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Ron Kern at Purgatory Golf Club - Hole #17

Interview With Ron Kern President Golf Design Group, Inc.

A Light Hearted Golf Q & A Interview

By Brian Weis

Below is an interview with Ron Kern, the President at Golf Design Group, Inc.. The following are a few traditional and non traditional golf centric questions that I love to ask influential people in the golf industry.

Can you provide our readers a brief biography?
I have played the game of golf since age 4, excelled on high school and college golf teams and still enjoy playing the greatest game on a regular basis.

I entered the profession of golf course architecture in 1986. Essentially, I am a third generation golf course architect as I grew up watching Bill Diddel and my father, Gary, develop and construct golf courses.

I am a student of classic golf course architecture. I believe in the spirit of the design philosophies of the golden age golf course architects. My major influences are Donald Ross, James Braid, George Thomas, Dr. Alister Mackenzie, A.W. Tillinghast, Bill Diddel and my father.

When did you start golfing and who introduced you to the game?
My father cut down a three wood, five iron and a putter and started taking me out to the practice range and golf course when I was four years old. He would have me hit the ball and then run to hit it again, and again. Maybe that's why I have a disdain for slow play! My father had me regularly take lessons from a very early age, and I continued that until I quit playing in competitions. I remember very well that the first lessons were on etiquette and how to conduct myself on the golf course rather than hitting the ball.

What is your current home course?
Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville, Indiana

To date, what is your proudest golf accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is the body of work that my father and I have built. Both of us design golf courses that are challenging, yet playable for golfers of all skill levels. Playing the greatest game is experience of a lifetime, and to have a legacy of providing golf courses that players enjoy with their friends and family is both satisfying and humbling.

What is your biggest golf pet peeve on or off the course?
Slow play and unrepaired ball marks.

What is your favorite club in your bag and why?
My 6 iron. This is the club my long time teacher, Tommy Vaughn, always had me pull out for a ball striking lesson. Every time I see that club I think of Tommy and all of his great lessons. Thanks to him, I still have a reliable golf swing.

What is your favorite golf destination?

What course is on your bucket list that you have not played yet?
Augusta National. I'd love to experience the putting surfaces.

If you woke up tomorrow and could play one course you played before, where would you play?
Well, I'd have to time travel, but it would definitely be Woodland Country Club, in its original incarnation. This was Bill Diddel's home course and he lived in a log cabin on the golf course. I remember playing Woodland with my father and Bill around 1977, and while on number 11, a par five that I nearly reached in two, they were discussing how they could attempt to defend a golf course against the long hitters of that day and in the future.

If you could change one aspect, rule or thing about golf, what would it be and why?
My apologies, but there are three: the stroke and distance penalty, super fast putting surfaces and the length of the golf ball.

Dream foursome (living)?
My father, Dwight Ladd, Don Padgett II and me.

Dream foursome (living or dead)?
Bill Diddel, Donald Ross, Old Tom Morris and me.

18 Rapid Fire, Off The Cuff Questions

1) Hitting Long Drive OR Sinking Long Putt?
Long putt

2) Having Round of Life OR Hole in One?
Round of my life

3) Golfing at the crack of dawn OR twilight?

4) Hit a power fade OR power draw?
Power fade. It won't roll into as much trouble.

5) Beverage cart OR halfway house?
Halfway house

6) Bathroom OR bushes?

7) Hot dog OR wrap?
Hot dog

8) Around the green, being in sand OR thick rough?

9) Walking OR riding?
These days, riding.

10) Do you carry traditional 3 iron OR hybrid?
3 iron, and I still use my 2 iron. BTW, what's a hybrid? ; )

11) Do you prefer long par 3 OR long par 5?
A long par three - it's a great test of nerve and ball striking, and besides, you get a perfect lie for the shot. What more could you want?

12) Pants OR Shorts?

13) Palmer OR Nicklaus?

14) Beatles OR Elvis?
Elvis, pre-jump suit

15) Play for fun OR play for money?
Fun and maybe a buck or two skin game. Winner buys drinks, though.

16) Bump and run OR flop shot?
Depends upon what is between the hole and me.

17) Lay up OR gamble?
Gamble, but try not to short-side myself.

18) 18 holes OR 36?

Revised: 10/23/2014 - Article Viewed 34,993 Times - View Course Profile

About: Brian Weis

Brian Weis Brian Weis is the Publisher of, a network of golf travel and directory sites including,,,, etc. Professionally, Brian is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), International Network of Golf (ING), Golf Travel Writers of America (GTWA), International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) and The Society of Hickory Golfers (SoHG). In 2016, Brian won The Shaheen Cup, an award given to a golf travel writer by his peers.

All of his life, Brian has been around the game of golf. As a youngster, Brian competed at all levels in junior and high school golf. Brian had a zero chance for a college golf scholarship, so he worked on the grounds crew at West Bend Country Club to pay for his University of Wisconsin education. In his adult years, his passion for the game collided with his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2004 launched In 2007, the idea for a network of local golf directory sites formed and was born. Today, the network consists of a site in all 50 states supported by national sites like, and It is an understatement to say, Brian is passionate about promoting golf and golf travel on a local, regional, national and international level.

On the golf course, Brian is known as a fierce weekend warrior that fluctuates between a 5-9 handicap. With a soft fade, known as "The Weis Slice", and booming 300+ drives, he can blast it out of bounds with the best of them.

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