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Golf House does its part to help tornado recovery

Better times have to be on the horizon, don’t they?

On the heels of the deadly tornado outbreak in early March, now Tennessee and the rest of the country are coping with coronavirus (COVID-19) that has virtually shut down just about everything from restaurants and hotels to all non-essential businesses.

Scary times, indeed.

The bright light at the end of the tunnel, though, is that we will get through the recovery from both. And, we’ll emerge stronger from going through it.

One thing you can count on is that we all pull together when times get tough. It shouldn’t be surprising then, that in the days following the tornadoes the golf community was coming together to help those in need.

“We have several different arms at Golf House to make this go, so we can organize very quickly to pull things off,” Tennessee Golf Foundation President Whit Turnbow said. “We were thinking about how to help with the tornado and use golf to do it. (PGA of America professional) Ned Michaels came along, and he and Darren Reese (director of communications) came to me with an idea for a golf-a-thon and things they wanted to do, and my text back to them was ‘Let’s go.’”

“I knew that the people inside those organizations that we work with have a certain part, and they wake up every day trying to figure out how best to serve not only the kids of our state, but the PGA professionals of our state, the amateurs players of our state. Everybody who plays golf has representation inside Golf House,” Turnbow continued. “So, when something like that happens, our response is how can we serve; how can we best help.”

Among other efforts, a golf-a-thon was organized at Golf House Tennessee where lessons from PGA of America pros were offered for a donation and greens fees and range balls were $10, with all proceeds benefiting tornado relief funds. A gofundme page also was created.

Participating pros included Michaels, Matt Walter, Virgil Herring, Joe Hallett, Barney Alary, Buddy Harston, Zac Radford and others.

“We sent a little over $20,000 to the community foundation or Middle Tennessee to aid tornado victims,” Turnbow said. “That was all made through state donations, coming to play golf, coming to get a lesson that was free and they made a donation. There were so many people who got involved, I can’t even name them all. What you saw was all of the organizations coming together and pooling our resources to make some wonderful things happen. But that happens every day inside Golf House.”

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Registration for the Sneds Tour summer events was postponed until April 6-9. On April 6, full members for the past four-plus years can register. On April 7, full members for the past two to three years are eligible to register. On April 8, full members for the past year can register, while new members can register on April 9. Go to Snedstour.org for more information.

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Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, golf is still be played. Although the Metro Parks have shuttered their courses, there are opportunities to get out and enjoy the game when the rain lets up. Courses that have remained open have taken precautions to ensure the safety of the employees and customers.

Most are sanitizing high-traffic areas constantly and are offering single carts in an effort to promote social distancing. Some have raised the cups so that you don’t have to reach into the hole to retrieve your ball after holing a putt. Most have removed water coolers, bunker rakes and ball washers.

It’s also a good time to walk instead of riding. Before going to play, check with your local course to make sure it is open.

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Former Lipscomb golfer Ryan Terry won the Florida Azalea Amateur in Palatka played March 20-22. Terry, a financial planner in Nashville, shot rounds of 69-66-69 on the par-70 Palatka Golf Club to win by one shot over Steve Albright.

Terry won in dramatic fashion, holing a 15-footer for birdie on the final hole to win by one shot.

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