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

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

Greenwood to be inducted into Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame

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Published by Glade Vista, Fairfield Glade, TN, February 27, 2007

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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

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

Greenwood Inducted into North Texas Hall of Fame

FROM HERALD-CITIZEN NEWSPAPER, Cookeville, TN:
Greenwood inducted into North Texas Hall of Fame
By Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Staff

It’s been almost 40 years since Cookeville golfing legend Bobby Greenwood played golf at the University of North Texas, yet the school located in Denton, Texas, still remembers the impact Greenwood had on the program. In a ceremony held recently at UNT, Greenwood was inducted into the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame.
Greenwood and four other inductees were the 2002 recipients of the University of North Texas Sports Hall of Fame awards and were honored during enshrinement. They each received a plaque and a Hall of Fame ring at the Hall of Fame Breakfast.

“North Texas is a big school and they treated me so nice, giving me the ring and the plaque at the breakfast,” Greenwood said. “North Texas is a great golf school. For me to get voted into the Hall of Fame is humbling. There’s other players who should be in it before me, but I’ll take it.

A three-time NCAA All-American, Greenwood is the only First Team NCAA All-America in the school’s history. During his years at North Texas, the Eagles won three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Titles.

Greenwood was selected by the NCAA Golf Coaches Association to play in the North-South All-Star matches in his senior year. And, he was also selected to the Prestigious 10-member Texas Cup Team in 1964.

“The greatest thing about it to me was that after 40 years, all my teammates decided to show up for my induction,” Greenwood explained. “I think there was one guy who didn’t show up and nobody knew where he was.”

In his rookie year on the PGA Tour, Greenwood was selected as “Champions Choice” to play in the Colonial Invitational Tournament in Ft. Worth, Texas. Past champions of the Colonial Tournament vote on the rookie to receive a sponsor’s exemption to play.

After spending seven years on the PGA Tour, Greenwood was Director of Golf at Sawgrass Country Club, home of the TPC and most recently Head Professional at Suntree Country Club, a 36-hole Resort and home of the Suncoast Senior Golf Classic.

Greenwood, who currently resides in Cookeville with his wife Elma and daughter Viola, spends his time as a golf-course architect and also gives lessons on a limited basis.

Other than the induction ceremonies, Greenwood doesn’t get back to Denton much to watch any of the Mean Green sports teams, particularly basketball. But he will get a chance to see his alma mater play on Saturday when Tennessee Tech takes on North Texas at 7 p.m. at Eblen Center.

So, who will Greenwood be rooting for?

“I love Tennessee Tech,” Greenwood said. “There’s a different feeling about North Texas. I had a great experience out there and I love Texas people — they are positive and encourage you. I really had a great time there and was successful but Tennessee Tech is my hometown team.”

*****Published December 19, 2002 3:06 PM CST
*****Source: COPYRIGHT ® 2004 Herald-Citizen, a division of Cleveland Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved. <http://www.herald-citizen.com/NF/omf.wnm/herald/archive_display.html?%5Brkey=0024131+%5Bcr=gdn&gt;

Published in: on August 24, 2006 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Golf at Dorchester with the great Bobby Greenwood

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 This article was written by Brad McNeal of Glade Vista, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, dated July 25, 2006.

Golf at Dorchester with the great Bobby Greenwood 

 “God, if you don’t help me I might make a fool of myself” these were the words uttered by Dorchester’s course designer Bobby Greenwood. When the crew would leave every evening about 4:30 pm, Bobby would get down on his knees in the dirt and talk with God.  Did the Lord answer Bobby’s plea for help? After a history of 29 years, Dorchester has proven to be Fairfield Glade’s most popular course to play by return tourist. This was Greenwood’s first of many courses he’d ever design.

   It was a very hot afternoon, Bobby showed up at the VISTA office before lunch to meet and greet the staff. Bobby entered with a big smile on his face, you could feel the joy radiating from him. VISTA writer, Robbi Weaver asked him, “Bobby, what is your warm up routine?” Bobby replied, “I put the clubs on the cart, go to the tee box, wiggle my shoulders and hips, say a prayer, and hit the ball.” “You don’t go to the range and hit balls?” With a smile Bobby said, “Robbi, you don’t need to warm up a Rolls Royce.” 

 VISTA Publisher, Jon Weaver, VISTA Resident Photographer, Ron Peplowski, and I were very thrilled and honored to play alongside Mr. Greenwood. It was a bit unnerving, just imagine playing a course for the first time with the person that designed it.  Bobby has an interesting personality. He has an equal mixture humility and confidence. It is just an extreme pleasure to be around Bobby. And, especially during a round of golf!

   We arrived at the clubhouse afternoon, it was rather hot. Everyone greeted one another with warm smiles and kind words. After the starter informed us of the cart path only holes, she directed us to the snack bar to pick up some complimentary glasses of ice water. While waiting to tee off on #1, Bobby pointed out that he had caught an 8 lb. bass in the pond just beyond the front of the #1 tee.

   I took my first shot on this luxurious course, my errant tee shot collided with the water skipping across and settling on the fairway. I turned to the group and making light of the situation said, “I’d rather be lucky than good any day.” Bobby chuckled and said, “You know, I never won a tournament that I didn’t feel lucky while playing.” Bobby stepped up to the box, lined up his shot and with a seemingly effortless swing sent one sailing, straight as an arrow, down the center of the fairway. We stood there in amazement watching this beautiful tee shot disappear over the hill, down the middle. As we stood on the fairway, Bobby recalled the reason for two tiered green. The large rock beneath the surface dictated the need. This approach shot would be the first and only time Bobby would land in a bunker all day.

   We got back in the cart and went to #2 tee box, it doglegs left. Bobby told us the shot to take was left over the trees, after some thought, Bobby said he wanted, just for fun, to draw it just around the trees. The ball traveled thru the air just how he had described and after hooking for 60 yards landed again in perfect position dead center, the ball landed just inside 100 yards from the green. Driving around the cart path Bobby pointed out the placement of the red and yellow tees. He was proud of the ladies tee which eliminated much of the dogleg for the ladies… more fun to play for the ladies.

   On the next hole, the par-3 #3, Bobby proceeded to tell this story; He pointed to the single tree that flanks the green in the front.  “That tree had a dozer blade pressed against it and the operator was ready to the trunk ready to push it down. I yelled to the operator, ‘Whoa! HEY! What are you doing? Do you see that yellow tape around the trunk of this tree? That means leave it alone.’ The saw operator looked back at me puzzled and said, ‘But it’s right in front of the green…’ I replied at 150 yards, `We need this tree. It’s important, it adds to the challenge of the hole. You could put the pin behind that tree, and make the golfer draw it around.’ It’s stories like this that made this such a special day.

  As we approached the par-4 #6, we waited for the group in front of us to finish up the hole, Bobby told us that this was the first green he had designed. He had said the he probably  went a little over the top designing it. The berms around the back are really large and the green is huge, when he finished it was shaped like a heart. He put the large mound in middle because he had said that it was “interesting.” We spent a few minutes taking the large mound head on. With pin placement in mind, putting on this hole could frustrate even the best golfers.

   As we approached the green on #7, Bobby pointed out that the green was shaped like an hour glass. There is a reason for that too, in his original design Bobby had two trees placed one on each side of the green. The trees were strategically placed in the indentions of the hourglass shape. However, the two trees suffered the same fate as many other trees on a golf course, they died and had to be removed. Perhaps additional watering and fertilizer killed the two pine trees. Bobby also added another dimension of difficulty to this green, between the two trees there is a depression between both sides of the hourglass. With his approach shot Bobby stuck one within two feet of the pin for an easy birdie. “That felt like something from the past. I’m having delusions of grandeur!” Bobby chuckled.

  As Ron was preparing to tee off on #8, Bobby, being the cut-up he is, grabbed the camera and snapped a few pictures of Ron. “I know you being a photographer, never get a  picture taken of yourself. So now it’s your turn,” Bobby busted out.

   As we rounded the turn we stopped in the snack bar to re-fill ice cups and refreshen ourselves. By the way, please let me remind everyone to drink plenty of water during these hot summer months when working or playing outside.

  As we sat around and enjoyed the cool beverages and a few snacks, Jon asked Bobby why he had a Wyoming hat. Bobby replied, “I bought this hat when I traveled there to speak at an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) camp. I was asked to speak to a group about my experiences, it was indeed a great pleasure for me.” Bobby has many stories to tell, I look forward to more of these conversations with such a golf legend.

  The back nine proved much more relaxing and picturesque. The par 3, #13, has great view of the green 150 yards below you. There is also a small stream just beyond the green. When I asked Bobby is there anything that he would change about the way he designed this course, he responded with this, “There is one thing, I would have put the tee for #13 on lot adjacent to the current one. The new tee would be on the lot located to the left of its current spot. And, I would love to build a new green 160 yards down the valley to the right, the end result would be a similar tee shot dropping 100 feet to the valley where the green would be guarded on the right with the slope of the (mountain) and the stream guarding the left side. Don’t you think that would be a tremendous golf hole?”

  The next very noteworthy hole is the par 5, #14, if you have read about Bobby in the previous edition of the VISTA you may have read about this tee box. This is the hole where Bobby had to convince the “powers that be” to buy one more acre of land after already purchasing 14,500 acres. The view from this tee box is phenomenal, no matter which one you play from you should ride to the blues just to check out the view.  Also while deciding on the routing plan for the back nine, Bobby was walking through the thick woods, the fairways were not cleared yet, and he kept hearing water running, after some search he finally wandered back in the timber to discover a lovely waterfall that fronts the right of this interesting #14 green.

  With the help of God, Bobby has designed the course with you the golfer in mind… player friendly perhaps? Even the cart path routes were placed with much thought and planning… again, for the enjoyment and convenience of the players.    

Bobby played very well all day. When asked how much he has played this year, Bobby had said that this was probably his fifth round of the year. His game never showed any signs of weakness.  He was very patient with me being a novice golfer. I am very appreciative of that, he had nothing but kind words for each of us all day. I can’t express my gratitude to this man for his inspiration, and the example he sets for all of us on and off the course.

Published in: on August 15, 2006 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

PGA Pro Bobby Greenwood Reminisces About his Career

This article was written by Rick McNeal of Glade Vista, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, dated July 4, 2006.

PGA Pro Bobby Greenwood reminisces about his career

Bobby Greenwood’s PGA Tour Career lasted for 7 years 1969-1975, and in 1970 he was making quite a name for Fairfield Glade. Bobby qualified for the PGA Tour at Q-school at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida in 1969, tying Johnny Miller for 3rd place, in that same year Fairfield Communities, Inc. purchased the land for Fairfield Glade. Greenwood, a resident of Cookeville, represented the Glade on the PGA Tour from 1970 to 1975.

“The first tournament of the year was the Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open,” Bobby said. “For three days I was the 54-hole leader.”  I shot rounds of 69, 69, and 66 and had 3-stroke lead with 18 holes to play.

“The Glade really got their money’s worth, because for three days Glen Campbell was on TV talking about this rookie from Fairfield Glade, TN,” said Bobby. “For several weeks after that, Fairfield got calls from all over the country saying, ‘I didn’t know Fairfield Glade had a touring pro.'” 

In 1969, Bobby’s rookie year, he was the “Champions Choice” recipient. This was an award voted on by past champions and included an invitation to play in the Colonial Invitational (NIT). While on the PGA Tour, Bobby played in five major championships, but there is one experience in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach that he will never forget. Bobby recalls “I was in 15th place going into the final round in 1972, this year Jack [Nicklaus] won the tournament, in the third round I shot an even-par-72 and was feeling pretty good about the way I was playing in the tournament. I remember, if I had stayed in 15th place, I would have qualified for the Masters the next year and been back at the U.S. Open again.”

“A yacht race was scheduled at that same time, but had to be cancelled because of high winds,” Bobby said. “I never will forget, the wind was blowing 30 miles an hour and I was playing at the wrong time of the day. My playing partners that day were U.S. Open Champ Tony Jacklin from England and Masters Champ George Archer.  Jacklin shot 87 and Archer shot 84. As a result, I shot the highest round that I ever shot in a tournament. It’s tough to handle an 86 when you’ve shot 61, 63, and 64 at various other tournaments.” 

Bobby’s last professional win, among his amazing 150 pro and amateur wins, was the 1972 Rhode Island Open. He is also a former Tennessee Open and Tennessee Amateur champion. Although he led several PGA tour events his 7-year Tour career, Bobby could not pull off the wins. He sums it up this way… “To lead a PGA Tour event for one day is quite an accomplishment. To lead for 36 holes is very difficult.  And, to have a lead for 3 days is even harder.  But, to lead for 4 days… well not many can do it; I know I was never able to do it.”

Published in: on August 13, 2006 at 6:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Hogan Connection

This article was written by Bobby Greenwood and Rick McNeal of Glade Vista, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, dated May 23, 2006.

The Hogan Connection

A couple of weeks ago, the PGA Tour stopped at Fort Worth, Texas for the Colonial National Invitational.  This is one of the favorite golf courses on the Tour.  And, this tournament is very special to me. 

When I was in school at North Texas State University I would hitchhike from Denton to Fort Worth in order to go to Shady Oaks CC and watch Ben Hogan practice.  Hogan would go out on the course to #13 fairway to hit practice balls with his caddy. I would stand off perhaps a hundred yards and lean up against a tree.  I did this many times, but each time 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 over at me.  We would nod at each, but that was it.  One day Hogan was going to hit some bunker shots and he asked me to get in his cart and ride over to the practice bunker.  This was my introduction to the great Ben Hogan.

In Greenwood’s first year as a PGA Tour player he was selected as the Champion’s Choice to play in the Colonial Invitational at Fort Worth.  “The Champion’s Choice is a rookie that they think is going to be a great player”, Greenwood said, “I guess I’m the only Champion’s Choice rookie that never became one of the great ones.”

After college I went to the PGA Tour Qualifying School, tying Johnny Miller for 3rd place and played for seven years, 1969 through 1975.

One year, 1971, “I’m on the first tee at the Westchester Golf Classic at Rye, NY with Hal Underwood”, Greenwood added. “We’re getting ready to play a practice round and Ben Hogan comes up and asks to join us.  That was the last tournament he ever played in on the PGA Tour.  He told me the shafts in my woods were too limber and he let me hit his driver on the eighteenth hole.  The next week I received a set of woods in the mail from Ben Hogan.”  This was a surprise because we didn’t talk to much during the round… he was a man of few words… he mostly just said, “your away.” 

Published in: on August 13, 2006 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Nicklaus Connection

This article was written by Rick McNeal of Glade Vista, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, dated May 16, 2006.

Bobby Greenwood PGA: The Nicklaus Connection 

            Former PGA Tour Player Bobby Greenwood has numerous stories to tell about his golf career and in addition to sharing them with his wife Elma and his seven-year-old daughter Viola, he had the opportunity to share them with this Glade Vista reporter. One of his most noted stories is beating Jack Nicklaus in a match-play tournament in a sudden death playoff.

            On the putting green in front of the clubhouse at the Augusta National golf course in April ’61, Bobby Jones leaned toward a microphone used during presentation ceremonies at the conclusion of the Masters Tournament.

            “Jack Nicklaus”, 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 low amateur in the National Open, finishing three strokes back of the winner, professional Gene Little, with a total of 284 shots.

             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” 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.

             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 cut for anotherr 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 Sophomore 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”.

             “When I beat Nicklaus, I didn’t have any idea what I had done,” said Bobby. “He hadn’t been beaten in three 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 made you think ‘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 preceded to drive up from Cookeville in order to renew his relationship with Nicklaus and offer his services.

             In the above picture, Bobby, Nicklaus, and Chief Designer, Jim Fike were in the bed of a pick-up truck overlooking the building of “The Bear Trace Golf Course”. Bobby recalls, “The green we were looking at was too high and needed to be cut down so that it would be playable, but instead of challenging Nicklaus’ design intelligence by suggesting that it was ‘too high’,” Bobby asked, “Is there rock under that green,” because at that time Bobby he didn’t work for Golden Bear Design Company. At the suggestion of Bobby, the green was lowered and the end result Nicklaus hired Bobby to design golf courses over seas.

            As mentioned in an earlier article, Bobby and Elma was able to meet each other face to face as he was in Japan designing a 22-million-dollar golf course for Nicklaus. Elma and Bobby got to know each other by writing through a Christian Singles International Filipino connection. While working in Japan, Bobby had to leave the country occasionally in order to keep his work visa and he would travel, as you guessed it, to the Philippines to meet Elma.

             “I got to know her and her family while I was in the Philippines for three months,” Bobby recalled. “I came back home and realized I was in the same miserable, lonely existence once again. So, I just called her and asked ‘Will you marry me?’ and she said, ‘Yes,’ and we immediately started making plans for her to come to America, and we married in 1998.”

            “It took nine months to get her here, and she had three months to decide if she was going to marry me or not,” Bobby said. “It only took her one month instead.”

            “This was the best thing that could have happened to me as a result of my relationship with Jack Nicklaus,” says Bobby.

            “I am a happy man today… thanks again Jack.”

Published in: on August 13, 2006 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment