Nebraska Golf Hall Of Fame
- Class of 1990
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- Class of 2016
Frank Rose is an actuary whose golf numbers add up to one of the most distinguished amateur careers in the Midlands.
Now living in Eden Prairie, Minn., Rose played competitively in Nebraska from 1966 to 1970 and from 1983 to 1994. In the Nebraska Amateur, he made the 36-hole cut in 16 of 17 tournaments and finished in the top 20 in each instance, with 13 top-10 finishes and two championships (1969 and 1986). He also was the runner-up in the Nebraska men’s match-play tournament in 1969, the only time he entered.
A three-year University of Nebraska letterman (1968 to 1970) from Fairbury, Rose won a record five Kansas Amateurs while living in Topeka from 1970 to 1982. He was in the finals a record seven times, including four consecutive years. He is in the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame.
Frank qualified for five U.S. Amateurs, reaching the third round of match play in 1975; five British Amateurs, reaching the fourth round of match play in 1981; and three U.S. Mid-Amateurs, reaching the third round of match play in 1985. He reached sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open fives times and played in 10 Trans-Mississippi Amateurs, four Sunnehanna Amateurs and one Porter Cup.
The Nebraska Golf Association’s amateur of the year in 1970, Rose has been a course evaluator for Golf Digest. In 1990 the Topeka Capitol-Journal newspaper selected him as one of the two best Topeka golfers of all time.
Gene Johnson has been at the center of Omaha public golf since 1972 as head golf professional at Johnny Goodman Golf Course. And until physical ailments curtailed his competitive, he was one of the state’s best professional golfers.
Fremont is a special place for Gene. He grew up in Fremont winning the Class A state title in 1958 in his senior year at Fremont. He was working for Hall of Famer AL Beister by age 14, returning later as an assistant pro, and also was head professional for almost two years at Valley View south of Fremont.
Johnson played college golf at the University of Nebraska before turning professional. He was accepted as a PGA member in 1962, the year he qualified for the PGA Championship. While in the military service, Gene twice was Fifth Army champion, beating the likes of Homero Blancas and eventual U.S. Open champion Orville Moody, and was in charge of the base course at Fort Riley, Kansas.
In 1965, he joined Bob Popp at Omaha Country Club as an associate pro and worked there until hired in 1972 to run Omaha’s new, 18-hole Applewood Golf Course (it recently was renamed for Goodman, the 1933 U.S. Open champion from Omaha).
Some of John’s “Alumni” include Tony Pesavento at Omaha Country Club, Kevin Chestnut at Westwood Heights in Omaha and PGA Life Member Kent Lyons, who continues to work at Goodman. They marvel over his understanding of the golf swing, his promotion of the game, his management of one of the state’s busiest facilities and his generosity.
Don Bridge was one of northeast Nebraska’s premier golfers for many years and a major contributor to the modern-day Nebraska Golf Association.
Bridge’s list of playing accomplishments include five victories at Norfolk Country Club’s Labor Day Amateur, one of the state’s top weekend tournaments, and a Nebraska State Seniors championship. He was twice runner-up in the Nebraska men’s match-play championship and had two top-five finishes at the Nebraska Amateur.
Bridge qualified three times for the U.S. Senior Amateur and was a two-time winner at the state’s Tournament of Champions. He had 17 holes in one during his long playing career.
A past president of the NGA and a board member for nine years. Bridge served from 1975 to 1980 on the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He also was an early mentor to Jim Ahern, who has a successful run on the Senior PGA Tour.
A native of Norfolk who graduated from Norfolk High School in 1940 and was an alumnus at the University of Nebraska, Don passed away in April of 2001.