Geoghegan keeps close watch over Beau Pré

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 20, 2001

When Tommy Geoghegan is in the Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club clubhouse, life is all fun and games. Jokes fly and laughter rings throughout the room.

But then Geoghegan starts his duty as a course marshal. He grabs a walkie-talkie, a tee-time sheet and his three pairs of glasses – sun, reading and eye – jumps in a golf cart and starts directing traffic better than a police officer.

&uot;Who do you got next?&uot; is common line Geoghegan says to the clubhouse attendant who checks golfers in. When Geoghegan gets the names and double checks it with his tee-time sheet, he moves into action. He scans the practice green, driving range and golf cart flotilla for those golfers ready to begin five-hour rounds of 18 holes. He usually gets two foursomes at a time, just so he can help to get golfers moving along and not lagging behind. When he finds his men, he shouts a quick, &uot;Let’s go. You’re on the tee.&uot; and zooms onto the first tee box. Without any hesitation, most golfers stop what they’re doing and head to the tee, partly because of their anxiousness to get started, partly because they probably fear the repercussions if Geoghegan has to come back and remind them.

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&uot;It’s nice to be running ahead,&uot; he said with a smile.

He’ll go back and forth between the first tee and the clubhouse area more than 10 times in an hour. Once he gets the golfers ahead of schedule, he does what every man would do on a hot and humid day: get a drink of ice water. But after a short break, it’s back to the course to make sure things are moving at the same pace he started them.

Along the way, he’ll chat with golfers, both friends and unfamiliar faces. If someone’s smiling, he’ll say, &uot;Must’ve had a birdie.&uot; His razes his friends a little bit, but it’s all in good fun.

More important, he’s watching golfers so they respect the course rules: No carts off the path by the tee boxes; no carts on the natural areas; no sixsomes; no mulligans.

If somebody’s doing something they shouldn’t be doing, Geoghegan lets them know. And except for a couple instances when golfers start cursing him, the golfers respect his wishes, even if it’s the president of the club.

&uot;I don’t have many friends out here,&uot; Geoghegan said, adding that doesn’t bother him.

But that’s fine by him. His top priority as marshal is to make sure the course stays in beautiful shape.

&uot;If they’re (the golfers) not going to do it, we’re going to do it,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s too nice of a course to not take care of it.&uot;

Geoghegan, a Natchez native, plays around three times a week at Beau Pr\u00E9. After giving up golf for about six years, he started again when Beau Pr\u00E9 opened two years ago. He consistently shoots in the low 80s.

This weekend, Geoghegan won’t be escorting Farm Bureau Invitational participants to the first or 10th tees. He’ll be a rules official. But you can bet he’ll fulfill that duty just with as much efficiency as his does as a marshal.

Nick Weber is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3632 or by e-mail at