Favorite setting

January 1, 2001 By    

Over the past several years, Trinity Industries sales rep John Geiger has played dozens of topflight golf courses throughout the Northeast and Southeast area of the country, including a large number of those links ranked among the nation’s elite.

Among his favorites: the trio (Copperhead, Island and Sandpiper) of layouts at the Innisbrook/Westin Resort, located at Tarpon Springs near his home in Tampa, Fla.

Thus, when officials of the Propane Golfers Association announced that their annual 54-hole medal-handicap and two-player 36-hole team tournaments would be held there June 18-24, the genial LP gas industry veteran couldn’t mask his delight.

Geiger, who is assisting in the coordination of the event, will be among a field of 120-plus golfers from as far away as Canada, Mexico, California, Colorado and Minnesota expected to compete in the medal-handicap shootout. Jim Darr of Memphis, Tenn., who captured the 2000 title last June at the Legends resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., will be back seeking his fourth title.

“It’s going to be great getting back to Innisbrook,” Geiger declared. “Early December, I got to play both the Tournament Players Course in Jacksonville and the Copperhead course. Both of them were in excellent shape. Copperhead, which has had a considerable amount of work done on it since the Propane Golfers tournament was held there in 1999, was plush. It was in the best shape that I’ve ever seen it. The greens were carpets, held approach shots and putted true to the eye. It was a memorable golfing day.

“Compared to the TPC, which was very nice, it was in much better condition. The same was true of the other two courses there. Everyone who has ever played in our tournament has enjoyed the courses, the restaurants and other amenities that the resort has to offer. Everyone I’ve talked to is looking forward to getting back.”

It’s the 12th time that the Propane Golfers Association has conducted its tournament at the 1,200-acre Innisbrook/ Westin sports spa. And Geiger, working in tandem with executive director Zane Chastain, says the event could be the most fun-filled week that contestants have ever enjoyed there.

The schedule, in addition to the medal and handicap tournament, always includes several competitions – the Corken/Gabe Szekely two-player team tournament consisting of four 9-hole tournaments within that tournament (best ball, scramble, alternate shot, and handicap).

“We have an 18-hole putting tournament (sponsored by Cavagna North America); a long-drive contest (sponsored by Trinity Industries); a senior long-drive contest (sponsored by H & H Equipment); and a Skills Contest (sponsored by East Fabricators), at which free beer will be served to anyone who is playing in the tournament.”

Geiger also noted that Cavagna and Trinity Industries plan to jazz up the various competitions. Cavagna will stage a pizza party (including free beer) prior to the putting tournament, and Trinity Industries will provide hot chicken wings and free beer during the long drive competition.

“We’re going to have a great time,” he declared. “In the minds of those who have played golf at Innisbrook, it has always been a fun experience. And the competition this year, from early indications, will be extremely tough for one basic reason.”

Along with Jim Darr, who also won in 1994 and 1998, three or possibly four former champs may return to challenge the long-hitting Tennesseean.

They include Dave Buker, vice president of MP-Oils of Calgary, Canada, a three-time (’85-’89-’92) champ; Jeff Monroe, two-time (’97-’99) winner and an attorney for Courtesy Gas of Jacksonville; and two-time winner (’95-’96) Denny Kenndall, an AmeriGas sales rep, of Cincinnati.

“We also hope to get two-time (’87-’88) winner Clint Land of Savannah, Ga.; Chris Welch (’93) of Lexington, North Carolina; Harry Stephens (’91) of Madison, North Carolina; plus Bob Tennant of Tulsa (’90), and Larry Stephens (’93) of Port Richey, Fla., to come back and play this year.

“Association rules specify that anyone who has ever competed in the Propane Golfers Association tournament is still eligible to play, even if they are retired or no longer associated with the propane industry. So, we’re anticipating a full field of 120-plus golfers in June. In our case, I know Trinity Industries will be well represented in it.”

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