Legends Golf Club Hosts 2012 AJGA Junior OpenThe AJGA has set a standard for years, to be the best at what they do. So what do they do? The AJGA is a non-profit dedicated to the overall growth of and development of young men and women who aspire to earn golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. And they’ve been tremendously successful at what they do, you may have heard of one of their alumni… do the names Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods sound familiar? How about Paula Creamer, Jim Furyk Lorena Ochoa, Davis Love III, Brittany Lincicome, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Stacy Lewis, Morgan Pressel or Hunter Mahan? What do they all have in common? The AJGA.
Before the PGA Tour wins, major victories, national championships and an induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Phil Mickelson was like a lot of other young golfers at the AJGA, wide eyed and good at golf. From 1985 to 1989 “Lefty”, as he would later become known, played in 26 events and still holds the AJGA Boys Division record for most career individual wins with 12. While at the AJGA he earned the Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 1986,’87, and ’88, and he’s not the only one.
Tiger Woods won eight of the 13 AJGA tournaments he participated in from 1991-1993, which ties him with two other golfers for second most AJGA career wins in the history of the organization. In addition to that, he earned the title of Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 1991-1992, making appearances in the Wyndham Cup from 1990-1993 as a member of the West Team and posted a record of 11-3-2, the best of any boy in the tournament’s history.
All of these big names had to learn to adjust to the spotlight, and how to perform under pressure by playing in tournaments and numerous other competitive events. The 2012 AJGA Junior Open, hosted this year by The Legends Golf Club, is an event for both boys and girls ages 12-18, with a field of 78 players. The match consists of 54 holes in stroke-play format, which makes the Junior Open a prime platform for the young golfers to refine their skill and rack up some wins in the process.
General Manager of The Legends Golf Club, Mark Bland, noted “The AJGA is one of the biggest junior golf organizations in the nation and it’s the first event of that caliber that we’ve had here. It’s really great.” Adam Rogers, an April 2011 Hilton Head graduate, is the AJGA Assistant Tournament Director and because of a relationship between Legends owner Dr. Tim Somerville and Lou Skovron and the AJGA that has spanned over two decades, in May 2011, after PGCC purchased the course, The Legends Golf Club was selected by the AJGA as one of nine Southern California venues.
Though golf is a gentlemanly sport one might think that a three-day tournament with a field of almost 80 12-18 year-olds would be a handful, but not Nick Bland, Head Golf Professional at The Legends Golf Club. In fact, he couldn’t feel more differently.“The AJGA has done such a wonderful job with setting forth high expectations when it comes to etiquette, that all the kids have been well mannered, polite, and gracious towards our staff and volunteers.” In fact, here’s a little-known tidbit that speaks to the caliber of player at the AJGA; every day of competition the AJGA staff asks that each player write a “Thank You” card to the General Manager, Director of Golf, and Head Golf Professional. They also hold a Parents Meeting the night before competition to cover rules and regulations on the event, to include conduct, etiquette, and expectations.
Thank you cards and good etiquette are only part of the impressive display put on by these kids, because one thing is for sure; they’ve got game. Nick Bland is quick to point out that one of his favorite things about the week is the element of spectatorship “My favorite part of this week is seeing wonderful golf being played at such a young age. It is amazing that the golf swings, focus, and mannerisms of these kids closely mimic players on The PGA Tour. Since the Tiger Woods era, golf is being taught to kids at such a younger age now that the talent levels have risen and expectations are higher.”
Golfers aside, the AJGA is serious business and the opportunity to work with them does not go unnoticed, or unappreciated, by the Legends staff. “It has been an educational week working with The AJGA. They have accomplished so much in the world of junior golf and golf competitions that I believe any golf professional can learn from their organization in regards to tournament competition setup, facilitation, and business acumen.” Bland continued, “I am in appreciation of the “mantra” that their team carries to each facility, as each staff member or volunteer, upholds the values and mission of their organization. I in turn, think their employees, would say the same about the team at The Legends Golf Club, and how we are dedicated to host, assist, and carry out a successful event for junior golf.”
Congratulations to the 2012 AJGA Junior Open winners Franklin Huang of Poway, CA, and Chayanid Prapassarangkul of Bangkok!
Franklin posted rounds of 69-69-67, to win the AJGA Junior Open at The Legends at 11-under-par 205. In the Girls Division, Chayanid, carded a three-round total of 8-under-par 208 after shooting 70-68-70.
Grad Plays The Ball As It Lies; In Golf and LifeTo exemplify something, you must fully inhabit it, know it inside and out. Not everybody can do this, which is why it is all the more noteworthy when someone sets a truly great example. Lisa Noble, a PGCC Orlando alumnus is well on her way.
“I discovered a love for the game as I began to learn the game. As I began to spend time working on my game, it was equal to spending time with myself & learning who I am” she continues, “It also shows me how it equates to life. Like every round of golf, everyday of your life will not be the same.”
While the game of golf does offer us a mulligan, life isn’t always so willing to oblige. Sometimes you’ve got to keep the ball rolling. Over Lisa’s tenure at PGCC Orlando she made it a point to keep that ball rolling no matter what. “I always had a love for golf & always sought avenues to continue my learning experience." This is what brought her to PGCC, however, finding her way here was one thing; getting to school was an entirely different animal. Complications resulting from a car accident, including car trouble and rehabilitation, placed a strain on Noble, who was already busy being a single mother to two young boys; but that stumbling block merely became an opportunity for her to offer up a different perspective.
”It was a 2.5 hour commute” she recalls, “I looked forward to the drive because I was finally on a career path that I loved!” she continues “8 - 12 was a very sacred time of imparting golf knowledge & exchanging information” she concludes that “It was the time of my life because golf is the love of my life!”
Her love of golf, the result of groundbreaking participation in her college’s golf team, ran deep and was clearly a guiding force in her life. “Playing on a high school team was not afforded to me because women playing on golf teams did not exist in the area where I lived. I had the opportunity to be the first female on the "first" Pitt Community College Bulldog's Golf Team. It was a men’s team, of course, but because there were no women’s teams, I was granted full play and practice privileges.”
No matter how much things change, it can still be a difficult adjustment to be a woman in a male dominated sport, but Noble used golf as a means of connecting to other golfers, because that’s her bottom line, and this is no understatement; PGCC provided a platform for her to learn and grow.
“The greatest lesson I learned at PGCC is that I really love golf! Despite the many obstacles during the 16 months, I realized my life was like a round of golf and I just learned to play the ball as it lies. My dedication, drive and passion help me to see obstacles as opportunities. I could not have completed those 16 months if I did not have that love! The love is what continues to make the difference.”
Noble’s experience cannot be summed up in a single word, but her enthusiasm for golf certainly can be; it is nothing short of...effervescent. She's currently dedicating her time to expanding her breadth of experience as a volunteer at Lauden Golf of Ponte Vedra Beach and she’s still got her eye on the future. “I've been building my career for years, so it is shaping up nicely. However, I'm still awaiting my dream job.”
So, what is that dream exactly? “My dream job would be to become a professional golfer and be a touring pro on the LPGA. Someone once said that I was not to have an amateur career on my resume because I was always meant to play as a professional. I thought that was the one of the kindest and highest compliments ever.”
She may play it cool, but Noble isn’t short on fans, she’s got at least two at home. “As a single mom, my kids attended my first day of orientation” continuing, “as we sat in orientation they drew pictures of the PGCC seal, I have them to this day because I want to frame them. Just when you think kids are not listening, our director asked the question "Who thinks they're the best golfer?" My boys looked at me and said, “You are mommy, you're the best golfer!"
Alum Promoted to GM in Record Four MonthsWhen you look back at any number of success stories, themes begin to appear; passion, dedication and direction are three of those themes. Those three are things are the bottom line here,at the Professional Golfers Career College, the shared common denominator of all our students and alumni. Keeping that in mind one wouldn’t be surprised when they hear that another PGCC Alum has gone on to make their mark at a golf club, leaving their own special touch on everything.
Christopher “Kit” Tennyson is one such graduate.
A little less than a year ago Kit Tennyson was promoted to General Manager of Tanglewood Golf Course after occupying the Assistant Clubhouse Manager position, which he earned from very high praise. According to Tennyson, “The greatest lesson I learned at PGCC is that networking is the key to success. This is a tough business with lots of qualified professionals competing for fewer and fewer positions. Often, it comes down to the recommendation of someone you've met along the way.” Much of his professional drive and direction sprang from his time as a pro shop/bag room attendant at Mahogany Run Golf Club in St. Thomas, USVI where his eyes were first opened to see that golf as a career was not just a possibility, but inevitability.
As Tennyson recalls, “I was introduced to the game at a young age by my father, David Tennyson, who has been a scratch player for most of his life. I grew up walking the fairways and learning the game from him. I played baseball throughout high school and college and thought of golf as just a hobby.” Just like that, as most paths do, Tennyson’s meandered away from golf and, for a time, he pursued Journalism as a vocation. “I had been working as an advertising sales executive in the newspaper industry for several years. As the role of newspapers declined in the country, so did the commission checks that were such a large part of my compensation. I had maintained my passion for golf and kept going back to my time at Mahogany Run as the best years of my life. With the newspaper business struggling and a career change imminent, there was no better time to pursue my old dream of a life in the golf industry.”
Which is exactly what he did; “I knew it was tough to get a foot in the door of the golf business so I attended PGCC to give me a leg up on the competition” he says, adding that “PGCC gave me a solid understanding of many aspects of the business. The great thing about PGCC is that it covers such a broad array of subjects; from business planning to psychology & lessons to calligraphy. After my graduation I really felt prepared for any & everything.”
Going from graduate to GM didn’t happen overnight though, dues had to be paid. “Upon my graduation from PGCC in August of 2010, I took a job on the grounds crew at the L.A. Nickell with the understanding that with my background in golf I would also provide group & individual golf lessons in my "free" time. Through the contacts I made giving golf lessons at the L.A. Nickell I was recommended for the Assistant Clubhouse Manager/Golf Professional position at Tanglewood.” And here’s where it circles around, Tennyson was the Assistant Clubhouse Manager/ Golf Professional for a mere four months before he was promoted to GM. Imagine what kind of example you’d have to set to garner that kind of recognition in only 120 days. In a way though, it make sense; he learned from the best.
Frank Jones, a beloved teacher at PGCC Hilton Head who was more of an institution than an instructor prior to his passing earlier this year. “I had several great relationships with the staff at PGCC but the one that stands out in my mind is Frank Jones. I had never given a golf lesson before but Frank's ability to pass on his knowledge and passion for the game enabled me to become a passable teacher myself and really set him apart.” It’s apparent that the affection in his tone is not just sentimental, it is truthful. “We lost Frank this past year and the world and the game of golf is poorer for it.”
We are all part of cycles in life and after mentors pass along knowledge, it is up to the next generation of golfers to lead by example and make their marks, too. “The best part of my job is the people that I meet every day. We are a busy public golf facility and we get all kinds of players. From the die-hards that complain that "The snow is mostly melted, why can't we tee off?" to the weekend warriors with the six-pack per 9-holes. They all love the game and they all have a story to tell.”