Stories By David Vivolo

Mr. Ruberry, What An Unbelievable Person!

Mr. Ruberry was someone I respected, enjoyed immensely and learned a mammoth amount of insider information from. He taught me a multitude of ways on how to maneuver around such a prestigious country club as M.P.CC. He treated everyone with respect. He made it a point to get to know all of the new Members and actually all the Members family names, birthdates, what college, high school, and elementary schools they went to, where they lived and where they were born. He was a friend to all Members and treated the staff with grace and respect. Mr. Ruberry was the Golf Activities Committee Chairman for two terms in a row, which equated to about six years or so. In effect, I reported to the GAC and thus I spent many hours conversing with Mr. Ruberry introspectively about the Club, life, and sports, particularly the golf world. Often our conversations morphed into family values, the art of having fun, and the politics of the Club. However, even though I heard that Mr. Ruberry had been President of Sharon Heights, like always when I would start working with a new Member on a committee, I wondered how he would do as the Golf Activities Chair and to be honest, how the two of us would get along. The first thing I noticed was he always had his “binder of facts” with him which required me to develop a “binder of facts” as well, just to attempt to keep up. I did realize very quickly that I had to be on my toes when talking about facts, numbers, and how to create win-win situations. He was extraordinarily sharp, well organized, and he knew how to maneuver around the politics of the Club much better than I, and in fact, better than most. It took him about a second to figure me out. However, in time he became a mentor and a good friend through that process. I remember one time I arranged to go to a U.S.G.A. Rules Seminar at the beginning of his first term as the GAC Chair. I was somewhat nervous wondering what he would say to me being in Hawaii for a school. I figured I’d better call him and check-in. His first response was, “David, please don’t worry about the Club and just enjoy yourself as much as you can attending a U.S. G.A. Rules Seminar. The Club will be here when you return.” At that point, I knew that he understood the plight of a Head Professional very acutely, which gave me great comfort. Hawaii sounds like a lot of fun but have any of you read the U.S.G.A.Decision Book and then been required to take a test after the seminar? I once gave him a golf lesson and I asked him what part of his game was the best and he said chipping and putting. He proceeded to show me his Ping Cushin putter and told me he had several spares in the garage just in case he would lose one! I found that very funny at the time, but frankly, it was pretty smart. His chipping too was amazing. Believe me because of my own chipping issues, after watching his chipping, I thought I should be taking the lesson from him.

During our discussions about the Club, I came away understanding recreation much better than I thought I ever could. Maybe that was because Mr. Ruberry literally and figurately, had a Masters in recreation. He once said “If you remember one thing David, remember this, our Members are here to recreate. They want to leave their outside life at home, come to the Club and be treated with respect and have a ton of fun!” I know that it helped me understand more clearly what most Members wanted at the Club. I, in turn, trained my staff to think along with those terms as well. In our discussions, once we would go through the business of the Club, we generally moved to thoughts and views about my family and often he would tell me about his family, which as you all know he adored.

When I left the Club I was able to reconnect with my mentor. I visited him often and always came away with a humorous yet profound way of looking at life. He knew that is exactly what I needed, as he always had done. He made people feel like they were the most important person in the room to him. That in itself, is a rare gift, one that Mr. Ruberry had in spades. I will miss him and our visits very much. I know he is resting in paradise and holding court in the house of fun.

With gratitude and tremendous respect,
David Vivolo


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