Friday, June 26, 2020

General Garwood Marshall Passes

A Memory of General (1936-2020)

General Marshall
(courtesy of
Dr. General Garwood Marshall was born in Austin during the great depression in 1936. He began caddying for golfers at Lions Municipal Golf Course (Muny) when he was just 10 years old which gave him the opportunity to learn the game. He was a student at old Anderson High School in 1950 when Muny became the first golf course in the south to become integrated. Dr. Marshall, who preferred to be simply called General, remained an avid golfer throughout his life. He was a staunch supporter of the Save Muny movement. He enjoyed being an active member of ASGA until health issues forced him to quit playing in 2019.

Until his illness, General and I would meet on Wednesday mornings while we waited for 7 am to get a tee time for the next ASGA tournament. We would talk about golf and reminisce about the old days. General never bragged about his own achievements, remarkable as they were. If he did brag at all, it was about the educational and professional accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.

Sam Mihalik

General Marshall obituary

General talks of his early memories of golf in Austin
(courtesy of KVUE)
General participates in effort to save Lions Golf Course (2016)
(courtesy of KVUE)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

President's Update - June 23, 2020

Tuesday, June23, 2020 - Yes, there will be a test golf tournament. But it won't be us.
     This week's update will be two things. One, we will need to cancel the next two Tuesday tournaments. The tournaments canceled are 6-30 at Lions and 7-7 at Morris Williams. Unless something happens we will skip next week's update and be back with an update July 7th and posted by July 8th. 
     Two, the response from The City of Austin and my response to it included below in the entirety. This explains why both tournaments were canceled. I did not include all the email addresses involved but it was every level of management in the city government except the mayor. This answer was in response to a letter I had written to the city manager and I did not include it as this was already a long update. 
     I am somewhat hopeful that we will get to play after their test tournament. Shawn and I are working on alternatives should we not gain an approval. Please let us know whether you would prefer every other week or monthly should we be forced to play only non-city courses the balance of the year or at least for a while.
     On June 19th, Kimberly McNeeley, wrote:

Mr. McWhorter,

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing in response to the email below. As I believe you may be aware, the Parks and Recreation Department was able to meet with Austin Public Health and the public health authority regarding the general subject of golf tournaments and specifically the historical Muny Golf Course Firecracker Tournament.

With careful consideration and a number of modifications, the City of Austin Golf Division will be able to host the Firecracker Tournament. Please know because Austin/Travis County is currently at a Stage 4 Risk Level, this year's Firecracker Tournament will look considerably different than years past- but the great news it will happen. Lesson's learned the Firecracker will be taken into consideration as the city evaluates the possibility of future golf tournaments during the pandemic.

The Parks and Recreation Department will continue to work collaboratively with the Austin Public Health Department and the public health authority to evaluate other tournament possibilities- considering the local characteristics of the virus and the Austin/Travis County Risk Guidelines. It is important to note, based upon the Risk Based Guidelines, the City Parks and Recreation Department is not in a position to offer golf tournaments for the senior age group while at a Stage 4 Risk. Stage 4 indicates high risk individuals (which includes people age 65 and over) avoid social gatherings great then 2. I've attached the Risk Guidelines for your convenience.

The Golf Team is diligently working to prepare for the Firecracker. Questions regarding the tournament modifications and general tournament rules can be directed to Kevin Gomillion and the golf team. Thank you for your continued advocacy for golf. I am available by email or at the number should you need to contact me.

Best Regards-

Kimberly McNeeley, CPRP
Director, Ausitn Parks and Recreation

My response to Ms. McNeeley follows:

Hello Ms. McNeeley,

     Thanks so much for your nice reply. It was extremely important to us. In the future I will focus more narrowly on those most involved in golf, but did want to inform all copied of our thoughts. We are very happy that the Muny Golf Course Firecracker Tournament will be allowed to continue the tradition. It is an important part of Austin. The guidelines it will be played under are identical to how we conducted our tournament last week at a non-city course here in Austin. Our results were very pleasing as we all followed the guidelines and were invited to have our tournaments as often as we liked in the future. 
     We plan to do some more and at other non-city courses as well. The problem is most of us have prepaid cards at the City of Austin courses and the extra cost for those card holders is a financial penalty. We have a long tradition with the City of Austin courses as well and based our purchase of the extended cards on playing our weekly tournaments.
     We will be following the Firecracker with the hope that it is very successful and that our much smaller tournaments can resume on a weekly basis after it is completed. I sometimes wish we did not call ours tournaments as they are not what most picture. They are like 30 foursomes playing golf. There are no big gathering, there are no award ceremonies. The point you made that the current Stage 4 risk would make it impossible due to the limit of 2 socially at our age. Our membership is from 62 to the 90's, with the average age about 72. It is my current estimate that our group plays golf in Austin more than 2 times per week and in almost each case it is a foursome. Many of these are on city courses. When we hosted our weekly tournament we were your best customer. We did not reach these wise old ages by not being reasonably smart and somewhat able to take care of ourselves. On average our members are above average healthy, educated and live four or more years longer than non-golfers. 
     We appreciate these rules for the "vulnerable," but the recent spike in Covid19 in Austin has been caused by a much younger crowd based on the reports we are reading and hearing. I am not aware of any senior golfer who has spread the virus in Austin and am certainly not aware of one in our group. One of the safest places for us is outdoors playing golf.
     When the Firecracker is successful and we open up golf to some tournaments our style will be the model. It already is. We do not want to be treated differently since we have the advantage of wisdom and maturity. We would be happy to teach the younger how to be responsible.

Sincerely yours,
Travis McWhorter
President ASGA

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

President's Update - June 16, 2020

ASGA Had a Great Return to Golf Tuesday at Riverside!

Tuesday, June16, 2020 - The new sign-up system worked very well. We had a turnout that used up the allocated carts and we all had fun. It had been a while since we played and Bill Burke, our Handicap Chairman and official scorekeeper, mentioned that the team scoring was very good. Apparently us "old dogs" remembered our tricks. Hope you all won money and enjoyed the course. It was nice.
     Much to my disappointment we will have to delay our next start on the city courses. The ASGA was advised that the tournament scheduled June 23 will need to be canceled. The upturn in Covid-19 cases will not allow the green light just yet for returning to tournament play on city courses. Shawn Higgins and I are continuing to look for other courses that would give us a good deal and maybe we could play some of them as we await approval by the City of Austin. 
     We remain hopeful they will give approval soon. In the meantime I am asking you to take the time to call or email your council member and/or the mayor and tell them how much we want to play and that we will comply with all safety issues. The PGA played last week in Ft. Worth. We should be able to do the same in Austin. I have made an appeal to Spencer Cronk, City Manager, to help us get approval. I am awaiting his reply.
     When we added Bruce Jones to our board we felt it might take the rest of the year to get him ready to take over as Website Chairman. Paul Redden has worked so hard on the new system and at the same time handled the website along with other ASGA duties. We in fact started the year with the goal to relieved him of the website administration duties by mid-year. With the blessing of the experience Bruce has, Paul has made and I support the decision to turn it over to Bruce immediately. So as of now members should go to Bruce on what you would have gone to Paul with in the past. If Bruce needs help he will seek it out.
      Paul has been a blessing and as the immediate Past President will continue providing guidance as we rely on his experience to do our jobs as we go forward. Paul, you have done an amazing job and we look forward to you having a little less stress as you continue to serve and begin to enjoy more of your membership with ASGA.
     Riverside was only the beginning. We will be back playing again soon!

On behalf of the ASGA Board of Directors
Travis McWhorter

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

President's Update - June 9, 2020

It is Time to Register a Real Team at Riverside!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - The ASGA played last on March 10 at Lions, in a 2 person event. You are likely reading this update on June 10 a full 90 days later and we have talked about this day coming for a while. At our last event 98 members participated. We know some of you have not played since out of the utmost desire to remain safe. Some have played walking and practicing safe distancing. No one can be sure about safety but Riverside has offered us a way to play in what seems like a very well thought out way to have healthy fun and enjoy one of our loves, playing golf. Let's fill up the tee times using our new system for the first time with an actual tournament. Come play with us!
     The tournament is at Riverside and the format is Best Ball Net: 2-person, pick partner. Each player will have their own sanitized cart. Tee times are spaced 10 minutes apart rather than 8. No player should show up more than 30 minutes before their groups tee time to limit those around the putting green. Check-ins are outside the shop and all players are required to wear a face mask at check-in. The inside restroom is available, one person at a time and with a face mask on all the time inside.
     The fee is $31 plus tax for riders and this must be paid with credit card. The only cash accepted will be the $5 entry fee that must be cash and deposited in a container close to the person taking your credit card at the time you pay. We are limited to 70 carts since we are not sharing. Some of you like to walk and certainly may do so. The price for walkers is $21 plus tax to credit card and the same $5 entry fee in cash. When Saturday comes we will review the numbers and see where we stand. We are not anticipating any problem, so sign up to play.
     Shawn Higgins, Tournament Chairman, has also used this 90 day down time to bring up to date all the information under the tab on our home page Golf Information. The sub-titles are General Tournament Information and ASGA Rules of Golf and Frequently Asked Questions. Two of the more notable changes are:

                 General Tournament Information
                   II. ENTRIES/TEE TIMES (read it on the site)

                ASGA Rules of Golf,1.H.
                  H. Lateral Tree Roots-Rocky Areas: (read it as on the site)

     You should actually read all of the information under Golf Information to  familiarize yourself with all the latest changes. We are now up to date.
     Now it is time to register your team(s). Starting Wednesday through Friday anytime on the home page of ASGA click on Member Programs. You will then be looking at Tee Time Registration. "Read Registration Help" all the way through. Then do what is says. This time it is real.
     Many of you have practiced signing up and some did not. Feel free to call me if you need help before doing it for real and I will walk you through the process. See you Tuesday. It will be fun to be back.

On behalf of the ASGA Board of Directors
Travis McWhorter

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

President's Update - June 2, 2020

The Board Is Complete, One and Done and It's Real Golf at Riverside.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - June 3rd finds your ASGA with three important happenings. The Board of Directors has a very capable new member and is back to full strength. Last week was our largest sign up practice yet. We discovered we needed a more uniform way to add team members. A number of the testers report that it is clearly a better way. We are testing one more time using the cancelled Jimmy Clay Tournament to check it out with an even larger group. There is an actual golf tournament on the horizon at Riverside June 16. Real Golf is coming back. There is a lot happening at ASGA. \

Bruce Jones has accepted the position of Website Chairman and will work closely with Paul Redden during an extended transition. Bruce stepped forward after reading the need on the update and has a great deal of experience including another golf association in the Northwest. Please welcome him to the Board and tell him thanks when you see him. \

Now listen up! Register this week as though your team or just you want to play. You can only sign up once so make sure your team knows who is signing up for the team. If you are only one player or a twosome please sign up anyway as all effort will be made to pair you up during this test and for sure when we go live. 

Now once again how do you sign up for the simulated test? On the home page of ASGA click on Member Programs. You will then be looking at Tee Time Registration. Here you will find a menu with three categories. You should open "Read Registration Help" before starting. It has changed slightly. It will explain the rest. You will then register your team as though we are actually playing the Jimmy Clay Tournament. 

The time to sign up begins Wednesday and will last through Friday. You can do this anytime during these three days. To simulate and for practice we set this tournament to be the format that will be used at our actual beginning tournament June 16 at Riverside. Now come on and help us out. One more test and we are done 

Riverside will be our first real tournament in a long while. We will use our new sign up system for real at Riverside and there will be a lot of safe fun to be experienced.

On behalf of the ASGA Board of Directors
Travis McWhorter