Garden honors women's invitational hostessA living memorial invites golfers to stop and smell the flowers at Nemadji Golf Course.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A living memorial invites golfers to stop and smell the flowers at Nemadji Golf Course. Set along 12 South, a garden in memory of Renna Rychlak has bloomed.
“I think she’d be very proud,” said Barb Hoag, president of the Nemadji Women’s Golf Club.
“Her Irish eyes are smiling down,” said club member Helene Abbott.
Rychlak was a past president of the club and ran its Women’s Invitational for more than a decade. In recent years, she was the club’s sunshine person.
“That was her, sunshine, always bubbly,” Hoag said.
She was a great golfer, encourager and friend, according to Abbott. One of Rychlak’s sayings was “We’re all beginners.”
And she was dedicated to collecting and preserving the history of the club for its 75th anniversary celebration. Even when she was in Florida, friends said, Rychlak kept working on the project.
“Nemadji was in her heart,” Abbott said.
About a month and a half ago, members of the club launched a plan to remember their friend, who died last July. It is their first club-sponsored memorial.
“Renna was exceptional,” said Mary Meierotto. “Not to say it won’t be done again, but Renna was exceptional.”
Everything folded together to make the garden a reality, Abbott said. Steve Flagstad and the Nemadji grounds crew laid the bricks and turf, which were both recycled from the men’s tee. Club member Donna Protokowicz, an avid gardener, drew up the design and researched deer-resistant plants for the site. Wentworth Gardens supplied the plants —many with pink flowers.
Tuesday afternoon the 61 plants — a ninebark tree, bleeding hearts, shrubs, coral bells and more — were planted by a crew of club members. Wednesday, it was topped off with 61 bags of mulch.
“It turned out to be a good spot,” Protokowicz said. “You can see it from the road.”
Abbott stopped by the site three times Wednesday to gaze at the garden.
“It is gorgeous,” she said. The collaborative effort by everyone to make it a reality in time for the invitational, which tees off next Wednesday, is something else Rychlak would have appreciated.
“It’s a mission of love, no doubt about it,” Abbott said.
When the invitational opens, there will be one more tribute to Rychlak — the senior tournament is now named the Nemadji Women’s Golf Club Renna Rychlak Memorial Tournament.
“I think her passion was the invitational,” Hoag said. “But how can you say her passion wasn’t the club?”
In return for that passion and, for many, years of friendship, members said “thank you” and “until next time” to Rychlak with flowers.