News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Texas Amateur Memories

My first Texas Amateur was in 1997.  We got a scorecard at the first tee, played 18 holes and handed it in when we were done.  There was no provided lunch or shirt, but there was a scoreboard.  It was a great time and great experience, BUT, look at it today!  The Texas State Amateur has been transformed over the last 20 years to one of the premier amateur golf events in the country.  The attention to detail, the player experience, hospitality and tournament administration is second to none.  I thank my fellow board members for having the courage to change directions 20 years ago, and for the numerous staff and volunteers that have put in the hours of labor to make this event what it is today.  Thank you.
My greatest memory was in 2007 when I was serving as the TGA president and handing the winner’s trophy to my son, Charlie.  Rob Addington would not allow me to handle the microphone for fear that my crying would embarrass our organization.  That is still one of my greatest golf memories. 
~Malcolm Holland, Past TGA President
My favorite Texas Amateur memories have always resulted from the relationships that I have developed throughout the years while meeting, greeting and getting to know the players. As a volunteer referee, we are presented with many opportunities to visit with the players, whether as a starter, a scorer, or a referee assigned to a group. Although we should not engage players in conversation while they are competing, there are still many other times and places we do get to visit, whether before the round or after. 
Many of our previous Texas Amateur Champions have come up through the Legends Junior Tour. It has been great fun to see many of them grow into very talented amateurs, and sometimes touring pros. Two, whom I still keep up with, are Kelly Kraft (2008 & 2011) and Will Zalatoris (2014). Shortly after Kelly won his second Texas Amateur in 2011, he won the United States Amateur Championship and is now on the PGA Tour. Shortly after Will won his Texas Amateur, he won the United States Junior Amateur Championship and is now on the Web.Com Tour. 
While it is great fun to follow the professional careers of Kelly and Will, it is just as enjoyable to see those that don’t become tour pros, but remain as amateurs. Two, whom I really enjoy seeing often, are Doug Manor (2013) and Zach Atkinson (2004). Both still play in many of our TGA Amateur events as well as our Mid-Amateur events.  Both have been selected as Players of the Year in Texas. 
These are just four of the Champions I have had the opportunity to get to know well. However, getting to know so many of the great amateurs that compete every year for the coveted title of Texas Amateur Champion is truly the blessing responsible for ALL of my incredible memories.
~Jim Brown, Past TGA President
It was the second round of the 2006 Texas State Amateur and I was about to turn 50 that year, but was playing pretty well against the youngsters in the field.  As it is now, the AM was a walking event, and my wife was carrying the bag in the typical Dallas heat.  On the 17th hole, I hit my approach to a couple of feet, when one of the other caddies in the group commented to my wife, “Does your husband know he’s hit 17 greens in regulation?”  Her reply was short, “He knows” ­– only because I had parred the first 16 holes.  I made the birdie on 17 and hit it in the leather on 18 for another birdie to shoot 2 under par 68 –a Hogan-like round.
About five years later, I was playing in a four-ball in Tyler, Texas when a very polite, still young man approached me, “Mr. LaPierre?  You won’t remember me, but I was caddying in the group the day you hit all 18 greens in the State Amateur – that sure was fun to watch!”  
Yes it was.  Where has that old guy gone…
~Richard LaPierre, TGA Volunteer