Brooking competes in national tournament
NATCHEZ — After an eight-year hiatus, Greg Brooking finally got back in the swing of things.
The golf course superintendent at Duncan Park competed in the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s national championship match in Palm Springs, Calif., Feb. 1. Brooking finished 15th overall in the tournament, and 3rd in the ages 50-plus senior’s division.
“This is the first year for them to have a senior’s division,” Brooking said. “This year, I finally didn’t have a situation where I wasn’t good enough to qualify, or had something else going on at the same time as the tournament.
“I lost the senior’s division by two strokes. I’ve played well in this tournament in the past, but it was my first time back in eight years. Although age may keep me from winning the overall, I’ll keep striving for it, and I’ll always be competitive in the senior’s division.”
This marks the 10th time Brooking has competed in the GCSAA national championship. Brooking said he’s placed as high as third overall before, as well as the top 10 seven out of the 10 times he’s competed, and in the top 20 all 10 times.
“The little town of Natchez has a superintendent that can compete nationally,” Brooking said.
The experience in Palm Springs was memorable, Brooking said, because the course they played on was top-notch.
“We played on the Greg Norman course at the PGA West golf resort,” Brooking said. “It was a windy, tough course, with super fast greens. It was an immaculate venue, a really good golf course for us to play on.”
And Brooking credited his putting and chipping abilities as why he placed so highly in the championship.
“I putted very well. I made a 50-foot putt in two strokes, and probably had only two to three three-putt strokes, which was exceptional.”
Having confidence as a putter and chipper is what enables golfers to be good at both, Brooking said.
“If you can learn those two aspects of golf, you can give anyone a good game,” Brooking said. “Your goal as a golfer should be to par every hole. If you do that, you can beat pretty much everyone.”
And the numbers at the tournament backed that up, Brooking said.
“I lead in pars, but had too many bogeys and double bogeys, and not enough birdies to win the tournament. In the ‘par or better’ category, the guy who won that won the tournament.”
With this year’s championship behind him, Brooking is already looking forward to qualifying for next year’s.
“It the first of February every year,” Brooking said. “Next year, it’ll be in Southern Florida. I’ll need to have under a 2 handicap to qualify.”