Feb 05, 2024

In Memoriam: David K. Brookreson

David Brookreson, a GAP (Golf Association of Philadelphia) Hall of Famer and Huntingdon Valley Country Club standout, died Feb. 1. He was 75. 

| Obituary | GAP Magazine HOF induction story |

“A competitive gentleman.” “A happy go lucky guy who loved golf and could play a little.” That’s how Brookreson, in a 2016 interview with GAP Magazine Editor-in-Chief Martin D. Emeno, Jr., wanted to be remembered. 

“A little” is as modest as the man; Brookreson’s championship résumé suggests much more. 

In a career spanning six decades, he won two Joseph H. Patterson Cup titles (1991, 1996), two Middle-Amateur Championships (1986, 1988), two Silver Cross Awards (1984, 1988) and an Amateur Championship (1991). Brookreson, the 1991 William Hyndman, III Player of the Year, was also a two-time Amateur runner-up (1982, 1994). He represented GAP in 16 Compher Cups, 14 Mason-Dixon Matches and five Philadelphia Challenge Matches. 

“Dave Brookreson was as good a man as anyone. It’s very sad to see him leave us,” Chris Lange, who defeated Brookreson in the 1994 Amateur Final, said. “He was as good as anybody, and he was always fun to play golf with. GAP lost a good one, to say the least.”

“His career was phenomenal. I lost a great friend,” Craig Scott, a former Huntingdon Valley member and close friend of 40-plus years, said. 

The senior level offered more of the same. Brookreson captured four Senior Silver Cross Awards (2004-06, 2009), two Senior Amateur Championships (2005, 2009), the Francis B. Warner Cup in 2006 and the Brewer Cup in 2008. A two-time Senior Player of the Year (2004-05), he qualified for three U.S. Senior Amateur Championships. Additionally, on a national front, Brookreson qualified for eight U.S. Amateur Championships and five U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships, gaining match play a combined nine times. 

“He was an absolutely phenomenal golfer and competitor. He was an incredible ball-striker. Nobody loved to play golf more than David,” Pete Ervin, a Huntingdon Valley member and close friend of more than 45 years, said. “I got a text from [fellow Huntingdon Valley member] Dr. Edward Bondi. ‘David Brookreson was the Arnold Palmer of Huntingdon Valley.’ He meant so much to so many people at the club. He was very instrumental in building this legacy we have at Huntingdon Valley.”

A legacy of supremacy in the BMW GAP Team Matches. Huntingdon Valley holds a record 34 titles. Brookreson played an instrumental role during the team’s championship runs in the 1980s (1983-85, 1987) and 1990s (1990, 1992, 1996, 1999). His leadership stood out to Ervin, Huntingdon Valley’s team captain at the time.

“Huntingdon Valley is known as a great, tough golf course, but also for the strong GAP amateur players who came up through Huntingdon Valley. Brooke was one of the guys who led that charge,” Ervin, who teamed with Brookreson to win the 1997 Four-Ball Stroke Play Championship, said. “He was such an impactful person to all of us. He meant the world to me.”

Fellow GAP Hall of Famer O. Gordon Brewer, Jr., who also represented Huntingdon Valley during its Team Matches run, regarded Brookreson as a “superb player.”

“If you look at the plaques on the wall there at Huntingdon Valley, my guess is his name is on more than any other individual. He had quite an impact on Huntingdon Valley as a person and a player,” Brewer said. “It’s a sad moment for all us. I lost a good friend in Brooke.”

Brookreson set roots in the Huntingdon Valley, Pa. area when his father Kendrick retired from the U.S. Air Force to become an assistant dean at Temple Dental School. David caddied and worked at Huntingdon Valley before joining in 1970. A year prior, he earned a physics degree at Temple University, where he co-captained the men’s golf team and captured the Middle-Atlantic Conference title, thus earning a spot in nationals. 

Through a position with Rohm and Haas, a chemical manufacturing company, Brookreson relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1972. He returned to the Philadelphia area in 1979 following a promotion at Boise Cascade, a wholesale distributor of building materials. Brookreson became a Pine Valley Golf Club member that year. He went on to win six club championships in four different decades (1979, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1992, 2002). Brookreson won the Pine Valley Father-Son as the son of father Kendrick and father of son Jesse. 

“In hindsight, what I really picked up on is that he was pretty well respected by all of his peers. He was a true gentleman of the game,” Jesse, who caddied for his dad from age 12 to 22, said in 2016.

A progressive battle with Raynaud’s disease, which causes decreased blood flow to the fingers, brought Brookreson’s competitive golf career to a close. His last GAP appearance came in 2017 at the Frank H. Chapman Memorial Cup. 

“One of the things people never realized about him was the pain he was in every day,” Scott, who won the Senior Four-Ball Stroke Play in 2005 alongside Brookreson, said. “He always kept a sense of humor. Courageous as all get out.”

Upon his induction into the GAP Hall of Fame in 2016, a tearful Brookreson pointed into the audience at the conclusion of his remarks.

“In the end, only one person made this all possible.” His wife of 54 years, Dona. 

“Family was everything,” Scott said. “His whole life was dedicated to Dona. She was his entire world.”

The Brookreson family will receive visitors at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church, 856 Euclid Avenue, Warrington, Pa. on Feb. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. and Feb. 7 from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 a.m. on Feb. 7; interment will take place at Whitemarsh Memorial Park in Ambler, Pa.

Brookreson is survived by his wife of 54 years, Dona; children Josh, Jenney Baumer, Kim Cousins, Jesse and Sayre Cragin; 19 grandchildren; a great granddaughter; his brother, Joe; his sister, Ellen Ballard and many nieces and nephews. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Brookreson’s memory may be made to The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia. 

Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The organization’s 345 Member Clubs and 110,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

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