Local to play in GCSAA tourney

Published 12:03 am Sunday, January 26, 2014

NATCHEZ — Duncan Park Golf Course Superintendent Greg Brooking said he’s hoping his back holds up next weekend.

Brooking was selected to play in the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s national championship Feb. 2 and 3 in Orlando. Brooking said it will be his 14th trip to the GCSAA’s annual tournament, but back troubles have him wondering what to expect as far as playing ability goes.

“Every year I usually work hard leading up to it, but this year, I haven’t done as much preparation, so I don’t have any expectations,” Brooking said.

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Golf course superintendents have to have below a 3 handicap to qualify for the national championship. The field is between 300 and 400 golfers, Brooking said. After a poor showing last year, Brooking said he’s hoping for a stronger showing this year.

“Last year, I played horribly,” Brooking said. “I probably wasn’t even in the top 40. The best I’ve ever finished is probably third. I’m just trying to win a national championship, but winning it all is probably a tough road to hoe. I’ve never done it. It’s a tough tour.”

The tournament will take place at the Disney World golf courses, which Brooking said he was looking forward to playing on.

“I’m a little more well-versed on the Southern courses rather than the Western courses,” he said. “At least this will be Bermuda grass greens.”

But there’s a bit of an unknown factor for Brooking, who’s never played on the courses at Disney World before.

“I’ve seen them on TV, and they look really challenging,” Brooking said. “There’s a lot of water and sand, and big greens. The pros tear it apart pretty good.”

Aside from making the USGA Senior Amateur Championship last year, Brooking said this is the biggest tournament of which he’s been a part.

“It’s an honor to be able to play in it, and a pleasure, too,” he said.