published Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Gilberts soon to end Valleybrook management

Valleybrook Golf and Country Club will be under new management.

The question is only how soon.

Gibby Gilbert III, who has been operating the Hixson club as a PGA professional for about nine years with his father — 1980 Masters runner-up Gibby Gilbert — said they are leaving the course but don’t know when.

“It’s just time,” the younger Gilbert said. “The lease is up in May of 2012, but we’re leaving early. We have no idea how early. We don’t know what our next step is.”

The course is owned by David Drake and members of his family. Gilbert III said there could be a meeting or developments this week as the transition process continues.

“I don’t have any answers,” he said Thursday between taking calls for weekend tee times. “I’ve definitely enjoyed it here. It’s been fun, but it’s probably run its course.”

Area courses honored

Two area layouts have been honored in GolfWeek magazine’s annual best courses issue.

The Honors Course was ranked No. 16 among America’s modern courses (1960-present), between Spyglass Hill and TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium).

The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay ranks No. 5 in Tennessee among the “courses you can play,” selections.

Bear Trace is certified with Audubon International and has earned honors from the Superintendents Association of America Environmental leaders the last two years.

“We’re very happy with the results of the poll,” head professional Robin Boyer said. “We’re constantly trying to improve conditions of the course under [superintendent] Paul Carter and doing so in an environmentally friendly way.”

Radio show to start

The First Tee of Chattanooga Golf Hour will start April 7 at 6 p.m. on 102.3 FM and run for 19 consecutive weeks. It will be hosted by longtime area golf official Mike Jenkins and “SportTalk” hosts Gary Haskew and Scott McMahen.

“I think it’s great exposure for First Tee,” said Jenkins, president of the board of directors. “We’re going to do a lot of shows that look at golf through different angles. We’ll have one show on rules, one on putting, through the eyes of superintendents, one through the pros’ eyes and things like that.

“We’ll always be talking about what’s going on locally as well as on the [PGA] Tour.”

Pro-Ams under way

The Chattanooga Chapter of the Tennessee PGA will host its second 2011 pro-am March 28 at Black Creek Club.

The series is open to amateur golfers as well as pros throughout the area. Each event is assigned a point value for participation. Those who earn half of the total points available will be invited to play the Partner Circle Day on Oct. 31 at The Farm.

TPC schedule set

The Chattanooga TPC series is set to begin with the Brainerd Invitational April 30-May 1. Entries are available at The Men’s Metro Championship will be held July 12-15 at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, and the series championship is set for Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at Council Fire.

Hill wins at Pauanui

David Hill, a part-time Hixson resident, won the Lakes Resort Legends Charity Pro-Am, which is part of the PGA of New Zealand series. He shot a final-round even-par 71 and won by 10 shots at the Pauanui course. Australians Hugh Dolan and Lucien Tinkler tied for second.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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