April 2021 Keeping Golfers Connected in TN, KY, MS, AL, NC
Everything old is new again Simmons Bank Open has new leadership, venue Pages 2-4
Inside!! a winner: TGA, PGA section 12-13 That’s announce annual award winners a golf game: Ben Pellicani 17 Engineering merges old school, new school teaching methods green, green grass of home: The 18 The grass never goes dormant at Lake Tansi
Aerial view of hole no. 2
Everything old is new again
Simmons Bank Open has new leadership, venue By Gregg Dewalt Tee Times Editor There’s a lot happening as the Korn Ferry Tour gets ready to make its fifth visit to the Music City. Formerly known as the Nashville Golf Open, this year’s event will be played for the first time under its new moniker – Simmons Bank Open for the Snedeker Foundation May 3-9 at The Grove in College Grove just south of Nashville. Also, the Tennessee Golf Foundation will oversee operations for the tournament with Mike Hammontree as tournament director. The previous four installments of the tournament were played at the Nashville Golf and Athletic Club. Past winners were James Driscoll (2016), Lanto Griffin (2017), Cameron Davis (2018) and Robby Shelton (2019). Whit Turnbow, head of the Tennessee Golf Foundation, said Korn Ferry Tour officials approached him about taking over the event. He said it was a natural fit for the Tennessee Golf Foundation. “We were thrilled,” he said when tour offi-
cials inquired about the TGF taking over. “It’s not often the opportunity to partner with such great organizations like the PGA and Korn Ferry Tours, Simmons Bank, and The Grove come along. The Snedeker Foundation is something near and dear to the heart of the TGF, and a huge supporter of our mission, so as you can imagine, we jumped at the opportunity to conduct an event that could impact our community in such a big way. Make no mistake, this event will change lives, not only for the Simmons Bank Open champion, but the youth of our area as well. It was a good fit for us to step in.” Turnbow said the goal is to take the tournament to the next level, i.e., bring a PGA Tour event to the Music City. This is a step in that direction, he said. “The goal at the end of the day and the larger
Hole no. 6. A Greg Norman design, The Grove should provide a challenge to the best players on the Korn Ferry Tour.
picture behind all of this is that Johnson City, where he presided the Tour wants to bring a PGA over the Niswonger Children’s Tour event to Nashville,” he said. Hospital Classic Pro-Am tournament and also the Tennessee Big With that the goal, Turnbow Shots Long Drive event that also said now long-term conversations can begin with business benefited the hospital. owners, sponsors and commuAlso, The Grove, which features nities to eventually make it hapa magnificent Greg Norman-depen. signed course, came on board as “We live in a PGA Tour market, the host facility. not a Korn Ferry Tour market,” Leaving Nashville Golf and Athletic Club was bittersweet, Turnhe said. “The Tour realizes that bow said. and we are working every day That meant moving on from the to open some of these doors for Whit Turnbow, Nashville Golf and Athletic Club. a PGA Tour event down the road, President - TGF “Nashville Golf and Athletic has but we’ll see how that goes.” been so good to us for a long While that is a long-term goal, time, and it had run its course the immediate goal is to make there a little bit,” he said. “It was the Simmons Bank Open the best something that was becoming stop on the Korn Ferry Tour. Two more and more of a burden evthings had to happen to begin to make that a reality – it needed a new venue ery year for them and their golf course, and and Turnbow needed a new right-hand man the Grove is in a little different spot so it made some sense and I think this helps move the as the tournament director. It didn’t take long to find both. He coaxed Mike Hammontree to join the team out of Continued on page 4
Hole no. 4. The Grove Director of Golf Doug Oubre expects a winning score of about 18-under-par
Expect The Grove to provide a stern test to Korn Ferry Tour’s best By Gregg Dewalt Tee Times Editor
Holdovers from the Korn Ferry Tour the last time it came through Nashville will need a new set of driving directions to the Simmons Bank’s new host course. Nashville Golf and Athletic Club is out after hosting the tournament for the first four years; The Grove in College Grove just south of Nashville is in as the new host and is in the first year of a three-year deal. Essentially, it’s anybody’s game now that the tournament has moved south to the Greg Norman signature design that opened in 2012. Director of Golf Doug Oubre joined The Grove staff in 2014 said competitors will encounter “a lengthy and challenging layout.” The Grove plays to a robust 7,038 yards from the Norman tees – the longest of the course’s five sets of tees. He also indicated that scores could vary greatly from round to round depending on the wind conditions. And the greens – always fast according to The Grove developer Mark Enderle – will be challenging.
2016 Champion James Driscoll
“The green complexes will will be mild at best.” serve as the most significant What lacks for rough more than hurdle, given the time of year,” likely will be made up for with Oubre said. “Green speeds will the challenging greens and surrounds, Oubre said. He said it is be somewhat quicker than what the major defense of The Grove. the tour typically plays, and the “Most of the greens are slightplayer should find this as an enjoyable test.” ly elevated and sloping and all Enderle said greens speeds greens surround areas are mown typically run 11.5 to 12 on the extremely closely,” he said. “This Stimpmeter. leads to balls trickling from the One thing players will have in edges of the greens into some their favor is that the Bermuda precarious chipping/pitching Doug Oubre, rough shouldn’t be a difficult positions with tight lies. hurdle because of when the Oubre suggests that players Director of Golf tournament is played. When have an opportunity to get off they tee it up May 6 for the first to a good start early on the front round, the rough will still be emerging from nine before moving into survival mode later its winter dormancy. It will be thin and not as in the round. penal as it will be later in the year when it is “Holes 1 through 4 are the scoring holes on thick and balls sink to the bottom. the front side and holes 14 through 16 are the “The course length, green speeds and green scoring holes on the back side,” he said. “Sevcomplexes serve as a great defense for the eral birdies and even eagles are possible in course,” Oubre said. “Normally, the Bermuda these stretches of holes.” The Grove features a fine set of par 3s that rough plays a contributing factor as well, but given the time of year for the event, the rough are sure to challenge the Korn Ferry Tour’s
2017 Champion Lanto Griffin
2018 Champion Cameron Davis
best players. Three of them measure 200-plus yards, while another one plays just 156 yards. According to the scorecard yardage, there is only one par 4 that measures under 400 yards on the course – No. 16. After the first four holes, players will encounter a stretch of holes from Nos. 5-9 “the Gauntlet.” “Our staff jokes about holes 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 being The Grove’s version of the famed Amen Corner at Augusta National,” Oubre said. “We’ve nicknamed that stretch of holes, The Gauntlet, and we routinely challenge our members to survive “The Running of The Gauntlet.” Enderle, the developer, says Nos. 6-9 are the most difficult part of the course and are nestled among the property’s lakes. The finishing hole is a picturesque par 5 that could certainly provide some drama. “It’s a reachable par 5, so that is always fun,” Enderle said. This isn’t the first time for The Grove to be showcased in a top-tier event. In the past it has hosted an NCAA Men’s Regional tourna-
Continued on page 4
2019 Champion Robby Shelton
Everything old is new again Simmons Bank Open has new leadership, venue
Continued from page 2 event in a direction the Tour wants to see it go.” Turnbow said both facilities share common traits. “This event has been so fortunate to have two great partners, first with Nashville Golf and Athletic, and now The Grove,” he said. “The ownership groups at each club, from the Whittemore family at NGAC, to the Enderle family at the Grove share a couple common traits, they are tremendous people, and they love supporting the game and their communities.” Enderle, The Grove developer, said the causes the Simmons Bank Open supports is one of the main reasons they agreed to take on the opportunity to host the tournament. Not only is the Snedeker Foundation and the Tennessee Golf Foundation worthy organizations to support, but The Grove also has a rewards program that allows up-and-coming golfers who want to try their hand at professional golf a place to practice and play. “I think everybody has their heart in the right place,” Enderle said. “Plus, the Tennessee Golf Foundation and Brandt (Snedeker) and the Sneds Tour with the young kids he is trying to help about what they want to do in life through golf, it’s just a culmination of things with ev-
erybody pointed in the right di“He came highly recommended rection. and has done a great job assembling a staff and getting the ball “Part of the mission of the rolling,” Turnbow said. Grove is to support these young Hammontree, who said he has people,” he continued. “The vast worked in the golf business in majority of those guys are big some capacity since he was 15, supporters of what we are doing – whether it is the Korn Ferry is treating the Simmons Bank Tour or whether it is with Drive, Open as if it is a new event, not Chip & Putt, letting MTSU play one that has a four-year history out here or hosting Sneds events under different management. – they are all big supporters of “There are so many moving that stuff.” parts to this event,” he said. “We Mark Enderle, Enderle said the rewards prohad a big operation in Johnson gram also allows those aspiring City, but that was one day. This Developer pros to network with the club’s is seven days, and really it is 365 members, and those contacts days. I went from a staff of one to can be invaluable later on. now a staff of nine and managing those guys “It’s really to help them decide what they and girls and managing all the different elewant to do with the rest of their lives,” he said. ments that go into the tournament that have “If that is golf, that’s great. Some have decided nothing to do with golf.” Hammontree said the golf is almost a secondthat they have tried it long enough and want to go do something else with their lives and they ary part of the event. “We have no control over the golf,” he said. have found great jobs with guys who live at the Grove who have given them an alternative to “We are all the stuff outside the ropes. That’s golf and a great start in their careers. It’s been kind of counter intuitive to what you thought it a really gratifying thing, and goes to show you was going to be. My goal is how do I make this not a golf tournament.” how much golf can affect peoples’ lives.” The goal, he said, is to create “a music and Turnbow said Hammontree is “a rock star food and culture festival that oh, by the way tournament director.”
Expect The Grove to provide a stern test to Korn Ferry Tour’s best
Continued from page 3 ment and also the Tennessee State Open. Regardless of how tough The Grove can be, Enderle and Oubre expect the winning score to be somewhere between 15-and 20-under par. Oubre predicted 18-under-par. “If it were held in July or August, I think it would stand tall,” Enderle said. “I think we are going to struggle to keep these guys from shooting 15- to 20-under just because it is great shape and the greens are gonna run 12
on the Stimpmeter and there won’t be any rough because it is so early in the year. The Bermuda (grass) doesn’t really have a chance to grow enough for it to be a penalty if you hit it in the rough.” If the wind blows from the south, though, Enderle said scores could be higher. “It’s hard to keep these guys down,” he said. “If we could grow up rough, it would be a different story. We just can’t do it, it’s too early in the season. We are going to give them the best
playing conditions we can and hope nature turns on the fan.” Regardless of the winning score, Oubre said the staff and membership are excited to showcase The Grove and its Southern hospitality. “We look forward to providing a true test of golf for the entire field and for the players to be able to call our club “home” for a few days,” he said. “Our Members take pride in their club and consider it an honor to host an event of this nature.”
there is a golf tournament going on the side if you are interested.” “Nashville is such a unique town now and has so many things to offer people, that we would be remiss if we didn’t incorporate all those different elements that make the city what it is as a destination into our golf tournament. Where we want it to go and where we want it to be in the next five years, we need to do those kinds of things.” Hammontree said he and his staff have been treating it like a new event. “It’s like starting over,” he said. Hammontree has added a Monday Pro-Am with Snedeker and some of his friends from the PGA Tour. He’s also planning a live music event at the Nashville Sounds baseball stadium and he’s bringing in several acclaimed chefs to provide an on-site dining experience second to none. For those worried that a 45-minute drive to The Grove is too far, he’s thought of that too. Hammontree has lined up a partnership with Grayline of Tennessee to shuttle fans from a variety of points around Nashville. “My goal is that for every single person, when you leave Sunday, I want you walking out of The Grove thinking that was the best golf tournament experience of your life,” he said.
From tHE Editor By Gregg Dewalt
April brings renewed hope of better golf ahead Even though down here in the South golf season never totally goes away, it sure is nice to feel the warmth of the sun and see the grass greening up as the calendar turns to April. It seems like from mid-November, when much of the Bermuda grass goes dormant, until late March when it emerges from its winter slumber, we spend our time looking at the extended forecast, hoping for a window of 50- to 60- degree temperatures with no rain in which we can slip out to play, or at least hit golf balls. We dream of breaking 70 or 80 or 90, of hitting Bryson DeChambeauesque drives and knocking in 20-footers with the ease of Jordan Spieth. April arrives and we get excited for the Masters and all things golf. It means, of course, that eventually less rainy and stormy days are ahead – along with the arrival of the oppressive heat and humidity that defines summer in the region. However, with extended daylight hours we can slip out after work for nine holes – 18 if we are lucky – or machine gun a large basket of range balls instead of just a small bucket before dinner. It means hitting off a flush carpet of thick fairway Bermuda instead of those thin, tight winter grass lies and the greens rolling true and smooth. It is the best time of the year for all things golf. With spring and summer in mind, it’s time to get excited about the upcoming Korn Ferry Tour stop in the Music City for the Simmons Bank Open benefiting the Snedeker Foundation. It’s the fifth-year anniversary for the tournament, which spent the first four years under the Nashville Golf Open moniker. Simmons Bank came on board in 2020, but
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EDITOR Gregg Dewalt email@example.com
April 28 – Irons and woods, pre-shot routine and bunker play May 5 – Practice scramble, safety, etiquette, USGA rules May 12 (8 a.m.-noon) – Delta Dental PGA Hope graduation scramble, 5-person teams Contact PGA Professional Valerie Vaughn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-465-6323 for information.
C Spring, Masters, time to practice & play
the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It returns this year under the auspices for the Tennessee Golf Foundation. It has a new venue, too, as The Grove will now host the tournament for the next three years. Three of the tournament’s previous winners – Lanto Griffin, Cameron Davis and Robbie Shelton – have gone on to success on the PGA Tour. Davis has already notched two top-10 finishes this season, while Griffin is 50th in the world rankings and has three top-11 finishes this season. Shelton has three top-25 finishes already this season. Tournament officials say the ultimate goal is for the PGA Tour to bring a regular tour event to Nashville. That would fit in well
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with a professional sports landscape that includes the Titans and the Predators. The Simmons Bank Cup is scheduled for May 6-9.
he Tennessee Golf Association is bringing back its PGA Hope program for another year. The program introduces military veterans to golf through a series of clinics and competitions. Best of all, it’s free. The program is held at The Little Course and Golf House Tennessee on Wednesdays through mid-May. Instruction features all facets of golf. All sessions are from 9-11 a.m. Here’s the schedule: April 7 – Chip, pitch, team short game April 21 – Full Swing, irons and woods, full swing team challenge
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TECHNICAL ADVISOR Jimmy Phillips
ollege golf teams from around the region are gearing up for their conference tournaments. The SEC women’s golf tournament is up first, set for April 1822 at the Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. The tournament will be played on the Legacy course. The Commodores have one more tune-up tournament at the LSU Tiger Invitational (April 6-7) before heading to the conference tournament. In their most recent outing, the Vandy women finished 10th in some tough conditions at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Championship hosted by the University of Georgia. NCAA regional tournament play is May 1012, with the championship tournament set for May 21-26. Vanderbilt’s men’s team has a little extra time to prepare for the SEC Men’s Championship in Sea Island, Georgia, on April 22-26. The Commodores had two tune-up tournaments on tap before the conference tournament after posting back-to-back top3 finishes. One of those tournaments – the Shoal Creek Invitational – was in jeopardy after the course sustained damage from a March 25 tornado. Regional NCAA tournaments are scheduled for May 18-20, with the men’s championship scheduled for May 29-June 2.
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Metro Parks seeks seasonal help at its courses We are excited about the upcoming season. Interest in golf is greater than it has been in several years. We are expecting to continue to have a large number of rounds played at our courses. We are working to find seasonal employees for our courses to help meet this demand. Due to the past year being so different due to the pandemic, we didn’t fill all of our positions last year. So, we are now actively looking for people interested in working at our golf courses this upcoming season. I want to encourage anyone interested in working a seasonal position at our golf courses to contact the manager at any of our golf courses to apply, or feel free to contact me:
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The dates for those will be as follows: Men’s Championship: July 16-18 McCabe, Two Rivers, Harpeth Hills Women’s Championship: September 11-12 McCabe Men’s Senior Championship: September 20-21 McCabe
Shelby is conducting a Spark-9 golf league beginning April 21. Competition is each Wednesday at 5 p.m. Call the golf course for more information. We look forward to seeing at one or more of our six amazing golf courses! - Wayne
Opinion By David Widener
Member Golf Writers Association of America
Like Hogan, don’t count out Tiger B
No Tiger Woods. No Par-3 Contest. Limited spectators because of COVID-19. That is the status of the Masters tournament scheduled April 8-11 at Augusta National with the absence of Woods the result of severe injuries sustained in a one-car rollover accident Feb. 23 in California. Tiger might not even be able to play golf again, which brings up the question of where does the future of professional golf go without him. Morning Read, an online golf news publication, says his injuries open sooner the need for the PGA and European tours to unite in common cause for golf, possibly creating a World Tour. The publication points out that it is no easy feat to maintain pro golf’s mainstream relevance without Woods, who has carried it for so long and elevated it through his stardom. Such a tour might come in the future, but I am not ready to say “never” on Tiger, who is back at his Florida home recovering from his traumatic injuries. Yes, it will be a long road of rehab, but I’ve been wrong more than once as he fought back from five back surgeries and numerous surgeries on his right knee. The recent accident resulted in serious damage to his lower right leg. A rod was inserted into his tibia to stabilize the injuries and additional pins and screws were used to stabilize injuries to his foot and ankle. Tiger’s 11-year-old son, Charlie, will be the driving force for Woods to return playing golf. They shot 20-under par to finish 7th in the PNC Championship played in December. Add to that the fact Woods knows the remarkable story of how legendary golfer Ben Hogan came back from a horrific car accident in 1949 and can use that as motivation. Hogan and his wife were traveling back to their home in Fort Worth, Texas, from the Phoenix Open when they were hit head-on by a speeding 20,000-pound Greyhound bus that was passing a truck on a bridge in foggy conditions. Hogan stretched across the passenger seat to protect his wife, saving her from significant injury and saving his life as the steering wheel column was rammed into the back of his seat. The entire left side of Hogan’s body was crushed including the pelvis, ankle, knee, rib, collarbone and shoulder. He also sustained injuries to his internal organs and incurred damage to his left eye which worsened as he grew older. He spent 59 days in an El Paso, Texas, hospital where he developed blood clots in his legs that required surgery. Hogan was Golfer of the Year in 1948, winning the National Open and PGA Championship, but after the accident people said he would never walk again, would never play golf again, would never play competitive golf again, would never win again. He proved them wrong on all accounts, going on to win 12 more tournaments
Hogan wins the 1950 U.S. Open 16 months after accident
including six majors. The Hogan accident came up at a 2018 Masters pre-tournament interview with Woods, who had missed the two previous Masters because of chronic back problems, when he responded to a question that some people were saying if he were to win the Masters it would rank as the greatest sporting comeback of all time. Tiger knows his golf history so his response was definitive and dutifully. “I think that one of the greatest comebacks in all of sport is the gentleman who won here (1951, 1953), Mr. Hogan. I mean he got hit by a bus and came back and won major championships. The pain he had to endure, the things he had to do just to play, the wrapping of the legs, all the hot tubs and just how hard it was for him to walk period. That’s one of the greatest comebacks there is, and it happens to be in our sport.” Woods understood that he hadn’t walked in Hogan’s shoes. But now, sadly, he also faces a comeback equally daunting. It’s a miracle both men survived. Air bags and seat belts were major factors in Tiger surviving his crash. Hogan didn’t have that option in 1949 yet his quick action saved two lives.
Masters Pick: I’m going with Justin Thomas, who finished fourth in the Masters last year and won the recent Players Championship.
PGA Jr. League leads healthy, responsible return to youth sports Tee Times report PGA Jr. League player registration for the 2021 season is now open for youth ages 17 and under, following the program’s successful and responsible amended season in 2020. Nearly 1,700 PGA Professional Captains rose to the challenges of the pandemic by creating responsible team golf experiences for nearly 37,000 kids in 2020. PGA Jr. League developed program-specific guidelines within the framework of the industry-wide Back2Golf Guidelines that were approved by medical advisors in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and shared these with Captains, Coaches and families, with the intent of resuming PGA Jr. League in the most responsible way. “During an extremely challenging year, PGA Professionals stepped up to the plate to ensure kids could stay socially connected while physically distanced,” said PGA President Jim Richerson, PGA. “They leveraged PGA Jr. League to create a healthy outlet for kids seeking a team sport experience, and I’m confident their coaching made a positive impact on the livelihood of their players.” PGA Jr. League was poised for a recordbreaking year before issuing a threemonth nationwide moratorium beginning in March 2020 on all of its practices, games and related activities. Summer and fall Seasons were combined into one to maximize playing opportunities through the end of the year, while the competitive postseason was canceled to prioritize the health of participants. While activities were suspended, PGA Jr. League created a Community Page with the help of Captains and Coaches, as well as players and families, to stay engaged. Captains and Coaches provided backyard drills and activities, while players and families shared their photos and videos of golf practice at home. When the season resumed, PGA Jr. League shifted to its Guidelines in Real Time Page to showcase how PGA Jr. League functioned with healthy practices in place, including “non-handshake handshakes” submitted by players and physically-distanced practice videos from Captains and Coaches. Despite a condensed season, year-end feedback from parents netted an 82% Net Promoter Score (NPS) for PGA Jr. League, which is industry-leading among youth sports programs. NPS is a standard consumer satisfaction metric that measures the degree to which people would recommend a company to others. Scores range from -100 to +100, with those above zero considered “good;” above 50 considered
Nearly 37,000 kids played in PGA Jr. Leagues across the country in 2020.
“excellent;” and above 70 considered “world-class.” PGA Jr. League is the flagship youth pillar program of the PGA of America’s 501(c)(3) foundation, PGA REACH. With the goal of making the program accessible to all youth regardless of background, circumstance or ability, PGA REACH secured nearly 2,500 scholarships in 2020 for players from active military families or those with extenuating financial circumstances. New in 2021, families will
have the option to contribute to the PGA Jr. League Scholarship Fund during the online registration process, which is vitally important to ensuring all youth can be welcomed to a PGA Jr. League team. Three-time NBA Champion Stephen Curry and FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Alex Morgan join PGA and LPGA Tour superstars Rory McIlroy, Lexi Thompson, Rickie Fowler and Michelle Wie as PGA Jr. League Ambassadors, lending their support and large platform to support the program. In addition, PGA REACH has partnered with Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, with the goal of helping youth in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond with the support and opportunities needed to play the game of golf and lead healthy, active lives. This year, Curry lent his voice to a new PGA Jr. League PSA featuring PGA Jr. League player and junior reporter Warren Fisher, 13, in which they discuss playing golf and returning to PGA Jr. League responsibly.
Tennessee Golf Association 2021 schedule April
8-10 14-16 19-20 22-25 29 - July 1
6-8 13-16 22-24
Tennessee Mid-Amateur Four-Ball
Tunica National Golf Club
Tennessee Senior and Super Senior Four-Ball Championship
Stones River Country Club
Tennessee State Open Championship Tennessee Women’s Match Play Championship Tennessee Parent-Child Championship Tennessee Four-Ball Championship Tennessee Women’s Amateur Championship
GreyStone Golf Club Brentwood Country Club Stonehenge Golf Club Black Creek Club Holston Hills Country Club
TN Girls Junior Champonship, TN Junior Amateur Championship Memphis Country Club Tennessee Match Play Championship Colonial Country Club Golf Capital of Tennessee Women’s Open Championship Stonehenge Golf Club
3-6 17-19 21-22
Tennessee Amateur Championship Tennessee Senior, Super Senior Amateur Championship Tennessee Women’s Four-Ball Championship
16-18 Tennessee Mid-Amateur Championship 21-22 Tennessee Women’s, Senior Mid-Amateur Championship 28 - Oct. 1 Tennessee Senior, Super Senior Match Play Championship
Council Fire Club Windyke Country Club-East Heatherhurst-Brae
Oak Ridge Country Club Cleveland Country Club Rarity Bay Golf and Country Club
Jack Crosby, of Memphis, is the defending Tennessee State Men’s Amateur champion
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3/30/21 4:51 PM
TGA announces 2020 Players of the Year
Tee Times report
After an early part of the season that featured cancelations and postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tennessee Golf Association managed to complete a successful 2020 campaign that consisted of record turnouts and several first-time champions. As the calendar year draws to a close, we are excited to announce the Tennessee Amateur Golfers of the Year.
Men’s Golfer of the Year Philip Lee has long been one of the top amateur golfers in the state, and now he has the title to go with it. Lee used top-15 finishes in all of the TGA’s premier individual men’s championships in 2020 to earn the Tennessee Men’s Amateur Golfer of the Year honors for the first time ever. The Nashville native finished with 211 total points to edge Cookeville’s Lee Maxwell by 1.5 points. Lee, a two-time winner of the Tennessee Mid-Amateur (2013, 2016) finished T15 in the event this year as the TGA held a state championship at TPC Southwind – home of the PGA Tour’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational – for the first time ever. Lee earned his most points via a T14 finish at the Tennessee Amateur Championship at Hillwood in August. He also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Tennessee Match Play at Lookout Mountain. In addition to his TGA showings, Lee earned an individual victory in the James Fyke Municipal at Ted Rhodes, a runner-up finish in the Music City Invitational at Harpeth Hills, and T10 in the Tennessee Section PGA’s Yamaha Players Championship. Rounding out the top five in the final Men’s Player of the Year standings were: Tennessee Amateur champion Jack Crosby (200 points) of Memphis, Tennessee Mid-Amateur champion Matt Cooper (198.5) of Collierville, and Tennessee Match Play champion Connor McKay (193.75) of Knoxville. Women’s Golfer of the Year Rachel Heck played in only two points events in 2020, but her performance was more than enough to earn the Memphis native her second consecutive Tennessee Women’s Amateur Golfer of the Year honors. Heck finished with 270 total points in the standings, and a big chunk of those (175) came from her Round of 16 showing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Woodmont Country Club. She earned stroke play medalist honors and was the No. 1 seed for the national championship. Heck, who saw the fall portion of her freshman season at Stanford University wiped out due to the pandemic, only
Golliher (253.5) and Stuart Smith (238).
Kaleb Wilson played in one other event this summer, reaching the quarterfinals of the North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst. Heck concluded her stellar junior golf career in August by participating in The Scotty, the inaugural state junior fourball championship hosted by PGA Tour pro Scott Stallings at Oak Ridge Country Club. She teamed up with sister Anna to win the girls’ title. Heck is the first to win back-to-back Tennessee Women’s Golfer of the Year honors since Calle Nielson claimed four straight from 2008 to 2011. Prior to earning the honor last year, Heck was a three-time Tennessee Junior Golfer of the Year. Closing the book on one of the most decorated junior golf resumes in Tennessee history, Heck has played in three professional major championships, including making the cut in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and 2018 LPGA Evian Championship. She also competed in the 2019 LPGA ANA Inspiration. Rounding out the top five in the final Tennessee Women’s Player of the year standings were: Kynadie Adams (155), Sophie Linder (95), Caroline Caudill (77.5), Lynn Lim (50) and Mikayla Bardwell (50).
Sophie Linder Men’s Senior Golfer of the Year Life was different in 2020, but one thing remained the same when it came to Tennessee golf. For the sixth time in seven years, Tim Jackson was crowned the Tennessee Men’s Senior Golfer of the Year. Jackson won two more TGA state championships, which increased his record total to 25 titles in his storied career. He was on the winning side in both the Tennessee Four-Ball and Tennessee Senior Four-Ball, winning the regular championship with Craig Smith at Fox Den and then later defending his title with Buzz Fly in the senior championship at Chickasaw Country Club. In the other TGA senior events this year, Jackson finished runner-up in the Tennessee Senior Amateur and reached the semifinals of the Tennessee Senior Match Play. Jackson also finished T15 of the Tennessee Mid-Amateur at TPC Southwind and reached the Round of 16 at the Tennessee Match Play. He also was T4 at the Tennessee Senior Open at Stonehenge Golf Club. Jackson was a runner-away winner for the Tennessee Senior Golfer of the Year award, tallying 429.1 points. The next closest was Buzz Fly with 301.67 points, followed by Steve Golliher (268.1), Jeff
Women’s Senior Golfer of the Year After taking a two-decades long break from the sport, Sarah Ingram’s return to competitive golf has been rewarding. Earlier this year, Ingram won the Tennessee Women’s Senior Amateur and that result helped her claim Tennessee Women’s Senior Golfer of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. Ingram held off Kelly Morris for a onestroke victory and the Senior Amateur title at Richland back in July. It marked the first tournament victory for Ingram since 1994, when she won her third U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur title and her second Women’s Southern Amateur. The Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame member also earned points as a result of her T27 finish at the Tennessee Women’s Amateur Championship at Tennessee National and her Top 10 showing at the Senior Women’s North-South Amateur at Pinehurst. Ingram was scheduled to lead the U.S. Curtis Cup team in 2020, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the biennial showdown between the United States and the “Great Britain and Ireland” team was postponed until 2021. Ingram finished with 85 points in the Tennessee Women’s Senior Golfer of the Year standings, followed by Morris (70), Erica Chappell (35), Rhonda SwitzerNadasdi (30) and Jean Kraft (25). Boys’ Junior Golfer of the Year Knoxville’s Kaleb Wilson has earned Tennessee Boys’ Junior Golfer of the Year honors after a busy summer that saw him finish fifth or higher in six of the eight Sneds Tour two-day events he competed in. Of those results, Wilson won two of them, including Masters Two-Day Tournaments at Willowbrook and Willow Creek. The Class of 2022 product from Christian Academy of Knoxville earned the most points toward the Golfer of the Year honors at the TSSAA Division II-A State High School Championships when he won the individual state title.
Girls’ Junior Golfer of the Year A dominating season on the Sneds Tour circuit powered Carthage’s Sophie Linder to Tennessee Girls’ Junior Golfer of the Year honors in 2020. Linder played in eight Sneds Tour two-day events and won five of them, including Masters victories at Old Fort, Bear Trace - Harrison Bay, Willowbrook, Vanderbilt Legends and Montgomery Bell. The Gordonsville High School product also cruised to a four-stroke victory in the TSSAA Small School State High School Championships.
The Tennessee PGA held its 52nd
Golf Professional Of The Year Chris Cauthen, PGA Westhaven Golf Club
Every year it is our privilege to highlight the tremendous work that our PGA Members are doing at their facilities and in their local communities. While every single PGA Member and Associate is deserving of recognition, this year’s Section award winners personify what it means to be a PGA Professional. I am humbled by their work ethic, passion for the game and commitment to those they serve. Congratulations to each of them. – Clayton Hromadka, Executive Director
PGA Professional Development Award Lamar Mills, PGA Cleveland Country Club
Bill Strausbaugh Award
Henrik Simonsen, PGA The Honors Course
Teach of the Y
Braxton Hun Fairways and Learning C
e Section Awards
d annual meeting virtually and announced its award winners
nter, PGA d Greens Center
Youth Player Development Award Kathleen McCarthy, PGA Tennessee Golf Foundation
Richard Eller Growth of the Game Award Valerie Vaughn, PGA Tenn Golf Foundation
Merchandiser of the Year Private
Henrik Simonsen, PGA The Honors Course
Merchandiser of the Year Public/Resort
Casey Flenniken, PGA Tellico Village
Assistant Golf Pro of the Year Alex Cox, PGA The Golf Club of Tennessee
Memphian Heck off to fast start at Stanford
Tee Times Report Memphian Rachel Heck, one of the top junior golfers in the country, has gotten her college career off to a fast start for the Stanford Cardinal. In three spring starts, Heck has notched her first college win, a runner-up and an 11th place finish for the Cardinal. Heck’s first win came in her first college start at The Gunrock Invitational to lead Stanford to the team title. Heck was dominant from the start, firing a 5-under 67 in the first round, followed by a 4-under 68 and 2-under 70 to claim her first collegiate victory. She is the first Stanford freshman to win her first tournament since Andrea Lee won the 2016. Heck’s winning 11-under 205 was one stroke off of Mhairi McKay’s 54-hole school record of 12-under, set at the 1997 Pac-12 Championships. In her second tournament, Heck shot rounds of 72-73-77 to finish tied for 11th place at the Juli Inkster Classic. In her most recent outing, Heck finished second at the PING/ASU Invitational with rounds of 67-73-72. Her 4-underpar 214 total tied three other players and was one shot behind winner Kelly Sim of Northwestern. Heck graduated from St. Agnes Academy. She was a five-time AJGA Rolex AllAmerican and a two-time USA Today high school Golfer of the Year.
www.teetimespaper.com course, parked the car and jumped over the fence. Pinkerton men were everywhere. I had never seen so many security people checking tickets. We were ducking around and hiding from them and it was no fun. Just then, as we walked past the beautiful clubhouse, a man walked out with all kinds of press credentials. My friend Walt looked at me and said, “the Putnam County Herald needs to cover the Masters. You stay here.” He went in the clubhouse, met Clifford Roberts and came out with all kinds of press credentials. We found the press tent - free food all week for the press and we parked in the private press parking lot every day. What a glorious week for two young golfers from Cookeville. In the final round, Art Wall put on one of the most dazzling displays of golf ever seen at Augusta National Golf Club to win the Masters by one stroke over Cary Middlecoff and by two over Arnold Palmer. His final round included five birdies in the last six holes, including the 11-foot putt to win on the final hole. It was so exciting! Walt and I ran along in the gallery and watched in amazement. After making pars at Nos. 11 and 12, his birdie streak began. He two-putted Nos. 13 and 15 for birdies, and ran in a 20-foot putt at the 14th. After a par at Bobby in his Riverside the 16th, he then made another Military Academy uniform birdie at the 17th from 15 feet. Coming to the final hole, Art Wall knew he was one ahead of Palmer and tied with Middlecoff. Art’s 8-iron approach at No. 18 left him an 11-foot putt for birdie which he made for the win and $15,000. By the way, the Masters Champ in 2020 got more than $2 million! After the tournament, as we walked past the 9th green on our way to our car, Walt said, “We need to have a souvenir from the Masters.” He got under the ropes and took the flag pole from the 9th green. I was walking behind him as he walked briskly toward the press parking lot. I thought, wow, perhaps he is going to make it. But just then, Walt started to run - not a good idea. By the time I got to the car, Walt was nowhere to be found. Then I heard his voice coming from underneath the car. I couldn’t believe it. “Is the coast clear?” Walt came up from under the car and started jamming the flagpole into the new Chevrolet. Perhaps Benton wouldn’t notice the rips in the headliner when we got home. Like I said, it was a wonderful experience for the two young fellows from Tennessee. For anyone that has ever been to the Masters tournament, I’m sure that they too have personal memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you, Walter Whitson Carlen, for taking me to the Masters in 1959. Note: Bobby’s daughter, Viola, the 2016 AAU National Champ, has not been able to play golf for the last five years because of injuries. Bobby Greenwood is a former PGA Tour Player and a member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. www.GreenwoodPGA.net
Memories of a first trip to the Masters By Bobby Greenwood, PGA It’s every youngsters’ dream that when they start playing golf to play on the PGA Tour. And, of course, that means to play in the Masters, the greatest golf tournament in the world. For the girls, like my daughter, Viola, it was to play on the LPGA Tour and jump into the pond after winning the ANA Inspiration tournament at Palm Springs. Yes, that was my dream also. I was going to win the Masters; however, you must be invited to play and after seven years on the Tour, much to my chagrin, I never played well enough to earn an invitation. I was a youngster when my dear childhood friend asked me to go to the Masters with him. Walter Carlen’s father was the Chev-
rolet dealer in Cookeville and Benton had offered his son, Walter, a new Chevy to drive to Augusta, Georgia to see the Masters. I was so excited! My friend, Walter Whitson Carlen is a great man and he was blessed with a wonderful humorous spirit. It was to become a trip of a lifetime for me. So, here we were, two country boys from Tennessee arriving at Magnolia Lane to enter the hallowed grounds of the Augusta National Golf Course. The only problem was, we didn’t have a ticket. So, we drove down a street into a residential area that bordered the
1959 Master’s Champion Art Wall Jr.
Pellicani engineers his students to greatness Westhaven teaching pro blends new school, old school methods
By Justin Onslow Tee Times Associate Editor In the golf instruction world, being a “system teacher” often carries a negative connotation, but Ben Pellicani is proving day in and day out that’s not always fair or accurate. Pellicani, a PGA Professional at Westhaven Golf Club in Franklin who appears on Golf Digest’s list of best teachers in the state of Tennessee (No. 9 in 2019-20), has built a teaching career on his system. It’s a system predicated on a simple mantra. “It’s about predictable starts with predictable curves that go a predictable distance,” the 37-year-old former Bucknell University standout says. Simple enough, right? But golf isn’t a simple game to play or to teach, especially when you consider the dichotomy between statsdriven analysis and “old-school” ways of teaching with one’s eyes. Pellicani, like many
successful instructors, has found his own way of blending the two approaches to ensure that all of his students – from middle school players to Tour pros – receive valuable, practical instruction from him. “I think that’s the art of coaching,” he posits. “I think technology has made the Xs and Os part of coaching much easier, but the application and the art of coaching has now become harder because of it. “The art of teaching is the part that’s starting to separate people because the technology has made it really easy for us to help people, but how you apply it is how you separate the really good ones.” And a really good one he is. Pellicani, along with the awards and accolades, boasts a resume that includes being the former associate head coach at Lipscomb University, now serving as the Director of Golf at Lipscomb Academy where he coaches the high school team and oversees development
Pro tip: Make sure to practice your strengths
While Pellicani knows every player needs a different program to be successful, he says there are some universal truths when it comes to practice time – and how one spends that time. As such, he has a two-part piece of advice for golfers who want to make the most of the time they spend on the range and the practice green. “First, you need to practice your strength the most,” he explains. “What makes you a great player, you need to have that as your strength, and then make sure you address weaknesses. Make sure you’re always practicing whatever makes you great. “If your strength is always strong, you’ll never have that bad of a round. You don’t want to be average or mediocre at a lot of things. Being excellent at something will
always be to your advantage.” The second part of Pellicani’s advice on practicing is itself split into a few subsets: • Technical skill development: using a training aid to get technical feedback • Awareness training: the ability to adapt your swing to one-off situations and the awareness of what your body is doing • Competition: having urgency and a willingness to compete “If you can incorporate all three styles of practice, I think people will find that they play better golf,” he says. “Golf is that unique sport where we don’t practice on our field of play. Building our technique, becoming better aware of ourselves and our surroundings and the urgency and willingness to compete are what matter.”
of the middle school program. He also worked under his “mentor,” Mike Bender, for several years, who’s ranked No. 1 among all golf instructors in Florida. “The opportunity I had to work with Mike Bender every day for three-and-a-half years as his director of his junior development program, I got really lucky to have a lot of things fall into place,” Pellicani says. In working with Bender, Pellicani saw firsthand what it takes to effectively teach golfers of all skill levels, from youth players to collegiate golfers to Tour-level pros. “I treat everyone like they’re a Tour player because, in my mind, it would hurt me if I felt like I hindered a player’s development,” he says. “I try to bring the same level of intentionality and approach to every one of my students. I got to see that modeled by Mike and it’s why he’s one of the best. “Obviously, you’re going to use some different verbiage and analogies with different levels of players, but I think people like that. It’s something that I saw modeled by Mike and it’s something I always try to strive for in my teaching: to treat everyone like they’re going to be a Tour player.” Pellicani has an engineering background (he earned a Mechanical Engineering degree at Bucknell), so he’s adept at understanding complex motion and the “how” and “why” of it all. Where the hard part comes in is taking the starting point and ending point and all the numbers and analysis in between and tailoring his methods to each individual student. “Ultimately, all golf instructors want the same thing for their players: They want their players to know where the ball is going
Ben Pellicani and for it to go really far,” he adds. “Everyone believes in that. The questions is, which one takes priority and how do you add the other? Pellicani has certainly found answers for those questions more times than not – his growing client base and the awards he’s earned prove that. Still, those awards aren’t his alone, as he’s quick to point out. “A lot of those players we teach who are the ones who bring recognition to people, they’re going to be good no matter who teaches them because they work their tails off and they’re talented,” he says. “For me, it’s really a testament to my players. “There are a lot of really good instructors who are not on those lists and I think everyone who’s on those lists should be, but I think it’s more a testament that I got a lot of players willing to buy in and work their tails off, and I just happen to be the one who has the privilege to walk along that journey with them.”
Lake Tansi Golf Course No. 17
The grass is greener at Lake Tansi Golf Course Elevation, cool-season grasses keep the course pristeen
By David Theoret Tee Times Contributor Let’s be honest, golf was meant to be played on green grass; the greener, the better. Augusta National in April comes to mind. Lake Tansi Head Golf Professional Gavin Darbyshire echoed those sentiments. “Psychologically, golfers think they play better on green grass; it just gives them an overall peaceful feeling while they’re out there on the golf course.” There are many types of grasses used on golf courses, they include Bermuda, Poa Annua, Bentgrass, Zoysia, and Ryegrass which is usually used in the southern states for overseeding in winter to keep tees, fairways, and greens, green. Unfortunately, even the greenest of grass turns brown when the thermometer dips low. Darbyshire himself doesn’t mind putting on browned out Bermuda greens. The Lake Tansi Golf Course in Crossville is an anomaly. While most other courses in the area and surrounding states are browned out with dormant grasses in the winter, the coolseason grasses at Lake Tansi Golf Course remain green regardless of the weather.
Lake Tansi Golf Course No. 13
Lake Tansi Golf Course No. 17 Fairway Having green grass on your golf course is always a blessing; it’s even better when it can be year-round. On a recent trip to Florida, I found that the majority of courses have gotten away from overseeding. Some cited that the costs were too high, others dreaded the transition back to Bermuda. One course general manager mentioned a course that failed miserably at bringing their course back to Bermuda and lost all their greens as well as a season’s worth of revenue. Another golf course owner in the Crystal River, Florida area told me a lot of his winter golfers are snowbirds and they expect to play on green grass. He overseeds fairways, tees, and greens. The day I was there, the tee sheet
was packed. He says he’ll keep doing it. Lake Tansi Golf Course Superintendent Todd Matthews says that the grasses at Lake Tansi are a mixture of Bentgrass, Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescue, although the exact percentages of each are as closely a guarded secret as the Colonel’s secret recipe. “Lake Tansi lies at an elevation of 1,900 feet, making the daytime temperatures considerably cooler than other areas of the state. These cool-season grasses don’t lose a lot of their color when they go dormant,” he said. According to Matthews, Lake Tansi has about 10 acres of quickstand Bermuda grass, which they allow to compete with the Bentgrass. Because of this competition, when the
Bermuda grass turns brown in the winter, it is overtaken by the cool season mixture keeping everything nice and green. All of this is done on a modest budget. After spending 22 years in Florida, you get used to playing on brown grass during the winter months. Once the soil temperature dips below 55 degrees, that beautiful Bermuda grass that Florida is known for starts to turn brown. As soon as that first frost hits – sometimes as early as late November – all Bermuda grasses go dormant. Many of the courses in the Crossville area also experience certain levels of dormancy, but not the course at Lake Tansi. In March, the only real brown spot on the course is adjacent to the No. 5 tee box, an area the maintenance staff uses for extra turf. When I moved to Tennessee a year and a half ago, my goal was to play golf at least once each month, which is easily an achievable goal. Playing on a course that is constantly green is a breath of fresh air. For more information or to book your next round on some otherwise unseasonably green grass, call the Lake Tansi pro shop at (931) 733-8801 or visit their website at www.laketansigolf.com.
The Legacy unveils new bunkers, events for 2021 The staff at The Legacy is looking forward to a great 2021 season and we have a lot in store for everyone this year. We are always looking to improve the golf experience at The Legacy whether it is a casual round with your friends or a competitive round in tournaments. Our player development programs include private lessons, group clinics and junior golf programs to help everyone improve on their skill level and add to the fun when you get to play. Here’s a list of some of the upcoming improvements and programs. • Golf Course improvements – We are in the process of completing the bunker renovations on the final four bunkers on the golf course: Greenside bunker on No. 11; greenside bunker on No. 14; greenside bunker on No. 15 and the greenside bunker on No. 16. When completed all of the bunkers will have the Better Billy Bunker Drainage System and new sand for consistent playable conditions. • New Spark Golf League – Starting April 22, we are hosting a new 9-hole golf league on Thursday afternoons for anyone looking to have fun and compete with other players. The league is open to anyone and will continue for 19 weeks through the months of April, May, June, July & August. The final day of the league is August 26. Details are on our website www.golfthelegacy.com or spark golf. com or call the golf shop to sign up 615384-4653. • Men’s Golf Association – Men 15 years old and up can join the Men’s Golf Association. Monthly tournaments will begin in April and continue through November. At the end of the season we will have a celebration to announce the Player of the Year and hand out the trophies for the season. Call to register for the MGA. • Junior Golf – Juniors age 7 to 13 can join the PGA Jr. Golf League at The Legacy. Registration is NOW open and
Next month look for information on a new Couples series of 9-hole tournaments, including dinner once a month starting in May. Also, look for information on our summer junior golf program that will begin in June. Registration will begin in early May. Call the golf shop for more information on any of the upcoming events or programs. Looking forward to seeing you on the links. Thank you, Kevin Holler, PGA Director of Golf The Legacy Golf Course
Mark Hannon 2020 MGA Player of the Year
the league starts May 18 and continues for 12 weeks every Tuesday starting at 4:30 p.m. through August 3. This program is designed for beginners to intermediate players and is all about having FUN. Please call the golf shop for more information and/or to register your junior(s). • April events – April 7, Par 3 Tournament. Probably will be the most fun that you have on a golf course this year. Sign up to play in this 9-hole unique event, every hole is a par 3 and we play the golf course backwards. Sign up early, this event fills up fast. • Ping Fitting Day – April 30 from 2-6 p.m. A Ping representative will be here fitting you for your new set of Ping clubs. A full bag fitting takes an hour and an iron fitting or driver fitting is 30 minutes. Call the golf shop to reserve your fitting appointment. Play your best in 2021 with a set of fitted clubs from Ping.
Ping will hold a fitting day at the Legacy on April 30
Western Carolina Calling: A perfect spring golf getaway awaits amid the Blue Ridge Mountains Tee Times report “Western Carolina” is an idiomatic term for an expansive, two-state region containing the country’s most dramatic stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While most of its area lies within North Carolina, a five-county swath of “Upstate” South Carolina is also part of Western Carolina’s expanse. The Old North and Palmetto states converge at the famed “Blue Ridge Escarpment,” the precipitous drop-off from the mountains to the piedmont that’s home to crystal clear lakes, towering waterfalls and dramatic rock outcroppings. If this dual-state setting sounds nearperfect for outdoor pursuits like hiking and biking, it most certainly is. And for nearly 12-months out of the year, it’s also one of the Southeast’s most unheralded collections of world-class golf. For have clubs, will travel Tennesseans, there’s no roadmap or playbook on how to approach this sprawling territory’s golf wares. Unlike namebrand Carolinas golf hotbeds like Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Pinehurst, golf tourism (and its promotion) isn’t centralized in Western Carolina. Instead, a laptop, tablet or smartphone and a few hours of due diligence are needed to plot a “golf course” across the land the Cherokee once re-
Cherokee Valley - Hole No. 2 garded as a mystical convergence of land and sky. Fortunately for Volunteer State-based golfers, there’s I-40. This rambling east-west stretch of interstate leads from Nashville and Knoxville into Asheville, N.C. From
Western Carolina’s trendiest city and craft beer hotbed, the region’s golf wares are mostly accessible within a 30- to 90-minute drive. A pro tip during the spring golf season: elevations in Western Carolina range from less than 1,000 feet (in Greenville, S.C.) to over 6,000 feet (including the highest point east of the Mississippi). Golf courses and clubs at lower elevations will likely have high temps in the 70s in April, while higher elevation venues will be in the 60s and even high 50s.
Cherokee Valley Course and Club (Travelers Rest, S.C.)
The highly-decorated small city of Greenville is home to Cherokee Valley Course and Club, the Upstate’s premier golf destination. Its P.B. Dye designed, mountain-style golf course and collection of on-site cottages make for an enjoyable and efficient stay-and-play experience. With wrap-around front porches and all the comforts of home, the cottages are conveniently located just a few steps from the golf shop and first tee.
Full cottage rentals start at $400 and single rooms at $130, per night (tax not included). Golf can be added for $30 or $50 all-day subject to availability. Cherokee Valley’s routing is fascinating, and Dye effectively provides golfers three courses within a single layout. The first six holes are relatively flat and laid out in proximity to the soonto-open new golf shop and restaurant, Core 450. Seven through 10 take players right up to the base of the Glassy Mountain, while 13-18 feature more than 300-feet of elevation change. Ideally located 30 minutes north of bustling downtown Greenville (home to more than 100 restaurants), Cherokee Valley is the perfect basecamp for exploring the beauty and adventure of this amazing four-season corner of the Palmetto State. For those who fall in love with the club and community, affordable memberships are available across a variety of categories.
Furman Golf Club, Walker Course And just a short drive from Cherokee Valley, two of the state’s best college
Apple Valley - Hole No. 16 courses lie in waiting: the Furman Golf Club at Furman University in Greenville and the Walker Course at Clemson University (in Clemson). Both are open to the public and are incredible values considering the strength of the layouts. Separated by just 45 minutes, visitors can spend the night in either town and soak up spring in two of the Upstate’s most eclectic towns. For purists, both tracks are eminently walkable. Especially Furman, a parkland style design continually updated by the university’s director of planning Scot Sherman, who is also the lead architect for Love Golf Design.
Rumbling Bald, the 36-hole golf retreat on North Carolina’s stunning Lake Lure is just over three hours from Knoxville and five hours from Nashville. Open year-round, the 3,000-acre golf panacea offers golf packages customized for golf groups of any size and is ideal for those looking to unplug from the hustle and bustle for a few days. Starting at $345 per person, Rumbling Bald’s “Hole-in-One” package features a two-night stay, two rounds of golf, breakfast both days and complimentary, unlimited range balls. Lodging options include the recently updated Apple Valley Studios and two- and fourbedroom Fairway Villas. Two contrasting, 18-hole layouts grace the property: W.B. Lewis-designed Bald Mountain and the Dan Maplesdesigned Apple Valley, which reopened last August with new Champion Bermuda greens. Apple Valley is Rumbling
Bald’s marquee offering, stretching to nearly 6,800 yards and offering jawdropping views of Bald Mountain and the surrounding Lake Lure area. Bald Mountain, at 6,300 yards, is more of a true mountain-style layout with numerous doglegs, up and downhill fairways and diminutive greens. The course is renowned for its unique configuration of five par 5s and five par 3s, as well as its par-3 16th hole, the setting for a scene in the movie Dirty Dancing. It reopened in April following a series of enhancements to tee boxes, approaches and the surrounds.
When it comes to golf travel, Western Carolina is one of the Southeast’s best-kept secrets. But word has spread about the area’s staggering collection of highly-amenitized private golf communities dotting the hills and dales of the mighty Blue Ridge Mountains. These enclaves offer a vacation or second-home lifestyle for Tennesseans who’ve fostered a love for both states. And many golf communities offer national memberships for diehard golfers living outside of the immediate area who want to be a part of a private golf
club environment. Champion Hills in charming Hendersonville, N.C., is a prime case in point. Situated just minutes from downtown, Champion Hills offers a beguiling blend of luxury resale homes and custom-building lots. Its magnificent, mountain-style clubhouse sits atop one of the area’s highest points, affording members and guests unobstructed views. For avid golfers, Champion Hills is nothing short of the promised land. Its Tom Fazio-designed mountain masterpiece pitches and rolls through heavily forested hills, deep ravines and cool mountain streams. Fazio and his all-star team of shapers deftly pulled ridges into valleys and filled hollows to create “playing platforms” that provide golfers with level lies amid 350-feet of elevation change. Similar to East Tennessee, Western Carolina, generally, and Champion Hills, specifically, offer golfers a lot of bang for the buck. Building lots typically range from .5 up to 1.5 acres, with prices from $50,000 to $300,000. Move-in ready luxury residences range from $500,000 to $3 million featuring golf course, mountain and wooded views.
Cherokee Valley Course and Club www.cherokeevalleyclub.com Rumbling Bald www.rumblingbald.com Champion Hills www.championshills.com
Bald Mountain - Hole No. 8
Local golf loses two great friends Tee Times report
and never once met a stranger.” He is survived by wife Allison, son Bradford, parents Michael and Carole Smith, sisters Jennifer Smith Creech and Amy Smith Wilson, along with nieces, nephews and his father-inlaw and mother-in-law J. Milton and Martha Morrow.
Joey Smith loved golf. Loved playing it. Loved talking about it. Loved doing what he could to advance the game. Smith, the original owner of Tee Times Paper, died recently at 57. He leaves behind his wife, Allison, and a son, Bradford. “Joey had a love for golf, especially amateur golf,” current Tee Times Paper publisher Joe Hall said. “He was a very caring person and had a genuine love for people.” Ten years after starting Tee Times Paper, Smith sold it but remained active in the lo-
Paula Morton Paula Morton will be remembered for more than just one instant in which she won a $125k villa in Myrtle Beach. She loved beekeeping and golf and having fun with her friends. She was compassionate but also had a competitive personality. She
cal golf community. He was on the TGA board of directors from 1996 until 2016 and was emeritus in 2016. He also served on the USGA Public Links Committee until the USGA discontinued that championship. When he died, Smith was the Business Development Coordinator for Capital Route Sales. Hall recalls Smith as someone who loved conversation. “When you met him or just saw him somewhere, he would ask questions and would listen to what you had to say because he was genuinely interested in you,” Hall said. He al-
ways had positive comments in the conversation. He never met a stranger.” A Celebration of Life was held March 6 at the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ in Nashville. Longtime friend Bill Thorup requested that Vince Gill sing at the celebration, and Gill obliged with a rendition of “Go Rest High on the Mountain.” Smith graduated from Gallatin High School and attended Ut-Martin. He loved watching Bradford play golf and cooking for large or small events. As the Celebration’s program indicated, Smith was “someone with 100 best friends
TWELVE STONES GOLF CLUB
PRO SHOP: 615-239-8945 • www.twelvestonesgolfclub.com
Chase McGowin, General Manager Chris Weilandt, Head Golf Professional Bill Riley, Superintendent Avery Sprehe, Assistant Superintendent
was energetic and friendly Morton, a friend of the Tee Times Paper staff, died in March. She was 68. Paula is survived by her husband Jesse, whom she met on a golf course and shared retirement adventures together. ‘ She also is survived by five brothers and two sisters: James, Michael, David, Robert, and Thomas, Terry Clayborn and Betty Knight. Paula had two stepchildren James and Sue Lynn Morton, grandchildren Ethan and Dylan Morton, and one great-grandchild, Wesley Morton. She also is survived by 12 nephews, nieces and 14 grand nephews and nieces. She attended Goodlettsville High School and then went on to study Business at Volunteer State College and Tennessee State University. Morton worked at Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation for approximately 20 years and upon retirement, went on to enjoy being a thirdgeneration beekeeper. She was very passionate about “her girls” and maintained hives all over the middle Tennessee area as a pollination service along with selling a variety of honey. If not working with her bees, she was usually on the golf course. To say Paula loved golf would be a huge understatement. Perhaps her most memorable feat in golf was winning a condo in Myrtle Beach in 2004 by making a 10-foot putt during the World Amateur Golf Tournament. Four years later, she won the tournament with another dramatic shot. “I never saw her without a smile,” Tee Times Publisher Joe Hall said. “She had more fun in life than anybody I have ever known and yet she was competitive. Paula and Joey Smith were great friends of Tee Times and they will both be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends.”
New Balance dials in fit, comfort with Fresh Foam PaceSL BOA New Balance Golf recently introduced the Fresh Foam PaceSL BOA to its performance footwear collection for 2021. The combination of a new Fresh Foam midsole and BOA Fit System delivers the ultimate walking shoe for golfers by providing a secure fit, perimeter stability, and comfort in every step. The Fresh Foam midsole has been reengineered to provide increase stability, support, and comfort. The midsole features data-driven concave geometric shapes on the lateral side of the shoe to deliver a soft, cushioned ride. Vertical convex geometric shapes on the medial side provide exceptional walking stability and support under the foot and arch. The Fresh Foam PaceSL BOA is the first shoe introduced with the BOA Fit System from New Balance Golf. The BOA System is on the lateral side of the upper for easy adjustment at any time. The three-part system has a micro-adjustable dial, super-strong TX4 laces, and low friction lace guides. By using three independent straps over the foot, golfers can create a custom fit that meets their performance needs. Cush+ is a foam compound used for the insole to provide an ultra-soft and
Baylor will defend its state title at a new venue the fall
TGA, TSSAA partner for high school championships Tee Times report
responsive cushioning without sacrificing durability and stability. The Fresh Foam PaceSL BOA has a waterproof performance mesh upper backed by a two-year warranty. The smart rubber outsole incorporates pressure mapping colors, highlighting peak performance zones. The retail price for the brand is $119.95. To view the entire collection of footwear, visit www.newbalance.com.
FRANKLIN – There will be a new look to the Tennessee high school golf state championships in 2021, and the Tennessee Golf Association will play a role in it. The TGA announced Thursday afternoon a partnership with the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA) to run tournament operations for the season-ending prep tournaments, beginning next school year. In addition to that, the state championships will all be contested in one week – as opposed to the current set-up of three weeks – and will be moving to Sevierville Golf Club. They are scheduled to be held October 10-15, 2021. Tennessee Golf Association executive director Chad Anderson is excited about teaming up with the state’s high school governing body to provide a championship atmosphere and experience for the top junior golfers in the state. “The TGA is looking forward to work-
ing with the TSSAA as we strive to host a great championship for the high school kids,” Anderson said. “Our goal is to create a great experience and determined the best high school golfer and team in each classification.” “Sevierville Golf Club will be a fantastic destination site with great golf courses, practice facilities and activities for the players and their families to enjoy.”
Come PLAY with us! Come STAY with us!
At Pickwick Landing State Park, you can enjoy fresh air and exercise, and a GREAT game of golf. But that’s not all. You can also join us for a meal and a good night’s sleep in our newly renovated Lodge—and maybe an early game the next day!
Call for a tee time, or visit our website at tngolftrail.net At press time, our state is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and the importance of slowing its spread with efforts that may impact travel and gatherings. Please call before visiting any of the courses on the Tennessee Golf Trail, to ensure that the course of your choice is ready for your visit.
1 All courses are Audubon International Certified and are Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.
Annual passes available.
* Jack Nicklaus Signature Courses
The Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain State Park 407 Wild Plum Lane Crossville, TN 38572 931-707-1640 The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay State Park 8919 Harrison Bay Road Harrison, TN 37341 423-326-0885 The Bear Trace at Tims Ford State Park 891 Wiseman Bend Rd Winchester, TN 37398 931-968-0995 Golf Getaway Package
The Golf Course at Fall Creek Falls State Park 626 Golf Course Road Spencer, TN 38585 423-881-5706
The Golf Course at Henry Horton State Park 4358 Nashville HWY Chapel Hill, TN 37034 931-364-2319 Stay and Play Packages
The Golf Course at Montgomery Bell State Park 800 Hotel Avenue Burns, TN 37029 615-797-2578 Play and Stay Packages
The Golf Course at Paris Landing State Park 285 Golf Course Lane Buchanan, TN 38222 731-641-4459 Stay and Play Packages
The Golf Course at Pickwick Landing State Park 60 Winfield Dunn Lane Pickwick Dam, TN 38365 731-689-3149
The Golf Course at Warriors’ Path State Park 1687 Fall Creek Road Kingsport, TN 37663 423-323-4990