By the time Art Severson took on the head professional’s chores at Longmont’s Sunset Golf Course in 1954, he had already chalked up some pretty impressive playing credentials. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Art’s tenure on the University of Wisconsin golf team was interrupted by World War II. He spent three years in the U.S. Army and resumed collegiate golf at Miami (Fla.) University. He promptly won the 1948 Southern Intercollegiate Championship and was Florida Intercollegiate champion in 1949. His banner amateur year was 1951 when he was medalist at the Dixie Amateur and the low amateur in the Canadian Open, tying for 10th with Julius Boros.
In 1955, he qualified and played in the US Open—the first of three appearances. He competed in that major in 1957 and again in 1960 when Arnold Palmer launched the charge heard ’round the world at Cherry Hills. Art was the playing partner of choice when touring professionals came to town for exhibitions and he was never intimidated by luminaries such as Canadian Open champion George Bayer (whom he bested 69 to 73 in a 1957 Cherry Hills exhibition) or Ed “Porky” Oliver.
Good as he was on the course, Art’s overwhelming desire was to gain more acceptance of, and participation in, the game by juniors. He began junior clinics at Longmont; continued that program when he moved to Denver’s Park Hill in 1955, and his first act at Patty Jewett in Colorado Springs was to institute free lessons for juniors. That was in 1956 and for the next 21 years, he managed effective junior programs at Patty Jewett and was involved with Colorado Springs high school golf programs. He still found time to build the Pikes Peak Invitational into one of the premier golf tournaments of its day.
Art returned to Florida in 1977, leaving a legacy in Colorado few can replicate.