DIVOTS: Schultz ready for Chocolatetown

June 25, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE |

Beaver Creek professional Dirk Schultz is hoping his trip to Hershey, Pa., is as tasty as the chocolate the town is known for.

For the seventh time, Schultz will compete in the 44th PGA Professional National Championship, to be held Sunday through Wednesday at Hershey Country Club. He tees off Sunday at 1:20 p.m.

The competition, featuring 312 club pros, will be held on the East and West courses, with survivors making the cut down to 70 players for the last two rounds. The top 20 finishers will gain a berth in the PGA Championship, to be held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in August.

“I’ve had a good spring so my outlook is positive,” said Schultz. “My goal is to shoot par or better to make the cut. The West course is a little easier, a little old-school type of course. The East course plays longer and tougher.”

The East course, filled with lakes and bunkers, measures to 7,066 yards and will play at par 71. The West will play to 6,750 yards at par 72.

Hershey Country Club has a history of featuring famous names. Byron Nelson won the 1940 PGA Championship there and Ben Hogan spent a good portion of his career as the golf professional at Hershey.

A year ago at French Lick (Ind.) Golf Club, Schultz tied for 59th. In his previous six tournaments, his best finishes were ties for 27th place in 2001 and 2004.

Mike Small, the golf coach at the University of Illinois, is the two-time defending champion.

Waynesboro’s face

You might say Eldon Joiner was the face of golf in Franklin County.

For 25 years, Joiner was the golf professional at Waynesboro Country Club, before retiring on Jan. 1, 1990.

A lifelong member of the Professsional Golf Association of America, Mr. Joiner recently passed away at age 92. He left many fond memories for those he came in contact with, on and off the golf course.

Jim Rickett, the vice president of Waynesboro Country Club, still spends time working in the pro shop and has great memories from his 50-year relationship with Mr. Joiner.

“(Joiner) loved to tell stories and they were about you, the individual, never himself,” said Ricketts. “He was a people person ... When people were on the driving range, he would go over and give tips to them even if he didn’t know them. He was never about himself.”

As a golf pro and Waynesboro club champion, Mr. Joiner obviously had talent on the course.

Bill Hoffman, the assistant professional at Beaver Creek Country Club, said of Joiner: “He was famous for unusual shots. He would use a 4- or 5-wood out of a bunker and do it well.”

Even in retirement until recent years when his health began to fail, Joiner would venture to the club and begin to strike up conversations.

In life before golf, Joiner worked for Belle Aircraft in Marietta, Ga., and later at Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown. He also was a sales manager and worked in the insurance industry in Waynesboro. In addition to his passion for golf, he enjoyed hunting.

Eldon Joiner touched many lives and he will be missed.

Pennsylvania Amateur

Nick Tornetta, of Chambersburg, Pa., recently qualified for the Pennsylvania Amateur, slated for July 25-27 at Lancaster Country Club. Tornetta shot a 3-over 75 at Blue Ridge Country Club for a 10th-place tie.

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