NGA golfers welcomed in homes

Published 12:01am Thursday, July 11, 2013

NATCHEZ — Sally Jones never thought she would have three sons playing in the National Golf Association Tour one day, but in a manner of speaking, she does.

Jones, and her husband, Howard, opened their home at Beau Pré Country Club to three NGA golfers for the Magnolia Bluffs Casino Classic this week, and Jones said she made sure they made themselves right at home.

Jones said her husband and her son are avid golfers, and when they heard about the NGA Tour event coming to Natchez, they immediately thought of a friend who is on the Tour.

Natchez native Stephen Hollingsworth has known Howard Jones for a long time as small-town friends, and when the Joneses offered their home to Hollingsworth, they said to invite a few more to stay as well.

Now staying at the Jones’ residence is Hollingsworth, Chris Wallings and Mark Walker.

Jones said she has not had any problems with her home being filled with people whom she has never met before.

“It’s been fun and entertaining,” Jones said. “They’ll sit on the back porch and watch golf. I’ll make snacks and supper for them.”

Jones catches herself calling the trio “the Boys” often, as if they were her own children.

“I think I’ll miss them when they leave,” she said.

Hollingsworth said he was excited when he found out there would be a NGA tournament in his hometown. And it all worked out that he could stay with Sally and Howard Jones.

“She makes cakes for us. It’s like she’s my parent, except she treats me better,” he joked.

Now that Jones has gotten close with “the Boys,” she said she would be cheering them on during the Classic.

“I’ll be sitting on my back porch watching,” she said. “They’re like the home team now, so you have to root for your home team.”

Several golfers are staying in the homes of open-handed strangers throughout the week, and Hollingsworth said this is not a rarity at NGA Tours all over the country.

“It gets so expensive to be on tour, even to sign up,” he said.

Signup for NGA members is $150 and $250 for non-members. Adding travel, lodging and food expenses to that price makes each tournament expensive.

Some are staying in homes at Beau Pré because it is so close to the golf course.

The Joneses, like other Beau Pre homeowners, said they opened up their homes to these golfers because it was a nice thing to do.

Wallings said he is enjoying his stay so much that he said he’d be staying at the Jones’ residence again when he ventures back through Natchez for Hollingsworth’s wedding in six weeks.