ARTICLE: “The Great Debate: Who was Better – Chick Evans or Bobby Jones?”

By Bobby Greenwood, PGA. Published by Tee Times Magazine, Winter 2023 issue, pages 16 and 17.

It was interesting to meet such great people during my seven years on the PGA Tour. I will never forget my meeting with Charles “Chick” Evans at the Western Open at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago, Illinois. I was amazed at how kind and what a humble man he was.

Evans was the most acclaimed American amateur golfer of his time because he won the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open in the same year, a feat he achieved in 1916. He was the first person to accomplish this task and only Bobby Jones has done it since.

Evans won the U.S. Amateur again in 1920 and was runner-up three times. Selected to the Walker Cup team in 1922, 1924, and 1928, he competed in a record 50 consecutive U.S. Amateurs in his long career and he was low amateur in 6 U.S. Opens and won a record 8 Western Amateur titles. Evans achieved all of this while carrying only seven hickory-shafted clubs!

In comparing the two great amateur golfers, Bobby Jones and Chick Evans, perhaps we should also compare the golf equipment that each man used.

When Bobby Jones’ personal set of clubs was tested years later, the set was perfectly matched. All except his 8-iron which was slightly off. When informed of these findings, Jones stated, “I never did like that club so much.” He matched his set of golf clubs by feel as there were no swing weight machines available at that time.

In 1971, I played in the U.S. Open at historic Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Down the street from the club was George Izett’s Custom Club Company. One day, before the tournament started, David Graham and I decided to “get away” and visit the old golf club factory. David was an avid club collector and he enjoyed looking for the oil-hardened persimmon head McGregor woods.

I was interested in the Wilson R-90 wedges. When we went in the company, there was George Izett, the old clubmaker himself. He told us that during the 1924 U.S. Amateur, Bobby Jones came into his shop. Bobby was looking for a 4-wood. He gave Mr. Izett his specs and then said, “Make 25 of them.” So, that’s how Jones had matched the 14 golf clubs in his set… trial and error.

Years earlier, Chick Evans had won all his tournaments with 7 hickory-shafted clubs!

Chick Evans played his last rounds of competitive golf in 1968, winning the Illinois Open that year. After his retirement, he continued to attend events as a spectator and converse with the fans and players. I would always look forward to meeting with Chick Evans at the Western Open each year in Chicago, Illinois.

Chick Evans’ legacy involves more than tournament golf. His name is synonymous with the Western Golf Association, and the institution of the Evans Scholars Foundation. This idea was born after Evans won the Open and the Amateur in 1916. Evans said his mother “wouldn’t think of accepting my money unless we could arrange it to be trusted to furnish education for deserving caddies.” He also said his mother “pointed out that the money came from golf and thus should go back into golf. It was all her dream — her idea.”

Rather than turn professional, Evans decided to take the $5,000 offered to him and establish a golf scholarship fund for caddies. The Evans Scholarships was for caddies only. Since its founding, the Evans Scholars Foundation has invested more than $475 million in the college educations of more than 11,556 Alumni.

By the way, when I played the Tour in the 1970s, the Western Open and the Masters were the only two tournaments on Tour where players could only use the caddies supplied by the tournament; you could not bring your own caddy in those two events.

Like Evans, Jones was an amazing playing record who was one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport. He dominated top-level amateur competition, and also competed very successfully against the world’s best professional golfers.

Bobby Jones competed in golf only as an amateur, primarily on a part-time basis, and he qualified for his first U.S. Open at age 18 in 1920. Jones won the Southern Amateur three times: 1917, 1920, and 1922. He represented the United States in the Walker Cup five times and because of health reasons, chose to retire from competition at age 28! He played his last round of golf at East Lake Golf Club, his home course in Atlanta, on August 18, 1948.

As an adult, he hit his stride and won his first U.S. Open in 1923. Jones was the first player to win The Double, both the U.S. and British Open Championships in the same year in 1926. He was the second (and last) to win the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur in the same year in 1930, first accomplished in 1916 by Chick Evans.

Bobby Jones is most famous for his unique (pre-Masters) “Grand Slam”, the only player to achieve wins in all four major golf tournaments of his era (the open and amateur championships in both the United States and United Kingdom) in a single calendar year in 1930.

After retiring from competitive golf in 1930, and even in the years leading up to that, Jones had become one of the most famous sports figures in the world and was recognized virtually everywhere he went in public. He is the only sports figure to receive two ticker-tape parades in New York City!

Jones’ four titles in the U.S. Open remain tied for the most ever in that championship, along with Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Willie Anderson. His five titles in the U.S. Amateur are a record. In 2000, Bobby Jones was ranked as the fourth greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine, behind Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead third. In 2009, Bobby Jones was listed at No. 3 all time in a major survey published by Golf Magazine. Jack Nicklaus was No. 1, followed by Tiger Woods, Jones, Hogan, and Snead.

It is very difficult to compare players of another era because the game has changed so much. Here is another thought: what would Jack Nicklaus have done if he had the equipment that Tiger Woods played with? Hmmm.

• Chick Evans died on November 6, 1979 at age 89. He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
• Bobby Jones was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
• David Graham won the PGA Championship in 1979 and the U.S. Open in 1981.
• Bobby Greenwood played on the PGA Tour from 1969 to 1975.

• Chick Evans with Bobby Greenwood at the 1975 Western Open, Butler National Golf Club, Oak Brook, Illinois.
• Bobby Greenwood on the 18th hole during the 1971 Western Open tourney @ Olympia Fields Country Club, PGA Tour, July 15, 1971. Photo by famed photographer, Bob Langer.

• Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA.
• Photo collage credit:

“The Great Debate: Who was Better – Chick Evans or Bobby Jones?”
By: Bobby Greenwood, PGA
Published by: Tee Times Paper
Winter 2023 issue, pages 16 and 17.
Page 16:
Page 17:


Former PGA Tour Player
Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Published in: on February 22, 2023 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Article: Memories of the 1990 British Open Championship

Article by: Bobby Greenwood, PGA
Published by: Tee Times Paper
Summer 2022 issue, pages 16 and 17.

The 150th British Open Championship will be played this week (July 14-17, 2022) at the famed St. Andrews Golf Club in Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom. This brought back memories as I traveled to Scotland 32 years ago to qualify for the Open in 1990 at St. Andrews… the home of golf. 

Elma found these Florida Today newspaper articles…

[EXCERPT from Florida Today, “Greenwood aims for British Open” by Paul Enriquez, Sunday, July 15, 1990 (revised edition):

Bobby Greenwood is a realist. 

The Suntree Country Club golf professional left this week for Prestwick, Scotland, on a transatlantic journey which he hopes will produce a spot in the British Open.

“The odds are I am going to be unsuccessful at this,” Greenwood said this week. “I know golf. I have been around and I know that the odds aren’t too good in my favor.” At least, it will be a nice vacation in Europe. 

“I put it in perspective,” Greenwood said. “I consider this a highlight in the twilight of a mediocre career.”

Greenwood, the former PGA Tour veteran, has been the Suntree Director of Golf for nearly a year. Occasionally, he will compete in a Senior PGA Tour event or complete a couple of rounds at Suntree.

“My Suntree members love to talk to me and say ‘Hey, go win it for us,’ which is very nice,” says the soft-spoken Tennessee native. “I have had some success on the Tour, but realistically, it will be tough to qualify.”

Greenwood, who played the Tour in the 1970s, attempts to qualify in a 36-hole tournament beginning Monday. The top 20 finishers are expected to advance to the British Open, scheduled for July 19-22 at famed St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland. 

While not overly optimistic, Greenwood said his golf game could be well-suited for the notoriously wet, windy days in Scotland. “I went to North Texas State during college, so I know how to play the wind,” Greenwood said. “I also had some pretty good success in the rain. I am a mudder. So maybe there is a faint hope.”

They apparently think so… “I had one member come up the other day and show me a golf magazine article by Tom Watson on how he plays the bump-and-run (a common golf shot in Europe). They are really excited about this and, in turn, they are getting me excited about it at the same time.”

Greenwood, who has never played in a European tournament, plans to play several historic golf courses such as St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry and Glen Eagle. So, this trip is more than a chance to qualify for the British Open. But don’t tell that to Greenwood’s faithful fans.

“They have really been so supportive,” Greenwood said. “It makes me wish that I practiced a little more to prepare.”

– Source: Florida Today, “Greenwood aims for British Open,” by Paul Enriquez, Sunday, July 15, 1990]


[EXCERPT from “Florida Today” Local Digest column – “Greenwood shoots 70 in qualifier” Monday, July 16, 1990:

“Suntree Country Club golf pro Bobby Greenwood shot 70 Sunday as he attempts to earn a berth in this week’s British Open. 

Greenwood, 51, posted his 2-under-par score, which included two chip-ins, during the first round of the 36-hole qualifying event. 

If Greenwood finishes among the leaders after today’s second round, he advances to the Open beginning on Thursday at St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland.”

– Source: Florida Today, Local Digest column: “Greenwood shoots 70 in qualifier,” Monday, July 16, 1990.]


I shot 73 in the second round for a 143 total and missed by 2 strokes. 

The following tribute below reminded me of how I was able to go to Scotland… please read on:


One day, she came in the pro shop and said, “Bobby, you should play in the British Open.  It would be a great experience for you.”

I was the golf pro at the 36-hole resort, Suntree Country Club in Melbourne, Florida in the early 1990s. That is where I met Shirley Johnson. When I first came to Melbourne, Shirley graciously allowed me to live in her beautiful house for a couple of months until I moved into an apartment. 

I gave Shirley golf lessons and we played nine holes together on several occasions. Sometimes she would call the pro shop and invite me to come to her house for lunch. She said I needed a break from work. Her advice that she gave to me was always most valuable. 

I came to know Mrs. Johnson as one of the finest women that I have ever known. She was indeed a kind, thoughtful and generous lady. And, she was a world traveler. 

Sure enough, Shirley took me to Scotland to play in the British Open in 1990 at St. Andrews. I must say, it was the greatest trip of my life. We played several of the famous golf courses and we even stayed in the luxurious St. Andrews Hotel! All expenses paid by Shirley. Naturally, she would not let me pay for a thing.

When I got home, I found $300 – worth of travelers check in my suitcase. I called Shirley and she said: “great… just keep it”.

While I was the golf pro at Suntree in Melbourne, Shirley and I would go to the Orlando Magic basketball games. She was an Arena Club member and we would eat at the great buffet before each game. She was a great sport. So much fun to be with. 

In 2007, when I was inducted into the Tennessee PGA Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee, much to my great surprise, Shirley and Thad showed up! What a great friend she was to me.

There are so many great things that I could tell you about this amazing woman. I’m sure her daughter, Sharon, knows how special she was. Shirley told me many good stories about several of her family. 

Because of this lady, heaven seems sweeter to me. I shall look forward to seeing her once again. I know she will be there. By the mercy of God so will I. I hope to see you all there.

– Tribute written by Bobby Greenwood, June 10, 2019.]


In 2005, my friend Buddy Pearson, the managing editor of our local newspaper, Herald-Citizen at that time, interviewed me for a sports article he was writing… Here’s an example of what he asked about my adventure in Scotland… 

[British Open Facts – for Buddy Pearson of Herald-Citizen, July 11, 2005:

“You traveled to Scotland in 1990 to play in the British Open at St. Andrews. You had left the PGA Tour and were the Head Pro at Suntree Country Club in Melbourne, Florida at this time.

Q: What makes St. Andrews such a great golf course? 

A: Woods picked St. Andrews over Pebble Beach as his favorite place to win a major! 

Q: You played both golf courses in a major, which do you prefer?

A: I prefer Pebble Beach because of its beauty and because it is a more fair test of golf.”

-Source: Draft note from Bobby Greenwood’s personal collection dated July 11, 2005.] 



• Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA.

• Florida Today, “Greenwood aims for British Open,” by Paul Enriquez, Sunday, July 15, 1990.

• Florida Today, Local Digest column – “Greenwood shoots 70 in qualifier” Monday, July 16, 1990

• Photo collage credit:

Additional Sources:

posted on Greenwood’s Facebook Page by admin: July 12, 2022

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Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Published in: on December 10, 2022 at 12:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Article: “One of Tennessee’s Finest” – Remembering Bobby Nichols, PGA

ARTICLE: “One of Tennessee’s Finest”
Remembering Bobby Nichols, PGA
By: Bobby Greenwood, PGA
Published by: Tee Times Paper
Spring 2022 issue, pages 16 and 17.

Tennessee golf has produced many great players throughout our state’s history. Players like Memphis’ Cary Middlecoff, Clarksville’s Mason Rudolph, Nashville’s Lou Graham, Chattanooga’s Gibby Gilbert, and Knoxville’s Joe Campbell… just to name a few back in my era.

There are different levels of greatness that most people are not aware of.  For instance, I am not on the same level as these five players.  Why? …because some were former Ryder Cup players or have won major titles and some are World Golf Hall of Fame members. 

The Tennessee Golf Foundation will induct two great players into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame on February 8th of this year 2022. They are the 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel and former PGA Tour winner David Gossett who had a stellar amateur career that included NCAA First Team All-American in college, and he also won the 1999 U.S. Amateur. Both men are indeed worthy of the honor of being Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame members. 

However, there are many other truly great golfers from Tennessee; both pro and in the amateur ranks, just perhaps like me, not on that elite level of excellence.

Cookeville’s Bobby Nichols was indeed one of the notable players, and more importantly, a wonderful man that everyone seemed to love. Let me share a page I wrote back in 2008 for a book to be written about my dear friend, Bobby Nichols.


By Bobby Greenwood in Bermuda, October 2008

When I was asked, six months ago, by Buddy Pearson to write something for his book about my dear friend Bobby Nichols, I thought it would be easy. But I just could not seem to do it… my heart was heavy every time that my thoughts went to my best buddy and the realization that he was gone.

So… as I write this, I am in Bermuda at the Grand Slam of Golf, and the Mid Ocean Golf Club is a beautiful place. This morning, as I watched Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington and Trevor Immelman hit practice shots, it reminded me of a time Bobby Nichols and I drove to Nashville to watch Arnold Palmer and Gary Player play an exhibition at the Richland Golf and Country Club. Bobby and I always were students of the game and we have shared many hours of practice and study in an effort to try to become better golfers ourselves. We have travelled many miles together in our quest to improve. Perhaps this is why I have finally chosen this time to attempt to write something for Buddy Pearson’s book.

Bobby Nichols would be surprised, delighted and maybe even a little embarrassed by this book; for he was someone who was by nature shy and yet he loved encouraging people. He tried hard to live his life so he wouldn’t ever let anyone down.

As a young boy, Bobby caddied for me at the Cookeville Country Club and we became the best of friends. Later, our mutual love for basketball brought us even closer together. We played church league basketball together… we played hard and fast. After I broke my wrist in one game; I warned Bobby that due to poor refereeing the games had become too rough and for him to be careful. He promised that he would. But try as he may, his competitive spirit drove him to be a leader on the church league basketball team. And within 2-3 weeks, Bobby injured his knee that required surgery in Nashville. I stayed with him at night in the hospital.

Many years later, after Bobby became ill, the last two weeks of his life was precious… and also terrible. Again, he asked me to stay with him every night in his home and also in the hospital. During those pain-filled midnight hours, I learned a lot. We rededicated our life to the Lord, confessed our sins one to another and prayed many sincere prayers together.

In an effort to explain what Bobby Nichols meant to me… just let me say, I now have no one in Cookeville who can talk about the deeper truths of playing competitive golf tournaments… even the PGA Tour. Bob won many tournaments in his playing career including the Tennessee Open, the Met Open, Tennessee Player of the Year, etc. One night as we sat together in his living room, Bobby said, “I would give up all my tournament wins if only the pain will go away.” That really put things in perspective for me… once again.

So, there are many reasons why Bobby Nichols was honored by the Tennessee PGA Section with the Tennessee Cup Matches MVP named the “Bobby Nichols Most Valuable Player Award”. He has also been selected by the TN PGA Section to Captain the Pro team of the TN Cup matches on four different occasions! Bobby was a giving and caring Christian man. He never ceased to amaze people with his kindness and generosity. With his devout Christian faith, Bobby exhibited a sense of humility that is rarely seen in the world of sports. 

Not many people know that Bobby Nichols was a giver. He shared with me many secrets of his benevolent nature. And we would discuss how some people would try to cheat or con Bobby. With his Godly wisdom, he would say, “The Bible says, ‘Suffer yourself to be defrauded’… Just don’t let yourself be guilty of cheating anyone.”

When his mom was in the Cookeville nursing home for several years, Bobby would prepare vegetable juice with his blender at his home and take it to his mom every day! I tried to help Bobby as best I could in his time of need, but, needless to say, I was not nearly as good a nurse as he was. 

I know Elaine, Kim and I and others wish we could have done more; but I can only say that we did the best that we knew to do. I was so proud to see how his friends loved Bobby Nichols.

I was proud of the TN PGA for showing up in force for Bobby’s funeral in Cookeville. All of the officers of the PGA were there as many of Bobby’s fellow PGA professionals. Bobby touched countless people in the community, the golf industry and the community was brought together by the shared love and sorrow.

The Bible says, “Rejoice at death and cry at birth.” I know and understand that is true but, I have never met anyone that got the hang of it. Nevertheless, I truly believe that Bobby Nichols is with God and I have to be happy for him… I miss him. He died like a champion and I was able to tell him that on his deathbed. The Bible says: “Godly wisdom brings sorrow.” I miss Bobby very much… I am sad here in Bermuda.

ABOUT BOBBY NICHOLS (May 4, 1941 – March 16, 2008):

Born in Algood, Tennessee, Bobby Nichols grew up as a caddie at the Cookeville Country Club and would go on to be a four-year letterwinner on the Tennessee Tech University men’s golf team (1959-’63), including being the team captain his senior season. After winning the 1991 Tennessee Open, Bobby Nichols made a profound impact on the golfing community during his lifetime.

While junior golf was always a priority for Nichols, so was coaching the golf teams at his alma mater. A 32-year veteran with Tech athletics, Nichols was inducted into Tech’s Hall of Fame in 1990. After a battle with cancer, Nichols died at the age of 66 on March 16, 2008. In 2011, he was officially inducted into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame.


*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA.

*TTU Blog <…/nichols-legacy-lives-on-10…/>


*Remembering a good friend, Bobby Nichols. 

“Thanks be to God for putting a great man, like Bobby Nichols, in my life. Looking forward to playing another round of golf with you in heaven.” – Bobby Greenwood, PGA, November 23, 2017.



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Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Published in: on December 10, 2022 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Article: “It’s Different with Ben Hogan”

MEMORIES: “It’s Different with Ben Hogan”
By Bobby Greenwood, PGA. Published by Tee Times Paper, November-December 2021 issue, pages 16 and 17.

During my seven years on Tour, I was fortunate to play golf with some of the icons of the game. Great players such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Cary Middlecoff, Lee Trevino, Chi-Chi Rodriguez, Byron Nelson and oh yes… Jack Nicklaus.

But I must say, it was quite different when I played with Ben Hogan at the Westchester Country Club in Rhy, New York. By most accounts, Ben Hogan was the best golfer of his era and still stands as one of the greatest of all time. But I could also see why Hogan is widely acknowledged as arguably the greatest ball striker golf has ever known!

In Scotland, Hogan was known as “The Wee Ice Man”, or, in some versions, “Wee Ice Mon,” a moniker earned during his famous British Open victory at Carnoustie in 1953. It is a reference to his steely and seemingly nerveless demeanor. Hogan rarely spoke during competition; we didn’t talk too much during our round. He was a man of few words. He mostly just said “your away.”

Like so many others, I was in awe of the Wee Iceman, the Hawk, yes, Bantam Ben was indeed special… a true icon. At 5 ft. 8½ in. tall and 145 lbs., he also was a very long hitter!

I first came in contact with Ben Hogan while I was playing college golf at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. I would hitch a ride from Denton to Ft. Worth just to see Hogan practice at his home course Shady Oaks Country Club.

I would stay perhaps fifty yards away and lean up against a tree. Each day I would move a little closer. After several trips I got within thirty or forty yards. Hogan would hit a bag of balls, stop and smoke a cigarette, and look at me. We would nod at each other, but that was about it. I did this several times and one day, he actually asked/told me to ride in his cart and ride over to the practice bunker. That was my first introduction to Hogan.

Let me tell you why I became so interested in learning from Ben Hogan and why is he considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. During Hogan’s prime years of 1938 through 1959, he won 63 professional golf tournaments despite his career being interrupted by World War II and a near-fatal car accident. Incidentally… these were the first 21 years of my life.

One year while I was at college, the Colonial National Invitational came to Ft. Worth and I decided to hitchhike to Ft. Worth and watch the tournament. I arrived late afternoon, spent the night in the bus station (that’s another story). The next morning, I arrived at Colonial Country Club very early… I walked in with the caddies and volunteers. Happened to pick up a large Marshal Hat and was able to walk down the middle of the fairway with Hogan and Mike Souchak for 18 holes! Looking back, it is amazing what a young boy will do in order to learn the game of golf. Much too dangerous in this day and age.

I later went to qualifying school and tied Johnny Miller for third place, earning a spot on the PGA Tour in 1969. We were playing for only 8 cards that year!

In my first year as a tour player, I was selected as the “Champions’ Choice” to play the Colonial National Invitational at Fort Worth.  The Colonial Country Club was known as Hogan’s Alley because Ben Hogan had won 5 times at Colonial. The “Champions’ Choice” is the rookie they think is going to be a great player. I guess I’m the only Champions’ Choice that never won a major. I wish Ben had given me a lesson instead of a set of woods…

In 1971, our paths crossed once again. I’m on the first tee at the Westchester Golf Classic in Rye, New York with Hal Underwood. We’re getting ready to play a practice round and Ben Hogan walks up and asks to join us. That was the last tournament Hogan ever played in on the PGA Tour.

Ben said that the shafts in my woods were too limber and he told me to hit his driver off the 18th tee. As I addressed the ball, I could see that he was motioning to the large crowd that was following that I would hit his driver to the right. Naturally, trying to hit a good shot, I adjusted my grip and hit a drive down the middle with his x-stiff driver. The next week I received a set of woods in the mail from Ben Hogan… (Apex 5 shafts run through, cord grips with a large string on the underside) just like his personal clubs.

The word got out and my fellow PGA Tour players started showing up wanting to hit Ben’s clubs. I lost the driver and 3-wood to the players and I later sent the 4-wood to Carl Lohren who loved Hogan as much as I did.

Ben Hogan is one of only five players to have won all four majors: the Masters Tournament, The British Open Championship (despite only playing once), the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship. The other four are Nicklaus, Woods, Player, and Gene Sarazen. Jack Nicklaus once said: “Hogan is easily the best that I have ever seen hit shots.”

Consider this: in 1945, Hogan set a PGA record for a 72-hole event at the Portland Open Invitational by shooting 27-under-par. And in 1946, he won 13 PGA Tour events and he won 10 in 1948!

The following year, driving home to Fort Worth after a Monday playoff loss at the 1949 Phoenix Open, Hogan and his wife Valerie survived a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus.

This accident left Hogan, age 36, with a double-fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a left ankle fracture, a chipped rib, and near-fatal blood clots: he would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations. His doctors said he might never walk again, let alone play golf competitively. He left the El Paso hospital two months after the accident, and returned to Fort Worth by train.

It is important to know that the majority of his putting problems developed after his 1949 car accident, which nearly blinded his left eye and impaired his depth perception.

Let’s compare golfing’s greatest triumvirate, namely Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead. These three men had strong character traits and when we played; I found each to have unusual determination and focus. They too were great competitors along with being gifted athletes.

I met an aging Nelson at the 1963 Texas Cup Team Matches in Dallas. I was picked to play on the prestigious 10-player Texas Cup team where the top 10 amateurs play against 10 PGA Tour pros from Texas.

This was my senior year at North Texas State, as a First Team NCAA All-American, I was selected to take on Nelson, who was the captain of the professional team. At 51 years old, Nelson was way past his prime, but here is the man who holds the record for winning 11 consecutive tournaments on the PGA Tour. However today, at 83 years of age, I can look back and see that 51 is not that old. Nelson shot a 68 that day! I made a birdie on the last hole to beat Byron 1-up. That evening we went to Byron Nelson’s ranch in Roanoke, Texas for a lavish buffet, presentation of prizes and speeches from several Texas dignitaries and the PGA Tour pros.

I must say, Byron Nelson, even at 51, was the most intense player I have ever played against! No wonder he won 11 tournaments in a row.

I also played a match against Snead. I, at the age of 53, was coming off a win at the Tennessee Senior PGA Championship and a fourth-place showing in the Senior PGA National Championship at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. We faced each other in an exhibition match at the Sam Snead Pro Celebrity tournament in Nashville. I thought my chances were pretty good against an aging Snead who was 79 at the time. Turns out, I was wrong. Sam was indeed a physical specimen. He had a lot of fire and a temper to go with it. He reminded me of the great Tommy Bolt.

Sam drove it better than me, hit better iron shots, his chipping was excellent and he was even a better putter than me. He beat me 2-and-1. It was like Sam, the old thoroughbred racing against a young mule. I told him “Sam, I’ll try you again when you are 90.”

Snead, Nelson and Hogan combined for 198 wins on the PGA Tour, including 21 major championships… but only one had charisma.

Ben Hogan’s early years were very difficult. He dropped out of Central High School during the final semester of his senior year to turn pro at the age of 17. Ben landed a low paying club job in 1930; met Valerie Fox in Sunday school in 1932; and they married in 1935.

According to his PGA Tour profile, Hogan earned just $332,516 in official PGA events, however, a 2021 study concluded that Hogan’s tournament performances could have earned him $91.8M if he had played in the modern era.

*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA.
*Pearce, Gene. The History of Tennessee Golf: 1894-2001. Hillsboro Press, 2002. Page 272.
*Wikipedia. <>

posted at Greenwood’s facebook page by admin: December 19, 2021


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Published in: on December 9, 2022 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Article: Memories & Mysteries… 45 Holes-in-One!

Article: MEMORIES & MYSTERIES… 45 Holes-in-One!
By Bobby Greenwood, PGA
Published by: Tee Times Paper, October 2021, pages 16 and 17.

Scoring a hole-in-one is one of the biggest thrills in golf. Even seasoned Tour players get excited when they make an ace. It’s also a rare feat that requires just 3 things: a lot of luck, perfect line and great distance control. Do that and you will have hit a great shot, probably close enough for a gimmie. But if it goes in… lucky shot.

While I was playing the PGA Tour back in the 1970s, the hole-in-one world record holder was the 1959 Masters Champion, ART WALL, JR., who was credited with making 45 holes-in-one!

Needless to say, I was a great admirer of this great player.

Art Wall won fourteen titles on the PGA Tour, including four in 1959! That year he was chosen as the PGA Player of the Year, and also won the money title and Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. His most notable achievement was his victory in 1959 at the Masters. In the final round, he birdied five of his last six holes to shoot a 66 and overtake Cary Middlecoff and defending champion Arnold Palmer. At that time, for Art Wall, winning the Masters meant a first prize of $15,000, among other incalculable benefits; his 1959 total was then $33,000, the most a professional golfer had ever won at this point in the year. He was a member of three United States Ryder Cup teams: 1957, 1959 and 1961. – Sources: wikipedia and

Well, let me tell you a story about me and Art Wall who is the “King of Aces”, and you decide…

Art and I were paired together during the last round of the Philadelphia Golf Classic which was played at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania. I was a fan of the great Art Wall and he knew that I was honored to play with him. My being a student of the game my whole life, I thought I would do a test to see if there could be some kind of a knack to making a hole-in-one. After all… how can anyone make 45 holes-in-one? Art was a fine, honest man and all of his fellow Tour players never doubted that he did it. I just wanted to try to learn and study how he was able to do such a feat. So, I decided to carefully do this during our round together that day.

The 12th hole at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club was a 193-yard par-3 with good visibility, a good place for my test. Therefore, I started a friendly exchange with him starting on the first nine. As we would play, I would say things like, “Say Art, how many holes-in-one have you made?”… and later, “Wow, that is amazing!”… several holes later… “No one has come close to 45 holes-in-one!”, etc., etc.

Then thinking about the par-3, 12th hole coming close as we made the turn, I jokingly said, ‘No really Art, how many holes-in-one have you really made?’ Art knew that I was a young pro that liked him very much and he never got mad. I was getting Art ready for the 12th hole.  Finally, as we stepped on the 12th tee, Art had the honor. I timed it just perfectly so as not to bother his shot… just as he teed up his ball, I said, “Art… if you made 45, show me one here.” He stepped back behind the ball, took a breath, walked up to the ball, took his stance… nothing looked different up to this point… except perhaps a little more focused.

This is the amazing part… his well-struck 3-iron shot never left the pin, right on line, hit the green, bounced and rolled toward the flag (I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!), I thought it was going in until the screams from the crowd turned into a dull moan. His ball lipped out and stopped 3 inches from the hole! What had just happened? I’m not sure… This mild-mannered man tipped his cap to the adoring gallery as we walked on the green.

Think about it… Can a human being have a gift or talent to do amazing things? After seeing what I saw, I’m surprised he didn’t make more than 45 holes-in-one. With more luck Art would have made #46 that day!

So… what about Nicklaus and Palmer? Let’s compare…

According to PGA Tour record-keepers, Nicklaus has made 20 holes-in-one overall (including all his practice and friendly rounds). Arnold Palmer had 19 holes-in-one across all settings. Other totals (among all rounds played, including friendly and practice rounds) are 19 aces for Gary Player and 18 for Tiger Woods. And again… Art Wall made 45!

In my 41 years of playing competitive golf, I have made 8 lucky shots but at 83 years of age I don’t remember much about each one. There are four however, that stand out to me. The first one when I was 17, playing in a junior tourney in Clarksville, Tennessee with Walton Smith. The great Mason Rudolph was standing beside the 2nd green (8 iron, 143 yards).

Then, the ace during the Tennessee State Amateur Qualifying round in Memphis propelled me to win the Medalist honors that year (5-iron, 175 yards).

There was one I made on the fly at Cookeville Country Club 3rd hole (pitching wedge, 95 yards). No witnesses…

My last hole-in-one is always one to remember because my wife and daughter got to see me do it (RMA Alumni golf tournament, Gainesville, GA, 5 iron, 182 yards). But, the one I remember most was the near miss by Art Wall that I witnessed at Whitemarsh CC…



[A] 8 iron (143 yards) – Clarksville Country Club, Hole #2
playing with Walton Smith and witnessed by Mason Rudolph
*Bobby was 17 years old, July 28, 1955

[B] Wedge (100 yards) – Cookeville Country Club, Hole #3
September 10, 1957

[C] Wedge (95 yards) – Cookeville Country Club, Hole #3
(went in on the fly), September 17, 1958

[D] 5 iron (175 yards) – Sparta Country Club
September 19, 1959

[E] 5 iron (175 yards) – Memphis Country Club
during the Tennessee State Amateur, June 15, 1961

[F] 7 iron (150 yards) – Cookeville Country Club, Hole #3
August 15, 1963

[G] 5 iron (177 yards) – Bakersfield Country Club, Hole #16 while on the PGA Tour
Bakersfield, California, September 12, 1971

[H] 5 iron (182 yards) – Emerald Pointe Golf Club, Hole #15
during the Riverside Military Academy’s Alumni golf tournament
Gainesville, Georgia, October 2006
Witnesses: Elma and Viola Greenwood, Frank McKay
*Bobby was 68 years old




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Published in: on December 9, 2022 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Article: “DID GOLF SAVE MY LIFE?” – Memories of the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training

Memories of U.S. Army Basic Combat Training

Published by: Tee Times Paper, September 2021, pages 16 and 19.

Memories from BASIC COMBAT TRAINING (1964-1965)


Enlisted: 24 July 1964

United States Army

Co. D, 16 Spec. Bn 4tng Bde

PASC 4-65

Fort Jackson, South Carolina

During my life, golf has done many things for me… opened a lot of doors, met famous people and once saved my life! I owe a lot to the game of golf and to the PGA of America.

After graduating from University of North Texas in 1964, I was hoping to try to qualify for the PGA Tour. However, with the country’s involvement in Vietnam just beginning, instead I was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for basic training.

Lately, the Afghanistan crisis made me reflect back about my military experience. During the Vietnam War, the Post was so crowded that our barracks were full. The United States Army trained us hard. We were not allowed to walk in the company area, we were forced to run everywhere.

So, I thought… this will help me to get in shape for the Tour. But sadly, my physical training on the horizontal ladder rung range went from over 50 the first day, to 3 before falling off as a result of exhaustion. Two weeks of exhaustive training with three hours sleep each night will do it to you! However, I found I was good at the low crawl training…

During basic training, I used to think the Army took too much time repeating and over teaching… Hey… I got it already! Let’s move on!… Well, I was wrong. Gas Mask Training… we must have stayed on it for a week! By the way, what a great invention… the gas mask.
When and if there is a gas attack, you take your gas mask off your belt, pull it over your head, and with one breath clear the airway and breath naturally. Don’t panic… it takes 5 seconds.

A week later, here we were out in the woods, coincidentally next to a latrine. The sergeants set off 4 or 5 gas bombs in a surprise attack and the recruits went wild! Running away in a panic. I couldn’t believe my eyes! They were coughing, crying and puking.

I knew it would take a while to round up the troops so I went into the gas-filled latrine to take care of my usual morning business. I could hear the sergeants yelling and screaming outside. And then they started looking for Pvt Greenwood. They found me in my stall. I took care of my paperwork and went outside to join the ranks and fall in.

I was surprised that they were mad at me again…

At the evening meal, the last three troops that finish their meal must stay and mop the mess hall floor. I always made it a point to be among the last when the weather was raining and cold outside.
My fellow recruits going through basic training were sometimes having problems. One day, our platoon was practicing throwing live grenades. I noticed that the guy next to me was very nervous. He threw the grenade as hard as he could and I looked up to see it spinning in mid-air right in front of my face. It fell on the shelf in front of us and I brushed it into the ditch to save me and several others from injury. I was a hero after that… it lasted about 20 minutes. Always keep your eyes open and think!

In 1964, we were housed in wooden barracks that had housed the fort’s troops since the early nineteen-forties. I was now the company fireman; so, my new job was to make sure to keep the fire burning in the old boilers of 6-7 barracks. First time we had hot showers in weeks! The guys like me! I was their hero again.

I remember once, I received a large box of cookies from my mom. I opened the box in the barracks on my bunk. Those homemade cookies were gone in 10 seconds! I got one… delicious…

I was also a truck driver. Twenty guys showed up to be tested for the job. We drove a jeep, 4 speed, synchromesh transmission… just like my ’62 Corvette! They had us drive on a large square test road. At each turn, I ran through all 4 gears full speed and geared down at each turn. At the end of the test, the sergeant who was sitting next to me in the jeep, looked at me for several seconds and then said, “You passed, smart ass!”

I was the last one in my company to zero-in my weapon at the rifle range. Making an error in M-14 rifle qualification, my helmet liner was rapped by the Drill Instructor’s swagger stick until my ears rang. Much to everyone’s surprise, I later became the company’s HIGH FIRER in the company, only 4 hits away from a new Post record! As a result of winning the rifle range competition, the “Company Dud” was awarded a trophy and a 2-day pass in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. I must say, much to the chagrin of my 1st Sergeant.

In Fort Jackson, approximately 100,000 people were eligible for service in Vietnam. For training purposes, construction of a Vietnamese-type village named BAU BANG was a notable example of Fort Jackson’s initiative and thoroughness in training. The standard unit of training was the platoon. Training focused on hands-on skill development… hand-to-hand combat. The spirit of the bayonet… “To kill without mercy!” About this time, I figured I was well on my way to Vietnam.

Surprisingly one day, I was called out to play golf in a Post Match against Shaw Air Force Base. I guess General Perez (Post Commander) really wanted Fort Jackson to win the match… I shot 71 and we won. Months before I enlisted in 1964, I was Co-Medalist in the U.S. Amateur; evidently the General was keeping up with the national amateur tournaments. After that, the General wanted to play golf with me and about that time I noticed that the drill sergeants were acting more friendly towards me.

Commanding General, Major General Gines Perez, became my golfing buddy at Fort Jackson… One day, in a friendly game, I had a putt on the 18th hole to win the match against Major General Perez and his partner. As I was over the three-foot putt to win, he said: “Pvt. Greenwood, if you make this putt, I will send you to Vietnam.” Needless to say, I carefully left it one foot short!

Even as an amateur, there are benefits that come to you in the business world or even in the military… And as a golf pro, there have been many more blessings through the years.

On a serious note, I learned to love the military way of life. And, I served with some great men whom I admired. “All gave some, Some gave all.”

Published by: Tee Times Paper, September 2021, pages 16 and 19.

Bobby Greenwood’s Military Experience/Credentials:

*Riverside Military Academy (post graduate), 1957.RMA Horton Society Award at graduation, 1957.Charter Member, RMA Sports Hall of Fame, Gainesville, Georgia, 2007.

*ROTC, Rebel Rifle Drill Team, Tennessee Tech University, 1958.[Excerpt: “THE BEST-DRILLED CADET”“Cadet Pvt. Robert S. Greenwood of Cookeville received Tennessee Polytechnic Institute award as the best-drilled cadet private in the ROTC regiment. President Everett Derryberry and General Westmoreland made the presentation.” – Source: Local newspaper published in Cookeville, Tennessee, c. 1958.]

*Bobby Greenwood, Former PGA Tour Player, served in the United States Army and Air Force from 1964 to 1969. He is a proud member of the American Legion.

*Most of Greenwood’s recollections were derived from his amazing, vivid memories and from private letters he sent to his family and friends.


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Published in: on December 9, 2022 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Article: “Billy Graham and The Five Fundamentals of Golf/Life”

ARTICLE: “Billy Graham and The Five Fundamentals of Golf/Life”

By: Bobby Greenwood, PGA

Published by: Tee Times Paper, August 2021, pages 15 and 16.


From Bobby Greenwood, PGA:

It was 1969 and my first year on the PGA Tour. Playing in the Pro-Am, Billy Graham had made a hole-in-one! He had just finished his round and I met him as I was walking to the practice range. I said, “Hey Billy, did you take unfair advantage when you made that hole-in-one?” He laughed and seemed to enjoy my reference to God’s help.

Rev. Billy Graham is considered to be one of the most popular and famous men of the 20th century. He was playing in the Pro-Am at the 1969 Atlanta Golf Classic and during the tournament week, he was to speak to the PGA Tour players. Here he was… the great Billy Graham… here to speak to the 150 PGA Tour players. Usually he speaks to 50,000 or 100,000 people that pack football stadiums. As I walked into the large banquet room at the Atlanta Country Club, there were seated about a dozen golfers and their wives and Billy Graham. It was probably the smallest group he had spoken to.

Almost immediately, you could sense that this man truly loved God and had a deep appreciation for what God had done for him. Ben Hogan wrote what many believe to be the Bible of golf instruction. The name of the book was “The Five Fundamentals of Golf.” Billy Graham that night told us his five fundamentals of faith. I have often wished that everyone could have heard him that night.

Here is part of what Rev. Billy Graham said to us:

“The professional golfers have become super-stars and champions at the most enjoyable, the most frustrating, the most exasperating, the most humiliating game in the world.

Some people think that golf is mentioned in the Bible, because probably the best golf course in Israel is in Caesarea where Apostle Paul spent at least two years, and because it may have been in Caesarea that he wrote, ‘I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course!’ 😊

Fundamental #1 – THE PROPER STANCE

In a more serious vein, I would like to list a few of the problems that I have faced as an amateur golfer and apply them to our lives, and to the world in which we live. First, there is the question of a proper stance; it is as varied as golfers are.

And I am convinced that in many areas of life today, we are going to have to take a stance – a stand for what we believe in; otherwise the world we know may disappear in our generation.

I have been at some of the tournaments, and I have watched the pros give it all they’ve got. I have watched men go out after a hard, grueling tournament round and practice until night, if they thought they did not do well that day. There is a dedication to golf. It is that way with Christ.

Fundamental #2 – THE GRIP

Second, there is the problem of the proper grip. I know there are many different kinds of grips. I was cross-handed in golf for many years and switched over, but after today, the way I putted, I’m thinking about switching back! The question I’d like to ask you is, “Do you have a grip on your life?” I know that most of you have a controlled backswing, but is there a control down inside?

Fundamental #3 – INSIDE OUT

A third problem I face in golf is the problem of hitting the ball from the inside out. More than one pro has told me that somehow, I have to get that club on the inside of the line of flight.

We all have minds and bodies, and we develop them and try to keep them fit. But each of us also has a spirit, and many people totally neglect it. The result is that they search for something all their lives; they reach the pinnacle of their profession but they are still restless. Some people turn to alcohol.

When I came to Christ, I didn’t have any emotion at all. I didn’t shed a tear. I had no feeling except that I was scared; but I knew that something had happened down inside, and it changed the direction of my life and brought about a peace I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.

Fundamental #4 – EYE ON THE BALL

The fourth problem I face in golf is keeping my eye on the ball and keeping your head in the game. That is a rule of every sport, whether it’s baseball, football, hockey, tennis or golf. The New Testament speaks of “looking unto Jesus, the author and finished of our faith.”

The head of a London mental institution has said, “Half of my patients would be released if they could know they were forgiven.”

Fundamental #5 – FOLLOWING THROUGH

A fifth problem I have in golf is following through. That is true in following Christ as well. Golfers play by rules. The Christians also lives by rules. Some rules in golf seem unfair to us amateurs; but if we break them, we have to pay the penalty.

God has laid down some rules in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. They may seem rough, but they were made for our benefit. God says if we live by them, you will find fulfillment and hope and relaxation and serenity even though the world crumbles around you.

Many great athletes are showing that it can be done, and they are out golfing, playing football and baseball, but living the Gospel.

My prayer is that sometime, somewhere, many golf professionals and their wives will receive Christ and find a new dimension to living.

You can tune in and plug in to God, and when you do, you will come to know the greatest Pro of all time, the Lord Jesus Christ.”


From the time Billy Graham’s ministry began in 1947, Graham conducted more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. Graham’s popular appeal was the result of his extraordinary charisma, his forceful preaching, and his simple, homespun message: anyone who repents of sins and accepts Jesus Christ will be saved.


*The Dispatch, “The Five Fundamentals of Golf” by Billy Graham, submitted by Bobby Greenwood, Sunday, January 17, 1993, page 10.




*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA, September 11, 2020.


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Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame

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Published in: on December 8, 2022 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Article: “The Senior/Champions PGA Tour”

ARTICLE: “The Senior/Champions PGA Tour”

By: Bobby Greenwood, PGA

Published by: Tee Times Paper, July 2021, pages 16 and 20.

“Perhaps there are some players who have dreams of playing on the Senior PGA Tour. Like myself, after playing seven years on the regular PGA Tour, and after turning 50 years old of age I too tried to qualify for the Senior Tour three times. I made it to the last stage of qualifying by finishing 4th in the National Senior PGA Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The final stage was held in Palm Springs, California where the weather changed and it snowed! Needless to say, I missed qualifying there. I did play some Senior events but only a couple on the Champions Tour.

The first Senior Tour event that I played was the Space Coast Senior Classic at Suntree Country Club in Florida. At half way point (27 holes), I was 9-under par and tied for the lead with Miller Barber! But my vision of grandeur vanished fast after I bogeyed 10 and double bogeyed 11. One good thing that came out of playing there was that I was later hired as their head golf pro at Suntree Country Club, a beautiful 36-hole Resort Course in Melbourne, Florida.

Once at the Senior PGA Championship, I was playing a practice round with Arnold Palmer and he asked me why I was not on the Senior Tour. I told him that I had tried three times to qualify and had failed. His advice to me was to come out for Monday qualifying and win a 54-hole tournament. That would be easier than going through 2 stages of qualifying tournaments at 72 holes each… That’s how Arnold Palmer thinks.

He and I were playing in a twosome and I took the opportunity to ask him. ‘Arnie, are you a Christian?’ He said, ‘Bobby, I have been asked ten thousand questions in my life but no one ever asked me that. Yes, I am a Christian but not a very good one.’ I said, ‘Well, none of us are.’

So, let’s see what it takes for you to play on the Champions Tour today. Because of having smaller fields (78 golfers), there are generally no “cuts” between any of the rounds. The first 60 places in the field are filled as follows:
·       The top 30 players of the previous year’s PGA Tour Champions money list.
·       Up to 30 players who are in the top 70 of the all-time combined PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions money list.

This leaves 18 places:
·       Among the 18 spots… up to 5 spots for sponsor’s exemptions.
·       Up to 4 spots for Monday qualifiers, this was my only hope, also subject to reduction or elimination. Usually, 75 to 100 players going for 4 spots!

I know it sounds very difficult to qualify… and it is; but it is worth it to try if you still have a game at age 50. By the way, in 2006, the Champions Tour Division Board voted to allow players the option to use golf carts during most events on the tour.

To give you an idea of how lucrative it can be, the top career money winner on the PGA Champions Tour is Bernard Langer who has won over 30 million dollars! Yes, there is big money in Big time tournament golf. Phil Mickelson after turning 50, became eligible for the PGA Tour Champions circuit during 2020 and won 2 of his 3 starts. Mickelson now has won combined career total of $92,876,195.00 as of the end of the 2020 season.

The Champions Golf Tour is highly competitive and rather exclusive to say the least. To qualify, you need to be at least 50 years of age. You also must apply online and pay a fee of $3,000.00. With the application, you will need two letters of reference from a Class A PGA Pro or Champions Tour Member; I could do that for you. You are also required to show copy of your birth certificate, and playing results from two tournaments held in the last year.

An Amateur who finishes among the top 30 at the Qualifying school tourney must then forfeit their status as an amateur to play in the final stage of the PGA Tour Champions Qualifier. When you are in the top 12 of the qualifying stage, the top 5 will be fully exempt, and the next 7 will be reserves.

When you are travelling and playing on the PGA Tour, you will need to be financially responsible for all your expenses.

After winning your Player’s Card, you will be required to show the PGA Tour organization proof of financial stability. Most players will have a financial backer when they start. When I went to Q school (qualifying tournament) in 1969, I too needed a financial backer.

My first backer was Rudolph Light, a medical doctor who was married to the ex-wife of American Billionaire, Jean Paul Getty! (Mr. Light would give one million dollars a year to Vanderbilt Hospital and the Light Eye Clinic is named in his honor.) Their winter home was at Lost Tree Village, Florida, Jack Nicklaus’ home course. Lost Tree Country Club is where I played in the Southern Amateur Championship and set the course record of 64 in one round.

Mr. Light died in 1970. My second backer was Buck Halperin of Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Halperin owned the Chicago Light Company. He was a Star Class Sailor and winner of Olympic Bronze Medal and Pan American Games Gold Medalist. He was also an NFL football quarterback, one of Chicago’s most-decorated World War II heroes. Navy Cross, etc. He too was a great man.

My third backer was Jimmy Greenwood, an excellent amateur golfer who played in the 1964 Texas Cup Matches in Dallas, Texas where I shot 67 and defeated Byron Nelson in the singles matches 1-up.

There’s no telling how many middle-aged amateur golfers have watched a Champions Tour event and wondered if they have what it takes to be the next big money winner. You will never know unless you try… good luck!”

*Bobby Greenwood played on the regular PGA Tour from 1969 to 1975; and on the Champions PGA Tour from 1988-1993.

*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA, April 25, 2021.
*Internet searches: Wikipedia, Rookie Road, etc.
*2020 PGA Tour Champions Regulations and Player Handbook
*Photo collage credits:


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Published in: on December 8, 2022 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Article: “LET’S GO FOR IT, DAD!” – Memories of the 1989 U.S. Senior Open Championship


Memories: 1989 U.S. Senior Open Championship

By: Bobby Greenwood, PGA

Published by: Tee Times Paper, June 2021, page 16.

“In 1989, I had qualified to play the USGA Senior Open Championship which was being held in Ligonier, Pennsylvania at the beautiful Laurel Valley Golf Club. This was just a few miles from Arnold Palmer’s hometown of Latrobe Pennsylvania. I always got into town early for any major event that I played in. I was able to play practice rounds with Arnie on his home golf course. This was a thrill for me as Arnie gave me tips on how to play the course. Arnold Palmer was a very easy person to talk to. He was so down to earth and enjoyable to play with. During one practice round, I asked, ‘Arnie, are you a Christian?’ He smiled and said, ‘Bobby, I have been asked ten thousand questions in my life but no one has ever asked me that… Yes, I am a Christian but not a very good one.’ I replied, ‘None of us are. According to the Bible, God said there is none good, no not one.’

When the tournament started, after every round on the 18th hole and after I had signed my card, I would see and greet Larry Adamson at the scorer’s tent. It is always good to see a friendly face in the crowd. I first met Larry when he caddied for me on the PGA Tour back in 1975. But here he was, now a big shot official with the United States Golf Association!

The following is an excerpt from Larry’s book…

[EXCERPT from the book: “Just Some Thoughts, Reflections from the Back Nine” by Larry Adamson:


One of my favorite memories at the United States Senior Open Championship involves

Arnold Palmer and a reference to him and his father, Deke Palmer.

In 1989, I was working at the United States Senior Open Championship. It was the last day of the event, and I was out on the course running what I am sure was my usual “gofer” duties. My duties on that day found me near the eighteenth fairway as Palmer had just teed off the eighteenth tee and was making his way up the fairway. The eighteenth was a beautiful hole (a par five, 550 yards long with water guarding the front of the green). As you approach the green, the hole has an amphitheater type arrangement that makes it possible to accommodate large numbers of people. The crowd could sit and easily see the players coming up the fairway and watch their play on this hole. I walked ahead of Palmer and his group and stopped and stood on this amphitheater-like hill. As you can imagine, the crowd was huge.

As I stood there waiting for Palmer to get nearer to the green, I observed many elderly folks just sitting, talking and visiting with one another. Many were unaware of the drives the players had hit on this hole. As I got closer to the ropes and the folks sitting on the side of the hill, I could hear much of their conversation. Most were engaged in light-hearted conversation as they enjoyed the warmth of the day. When Palmer came into sight, I saw one of the older gentlemen who had been sitting in the group rise to his feet and he said, ‘Hey, here comes Deke’s boy.’ No, not here comes Arnold Palmer, or here comes Arnie, but here comes ‘Deke’s boy.’ It was evident that the folks sitting in the group on this hillside knew Deke Palmer well and understood the reference.

For me that was a special moment to hear one of the most famous athletes ever, referred to not by his name but by who his father was. He was ‘Deke’s boy’.”

– Source: “Just Some Thoughts, Reflections from the Back Nine”, by Larry Adamson, 2017, page 46.]


Yes, a great father-son moment for Larry to witness. I too had fun on that hole as my son, Bo (Robert III), was caddying for me at this Senior USGA major tournament in 1989 at Laurel Valley. On the eighteenth hole, if you can hit a long tee shot and land in the fairway, you might be able to reach the green in two and putt for an eagle… if you are brave enough to carry the water.

The tournament started on Thursday. After a good tee shot on 18, the last hole of the first round, I was standing in the middle of the fairway with my caddy, Bo. When I pulled the head cover off my 3-wood, unexpectedly, the crowd started cheering because they wanted to see a pro try to go for the green. A long and dangerous shot over the water.

In the second round on 18, after I checked my lie in the fairway, I told my son Bo to give me the 3-wood. And again, the crowd cheered!

On Saturday, in the third round after I had hit another good drive on 18, Bo looked at my lie and said, ‘Go for it, Dad!’ I guess he wanted to hear the loud encouraging cheers from the gallery as they cheered for his daddy.

But in the final round, just as we stepped on the tee and before I had even hit my tee shot, Bo said, ‘Let’s go for it, Dad.’ It did my heart good to see the excitement in my son’s eyes as he watched me play. One of the many memories that a father has with his son.”


*Bobby Greenwood, Contestant

10th U.S. Senior Open Championship

Laurel Valley Golf Club

Ligonier, Pennsylvania

June 29 – July 2, 1989

*Caddie – son, Bo Greenwood.

*Bobby Greenwood and Arnold Palmer played practice round together that week.

*Greenwood played the regular PGA Tour from 1969-1975 and the

Senior/Champions PGA Tour from 1988-1991.


*Book: “Just Some Thoughts, Reflections from the Back Nine”, by Larry Adamson, 2017, p. 46.

*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA, November 28, 2020.

*Photo collage:, Larry Adamson, 10th U.S. Senior Open brochure.

posted @ Greenwood’s Facebook Page: November 28, 2020



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Published in: on December 8, 2022 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Article: The Greenwood-Nicklaus Match

ARTICLE: “The day he took down the Golden Bear”
Published by: Tee Times Paper, May 2021, page 12.

Tee Times Paper Editor’s Note: Bobby Greenwood wasn’t expected to be much more than first-round fodder for an up-and-coming youngster out of Columbus, Ohio at the 1961 Colonial Amateur Invitational. Although a good player in his own right at North Texas State University, Greenwood, who played out of Sparta Country Club in east Tennessee, was relatively unknown outside the region. That all changed after his first-round match in Memphis that day. Here’s the story from that day in Greenwood’s own words.


From Bobby Greenwood, PGA:

“I just heard from the ‘Godfather of Tennessee Golf’ Dick Horton asking for information about the Jack Nicklaus match. Well, here goes…

The Colonial Amateur Invitational event in Memphis, Tennessee was ranked as one of the best amateur tournaments in the U.S. back in the 1950s and 1960s. Back then, the Southern hospitality shown to contestants drew all the best Amateurs in the country to Memphis. Even the 2-time U.S. Amateur Champ Jack Nicklaus came to defend his title and I was chosen by the tournament committee to be his first victim. As a student of the game, I knew a lot about the current NCAA Champ. He was the longest hitter in the game, very strong at 5’ 10½” tall and 215 lbs. He wore Footjoy shoes, grey slacks, black alligator belt, white Munsingwear shirt, a baseball-type hat, and he played a Titleist 5 golf ball. Jack was the #1 ranked Amateur in the nation and I was scared.

[EXCERPT: “They followed Nicklaus’ amateur career as he captured the 1959 and 1961 National Amateur titles. Last year he scored a near clean sweep of amateur events. He lost to Bobby Greenwood, a North Texas State player, in the Colonial Invitational at Memphis, but won every other tourney he entered, the Western, National Intercollegiate, two Walker Cup matches, and the U.S. Amateur.” – by Fred Mendrell, The Hutchinson News Herald, “SportAngles”, c. 1962.]


So, I did what most people do when they are afraid… I prayed! My prayer went like this: ‘Why does the great Jack Nicklaus get to come to my home State of Tennessee from Ohio and beat me 6 and 5 or 8 and 7! Dear God, I am one year older than him, I have hit more practice balls than him, I am not robbing any banks. Please Lord, have mercy on me… help me to play my game with some courage so I won’t be so embarrassed when I lose.’ I also thought, ‘OK he may beat me 6 and 5 but he won’t do it with his favorite ball.’ The next morning, much to my chagrin, there he was on the first tee, he looked great, we spoke and then he asked me what ball was I playing. I said Titleist and then he said, ‘what number’ and I said #5. ‘Do you have any other numbers?’ I said, ‘Let me look… no, that’s all I have…’ Is that wrong?… I don’t think so. 😊 He looked very determined, he was scary, so I decided not to watch him too much. It seemed to be working because I was only two down through 8 holes. He was playing beautiful golf. Best that I have ever seen. I won #9 and made the turn only one down to the great Jack Nicklaus! It was a moral victory for me. I felt some better. Perhaps he would not beat me so bad after all. To make a long, long story somewhat shorter, I was one down playing the long par-five 16th hole. We both hit our 2nd shots in the sand bunker guarding the green but I got up and down for a birdie to win the hole. Even going to the 17th hole, I’m in the mental zone… Wow! I think I can win! But wait, Nicklaus knocks in his 30-foot putt to go back one up with one to play.

[EXCERPT from Fairfield Glade Vista: “Then in the first round of the Memphis Colonial Invitation, Nicklaus rammed home a 30-foot putt for a birdie on the 17th hole. The birdie putt put him 1-up and sighs of “That’s it, Nicklaus can’t lose now, Greenwood is beaten,” whispered through the gallery. But the one man most involved, Cookeville/Fairfield Glade’s own Bobby Greenwood, didn’t hear the whispers, or if he did, they only made him more determined. (Yes, I heard them as I walked through the crowd.)

Minutes after Nicklaus had made his birdie, Greenwood smashed a 245-yard three-wood shot five feet from the pin on the par 5 finishing hole. He made the side-hill, breaking putt for an eagle 3 and forced the match into sudden death. On the first extra hole, Greenwood hit his second shot, a 7 iron 4″ from the cup for another birdie, and Nicklaus was sidelined in his bid to repeat as Colonial champion. It was the last time Nicklaus lost as an amateur, and to top that, Bobby was to enter his junior year at North Texas State University. Nicklaus was so stunned by his defeat to Bobby that he wrote about it in his books, ‘My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score’ and ‘My Story’.” – Source: Glade Vista, “The Nicklaus Connection”, by Rick McNeal, Fairfield Glade, TN, May 16, 2006.]


[EXCERPT from Jack Nicklaus Book: “My only match-play loss of 1961 was due, mainly, to a stubborn disregard of percentages. In the first round of last year’s Colonial Amateur Invitational in Memphis, I was leading Bobby Greenwood of North Texas State 1-up with three holes to play…I was lucky to get a 5, but still lost the hole to Greenwood’s birdie. As a result, when I won the 17th, it merely put me 1 up again instead of closing out the match 2 and 1. When Greenwood eagled the 18th and birdied the first extra hole I was beaten. The golfing moral is clear: when your opponent is in trouble and you’ve got a lead with only a couple of holes to play, don’t get greedy. You may go hungry instead.”- Source: “My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score” by Jack Nicklaus, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1962]


[EXCERPT from Glade Vista: “When I beat Nicklaus, I didn’t have any idea what I had done,” said Bobby. “He hadn’t been beaten in two years and he won the U.S. Open nine months later.” Bobby’s relationship with the “Golden Bear” didn’t end with this encounter, as he traveled to several PGA Tournaments to watch Nicklaus compete. “He (Nicklaus) would spot me in the gallery and have a double take almost every time, and I guess he was thinking, ‘there’s that guy that beat me again’,” Bobby recalled. He (Bobby) who was also a golf course architect had heard about Nicklaus’ plans to build a golf course in Crossville named “Bear Trace”. Bobby then

Bobby’s relationship with the “Golden Bear” didn’t end with this encounter, as he traveled to several PGA Tournaments to watch Nicklaus compete. “He (Nicklaus) would spot me in the gallery and have a double take almost every time, and I guess he was thinking, ‘there’s that guy that beat me again’,” Bobby recalled. He (Bobby) who was also a golf course architect had heard about Nicklaus’ plans to build a golf course in Crossville named “Bear Trace”.

He (Bobby) who was also a golf course architect had heard about Nicklaus’ plans to build a golf course in Crossville named “Bear Trace”. Bobby then preceded to drive up from Cookeville in order to renew his relationship with Nicklaus and offer his services. The end result was Nicklaus hired Bobby to design golf courses overseas.” (Btw, that’s how I met my wife in the Philippines.) -Source: Glade Vista, “The Nicklaus Connection”, by Rick McNeal, Fairfield Glade, TN, May 16, 2006.]


The last hole at the old Colonial Country Club was a 545-yard par five. Jack has the honor and hits first, another high beautiful fade. Then I hit one of my best drives 300 yards! I was thinking, I have just outdriven the long hitting Jack Nicklaus on the last hole, in front of this large gallery. We topped the hill and sure enough one ball was 320 yards… It was Jack’s. I hit my 3-wood 2nd shot on the green, five feet from the hole for a chance for an eagle. Jack hits a 1-iron over the green chips back ten feet and sure enough, he makes it. Now I need to make the eagle putt to tie. I read the putt and I decided that it will break five inches! So, I pray some more… ‘Dear Lord, I will always remember how I stroke this putt. I’m not asking for it to go in, please just give me courage to make a good stroke.’ I did and now we go to the sudden death playoff.

[EXCERPT from Memphis Press Scimitar: “Greenwood spent exactly three minutes surveying the situation then dropped in (the curling eagle putt to square the match. Then on to the sudden death playoff.)”-Source: Memphis Press-Scimitar, by Buck P. Patton, Saturday, August 19, 1961.]


My 2nd shot with a 7-iron stopped four inches short of the hole. It was perhaps the best shot that I have ever hit under the conditions. From a bare lie, I hit a draw into a left to right wind four inches from the hole.

[EXCERPT from AP: MEMPHIS — “…a pressure-packed match that went to a sudden death playoff. Bobby Greenwood, 22, (playing out of Sparta Country Club) Tenn., a relative unknown, upset the big favorite from Columbus, Ohio, 1-up, in 19 holes with a tremendous surge of sub-par golf.”-Source: Associated Press, “Jack Nicklaus Upset in Colonial Amateur”, c. 1961.]


Looking back, I might have to agree. Jack and I were even through 16 holes, Jack makes birdie on 17th and 18th holes and loses the match. I made birdie on 16th, three on 17th, eagle-3 on 18th and birdie-3 on 19th hole. 4-3-3-3 = 4-under par the last 4 holes. Jack was a gracious loser; he even wrote about our match in his book. Then, nine months later, he won the U.S. Open Championship. When I returned home after Richard Crawford beat me in the finals, people would ask me, ‘how good is Jack Nicklaus?’ My answer was, ‘he will win a major.’ I wish I had said he will win more majors than anyone in history. Then I would have been a prophet… 😊 I’m sure some were thinking, ‘If you beat him, he can’t be too good.’

[EXCERPT from Glade Vista: “‘Jack Nicklaus’, Bobby Jones began, ‘is the most promising young golfer in the country. He will win this tournament and many other major championships before he’s through’. Jones then presented Nicklaus his award as low amateur in the Masters which was won by Gary Player after Arnold Palmer’s bladed sand shot at the 72nd hole. In June that same year, the husky Nicklaus was a low amateur in the National Open, finishing three strokes back of the winner, professional Gene Littler, with a total of 284 shots.”-Source: Glade Vista, “The Nicklaus Connection”, by Rick McNeal, Fairfield Glade, TN, May 16, 2006.]

[EXCERPT from Herald-Citizen: “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.”

-Source: Herald-Citizen, “Greenwood’s Legacy Chronicled”, by Buddy Pearson, Cookeville, TN, July 24, 2004.]


[EXCERPT: “… in the 1960s there was no better amateur player in Tennessee and he was one of the best amateurs in America. During the 1960s, he earned All-America honors at North Texas University and was ranked among the national’s Top 10 amateurs by Golf Magazine twice.” ~ Gene Pearce, page 270. “Greenwood wins over 100 tournaments in Tennessee before he turns pro and plays seven years on the PGA Tour.” -Source: “The History of Tennessee Golf: 1894-2001″ by Gene Pearce, Hillsboro Press, Franklin, TN, 2002, pages 10, 21-22, 28, 77, 174, 199, 257-58, 270-73, 284-85, 308-9, 330, 347-48, 352, 375, 381, 399-401, 21, 271.]


[EXCERPT from Herald-Citizen: “Greenwood has done plenty to establish a legacy among the nation’s golfing community.” – Buddy Pearson, Herald-Citizen, “Greenwood’s Legacy Chronicled”, Cookeville, TN, July 24, 2004.]


[NOTES from Bobby Greenwood IN BOOKS – I. EXCERPT:

“When Greenwood eagled the 18th and birdied the first extra hole I was beaten.” ~ Jack Nicklaus- Source: “My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score” by Jack Nicklaus, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY,1964, page 104. (The great Jack Nicklaus writes about his last defeat as an amateur. Match played in Memphis nine months before he won his first U.S. Open.) II. The famous match in the Colonial Amateur; Greenwood made eagle on 18 to get even and made birdie on the first hole of sudden

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.”-Source: Herald-Citizen, “Greenwood’s Legacy Chronicled”, by Buddy Pearson, Cookeville, TN, July 24, 2004.]


[EXCERPT: “… in the 1960s there was no better amateur player in Tennessee and he was one of the best amateurs in America. During the 1960s, he earned All-America honors at North Texas University and was ranked among the national’s Top 10 amateursby Golf Magazine twice.” ~ Gene Pearce, page 270.”Greenwood wins over 100 tournaments in Tennessee before he turns pro and plays seven years on the PGA Tour.” -Source: “The History of Tennessee Golf: 1894-2001″ by Gene Pearce, Hillsboro Press, Franklin, TN, 2002, pages 10, 21-22, 28, 77, 174, 199, 257-58, 270-73, 284-85, 308-9, 330, 347-48, 352, 375, 381, 399-401, 21, 271.]


[EXCERPT from Herald-Citizen: “Greenwood has done plenty to establish a legacy among the nation’s golfing community.” – Buddy Pearson, Herald-Citizen, “Greenwood’s Legacy Chronicled”, Cookeville, TN, July 24, 2004.]


Let me finish by quoting a paragraph from my daughter’s school thesis about my friend Jack Nicklaus.

[EXCERPT: “More importantly, Jack Nicklaus is a fine man with high morals. I know this because my father competed against him head-to-head in a famous match in Memphis. Dad said he was a great man and a fine gentleman. With all those great qualities, Jack is also a wonderful husband to wife, Barbara, a great dad to his children and all his family loves him dearly. Without a doubt, Jack Nicklaus is the total package… a true golfing icon (Nicklaus, 1968).”-Source: Viola Greenwood’s School Thesis titled: “Jack Nicklaus: A Golf Icon and American Author”, Cookeville, TN, 2016. Book Reference: Nicklaus, Jack. “Take a Tip from Me”. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968. Print.]


OK… there you go Dick; I hope you enjoyed reading the rest of the story.”

NOTE: In the finals, Bobby Greenwood finished Runner-up to Richard Crawford who was First Team NCAA All-American from University of Houston in 1961. Greenwood returned to North Texas State University (now University of North Texas) in Denton, Texas for his junior year after being named NCAA-All American Honorable Mention in 1961. He was named to the Second Team in 1962 and First Team NCAA All-American in 1963. Greenwood was ranked 4 times in the Top 10 Amateurs in the U.S. in the 1960s.


Former PGA Tour Player
Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Published in: on December 7, 2022 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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