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Tennessee Golf Association celebrating its centenniel

April 17th, 2014 3:19 pm by Pat Kenney

Tennessee Golf Association  celebrating its centenniel

The Tennessee Golf Association is in the midst of celebrating its centennial. A statewide series of celebratory dinners are being held to honor the occasion.

Last Saturday night, the TGA came to the Johnson City Country Club with a display of memorabilia from the past 100 years. Additionally, it was an opportunity to honor local golfers who had left their mark on Tennessee golf.

Several area golfers were recognized including Bill Argabrite, Bill Green, Frank Brumit and former Ridgefields head professional David Gardner.

There was a "fireside chat" moderated by former Johnson City Press sports editor Chris Dortch who has written a book entitled the "Titans of the TGA."

In it he writes about 50 Tennessee golfers who have influenced golf across our state.

Joining Dortch for the chat were Green, Tennessee Golf Hall of Famer Joe Taggert, ETSU golf coach Fred Warren and golf architect Bill Bergin.

They each talked about their golf experiences. It was a delightful night with many great stories.

Something that Dortch said about his interviews for the book got my attention. He commented that almost everyone he talked with got involved in the game of golf through their father or grandfather.

That got me to thinking about my introduction to the game. I too had been introduced to golf by my father. Starting when I was eight years old, he let me caddie for him. I'd drag his pull cart around the course each Sunday rain or shine and it was grand.

For three years that was as close to the game as I would get. The lessons I learned as a caddy were invaluable.

It wasn't until I was 11 that I struck my first golf ball. And, depending on your perspective, it was downhill or uphill from there.

It was poignant that last weekends TGA dinner coincided with the Masters. It was when my father was transferred to Augusta, Ga., that I really began to play golf in earnest.

That was during Arnold Palmer's heyday at the Masters. His arrival in Augusta each April was observed as if it were a national holiday. His plane actually landed at the municipal airport next to the school I attended.

We'd look out the window as each plane landed to see if that famed umbrella logo was on the tail. When we saw it we knew golf royalty had arrived.

While my father was a big influence on my golf game, it was my mother who should get much of the credit for my passion for golf.

While my father charted my strokes, my mother stroked my ego. To this day, no matter what I shoot, she always encourages me and reminds to have fun and just play my best.

At 94, she still watches golf on television. When I visit her we talk about the game and she's always interested in how I'm playing.

The TGA's centennial dinner reminded me how lucky I have been to share such a wonderful game with both my parents.

Now if I could just hit two good shots in a row my mother and I'd have more to talk about.

Pat Kenney is executive sports editor of the Times-News. On Twitter, he is @KTNSportsKenney. E-mail him at

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