Golf has always had a place in Billy Dettlaff’s life. Born in 1950, he grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in a house that bordered an 18-hole, municipal course. Some of his earliest memories are of watching players walk that 5,600-yard layout from his backyard. He also learned early on that golf was what put food on his family’s table. His father, Hank, was the head professional and greenskeeper at the place they called, “the Muni.”
Dettlaff, now 70, was a young boy when he watched his parents at the kitchen table on Monday mornings, going over the receipts from pro shop sales the week before, separating the paper money by denominations and putting the coins in paper rolls before going to the bank together to make a deposit.
“After dinners during the summer, Dad always went back to work,” Dettlaff recalled. “He sold soda in his shop to golfers during the day, and they’d leave the empties on the ground in the small groves of pines that grew by the first and 10th tees. Dad would take my older brother, Peter, and me over to the course ...
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