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Seventh annual Pro-Am expected to raise $80K

Posted on Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 10:16 pm

The seventh annual WillowBrook Golf Classic was held Monday with 30 professional golfers paired with amateur and junior golfers from Coffee and Warren Counties to raise money for Coffee County Junior Golf and Warren County education. The WillowBrook Pro-Am, the premiere charity golf event between Warren and Coffee Counties raised a record $75,000 in net revenues last year and this year the event is expected to bring in $80,000.

WillowBrook owner David Burris says the Pro-Am is one of the most important events of the year at the course and is something he always looks forward to.

“This year could be the most successful one we have had yet,” said Burris. “We have six college signees here today and we put 37 kids through Motlow for free last year, so it is a very important event to us. This event funds our entire junior program, it is a very special for us and we are very happy to work with the community and get kids involved because we feel like golf teaches life skills – it is very beneficial for their future; even with things like business contacts down the road.”

This spring a record number of seven graduating high school seniors who play at WillowBrook on a regular basis earned full scholarships to college to play golf. All seven of the golfers had participated in Coffee County Junior Golf with master PGA trainer Jex Wilson.

Wilson says the junior program not only hopes to teach kids about the game of golf but that they also have seven life skills they try to instill in the players.

“We have seven life skills we try to focus on, confidence, honesty, integrity, perseverance, respect, responsibility and sportsmanship and that is the crux of it. We want to teach them not only how to play the game but also how to use the game as they go through life,” said Wilson. “This event is probably 90 percent of our funding and without the supports of the community we wouldn’t be able to go forward – it has been an amazing partnership with the companies who sponsor the event and the community as a whole.”

The event kicked-off with the John Roberts Toyota opening ceremonies where MTSU head women’s basketball coach Rick Insell spoke and Willowbrook recognized six junior golfers, all playing in the tournament, who earned golf scholarships this year. The junior golfers recognized were Jenna Burris [MTSU], Matt Johnson [Lee University], Kyle Johnson [Martin Methodist], Megan Kriz [Lindsey Wilson], Clayton Myers [Bryan College] and Andy Stout [Tennessee State]. The Johnson brothers, Kriz and Stout where all members of the most successful Central High School golf team in school history last fall.

Matt Johnson played in the Pro-Am for the third time this year and said it is one of his favorite events of the year.

“It gives us juniors a fun day to get some free stuff and enjoy a nice day of golf,” said Johnson. “We also get play with pros and get some good advice that will help us in the future.”

Johnson also said WillowBrook’s junior golf program has been a tremendous help to his golf game.

“It has really helped me develop my game, they do some great stuff with the facility and the programs,” explained Johnson.

John Roberts said the event is invaluable to the young golfers in the area and he is proud to help sponsor it.

“It is a great way to get kids in Coffee County and Warren County involved in the sport, it helps them get scholarships and it is good for the community,” said Roberts. “Golf is a sport they can play and learn from their whole life.”

Read more in this week’s (June 4) print edition of the Manchester Times.