Celebrating Golf in America: Alabama

Hi everyone, I’m Mike Trostle we continue to celebrate 125 years of golf in America with Alabama a state that three USGA champions have ties to Hubert green Larry Nelson and the man we have on the line right now 1976 winner Jerry Pate Jerry. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you so much my That jury success in the USGA championships played a major role early in your career. What made you respond? So well to the challenges they presented Although I grew up in Alabama when I moved to Pensacola at age 13 My father’s boss and the coca-cola business was Involved the USGA Green section committee and also a rules official Crawford rainwater And he taught me a lot about the game in fact He brought the first USDA major championship to the state of Florida with the Women’s US Open in 1969 at scenic Hills Country Club and So I was able to caddy there and I worked a little television actually on the weekend And just getting around Big-time golf there the Women’s Open and we had the Pensacola open for years in Pensacola And I would see the men play every spring and so I had an interest in the game and mr Rainwater really taught me the fine points of the game and the rules of the game And now Jerry you’re talking about 1969 having the Women’s Open down there, but you a big year 1974 you win the u.s Ammeter in less than two years after that you prevail in the US Open at age 22 hitting one of the most memorable shots in Championship history. What’s your favorite moment from that week at Atlanta Athletic Club? I Don’t think there was really any one shot that that was my favorite part of the the Championship I think just winning in Georgia. I was born in, Georgia my family had moved to Georgia in 1800 from North Carolina on a little farm about a couple of thousand acre cotton farm in South Georgia near a riddle valve, Georgia in Washington County My dad was a graduate from the University of Georgia Business School my mom graduated from Wesleyan in Macon where I was born gosh my grandfather Greg Georgia Business College and around 1920 in Atlanta. So we were a georgia family And so when I came to the open it was the first time played in the south Bobby Jones asked it to be played at the Athletic Club. His father was a coca-cola Lawyer. My dad was a coca-cola bottler at that time, even though he didn’t know Bobby Jones or his father but it all kind of tied together with a person with roots from Georgia and and as it would turn out I won the the Only time the US Open has been played in the state Yeah, Jerry, one of the great finishes in US Open history that Shahi hid on the 72nd hole now a lot of roots in Georgia but you also played golf at the University of Alabama and lived there for a number of years early in your life What makes the game special in the state of Alabama? Well my reason for going to Alabama Was the fact that the Bear Bryant television show was sponsored by coca-cola my dad knew the folks in Birmingham that were the Birmingham coca-cola bottlers that ended there were big golfers and They called coach Bryan and I ended up. I think I got a scholarship It was complete with free books. That was it I was basically a walk-on so I had grown up as a kid in Alabama from From early age till 13 and I always loved the state there were so many good tournaments junior tournaments around Alabama and Montgomery and Selma Dothan My goodness Aniston gets in Birmingham and I grew up in a little town called Aniston and there were some really fine players amateur players in those days And of course, I knew of Mack McClendon and Hubert green who were fine professional golfers they turned out to be later on but they were just fine amateurs when I was a kid growing up and So the adults spent a lot of time with the kids and they we had great junior golf programs. In fact the the pro today at Birmingham Country Club is now Eric Eshelman is now the PGA pro of the year and of all the golf pros in America And they have a great golf program at Birmingham Country Club. And so Alabama has always had a storied history of fine golfers And I think that was one of the things that helped my career Was being around adults that respected the United States Golf Association and respected the Alabama Golf Association in the in the Alabama PGA pros Association And I think that was something that helped build my interest in the game And Jerry lots awake golfers in Alabama and lots of great golf courses down there shoal creek hosted the US Women’s Open Just a couple years ago and speaking of golf courses you’ve had plenty of success in your design career How is course design evolved since you started and what inspires your work? I? Would say Pete Dye inspired my interest in the golf design Also a mr. Rainwater, he was involved in the agronomics of the game when I was a kid I worked on the Golf Course at scenic Hills Country Club prior to the Women’s Open in 69 Caddied at the Pensacola open is a young man in Pensacola Country Club caddie that the women’s open at scenic hills but meeting peed in the 1974 World Amateur Championship at Casa de Campo and seeing his creative work of the teeth of the dog and then coming back and and Got involved with Jack Nicklaus after winning the Open I traveled once to Glen Abbey when he was building that Stadium Golf Course prior to the famous Stadium a PGA Tour course He had just completed Muirfield and we had the first Memorial Tournament 76 at his Golf Course there so I watched Jack build courses I actually worked with Pete later on in my career and did the TPC Valley course the second course next to the stadium course Along with Bobby weed and I also worked with Tom Fazio as early as twenty three years old We did a golf course called blue water bay in Niceville, Florida, which was one of Tom’s first golf courses and of course his uncle George was a US Open champion and a great designer in his own right on the few courts at the George Fazzio and Tom’s father was a pro and They all knew a lot about the game and the agronomics and construction. So I learned from some of the best Yeah, you sure did Pete Dye Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus really doesn’t get a whole lot better than that Jerry Pate the 1974 USM champion the 1976 US Open champion. Thank you so much for your insights on golf in Alabama

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