In 1942 at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Penn., Ed Posh learned the essentials of customer service at an early age. As a 13-year-old caddie, those lessons and a natural sense to help others served as the backbone of one of the more commendable careers in the Illinois PGA Section.
“I really enjoy being around people and was as good as anybody in handling all types of situations,” says Posh, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday. “Kill them with kindness. I enjoyed that.”
It was his older brother, Jim, also a caddie at Saucon, who first introduced him to the business. Ed spent six years caddying for members and their guests while learning how to take care of people and make sure his “customers” were happy. It wasn’t long after moving on from Saucon Valley that his talents were recognized and he was promoted to Caddie Master at Woodcrest Country Club in Haddonfield, NJ.
But his golf career took a detour in 1951 when he was drafted into the Army towards the end of the Korean War. He served two years in France and Germany mostly helping build emergency runways for military aircraft.
Following his return from the service, he landed back in eastern Pennsylvania and quickly picked up where he left off in the golf business. Posh worked again as a caddie master only this time at Brookside Country Club just west of Bethlehem. It was while there that he learned about winter jobs at Miami Shores Country Club where he met Bill Davis, the head pro there.
It was through Davis that Posh would find his way to the Midwest when he followed him to Orchard Ridge Country Club in Ft. Wayne, Ind. to be the Assistant Golf Professional. A few years later they both moved to St. Charles Country Club where Posh stayed until 1959 when he headed over to Glen Oak Country Club to serve as the assistant under Al Huske.
In 1967, the village of Glen Ellyn was finalizing the development of an 18-hole golf course and storm water retention system on the southern part of town. Posh was hired as its first Head Golf Professional. The course was opened to great fanfare that July and Posh built a legacy of an extensive lesson and tournament program that continues today.
Perhaps it was growing up in a family with six siblings or maybe it was being the father of 13 children that Posh gained the interest and ability to teach young people? Either way, he knew the key to developing a successful public golf course in the community rested on the ability to teach people to play and to begin teaching and getting them interested when they were young.
“I was a decent player and participated in several amateur tournaments when I was younger,” says Posh. “My game blossomed when I was in my 20s while playing a lot at Ft. Wayne and St. Charles but I always thought it was important to learn the fundamentals at a young age.”
As Village Links grew and expanded, Posh became the face of the facility welcoming all to learn and enjoy the game that he had come to love so much. Posh worked hard, often logging long days at the course and sometimes working seven days in a row to make sure everything went well with tournaments and lessons.
“Ed Posh is Village Links. He’s an unbelievable guy,” says Noel Allen, Director of Golf at the facility. “Everyone knows him and we think the way we do about our junior programs today because that’s what Ed did.”
In the early 70s, Posh hired some key people to help him build the lesson program with Doug Pinns, a top local player, and Alex Stupple, former head pro at Chicago Golf Club, joining the team. Pinns is still a fixture on the lesson tee today.
In addition to teaching thousands of junior players the game throughout his career, Posh is also known for his mentoring of talent. A long list of golf professionals, general managers and executives have come through the Village Links pipeline including Roger Warren, former Illinois PGA Section and PGA of America president and current president of Kiawah Island Golf Resort as well as John Hosteland, General Manager at Kemper Lakes Golf Club and David Glod, president and founder of Tour Edge.
Perhaps Posh’s greatest legacy is still fully unwritten as he recently hosted the 24th Ed Posh Shootout to raise funds for the Ed Posh Village Links Scholarship Fund, established upon his retirement in 1995. Many friends and colleagues served as the founding contributors to the fund that, to date, has helped send 98 students to college funding $856,000 in tuition. Next year marks the 25th year of the scholarship fund when it will eclipse 100 students served, a stat that Posh is clearly very proud of.
“I get more credit for it than I should,” he says modestly.
About the Senior Masters honor, “I don’t know about the masters part of it,” he says with a laugh. “But I do appreciate the selection very much.”