Anderson to retire after 32 years at Athletic Club

Atlanta Athletic Club director of golf Rick Anderson, here at the 2020 Georgia Amateur championship, will retire at the end of March 2021 after serving for 32 years.
Atlanta Athletic Club director of golf Rick Anderson, here at the 2020 Georgia Amateur championship, will retire at the end of March 2021 after serving for 32 years.

Credit: Kate Awtrey

Credit: Kate Awtrey

Rick Anderson, one of the state’s most-respected and longest-serving PGA professionals, is retiring as director of golf at the Atlanta Athletic Club at the end of the month, just a few days after his 66th birthday. Anderson has held the position for 32 years.

Anderson was born in Florence, Ala., but grew up in Maryville, Tenn., where he was a five-sport athlete in high school. He was a 25-year-old assistant professional at Capital City Club in Atlanta when he was hired in 1981 by the legendary Jack Sargent to be an assistant professional at the Atlanta Athletic Club. He stayed four seasons before leaving to become head professional at Holly Tree in Greenville, S.C., Grandfather Mountain in Linville, N.C., and Boca Pointe in Boca Raton, Fla.

In 1988 he got a phone call from Harold Sargent, former president of the PGA of America and brother of Jack, to gauge his interest in returning to the Athletic Club. Anderson did not hesitate and took over his “dream job” as director of golf in January 1989.

Since then, Anderson has been the head professional during two PGA Championships, a U.S. Amateur Championship and a Palmer Cup. He was part of the power triumvirate of general manager Chris Borders and superintendent Ken Mangum that set the standard for club excellence in Georgia. Borders and Mangum are members of the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame, where Anderson likely will land sooner rather than later.

Anderson is not leaving the game. He will return to help with rules when the club hosts the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship in June. Like his mentor Jack Sargent, Anderson is considered one of the nation’s foremost authorities of the game’s often-complex rules. Anderson has been a member of the PGA Rules Committee since 2007.

UGA’s Phillips named to Palmer Cup team

Junior Trent Phillips is the latest University of Georgia player to earn a spot on the team that will represent the United States in the Arnold Palmer Cup, June 11-13, at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago.

Ten Bulldogs have played in the Palmer Cup, and Bulldogs coach Chris Haack has twice served as coach.

“Georgia has a deep history with the Palmer Cup, and I’m proud my name is getting added to that list,” Phillips said. “Anytime you can represent your country and your school in any event, it is very exciting.”

Phillips is ranked No. 44 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He has a 70.07 scoring average in five events this season, was co-medalist at the Gators Invitational and SEC Golfer of the Week.

Hanzel, Kearney win Jones Cup Senior

Doug Hanzel of Savannah won the Jones Cup Senior Invitational at Sea Island, and Jack Kearney of Peachtree City won the super senior division for those 65 and older.

Hanzel, the 2013 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, shot a 3-under 213 to beat Gene Elliott and Atlanta’s Jack Larkin by one shot. Elliott lost by a shot to Alpharetta’s Bob Royak a year ago. Royak tied for 17th.

Kearney, who plays at Flat Creek, shot an 8-under 208 and won the super senior division by 14 shots.

Around the campus

The University of Georgia women finished ninth against a loaded field in the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia. Jenny Bae tied for 15th to lead the Bulldogs. … Kennesaw State and Georgia State are in the field for the Sea Pines Invitational at St. Simons.

The professional circuit

Reed Lotter, a 16-year-old student at Savannah Country Day, has accepted a sponsor’s invitation to play in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Club Car Championship at The Landings Club, March 22-26 Lotter shot at record 63 at the club’s Deer course when he was 14, a record that was broken by professional Julien Etulain’s 62 in the tournament a year ago. Lotter is the No. 33 overall boys player in Georgia and No. 77 in the nation. … The Mitsubishi Electric Classic announced it will have all seven past champions in the field for this year’s event, May 10-16, at TPC Sugarloaf. That list includes Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Olin Browne, Woody Austin, Stephen Ames, Steve Flesch and Scott McCarron. The tournament was a COVID-19 casualty last spring. … Augusta’s Scott Parel finished in a tie for third at the Cologuard Classic, his sixth top-five finish on the PGA Tour Champions in his last 17 starts.


Xavier Maddox of Troup and Cameron Ford of Commerce are the male and female recipients of the inaugural Johnny Paulk Memorial Scholarships awarded by the Georgia High School Golf Coaches Association. Maddox plans to attend Howard University and major in political science. Ford will play collegiate golf at Toledo, where she plans to study criminal justice or psychology. The scholarship was named in honor of Paulk, the beloved longtime golf professional at Jekyll Island who died last year.

The team of Jeff Adkinson, Jay Hathorn, Charles Hobbs and Russ Williams shot 19-under 53 to the Georgia State Park Cup qualifier at the Lake Blackshear Golf Course at Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele. The quartet, which plays out of Crooked Oak Golf Club in Colquitt, earned a spot in the championship weekend at Arrowhead Pointe on May 7-8.

In Other News