Golf briefs: Local courses implement health recommendations

by Cherokeean Staff Reports

The National Golf Course Owners Association has come up with a list of measures to be implemented at courses during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

These measures have been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety of golfers and allow golf courses to remain open.

At Birmingham Golf Club in Rusk measures taken include signs posted encouraging social distancing; players are being urged to leave the pin in when putting and encourage “gimmies;”crowds are monitored so as not to exceed the recommended limit (10 people); water coolers have been banned on the course; hand sanitizer stations have been established; merchandise has been placed behind the counter; and golf carts are disinfected after each use.

“The majority of their list applies to larger courses, which have restaurants/clubs, driving ranges and multiple employees and as such, doesn’t apply to Birmingham Golf Club,” club owner Mark Raiborn said. “These are trying times and some amount of normalcy is very crucial to our wellbeing. We’re a small business in a small town and need all the support we can get to remain open, as do the other small businesses in Rusk.

“So until something else changes, Birmingham is open for business and we hope to see you out on the links enjoying the sunshine and fresh air!”

In Birminham’s weekly play, Charles Ray ‘C.R.’ Peters celebrated his 85th birthday at the course on Tuesday, March 24 during the Shamble, but Tommy McElroy’s team refused to let him win!

McElroy -- along with team members Jamie Magruder, Austin Davis and Braun Cyr -- shot a -1 on the front nine to tie with the team of Peters, Rupert Robert, Jim Howell and Don Goff; but then shot a +4 to win the back and ended up +3 total for the overall victory!

McElroy had an eagle on the par 5 fifth hole and Magruder added three birdies himself. Davis even carded a couple birdies himself.

Closest to the hole went to Mark Raiborn.

After two weeks of play resulting in ties at 5 under par during the weekly Wednesday Hump Day scramble, a team finally broke through with a -6 and a victory on Wednesday, March 25.

The squad of Roger Redden, Ronny Gates, Andrew Johnson and Jim Howell birdied their last four holes -- #s 8,9,1 and 2 -- to eke out a one stroke victory.

The team of Raiborn, Jody McClosky, Brian Downs and Konnor Gayle also made a late run, with birdies on three of their last four holes, but came up just short to finish in second place at -5.

In third place, at -4, was the team of Jacob Raiborn, Jack Woody, Tommy McElroy and Austin Davis.

Closest to the hole on #6 went to McElroy and on #9 Andrew Johnson.

Thursday’s weekly scramble saw some new winners in the circle after play on Thursday, March 26.

The team of Josh Hill, Bryan Howell, James Nunn and Emma Nunn fired a -6 to win the Thursday Scramble by a single stroke. They birdied four of their first six holes and added a late birdie to get the victory.

Nunn captured closest to the hole on #6.

Team members C.R. Peters, Doug Carroll, Skip Huggins and Kevin Taylor carded -5 to finish that single shot back in second.

Another stroke back, in third, was the team of Mark Raiborn, Carl Haddon, Mark Jones and Austin Davis at -4.

Birmingham Golf Club holds weekly public golf shambles and scrambles every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the course, 875 Copeland St., in Rusk.

Tee times are at 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays. Call the club, (903) 683-9518 to register to participate.

Cherokee Ranch Golf Club in Jacksonville was closed Tuesday, March 24, to let the maintenance crew get caught up.

Club officials have made the decision to cancel the Cherokee Ranch Golf Club Scholarship 4-man Scramble, due to all the uncertainty going on concerning the COVID-19 virus.

“As disappointing as this news is we will still be giving a scholarship to a Jacksonville High School student,” club officials stated in a Facebook post. “Next year we will be organizing this same tournament because we want all of our loyal members and non-members to be able to participate.

“Thank you for all of your continued support.”

Jacksonville’s golf course is taking these precautions to remain open:

• Players are urged to visit the Pro Shop upon arrival, for updated information concerning the course.

• Please leave the flags stick in.

• There are no racks in traps.

• There is no drinking water on the course.

• Ball washers are covered and are not to be used at this time.

“These are just a few things we are doing for everyone’s protection and to keep the spread of germs to the absolute minimum,” club officials posted. “Please take it seriously so we can continue to stay open!”

Cherokee Ranch Golf Club holds weekly Senior Scrambles every Tuesday at the golf course, 14499 U.S. Highway 79 E, Jacksonville.

Call the club, (903) 541-4700, to register for an event.