Nine holes with a Georgia Champion

Apr, 16 2023

Nine holes with a Georgia Champion

Hole 1 - When did you start playing golf and what was the name of your first “home” course?

Initially I tagged along with my parents around age 5 or 6. Around 9 or 10 my next door neighbor (Billy Shepherd) and I set up a whiffle ball course in our back yards. We used our dads’ clubs. Then around age 12 or 13, Billy told me he just got a job caddying at Miami Valley Country Club and suggested I get one also. Seemed like a good idea, so I followed in his footsteps. Since caddies could play the course on Mondays, we moved our whiffle ball games to real golf. So I guess my first home course was Miami Valley in Dayton, Ohio.

Hole 2 - Who was your first golf mentor or golf instructor and what is the best tip you learned from him/her?

I never had a real lesson until I walked on at Ohio State. Coach Kepler was willing to help me from time to time. I’d find him in the golf shop and he was usually willing to give me 10-15 minutes on the range. He’d leave me with one tip that was usually swing with tempo. And it always helped.

Hole 3 - Who is your golf hero and have you ever met him/her? If so, what were the circumstances?

It was probably Jack Nicklaus. Although he was on Tour when I got to Ohio State, I later drew his 17-year-old son Jackie as an opponent in the Columbus city amateur. Jack, Barbara and their daughter came to watch. Also my wife Belinda came to watch. Jack was very gracious and we had a great day. And young Jackie was kind enough to let me win the match.

Hole 4 - How many holes-in-one? How many double eagles? Lowest 18-hole score?

I had my first hole-in-one at age 58. Since then I have made 10 more. No double eagles. I shot 64 when I was 64. My first time shooting my age and my lowest score.

Hole 5 - Who is the best player you have ever played with and what do you remember most about that round(s)?

I played with Tom Weiskopf one day at Ohio State. I remember he had a get it in the fairway swing and a hit it long swing. I could almost keep up with him until he decided to let it go. He was way way past my best drives then. The sound his driver made was unlike any I had ever heard. I watched him shoot the easiest 66 I had ever seen that day. Long and short irons stiff all day.

Hole 6 - Looking back, to make you a better player, please explain one different approach you would take regarding your practice, mental prep, course management, score?

Growing up we played greens that were really slow, including our home course at Ohio State. When I found myself on greens that were fast, I was totally lost. I would have tried to find some way to experience really fast greens for practice.

Hole 7 - What has been your most embarrassing moment on a golf course that you are willing to share?

Probably at the US Senior Amateur. I was 2 up with 4 holes to play. I lost 3 of the last 4 holes hitting driver when I didn’t need to. I doubled the last 2 holes and lost the match.

Hole 8 - Suppose you were down to the last hole of your golf career, which hole would you want to play and why?

Probably number 18 at Pebble Beach. It’s a great hole with spectacular scenery. Wouldn’t care how many balls I put into the ocean.

Hole 9 - What is your most meaningful tournament win and why?

Probably Canadian Senior Matchplay. It was held at Eagles Glenn on Prince Edward Island, a place we had never been. I won 1-up against Joel Hirsch, a great player in his day.

Honored to be endorsed by the Georgia State Golf Association.

“The GSGA applauds the efforts of Joey Kaney to highlight the wonderful accomplishments of so many golfers from around the state through his Mr. Stat website. More importantly, we appreciate Mr. Kaney’s interest and desire to preserve tournament results and records which showcase Georgia’s rich history in the game of golf.” ———-——- Matt Vanderpool - Chief Executive Officer - Georgia State Golf Association

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