Friday, April 12, 2013

The late Danny Hearing and his impact on Eastern golf

  With the Masters drama building and the countdown to the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club’s East Course at 61 days (since today is April 13 and the Open tees off June 13, I think you can get away with saying it’s two months away), a nice little golf story out of Eastern University in Radnor Township.
   Dan Mouw, the sports information director at Eastern (and women ‘s soccer coach because sometimes at a small university you have to wear more than one hat), reported that the Danny Hearing Golf Facility was officially dedicated this week.
   The room in Gough Hall will serve as the year-round nerve center for the men’s and women’s golf programs at Eastern.
   The facility includes two hitting bays, a putting surface with surrounding turf for chipping and lockers at which team members can store their sticks and gear. The room will allow Eastern golfers to work on their games all year round. Considering winter lasted until last weekend around these parts, that’s no small thing.
   Each hitting bay is equipped with a Foresight GC2 Simulator, a sophisticated camera and computer system that gives players feedback on their swings. The simulator is able to evaluate ball spin, speed, and trajectory and is the type of technology you can find in the corporate and VIP fitting studios of major club manufacturers like Cobra/Puma, Cleveland Golf, Adams Golf and Fujikura as well as the research and developments labs of TaylorMade and Ping.
   Eastern freshman Ryan Torrison demonstrated the power of the simulators with several shots. When players are working in the hitting bays, other players can work on chipping and putting on the multi-tiered putting surface. The surface rolls at 10.5 on a Stimpmeter.
    Brad Fields, director of athletics at Eastern, also announced that nearby St. Davids Golf Club has agreed to be the official home course for Eastern golf. Finding a home course has been a priority for Fields since he arrived at Eastern. Dave Jones, the associate athletic director at Eastern, did a lot of the detail work in making the Danny Hearing Indoor Golf Facility a reality.
   Fields sees the room, which was funded entirely by private donations, as the kind of facility that can be a centerpiece for recruiting the kind of players who can take Eastern golf to the next level in the region and even nationally.
   Maybe the coolest part of the whole story is the facility’s namesake, Danny Hearing.
   Hearing was trained as an electrician, served in the U.S. Navy and spent his life in heavy industry and commercial plant operations. Not exactly a country-club guy.
   He and his wife Charlene had two sons and were youth sponsors and mentors to countless teens in their church.
   Hearing loved hunting, fishing and a day on the golf course with his children and grandchildren. When asked how a round of golf went, his reply always included the phrase “needs practice” because that meant it wouldn’t be long before he was back enjoying another day on the links.
   Hearing had no direct connection with Eastern, but one of his children does and decided it would be a worthwhile tribute to Hearing to provide funding  for a facility that would make a positive impact on the men and women who tee it up for the Eagles. After all, even a good golfer, “needs practice.”
   Hearing died in June 2011, but his sprit will live on in the Indoor Golf Facility at Eastern that bears his name. Which just shows you, you don’t have to be a pro or even a great golfer to give back to the game.

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