Buice column: How can it be 50 years since the PGA came to Tanglewood?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2024

What a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the PGA Championship at the Tanglewood Park golf course in 1974 with an announcement coming just before Christmas about a new clubhouse coming to the legendary facility.

With the arrival of the new year, it’s hard to believe it’s coming up on a half century since Lee Trevino held off Jack Nicklaus to claim a one-stroke victory in one of golf’s four major tournaments right here in our own backyard.

The aging clubhouse was in need of an overhaul, and the Forsyth County commissioners came through in the final meeting of 2023 prior to the arrival of Santa by approving nearly $15 million to construct a much-needed new building.

This good news comes just a few years after the Tanglewood Championship Course layout went through a $2.4 million renovation project that included installing new greens along with taking out and redoing bunkers along with many trees.

Adding a new clubhouse at Tanglewood will provide value for the local golf community but also make the Robert Trent Jones layout more appealing for tournaments — recalling the days of the 1974 PGA Championship and the Champions Tour Vantage Championship from 1987 to 2002.

As a side note, I recall being a part of a media event sometime during the 1990s when Arnold Palmer rode through the holes in a cart to hit a shot with each member of the groups. What a thrill that was.

Arnie was part of the star-studded field in the 1974 PGA Championship along with other golfing stars such as Sam Snead, Gary Player and Tom Watson.

Great memories for sure and a good time to reflect on a historic major golf tournament that was played on these grounds 50 years ago — with an eye to the future and what’s ahead for Tanglewood.

• • • •

In his four years as mayor of Bermuda Run, Rick Cross maintained a visible presence in the town, but one place stood out above the others.

And in his farewell meeting in December when he handed over the gavel to incoming mayor Mike Brannon, Cross was honored with words of praise by a number of local dignitaries and citizens with a common theme mentioned by many — his unofficial meeting space, local bakery Maddie Cakes.

In fact, Lee Rollins, the former town manager who worked with Cross during most of his term, paused during his remarks to bring in a special chair with the following inscription:

Mayor Rick Cross

2019-2023

Maddie Cakes Diplomacy Chair

Rollins said: “Rick, in trying to listen and provide consensus and perspective went to Maddie Cakes often to meet with constituents, and to his credit invited me to go along to listen and to hear and then we could come together and see what we heard. Cindy Poe (town clerk) and Dora Robertson (finance director) affectionally called it his ‘West Wing.’ ”

Seems like a fitting description. 

• • • •

Covering council meetings where mayors and council members arrive and depart offers a lot of different memories and perspectives.

I especially enjoyed hearing from Fred Franklin, a veteran council member in Lewisville who has served a total of 20 years going back to 1995 — when he won by one vote — until he rotated off the board in December.

Franklin can offer a unique perspective about the town going back to those early days and some of the changes that he has seen. Here’s a snippet of his remarks, including a little jab at the neighbors to the south: 

“As I ride through town today and look at what we have to enjoy as residents, I remember back to when Shallowford Road was two lanes with deep side ditches and no sidewalks. The (Shallowford) Square didn’t exist, and the first traffic roundabout didn’t exist on the Liberty side of the bridge. 

“I’m proud to have served on past councils that discussed the vision of Lewisville and took actions at that time that allowed for the library, the current town hall, the Jack Warren Park and the Mary Alice Warren Community Center to be planned for and ultimately built. We have the highest elevated water tank in Forsyth County that proudly shouts out our identity as people enter and commute through our downtown roads and enjoy the events on the Square.

“Working in conjunction with NCDOT and with lots of planning and budgeting considerations by councils over the years, and with past, current and future participation in 80-20 grants for projects, our town has been able to put into place transportation projects for roadways, sidewalks and multi-use paths. Ain’t Lewisville so much better to drive through and to walk about than Clemmons?”

• • • •

The arrival of 2024 offers the usual resolutions, including the popular one of keeping off the pounds. I’m happy to report I’ve kept my weight in check for yet another year.

To celebrate, we ditched the traditional New Year’s Day meal — deciding to go to the theater for some buttered popcorn, and hoping the movie would be OK. It was. 

Like a commercial I saw recently said: “Everything in moderation except for popcorn.”

Hey, life is good. Happy New Year to all!