Excerpt from Rev. Harold Witmer’s Book

CHAPTER IX

A FUN TIME

With all the heartache and work, there was also fun time.  Harold became good friends with Bobby Greenwood, a wonderful golf pro who resided in Tennessee. Bobby truly had a conversion experience and turned his life over to the Lord.

The excitement of sharing the Gospel appealed greatly to Bobby and he often asked his good friend Harold to travel with him. Harold called it golf evangelism.  Many times different pros would ask Harold to preach at their home church when the tournaments were close to them and of course the traveling golf evangelist accepted their invitation.  The result were incredible and the demand for him to speak in other churches spread throughout the golf tours.

And now, as told in his own words, PGA Golf Professional, Bobby Greenwood.

Year’s ago, “Reader’s Digest” had a popular segment called “The most unforgettable character that I have ever met.”  Well folks, Brother Harold is indeed that man in my life.  As I write this part of my experiences with Bro. Harold, I am already looking forward to reading this book about his life.

Leaving the PGA Tour after 7 years, returning back home to Cookeville, Tennessee, I would teach at the Tennessee Golf Academy just to be able to be with my two children for a week.  They were ages 8 and 6 years old at that time.

PGA professional Jack Wall was a dear friend of Bro. Harold.  And, Jack met me at the Tennessee Golf Academy which was held at Fall Creek Falls State Park.  Jack was an excellent golf instructor as well as an intense student of the game.  He saw my knowledge of the golf swing and offered me 25% of his golf company if I would teach at Benchcraft Golf Co. one day a week.  So, I would drive to Nashville and spend the night at the Benchcraft Golf Co. which was located on Church Street and be ready to teach the next morning.  Some days I would give 10-12 lessons.

One of Jack Wall’s many talents was his ability to network people.  He would bring people to gather and they would sometime accomplish great things.

Jack introduced me to Bro. Harold and the rest is history.  We would leave the hustle and bustle of Benchcraft Golf Co. which was located on Church Street in Nashville, TN, and go out back in the alley by the dumpster and talk.  One of my few talents is my ability to identify greatness in people.  I was immediately intrigued by the honest sincerity of the man.  Of course, I could tell that he truly loved the Lord but I had no idea of the magnitude of this love.  He was completely sold out to Jesus.  His whole life is doing the work of the Father for the Kingdom.  I was to learn that Bro. Harold is the most generous, giving and forgiving man that I have ever known.  In short, Harold Witmer is the finest Christian man that I have ever known!

Jack and I would take Bro. Harold to our golf clinics and various outings to the Bahamas and State Parks. He became our official Golf Chaplain for Benchcraft Golf Co. In the Bahamas, there on the beach, Easter Sunrise service, many people heard the saving power of Jesus Christ. It was great!

Through the years and our travels together, I have learned so much about how to learn to love God and obey His commandments.  I am a better Christian man because of being with Bro. Harold.  Thank you Jack Wall and God, not necessarily in that order, for putting Bro. Harold in my life!

I will share one story with you about his boldness in the Lord.

One year, I qualified to play in the Senior PGA Championship held at Laurel Valley Country Club at Ligonier, Pennsylvania.  I played a practice round with the great Arnold Palmer and after the round we went in the luxurious clubhouse to have lunch.  We were eating with the world leaders in the golf industry and Bro. Harold just resting in the Lord and so relaxed.  After lunch we made our way through the large crowd of spectators on our way to the practice range.  I brought Bro. Harold through ropes and he began talking with several pros as I continued to hit range balls. The next thing I knew, a hush fell over the crowd as Bro. Harold had a circle of pros engaged in prayer.  Later I learned that Chi Chi Rodriguez had requested that Bro. Harold lift a curse off him that was put then by another golf pro.

Chi Chi and Doug Sanders became life long friend with my dear friend Bro. Harold.

I could tell you of how Bro. Harold became publisher of Tennessee’s first golf publication or the many trips that he took with Jack Wall and myself on our various golf clinics and vacations but, that would take another book.

Just for the record, may I say right now… To be a Christian partner and friend to Bro. Harold is a great honor for me.  Without his help through the years, I would never have been inducted into Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. God bless you my brother.

Please just let me thank Brother Harold Witmer for being God’s servant and my dear friend.

When Bobby was installed into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame, his wonderful brother in Christ was there to share in the excitement.  To quote Bobby from an autographed picture we have these words: “You are a great friend and without your help I would never have made the Hall of Fame. God bless you and sister Faye.
Sincerely, Bobby Greenwood”.

Source: “Two Are Better Than One”, A True Story About a Real Person Who Serves a Living God – Rev. Harold Witmer. Written & Edited by: William H. Corley, First Edition 2008.

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Published in: on July 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bobby Greenwood and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA)

FCA anecdotes [copied from GreenwoodPGA.net Facebook notes]

Bobby Greenwood has been involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) for a very long time… when he was Director of Golf at Sawgrass Country Club where Capt. Bill Lewis started the FCA Golf in 1977 out of his condo at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Bobby worked with Capt. Bill Lewis in 1977 and 1978 with regard to the FCA Golf Ministry.

Another thing, Bobby and Dean Beman, then the Commisioner of the PGA Tour, where keynote speakers at the 1977 FCA Breakfast with Pros at Sawgrass Country Club.

Presently, Bobby serves on the Board of Directors of the Upper Cumberland FCA in Cookeville, TN, 2006-present.

And he has been:

Head Golf Clinician, FCA Camp, St. Augustine, Florida, 2006.

Head Golf Clinician, FCA Camp, Sawgrass CC, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, 2005.

Head Golf Clinician, FCA Camp, Powell, Wyoming, 2005-2006.

Assistant Golf Director, FCA Camp, Crow Valley Golf Club, Davenport, Iowa.

GreenwoodPGA.net Facebook

Published in: on April 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Backsliders Class History – FUMC Sunday School (60th Anniversary)

I started attending the Backsliders Class with my father, Bob Greenwood. I was a young boy at the time and it must have been about 1949 or 1950. I remember that I was the only young person to be in the Backsliders Class but my dad took me with him so I thought it must be OK.

The first thing that impressed me was the President of the class. He was always such a smart, polished gentleman. And, you could tell that he truly loved the Lord. No doubt, in my mind, he must be the sharpest man in town! I also remember thinking that I could never be good enough to serve as President of the Backsliders Class.

The second thing that made an impression on me as a young boy was Jeff Wall. A master of music with deep voice that surely sounded like the voice of God… Or so I thought. In addition, his wife Vera Wall was a wonderful pianist. Together, their music was instrumental in leading me to accepting Jesus as my Savior and Lord of my life.

Jeff and Vera’s son, Don, who lived and worked in Florida, would visit the Backsliders Class when he was in town visiting and would dazzle everyone with his great talent of singing and playing the piano. In addition, their other son, Estel, was my father’s boyhood friend.

I will always love the Jeff Wall family and, more importantly for what their music ministry did for me.

Well, in 2006 to 2007, the Backsliders Class elected me to serve as President. Some of the past presidents were out in the audience and the entire class encouraged me and loved me through it all. Although I never felt good enough… It was a growing experience for me and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve.

By: Bobby Greenwood
2006-2007 Backsliders Class President

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bobby Greenwood’s Christian Faith

Backsliders celebrate 60th

By JIM ROGERS

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