On September 25th, three new members will be inducted into the Northern Ohio Golf Association Hall of Fame. Norton Brick is one of those new inductees.
Norton Brick’s first round of golf took place when his Uncle Al took him to Highland Park Golf Course in Highland Hills.
He was 12 years old. He shot 180.
Two weeks later he shot 120.
“I figured by the end of the summer I’d be right around par,” he said, jokingly recalling the optimism of youth.
Things didn’t work out quite as planned but it wasn’t long before Brick was flirting with red numbers. It wasn’t much later he was living under par.
And, he stayed there for a long, long time.
Along the way, Brick won practically everything a local amateur could win. The list is long and loaded with prestige. Was there a more dominant amateur in Northeast Ohio in the late 1990s and early-to-mid-2000s? That is tough to say.
A 2011 inductee into the Ohio Golf Hall of Fame and a 2012 honoree by the Ohio Public Golf Association, Brick won too many Cleveland Golf Association and Akron District Golf Association events to count. Even he has lost track.
At one point he won three straight Greater Cleveland Amateurs (2000-01-02). He was the Northeast Ohio Amateur champion (2004). Later in his career, he won five Greater Cleveland Senior Amateurs (2007-08-10-11-12) and six NOGA Senior events. He won Senior NEOAms in 2010 and 2012, and twice he was named NOGA’s Senior Player of the Year.
Brick’s success was not limited to Ohio. He qualified twice as an amateur for the the U.S. Senior Open in 2003 and 2005, then made an equal number of trips to the U.S. Senior Amateur in 2009 and 2012 after turning 55.
Health issues were all that slowed his career, but certainly did nothing to damper his love for the game. He still plays regularly.
“I love the game, I love to play the game,” he said recently from his home in Buckeye, Arizona, about 30 miles west of Phoenix. “If I could I would play four to five times a week.”
As it is, Brick, 66, still plays three times a week after suffering two heart attacks, a double-lung transplant and having his left hip replaced. The physical ailments may have curtailed his golf game but have done nothing to diminish his sense of humor.
“I’ve had multiple surgeries,” he said. “Hernia, hand, stomach. My feet hurt. My back hurts. My hip hurts and my chest hurts. Other than that, I’m great.”
Brick was born in Garfield Heights on April 22, 1953 and the family moved to Maple Heights when he was about 3-years-old. He graduated from Maple Heights High and Cleveland State University, earning a full scholarship midway through his freshman year after enrolling as a walk-on.
His introduction to golf came as a caddie at Shaker Heights Country Club and later, Beechmont.
While growing up in Maple Heights Brick met Judy Janusz, who became his wife 35 years ago.
“If it wasn’t for her I’d be dead,” he said of Judy, a retired nurse. “She has been with me every step of the way.”
Brick’s love of the game was not limited to playing and practicing. He spent more than 20 years working for Toro as an equipment salesman, calling on more than 150 golf courses from Ashtabula to Montpelier.
He wasn’t just a salesman. He also was a goodwill ambassador, taking customer service to another level by frequently lending demo equipment to courses that were hosting special events.
“Some of the clubs didn’t have big budgets,” he recalled. “So, maybe I’d get them a fairway mower or a greens mower to use to get their course looking extra nice for their big event. I just tried to help people out.”
Brick said he and Judy will attend the NOGA Hall of Fame banquet on September 25 at Oberlin Country Club.
“I am really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m excited enough for everyone. About the only thing I miss about Ohio are the people. So, it will be great to see some old friends. I am proud of what I was able to accomplish and I am glad NOGA is recognizing all that I did accomplish. It is truly an honor.”
Brick said he hoped to get in a couple of rounds before and after the induction. Here’s betting he does.
2019 NOGA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
The 2019 NOGA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Wednesday, September 25th at Oberlin Golf Club. New for 2019, attendees can enjoy golf at Oberlin Golf Club before the ceremony! Create your own foursome or play as a single (or twosome) and get paired up. Four-person team format will be two net best-balls of four, with each player playing their own ball with full handicaps.
Schedule of Events:
12:00 p.m. – Golf Shotgun (Optional)
4:30 p.m. – Heavy Hors d’oeuvres & Cocktail Reception
6:00 p.m. – HOF Induction Ceremony
Ceremony Tickets: $40 per person (includes hors d’oeuvres and cocktail reception)
Golf & Ceremony Tickets: $90 per person (includes golf, cart, prizes, hors d’oeuvres and cocktail reception)
Tribute: $60 (includes opportunity to have your name and personal message to inductees in the event program)