After playing golf in Little Rock, we jumped in the car and drove 135 miles to Memphis. It was an uneventful trip - with one exception. Roadside billboards with religious themes appear to be more common place in the South. One such sign along the I-40 interstate leading into Memphis really caught my eye:
“Use the rod on your children to save their life.”
It was followed by a biblical reference that I was unable to catch as the car sped down the road. You could probably say that falls into the category of “different strokes for different folks” - - - literally!
Location: Memphis, TN
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #7
Date: 15 Apr, tee off at 1:50 PM
Conditions: partly cloudy, 24 MPH wind, 82 degrees
Lost balls: 2
Lost balls: 2
Score: 91 on a par 71
For those of you unfamiliar with the world of golf, TPC is an abbreviation for “Tournament Players Club”. There are a number of TPC courses spread across the USA, one of which is the TPC Deere Run course in Silvis, IL. Deere Run was built on the site of a former Arabian horse farm owned by Tish Hewitt, a great-great-granddaughter of John Deere and the wife of Bill Hewitt, a former Chairman of John Deere. During my career at John Deere, I worked for Glen Gustafson in the late 1990’s. Glen helped in the negotiations with the TPC organization for Deere Run to become a TPC course in exchange for the exclusive use of John Deere lawn ground care equipment on all TPC courses nationwide.
TPC Southwind is home to the annual FedEx St. Jude Classic tournament. We passed by the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as we drove into Memphis on I-40. The hospital was founded by Danny Thomas, who some of you will recall as a famous TV entertainer from the “old” days. His daughter, Marlo Thomas Donahue, is a well-known personality from her own TV career, as the wife to TV talk show host Phil Donahue, and as the National Outreach Director for St. Jude’s Hospital. In addition to the hospital’s location in Memphis, the FedEx corporate offices are situated on the TPC Southwind course surrounding the #5 green and #6 tee box.
Statue & tournament winners plaque in front of club house
View of FedEx offices from hole #5 fairway
View of hole #5 green and FedEx offices
As a guest at TPC Southwind, I was restricted to teeing off after 2 PM on week-ends. This would enable more access to the course for the membership during peak playing hours. The course and practice range were both crowded, and yet I was sent out as a single player in between two foursomes. The group ahead of me were playing slow as they sprayed balls across the course. Thankfully, the group behind me caught up on the #3 tee box where they asked if I wanted to play with them as a group of five. This provided me with the opportunity to meet Dave Coates (food packaging business), Nelson Buford (manager of speciality pharmacy services), Rick Hanna (salesman for manufacturing supplies) and Pat Riley (manufacturing railroad track components).
Rick, Dave, Nelson & Pat
After a double bogey on the first hole, I parred the next two holes to get off to a good start. Dave provided me some advice on club selection for hole #4 that really paid off - - - for those of you who keep asking when I will hit another hole-in-one, my shot on #4 was certainly close enough. It just needed a little more luck after landing 2’ to the right of the cup and rolling to a stop 4’ from the hole. I sank the birdie putt.
502-yard par 5 hole #3
Approach shot to hole #3 green
158-yard par 3 hole #4
After going 1-over par through the first 4-holes, my game went down hill and never recovered. I finished the round with 5 double bogeys and 9 bogeys to card one of the worst rounds of golf I have played this year. The course was tough and the wind was definitely a factor, but my poor score was a mere reflection of my inability to play well on that day.
428-yard par 4 hole #10 (view of approach shot to the green)
146-yard par 3 hole #11
350-yard par 4 hole #12
398-yard par 4 hole #13
343-yard par 4 hole #15 (view of approach shot to the green)
413-yard par 4 hole #18 (view from the green back up the fairway)