Inside Dave VanDeventer’s nearly four-decade journey at Piney Point

He spent the better part of four decades keeping the game of golf alive and thriving for golfers of all ages.

Piney Point Golf Course hosted a retirement party for PGA golf pro Dave VanDeventer after 39 years of service to the club.

JD Moffett read a letter at the event from Dave’s oldest brother, Tom. Dave was the youngest of four boys.

In the letter, Tom said he and his brothers were always around sports in Gladwin, Michigan, where Dave was born. The youngest VanDeventer was an all conference baseball player and quarterback on the freshman football team.

Dave came to the game of golf in his sophomore year, Tom said in the letter, and dropped football to play golf.

Having studied golf management at Ferris State University, Dave graduated and later had internships in Florida and Hilton Head.

“Dave obviously formed a lot of bonds with the people here, and people loved him,” said Eric Farmer, who said he was 11 years old when he met 20-year-old Dave.

From the beginning, Dave worked with youth golfers. Farmer said his parents and others would drop them off at Piney Point during the summer.

“They’d play golf in the morning and then go to the pool in the afternoon. Basically, the Piney Point staff raised us for a summer, which was kind of nice,” Farmer said.

Farmer also played for Dave when the Piney Point pro coached the high school team at South Stanly in the mid to late 1980s.

One former golfer on South’s team, Col. Steve Howell, was introduced to the game by Dave. He recalled a story of a golf match at the old Badin golf course when rain started to fall.

Howell said the players decided, since it was a local match, to call it quits because of the rain.

“I succumbed to peer pressure and walked off the ninth hole with just one hole to go,” Howell said.

Since the team did not have enough scores to count, South lost that match, and the coach was angry.

“ ‘Steve, you never quit,’ ” Dave said to him.

Howell later joined the Army, graduated from college and became an officer, but the lesson that day stuck with him.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to quit, but that moment changed my life. After that match, I said I would never quit again on anything,” Howell said.

The colonel, set to retire after 30 years in the Army, said he served and led American sons and daughters using the theme, “You never quit.”

Dave thanked everyone in attendance, including his wife, Emily, and his three daughters, Jane, Molly and Amy.

The retiring pro said he got into golf management “because of the people. I got that decision right and I’ve been blessed with all the people I’ve met and worked with throughout the years.”

George Reynolds, former South Stanly principal and Piney Point Golf Club member, said Dave “was one of the most honest people I’ve ever met. He treated everyone the same. I’ve never known anyone to get any special favors they didn’t deserve.” He said Dave “did a fine job” when it came to teaching the game.

After the event, Dave said it “made him nervous that people think that much of me. I got into the business because of people. I got that right.”