Howie Knodt is a lifelong golf addict! He began playing the sport when he was 12 years old because his father, an avid golfer, was the manager of a public golf course in Wisconsin from 1963-1971. Howie helped his father by working during the summers at the golf course where he developed his love for the game. At Sun Prairie High School in Wisconsin, he participated on the golf team for four years and then competed at the State Championships. His passion for golf continued to grow, so after graduating in 1971, he promptly headed for the sunny climate of Southern California, so he could hone his golf skills year around.
Howie enrolled in Southwestern College as a Travel and Tourism major in 1977 and joined the golf team. His advanced skills and competitive spirit were recognized when he was selected Mission Conference Golfer of the Year in 1977 and again in 1978.
After graduating from Southwestern with an A.A degree and turning down an offer to play at San Diego State University, Howie went to work with his cousin, Dick Knodt, at Carefree Travel for more than 30 years. The decision to pursue a career in the travel industry instead of professional golf was a difficult one for Howie, yet he continued to play recreational golf in his spare time. He eventually became the managing partner of Carefree Travel and built the chain up to nine retail offices around San Diego County, employing 60 travel associates. In 1999, he chose to focus exclusively on cruise ship group events and now owns and operates Special Event Cruises. He started organizing Golf Travel Groups, escorting them to destinations like Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and to golf resorts in the United States.
Howie enjoys both travel and golf, so he plans to continue his business as long as he is able.
Howie’s competitive golf career really took off as he approached his 55th birthday. Attaining this magical age made him eligible to compete in the Senior Division of most local, state, national, and international tournaments. He dedicated himself to improving his golf game and set out to see what would happen as he competed as a Senior player.
Howie joined the Southwestern California Golf Association (SCGA) and has a current handicap index of +1.5! From 2006 to 2010, he played in many Senior Golf Tournaments throughout the United States and England, and he enjoyed the experience so much. Some of the highlights of his career are: 2009 and 2010 SCGA Senior Player of the Year; 2009 SCGA Senior Amateur Champion; 2009 and 2011 SCGA Senior Match Play Champion; 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 San Diego City Senior Amateur Champion; 10-time San Diego Country Club Champion and four-time Senior Amateur Champion. He also competed in: six Century Club Matches; the 2009 USGA Senior Amateur and USGA Mid-Amateur tournaments; 2010 British Senior Amateur Championship; 2011 SCGA Saver Cup Matches; 2008 & 2010 SCGA Honor Matches.
Howie’s most memorable victory was winning the 2009 Southern California Senior Amateur Championship at the North Ranch Country Club in Thousand Oaks. He shot a 71 on the second day to earn a spot in a 3-man 3-hole aggregate playoff which he eventually won.
Howie is also a very active member of the community and holds membership in the San Diego Junior Golf Association, the San Diego Country Club, the Chula Vista Rotary Club, and the Institute of Certified Travel Agents-Life Member. He volunteers time to San Diego Junior Golf Association fundraising activities.
Howie and his wife, Sharron, live in Chula Vista and are the proud parents of their son, Michael, who lives with his family in Sacramento. Michael served in the 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army for 20 years with the last 18 months spent in Afghanistan. There he received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He currently is a nurse working in Roseville, CA, and his family is very grateful to have him home.
Southwestern College is extremely proud to welcome Howie Knodt into the 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame. Congratulations!