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Giving back to golf: SDGA Hall of Fame inductee Merv Bouchie a lifelong promoter of the sport

Merv Bouchie was inducted into the South Dakota Golf Association Hall of Fame on Sept. 20 and is proud of each way he has given back to the game.

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Merv Bouchie headshot. (Courtesy photo)

Merv Bouchie, former head golf professional at Lakeview Golf Course, was inducted into the South Dakota Golf Association Hall of Fame on Sept. 20 in Sioux Falls.

Bouchie learned he was going into the SDGA Hall of Fame on June 19, a day after the Board of Directors voted. He started working on applying in November after he was nominated. He knows the process well, as he was a member of the SDGA Board of Directors from 2008 to 2020. He was also president of the SDGA for two terms.

During his time as president, Bouchie and the board changed an important bylaw that featured a new rotation of board members that allows younger people more opportunities to become a board member.

“During our time we made a lot of changes and brought some young people to the board,” Bouchie said. “Now we have a younger membership, along with some veterans. You need people of all walks of life and honestly in the golf business, I didn’t know much about bylaws and other things. We needed to have a nice blend and we did that.”

Despite this big change in the SDGA, Bouchie’s proudest moment on being inducted into the Hall of Fame was his family and friends that he met and still has alongside him to this day.

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“The thing you accumulate over these years is family and friends and that’s the legacy that I think I have,” Bouchie said. “You can’t have 50 years in the business without having a lot of good customers and a lot of good people. Family and friends is what I’ve accumulated and that’s what’s going to keep me going into the future.”

Right beside Bouchie for every step of the way was his beloved wife Barbara Jean Bouchie. Barbara and Merv got married on November 21, 1974. She died at the age of 87 in January 2019, but throughout Bouchie’s time as a manager and coach, she helped in every way possible.

“She was the best worker I had,” Bouchie said. “Had I not had Barb, I wouldn’t have gotten into the Hall of Fame, it’s just that simple. She was a great worker and she worked with me my entire career. You don’t stay in the business of any kind if you don’t have good employees. She was really good with people and knew how to handle situations.”

Bouchie began managing the Memorial Golf Course in Huron in 1971. Years later, he began managing Meadowbrook Golf Course (now Broadland Creek Golf Course) in Huron as well. Bouchie, along with help from wife and other family members, managed both of these golf courses for over 10 years.

Bouchie was responsible for running the pro shop, selling merchandise, food and beverage, supervised the maintenance of the golf course, and even gave lessons to young golfers.

Before managing two separate golf courses, Bouchie was attending Huron College, where he was first introduced to the sport. His close friend John Knox, a Onida native, introduced him to golf in September 1961. Bouchie was hooked, and golf has been a part of his life ever since. He graduated from Huron College in 1965 with a degree in physical education and teaching.

After his time in Huron, Bouchie moved to Mitchell to become the head golf professional at Mitchell’s Lakeview Golf Course in 1996.

He said moving to Mitchell provided him more opportunities and allowed him to be closer to some of his family.

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“Lakeview was an 18-hole golf course and at that time we didn’t have an 18-hole golf course in Huron,” Bouchie said. “There were more opportunities, more business, and a chance to do a lot of state events. It was really good because it was bigger, there were more tournaments, more exposure and just a better opportunity professionally for myself.”

In his 11 years at Lakeview, Bouchie taught local golfers and was even a coach at Mitchell High School. He wanted to instill in young athletes that the game is competitive, but provide them knowledge on the joy it can bring and the relationships it can create. Bouchie retired from Lakeview in 2007, but wanted to stay affiliated with golf and that’s when the SDGA Board of Directors opportunity came along.

Bouchie still plays golf in his spare time and still aides Mitchell golfers whenever he can. Bouchie's proud of his 50 year stint with the game of golf and is happy he’s done what he believes was most important, and that’s give back to the game.

“One of the most important things in golf I did in 50 years is that I taught a lot of people how to play and promote the game,” Bouchie said. “That’s my main thing and as a result of that, I ended up with family, friends and in the Hall of Fame.”

Related Topics: GOLF
Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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