TOP PHOTO: “Basketball and golf have really been good to me,” said Bobby Heatherly. He officiated high school and big time college basketball for many of his 36 years while also serving as the golf pro at the La Follette Golf and Country Club.
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Saturday’s weather was about ideal for day one of the fifth annual Bobby Heatherly Classic held in honor for the longtime manager of the La Follette Golf and Country Club. However, Sunday was a different story as wind was tough on the players not to mention the late day rain and hail. The classic signals the official start to the golf season in what is the 100th year of the country club.
The two-day tourney started at 8am Saturday with Heatherly arriving at about noon. He watched from the balcony of the club house for a while and mixed and mingled.
Left to right are Coach Wayne Kitts, Dennis “Mouse” Henegar, Josh Vann, General Manager of the La Follette Golf and Country Club and its long time golf pro, Bobby Heatherly. Kitts remarked on how he always felt better when his Wynn High basketball team was playing on the road and Heatherly, who also officiated high school and big time college basketball, was one of the officials. “I knew the game would be called the way it should be if Bobby was on the crew,” said Kitts.
Wayne Kitts signed up for the tourney last minute on Friday and teamed with Dennis “Mouse” Henegar. “We were so early today (Saturday), no one else was ready to play,” said Henegar. He and the former coach finished up not long after 11:30am.
“It’s not near as much fun as it is with four or six playing,” added Henegar. “I shoot too many bad shots and not enough good shots,” said Kitts. Henegar laughed as he shot back that “it’s like being in school playing with you.”
Kitts has played in all five of the classics. This was Henegar’s fourth. He missed last year’s.
Josh Vann, left, and Bobby Heatherly visit during the classic named in honor of Heatherly. Vann recalled how the late J.L. Stittums gave him his first set of clubs, right handed. The left handed Vann learned to play with them anyway. “J.L. loved to play golf. He was one of the best to play here,” said Heatherly.
“He (Bobby) invited me up to play, and I got the bug. Then I had to wait for a membership to open up. That was about in 1980 when membership was at its max at 225,” said Kitts.
Bobby Heatherly (left) is presented with a new set of Ping golf clubs by Josh Vann (right) on behalf of the members of the La Follette Golf and Country Club as long time member Bill Cox looks on.
Even though golf was the theme this weekend, basketball stories also had their place especially where Heatherly was concerned. He recalled a game at Habersham when Kitts’ Wynn team was ahead by one point with five seconds left in the game. “Wayne had a kid foul a player on Oneida’s team as he was attempting to heave a backcourt shot, and there was no doubt he fouled him,” said Heatherly. The player made one of the three free throws, tied the game, and Wynn won in overtime.
Left to right are Elwood Bailey, Wayne Kitts, Cliff Jennings, Bill Cox, Bobby Heatherly, Josh Vann and Dennis Henegar. “You really don’t know good it’s been for me to have worked for my friends here. There was a time when the course was full on the weekends and after 5pm through the week. Our junior and ladies programs were the life blood of the program,” said Heatherly.
The fifth annual Heatherly Classic ended as rain and hail fell late Sunday afternoon. But that did not put a damper on the great weekend of golf and fun it was as the club’s 100th year is officially underway. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/01/2023-6AM)