course in preparation for the Olympics. The construction impacted the existing course significantly but the Mountain Dell crew managed that difficult transition time very well.
During those years Sorensen emphasized the importance of women's golf and the Mountain Dell Women's Association became the most active club in the state with more members than could be accommodated at the course at one time.
He was president of the Utah Chapter of the Rocky Mountain PGA in 1973 and in 2001 was awarded the prestigious Gentleman Jeff Award by the Utah Section of the PGA.
Six of his assistant professionals went on to be head professionals, Dave Edmunds, Phil Todd, Jeff Waters, Craig Mackay, Clark Garso, and Mike Brimley. Former employees who also made major achievements have been Eric Hogg, winner of the Utah Open and the Utah State Am, and Mike Malaska, winner of the Utah Open and last year was awarded PGA of America Teaching Professional of the Year.
He was more often than not the first person at the course each morning and the last one to leave at night. He was dedicated to his job. Everyone, the Mountain Dell golfers, both men and women, and the Mountain Dell staff, loved the man and he loved them in return. He is a man who clearly meets the parameters of the UGA Gold Club Award.
Tommy never knew his dad. His mother died when he was two and he was raised by his grandparents, Thomas and Myrtle Arbuckle. His grandfather worked for American Smelter which eventually became Kennecott.
He married LeAnn Curtis in 1968 and they have two children, Christian, and Heidi Stoddard.