Alden Kollman recovering from left heart surgery – Jamestown Sun

JAMESTOWN – Major heart surgery can keep many people from playing golf, but not Alden Kollman.

Kollman underwent open heart surgery on April 4 and returned to play at Hillcrest Golf Course around May 7.

“I’m actually recovering pretty well,” Kollman said. “It was an interesting experience because I have never had any heart problems or major surgeries that have prevented me from playing before. I’m only six weeks out of heart surgery and I’ve played three or four rounds and that’s probably as good as I can expect. I plan to play three or four times a week.”

During the recovery process, Kollman said his doctors told him that golf helps heart surgery patients recover.

“The surgeon basically told me, ‘Golf increases your range of motion.’ He said, “You extend your arms up and your range of motion increases because you have to swing the bat and so you don’t get caught up in these short movements. You make more long movements and that is good for the muscles in your chest and good for the heart to do something.’”

Kollman said he had two bypasses. Doctors removed two arteries from his arm and connected them to his heart.

After missing golf for most of last summer thanks to his volunteer work at the Stutsman County Memorial Museum, Kollman said he is trying to get out on the course more this summer.

“I barely played golf last year,” Kollman said. “…I volunteer at the museum. I have been volunteering there for years. I was so busy with things in the museum that I didn’t get out much last year. So I decided I was going to play more golf this year and then the surgery thing came up. So that delayed the start of my season. In any case, the season has only really gone well in recent weeks. So I haven’t really missed much of the season and I think I’m going to enjoy getting out and getting some exercise and playing with my friends.

Kollman said he faced the same kinds of challenges this spring as in previous years: getting the timing right and getting the muscle memory firing again.

“You basically know what the swing is and you know the swing looks good,” Kollman said. “But whether or not you get the head of that club … the center of that club to meet the ball, that’s going to be the challenge early in the season. It all comes from going out and doing it and practicing and making a lot of bad shots and making some good shots. But in the end it all comes back.”

Kollman said he took up the sport in the early 1990s, when Hillcrest went from nine holes to 18 holes. He said one of the things he likes about the sport is the fact that there is always room for improvement.

“What I like most about the sport is that when you finish the round you say, ‘I wish I had putted better.’ Or: ‘I wish I had hit the ball a little further.’ Or, “If only I had better approach shots.” Or: ‘If only I had chipped a little better.’ You can see all the places where improvement is needed,” Kollman said. “.. It’s addictive because… you know from the way you played where you need to improve; Whether you can improve it or not is another story. But you see where you need to work on your game. If you work at it long enough and hard enough, you will improve those areas, but there could also be something else that is destroying your game.”

The golfer who said he has a handicap of 15, said his best skills on the course are his ability to putt and chip the ball. Kollman said his career-low handicap was a 14.

Since the early 2000s, Kollman has been helping golfers calculate their handicaps, something he says has been made easier with computers. Before computers, Kollman said golfers would turn in their scorecards and he would put the numbers on a large sheet of paper that he would send to the United States Golf Association, which would then send it back to him with the players’ scores. Kollman said the players enter their scores through an application and he prints out a sheet showing everyone’s handicaps.

“Probably in 2008 or 2009 they went all electronic and then I’ve been doing the electronic handicapping stuff ever since,” Kollman said. “…It’s easy now, the system they have now is quite simple. We only have a small laptop there that is connected to the network. It all goes…to the USGA computer in Far Hills, New Jersey, where all handicaps are calculated and the reports are sent back to our computer. It’s quite automated now.”

    Max O'Neill

My name is Max O’Neill. I’m a sports reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I was born in New York and graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.