Byron golf community honors former Prairieview Golf Club superintendent Matt Henkel

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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BYRON, Ill. (WIFR) - 20 plus years of service, a state-of-the-art facility, and countless relationships are just a few accomplishments former Prairieview Golf Club superintendent Matt Henkel has under his belt. Henkel lost a hard-fought battle with brain cancer in May, Tuesday his friends and family remember him.

“He was someone who cared deeply about everyone else and never wanted credit for it,” Henkel’s wife Cammie said.

A leader and a fighter, two characteristics that friends and family of Matt Henkel say suit him well.

“What Matt taught me though is how to treat people,” Former Prairieview Assistant Superintendent Mike Brown said.

In May, Matt Henkel lost a lengthy battle with Glioblastoma a serious brain cancer.

“In 13 years of battling brain cancer he had around 13 surgeries,” Cammie Henkel said. “10 of them being in the last two years he was always fighting wanting more and looking for a cure.”

Matt Henkel served as superintendent and general manager at Byron’s Prairieview Golf Club for the entirety of his battle with the disease, but his passion for the game of golf stems back much further than his fight.

“He golfed in high school at Shady Oaks Country Club in Amboy,” Cammie Henkel said. “He decided he wanted a degree in turf management and business, he interned here in 1999 and could never leave the course.”

Cammie Henkel says Prairie View became Matt’s home. She says his vision was to grow the game in his community.

“The younger generation isn’t as into golf as much as the older generation was,” Cammie Henkel said. “He thought what could I bring to Byron Illinois to keep the golf game going strong.”

Matt Henkel traveled overseas and saw a Toptracer unit. It’s a driving range system that tracks golf balls in the air for a more immersive experience.

“It was his dream to bring it here and he wasn’t going to stop until it was here,” Cammie Henkel said “Here we are sitting in his very dream, just being in the building itself keeps the memory alive.”

For Cammie and the rest of the Henkel family, every swing and every shot at Prairie View honors her husband.

“This was his everything to him besides his family,” Cammie Henkel said. “This was Matt, this whole course just screams Matt.”

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