Nine Holes with a Georgia Champion

Dec, 16 2022

Nine Holes with a Georgia Champion

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

I started playing golf at age 11. My first home golf course was the John F. Byrne Municipal Golf Course in Philadelphia, PA.

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

My first golf instructor was PGA Golf Professional, Jack Walsh, who gave me a “life changing” golf tip when he showed me how to keep my clubface square within the motion of my golf swing…..within ten minutes, my ball striking drastically improved!

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

Lee Trevino is my golf hero…..I met Mr. Trevino on the driving range at Panama County Club in December of 1981 while competing in the Panama Open. While hitting balls next to Mr. Trevino, he turned to me and said, “I don’t know why I’m hitting balls in this heat to warm up, I’m already warmed up from walking down here from the clubhouse!” Of course, I agreed with him!

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

Seven holes-in-one; One double eagle; Low score, 62.

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

During the week of the 1991 PGA Championship, Tim Simpson invited me to play a practice round with him and his good friend, Greg Norman, who at that time, was the number one player in the world! By the time we reached the second hole, the gallery following us had grown to about two thousand people! I remember being very nervous as I teed off on that second hole, however, I managed to hit a perfectly straight tee shot! As we were walking down the closely cut walkway grass from the teeing area to the fairway, I noticed that my golf ball was about twenty yards short of the fairway, but right in the middle of the six foot wide walkway ........ as I approached my golf ball, I looked over at Greg Norman and said, "Greg, I'm not very long, but I'm very accurate!" ...... we all laughed and the ice was broken!

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, etc.?

Along with my dedication to long distance running, I should have spent more time working on strength and flexibility exercises as a way to increase my clubhead speed.

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

While competing in the 1984 West Georgia Open, I lost a sudden death playoff for the championship on the eighteenth hole by stroking my one foot par putt only six inches…….unknowingly to me, the balata golf ball that I was using had a “cut mark”located on the Titleist logo that my putter came in contact with during my stroke… was like putting a marshmallow….I, along with the 100+ spectators, could hardly believe I’d missed the one foot putt! I learned a valuable lesson that day!!

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

I would want to play the first hole, now number seven, at the Mary Calder Golf Club in Savannah, Georgia, where in 1978 I won my first professional golf tournament in a sudden death playoff on this particular hole.

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

Without question, winning the 1991 Georgia Open and joining DeWitt Weaver Jr. as the only two players who had won the Georgia PGA Grand Slam was very special to me. However, even though completing the Georgia PGA Grand Slam was a career milestone, the main reason that the Georgia Open was my most meaningful win was because my 80 year old parents, along with my wife and children, were standing behind the eighteenth green when I holed my final winning putt ....... it was a memorable and meaningful 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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