Sooner boomer

March 1, 2003 By    

Since retiring five years ago, former LP gas industry veteran Bob Tennant has spent a great deal of time playing golf at his country club in Oklahoma and at various tournaments around the state.

So far, the senior years have been a fun experience, he says, and his future plans include more tee times.

Thus, when the Broken Arrow native heard that the Propane Golfers Association’s team and medal-handicap tournament would be held at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., he began making plans to participate in the June 16-22 event. And if he does compete, he’ll be one of several former champs expected to challenge for the coveted medal title.

After tying Bob Smith for the championship in 1989, and losing a one-hole playoff, Tennant beat out 160 golfers the next summer at the Woodlands Resort in Houston, in one of the association’s most memorable shoot-outs.

Battling record June heat, stifling humidity and several burnt greens every day, the smooth-swinging 64-year-old Okie ­ who now plays to a two handicap ­ sunk a testy 2-foot putt on the final hole to capture his first crown.

“Without question, half the battle that year was enduring the weather conditions,” Tennant recalled.

“Those were the toughest three rounds of golf that I’ve ever played. In all, I lost nearly 20 pounds of weight…and almost didn’t finish the final round. The hot weather that week impacted everyone’s game.”

As for this year’s tournament, Tennant has heard nothing but positive reports about the World Golf Village resort layout, located 45 miles south of Jacksonville, a couple of hundred yards west of Interstate 95 in St. Augustine. Featuring the World Golf Hall of Fame, the PGA Tour Golf Academy, a giant, lighted l8-hole all-grass putting course, and two new golf courses, it is known as the center of the golf universe.

If all goes as planned, he and son Chris, the Southwest area manager for Dynegy Liquids Marketing & Trade in Houston, and perhaps a couple of propane industry clients, are going to join the competition and test the WGV’s championship courses.

Facing them, and an anticipated field of 72 to 88 contestants, will be the par 72, 6,132-yard (blue tees) Slammer and Squire, and the par 72, 6,507-yards (blue tees) King and Bear, the latter co-designed by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

The Slammer and Squire was designed by Bobby Weed, who was consulted by two golfing legends — the late Gene Sarazen and late Sam Snead — in developing the scenic, water-edged beauty.

Contestants will play a practice round (Wednesday, June 18) on the Slammer and Squire, the first round on the same course on Thursday (June 19), followed by the second and final rounds (Friday, June 20, and Saturday, June 21) of medal-handicap play on the King and Bear course.

Those vying in the Corken and Gabe Czekely memorial two-player team tournament on Monday and Tuesday (June 16-17) will play each of the two courses.

The eight-story Renaissance Resort, host for the tournament, commands a champion’s view of the World Golf Village, featuring the World Golf Hall of Fame, IMAX theatre, a lighted and all-grass l8-hole putting course, Lake Kelly, the Murray Brothers Caddy Shack restaurant, a 132-yard, par 3 island replica of the No. 17 hole at The TPC at Sawgrass, the PGA Tour Stop (largest golf shop in north Florida)…and other attractions and eating establishments.

A few minutes away is historic St.  Augustine, founded in 1565 and the oldest permanently occupied European settlement in the United States, pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches, and private Serenata Beach Club, available to Renaissance Resort guess.

“If we get down for the tournament,” Tennant said, “we’re going to take in all of the local sights. And, for certain, I plan to tour the World Golf Hall of Fame which, I understand, is a fantastic place for any golfer to visit.”

Tournament executives expect 72 to 80 players to compete in the 19th annual golf-fest. Deadline for entries and hotel reservations is Friday, May 16 (see entry form in this month’s issue). For more information, contact Zane Chastain, executive director, at 218-723-9275, ext. 275 (voice mail).

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