Scott Alexander's goodness in Bremerton goes far beyond golf
It may be a stretch to describe Scott Alexander as the King of Golf in the state of Washington, but you certainly could be accurate with the (...)
It may be a stretch to describe Scott Alexander as the King of Golf in the state of Washington, but you certainly could be accurate with the nickname when talking about the region boarding the Cascades to the East and Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains to the West.
Alexander, 64, and a 1974 graduate of Gresham High School in Oregon, should also be given a big assist in the effort for Village Greens Golf Course to still grace the environments of Port Orchard. But there will be more on that later.
For 28 years Alexander worked at Gold Mountain (1984-2012) where he led the effort to build a second 18-hole course and put the courses on the national map (2 USGA championships). Then in 1990 he started what would become a 500-cart rental business (Alexander’s Golf Carts) that since 2013 has run by himself, revolutionizing how the golf business operates as well as concerts, football (Seahawks and Washington Husky football), fairs, hydroplane racing at Seafair, rodeos, drag races and more.
Alexander, along with two others, also bought the property and obtained the permits to build Trophy Lake Golf & Casting, which opened in Port Orchard in 1999.
“What I am most proud of is getting two golf courses built that people will enjoy for hundreds of years,” says Alexander.
Still, to really know Alexander and wife Ivaly, you dig deeper and find they are community first people who give themselves to better others and do it without flashy headlines. In fact, no headlines at all.
“We do quite a bit in the community and at the (Bremerton) high school, but we don’t like to talk about it,” says Ivaly. “That’s not our style at all.”
Daryl Matheny, who succeeded Alexander as director at Gold Mountain, says, “Both Scott and Ivaly are passionate about being involved in the community to making it better place for everybody else.”
Joe Perdue, 60, co-owns a golf course in Maine and also runs Village Greens, taking over after a county proposal to close it. When he first met Scott Alexander he was 14 and bringing a bag of shag balls to practice all day at Kitsap Golf & Country Club.
“Scott was practicing these high pitch shots over the trees that surrounded the putting green down there,” says Perdue. “When I showed up with my shag bag, he watched me struggle for a while, finally took pity on me, dropped everything he was doing and spent nearly two hours with me on my pitching and chipping that afternoon.
“That’s always been the way Scott is.”
This is my favorite story, and illustrates best the character of Scott, who lives in Bremerton with Ivaly and their 22-year-old daughter, Tucker, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona.
“When I was working for Scott at Gold Mountain, he and Ivaly had gone to a Sonics game and afterwards went to Ivar’s,” says Perdue. “They went past a homeless guy that didn’t have any shoes. The guy had big feet and Scott, who wears a 14, gave the guy the shoes he was wearing.
“But that’s who Scott is.”
Alexander said they began chatting with the homeless guy and noticed his feet were sticking out of his shoes.
“It looked awful,” Alexander said. “We had parked our car down near the ferry terminal and went to Ivar’s to get something to eat. He was chatting with us. A nice guy. Not an out-of-his-mind guy. Just down on his luck.”
So Scott gave him his shoes and walked barefoot back to the car.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Alexander said.
Perdue is correct. That is just Alexander being himself. Giving what is needed to be given.
Alexander got his passion for golf from his parents, both avid golfers. But they were also involved in a lot of community stuff and that obviously rubbed off on him.
His golfing began when he was four and played at a small course in eastern Oregon with his brother Frank, who is years older. When the family moved to Gresham two years later they had a family membership at Mountain View Golf Course in Boring, Oregon and later golf came at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, a famed course that has hosted numerous PGA and LPGA Tours events.
When Scott’s dad was transferred in 1973 to manage JC Penney in downtown Bremerton, Scott stayed behind in Oregon to finish high school at Gresham, staying with a family friend.
He would eventually play a year of golf at Olympic College (he’s in the school’s Hall of Fame) and three more years at Seattle University (he’s also in that school’s Hall of Fame) and in 1984 began the journey to remake Gold Mountain to be one of the best public links courses in the state.
“He almost didn’t end up at Gold Mountain,” says Perdue. “When the city took the course back from the Tyson family, they hired a guy named Mike Stoltz to run the place. Mike wasn’t there long and after he left they went to Scott, and lucky for the city, he was still interested.”
Perdue marvels that Alexander was able to do what others couldn’t – build another 18 holes and make the two courses (Olympic and Cascade) into something that has attracted national tournaments.
For Perdue, it’s all about the nature of Alexander because he had all the attributes to be successful.
“You have to be passionate about the game of golf,” Perdue says. “You have to have an outgoing personality and like being around people. You have to have empathy. You can’t be afraid of long hours.”
Then, Perdue, adds, “You have to have a knack for working with a parks director, a city council, city officials and a mayor. You have a lot of people to answer to, and you have to have the patience of Job to help them understand how the golf industry works. None of that is even close to easy.”
Alexander, who is on the board of directors for the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable and is in the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame, has been a volunteer golf coach at the University of Washington since 2006 and has, with Ivaly, turned his large amount of empathy into working through the AVID program at Bremerton High School. He and Ivaly mentor six students from freshman through to their senior years, helping some that are struggling either at home or in school, or in both, and help them find their path to success.
Troy Saunders, who graduated from Bremerton and just completed his second year at University of Washington Tacoma, says Alexander has been the main help for him through the AVID program. To him, “both (Ivaly and Scott) are amazing.”
“We stay off the radar, although we are so committed to Bremerton students and Bremerton families,” says Ivaly. “Poverty and racial inequality in Bremerton are at all-time highs. Students in particular are suffering. We have incredible teachers, but we have a poverty rate that makes it impossible for hungry kids to learn properly.”
This is not a Teflon effort on their part. They are all in and attend their students’ activities, including sports. If they have a game, Ivaly and Scott are there to encourage and applaud them. Nothing is left to chance. The goal is to turn their lives around and on and help them find the path that is right for them.
“So many kids don’t have men in their lives and don’t have love or enough love,” Alexander says.”We show them we are interested in them. It’s great when you know you made some difference in a kid.”
That is who Scott is. That is who Ivaly is.
Perdue would not be at Village Greens if not for Alexander, who when he discovered the county was going to close it down snapped to attention and convinced county commissioners he could find somebody to run Village Greens and turn it into a success.
Alexander gave Perdue a heads up and soon enough Perdue jumped in and convinced the commissioners he could make it work. So give Alexander an assist.
Maybe even a statue.
“I’m not sure if Gold Mountain would have survived much longer if the city hadn’t hired Scott when they did,” says Perdue. There should be a statue of Scott by the entrance to the new clubhouse.”
As much as Scott has done for golf, the same could be said for him and Ivaly for what they do for kids and the community. In a time of a pandemic and divisiveness in our country, it’s nice to know there is some goodness too.