Merv was a multi-sport athlete at Agar High School, but golf was not one of the sports that he played. He took up the game while attending Huron College and within a few years was a scratch player. In 1971, Merv began his career in golf when he was hired to manage Memorial Golf Course in Huron. He then managed Meadowbrook GC (now Broadland Creek GC) in Huron before becoming the head golf professional at Mitchell’s Lakeview GC in 1996. After retiring from Lakeview in 2007, Merv was elected to serve on the South Dakota Golf Association board of directors, a position he held for 11 years, including two terms as president.