Vanderbilt Alumni Donate Seed Gifts To Help Build New $11 Million Golf Facility

Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt has unveiled artists’ renderings detailing approximately $11 million in significant upgrades to men’s and women’s golf teams’ facilities at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.

Former Vanderbilt student-athletes and Hall of Fame inductees Toby Wilt (BE’66), Brandt Snedeker (BA’03) and Lew Conner (BA’60, JD’63), along with their wives, Lucianne Wilt, Mandy Snedeker (BA’02) and Ashley Conner (BA’60) made seed gifts with the goal of inspiring and facilitating gifts from other alumni and supporters to bring the project to life, reimagining the future of Vanderbilt golf.

“Vanderbilt helped me grow so much as a competitor and individual, and I’m thrilled to help bring together and encourage our golf family to ensure that current and future Commodores have the same opportunities,” says Brandt Snedeker, who was inducted into the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame in 2009. “Under Coach [Scott] Limbaugh and Coach [Greg] Allen, our men’s and women’s programs continue to set the standard for collegiate golf, and Mandy and I are grateful to the dedicated and talented student-athletes who keep the golf spotlight shining on our alma mater and the Middle Tennessee community that means so much to us.”

Vanderbilt Golf Team Lounge and Kitchen. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

As part of the Vandy United campaign, this initiative will be made possible by the support of generous donors and will fund major investments that enhance the home venue for both programs through new construction and renovation of team spaces and practice facilities.

“The Vanderbilt Legends Club has served our men’s and women’s golf student-athletes extraordinarily well across more than two decades of combined excellence, and this major investment ensures that both programs will continue to grow and thrive for years to come,” says Candice Lee, Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director. “I’m tremendously grateful to the Wilt, Snedeker and Conner families for seeding this project and embodying the values that make us Commodores for life. As we continue to reimagine the future of Vanderbilt Athletics through the Vandy United campaign, enhancing and expanding the home of two championship-caliber programs further demonstrates our commitment to give all of our student-athletes the tools necessary to reach their full potential—whether in the classroom or representing our university in competition.”

Building on the foundation put in place by student-athletes, including seven Hall of Famers, the university dedicated the Golf House and Training Center and Conner Family Hitting Bays in 2013 to complement the Vanderbilt Legends Club’s iconic courses, which were designed by former U.S. Open winner Tom Kite and world-renowned golf course architect Bob Cupp.

Vanderbilt Golf Team Lounge. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

“The future is bright for Vanderbilt golf,” says Wilt, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017. “At Vanderbilt, you know you never stand alone. Lucianne and I are proud to provide this gift as a catalyst to the newest Vandy United project because we want student-athletes to know we stand with them—and because we know our fellow alumni and supporters will stand with us. Together, we will ensure our golf teams continue to have the best facilities in the country.”

Work on the new practice facility will be led by renowned course architect Beau Welling. Upgrades include:

  • Renovation and expansion of the existing team clubhouse facilities, which will increase the building’s footprint by roughly two-thirds and include a new lobby, hall of fame, team lounge, locker rooms, meeting rooms, fitness area, outdoor terraces and offices
  • Renovation and expansion of the Cleo and Lewis Conner, Sr. Short Game Practice Facility and driving range tee boxes, including enhancing putting greens, modifying chipping areas and expanding the tee box
  • A new strokes gained area to continue to help student-athletes train more efficiently and reach their full potential

Vanderbilt Golf Team Fitness Center. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

“Vanderbilt golf has always been close to my heart,” says Conner, who was a 2017 inductee into the Hall of Fame and funded the existing Conner Family Hitting Bays as well as the Cleo and Lewis Conner, Sr. Short Game Practice Facility. “My time as a student-athlete shaped my Vanderbilt experience and life, and Ashley and I have been proud to support the student-athletes who have so admirably carried on the tradition and lifted the program to new heights. I’m gratified that facility enhancements we have made over the last 20 years have played a part in an era of such tremendous success, and I’m excited to help take the facilities to an even greater level.”

Formerly known as Legends Club of Tennessee, the Franklin venue has long been the home course for Vanderbilt men’s and women’s golf. It was officially renamed Vanderbilt Legends Club in November 2005 and transitioned to a private club in 2008.

Vanderbilt Golf Team Library. Rendering courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Since 2001, when the university purchased a stake in the club, Vanderbilt’s men’s and women’s programs have combined to win five SEC championships, make 35 NCAA Regional appearances and reach 22 NCAA championships. The Vanderbilt Legends Club also helped Gordon Sargent hone the skills that propelled him to the 2022 NCAA men’s individual national championship and earn an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

Additionally, in their time at the Vanderbilt Legends Club, 25 Vanderbilt student-athletes have amassed more than 40 All-America honors from either the Golf Coaches Association of America or the Women’s Golf Coaches Association.

During the 2021–22 year, the men’s team won its second consecutive SEC championship and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division I men’s golf championship after recording the best score in the stroke play portion of the event.

The women’s team won the NCAA Franklin Regional at the Vanderbilt Legends Club and also advanced to the NCAA Championship. The former marked Vanderbilt’s first opportunity to host a regional at the course, which also hosted the 2012 NCAA women’s championship and annually hosts the Mason Rudolph Championship tournament.

Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent Headed To Masters Tournament

Gordon Sargent. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt star golfer Gordon Sargent has accepted a special invitation to compete at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. from April 6-9.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Sargent is the reigning NCAA Division I men’s individual champion. The 19-year-old birdied the first hole of a four-way playoff in May to win, becoming the first freshman since 2007 to claim the individual title.

“There is simply not a greater honor in golf than to be invited to play in the Masters Tournament,” Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh says. “I also believe this a huge day for college and amateur golf as Augusta National Golf Club has extended a special exemption to Gordon to play in this year’s Masters as the reigning NCAA champion.

“We are thrilled for Gordon and especially proud of the way he represents our University and golf program with high character and integrity in everything he does,” he continues. “This is certainly another great opportunity for him to showcase his talents on the grandest of stages.”

Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced Thursday (Jan. 5) that Sargent and Kazuki Higa have both accepted their invitations to compete in the 2023 Masters. Both players will be first-time Tournament participants.

“The Masters Tournament prioritizes opportunities to elevate both amateur and professional golf around the world,” Ridley explains. “Thus, we have extended invitations to two deserving players not otherwise qualified. Whether on the international stage or at the elite amateur level, each player has showcased their talent in the past year. We look forward to hosting them at Augusta National in April.”

Sargent is ranked No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking and becomes the first amateur to accept a special invitation since Aaron Baddeley in 2000. A preseason, first team All-American, Sargent also won the stroke play individual championship at the East Lake Cup in October.

Preds Foundation To Host Brent Peterson Golf Classic, 10th Annual Petey’s Preds Party

The Nashville Predators Foundation, empowered by SmileDirectClub, will host the 11th Annual First Horizon Brent Peterson Golf Classic. Held at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tenn. on Sept. 13, the event will benefit both the Predators Foundation and the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s (PFP). Later in the month, the 10th Annual First Horizon Petey’s Preds Party will also return to Bridgestone Arena on Sept. 28.

At the Peterson Golf Classic, local celebrities, Predators alumni, and executives will be put in teams of four and will play in morning and afternoon flights. Taking place on the Vanderbilt Legends South Course, the tournament will feature several competitions, such as the longest drive and closest-to-the-pin contest.

Following a year off in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, Sept. 28 will mark the return of the First Horizon Petey’s Preds Party. Over the ice at Bridgestone Arena, fans will enjoy an evening of stand-up comedy from Nashville-based comedian Aaron Weber, a delicious dinner, and an auction of rare hockey and sports items. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available here.

“After a year when we were unable to host so many of our fan-favorite Foundation events, we are thrilled to kick off the 2021-22 season this September with the First Horizon Brent Peterson Golf Classic and First Horizon Petey’s Preds Party,” says Nashville Predators Vice President of Community Relations Rebecca King. “Because of these events, we have raised over $1.6 million for the Preds Foundation and Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s, and we look forward to continuing those efforts this year and for years to come!”

In addition to benefiting the Predators Foundation, both upcoming events will benefit the PFP, which was founded in 2009 by Peterson. “Petey,” as he is known, served as an assistant coach from Day One until 2011 when he brought his battle with Parkinson’s into the public eye. Today, Peterson continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness about the devastating effects of Parkinson’s disease and advance PFP’s mission to support and enhance lives of people with Parkinson’s, their care partners, and families to achieve their highest possible quality of life through awareness, education and programs within a caring community.

Tracy Lawrence Hosts First Annual Mission:Possible Invitational Golf Tournament

Photo: by Bill McClintic

Country music recording artist Tracy Lawrence recently hosted the inaugural Mission:Possible Invitational Golf Tournament, sponsored by E3 Construction Services. The event raised $200,000 for homeless and underserved communities in and around the Nashville area.

“When I started mission possible 15 years ago, by frying turkeys in a parking lot, I never thought that we would be doing multiple events annually and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the homeless and hungry,” says Lawrence. “A huge thank you to our incredible sponsors and all the amazing folks who came out to raise some money for a good cause and had a little fun doing it!”

The event took place at Old Hickory Country Club in Tennessee and hosted an all-star line-up of players, including Lawrence, Kid Rock, Vince Gill, Dennis Quaid, Darius Rucker, John Daly, Shay Mooney, Ron White, Lee Brice, Justin Moore, Randy Houser, Cole Swindell, Parker McCollum, Jamey Johnson, Eddie George, Hardy, Colt Ford, Mike Mills, and many others.

“Having seen first-hand the incredible work Tracy Lawrence’s Mission:Possible has done in the community, we jumped at the opportunity to participate in his Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament and support such a meaningful cause,” says John Eldridge, founder and CEO of E3 Construction Services, LLC. “E3 Construction Services is proud to have sponsored such an incredible event that celebrates camaraderie, music, and generosity and we hope to see the tradition continue for many years to come.”

Recently, Lawrence announced his second album release of 2021, Hindsight 2020 Volume 2: Price of Fame, which will be available everywhere on Aug. 13. To celebrate the album announcement, he also released the title track from the album, “Price of Fame,” which features Eddie Montgomery.

Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic Raises $1.4 Million For OK Kids Korral

Clay Walker and Toby Keith performing at the 17th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic

After a year hiatus, the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic raised $1,427,000 dollars for the OK Kids Korral, the cost-free home for families of children being treated at Oklahoma City area hospitals. The event was held on June 11-12 and raised the second-highest total in the classic’s 17 year history. In all, the event has now raised more than $15 million.

The biggest single bid was $100,000 for an AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am experience where the winner will get to walk the course with Keith during the tournament. Additional top bids came in for a chance for two to play in the 2021 Lexus Champions For Charity tournament ($62,000), a Fleetwood Mac signed electric guitar ($50,000), and a trip to Iceland ($30,000). Beyond the auctions, multi-platinum Show Dog Nashville recording artist Clay Walker performed with Keith. As for the double-shotgun-start golf tournament, the team from Ace Hardware won the morning round, with the afternoon round taken by Tier 1 Contracting. Mark VanHoose won the closest-to-the-hole contest and the Harley Davidson prize that went with it.

Pictured (L-R): Toby Keith, The Howard family – Lawsyn, announcing she is cancer free, Josh, Harlow, and Destiny

Recently, the Academy of Country Music announced it will bestow Keith with the Merle Haggard Spirit Award at the 14th Annual ACM Honors taking place on August 25 in Nashville. The award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of Haggard, the country legend and 20-time ACM Award winner, by following their own path, crafting great songs, and epitomizing Haggard’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015 and awarded the National Medal of Arts earlier this year, Keith is currently nominated for induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, his Country Comes To Town Tour resumed in Prescott, Arizona on Sunday, June 20. Announcements regarding new music are expected soon.

Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic Returns In June

After a year’s hiatus, the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic returns for its 17th year with music, dinner, and more on June 11-12 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The 16th annual classic in 2019 raised $1.3 million and pushed the event’s historical total to $13.7 million, funds used to build and operate OK Kids Korral, the cost-free home for families of children being treated at Oklahoma City area hospitals.

Live auction items include an AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am experience, a trip to Iceland, a “Mega Hog Hunt” in Texas, chance for two to play in the 2021 Lexus Champions For Charity tournament, autographed items from Tom Brady, an electric guitar signed by Fleetwood Mac and custom items including a table, rifle and shotgun.

Silent auction items include a personalized video from the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, along with a deluxe assortment of Carlo’s Bakery sweets; items from Chip and Joanna GainesBlake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Van Halen, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert and Clay Walker; and sports memorabilia from Roger Clemens, David Ortiz, Cal Ripken Jr, Troy Aikman and Brett Favre.

Among the local favorites also supporting with auction items are the Oklahoma City Thunder, Grain & Grange, Lorec Ranch, Shangri-La Resort, Winstar Casino, Oklahoma Joe’s smoker and tattoo artist Scott Huttenmaier.

The double shotgun golf tournament starts Saturday at Keith’s Belmar Golf Club, and its 54 teams are already sold out. In partnership with Fort Thunder Harley-Davidson, the winner of the closest to the pin shootout will take home a new Harley-Davidson Street Bob motorcycle.

Silent auction bidding is open to the public and begins online June 5.

Folds Of Honor Tennessee To Host First Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament

 

Folds of Honor Tennessee is set to host its first annual celebrity golf tournament on June 21 at the Governors Club in Brentwood.

The event will help raise money and bring awareness to the non-profit which helps provide educational scholarships to the families of fallen and disabled American service members. In the 2020-21 academic year, Folds of Honor awarded 253 scholarships at $1.25 million in educational impact in the Tennessee area.

“We are excited to bring together our friends from the worlds of sports, entertainment, and corporate America for the common cause of helping military families who paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom,” says Christopher King, president for Folds of Honor, Tennessee. “We can’t all serve in the military, but we can support the families of those who protect our country.”

The tournament will feature big names in music and sports which include Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr, Jamie Johnson, Chase Rice, Charlie Esten, Randy Houser, Mitchell Tenpenny, Michael Ray, Jelly Roll, Dee Jay Silver and many more.

A few notable auction items include two VIP passes to join Danica Patrick aboard the super yacht Ocean Pearl at The 2022 Monaco Grand Prix; a round of golf in Las Vegas with Brice and LPGA pro-golfer Danielle Kang; a 4-day Dove Hunt in Argentina; a 7 day vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with a two bedroom suite at the oceanfront Diamond Resort; and signed guitars and other celebrity memorabilia.

All those interested in participating in this celebrity charity event can register now. If you are interested in purchasing a foursome or becoming a sponsor, please email jkreifels@foldsofhonor.org.

The event schedule goes as follows:
9:30 – Registration
11:30 – Shotgun start
4:00 – Happy Hour with music by Dee Jay Silver
4:30 – Auction/Awards/Special Guest/Dinner
5:30 – Concert by the Steel Drivers