In mid July Nick drove the 13 hours from Iowa to West Point, Mississippi to play in the 109th Southern Amateur tournament. Fortunately he had Tae Koh, his fellow Manukau Golf Club team member along for the ride. Tae had arrived in Iowa a few days earlier. The drive was draining to say the least and arriving the day before the practice round was not ideal preparation.
The Southern Amateur is an amateur golf tournament. It has been played since 1902 and is organized by the Southern Golf Association. From 1902 to 1963, it was played as a match play tournament. Since 1964, it has been played as a stroke play tournament.
This year it was played at the Old Waverly Golf Course, One Magnolia Drive, West Point, Mississippi. The weather conditions were hot – mid to late 30’s (degrees), 95% humidity and no wind! Unfortunately Nick missed the cut by 3 shots with rounds of 73 and 73. In his own words “It’s safe to say I haven’t been that uncomfortable on a golf course before – it was absolutely incredible! I was very proud with how I was able to put together those rounds given the way I was playing. I have travelled and played 4 events in 6 weeks with no real time for technical or mechanical work in between, my swing had reverted back to it’s old tendencies and I was hitting the ball very poorly. This put stress on the rest of my game which wasn’t quite at the standard I am striving for. I’ve had a week off since then and completed numerous reviews and analysis of my summer game. I’m extremely excited to put my plans into action and get back playing under the pump. What a fantastic summer! I was able to play golf in five different States and meet some amazing people. Living the dream : )”
The tournament was won by Taylor Funk, son of tour veteran Fred Funk on 11 under par. Previous winners of this tournament include Webb Simpson, Justin Leonard and way back in 1917, 1920 and 1922 Bobby Jones.
Colonel George Hampton Young moved from Georgia and built a spectacular antebellum mansion for his bride on the banks of the Tombigbee River. Tragically, before the magnificent home was finished, Colonel Hampton’s wife died. But as a man of vision, the Colonel pushed forward and when the homestead was mostly complete in 1852 named it “Waverley,” the main character and title of the first novel of Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott. Waverley lost great friends and love but persevered to start life anew. Waverley succeeded and so, too, would Colonel Young. One hundred thirty years later, another George living in the Golden Triangle region of west Mississippi, seized upon a mission not unlike the young colonel’s and sought to make something extraordinary for those he knew and loved.
George Bryan and his wife, Marcia, familiar with the mansion and wanting to create something truly special, sought to highlight nature’s splendor and fulfill a shared dream. Waverley Mansion would be the backdrop for a world-class center of golf and recreation. Those initial plans, thwarted by circumstances, were not to be realized. But as with Colonel Young, this George, his wife and 29 other founders persevered. These visionaries found a piece of property not far from Waverley Mansion. Although the history and uniqueness of the mansion were not present, they understood that a diamond does not come out of the ground cut and full of sparkles. This enterprising group sought to allow the beauty they saw in their minds’ eye to emerge through the skillful hands of those who knew how to bring it out.
U.S. Open winner Jerry Pate and course designer Bob Cupp were enlisted to trim away from the undeveloped nature of 360 acres of pasture and prairie located near West Point, Mississippi, and add to its history, beauty and success. “Old Waverly, The Golf Club of Mississippi,” with a grand entryway leading to the clubhouse that reflects the original mansion’s aura and a greenscape that evokes quiet awe was the result. Beauty of the local region was drawn out and allowed to sparkle with the hard work and a devotion to detail. In just a few short years the Bryans’ vision had morphed from idea to reality and Old Waverly opened formally in September 1988.
Driving from the main gate to the clubhouse, it seems as if Old Waverly had been established at the turn of the century. With its grand architecture and many mature trees, it is hard to believe the club is merely twenty five years old. But it is the attention to detail at every turn that establishes Old Waverly as a truly special place. Numerous lush gardens punctuate the property with color and variety year round. One remarkable example is the Lavender Rose Garden modeled after an old English traditional rose garden where loving care brings forth a wondrous burst of fragrance and color.
Sir Walter Scott’s hero, Edward Waverley, as he headed home passed through a royal park. Scott writes of his experience, “With a mind more at ease, Waverley could not have failed to admire the mixture of romance and beauty which renders interesting the scene through which he was now passing…” Everyone who passes through Old Waverly today cannot help but experience “a mind more at ease.” Each person who plays on the course and watches their ball fall to the bottom of the hole and then looks to the nature that surrounds each green cannot help but “admire the mixture of romance and beauty.” Old Waverly is not just about golf; Old Waverly is about living-successfully.