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The Difference Maker Mackenzie Mack revitalizes First Tee of Tennessee in Memphis Pages 2-3
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Making a difference in Memphis By Gregg Dewalt Tee Times Editor Like most youngsters, Mackenzie Mack tried a variety of sports. She tried gymnastics. “I guess my tumbling skills weren’t looking too pretty,” she says, laughing. She tried basketball. “In my heart I wanted to be a basketball player but I just wasn’t tall enough and I wasn’t fast enough,” she says. She tried track. “I wasn’t fast enough,” she notes. And then one day, she chose golf. Actually, Mack says it was the other way around. “I think golf chose me; I really do,” the Associate Executive Director of the First Tee of Tennessee in Memphis admits. “Golf was just something that fit my strengths.” Mack found out golf was something she could excel at. Fast forward a couple of decades later, and Mack is entrenched in what has become her calling in the golf industry. As the Associate Executive Director of The First Tee of Tennessee in Memphis, Mack’s top priority is making sure that every child in Memphis has a chance to choose golf. It’s an ambitious goal, but one Mack is confident she can attain if
and when everything finally returns to whatever the new normal is now that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world. “What I hope to do here in is introduce every kid in Memphis to golf,” she says. “I want every kid in Memphis, when asked if they have played golf, to say ‘Yes, I know what it is. I have hit a ball, and yes, I have played golf.’”
Memphis a priority for TGF
Mack came on board The First Tee of Tennessee in Memphis a little more than a year ago from Tampa, where she was the senior program director for that city’s First Tee program. For Tennessee Golf Foundation president Whit Turnbow, reviving the dormant First Tee of Memphis was a priority. “West Tennessee and in particular Memphis was a huge priority for us when I started,” Turnbow said. “There are so many tremendous people in Memphis that had put tons of time and effort into building junior golf programs and what we wanted to do was unite them all behind a young, energetic, dynamic leader who could deliver programming for the youth of that area.” Turnbow said hiring Mack was an easy decision “Mackenzie was running a large chapter in Tampa that was thriving,
and the first time we spoke she said she was looking for a challenge and an opportunity to grow,” Turnbow said. “I knew right away she was the perfect fit. She’s not afraid to fail, try things outside the box, and has a unique ability to unite people together for a common cause. I searched the country for the right fit because bringing Memphis back online was so important to the Foundation, and hiring Mackenzie was a home run!” The daughter of a single mom who is an elementary school principal and Doctor of Education, Mack happened upon golf by coincidence. “My mom put me and my sister into every sport,” she recalled recently in a phone interview. “We were in gymnastics class and she was sitting next to the local head pro’s wife and she suggested putting us in golf, so I started taking lessons from her husband, and this is where we are now.”
Golf became a family activity. “Me, my mom and my sister took our first lessons together,” she said. “It was something we did together on a Saturday.” Mack admits the love affair with golf became a thing once she got onto the course. It made all the
Mackenzie Mack MBA, LPGA, PGA
practicing and doing training drills worthwhile. “I enjoyed it. It was fun to hit the ball,” she said. “Where I really started to love it was when I got to go on the golf course. When we did that, I think that was the turning point for me.” Golf as a potential career was first forged in Mack’s being a part of The First Tee of Southern Nevada. There, she enjoyed interacting with other children and that chapter’s program director. “I liked meeting new kids. I liked traveling with the program and everyone at my chapter became my second family,” she said. Mack’s proficiency with the sport earned her a scholarship to Indiana State University, where she eventually served as an assistant coach. From there, she moved to Florida and played some mini-tour events before landing at The First Tee of Tampa. While there, Mack went through the PGA and LPGA programs. Today, she is one of only four
Mackenzie Mack helps a young golfer with his game. (Photos courtesy of Mackenzie Mack)
African-American female professionals to hold both certifications and was the fifth of a total of 8 African American females to earn the PGA certification. After seven years in Tampa, Mack got the phone call that led her to Memphis in April 2019. “I had a great time there and we grew that chapter into the largest chapter in the First Tee network,” she said. “I got a call saying they were trying to restart the First Tee in Memphis and that they wanted me to be part of it. So, here I am today.”
Not an easy path
As a minority figure and being young, the path to success hasn’t always been easy, Mack admits. “It definitely has been difficult. Add to that my age and because I am relatively young to most people in the golf industry, it’s harder to convince people that you know what you are talking about, that you are knowledgeable and you have something to contribute.” Enthusiasm, an outgoing personality, and not taking no for an answer have helped Mack traverse any obstacles in her way. “You have to persevere it,” she said. “My actions help - people see that I am passionate about juniors, that I am really passionate about golf, and I am persistent. Once they see those things people usually decide to at least give me a chance. The First Tee’s mission is to influence the next generation, and my presence in the golf industry helps me do that.” Being a young African-American female can actually be beneficial in the task of trying to introduce other minorities to golf, though. Instead of seeing an older white man, they
see somebody who looks and can relate to them. “When trying to teach kids and bring new people to the game, the first thing I hear is, ‘Oh, that’s a white person’s sport;” “that’s a man’s sport;” or “that is an older person’s sport; that’s not for me,’” she said, “But after I tell them I play golf, they see somebody who looks like them and who doesn’t fit that stereotype at all. It helps people believe that they can do it too, or maybe it is a game that is welcoming to them. What we need to do moving forward is do a better job showcasing ALL people that play this game so the newcomers a can relate and see themselves playing the game.” There have been obstacles to overcome in restarting the Memphis chapter of The First Tee, which now is under the umbrella of Turnbow and the Tennessee Golf Foundation.
healthy habits just to start but it also provided college scholarships, life-long friendships, and life changing experiences. What child doesn’t need those things? The First Tee is here for the kids in the Memphis community. All I ask is to give me a chance. Let me show you that this gonna be different and be a great adventure for your child.” In the short time Mack has been heading up The First Tee of Tennessee in Memphis, she is already seeing positive results. “We have a girl here going to college next year,” Mack said. “She got a scholarship. She was in one of our classes last summer and she’s a coach now. We were able to help her with that process. We have a kid who has special needs and couldn’t
find any other sports to participate in. He has found a home here with our chapter. Some kids couldn’t afford to play anything else, especially with COVID now. It’s been tough for parents to find productive things for their kids to do and not break the bank. The program we are currently running right now is free and the kids can come out for six weeks and all the equipment is given to them and they get free golf shirts, thanks to Nike who has been a great supporter of the program, as well as the city and county that allow us to use their facilities at no cost. All of those things are a success. Our organization has changed somebody’s day and changed somebody’s life. That’s what we are all about.”
“When I first got here it still was a little bit of a challenge to dispel what happened in the previous chapter and let people know that this is a new regime,” she said. “But now we have a whole new staff and a new direction. Once people started seeing that, we’ve had a great response with kids coming out and parents supporting us. It has been fun and rewarding to see the community’s excitement about the programs we have been able to implement so far.” The First Tee of Memphis is located at The Links of Whitehaven. Much of the chapter’s success can be directly linked to Mack’s ability to spread the gospel of the benefits of golf and The First Tee. “I think there is a need here for a First Tee,” she said. “The First Tee provides life skills, golf skills, and
Mackenzie Mack’s goal is to introduce golf to every child in Memphis
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Course reopenings create buzz in golf community Although new golf course construction has slowed in recent years, it’s nice to report that a couple of courses in Tennessee are looking to reopen this fall. As reported in the June issue of Tee Times, Ross Creek Landing is on schedule to reopen sometime in late September. More recently, Tee Times learned that the course formerly known as Shiloh Falls near Pickwick Lake also is scheduled to reopen this fall, possibly as early as August but more likely in September. Once an 18-hole Fred Couples/Jerry Pate collaboration, the course will open nine holes under the new name: “The Club at Pickwick.” One caveat, though. Originally a daily fee facility that also offered memberships, the course will now be a private club offering memberships and will also be available to residents in the Shiloh Falls community. The golf course is located just a couple of miles from the Tennessee State Park’s 18-hole course at Pickwick. The golf course property was purchased by the Shiloh Falls Homeowners Association and will be leased out to Terry Vidal, who will run the course and also a private dining facility. The paperwork was scheduled to be completed before the July 4 holiday weekend, according to Shiloh Falls HOA president Jackie Lees. The course has been closed since 2014.
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A few tee times available for public play some Mondays & Tuesdays. Call for availability. The HOA purchased the golf course property in July 2018 for $1.2 million, Lees said. “We raised the money in about three weeks,” she said recently. “It’s a miracle. We made it a part of this HOA and it will never be sold again. We will control what it is.” Originally a Marriott property, The Club
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at Pickwick went through a variety of owners before the HOA purchased it. Previous ownership had different ideas for the property, including turning it into an RV campground. While that never materialized, the HOA decided to buy it in an effort to protect it for the future – be it a golf course, walking trails or just an open area. Lees said the HOA has been trying to get the course reopened for about 18 months. Greens have recently been sprigged and fairways and rough mowed down. If the weather cooperates, Lees said the course could be ready to open as early as August. The new nine will consist of holes Nos. 1-3, 7-10, and 17-18. Lees said the plan is to get those holes open and possibly return the course to its full 18 sometime in the future. That plan, however, is not firm. It’s uncertain whether any outside play except for guests of members will be allowed. Meanwhile, work is continuing toward a fall reopening at Ross Creek Landing in Clifton. Owners Tommy Tinin and Fred Gillham, along with Chickasaw Golf Course owner David Chasteen, have been busy at Ross Creek mowing fairways, sprigging greens and doing general cleanup on the Jack Nicklaus Signature design that was originally a part of the Bear Trace. Chasteen is a vital part of the team working toward the reopening. He was behind the reopening of Chickasaw, another of the original Bear Trace courses that closed, in 2015. The plan is for both courses to enter into some type of partnership agreement where members at one course will have a reciprocal playing agreement with the other course. Chasteen, who doubles as Chickasaw’s course superintendent, said the course struggled shortly after reopening but has had three good years since. Chasteen, whose Chickasaw course hosts several college tournaments, envisions
playing those tournaments at both sites, mounting an advertising campaign for both courses along with some other promotions. The courses will share equipment. “It should work all the way around,” Chasteen said. “They are two totally different courses all the way around.” Chasteen said 40 percent of his play comes from Memphis, which is about an hour’s drive from Henderson, where Chickasaw is located. When it opened, Ross Creek Landing had bentgrass greens. The course is transitioning to Bermuda grass, which Chasteen said is the key to survival. Chasteen said Gillham has tried for three years to get a partnership going and reopen Ross Creek Landing. “I didn’t take him too seriously at first, but he finally talked me into it,” Chasteen said, smiling. Work was being done on the irrigation system in late June. Once it was operational, sprigging the greens was set to begin. Chasteen said a low price point – around $40 or so – should entice golfers to flock to the Nicklaus design. “We’re not a country club by any means,” he said of Chickasaw. “But we do offer really good golf on a great golf course at a good price. That is kind of a key. You have to have a good balance of local play and outof-town play.” Tinin said there had been no surprises during the initial work. “Everything seems to be right on schedule,” he said. “We’re listening to David. He knows what he was doing. He did this with Chickasaw, so this is nothing new to him. He’s done it.” Tinin said he and Gillham have gotten a lot of inquiries about Ross Creek Landing. “A lot of calls and comments,” he said. “Every time you see somebody, they are asking about it. I think everybody is kind of excited about it. You want to get it open, but you want to make sure it’s done right. It’s got to be really good.”
he coronavirus pandemic has changed how golf courses function and personnel have adjusted to the “new normal” in golf for the past five months. Kevin Holler, PGA, Legacy’s Director of Golf and General Manager/Superintendent Chet Frazier, GCSAA, were in control for the most part. Amazingly they have been able to pull some play dates off for associations and kids clinics. They made the transition back for daily fee players well. Needless to say, under the watchful eye of Frazier and his crew the course is I want to share the great experience my children and some of their friends had during the clinics. I stayed for the 90 minute lessons all three days and was so impressed with Coach Kevin and his ability to teach these groups, small to older kids. My children are 7 year old Kendun, 2nd grader, and his sister, Kaylee, 10 years old and going into the 5th. grade. They both attend JBES and this was the first time getting any type of golf instruction. Both kids love to go along with with their dad, Mark, when he plays golf. Now with this instruction and practice, they are even more eager to join dad. Joining us was, Ava Tabb, 11 years old for the group lessons; she will attend Innovation Academy this year. Ava is a first timer and loved it so much so that she signed up for the PGA Jr. League this year. Another young friend, Debra Raye Heatherly, who is 11 years old and attending JBMS this year was very attentive and enjoyed the instruction and practice. She too had never taken a lesson. Rides to and from clinics was full of enthusiasm and chatter about golf. Thanks Coach Holler from the kids and us parents alike! - Kimberly Hollingsworth / Parent
players. The golf clinics were Monday through Wednesday for 90 minutes a day and were restricted to 8 juniors per session. Week 1 – June 1-2-3 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and 1 to 2:30 p.m. Week 2 – June 8-9-10 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and 1 to 2:30
Brian Holler (right), a former golf professional turned teacher, helped out his brother Kevin in the golf shop during the junior clinics. in great shape for everyone. Covid-19 or not, Holler felt compelled to have the Robertson County Junior Golf Association clinics, knowing the kids would have been disappointed if canceled this year. Give Holler credit. Despite being shorthanded staff- wise, he was able to teach the children who enrolled for instruction this year. He took the help issue in stride and never missed a beat. Patient, caring, and single-handedly, he taught three clinics daily, three days a week, for three weeks in June. He was grateful for the
instructors’ help from the previous two years, as they could accommodate large numbers at one time. The inaugural year in 2018 drew 16 juniors from Robertson County. In 2019, the numbers jumped to 64 juniors. In 2020, despite the pandemic, 67 children registered for the clinic. Holler simply set up more clinic sessions but with a smaller number of kids per clinic session so that no child who wanted to learn would be left out. This program is FREE to the juniors. This is an excellent introduction to the game for beginners and intermediate
I don’t know who looked more forward to this year’s junior clinics, me or my boys? After being in last year’s clinic, we knew there was a lot to learn, and once more, have a great time, so it was a no-brainer to enroll them again this year. My sons are Rex, 12 years old who attends White House Middle and Zak, 8 years old, enrolled at H.B. Williams Elementary. They have not had private instruction but once they attended clinics last year, they were excited to have me sign them up. Class time was just right, about an hour and a half. 9:00-10:30 am June 15th-17th. They loved it and have gained a respect for the game of golf, and seemingly want to continue. I was able to be there and hear all of the tips that Coach Holler provided. I enjoy that they look forward to hearing what he had to say, and both boys, paid attention and seem to hang onto every word, Coach Kevin was saying. I thank everyone who made this possible, FREE instruction for my boys and the other Robertson County kids, especially the PGA and Professional Kevin Holler and Legacy G.C. - Ben Doeden / Parent
“I signed my 8 year old granddaughter, Millie Ann Sutton up for the junior clinic this year. Like a lot of kids, she is balancing playing several sports. I take great pride in seeing her take an interest in the game I have loved and played for many years. I play here at the Legacy and know Pro Kevin well, and he continues to do a great job with these youngsters. I welcome bringing and “learning” along with Millie Ann as I feel this gives us great connectivity. What I really like is that Millie Ann, enjoys participation on this level, and she is eager to learn how to play golf at this time, because of these clinics in a low pressure way…and it gives us special time to be with one another. Who knows what the future may bring regards golf, importantly she is learning and having “FUN” - Robert (Bob) Johnson/Grandfather
p.m. Week 3 – June 15-16-17 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Legacy Men’s Golf Association
July 25 - MGA Low Net August 8 - MGA PGA Championship August 22 & 23 - MGA Stroke Play Championship September 5 - MGA Two Man Scramble September 19 - MGA US Open Championship October 3 & 4 - MGA Old Pals
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The Robertson County Junior Golf Association Clinic program wants to give a big shout out to the Tennessee Section PGA. Thank You TNPGA for our grant!!! The 2020 Legacy PGA Jr. League began Tuesday July 7th. With 2 teams of 27 juniors and meets every Tuesday at 4:00pm for 10 weeks through September 15th, skipping September 1st.
Is The Masters offensive? By Grayson Kirkham Tee Times Contributor Recognition of history is necessary in igniting positive change within a society. No one can deny that things are indeed changing in our world, on multiple levels it seems. Questions and ideas previously ignored for so long are now getting the attention they should’ve had from the beginning. One such idea was presented this week in the sports world by Deadspin contributor Rob Parker. Parker had this to say about The Masters: “The name ‘The Masters” must go. Opening Day , March 22, 1934 for the then named And before we hear from the choir Augusta National Invitational Tournament and on the tee, Co-Founder Bobby Jones. There were about tradition and history, save it. 60 professionals and 12 amateurs in the field. When that history is rooted in slaveHorton Smith won this inaugural Masters and ry, it shouldn’t be preserved and howon the third Masters in 1936 nored.” Racism is woven into the history of The Masters and Augusta National Golf name of “The Masters” being rooted in Club. There’s no question about that. slavery. With that being said, that doeThrough most of the club’s existence, all sn’t mean Augusta National shouldn’t caddies were black and co-founder of have to address sins from the past. If Augusta, Clifford Roberts, said it would enough people agree the current name always be that way. Black men didn’t of the tournament is associated with a play the event until 1975, when Lee El- painful history, then perhaps it should der qualified by winning the Monsanto change. But let’s look at the facts first. As Mr. Parker points out, the original Open. There were no black members of the exclusively white club until 1990. event was known as the Augusta NatiThese facts are disappointing, but they onal Invitational Tournament. Founded are true. Augusta National Golf Club in 1934, the event was the brainchild is in part, a product of the region, the of Bobby Jones, the golf legend who times, and the traditions of a very old dreamed of bringing the greatest golgame. Therefore, I can respect what Rob fers in the world together to compete Parker has to say about the name of an on a championship golf course like no event which obviously has a flawed past. other. Tournament co-founder Clifford I can never claim to know the struggle Roberts did suggest using the name The of living as a black person in America, Masters to promote the event, but Jones nor can I begin to understand the true objected, saying the name was presumpextent of the pain and negativity asso- tuous. Considering Jones was a humble ciated with terms deemed offensive by man, it’s easy to understand why he the African American community. What wouldn’t be on board with a boastful I do know about is golf history. There is sounding tournament name. However, no evidence to support the tournament as the years went by, the press got wind
Tiger Woods was the youngest Masters champion at 21 in 1997, winning by 12 strokes. He also won Masters titles in 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2019.
of the original name and began using it. They must’ve thought The Masters had a nice ring to it. The newspapers began referring to the tournament as such and by 1939 the new name had stuck. As the years went by, The Masters tournament began to carry more clout, especially when they began presenting tailored green jackets to eventual winners in 1949. By 1960, it was considered one of professional golf’s four major
championships, partly thanks to Arnold Palmer’s pursuit of a “grand slam” that year. The Masters name just made sense by now. It was a gathering of the game’s greatest players, at perhaps the greatest golf course, doing their best to “master” a game that in reality could never be mastered. In fact, a black golfer has arguably become not only the greatest player of all, but maybe the most loved Masters champion of all. One of Golf Digest’s recent covers even promotes Tiger Woods as “The Master” of Augusta National, given his great success at the venue. His five victories in the tournament are second only to Jack Nicklaus. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Woods in person to ask him about it, but I’d bet if he had any problem with The Masters, he wouldn’t return to Augusta year after year. The heart of the matter is golf itself has roots in discrimination and racism. The game has been used as a tool for exclusion, degradation, and many other unfavorable reasons over its 500-plus-year history. It must also be said that the golf is ever-changing. Today’s game promotes values of respect, integrity, honesty, and inclusion. Many great strides have been made to make golf more accessible to more people. That kind of history should be “preserved and honored.” However, Augusta National can’t simply ignore its heritage. With present societal changes we’re experiencing regarding race, sports, equal rights, and health, now is the perfect time for The Masters tournament committee to re-evaluate the event and make it even better than before. Uncomfortable topics may need to be addressed for that to happen.
Tagmarshal uses data to help courses manage pace-of-play By Gregg Dewalt Alabama Golf News The impetus for the creation of the Tagmarshal pace of play system in use at many of the top golf courses in the U.S. and abroad came from a text message to Bodo Sieber. “What happened was that two of my friends were playing on a beautiful course on a beautiful Saturday and their group was stuck on the 15th hole alongside three other groups,” Sieber, the CEO and co-founder of Tagmarshal said. “They all picked up their phones and called management and asked why they were doing that to them – making them wait. They wanted to know where the marshal was and told them that wasn’t what they came there for.” One of the friends texted Sieber, who at that time was heading up a business that was tracking technology and efficiency solutions for corporations, wanting to know if he could come up with a solution to help golf courses become more efficient. That was six years ago. Today, the Tagmarshal system is in use at namebrand facilities such as Erin Hills, Whistling Straits, Winged Foot, Baltrusol and Oakmont. But, what specifically is Tagmarshal? Think GPS on steroids. “We created a system that essentially speeds up the game of golf,” said Sieber. “It’s a huge challenge for the
game. Players have less time to play, especially younger players that are the next generation of the game. We came up with technology solutions to fix that.” Sieber won’t divulge how the Tagmarshal system works, but essentially it tracks each group and compiles data that courses can use to increase their efficiency in a variety of ways. With Tagmarshal data, course operators can figure out ways to set their course up to obtain maximum efficiency and chart trends and areas that need attention in order to provide the best experience possible. Tagmarshal’s first big breakthrough into the market came in 2015. “It took us about 6-to-12 months to get our first version working,” Sieber said. “We presented our system as a new and very green company at the PGA Show. We got a call from Erin Hills (in Wisconsin) and they said it looked fantastic and wanted to know when we could deliver it to them.” Sieber, who admits he is not an avid golfer, didn’t realize how big of a deal having an inquiry from Erin Hills was until he saw his colleagues “jumping up and down.” “Erin Hills had already been earmarked to host the U.S. Open in 2017,” he said. “They told me that this just wasn’t a course, it was a major course.
The Tagmarshal system works whether players are taking a caddie, walking or riding. It compiles data that helps course operators identify problems and reduces the time it takes to play. (Photo courtesy of Tagmarshal) It was a great opportunity to start at the top end of the market.” From there, other courses jumped on board and Tagmarshal was on the way to success. The early courses also provided key feedback as the technology continued to evolve. “They told us what we can do well, what we could do better at,” Sieber said. “We have always kept it that way. We are not operators. We are reasonable golfers. It’s the people who really know how to run the game, they have to tell us what they need and then we have the technology to make it happen.” Sieber said successfully launching at Erin Hills was crucial. He said with the help of Tagmarshall, the former host of the U.S. Open is now generating an extra $150,000 in greens fees annually. “The ultimate end game, obviously, is to provide the course with the controls so they can get more capacity onto the course but at the same time provide an even better playing experience than they ever had,” Sieber said. At a course like Erin Hills in Wisconsin, a walking-only course, a tag is clipped onto a bag or a caddie at the start of play and the starter informs the group what it is for and reminds groups to stay in position to ensure everybody stays on time and has a good experience.
If a group falls out of position, a marshal is dispatched to remind them to get back in position. At other clubs the system is attached to carts, and groups are monitored. If bottlenecks develop, the course can quickly manage it effectively and without confrontation. “The traditional marshalling role is not very effective,” Sieber said. “But with some training, that person can become a player assistant rather than a police person. And that is the space we are creating.” More importantly, Sieber said the Tagmarshal system allows the course to compile data and determine the best way for the course to be set up depending on the amount of expected play and conditions. “It’s like a factory,” he said. “You set it up to run efficiently and if it doesn’t, it affects your business.” Tagmarshal added an option that also functions as a GPS that shows the hole and other information. It also provides tells players when they are out of position. “The system lets you manage yourself and that suits a lot of people,” he said. “It’s phenomenal what you can do if you have data and what you can really measure when you have the variables that have an impact on your performance.” And, get those 5-hour rounds down to a comfortable four hours or less.
Bill Breen coasts to Tennessee Senior Open title Tee Times Report CROSSVILLE, Tenn. – Golf has given a lot to Bill Breen. And at this point in his playing career, the 58-year-old Nashville native is learning to appreciate every moment of it. An early June week at Stonehenge Golf Club provided him with another significant achievement. With his wife Hannah caddying, Breen opened the 2020 Tennessee Senior Open with a personal best round at the course and let that propel him to a convincing victory for his third tournament title. Breen fired a 6-under, 66 to open the tournament and followed that up with an even-par second round to finish four strokes ahead of Cliff Kresge (Kingsport) and another three-time winner of the championship, Gibby Gilbert (Ooltewah). “It’s always fun to win,” Breen said of his third Tennessee Senior Open title. “We don’t get to win near as much as we would like. This game is very humbling. (Every victory) is sweet. The last one is sweeter than the others, but to win again after shooting 66 … that was a lot of fun.” Making the victory extra special for Breen was doing it with his wife by his side. The couple shares a special bond through golf. In 2012, Hannah was on the website Groupon and purchased a golf lesson with Breen, who teaches at Harpeth Valley Golf Center in Nashville. Three years later, Breen asked her out on a date and another year-and-a-half after that they got married on the Harpeth Valley driving range. “She is a great supporter,” Breen said. “She is an encourager of what I do – play golf and teach golf.” “As a caddie, she is very positive. She is focused and gives me nothing but great advice.” There wasn’t much advice to give Breen as he played the final few holes in the second round. He led by two shots to start the day and maintained the margin heading to the final nine. Those closest in pursuit - Jared Melson (Tullahoma) and Steve Golliher (Powell), fell back early on the back nine and Breen coasted to the win.
For Breen, though, the strategy was “fairways and green” coming home. “I was in control of my destiny and hit solid shots and didn’t make any mistakes,” Breen said. “You always have to know where you stand on the leaderboard and I knew I had a few strokes to deal with. I just wanted to hit fairways and the middle of the greens. If the putt goes in, great, but don’t make any big mistakes.” Breen came into the final round riding a wave of momentum following an opening-round 66 that featured seven birdies to just one bogey. He said it was the lowest round he had ever shot at Stonehenge. “Obviously when you only have 26 putts, you are going to make some birdies,” he noted. “But I hit the ball really well. It was a lot of fun.” Kresge opened the tournament with a 73 and fired the low score of the final round with a three-under, 69. Gilbert went 69-73 to also finish with a 142 total. Harry Hill of Chattanooga walked away
Bill Breen the winner of the Super Senior Division with a two-round score of 144. Buzz Fly of Memphis was the top-finishing amateur as his 74-70 card was good enough for fourth place. Melson (68-77-145) rounded out the top five in the Championship Division.
Congratulations to Beth Harrelson, PGA, on becoming a Quarter Century Member this year. Beth is the Head Women’s Golf Coach at the University of Memphis.
Opinion By David Widener
Member Golf Writers Association of America
PGA Tour taking COVID-19 seriously C
COVID-19 continues to play havoc with the Brooks Koepka withdrew from the PGA Tour despite its Travelers Championship after caddie effort to resume play. tested positive while Simpson Ricky Elliot tested positive for COVID-19. It showed up at the Heriwas concerned after a family tage tournament in Hilton member tested positive. Head, South Carolina, where Monahan said. “I’ve said all along I’m takNick Watney became the The Tour’s safety plan now calls ing this very seriously,” said for additional testing upon arfirst player to test positive Brooks Koepka, who has El- rival at tournaments, moving infor the virus. A week later at liott on his bag and is a two- structors inside the Tour’s testing the Travelers in Connecticut, time winner of the U.S. Open bubble and having players wear players Cameron Champ and and PGA Championship. Denny McCarthy tested posimasks when they enter fitness The withdrawals from those trailers which now will be onsite. tive along with caddies Ricky who did not test positive for Monahan said failure to adhere to Elliott and Ken Comboy. the virus says a lot, because a them will lead to significant conseIt was simply a question of total purse of $7.4 million was quences. Nick Watney was the first PGA Tour player to test when such would happen, up for grabs at the Travelers. positive for COVID-19 when the tour resumed play. not if. What it shows is how The PGA of America has conEvidently health is important firmed that the PGA Championship imperfect even the tour’s to some and PGA Commis- scheduled Aug. 3-6 in San Franmost extensive plans can be sioner Jay Monahan wants to keep cisco will be played without fans. It appears other pros also are in fighting the pandemic. Things started off good when the taking the virus seriously. Despite it that way. Another COVID-19 victim is the “We knew it would be impossible Ryder Cup, scheduled Sept. 25-27 Tour resumed play after a three- testing negative, Brooks Koepka, month hiatus at the Colonial in his brother Chase Koepka, and to eliminate all risks, but we’re at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Texas with no crowd, no grand- Webb Simpson withdrew from the making several adjustments to It is now postponed until 2021. stands, and no tents, the typical Travelers. Graeme McDowell vol- our health and safety plan and we It’s too bad some of the general structures that define a golf course untarily withdrew after Comboy will continuously reinforce them,” public does not seem to take the serving as host to a PGA event. virus seriously. They do not There were no positive tests. want to follow the rules to be PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan Three weeks later things went safe like staying at home, washleaves the clubhouse at TPC River south in one of the COVID-19 ing hands properly, wearing a Highlands after updating the tour hot spots in the nation. Watney mask and social distancing. Remembership about coronavirus concerns. passed a test when he arrived at ally? Some of us are old enough Photo courtesy Rob Carr/Getty Images Hilton Head, but he failed anoththat had parents who lived er one before the second round through two World Wars and of the tournament. the Great Depression. That was Justin Thomas, the Tour’s leadtough. ing money winner in 2017 and For me, COVID-19 has hit home 2018, told Golfworld Hilton with my youngest daughter in Head wasn’t taking the virus seLouisiana and my grandson in riously. Houston both testing positive “It’s an absolute zoo around and in quarantine as I write this here with a lack of safety meacolumn. Earlier, I tested negasures in the area,” he said. tive, probably because I follow “There’s people everywhere. the recommendations. The best The beaches are absolutely test is the one where a 6-inch packed and every restaurant abswab is put into the cavity besolutely crowded.” tween the nose and mouth for To stay safe as possible from the 15 seconds rotating it several virus, Thomas stays in a house times. Yes, it is not comfortable, with a chef and a couple of guys but better safe than sorry and while at Tour events, keeping that’s what the PGA Tour is trythings in that small circle. ing to do.
Fairfield Glade –
The Pinnacle of Golf in Tennessee By David Theoret Tee Times Contributor Golf may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Tennessee, especially the small town of Crossville on the eastern side of the state. Crossville is known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee,” with no less than 10 championship golf courses in the Cumberland County area. Five of the area’s best courses are located in Fairfield Glade, a resort and retirement community located just north of I-40. About 8,300 residents call Fairfield Glade home; it’s situated on the Cumberland Plateau, between Nashville and Knoxville. Fairfield Glade is popular for “halfbacks,” retirees who moved from somewhere up north as far south as Florida and are now moving halfway back to be within easy driving distance of family and friends. Consequently, you’ll find a lot of people originally from Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana here. The area is blessed with four mild seasons and golf can be played yearround. No state income tax, low property taxes, and an overall low cost of living only add to the attraction of residing in the area. If you haven’t visited Fairfield Glade in a while, you may notice several differences. There’s now a clubhouse at Dorchester; it opened in 2015. Likewise, there have been some major renovations at Stonehenge, primarily at the grill and pro shop and a new maintenance building was added in 2018. The two courses
Druid Hills No. 14
at Heatherhurst and Stonehenge have all undergone extensive bunker renovation and now feature Better Billy Bunkers, considered by many to be the best bunker construction in the world. The five courses at Fairfield Glade play out of 4 clubhouses, each with its own practice facility. Three of the four facilities have short game practice areas complete with bunkers. Also, there’s a TrackMan simulator in the Fairfield Glade Community Center where you can play any number of courses from around the world or sign up to take a golf lesson on it. The original nine holes at Fairfield Glade opened for play in 1970 with the final nine 18 holes being completed in 1973. This championship course was located on the highest point in Fairfield Glade and was named Druid Hills Golf Club. The course provides several scenic views of the surrounding mountains and features rolling, tree-lined fairways, lots of water hazards, and well-undulated bent grass greens. At only 6,270 yards from the back tees, Druid Hills is one of the shortest courses at Fairfield Glade. But don’t let the length fool you; it also plays one of the toughest. The course was designed by Leon Howard. The waterfall on No. 14 is probably the most photographed feature on the golf course. There are two courses at Heatherhurst, the Crag and the Brae. The facility was built in stages; the front nine of the Crag opened in 1989 and the back nine opened in 2000. In 1991 the third nine
Druid Hills No. 5 was completed and from 1991 – 2000 Heatherhurst was a 27hole facility. In 2000, another 9 was added and this now 36-hole facility had two separate and distinct 18-hole championship courses. Many consider the Crag the easier of the two, probably because it plays a lot shorter. That being said, the Crag course is as beautiful as it is challenging, especially when you get to the back nine. There are significant elevation changes and a rangefinder with a slope feature is a good asset to have. Many fairways are wide open off the tee and since the holes aren’t extremely long – a few of the par 5s are reachable in two with a good drive. The emphasis is on your approach shot if you want to score well. One of the more memorable holes on the Crag layout is No 17. This short par 4 is the course’s signature hole and its most scenic. The Crag course was designed by Gary Roger Baird and opened in 1989. In 2017, the Brae Course at Heatherhurst was named one of the Top 5 Courses you can play in Tennessee by Golf Week. It was also designed by Gary Roger Baird and opened in 1989. The Brae is the only course in the area with Zoysia grass fairways and the subtle undulations in them as well as the true rolling greens will keep you coming back. Each side features a pictur-
Jeff Houston, PGA Director of Golf “What makes Fairfield Glade such a great place is the quality and variety of golf courses we have,” Fairfield Glade Director of Golf Jeff Houston said. “Our most acclaimed course is Stonehenge that has been ranked in the top 5 courses in the state by Golfweek. We also have our Heatherhurst facility that has 36 holes that is perfect to spend your day working on your game with family or friends. Our Dorchester facility was once host to the state open and is a favorite among many who play it. Last, but not least, is our Druid Hills golf course that has many spectacular views and is in incredible shape every day.” Houston said Fairfield Glade can accommodate every need when it comes golf getaway. “In less than a two-hour drive from middle Tennessee you can play 18 holes in the afternoon, have a great dinner at Stonehenge Grille and play 36 holes at our Heatherhurst facility before heading back home,” he said. “If you wanted to play all 5 courses over several days we can accommodate that also. If you have not been to Fairfield Glade in several years, I invite everyone back and see the improvements to the golf courses and to Stonehenge Grille.”
The Brae No. 6
Stonehenge No. 14
The Crag No. 4
Dorchester Golf Club
esque par 5. The fourth hole plays 495 yards from the white tees and features a double dogleg that requires two forced carries over Otter Creek; it’s said to be one of the toughest par 5’s in Tennessee. The 10th hole is a stunning par that is a slight dogleg left and starts with a blind tee shot. Pull your tee shot left and you’ll find the woods. It’s all downhill from there – literally – to a green that overlooks beautiful Lake Dartmoor. The same year that Golf Week recognized The Brae Course, it ranked Stonehenge No. 2. Architect Joe Lee used the rolling hills and woods of this Cumberland Plateau property to create a course that is as beautiful to look at as it is fun
to play. Stonehenge features bent grass tees, greens, and fairways for some of the best playing conditions in the area. The course gets its name from the walls of native stone found throughout the course, the biggest and most eerie as you make the drive from 15 green to the 16th tee. More evidence can be found on the 14th hole, a downhill, 148-yard par 3 that plays considerably less. Rocks and water surround the green, which sits on the edge of Lake Dartmoor. It’s a beautiful and challenging hole. Narrow tree-lined fairways, numerous water hazards, strategically placed bunkers, and well-undulated Bentgrass greens define the Dorchester Golf Club,
designed by Bobby Greenwood. At 6,400 yards from the tips, the course isn’t going to overwhelm most players, but a slope rating of 134 tells you that this course has some bite to it. With all of the hills, valleys, and creeks, the course requires accuracy off the tee and good shot selection, meaning driver may not be the best choice off the tee. Golf’s not the only thing Fairfield Glade has to offer its residents. There are two full-service marinas and a racquet sports center complete with clay courts, indoor tennis, and pickleball courts. Fairfield Glade has also been blessed with mile after mile of hiking trails.
Fairfield Glade is a golfer’s paradise and with five spectacular golf courses, you can easily make a week of it. Several golf packaging companies have put together some tremendous Fairfield Glade stay and play packages; you can book through Fairfield Glade or one of several area golf packagers. Each clubhouse has a snack bar with the usual at-the-turn necessities or you can have a nice sit-down meal at the Stonehenge Grille or Legends, located in the Druid Hills clubhouse. For more information on booking your next stay and play package to Fairfield Glade, visit www.fairfieldglade.cc.
Rob Akins knew early on he wanted to teach By Gregg Dewalt Tee Times Editor Playing golf is hard; teaching golf is even harder. But seeing a student’s results from the teaching aspect is so rewarding. That’s part of the gospel according to Golf Digest Top 25 teacher Rob Akins, whose academy at Spring Creek Ranch in Collierville, Tennessee is one of the tops in the state. Akins, who lists former PGA Champion David Toms among those who have sought out his tutelage, should know, too. He’s been teaching the game ever since he was a teenager in Louisiana. “It’s hugely hard to teach somebody how to play golf and how to swing versus just swinging,” Akins, who is No. 3 on the Golf Digest list of Top 10 teachers, said recently. “It’s always a challenge. As long as you can make a person hit a ball better than they did before, every hour you get rewarded with that. They turn around and are amazed, and that’s really what keeps a teacher going. Being there for that critical element when things come together and seeing them achieve something they never thought they could achieve, it makes it all worthwhile.” Akins, who has been featured in Golf Digest and on the Golf Channel for his instruction, was interested in teaching almost from the time he began playing. He started playing when he was about seven years old. It became his focal point
when he was 11. Shortly thereafter, he began his path to teaching the game. “I got an opportunity to do a junior golf school in Louisiana and it grew to where we had 125 kids,” he said. “I did that for five years. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I was reading all I could. That got me started teaching.” Like most kids, Akins dreamed of making it to the PGA Tour. But that got pushed aside when he realized how much the instruction side of the business appealed to him. “I knew early on that I enjoyed the teaching part, so I switched over when I got married when I was 21,” he said. “So, the rest, I guess, is history.”
Akins has a list of those who have influenced his teaching, starting with Harvey Penick. “As far as teachers, Harvey Penick. I found out about him when I was about 11. He had a lot of influence,” Akins said. “There was an African American man I spent a lot of time with as a child. His name was Nathan Vaughan. He didn’t talk to me about the golf swing, but he talked to me about how to play the game. Probably the biggest influence is a fellow by the name of Tom Ness. He lives in Atlanta and was my mentor about 20 years ago. He was with the Golf Digest schools and Bob Toski. Tom did a whole lot about teaching me how to get better.” Others have influenced Akins as well. When he had players on Tour, he became friends with some of the greatest teachers in the world. “I am so blessed to have had so many
1.) Joe Hallett, Vanderbilt Legends C., Franklin 2.) Matt Killen, Troubadour G. & Field C., College Grove 3.) Rob Akins, Rob Akins Golf Academy at Spring Creek Ranch, Collierville 4.) Brian Lackey, G.C. of Tennessee, Kingston Springs 5.) Nancy Quarcelino, Gaylord Springs G. Links, Nashville 6.) Virgil Herring, Ensworth Golf Center, Nashville 7.) Henrik Simonsen, The Honors C., Ooltewah 8.) Matt Walter, Vanderbilt Legends C., Franklin 9.) Ben Pellicani, Westhaven G.C., Franklin 10.) Walt Chapman, Fairways and Greens, Knoxville 11.) Brad Redding, Target Golf Practice and Training Facility, Knoxville 12.) Jake Reeves, Fox Den C.C., Knoxville 13.) Gaylon Cude, Golf House Tennessee Learning Center, Franklin 14.) Jex Wilson, Old Fort G.C., Murfreesboro
people share their knowledge with me,” he said. “They were able to pass down a lot of things to me.” Akins and his craft continue to evolve. He said he has surpassed 70,000 hours of individual golf instruction for his career. “Some people say it takes 10,000 hours to be good at something,” he said. “For me, I didn’t start having a lot of success until I had about 25,000 hours. Gradually, at about 50,000 hours I realized how ignorant I was at 25,000 hours. I continue to learn and grow and hope I continue that the rest of my life and be able to become a better teacher.” Swing theories and methodology are a dime a dozen these days. Everybody, it seems, has a way for players to add distance, make more putts and knock strokes off their game. Akins admits methodology is constantly changing for teachers. For him, three things are imperative in the swing: the clubface, the swing plane and the lag or drag. “The first two things control direction, and the third thing is what smashes the ball,” he said. “Your grip controls the clubface, and then how you build your body and moves your arm controls the plane. Once you get those two things down and learn how to hit it straight, you can learn how to compress the ball harder. “I kind of stick to those three things – they are the only three things the ball cares about,” Akins continued. “Not that those wouldn’t be in (Ben) Hogan’s book, but it is much more precise than what is in it. That allows people to have different styles of swings and fit into that model.” Akins agrees that in these days when technology is king and launch monitors and Trackman are pervasive among teachers as tools of the trade, it’s easy to get information overload.
Rob Akins Even though he thinks he was the first pro in Memphis to have Trackman, he doesn’t rely on it. He explains why. “I have used it,” he said. “It’s great to show somebody that they can hit it farther and sometimes it’s great to show somebody how their dispersion has gotten tighter. But Trackman gives you a millisecond of information at impact, but it doesn’t tell you what the story was. It may tell you that you were out-to-in and your clubface was 4 degrees open, but it doesn’t tell you that your grip is weak and you had a bad takeaway. I don’t think Trackman has really furthered golf instruction a lot because people who are trying to fix impact without knowing the
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How to pick the right teacher
By Rob Akins As a young man trying to learn how to teach golf, there was an enormous amount of stuff I had to wade through to find out what was really effective. There are so many different opinions and so much stuff, if you are looking for a teacher, I’d say try to find someone who has really helped their students win junior tournaments or club championships. Obviously, the Tour players I worked with were already great. I didn’t make them great. They were already on the PGA Tour when I started teaching them. If you can find somebody who has taken some kids from the very beginning and became college golfers or state champions, that’s a good insight that that person has spent some time learning how to teach people.”
Sneds Tour continues pattern of growth The Tennessee Golf Foundation’s (TGF) junior golf tour began in 1995, originally named the Tennessee PGA Junior Tour. The tour has changed names numerous times through the years, adopting its current name, the Sneds Tour, in 2015. “Sneds” is the moniker of Nashville native and 9-time PGA Tour winner, Brandt Snedeker. Brandt and his wife, Mandy, were looking for a way to give back to the junior golf community in Tennessee, and fittingly chose the tour Brandt grew up playing on. The partnership between The Snedeker Foundation and the TGF began in January of 2015, taking junior golf to a new level in the state of Tennessee. TGA Director of Competitions Rob Cherry and Clarksville’s Patton Samuels “The partnership has been incredat the 2019 Tournament of Champions. ible over the years and has brought (Courtesy photo) a lot of excitement to the tour,” TGF Director of Competitions Rob Cherry said. “The juniors love having Brandt and Mandy at events; they have been so supportive with both their time and resources. The special ‘swag’ his sponsors (Peter Millar and Bridgestone Golf) have generously provided at events is also a fun surprise for the kids every year that bring a smile to each of their faces.” The Sneds Tour is comprised of both boys and girls between the ages of 4 through 19. A junior is eligible to play on the Sneds Tour until they begin their first semester of college. The tour is open to any junior golfer, regardless of their residence. The tour is comprised of 15 differ-
The Snedeker Family Brandt, Mandy, Lily and Austin
The Rob Cherry File Current Position: Director of Competitions, Tennessee Golf Foundation Born: Nashville Education: David Lipscomb High School; University of Tennessee Miscellaneous:
• Introduced to golf by his grandfather when he was 5. • Helped David Lipscomb High to its first boys state golf championship. • Also played tennis in high school. • Played 10 years on the TGA Junior Tour. • Earned Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Finance at UT. • Played on UT’s club golf team. • After graduation, spent two years with Tennessee Golf Association helping run tournaments across the state. • In his sixth year with the Tennessee Golf Foundation. Fond Memory: While growing up, Rob attended The Memorial Tournament each year in Columbus, Ohio. Career Golf Highlight: Being a starter on David Lipscomb High School’s only state golf championship team Career Low Round: (68) Montgomery Bell State Park
ent division levels, grouping juniors based on both their age and ability level. Whether a junior is about to play Division I college golf or just recently picked up the game, the Sneds Tour is open to all ability levels. The majority of the tournaments take place in Tennessee, with a few events held in neighboring states (Mississippi, Virginia and Georgia). Over the past six years, the Sneds Tour has seen consistent growth in membership, tournaments and rounds played. While the 2020 season has been uniquely challenging due to COVID-19, the Sneds Tour is on track to have a record year with currently 1,597 members this season. This season began the first weekend of March at Two Rivers Golf Course (Nashville) and will conclude at the end of October at Green Meadow Country Club (Alcoa). This season the tour is on pace for a record 149 tournaments, which equates to about 8,400 rounds of golf and surpasses last year’s record year by 1,200 rounds. For more information on the Junior Golf & Golf House Learning Center Sneds Tour, please go Lissa Bradford, PGA – Director of Junior Golf • to snedstour.org. Rob Cherry – Director, Sneds Tour & Tennessee Junior Cup • Trevor Spathelf – Associate Director, Junior Golf • Matthew Johnson - Associate Director of Competitions, Junior Golf • Scott Flynn, PGA – Director of Golf, Golf House Tennessee Learning Center • Golf House Tennessee Learning Center • Daniel Booker, Jr.- Golf Program Coordinator, Golf House Tennessee Learning Center •
July 2020 avoid a playoff with Adams. Maynard led by one shot over Adams starting the final round. Maynard had rounds of 74-68-69. Adams shot 75-68-69. “There were so many great girls playing this week and they played fantastic,” Maynard said. “It means a lot to be able to play just as well as them. Kynadie played phenomenal and I’m just happy to get the win.” Carthage’s Sophie Linder finished third with
Kendall Maynard tames Three rewrites Ridges to win Tennessee Girls Morris record book with Junior Amateur crown 7-shot win at Tee Times report
KNOXVILLE – What a difference a year makes. In 2019, Kendall Maynard shot 17-over 233 in the Tennessee Girls Junior Amateur Championship. Just a year later, Maynard, who is committed to Belmont University, hoisted the championship trophy after firing a 4-hole total of 5-under 211. For non-math majors, that’s a 22-shot improvement. Maynard’s steady play – she went the final 40 holes without a bogey – resulted in a one-shot victory over recent Tennessee commit Kyndie Adams at Three Ridges Golf Course. “I would definitely say I’ve made a lot of improvement with my short game, and that has helped my scoring,” Maynard told tngolf.org of her one-year improvement. “My wedges and putting have got a lot better. I’m just really happy right now to see all my hard work pay
www.teetimespaper.com three straight rounds of 72. Lynn Lim of Gallatin was fourth (71-74-72– 217), followed by Kingsport’s Isabella van der Biest at 78-71-71–220). Rounding out the top ten were: Claire Henson of Jackson (75-76-72–223), Anna Heck of Memphis (77-72-78–227), McKinley Cunningham of Clarksville (76-71-80–227), Sadie Pan of Clarksville (79-75-74–228), and Madeline Simcox of Bristol (78-77-75–230)
Tennessee Junior Amateur
Tee Times report
off. My goal was to hit fairways and greens and make as many pars as I could.” The win was the second of the summer for Maynard, a Clarksville native. Earlier, she won a Sneds Tour event at Tennessee Grasslands by shooting 7-under 137 in the two-day event. Maynard’s improved short-game play proved crucial when she got up-and-down from a greenside bunker for par on the final hole to
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Jack Morris made his win at the Tennessee Junior Amateur look quite easy at the Three Ridges Golf Course, thanks in part due to a 9-under 63 in the second round. That helped him build a 6-shot lead going to the final round. He eventually led by 10 strokes before settling on a 7-shot win at 15-under-par 201 in the 54-hole tournament. Morris is a Franklin native and Lipscomb University signee. Shelbyville’s Evan Woosley-Reed, a Tennessee commit, played well enough to win most years with a 208 total, but he couldn’t keep up with Morris.
“It’s an awesome last (junior) tournament to have,” Morris told tngolf.org. “It gives me a lot of confidence and hopefully I can carry it in to this fall. All my friends were playing, so it was awesome to play with them. It was a great feel. It’s nice to see all of my hard work pay off.” His second-round 63 tied the lowest score shot in the tournament, which was being played for the 61st year. Among the records set by Morris were:
• Lowest score for 54 holes, 201 (previously 202, William Nottingham 2016) • Lowest score to par for 54 holes, -15 (previously -11, Chris Stutts 1990, Keith Mitchell 2010, Grant Daugherty 2011, William Nottingham 2016) • Lowest score for 18 holes, 63 (previously 63, Davis Shore 2014, Brandon Skeen 1999, Will Pearson 2008) • Lowest score to par for 18 holes, -9 (previously -7, Davis Shore 2014, Will Pearson 2008, Brandon Skeen 1999) • Lowest score for 9 holes, 30 (previously 31, Davis Shore 2014, William Nottingham 2016) • Lowest score to par for 9 holes, -6 (previously -4, Davis Shore 2014, William Nottingham 2016) • Lowest score first 36 holes, 132 (previously 132, Chris Stutts 1990) • Lowest score to par first 36 holes, -12 (previously -12, Chris Stutts 1990) • Lowest score final 36 holes, 132 (previously 133, Davis Shore 2014, Joe David 2008, Will Pearson 2008, Cayman Ratliff 2013) • Lowest score to par final 36 holes, -12 (previously -11, Davis Shore 2014) Morris shot a final-round 69 despite a bogey and double-bogey. He offset those with four birdies and an eagle. Morris made 18 birdies and two eagles in 54 holes. Knoxville’s Carson Kammann shot 6-under 66 in the final round to finish tied for third at 211 along with Cameron Tankersley and Knoxville’s Lance Simpson – a Tennessee commit – East Tennessee State commitment Jack Tickle ended up in sixth place (70-70-72–212), followed by William Rieck (71-70-72–213), Patton Samuels (70-74-70–214), and Mark McDearman (73-74-68–215). Three players tied for 10th: Jackson Skeen (71-76-69–216), Aidan Collier (73-71-72– 216) and Conner Brown (74-71-71–216)
We Love Our Golfers!!!
Around Nashville Fairways Wayne Evans
Superintendent of Sports/ Golf Clubhouse Operations
McCabe getting new greens; Shelby remains closed
2424 Old Hickory Blvd. • 615-862-8493
We have lots of things going on this month in our golf facilities. McCabe Golf Course is currently closed until early September for the installation of new greens. We have had great success in the past few years with the TifEagle/ultradwarf Bermuda grass greens that were installed in consecutive years at Two Rivers, Harpeth Hills, and Ted Rhodes. These have provided an outstanding putting surface that holds up well to our high amount of traffic as well as the hot temperatures we experience here in our summer season. Our golf maintenance staffs are working diligently to
get these installed at McCabe. While the course is closed, our practice range is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon until 8 p.m., so you can still work on your game. Shelby Golf Course is still closed due to the severe damage it received from the March tornado. It sustained heavy damage to trees, the irrigation system, and cart paths. We are hoping to reopen Shelby sometime this fall. Our other courses have been extremely busy during this time. They have not only picked up additional Hours of new faces at our courses. play from our facilities that are closed Operation The Covid-19 pandemic has limited some of the temporarily, but we have seen many Tuesday-Sunday Noon - 8 p.m. things we can offer, and has changed how we do things. However, one positive during this coronavirus era is that we have seen that many of the people who have always said that they would like to pick up the game if they had time, have now had the opportunity to do so with so many going through shutdowns, furloughs, and working from home the past few months. Hopefully, they become hooked on what we think is the best sport around. We hope you all stay well, and we look forward to seeing you at our facilities. No. 9 green on the South Course, sprigged and top-dressed
on July 9, just 5 days into the process
46th & Murphy Rd. • 615-862-8491
Forrest Park Dr. • 615-352-9958
20th & Fatherland • 615-862-8474
Two Rivers Parkway • 615-889-2675
1901 Ed Temple Blvd. • 615-862-8463
2009 Sevier Street • 615-880-1720
Courses seeing new, familiar faces during pandemic W elcome to the new normal, if such a thing exists! As we try and deal with this ever-changing pandemic, we are seeing some changes in the behavior of our citizens. One of the unintended consequences of this awful situation is that people are looking for ways to get outside in the fresh air, and quite logically one of the places they want to go is to the golf course. We have seen some folks that we haven’t seen in years. Some are taking the game up again, or now have the time to bring their children or grandchildren out to introduce them to golf and the great outdoors. Believe it or not golf could benefit from this terrible situation, along with other sports and outdoor activities that have been put on the back burner of life. It seems that people may be tired of sitting on the couch watching television while their kids play video games all day. Outside in the fresh air is good. We are grateful to be able to keep our golf courses open during these trying times, but we would also like to remind everyone to be aware of social distancing for themselves and our staff. We understand that everyone might have a different outlook on the present situation, but we ask that you are respectful to our guests and our staff at each of our cours-
es. If you want to wear a mask when you enter our clubhouses that would be great—your call. If you don’t feel well for any reason, please don’t come to the course. Let’s look after each other and get through this together. While we are talking about staying healthy, please go to our Tennessee State Parks website (State.Parks@tn.gov) to see our Healthy Parks, Healthy Person App. You can actually earn rewards for having fun. Try it! Hopefully, we might have some major golf events coming soon that might have
some different drama added to the normal equation. Question? If Bryson DeChambeau (like him or not at the moment) wins one or two of the three majors that will be played in the next few months, do you think the USGA will make a long-anticipated move to limit the distance the golf ball travels? He has added about 20 to 30 yards to his tee shots in the last few months, and as of this writing has not finished outside the top eight in months. This has not happened since the gutta percha came into being.
For instance, the last time anything came remotely close to this was in 2003 when the ball really changed drastically. In a 12-month period surrounding 2003, the best players in the game, who were trying unsuccessfully to beat Tiger Woods, gained some real yardage. Ernie Els, plus-18 yards. Retief Goosen, plus-17 yards. Phil, plus-16 yards. Vijay, plus-15 yards. Tiger only gained seven yards. These yardages were on average over 12 months. They still could not beat him but they sure did gain an advantage on all of the other players of the day. Since this is basically an opinion piece, here is mine. We don’t need 8,000-yard golf courses, simply put, it’s just too expensive for the operators. We could at least stop the distance the ball travels as of today—that would help some. Most of us are happy to see golf back on television, even without the fans, and we look forward to what might be in store for us for the rest of the year. As usual, I am selling hope. And it is my hope that each of you stay healthy and come see us on the Tennessee Golf Trail very soon. Logistically, we still have a few things to deal with regarding the COVID-19 guidelines, but we are here for you. We are open, and we will do what we can to make sure you enjoy your day on the TGT. We look forward to seeing you soon. - Mike
In the mid-19th century, most people could only dream of playing golf. There were at the time fewer than 20 golf clubs around the world, with just three being outside Scotland. But that was not the only thing that prevented most people from playing golf. The high cost of golf essentials, especially of golf balls, made the game pretty much inaccessible to ordinary people. But that was soon about to change. The invention of the golf ball that was about to trigger a revolution is traditionally attributed to the Scottish divinity student Robert Adam Pater-
son (1829-1904). Some authors, however, have questioned the story about a poor golf enthusiast who is looking for ways to be able to enjoy the game, which would eventually lead to the invention of the gutta percha ball or the guttie. The widely accepted story goes, that one fine day in 1843, Paterson’s father received a package that contained a statue of Vishnu which was protected by shavings of gutta percha. Young Paterson played with the blackish-brown material of same name Malaya tree until he one day rolled it into a ball. It didn’t take long for him to find it a purpose. He painted it white and tried it out in the herbage of the St. Andrews Old Course.
After a few strokes, however, Paterson’s gutta percha ball fell apart. Not willing to give up just yet, he made more balls and tried again. But the balls disintegrated very quickly this time as well. When young Paterson completed his studies, he emigrated to America. But before he left, he told his brother about his gutta percha “experiment” who thought it was worth giving it another try. And he did. In 1846, he sent the improved version in London but there was almost no interest in the novel golf ball. Little by little, however, the guttie was taken up by a growing number of golfers and by the early 1860s, the featherie practically became “extinct”.
Gutta Percha Ball (The Guttie)
Photo Credit: “Gutta Percha (Smooth)” to The British Golf Museum
Breen Wins Tennessee Senior PGA Professional Championship NASHVILLE, Tenn. â€“ After two days of beautiful weather at the Nashville Golf & Athletic Club, Bill Breen, PGA of Harpeth Valley Golf Center secured his fourth Tennessee PGA win in a row this year at the Tennessee Senior PGA Professional Championship. Round one of the tournament brought clear skies and plenty of birdies to go around. Breen clocked in four birdies and only a single bogey on the 18th hole to make his round one score threeunder, 69. Oak Ridge Country Club Professional Glenn Hudson, PGA and Ted Rhodes Golf Course Professional Audie Johnson, PGA tied one stroke behind Breen at two-under, 70. Hudson sunk two eagles and two birdies to bring him to the runner up position. Johnson finished the round with
four birdies securing his number two spot on the leaderboard. There was a three way tie for fourth place between Bear Trace at Tims Ford Professional Jared Melson, PGA, The Honors Course Professional Henrik Simonsen, PGA and Vanderbilt Legends Club Professional Buddy Harston, PGA. Melson finished the day with two birdies, Simonsen with four birdies, and Harston
Congratulations to these gentlemen that have qualified to play in the 2020 Senior PGA Professional Championship presented by Cadillac at PGA Golf Club/Port St.Lucie, FL/ Oct.15-18. (L-R) Henrik Simonsen, PGA, Jake Reeves, PGA, Audie Johnson, PGA, Jared Melson, PGA, and champ Bill Breen, PGA. Not pictured, Walt Chapman, PGA
with seven birdies to put the trio at one-under, 71. With the top six players all within a stroke of each other, the competition was high for the second round. Breen kept his momentum high and had three early birdies in a row on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th hole. Melson played it steady with all pars and a single birdie on the front nine but he fought hard and sunk three birdies on the back nine to finish run-
ner up at four-under, 140. Fairways & Greens Golf Professional Walt Chapman, PGA had a bit of a rough start with a bogey on the first hole but that was his only one as he finished at third place with four birdies at two-under, 142. Johnson fought hard to stay in the top six with three birdies and finished at fourth place with one-under, 143. Fox Den Country Club Professional Jake Reeves, PGA was determined to get a top spot as well and went from seventh place to a tie for fifth with Simonsen after three birdies in the second round. Simonsen finished the day with two birdies for the pair to finish even at 144. Breen had another three birdies in a row on the 13th, 14th, and 15th holes totaling eight birdies for the round which put him in the top spot at eleven-under, 133. This year, the top 6 finishers will represent the TNPGA at the 32nd Senior PGA Professional Championship at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Good luck to Breen, Melson, Chapman, Johnson, Reeves, and Simonson at the National Championship.
The Skinny on Rangefinders and GPS If you’re in the market, here’s what you need to know
By Justin Onslow Tee Times Unless you’re a Tour professional with a caddie in tow, it’s hard to argue against the use of distance-measuring technologies like hand-held GPS units and rangefinders. After all, most of us average amateur golfers are just concerned with hitting our best shots in the right directions and at the right distances. Even for the most skilled golfers, though, there’s no shame in utilizing the best technologies in golf to improve play and card the lowest score you can muster. Golf has always been a game predicated on technological advancements – from putters to drivers, three- and four-piece golf balls to the ultralightweight shoes on our feet – and no technology has improved more in recent years than distance-measuring aids in the form of GPS and laser rangefinders. Joe Hallett, who won the 2018 Horton Smith National Award for the PGA of America’s top educator and is the Director of Instruction at Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tennessee, has a lot of experience using both GPS units and rangefinders to coach his players. He understands the value of both.
Why a Rangefinder? Laser rangefinders are beautifully simplistic. To get an accurate measurement of distance, a rangefinder will bounce a laser off whatever you point it at, then calculate the time it takes for the laser to bounce back. That time calculation gives the rangefinder an extremely accurate distance from the user to the object. Point. Shoot. Done. Rangefinders have their drawbacks, but there’s no denying how effective they can be at taking precise measurements a golfer really needs to hit his or her best shot. Some
rangefinder units even take into account “praxtical” distance to an object factoring in elevation changes. “The one I see in every kid’s bag right now is a Bushnell, and they do have some that have an adjustment for height or altitude,” says Hallett. “If you’re hitting uphill, effectively you’re hitting the ball 150 yards instead of 144, for instance. The average person, if they’re going to play where it’s not very flat, they should have that feature.” Rangefinders also come in handy on the range for dialing in club distances. “A rangefinder is going to cost you a lot less money than buying a launch monitor, and you can learn your yardages on the range and then use that same piece of equipment out on the golf course,” he adds. “Learning your yardage outside depending on the area of the country you live in or on a hot, humid day compared to a cold day – those are all things that are vital for average golfers.” Easy to use, versatile and accurate, a rangefinder can go a long way toward improving your golf game in short order, and ranging from $150 to $600, there’s one with the right features and price point for every player. Why a GPS Unit? GPS units (whether handheld, an app on your phone or a watch on your wrist) use satellite data to provide golfers with accurate measurements from anywhere on any course. They’re usually accurate to within a yard or two, and many have the added benefit of displaying hole layouts on the display screen so golfers know exactly where they can hit their next shot. “You can look at those maps (on the GPS unit) and see what the smartest zone is you can hit,” Hallett says. “You’re looking for the widest area, for instance.” A rangefinder may give you an accurate measurement to a bunker along the
Joe Hallett, Director of Instruction - Vanderbilt Legends Club right side of the fairway, but it doesn’t give a player a detailed overview of the hole to know if that’s the best area to hit to in the first place. In addition, rangefinders have limitations when it comes to what they can take a distance reading of. If there are trees in the way or you’re hitting a blind shot over a ridge, there’s nothing to take a measurement of. Hallett, who reps SkyGolf GPS equipment, has seen practical examples of when a GPS unit is far and away a better choice. “There was a college tournament a couple years ago that SkyGolf provided units for, and the girl that ended up winning said if she didn’t have that, she wouldn’t have won this tournament,” he says. “She bailed her drive way out on the 18th hole and it was in the other fairway, but she could get an exact yardage because she knew where the pin was. You try to shoot that through the woods with a laser rangefinder, you’ve got no chance. “If you’re on a heavily tree-lined course, you may look more toward a GPS than a rangefinder.” Every good GPS unit is fairly precise, but Hallett says SkyGolf technology differenti-
ates itself in a unique way. “The one thing I know sets SkyGolf apart is that they physically send a person to the golf course with a geographical satellite unit, and that person walks the golf course and marks it,” he explains. “When you see a golf course marked up, someone has been there and taken every mark.” Given the more complex nature of GPS units – which vary in size and features far more than do rangefinders – selecting the right one is a little more complicated, but the market is also a little bigger. Options can range from free phone apps to $100 (or $700) watches and handheld units $500 and under. Why Use Either One? “I think the area most people agree on is it GPS and rangefinders shouldn’t be allowed in tournament play,” says Hallett. That said, even tournament caddies will sometimes use rangefinders during practice to verify distance in yardage books. There’s certainly a time and a place for them in the tournament world. For everyone else, the time and place is always and everywhere – for one simple reason. “The first why that any player should be using them is it speeds up play,” Hallett adds. “There’s just no question that those speed up play. Nobody likes to play slow. They like to play and keep moving.” Instead of hunting for yardage markers or waffling between multiples clubs based on estimations, players can easily reference a GPS unit or point and shoot with a rangefinder, select a club and let it rip. It’s a matter of efficiency, but it’s also about playing better and carding better scores. With advancements in GPS and rangefinder technology, both are easier to use and more affordable than ever. And both can make anyone a better golfer. So, why use either one? The better question is “why not?”
Equipment Corner PUMA Golf’s RS-G shoes bring running shoe vibe to the links PUMA Golf, long revered as a trendsetter and innovator in the golf footwear space, continues to push the envelope, with its new RS-G shoe. Inspired by PUMA’s extremely popular RS series of shoes first introduced in the 1980s and recently rebooted with multiple drops in 2019 and 2020, the RS-G (Running System – Golf) delivers unconventional, lifestyle-inspired vibes with all the performance technologies needed to play 18 holes. Incorporating the same, bold, chunky silhouette as the sportstyle
version, the RS-G’s reengineered upper is seam-sealed and completely waterproof, with microfiber leather and TPU skin that delivers protection from the elements, keeping your feet dry all day long. The outsole traction pattern has exag-
gerated and pronounced Carbon Rubber lugs strategically placed in different zones of the outsole to provide traction while the performance Fusion Foam midsole delivers improved, bounce-back cushioning combined with a Softfoam sockliner for the ultimate step-in comfort. “The RS-G shoes are the perfect combination of street and sports style combined with modern technologies and updates that make them relevant to today’s golfer,” said Andrew Lawson, PLM Footwear, PUMA Golf. “Once you put these shoes on, you’re not going to want to golf in anything
else.” The RS-G shoes are available for both men and women in a variety of eye-catching colorways (Vaporous Gray/Thyme/Pureed Pumpkin; White/Quiet Shade/Quarry; and Black/Quiet Shade/Dark Shadow for men, and the same Vaporous Gray/ Pureed Pumpkin, White/Quiet Shade and a stunning Peachskin/High Rise color for women). The shoes feature a price of $130 per pair and are now available online and at retail. For information on PUMA Golf’s entire 2020 footwear collection, visit pumagolf.com.
MOSSY OAK GOLF CLUB - WEST POINT, MISSISSIPPI
...ON WIDE OPEN SPACES
The golf course is the perfect place to relax while social distancing, and Mississippi is home to some of the top-rated venues in the country. Perfect your swing at one of our 140 golf courses. Plan your next Mississippi adventure at VISITMISSISSIPPI.ORG/DONTMISSOUT 20-0217 Tee Times - golf.indd 1
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Spotlight: PGA Professional Eric Brown Vanderbilt Legends Club, Assistant Golf Professional Eric and wife Danielle along with merchandise management, club fitting and instruction. Tee Times: Do you give lessons? Brown: Yes. I give lessons to our members and also to our guests. Tee Times: What do you love most about being a PGA Professional? Brown: There are so many aspects that I love, but high up on the list would be to help players enjoy this game that I grew up loving and playing myself. Tee Times: How much time do you have to play golf? Brown: Currently I play golf roughly 2-3 rounds a week. Tee Times: Who in the golf industry steered you toward making golf a career? Brown: There have been multiple people who have influenced my career, but the main people who have supported and mentored me would be my parents, W.D. and Ginny Brown, and PGA Professional Paul ‘Shim’ McGoy. I was fortunate to have a dad and a great professional work and instruct me at my home course, Shelby Country Club in Shelby, Ohio. “Shim” is in Carmel, California now.
Congratulations to Tee Times Associate Editor Justin Onslow and his beautiful bride, Lauren on their June 5th Wedding!
Photo credit: Jordan and Alaina Photography
Family: Wife Danielle, sons, Ethan, 15; Corbin (17 months old) Home Town: I grew up in Mansfield Ohio, which is located between Cleveland and Columbus. Tee Times: When did you take up the game of golf? Brown: I started playing golf at a young age. My father had a golf club in my brothers and my hands once we learned to walk. Toddler, yes Tee Times: When did you decide to make golf your career? Brown: I made the decision to pursue my career in golf the summer of 1998 Tee Times: When did you acquire your PGA Class A? Brown: I was elected to the PGA February 2001 Tee Times: Name your last two stints in golf and titles prior to present Brown: I was the Head Golf Professional at Bluegrass Yacht & Country Club , June 2016-March 2018. Prior , I was the First Assistant Professional at Belle Meade Country Club, April 2006-June2016 Tee Times: When did you come to Legends Club? Brown: I joined the team at Legends Club in March of 2018. Tee Times: What is your title and what duties there? Brown: Tournament operations for our s and outings,
Rob Akins knew early on he wanted to teach Continued from page 14 story are going to just get lost.” Video is a much better tool, Akins said, but even too much of that can be detrimental. “Video is very helpful, but you have to be very careful,” he said. “People see too much. They see the things that are really important, but they might start seeing some other things. Technology can be really good at the right time; at the same time, it can be really hard for a good player.” Akins uses Toms as an example. “The best player I ever taught was David Toms,” he said. “I think I stopped letting him see his video five times in 18 years. I didn’t want him thinking that technical. Everybody plays by feel. But a beginning player can really learn a lot from video because they are all over the place. There is a right time and right place for it all.” These days, Akins estimates he gives between seven and nine lessons per day. That’s down from his peak, when it could be up to 11 or 12 in one day. He said he usually arrives at his golf academy at Spring Creek Ranch early and stays late. But the goal always remains the same – he does his best to see that each student
firstname.lastname@example.org 901-457-7813 moves closer toward their goal. “Accomplishments sometimes for my older students are different – if I can get them to break 80 then that is just an amazing thing,” he said. “But probably the biggest reward is when I have a child that I teach go to college and do well. They are young and you have the opportunity to really influence their game and impact their character about who they
are. I’ve had people win big tournaments and that’s great, but there are a lot of different ways to impact somebody’s life. Obviously, somebody winning the PGA Championship impacts their life, but other kids just going to school and getting a degree and becoming a doctor, that impacts their life. It’s rewarding when you have a chance to change somebody’s life when they are a kid.”
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We’re OPEN! We’re READY! We’d love to see you! Cumberland Mountain
Come enjoy some fresh air and exercise, and a GREAT game of golf, knowing that we’re following the guidelines of the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, and local public health authorities. Harrison Bay
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