OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State golf program was well represented in the inaugural class of the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame, which held its reception Sunday night at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Two-time All-American Bob Dickson and eight-time national championship coach and current OSU athletics director Mike Holder highlighted the six-member class inducted into the newly created Hall of Fame that will merge with the Oklahoma Women’s Golf Hall of Fame.
“I look at it as an honor not for Mike Holder, but for Oklahoma State University golf,” Holder said. “... It’s a big deal being a part of the inaugural class, but I don’t know if I really belong in it. I know I don’t as a player, but as I said, it’s not me as a golfer, it’s about our golf program.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be around a lot of great players. Unfortunately, that didn’t rub off on me. I wish I were here based on my merit as a player.”
“Not only did he continue on what Coach Harris created, he grew it. He was very responsible for growing it,” said Dickson, who played at Oklahoma State after winning three straight Class 2A state championships for Muskogee’s Central High School and just years before Holder got there. “... Mike Holder definitely deserves being in this class because he’s done a lot, not only for Oklahoma State University golf, but he has done a lot for golf in general. And I’m just proud as punch of him.”
Holder originally grew up in west Texas, where football was king. He said he was “a chubby, little fat kid playing offensive line” until he lost some weight one fall in football and was told he had to play a spring sport in order to play football the following year.
“My dad had a set of golf clubs and he let me borrow them and went out and tried out for the golf team,” Holder said. “And my life has never been the same since that day. I owe everything that I’ve got to golf.”
Holder did have some individual highlights as a golfer – earning conference medalist at Ardmore High School in 1966, winning the Oklahoma Amateur Championship in 1968 and winning the Big Eight Conference medalist honors at Oklahoma State in 1970.
But it’s what he did after his playing career that earned him his spot in the first class.
Holder took over Oklahoma State’s golf program from Labron Harris Sr. in 1973 and coached the Cowboys to eight national titles and 24 conference crowns. He coached 101 All-Americans, 20 conference medalists and five individual national champions with every squad in his 32-year coaching career making it to the NCAA Championship and making the cut.
Holder said Dickson was a golfer he looked up to – literally and figuratively – as a junior golfer in Oklahoma.
“When I was a junior golfer, he was so tall that I couldn’t see him up there. He was a great player,” Holder said. “I couldn’t believe that somebody could do the things that he did. So when I got to Stillwater, that was a pretty big deal just to be a part of the program.”
It’s understandable that Dickson was held in such a high regard in Oklahoma. He earned All-American honors at Oklahoma State in 1965 and 1966 and won back-to-back Oklahoma State Amateurs in 1965-66, as well as the Oklahoma Open in 1966 and 1971.
In 1968 he won the Bob Jones Award – highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf – a reward he said he didn’t quite understand the significance of until his later years.
“I didn’t think a lot of it at the time. I just didn’t really appreciate it as much then as down the road,” said Dickson, who won three events on the senior tour. “That’s a very high honor for me.”