As I write this month’s article, we still have Thanksgiving and Christmas to celebrate; however, I wanted to reminisce a bit about golf in 2018.

For Central Alabama Community College golf, we again successfully transferred all of our sophomores into universities where they may grow and develop their golf games to become educated within fields that would provide them bright futures.

Jake Maples, from McDonough, Georgia, had a tremendous two-year stint at CACC and earned All-American status twice. He transferred to Georgia Southern University on a golf scholarship.

Sam Goldasich of Birmingham, Alabama, earned a golf scholarship to University of Alabama Birmingham. Bailey Scifleet from Australia accepted a golf scholarship to Georgia College in Milledgeville, Georgia. A sterling student athlete who played for us, Carter Henley from Auburn, Alabama, earned Academic All-American status at CACC and transferred to Auburn University to pursue his degree at the Harrison School of Pharmacy.

I love the part of my job that helps position players for the next level or step in their lives. My present sophomores are getting some good looks from university coaches, and I feel confident that they will secure their next-level moves very soon.

This summer, I was honored to coach Team USA at the Junior World Cup in Nagoya, Japan. Four of the best high school golfers from 22 different countries competed in this event. Natasha Vincent from the University of Central Arkansas coached the U.S. girls’ golf team.

This was my second visit to Japan. Toyota and Japan Airlines sponsored the Junior World Cup this year, and they did a tremendous job. This was quite a treat, but Japan is so much different than the U.S. I refer to the country as a land of organized chaos. There are so many people living on this small island.

In the U.S., we should thank our lucky stars for the many opportunities we have. In Japan, thousands of people love golf, but many of these golfers experience the game only through hitting balls in a netted driving range. Playing a round of golf in Japan is extremely expensive. I’ve heard that many Japanese fly to California to play golf at Pebble Beach; then, return home – this trip is less expensive than a round of golf in Japan.

I shouldn’t forget to mention that Tiger Woods returned to the spotlight in golf this year. What Tiger overcame physically and how it appears he has improved his personal character are both amazing. Tiger seems to be much warmer to people. I feel the way he interacts with his fellow golf professionals, that he has indeed made a change. What he overcame with the multiple surgeries, especially to his back, is impressive, as he returned to be competitive in the major championships. He ultimately won at the Tour Championship this year, which amazed the masses. I look for a big year in 2019 for Tiger to possibly pick up another major. He loves fast greens; he’s hitting his driver long and with control; and the Masters could be his again.

I hope that we are all able to enjoy some pleasant weather this November and December. In mid-October, my golf team was stunned when we began a tournament round in Rome, Georgia, with 36-degree temperatures. I am hoping for a long fall-like close to 2018. Along with that, I also hope that each of you have a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

~ Dave Jennings is the men’s golf coach for Central Alabama Community College.