Wis. Rapids man played golf with Pres. George H.W. Bush on 9/11

Published: Dec. 5, 2018 at 9:50 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

With his plane grounded in Milwaukee on 9/11, President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara checked into a hotel across from Brookfield Hills Golf Course.

Charlie Cronk worked at the course at the time.

"And I see these people walking by. And I didn't pay much attention at first. All of a sudden Barbara looked up, and I said, 'the President of the United States is here," Cronk said in shock.

Charlie greeted President Bush with a handshake. Shortly after, the story takes another turn.

"I said, Mr. President can I impose on you to sign one of our scorecards for being here on such a sad moment this day. And he said, 'I'd be glad to if you can go out and play golf with me."

On 9/11, one of the darkest days our country has seen, the President turns to golf, and Charlie, to help him through the day.

"He said to me, he just needed to get his mind away from everything for a little bit," said Kronk.

The moment was not lost on Charlie.

"The heart was just beating right along," he said with a laugh.

Flanked by secret service, Charlie and the President played nine holes. Bush's reputation for fast play on full display, catching up to others on the course and interacting with everyone he met.

"Very open with you, very friendly," Cronk said. "He would come up to you if you happen to be there, he'd say, 'hey, you want me to make that shot for you? Or make that putt?' Or, how's things going today, and all that."

The conversation was mostly about golf and the course itself. It wasn't until the President was finished playing, and leaving, that he talked about 9/11.

He asked "for us all to say a prayer for everybody who had lost their lives that day. It was a surreal environment," Cronk said about the day.

After Cronk re-married he moved to Wisconsin Rapids. He and his wife's street address, coincidentally, is 911.