Goodbye to a Friend
I report with heavy heart that Andy Soden, a longtime member of the NW golf community, passed away recently after battling health issues for the past several years
During his distinguished career, Andy served as course superintendent or golf supervisor for various golf courses and municipalities throughout Western Washington - He also played a key role in developing the First Tee program of Seattle
I knew Andy personally although we rarely spoke – In 2006 while I was working as an assistant at Eaglemont GC, I and the Eaglemont course superintendent competed in the John Deere World Golf Tournament qualifying event at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum – We were lucky enough to win while Andy and the superintendent from West Seattle GC finished second – Consequently the four of us, along with the local John Deere rep, won a trip to the Reynolds Plantation Resort in Georgia to represent Washington state in the World Tournament - It was on that day in Cle Elum when I met Andy
On the tee in Georgia
I spent the next week in Georgia with Andy and he and I hit it off right away – To put it simply, Webster would not need a description of the term “life of the party" they’d only need a photo of Andy – The man knew how to have fun and, near as I could tell, rarely missed an opportunity to do so!
In closing I’ll share my favorite memory of our trip – It was the morning of the first day of the tournament and we had a shotgun start at 8:00 AM – As we were getting breakfast in the hotel around 6:30, Andy came to the table and asked the four of us if we were ready to play – We all nodded as he reached in his pocket and pulled out a bottle of Vodka – “Bulls#%t” he said – Add this to your orange juice and we’ll have a fighting chance!
We followed orders and made our way to the course – We pulled up to the driving range, which was packed as you might expect, and all began hitting balls – Andy hit a dozen shots or so, and then wandered over to our cart – There must have been 100 guys on the range all with heads down and focused on getting ready to play – Andy, with morning cocktail in hand, stood up on the bumper of the golf cart and shouted everyone to be quiet – As the range went silent Andy yelled out; “The test starts in 10-minutes people, panic swings right now are WAY TOO LATE”! – He raised his glass and the entire range burst into laughter
Maybe the best golf-related moment I’ve ever experienced
I spent just a week with Andy, but will never forget him – R.I.P. my friend - You were a unique soul indeed…