Passing on the lessons — Greenwood teaching golf to his daughter

Passing on the lessons — Greenwood teaching golf to his daughter
by Buddy Pearson Herald Citizen 06.18.11 – 09:00 pm (online edition)

COOKEVILLE — Bobby Greenwood has been giving golf lessons almost all his life. His knowledge and experience of the game crafted from an outstanding amateur and professional career has helped people play better golf. At the age of 72, Greenwood still gives golf lessons although he concentrates mainly on teaching one very important pupil — his 12-year-old daughter Viola.

“I have a great teacher. Dad is a great teacher and, plus, we have a lot of fun,” said Viola. “It’s good to enjoy something you do.”

Viola couldn’t have a more qualified teacher. Greenwood was a 3-time NCAA All-American at the University of North Texas during an incredible amateur career which saw him best players such as Jack Nicklaus and Byron Nelson in match play events. After turning pro, Greenwood spent seven years on the PGA Tour, winning the 1970 Rhode Island Open and taking on the likes of Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer. He captured more than 150 amateur and pro tournaments and has been elected to the Riverside Military Academy, North Texas Athletic and Tennessee Golf Hall of Fames.

“Actually, I kind of in a way, hoped she wouldn’t play golf because I know how tough the game is,” confessed Greenwood. “It’s a lonely game. It’s the most difficult of all games to play correctly. I was wanting her to get into the team sports.”

Viola has tried her hand at team sports, excelling in local youth soccer and softball leagues. But being around a legendary golfer on a daily basis gave her the notion to want to play.

“Viola is a good athlete,” said Greenwood. “She played soccer and softball. She could play basketball if she wanted. She has responded well and she still has a long way to go.”

Viola has just started getting serious about hitting the links this year. She has been practicing hard and learning the game from one of the best ball-strikers to ever tee it up in the state of Tennessee.

“The secret is we don’t have any preconceived goals,” Greenwood explained. “We are just out there having fun and seeing what happens. If she is good enough to become a pretty good player then it will happen. If she’s not, then we won’t force it. We are just having fun and introducing her to the game.”

Having a golf professional for a dad has done more than just show Viola how to hit a golf ball. Greenwood and his wife Elma have been able to take Viola to different courses and tournaments around the country that have special meaning. Greenwood has taken his family to the Masters and to the Player’s Championship at TPC Sawgrass where he was the head pro. They have gone to Berumuda to the Grand Slam of Golf. All of these experiences has introduced Viola to Greenwood’s past as well as opened the door to meeting some of the top players on the PGA Tour today.

“It’s a great experience and I’m pretty lucky to get to go to great famous golf courses and it is helping me learn,” Viola said. “Watching people helps.”

Watching Greenwood give golf lessons to other people has also helped Viola improve her game. She has become a student of the game, getting a daily dose of golf from her loving dad.

“It is a hard game. He says it takes five years to learn the game so I think I’m on the right track,” Viola said. “I’m learning slowly but surely.”

While Greenwood shares his advice and expertise on golf, he also shares stories of his glorious past with his daughter. That’s something she cherishes as much as how to swing a club.

“I love hearing his stories,” said Viola. “I’m pretty proud of him.”

Greenwood is equally proud of his well-mannered and talented daughter. The two of them recently teamed up in their first-ever tournament, competing in the Kiwanis Cookeville Children’s Museum Adult Youth Golf Scramble at White Plains. The Greenwoods finished second in their flight but came out winners as far as having fun and enjoying the experience goes.

“The first tournament being able to play with my dad was really fun,” said Viola. “It was a really great experience.”

“It was a great tournament and we had a great time,” added Greenwood. “It was something I will never forget.”

Greenwood looks to continue teaching his daughter about golf and sharing his knowledge and experience with her, hoping that’s something she will never forget.

Copyright 2011 Herald Citizen. All rights reserved.  © 2011

Published in: on June 19, 2011 at 7:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Bobby Greenwood @ a local History Museum

Bobby Greenwood has been one of the featured athletes at the Cookeville History Museum’s “Sports Theme” exhibit from November 27, 2010 to January 8, 2011.

Excerpt from Herald-Citizen, online edition, 11/21/2010

” The exhibit will also focus on those local athletes who have played their sport on the professional level, from Tennessee Tech football player Jim Youngblood, a nine-time NFL Pro Bowl participant; PGA Tour players Bobby Greenwood and the late Bobby Nichols; and even J.J. Redick, a former Duke guard who now plays for the Orlando Magic. He was born in Cookeville, Tennessee.

”It’s kind of a broad look at sports in Putnam County,” Duke said of the exhibit. “But we especially want to recognize those individuals who have excelled in the sport they loved.”

Read more:  Herald Citizen – Sports the theme of new exhibit at history museum

Published in: on January 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Greenwood earns Distinguished Career Award


March 2, 2010    Cookeville, Tennessee


Greenwood earns Distinguished Career Award

Buddy Pearson

Herald-Citizen Managing Editor
Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010
PHOTO CAPTION: Cookeville golfing legend Bobby Greenwood looks at the replica of the late Bobby Nichols Distinguished Service Award at Golf House of Tennessee. Greenwood was honored with the Tennessee PGA Distinguished Career Award Sunday, one year after his good friend Nichols was honored with the award.
FRANKLIN — Bobby Greenwood won enough trophies and plaques during his competitive golfing days to fill a house. A member of three different halls of fame, Greenwood can add another honor to his long list of accolades. The Cookeville native and former PGA Tour player has received the Tennessee PGA Distinguished Career Award. Greenwood was recognized on Sunday night at Golf House of Tennessee where the new permanent Distinguished Career Award display was unveiled.

“It’s just another award that I don’t feel like I deserve,” said the humble Greenwood. “To be a part of this display and all the history here, it’s beyond your wildest dreams.”

The Distinguised Career Award is the highest honor the Tennessee PGA can bestow upon a golf professional. It recognizes current or former Tennessee PGA Section members who have had outstanding careers as PGA Professionals based on service to their club, course or employer, service and leadership to the association, community service, professional playing record and teaching ability. The Distinguished Career Award acknowledges these Tennessee PGA Professionals as vital and significant contributors to the game of golf.

A member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame, Greenwood was recognized along with fellow Hall of Famers Pat Abbott, Cotton Berrier, Joe Campbell, Harold Elller, Gibby Gilbert, Lou Graham, Don Malarkey, Cary Middlecoff, Teddy Rhodes, Loren Roberts and Mason Rudolph, who were also receiving the Distinguished Career Award.

“It was great to see Mason Rudolph and see him looking so healthy,” Greenwood said. “It’s amazing to see some of these guys and to be recognized along with them.”

Greenwood joins an elite group of only 26 other PGA Professionals who have received this honor. Among those is the late Bobby Nichols, who passed away almost two years ago. As a long-time PGA Professional and owner of Ironwood, Nichols mentored many of the state’s PGA Professionals while he served more than 30 years as the head coach of the TTU golf programs.

As a player, Nichols won more than 100 tournaments, including the 1992 Tennessee State Open as well as the 1994, 1996 and 1997 Tennessee Senior Opens. He qualified and played in 21 PGA Club Professional Championships and two U.S. Senior Open Championships. Nichols also qualified for every Tennessee PGA Cup Match Team from its inception in 1968 to 2007, serving as team captain four times. Two of Nichols’ longtime friends, Elaine Garrison and Kim Meredith, were on hand to accept his replica, which will be on permanent display.

“It’s bittersweet,” Garrison said. “I should be happy and excited but I’m sad. I guess it will always be that way.” Nichols and Greenwood were the best of friends for nearly 50 years. After being introduced to golf at the Cookeville Country Club at the age of 12, Greenwood’s amateur career took off like a rocket. During the 1960s, he dominated amateur play in the state of Tennessee, winning the 1966 State Amateur and the 1968 State Open, becoming just the third of eight golfers to accomplish the feat. He was one of just seven golfers to ever win the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur twice and was ranked by Golf Magazine among the nation’s Top 10 amateurs on two occasions.

Greenwood began a glorious collegiate career at Tennessee Tech, finishing as the Ohio Valley Conference runner-up as a freshman. After transferring to North Texas State, he was a three-time All-American while finishing second in three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championships.

After turning pro in 1969, he made the cut in 72 PGA events, finishing in the Top 10 six times and in the Top 25 in 15 different tournaments. “People are the most important thing,” said Greenwood, who is also a member of the North Texas University and Riverside Military Academy Hall of Fames. “I’ve got trophies and plaques where the name has fallen off and I can’t remember where I won them. People are the most important thing in the world.

“It’s such an honor to have people who care about you come down and be a part of this,” Greenwood continued. “To see friends of Bobby Nichols come down — they love me, too.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Cookeville’s Bobby Greenwood, right, poses with fellow Tennessee Golf Hall of Famer and Distinguished Career Award recipient Mason Rudolph Sunday night at Tennessee Golf House.
Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 10:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bobby Greenwood’s Christian Faith

Backsliders celebrate 60th


COOKEVILLE — In 1949 or 1950, when Bobby Greenwood was a young boy, his father, Bob Greenwood, started taking him to Backsliders Class at First United Methodist Church in Cookeville. Impressionable Bobby was especially taken by the President of the class — smart, polished and a deeply committed Christian. Although Bobby thought he could never be good enough to hold that position, in 2006-2007 the class elected him president.

Organized on Oct. 1, 1949, the Backsliders met for the first year at Vaughn’s Grill on the Square near the church building. “Young Men’s Fellowship” was the original name for a variety of reasons, chiefly because ladies were not invited for several years. Men continue to outnumber ladies in the class, but not in significant numbers.

In its early days, the group did not sing because they claimed they could not. Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Wall, he a noted local Gospel singer and she a gifted accompanist, began leading them and all heaven broke loose. Greenwood testifies that their music was instrumental in his accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord of his life. Although the Walls went to their reward years ago, echoes of old Gospel hymns reverberate through the building in which Jeff Wall Hall is located. Members who wish to contribute funds may, and those moneys have gone to support numerous struggling churches and para-church organizations. In addition to supporting church ministries such as the Ministers’ Emergency Fund and the Food Pantry, they reach out to the community with financial aid to Mustard Seed Ranch, Cookeville Rescue Mission, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Heart of the Cumberlands and many others.

When former class president Jim Ross became a Backslider in 1969, he was struck by the diversity of class members ranging from top-level executives, local business owners and millionaires to regular working people who had not been accustomed to participating in religious activity. Retired Army Col. Hubert Crawford served as the city’s police chief and would on occasion bring inmates to class on Sunday mornings. As its name suggests, pomposity is far from being a trademark of the Backsliders. When the Pharisees attacked Jesus for hanging out with tax collectors and sinners, he answers them, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matthew 9:12) Their goal has been to search out and help those who were not connected with any church and proclaim the Gospel to them.

When Fred Moore, a history professor at Tennessee Tech, was one of the regular class teachers, he provided them with this unofficial motto: “They ain’t no hypocrites here cause we don’t claim to be nothin’.” The official motto became and is this: “Any person regardless of state can become the person he should be through the power of Jesus Christ.” For several years, teaching duties were assigned to specific teachers for the various Sundays of the month. In more recent years, a committee of six people, each of whom arranges two months of programs, has been in effect. This has resulted in an interesting array of speakers and subjects.

On Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Christian Life Center of First Methodist Church, beginning at 12:30 p.m., there will be a 60th birthday celebration for the Backsliders Class. The program will include music by the Webb Sisters. All former Backsliders are urged to attend this joyful celebration. To determine how many porkers need to make the supreme sacrifice, notice of your plans to attend would be appreciated by the planners. 

I may have to be a few minutes late but I plan to be there. I hope to see many former and present Backsliders.

Source: Herald-Citizen, published Sunday, October 4, 2009, Cookeville, Tennessee.

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 6:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Latest Media Release : “On tour with the Tour” ~ by Buddy Pearson

On tour with the Tour
Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Managing Editor
Saturday, Jun 20, 2009

COOKEVILLE — For seven years, Bobby Greenwood was a regular on the PGA Tour. A player who made several cuts and consistent money, Greenwood competed in a lot of PGA Tour events at several different courses.

More than 30 years since teeing it up in his last PGA Tour event, Greenwood is taking a walk down memory lane with his wife Elma and 10-year-old daughter Viola with a tour of the Tour.

There are 20 PGA Tour tournaments or courses where PGA tournaments are being played this year that Greenwood has played in or played on.

There are also four on the Champions Tour schedule.

“It’s bittersweet because I feel like without the injuries I would have won more,” said Greenwood, whose career was cut short by a wrist injury. “It hurts you a little bit when everyone knows what you could have done but I didn’t get to. At the same time I’m very proud of what I’ve done. I should have done a lot better.”

A winner of over 150 amateur and professional tournaments, including the PGA Tour’s Rhode Island Open, Greenwood has been giving his wife and daughter a first-hand look of what life was like on the Tour in the 1970’s.

“This is what my life used to be,” said Greenwood. “This is what I worked 25 years for.”

Greenwood and his family went to the Ryder Cup matches last year at Valhalla and the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.

“Considering my background, where I came from, a third world country, you can only imagine how exciting it is for me to meet and talk with superstars in the world of golf,” said Elma, who is from the Philippines. “I enjoy watching Bobby meet old friends that he played with while on the PGA Tour, and to visit places and famous golf courses where Bobby Greenwood competed while on the PGA Tour is a rare experience.”

One of the best experiences for Elma and Viola came last month when Greenwood returned to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla., where Greenwood used to be the head professional.

“We took pictures where I used to give lessons on the range and we went down to where my condo was,” said Greenwood. “It brought back a lot of memories.”

Greenwood was recognized at a breakfast in conjunction with The Players Championship, which is held annually at TPC Sawgrass.

“When I was introduced, it thrilled Elma and Viola,” Greenwood said. Seeing Greenwood get the recognition from the former and current PGA Tour players makes his wife and daughter gush with pride.

“It is interesting that Bobby doesn’t realize the importance and great things that he accomplished during his playing career,” Elma said. “My husband is a very humble and kind man. Viola just enjoys everything and thinks her dad is a superstar.”

The next stop on Greenwood’s tour of the Tour will be in October at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco. The President’s Cup will be held there but Greenwood played the course when it was the San Francisco Open.

“It sometimes seems bittersweet to Bobby to revisit a tournament where he competed,” Elma explained. “As we visit various tournament sites, Bobby would share with me his experience and anecdotes that happened with fellow PGA Tour players. I really enjoy hearing the firsthand accounts of things that happened and being there at the spot.”

While Elma enjoys hearing the stories, Viola enjoys getting the autographs of current PGA Tour players. She got Jim Furyk to sign a flag at the Grand Slam of Golf and Phil Mickelson signed a ball at The Players Championship.

“Viola has turned into an autograph hound,” said Elma. “She said, ‘When I get Tiger Woods’ autograph, I will retire.'”

Until then, the Greenwoods plan on continuing their tour of the Tour.


Bobby Greenwood at 2009 The Players Championship

Photo caption: Bobby Greenwood stands near one of the scoreboards at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

2008 Grand Slam of Golf


Photo caption: PGA Tour golfer Jim Furyk signs a flag for Viola Greenwood at the Grand Slam of Golf.

Source: Herald-Citizen

Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm  Comments Off on Latest Media Release : “On tour with the Tour” ~ by Buddy Pearson  

“Memories” – Frontpage News Article by Buddy Pearson

Greenwood appreciating past success these days

Herald-Citizen Managing Editor
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Photo Caption: Bobby Greenwood first learned to play golf at the age of 12 at the Cookeville Country Club. His accomplishments in Amateur and professional tournaments throughout his illustrious career are being recognized more and more these days.
COOKEVILLE — When you have accomplished as much in golf as Bobby Greenwood has, it’s kind of hard to keep up with it all. But the hall of famer has found a new appreciation for his success on the links. Like a treasure that’s been discovered and put in a museum for everyone to see, Greenwood’s golfing achievements have been found again and put on the Internet for the world to view. With the help of his wife Elma, Greenwood’s storied golf career is chronicled on the Internet at

“Honestly, the Internet and my website and the wonderful articles by the sports editor of the paper validated what I did,” said Greenwood. “Even I had forgotten.”

Some of Greenwood’s more memorable golfing escapades are already noted in five different books: My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score by Jack Nicklaus; My Story by Jack Nicklaus; Southern Golf Association: The First Hundred Years by Gene Pearce; The History of Tennessee Golf by Gene Pearce; and, most recently, The History of Sunnehanna Country Club and the Sunnehanna Amateur by John Yerger III. But once he and Elma began researching his past successes for the website, even Greenwood was impressed.

“When my wife put this stuff together and we put the stuff together for the paper, I should of had more confidence (as a player),” Greenwood admitted. “I was a better player than I realized. I think it’s important for a golfer or an athlete to make a note of his accomplishments and awards and read those while they are playing. We forget.”

Greenwood’s career is hardly forgettable. Once he began teeing it up at the Cookeville Country Club at age 12, his work ethic and desire to be the best helped propel him to star status as an amateur and in college.

During the 1960s, he dominated amateur play in the state of Tennessee, winning the 1966 State Amateur and the 1968 State Open, becoming just the third of eight golfers to win both tournaments. He was ranked by Golf Magazine among the nation’s Top 10 amateurs on two occasions. He is just one of seven golfers to ever win the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur twice, setting the course record with a 63. Most recently, Greenwood was honored in June by the tournament officials at Sunnehanna in Johnstown, Pa., for his past success as a two time champion.

“It was a moving experience. It was really gratifying the way they treated me,” said Greenwood. “They gave me a sport coat and some framed pictures and they were glad to see me. That’s always nice.”

The day after Greenwood flew home to Cookeville, his record fell to one of the participants in the Sunnehanna tournament after 43 years.

“They thought the course record was going to last forever because it had for 43 years,” Greenwood said. “I’ve had somewhere around 30 course records. This was the last course record that hadn’t been broken.”

Records were meant to be broken and Greenwood certainly had his share. In college, he began his career at Tennessee Tech where he finished as the runner-up in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament as a freshman. He then transferred to North Texas State where he was a three-time All-American, placing second in three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championships.

Perhaps his most notable, and gratifying, golfing experience came during his college years when he playing at Colonial Country Club in Memphis. Greenwood took on Jack Nicklaus, who has won more major championships than any other golfer, and beat him in match play.

“All I thought about was winning a tournament,” confessed Greenwood. “If I finished fourth or fifth, it didn’t mean anything. I went to Niagara Falls last year and I told Elma I played in the Porter Cup there. We went to Niagara Falls Country Club and they remembered me. They pulled out the program and said ‘Hey, you finished fourth.’ Fourth meant absolutely nothing to me at the time. It was just another failure. Then you look down the list behind me and those great players, who accomplished a lot more than I did, I beat them at that time. I didn’t know that.”

Greenwood beat some good players while he was on the PGA Tour. After turning pro in 1969, he made the cut in 72 PGA events, finishing in the top 10 six times and in the top 25 in 15 different tournaments. His lone victory on the Tour came in 1970 when he won the Rhode Island Open. But injuries played a key role in Greenwood’s decision to leave the Tour in 1975.

“The last tournament I played on tour was the Mexico Open in Mexico City. I remember having a three or four foot par putt and thinking this will be the last putt I will hit as a Tour player and it was,” recalled Greenwood.

“My wrist was in bad shape and my back was bad. I had neck problems and it was becoming pretty tough to play so I quietly retired.”

Greenwood began living the life of a club pro after retiring from the Tour, taking over the No. 1 club job in America at TPC Sawgrass. He recently returned to TPC Sawgrass and enjoyed some fellowship with current PGA Tour players during a recent PGA tournament.

“It was nice,” said Greenwood. “I had breakfast with the Tour players and they introduced me as a former Tour player. It was very gratifying.”

The attention and accolades Greenwood has been getting lately is very gratifying for the 69-year-old. In 2002, he was inducted into the North Texas Hall of Fame. This past year, Greenwood was one of the charter members inducted into Riverside Military Academy’s Sports Hall of Fame. At Riverside, in addition to golf, he excelled in baseball and basketball.

But for his golfing achievements, Greenwood was enshrined in the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame last fall, becoming the 30th member of the distinguished group.

“It’s an honor,” said Greenwood. “It’s nice to be appreciated.”

While Greenwood has found a new appreciation for his career, he also appreciates the people around him such as his wife and his 9-year-old daughter Viola. He also appreciates a man who was his longtime friend and golfing partner Bobby Nichols. After giving Greenwood’s introduction speech at the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame ceremonies, Nichols died a few months later from complications in his fight against cancer.

His loss has been felt more by Greenwood than any loss on the golf course.

“I miss him,” said Greenwood. “He and I were like brothers. There will never be another Bobby Nichols.”

Greenwood doesn’t get out and play much golf anymore. He spends time with his family and is still in the golfing business, giving lessons and working as a golf architect when called upon. If he wants to remember something from his great golfing past, all he has to do is log on to the Internet and look at his website and take a walk down memory lane.

Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 6:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Greenwood Inducted Into Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame

by Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Managing Editor

KNOXVILLE — There aren’t many things in life that make Bobby Greenwood speechless. Getting inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame however, is one of them.
In front of family, friends and several of his peers, Greenwood earned his place among Tennessee’s golfing greats on Wednesday night when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Holston Hills Country Club.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Greenwood. “I’m speechless.”

While Greenwood was overwhelmed and at times speechless, his longtime friend and golfing partner Bobby Nichols wasn’t. Nichols gave a lengthy, heart-felt introduction speech before presenting Greenwood with his plaque.

“We have been friends for many years and we grew up together,” remarked Nichols. “I’ve watched his game progress through the years. I know what kind of player he was back then and how good he was. He is a great man. He’s done all the things you need to do to be in the hall of fame. It is a great honor for him to receive this award and a great honor for me to present it to him.”

Greenwood, who was inducted alongside Joe Campbell, is one of 30 members of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. He joins a distinguished group which includes Lou Graham, Waxo Green, Cary Middlecoff, Lew Oehmig, Curtis Person, Sr., Betty Probasco, Mason Rudolph, Gibby Gilbert, Jack Lupton, Hillman Robbins, Judy Eller Street, Ted Rhodes, Harold Eller, Sarah Ingram, Don Malarkey, Pat Abbott, Ed Brantly, Polly Boyd, Emmett Spicer, Marguerite Gaut, Margaret Gunther Lee, Katherine Graham, Harry “Cotton” Berrier, Vince Gill, David Stone, Lauren Roberts, Connie Day and Ann Baker Furrow.

“The biggest honor is to be inducted with Joe Campbell,” said Greenwood. “I’ll take it. God is good. I’m speechless.”

After being introduced to golf at the Cookeville Country Club at the age of 12, Greenwood’s amateur career took off like a rocket. During the 1960s, he dominated amateur play in the state of Tennessee, winning the 1966 State Amateur and the 1968 State Open, becoming just the third of eight golfers to accomplish the feat. He was one of just seven golfers to ever win the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur twice and was ranked by Golf Magazine among the nation’s Top 10 amateurs on two occasions.

Greenwood began a glorious collegiate career at Tennessee Tech, finishing as the Ohio Valley Conference runner-up as a freshman. After transferring to North Texas State, he was a three-time All-American while finishing second in three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championships.

After turning pro in 1969, he made the cut in seventy-two PGA events, finishing in the Top 10 six times and in the Top 25 in 15 different tournaments.

“I’ve learned so much from him,” said Nichols. “I think it’s a good for someone from Cookeville to be inducted into the golf hall of fame. It’s a great honor.”

One of Greenwood’s most notable golfing accomplishments came at Colonial Country Club in Memphis where he beat Jack Nicklaus in match play. Nicklaus wrote about the match in a book and Greenwood included the victory in his acceptance speech.

“I don’t get to talk much about that,” Greenwood said to the audience.

Greenwood’s acceptance speech also included a joke as well as a prayer. He said there were too many people to thank as he appeared to be deeply moved by the standing ovation he received when introduced by Nichols.

“It’s overwhelming,” Greenwood told the Herald-Citizen. “The most important thing to me is people and people came from El Paso, Texas and Melbourne, Florida and from South Carolina to be here. It was so moving. I had a great speech all ready and I got so tore up I couldn’t say too much. It tugs at your heart-strings. One time I was about ready to cry and I thought, ‘This can’t happen.'”

Greenwood’s former caddie Jim Bass attended the ceremony even though he and Greenwood hadn’t seen each other since 1975.

“He’s the one who got me into this crazy caddie business,” said Bass, who met Greenwood in March of 1970. “I was real pleased to get the invitation to come up here. There’s not a better person than Bobby. He’s a far better person than a golfer and that’s saying a lot.”

Published September 06, 2007 12:12 PM CDT


Published in: on September 10, 2007 at 7:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Greenwood to teach at FCA camps

From the tee box: Greenwood to teach at FCA camps

Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Staff

PGA professional Bobby Greenwood has given thousands of golf lessons throughout his illustrious golfing career. But, according to Greenwood, those lessons pale in comparison to what he will be teaching at two Fellowship of Christian Athletes golf camps this summer.

Greenwood will be the head clinician today through Wednesday at an FCA camp at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and then June 28 thru July 2 at an FCA camp in Powell, Wyoming.

“I hope to do the most important thing I’ve ever done in golf and that’s make a difference in a young person’s life and help them not make the mistakes I’ve made or seen,” Greenwood said. “This is more important than any major championships I’ve ever played in.”

A seven-year veteran on the PGA Tour, Greenwood accumulated over $100,000 in prize money during his professional career, competing in five USGA major championships and nine other national or major championships.

After his professional career ended, Greenwood captured the No. 1 club job in the country by becoming the club pro at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., the sight of this weekend’s camp. While there, he hosted two The Player’s Championships during his two-year stay.

At the two FCA camps, the 66-year-old Greenwood will be able to convey his golfing knowledge as well as his deeply-rooted religious beliefs to young golfers ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old.

“It’s an honor to be afforded an opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life,” Greenwood said.

Published May 28, 2005 7:01 PM CDT[rkey=0035676+[cr=gdn

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 2:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Greenwood’s Legacy Chronicled

Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Staff

Greenwood, however, doesn’t have to venture too far to find reminders about his glory days. Besides being engulfed in awards and golf memorabilia at his home in Cookeville, all Greenwood has to do is go to the book shelf and open one of five books to recount some of his more successful moments on the links.

With a list of golfing accomplishments that is longer than a John Daly drive, some of Greenwood’s more memorable golfing escapades can be found in My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score by Jack Nicklaus; My Story by Jack Nicklaus; Southern Golf Association: The First Hundred Years by Gene Pearce; The History of Tennessee Golf by Gene Pearce; and, most recently, The History of Sunnehanna Country Club and the Sunnehanna Amateur by John Yerger III.

“These books started happening. I have five books that have been written with me in there,” said Greenwood. “It makes you look back and say, ‘Why didn’t I have more confidence?,’ when you don’t know all that you’ve done.”

Greenwood has done plenty to establish a legacy among the nation’s golfing community.

The Sunnehanna experience

In college, Greenwood was a dominant force at North Texas State University. He was a three-time NCAA All-American and the only First Team NCAA All-American in the school’s history. He led the Eagles to three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Titles and was also selected to the prestigious 10-member Texas Cup Team in 1964 where he bested golfing great Byron Nelson in a singles match.

During this time, Greenwood was making quite a name for himself as an amateur ball-striker. But, according to the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur tournament in Johnstown, Pa., his name wasn’t big enough to play in the tournament of champions.

“I remember when I was a young golfer I wanted to play in the top amateur tournaments to try to learn how to play the game and one day get on the (PGA) Tour,” Greenwood explained. “I would write these tournaments and ask for an invitation to play in their tournament. I got a letter back from Sunnehanna, a very nice and polite letter, that said I didn’t qualify to play in their tournament. In order to qualify, I had to be a state amateur or state open champion. It’s the tournament of champions and that when I qualified to get back in touch with them.”

Using it as a source of motivation, Greenwood tacked the Sunnehanna letter to his wall so that when he got out of bed every morning he saw it and when he went to bed every night he looked at it again.

Finally, in 1965, he earned an invitation to the Sunnehanna Amateur.

“When I did win the Tennessee Open at Old Hickory by eight strokes, I got a letter saying that I had qualified for the tournament,” Greenwood said. “The club was beautiful and quaint — the golf course was beautiful. It was just a wonderful experience for a country boy from Tennessee.”

The experience wasn’t all that good to start out with. There was a baggage mix-up on the plane ride to Pennsylvania and Greenwood wound up losing his golf clubs and clothes.

“I lost my clubs on the flight up there. So, I said, ‘What’s the use in practicing since I don’t have my golf clubs,'” Greenwood recalled. “I sat around the swimming pool for two days looking at pretty girls and resting. I had been practicing like a dog getting ready for the tournament.”

When the start of the tournament rolled around, Greenwood was still without his clothes or clubs. So, he borrowed woods from a club member, a set of irons from the head professional and a putter from the course superintendent.

“The greens superintendent had a Bullseye putter that I liked,” Greenwood said. “I go out the first round and shoot 70 with borrowed clubs. That gives me confidence. If I can shoot par on this course with borrowed clubs, I should be do pretty good when my clubs get here.”

Early in the second round, Greenwood was one-under when his clubs arrived. He kept the putter but switched back to his old clubs and went on to card a course-record 7-under-par 63. Greenwood went on to win the 1965 Sunnehanna Amateur with a tournament-record 269 tournament total. His 63 is still the course record and his 269 was tops until 1992.

“He was a fan-favorite back then and very popular with the people in the pro shop and people in the community,” said Mike Mastovich, a sports writer for The Tribune Democrat in Johnstown, Pa. “The word of his legacy spread. I’m 40 and when he was here I was two years old but people told me about him and you just kind of root for the guy even though I didn’t see him play.”

Greenwood had such an impact on the tournament that his remarkable story not only appears in the new book, but Mastovich wrote about it again in an article previewing the 2004 Sunnehanna Amateur.

“He actually crosses a couple of generations,” Mastovich said.

But Greenwood’s legacy at Sunnehanna didn’t stop there. He returned to Johnstown in 1968 and won the tournament a second time before turning professional. A two-time winner of a tournament that has been held annually since 1954 may not carry that much merit to most folks, but to the those affiliated with Sunnehanna it does. Only a handful of golfers have won the tournament more than once with a list of champions that includes Howard Twitty (1970), Ben Crenshaw (1973), Jay Siegel (1976, 1978, 1988), John Cook (1977, 1979), Bobby Clampett (1980), Brad Faxon (1982), Scott Verplank (1984, 1985) and Allen Doyle (1989, 1990, 1992, 1994). Those who played and didn’t win at Sunnehanna include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples.

“An invitation was considered a privilege. There wasn’t opportunities for amateurs to play in medal-play tournaments. Sunnehanna was an exception,” author John Yerger III told the Herald-Citizen.

“For a lot of these guys, this book is a chance to reflect on good times, times of great success and great moments in life when things weren’t so complicated.”

USGA Tournaments

The 65-year-old Greenwood has been doing a lot of reflecting lately. He recently had open heart surgery and is recovering at his home on Spring Street. During his recovery he has had the opportunity to watch the U.S. Open and the British Open championships on television, both of which are tournaments he competed in while on the Tour.

“Bobby was a heck of a player,” said Larry Adamson, a former executive with the USGA. “I’ve seen a lot of players and he had a sweet, sweet swing. With a little break or two, I don’t doubt that he could have been successful.”

Greenwood tasted some success while on the Tour, accumulating over $100,000 in prize money. He competed in five USGA major championships and nine other national or major championships. Greenwood competed in the Canadian Open four times, the Bahamas National Open two times and the Jamaica National Open once. He played in the Senior PGA Championship at Laurel Valley Country Club in Ligonier, Pa., paired in a practice round with Arnold Palmer.

Greenwood narrowly missed the cut in the 1990 British Open at St. Andrews but did make the cut at two U.S. Opens. He played all four rounds in the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., and at the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach, Ca.

He was twice ranked among the top 10 amateurs in the United States by Golf Magazine, ranking sixth and eighth, respectively. In 1964, he was the co-medalist at the USGA Amateur held at Canterbury Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio. He also competed in USGA Amateurs held at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., and Wakanda Golf Club in Kansas.

“I handled all the entries and I dealt with all the players and we would get 9,000 entries a year and the field is just 156 with 75 exemptions,” Adamson said about the U.S. Open.

“If you make the cut, I don’t care who you are, you are a player. If you go to the U.S. Open and make the field and then make the cut, you’re a good golfer.”

Southern Amateur and the History of Tennessee Golf

More of Greenwood’s golfing endeavors are chronicled in both of Gene Pearce’s books. In Southern Golf Association: The First Hundred Years Greenwood’s success in the Southern Amateur is duly noted. At the 1968 Southern Amateur at Lost Tree in North Palm Beach, Fla., Greenwood shot an 8-under-par 64 to set the course record. He finished third in the tournament, two shots behind winner Lanny Wadkins.

“I didn’t know that I finished third in the Southern Amateur Championship until the other day,” said Greenwood. “The guys I beat were some great players.”

Pearce’s next book, The History of Tennessee Golf, profiles Greenwood in depth, getting more into his background and accomplishments. And what a list there is.

Greenwood won the Tennessee State Amateur in 1966 and the Tennessee Open in 1968. He also won the Rhode Island Open in 1970. As a rookie on the PGA Tour, he was the “Champions Choice”, the PGA Tour rookie voted by past champions, to play in the Colonial Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

Upon leaving the PGA Tour after a seven-year stint, Greenwood captured the No. 1 club job in the country by becoming the club pro at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. While there, he hosted two The Player’s Championships during his two-year stay. He was also the head professional at Suntree Country Club, a 36-hole Resort and home of the Suncoast Senior Golf Classic.

But one of the better kept stories in Pearce’s publication isn’t about Greenwood playing, but rather watching a golfing great.

While attending North Texas State, Greenwood would drive from Denton to Fort Worth in order to go to Shady Oaks and watch Ben Hogan practice. He did this several times and would watch from several yards away as Hogan would hit a bag of balls, stop and smoke a cigarette. One day Hogan invited Greenwood to get in his cart and ride over to the practice bunker.

Some time later, Greenwood was getting ready to play a practice round and Hogan joined him. Greenwood said that Hogan told him the shafts in his woods were too limber and then Hogan let Greenwood hit his driver on the 18th tee. The next week, Greenwood received a set of woods in the mail from Ben Hogan.

Beating Nicklaus

Greenwood has plenty of stories about his golfing past and he has the opportunity to share them with his wife Elma and his five-year-old daughter Viola. One of his most noted stories is beating Jack Nicklaus in a match-play tournament.

Nicklaus was in Memphis in the summer of 1961 at the Colonial Invitational, defending his title when he went up against Greenwood in the match-play event. Greenwood made an eagle on the 18th hole and then birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the match. It was the last match Nicklaus lost as an amateur.

Nicklaus was so stunned by his defeat to Greenwood that he wrote about it in My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score and My Story.

“When I beat Nicklaus, I didn’t have any idea what I had done,” said Greenwood. “He hadn’t been beaten in three years and he won the U.S. Open nine months later.”

Greenwood’s legacy

Anyone interested in learning more about Bobby Greenwood doesn’t necessarily have to go to a book store. They can just turn on their computer

“My wife Elma is a computer whiz,” Greenwood said. “If you look up Bobby Greenwood on the computer now, there’s all this information.”

If folks don’t want to get on the computer or go to a library, all they have to do is call up Bobby Nichols at Ironwood golf course to get the lowdown on Greenwood. Nichols and Greenwood have been golfing buddies since the early 1960s.

“When he was at the top of his game, he was the best ball-striker I have ever seen,” said Nichols. “He was so far ahead of any other golfers from around here. He had all the shots and he was good under pressure. I hope that in some way he will be remembered as the best golfer in this area.”

Nichols and Greenwood squared off against each other in the inaugural TGA-TPGA Challenge Cup Matches in 1968 with Greenwood representing the amateurs and Nichols the professionals. The two have played with and against each other on numerous occasions since then.

“This new generation doesn’t know who Bobby Greenwood was,” said Nichols. “I wish these young people could have seen him play golf.”

Greenwood doesn’t play much golf any more. He spends his time as a golf-course architect and also gives lessons to aspiring young players on a limited basis.

“Kids that I give lessons to one of the requirements is to buy a hardback note book and keep it so that every time you get a lesson that changes your game or helps you, put down the date and what it was,” Greenwood explained.

Greenwood’s golfing proteges would be smart to write down what Greenwood says or does. Who knows, it may just come up in a book or two.

Published July 24, 2004 7:02 PM CDT[rkey=0031529+[cr=gdn

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 2:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Veteran Golfer Enjoying New Family, Old Game

Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Staff

Bobby Greenwood celebrates Father’s Day with a glorious golfing past and a bright future with his family.

A seven-year member of the PGA Tour during the early 1970s, the Cookeville golf pro today — with his wife, Elma, and daughter, Viola, by his side — will watch the 100th U.S. Open on television, a tournament he played in on one of the most storied courses in Open history, .

Greenwood has played in five major championships during his golfing career, but his experience in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach seems to stand out the most.

“I was in 15th place going into the final round in 1972, the year (Jack) Nicklaus won,” said Greenwood. “I shot an even-par 72 in the third round and was playing pretty good in the tournament. If I stayed in 15th place, I would have been in the Masters the next year and back at the Open again.

“But, that was the year there was a yacht race canceled because of the high winds. The wind was blowing 30 miles an hour and I was playing right into it. I shot the highest round I ever shot in a tournament and it’s just the worst feeling. It’s tough to handle an 86 when you have shot 61, 63 and 64, at various tournaments.”

Now, 28 years later, if something like that were to happen to Greenwood, he would probably have an easier time handling it with the peace and serenity of his new family surrounding him. The 61-year old is married to a 29-year old native of the Philippines and is the father of a one-year old baby girl who is named after his grandmother.

“Some people say that I’m too old for her and too old to have a baby, but this has been a blessing,” Greenwood stated. “The key is marrying the right person. I have two grown children who have children of their own, and I was not looking to have more. But, if you love somebody, you can’t tell her you are not going to have a child with her. It happened and it’s been a blessing for us.”

Bobby and Elma became pen pals through a Christian singles International Filipino connection because he had heard that the Filipino culture was very conservative, sweet, kind and nice. He and Elma began writing to each other and began to fall in love during their correspondence. Greenwood then went to Japan to design a course for Jack Nicklaus. It was on a visit to the Philippines during his stay in Japan that the two finally met.

“I got to know her and her family while I was in the Philippines for two months,” he said. “I came back home and realized I was in this miserable, lonely existence again. So, I just called her and said ‘will you marry me’ and she said ‘yes’.”

It’s kind of ironic that Bobby’s friendship with Jack Nicklaus led to his newfound family. But Bobby and the Golden Bear go way back to the days of amateur golf when Greenwood had the upper hand.

“Jack and I are old friends,” Greenwood said. “I had beaten him in Memphis in a match head-to-head nine months before he won the U.S. Open. He doesn’t hold grudges about getting beaten. As a matter of fact, he wrote in two of his books about the match and that I was the last amateur to beat him and that kind of stuff.”

Not only did Greenwood beat him in the Colonial Classic, but he also set the course record on Nicklaus’s home course. Bobby shot an 8-under par 64 in the Southern Amateur Championship at Lost Tree Golf Club in North Palm Beach, Florida.

“It’s kind of funny because every time Jack goes out to play at his home course, it says Bobby Greenwood owns the course record,” he joked.

Greenwood has a golfing resume’ as long as a birdie putt seems to a 20 handicapper. Besides beating Nicklaus, he bested Byron Nelson in a singles match while a captain on the prestigious Texas Cup Team in 1964. He was twice ranked among the top 10 amateurs in the United States by Golf Magazine, ranking sixth and eighth, respectively. He was a three-time NCAA All-American at North Texas State University, earning first team honors in 1963. In 1964, he was the co-medalist at the U.S.G.A Amateur held at Canterbury Country Club in Cleveland, Ohio.

Greenwood captured the Sunnehanna Amateur (Tournament of Champions), carding a record 63 in the second round in 1966, garnering the tournament record of 269 in 1966. He won the Tennessee Open in 1968 and Rhode Island Open in 1970. As a rookie on the PGA Tour, he was the “Champions Choice”, the PGA Tour rookie voted by past champions, to play in the Colonial Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas.

Upon leaving the PGA Tour after a seven-year stint, he captured the number-one club job in the country by becoming the club pro at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. While there, he hosted two The Player’s Championships during his two-year stay. He later co-founded the Tennessee Cup matches when he returned to Tennessee.

But, throughout all of his golfing glory, the one thing that means the most to him is how he became a PGA Tour member.

“I went to the qualifying school and I tied for third with Johnny Miller and earned my PGA Tour card,” boasted Greenwood. “The real, legitimate way to get on the Tour is through Q-school. If you’re a club pro, you can show up for qualifying on Mondays, but you really didn’t earn a spot on the Tour. You just got the invitation because you were a club pro. But, people will say they played on the Tour when all they did was show up for qualifying rounds and didn’t make it.”

Greenwood, who is currently a golf course architect and president of Greenwood-Clifton Golf Design Group in Orlando, Florida, still competes on a regular basis. In 1999, he finished seventh in the Tennessee PGA Section Championship, marking the oldest competitor to finish that high in the tournament. This past Monday, he carded a 71 at Bluegrass Country Club in Hendersonville to miss qualifying by one shot for the U.S. Senior Open Championship.

“In a way, I was happy I didn’t qualify,” he said. “If I had shot one stroke lower, if that putt had gone in that lipped out on the last hole, it would have cost me $3,000 to make the trip. I would have gone to the U.S. Senior Open to try and break 80 for four rounds and that’s not a lot of fun.”

“I like the challenge and I tried hard to do qualify. But, my best golf is behind me now. if you stop and think about it, playing in a major championship is brutal.”

Greenwood is happy to be playing golf at all these days. He has worked his way through various injuries just to be able to swing a club. He teaches lessons on a weekly basis and plays in a few selected events, other than that, he enjoys being with his family.

“Golf is still a tough game. It’s the most difficult of all games to play correctly. But, when you’re happily married and enjoying life, it’s nice.”

Published June 17, 2000 6:26 PM CDT[rkey=0011797+[cr=gdn

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 2:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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