First Tee’s Kayli Lucas Garners National Attention
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
Editor: Gregg Dewalt
Some notes from around the world of golf:
Gallatin’s Kayli Lucas and The First Tee of Nashville got some well-deserved national attention ahead of her appearance in the PGA Tour Champions Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.
Lucas was one of 78 players from First Tee chapters around the country selected to play in the annual event, and no doubt she has one of the most unique and amazing stories of any of this year’s participants.
Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press chronicled Kayli’s journey to golf that began in an orphanage in Nanjing, China after she was found abandoned outside an equipment factory and adopted by Lisa Lucas, who was in a 20-month process of adopting a baby girl.
The tour’s website also has a video chronicling her story.
Lisa Lucas told the Associated Press that Kayli “is a miracle all the way around,” overcoming numerous health issues early in life.
“She was about nine months when we got her and from the lack of human touch, she could barely hold her head up,” Lucas said in the AP story. “Two weeks before we left, she was sitting up on her own.”
A friend invited Kayli to The First Tee, and she asked her stepfather, Greg Borchers, to show her how to swing a club before her first lesson.
“She had this eagerness to learn the game of golf,” Josh McCade, executive director of the The First Tee of Tennessee, said. “That was something you could tell. After class, she’d be hitting balls on the range, putting and chipping on her own. You can separate kids from who’s there because they want to be there. She has a great spirit about herself.”
According to the PGA Tour Champions website, Kayli also got a pretty good pairing for the tournament – Davis Love III.
Morristown’s Millstone Golf Club closing
Citing financial reasons, one of east Tennessee’s long-standing golf facilities announced it would close in mid-October.
The Millstone Golf Club, a nearly 30-year old public facility in West Morristown, will close on Oct. 13, club officials announced in late September.
George McGuffin, a club co-founder and owner, told the Morristown Citizen-Tribune that the course never recovered from the economic downturn of 2008.
“Our revenues went down and didn’t come back,” he told Citizen-Tribune staff writer Shawn Singleton.
According to the Citizen-Tribune, Millstone Golf Club was the host club for most of the area’s high school golf teams and also for Walters State Community College and Carson-Newman University. The course once hosted between 50-60 events annually, but that has dwindled to between 30 and 40.
The course opened in 1995 and has hosted then-Nike Tour qualifiers from 2000-06. McGuffin said early on, as many as 35,000 rounds a year were being played at Millstone.
The Citizen-Tribune said there are no immediate plans for redeveloping the property.
Louisiana’s Audubon Golf Trail expands
Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser recently announced the state’s acclaimed Audubon Golf Trail has added three more courses to its fold, bringing the number of courses to 18 on the trail.
The new courses are LaTour Golf Club, located in Mathews, Louisiana, Oak Knoll Country Club in Hammond and Kosati Pines Golf Club at the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder.
LaTour is a David Toms design, while Oak Knoll is in the Northshore golf community. Kosati Pines is ranked No. 4 on the Golf Digest list of Best in State for 2019-20.
“We are very excited about the expansion to Louisiana’s very own Audubon Golf Trail that offers players excellent golf venues 12 months out of the year,” Nungesser said in a news release. “Only in Louisiana can you experience the courses of Arnold Palmer, David Toms, Trent Jones Sr., Pete Dye and the most magnificent designer of all, Mother Nature. As home to the Audubon Golf Trail, Louisiana is more than great food, festivals and music – it’s great golf too.
New Huntsville Korn Ferry Tour stop seeks volunteers
The Huntsville Championship, a new Korn Ferry Tour stop slated for April 20-26 at The Ledges in Huntsville, Alabama, has opened registration for those wanting to volunteer at the tournament.
The $80 registration fee includes a golf polo, hat, jacket, weekly tournament credential, complimentary food and beverage in the volunteer headquarters, and an invitation to the Volunteer Appreciation Party.
Volunteers who complete two or more shifts also receive a complimentary round at the course, which is rated among the best in Alabama.
For more information, go to huntsvillechampionship.com.