Teaching and Club Professionals Championship
Say what? That’s an awful lot of words to abbreviate – it’s quite a code to crack. LPGA, most of us have down. But what’s this TC & P thing? “Tough Chipping and Putting? – Taylor, Cobra and Ping?” – What?
There’s another world of golf going on out there from the one we know so well. In fact, there is a membership of around 1,500 professional players that we don’t know enough about. As it turns out, TC & P stands for Teaching and Club Professionals. They are the ones who might be teaching privately at a course near you, coaching players on the tours, or managing the best golf facilities in the country.
In addition to all the other services these women perform for the good of the game, such as standing behind the LPGA-USGA Girls, LPGA Junior Clinics, The Front Row Experience and the LPGA Clinics for Women, they also play golf, and not just a relaxing round on Sunday afternoon to keep the rust off – they play competitive golf, and they’re not doing it because they couldn’t make it to where they really wanted to go. It may be that they just weren’t crazy, and decided to have a life instead, still getting to play the game they love.
And what tournaments do they play? Just as an example, take this week, which hosted the LPGA TC & P National Championship, an annual tournament with an 80,000 purse and a pretty strong field. One of them in particular, Jean Bartholomew, just won it for the third time, and don’t be misled by her three-day score – 72, 68, 77. What? 77 is winning tournaments these days? It is when the weather replays the story of Noah’s Ark. It’s amazing the thing got finished at all. As Bartholomew said, “Sometimes, bogeys are good.”
The LPGA TC & P isn’t the only gig on the schedule, either. Bartholomew (b. 67), who played her rookie year in ’96, is heading out soon for the Legends Event in French Lick, Indiana. The Sociology major from Duke has won almost a million in her time in this organization, alongside her participation in tennis and basketball.
And where do they play such tournaments? The venue for this week is Chateau Elan. A Teaching and Club Professional LPGA tournament in France? What are they doing there? They’re not – they’re in Georgia, the American state of Georgia. The full name is Chateau Elan Resort and Winery, but if you look at some of the photos, you’ll still believe it’s in France. Actually, it’s forty miles from Atlanta in the community of Braselton, and became a vineyard in ’91. The LPGA TC & P tournament, on the other hand, was founded in ’59.
Someone on the big tour must think that these women are pretty good, because six of them get exemptions to play in the Wegmans LPGA Championship. So far, that includes Bartholomew, Jessica Carafiello, Allison Curdt, and Susan Ginter. Apparently, the other spots to be decided between Karen Davies (any relation to Laura, I wonder), Charlotte Sorenstam (definite relation) and Jennifer Tucker in a horrific rainstorm – stay tuned.
The weather must have been better for the senior tier. Dede Cusimano took the senior title with a better score than Bartholomew’s – 69, 69, 74.
So, next time you see your club pro, male or female, think of them a little differently. They’re probably not there because they couldn’t do anything else. They are teaching the next generation, making sure that facility standards stay high, giving kids a lot of opportunities, and even a few for old duffers. AND…they also play golf.