By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 27, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 27, 2012) -- The Silver Wings Golf Course provided nearly 100 patrons the opportunity to put their golf skills to the test and learn from professionals in the sport during a tournament Sept. 21-23.
Professional golfers from all over the South teamed up with amateurs to enjoy each other's company and participate in some friendly competition during the 2012 SWGC Pro Am Tournament.
"I thought the tournament was an overall success," said David Unsicker, SWGC business manager. "The weather was great, the course conditions were great, and the food, scores and player attitudes were all great."
Golfers came together to participate in the three-day tournament in teams of four, according to Unsicker. The type of game they played was Team Stableford, which is a point system in which teams lump their scores together and points are added to their pot depending on how they shoot. Unlike a traditional golf score, the objective in the Stableford point system is to have the highest score.
First place was awarded to the team of professional golfer Zack Sucher and amateurs Don Rice, Gary Alexander and Larry Schmidt, with a score of 33; second place went to the team of professional golfer Gary Rusnak and amateurs Lou Hennies, Bill Tyner and Coulter Kautzmann, with a score of 28; and third place went to the team of professional golfer Brian Tankersly and amateurs Ray King, Jerry Rodgers and Jesse Moore, with a score of 24.
Although winning the tournament was the main motivation for some who participated, for others it was the camaraderie and the love of the game that brought them out.
"We just love to get out and enjoy each other's company and play some golf," said Jerry Watkins, civilian amateur golfer.
Watkins teamed up with his friend, Jamie Owens, civilian, and his son, Christopher, as well as professional golfer Myk Ostermeyer, who has participated in many tours throughout his career.
"It's been a pleasure and a really enjoyable experience playing with Myk," said Watkins. "I haven't been holding up too well against a pro, but I've definitely been picking up some good hints from him."
Watkins said that his strengths show when playing short game, but his weakness is on the green.
"I'm all around the hole but I miss a lot," he said. "I've been watching how [Ostermeyer] reads putts and he does a good job with it."
Ostermeyer, who is also professional golf instructor, said that it was an honor to able to come out and participate in the tournament on Fort Rucker.
"I'm a military brat, and I enjoy giving back and honoring the people that have paid their dues for me to be able to come out here and do this for a living," he said. "If it wasn't for the military, we wouldn't have any of this freedom."
Ostermeyer is also an instructor for his teammate during the tournament, Christopher, and said that much of the joy he gets out of the game of golf comes not only from playing, but teaching as well.
"I've been working with Christopher for a little over a year," said Ostermeyer. "As a teacher, he has hit that spot in my heart that gives me the reason for why I teach."
Christopher, 16, was offered a spot on the tournament team by his father, Jamie, and leaped at the chance to be able to play.
"My dad told me that he had a spot open on his tournament team and I'm always ready to play, and I think I've been holding up against [Myk] pretty well," he said.
Jamie said that he only became interested in the game of golf after his son showed potential in the game.
"My son started [playing golf] when he was 7, and he's the one that got me into it," he said. "I used to just take him to the golf course to play, but eventually I just started getting into it."
Although Christopher's team's goal for the tournament was just to have fun, he said he never misses an opportunity to learn.
"Myk has taught me how to chip better throughout the tournament," he said. "He's really been a big help throughout."