ALTON -- When Tom DeMond was inducted into the 12th annual Alton Golf Hall of Fame on Friday at Rock Spring Golf Course, his daughter, Camille DeMond, received his plaque.
The 24-year-old Camille has been a big inspiration to DeMond during his 45-year golfing career.
“Along with everything that Tom has done over the years because of his love of golf and everything he did in the game for 40 years, at the same time, Tom was raising a daughter on his own and I think that says an awful lot about him as a man,” said Amy Fischer, who is the wife of Alton Golf Hall of Fame chairman John Fischer.
DeMond is one of 81 inductees in the Alton Golf Hall of Fame, which honors men and women who played a major role in golf in the Alton area.
“When opportunity knocks, much like the game of golf, execution becomes everything,” said DeMond, who is also the vice chairman of the Alton Golf Hall of Fame committee. “If I were not extended the opportunities that were offered to me and were foolish enough to not take advantage of them, I probably would not be here tonight celebrating membership into the Alton Golf Hall of Fame. I would like to say thank you for the honor.”
Also inducted on Friday was Helen Fuchs Tovo. She served as a golf coach for the junior golfers at Lockhaven Country Club, assisted with the Golf for Youth program at Spencer T. Olin Community Golf Course, was secretary of the Couples Golf League at Rolling Hills Golf Club and played in several leagues at Rolling Hills, Lockhaven and Rock Spring golf courses. She also shot a hole-in-one in the par-3, 6th hole at Rolling Hills at age 79 on Sept. 25, 2003.
Fuchs Tovo died on Oct. 29, 2012 at age 88. Her son, Greg, accepted the Hall of Fame award on her behalf.
“My mother was somebody who loved people and loved playing golf,” Greg said. “She probably did it for 50 years. She was active in the junior golf program at Lockhaven for six or seven years. Me and my sister were growing up playing it at the age of seven. Then, she became active with our grandkids taking them to Rolling Hills and staying with them while they participated whether it would be walking with them or any way she could help out. At Spencer T. Olin, she did the same thing. She helped out with all of the junior golf programs there, also.”
A total of 33 golfers who won the Gold Medal Tournament also were inducted. They were Carl Coburn, Bob Mitchell, Ken Kriekemeier, Bill Mathews, Larry Suhre, Don Dupske, Jack Heath, Bob Nieberding, Gary Strickfaden, Terry Tessary, Tim Wickenhauser, John Hand, Jr., John Honchack, Vince Siemer, Terry Martin, Chuck Stratton, Cliff Mills, Mark Gaither, Don Schroeder, Brad Dixon, Todd Cress, Craig Hardcastle, Terry Angleton, Jay Lavick, Rob Reidelberger, Kevin Kuddes, Tyler Dunn, Jim Odle, Kyle Williams, Shane Smith, Kevin Pinkas, Kyle Hogan and Jonathan Braswell.
“We have changed our parameters this year and we have taken in past champions that were not recognized beforehand,” John Fischer said.
DeMond has been involved in golf since 1971, when he started playing it at Country Fairways Golf Course, which is now Rolling Hills.
“In the 1960s, television started broadcasting major tournament in the PGA Tour,” DeMond said. “I used to watch those. As time marched on, I had some old used clubs and I would go out in these fields and practice hitting the ball and practice long enough to where I was confident enough to go out and play. So I had the courage enough to go out to Country Fairways with a regular set of clubs and start playing some golf.”
DeMond joined a Tuesday evening golf league called the Registered Golf Association. In July 1973, he captured an RGA tournament title at Country Fairways after winning an eighteen-hole playoff.
In the 1990s, DeMond was a member of numerous golf leagues in the area such as Catdaddies, Eagles Senior Mens, Owls Club, Bagdraggers and American Legion Post 126. In 2003, the 50th Anniversary Gold Medal Committee was formed, and DeMond designed a plaque recognizing and commemorating all of the members of the committee. He also designed the Gold Medal Trophy and the Gold Medal logo.
DeMond said he still enjoys playing golf after 45 years.
“I’m an avid passionate golfer,” DeMond said. “What makes me happy about golf is seeing other people have fun. That’s one of the things I enjoy about the game.”
One of DeMond’s best moments of his long golfing career was taking Camille to Rock Spring when she was little.
“One of the rules in this public course is when you’re under 7 years old, you cannot go out on the golf course,” DeMond said. “You can’t ride on the cart and you’re not allowed on the course. So what we used to do is I would get one of the Smokey Joe kettles with charcoal, the lighter and the cooler and take her with me and we would come up here. She would bring her own set of clubs and we would go to a picnic table and set the Smokey Joe and we would practice chipping and putting. Then I would fire that grill up and we would reach in there and grill hamburgers with potato chips and pickles. We would come (in the clubhouse) and get a soda. We did that all of the time.
“Finally, the day came where I would be allowed to take her out on the course to play. So she would go out with me on the cart and we were able to play golf that way. There were other women who would babysit her on nights that I played in the league. So she was provided for and taken care of while I had a chance to disappear for a few hours to play some golf.”
Amy Fischer said DeMond has played a huge part in the Alton area golf community.
“Not only he always gets the job done, but he always got it done right,” she said.