By Katelynn Christensen
Patrick Vogelpohl, PUC’s newest professor of communication, did not inherit his family’s natural athletic ability. Fortunately, he has managed to make do with the talents he has and find his true athletic calling—a rule-bending approach to golf that makes him a fun golf partner.
The road to self-discovery was rough for Patrick. It started with T-ball, which went fairly well. The transition from T-ball to baseball, however, was difficult. He recalls, “I was good at T-ball because the ball stayed still. Once balls were being thrown at me, fight or flight kicked in—and I flew.” Patrick’s little league season one batting average was far from impressive; he only managed one hit. Season two was not much better.According to Patrick, “I got one hit with fewer at bats [than the past season], because I was just so bad at hitting.” When he and his father realized that baseball was not going to work, they took the next, most logical step: they attempted golf.
The pair made the Chimney Rock Golf Course (now Chimney Rock Winery) the destination of their first golf trip. It was on this adventure that Patrick learned the heart of the game. He recalls, “[My father] taught me that when you’re with family, and if you’re not a really good athlete, score is not important. You just go out and have fun and that’s how you get your money’s worth; it’s not the fact that you came in so many shots over or under par.” The concept of an emphasis on fun has shaped Patrick’s philosophical approach to golf, and athleticism in general.
Patrick upholds accuracy, truth and morality as forefront values in the classroom, relationships and life. The golf course, on the other hand, is his escape from reality—a place where he relaxes with friends and is as brilliant a golfer as he wants to be. Patrick explains, “I went from being awful to relatively decent in a short time and have sort of stayed there since I was 14.” He reasons, “I’m never going pro, so what’s the actual point of keeping a legitimate score? There is none.” Instead, he focuses on having a good time.
Twenty years of golfing have given Patrick many great memories—his best shot, for example. On a par three hole, he hit the ball to within one foot of the hole on his first swing. He says, “I’ve never hit a hole-in-one … and I have yet to hit a better shot than that.”
Casey Van Veen has been a close friend of Patrick’s since kindergarten; they now make time to play a round of golf together at least once a month. Casey made fun of Patrick’s involvement with the golf team in high school, but has since learned the value of golf in the business world and the value of a friend like “Pat” on the course. He says, “He’s just great to play with—carefree,” and is impressed by Patrick’s ability to put others at ease with jokes, which allows them to play well.
Patrick looks forward to the day he can bring his son, Charlie, currently 10-months old, onto the course. He says, “It would be neat to play with him someday.” Patrick believes “there is an amazing chance that Charlie will surpass my level of skill by age seven with little help.” Patrick still has hopes for improving his own game, though.
Patrick’s current favorite golfer is Ernie Els, known as “The Big Easy” because of his easy swing. Patrick admires how he “always seems to be having a good time” when playing and hopes to one day develop a similarly relaxed and effective swing. That should compliment his relaxed game face nicely.
Patrick maintains that the experience of playing golf with him is unlike any other golf experience a person can have. He says, “You’ll have a good [conversation]—or not, if you don’t want to; if you just want to play, that’s fine. I’ll also support your need to re-hit a ball. I’ll support your need to count or not count a putt.” He likes to “keep it classy” and will likely buy lunch for whomever he plays with.
He’s good enough to keep the game going, but not so good he’ll make you feel bad. He brings jokes and conversation that put you at ease. He looks the other way while you creatively enhance your score. And he picks up lunch. Patrick Vogelpohl may in fact be the best golf partner in the world!
Mei Ann Teo is creating the first documentary theatre program in China, hosted by IFCHINA, a documentary participatory center in the city of Ji'An. Other participants include local opera performers, teachers and students from around the region.
Graf Hall Offices
With all the renovations going on around campus, it can be a little tricky to keep track of the changes. Please be aware: major shifts have occurred in the administrative departments in Graf Hall. The front entrance next to the Graf lobby door is now the main entrance for Public Relations and Enrollment. The Records office and entrance has been moved to the north end of the building, facing Irwin Hall. The rear entrance to Enrollment next to the KNDL offices is no longer open to the public, and is reserved for service use only.
Last month library director Adu Worku was the keynote speaker at Ethiopian Heritage Camp, held July 29 through August 1 in Scott’s Valley, Calif. The camp is a project of African Cradle, Inc., an organization devoted to supporting adopted children from Africa and their American families. Adu addressed the audience of 300 American adoptive parents on the topic of education. This is Adu’s third consecutive year of involvement with the camp.
The St. Helena Community Band has named Asher Raboy as its new director. Asher has also served as the conductor of the Napa Valley Symphony. Founded in 2007 by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, the St. Helena Community Band invites all local musicians to join. Band rehearsals begin Sunday, September 12 at 6 p.m. in the St. Helena High School band room. Asher will direct his debut performance with the band at the Hometown Harvest Festival Saturday, October 16 at 12 p.m.
This year eight new professors have joined the faculty at PUC. Four of them have taught here as adjuncts (*) and are now moving to full-time positions with the college. One of them is profiled above (^). Please take a moment to read their upcoming profiles on their department homepages, Google their names, look them up on Facebook, or—as an absolute last resort—say hi to them in person. Bonnie Jean Baer—Nursing Beverly Glover—Nursing Levi Gore*—Emergency Services/Nursing Georgina Hill*—English Young-Chun Kim—Religion JoEllen Lee*—Social Work Doris Morgan—Nursing Patrick Vogelpohl*^—Communication
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