Originally created 12/15/04

Club Car scores with plan to provide lessons for employees



You've got to applaud the initiative of Club Car Inc. president and CEO Phil Tralies, and only hope executives in other golf-related companies follow his lead.

Thanks to a program supported by Tralies, Augusta-based Club Car will be doing its part to support area golf by introducing some employees to the game starting in early 2005.

In conjunction with the First Tee of Augusta's "Link Up 2 Golf" player development program, Club Car will pay for golf lessons for a pilot group of eight employees. The goal is to expand the program to at least 100 employees by the end of 2005.

"We hope more of our (employees) not only learn the game, but learn to love the game and help support our local courses," Tralies said. "Golf is what supports our business collectively and each of us individually. We want to encourage an appreciation of that within the Club Car family."

The instruction will take place at the First Tee of Augusta starting the first week of January. The eight students were chosen from various departments at Club Car for the eight hours of instruction.

Tralies made his announcement in St. Augustine, Fla., at the annual meeting of Golf 20/20, which is a collaborative effort of the golf industry to accelerate growth and participation.

"Those of us who depend on the health of the game to support our business should be willing to invest in programs that grow the game," Tralies said.

RESERVE RECORD: There's a new standard for excellence at Aiken's Reserve Club.

Former Clemson All-America Matt Hendrix recently broke the course record from the back tees of the Nicklaus-designed course with 9-under-par 63.

Hendrix, who is now a pro, had 11 birdies and two bogeys. He had birdies on Nos. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16 and 17. His bogeys were on Nos. 3 and 12.

The course record had been 65, set by Brennen King, another former Clemson golfer.

Hendrix played in the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament this fall, making it to the second stage. In a scheduled 72-hole event that was shortened to 36 holes by bad weather, Hendrix shot 68-69 at Kingwood (Texas) Golf Club and missed advancing to the finals by four shots.

HARMON TOUR: Noted golf instructor Butch Harmon is branching out in 2005 to sponsor a professional mini-tour, with all the events being held at various courses in his hometown of Las Vegas.

The Butch Harmon Vegas Tour will consist of 16 weekly events, beginning June 7 and running through Sept. 30.

The first 15 events will be 54-hole tournaments being played on Tuesdays through Thursdays.

The final event, the Tour Championship, will wrap up the season with a 72-hole event for the top 40 money winners.

Based on full fields of 156 players, the regular season events will have purses of $175,000. The Tour Championship will have a $600,000 purse.

Harmon said he is striving to have "the best nationwide developmental tour" in the country, which sounds like a shot at the PGA Tour's Nationwide Tour.

At least Harmon, whose most famous former pupil is Tiger Woods, has his heart in the right place.

He will be donating all his proceeds from the tour to junior golf programs in Las Vegas, specifically the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association.

Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851 or david.westin@augustachronicle.com.