PGA Master Professional Jim White of Lincoln, Neb., one of 11 past Champions competing in the 23rd Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship, has been a playing legend in his home Section. He’s won 12 Nebraska PGA Section titles spanning five decades and has been a Section Player of the Year 19 times and a two-time Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year.
In addition to a glossy competitive career, the 61-year-old White has served as a coach to aspiring PGA Professionals. He was a key member of a team that established a PGA Professional Golf Management Program at the University of Nebraska. The program, which was accredited in 2004, has produced 72 graduates.
“It has been an exceptional program that I have had the privilege to be involved with since the beginning,” said White, now the PGA head professional the West Nine & Learning Center at Firethorn in Lincoln, Neb. “I really enjoy working with the kids and seeing them grow and become PGA Professionals.”
White has been able to watch the growth of future PGA Professionals, including his own son, Josh, who is now the PGA head professional at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz.
“My son went through the program and was the part of the first graduating class,” said White. “He is working hard out in Arizona, and like many of the students we have had in our program, has a great career ahead of him. It’s fun to see each of them work, grow and mature throughout their time in the program”
Nebraska PGA PGM Coordinator Scott Holly hailed White’s contributions to the program and its continued success.
“Jim White was instrumental in getting the PGA PGAM program at Nebraska and as former director of golf at Wilderness Ridge Golf Course, ensured that we have a home course for our students,” said Holly. “Jim has been involved in player development since day one. Thanks to Jim’s guidance, more than 70 percent of the students since 2004 have passed the PAT (Playing Ability Test).”
White won the 2004 Senior PGA Professional National Championship, and has two other top-five finishes. He made the cut in this week’s Championship and will look to build on that playing legacy.
BUSY YEAR FOR OREGON GOLF SHOP: There is a very capable support staff in the golf shop at Lake Oswego Country Club in Oswego Lake, Ore., because two of its PGA Professionals have been spending a lot of time on the road this year. The club is home to PGA head professional Brent Murray, 56, and 34-year-old PGA assistant professional Scott Erdmann.
"It’s been really exciting at the club. The members are tremendously supportive of both Scott and me having the opportunities to play some golf,” said Murray, who missed the cut Friday in the Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship. “Obviously, Scott is the first time he qualified for the PGA Professional National Championship. He is a great player and should have been playing in that many years ago. He is a talented guy.
"If he is playing well, he can compete with anyone across the country. I thought that the only thing that might hurt him was not being completely comfortable in the Championship the first time. However, he almost won it, and then went on to the PGA Championship and the PGA Cup. He also nearly won our Section Championship, losing in a playoff. He’s had a great year.”
Though Murray did not fare as well as he would have liked, he said that he and his wife will enjoy the rural Virginia scenery and visit some tourist sites. “This is my fifth of sixth time in the Championship,” said Murray. “I like to be able to come and play in this. It is great to see new courses. This is a beautiful area, and the golf courses are beautiful.”
ENGINEER-TURNED-PGA PROFESSIONAL MAKES DEBUT: PGA Rules official David Young, the PGA head professional at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, N.Y., made his debut this week in the 23rd Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship. Young, who also competed in three PGA Professional National Championships and one PGA Assistant Championship, declared himself a golf professional in 1983. However, that decision came after he had graduated from Virginia Tech in engineering. Young could have attended prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) or West Point (his mother’s choice), but said he fell in love with the Virginia Tech campus.
“Golf is a little like engineering in that you have technique, management of a lot of factors to achieve success and problem-solving,” said Young. “I just loved golf better than engineering.”
Young has served on the PGA Rules Committee since 1997, but said that his competing this week “is a lot better than watching.” There is one special focus for Young to remain in the gallery, however. He will be cheering on his son, Cameron, 14, who has become a standout amateur player at Fordham Prep High School in the Bronx.
Cameron won last summer’s Westchester Amateur Championship, and a division title in the US Kids World Team Championship at Pinehurst, N.C. The Westchester victory, said Young, “opened a lot of doors” for his son to compete at such locations as Oak Hill Country Club, Somerset Hills, Piping Rock, and Bethpage Black.
“Cameron grew five inches over the past year and now hits it a lot further than me,” said Young, with a grin. “He’s now hitting his scoring clubs into greens. He’s beating me like a drum.”