E.A. Sports Today

SKCC notebook

Former ACC pro returns to experience SKCC from ‘other side,’ Beyerle-Dopson nail down final slot in the field

Jake Spott (L), handing the ACC Invitational trophy to champion Freeman Fite, was Anniston Country Club’s pro for two years.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jake Spott would have liked to had played in the Sunny King Charity Classic during his two years as the head pro at Anniston Country Club but there was too much responsibility for the “host pro” around the club to feel comfortable being out of position for any length of time.

Now that he’s back in the state he’s looking forward to experiencing the Classic from “the other side” with a deep appreciation for what it takes to put it on and those who undertake the challenge.

Spott is now the head pro/director of golf at Hoover Country Club and will be playing in the Classic for the first time with ACC member Matt Hunter. When he had the chance to play in it and it fell on his weekend off in the shop he jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “I’ve always said at some point I would love to play in a tournament I used to run. I’m really excited to see it from the other side, just kind of relax little bit and see some old friends.

“I would have loved to play in it (before) and I think some other pros may have played in it while they were running it but I didn’t think it overly responsible to play in it. The way I kind of operated as a professional was if we’ve got a big event face time is huge so I want to make sure I was visible at everything I could be. I tried to make sure the event goes off well and I wanted to be there in case anything went wrong. I’m looking forward to seeing it from the other side.”

Spott was at ACC from early 2014 to early 2016, the first year as the head pro and the second year in the dual role as head pro and club general manager. He left to become head pro/director of golf at the University of Louisville Golf Club and was there until returning to the state recently for the same position at Hoover. He is getting married in November.

As for the game he brings to town, he doesn’t hit it far, but he hits it straight and still relies on his solid short game. His hope is to play well this weekend but suspects the teammates will have to play their “absolute best” to win it all in a field that includes eight of last year’s top 10 finishers led by two-time reigning champions Ty Cole and Gary Wigington.

“Hopefully I can keep Matt from swinging out of his shoes,” Spott said. “He hits it a long way and if he can put it in play, I’m going to be hitting from places I excel from. And hopefully we can get the putter hot.

“I would imagine in these formats the guys who putt the best are the ones who are gonna excel. I hope we play well but I think he and I will both have to play our absolute best to win the whole thing, but you never know. We’re going to play hard, have some fun and see what happens.”

CUTTING IT CLOSE: Brian Beyerle was just about resigned to the fact he wasn’t going to play in the Sunny King Charity Classic this year, but he was rewarded for his persistence and will meet his partner Justin Dopson for the first time Friday when they step on the 10th tee at Cider Ridge to get their first round underway.

Beyerle and Dopson made it in as the 204th and final team in the field despite all of fate’s attempts to keep them out. The father-and-son team of Steve and Ethan Johnson were the first team to register in late March.

Beyerle planned to register a month ago with a former partner, but “something came up unexpected” that put the idea on the back burner. It might have been for the best because the partner broke his wrist last week.

It was just one in a series of misfortunes that conspired to keep him without a partner for the longest time. One has neck surgery, another was injured on a bike, another was tied up on the job, yet another was involved with baseball all-stars. Things were looking grim.

“I did not expect to get in,” Beyerle said.

He checked Monday to see if there were any openings in case he could find a last-minute partner. On a whim, he checked out the tournament Facebook page and saw a note that another player was a single in search of a partner. It just happened the poster was Facebook Friends with his wife.

On Tuesday he got a note from SKCC tee time chairman Keith Howell that there was one spot left and he could have it if he would sign up right then.

“I did, and here we are,” Beyerle said.

Dopson had similar run of bad luck partner hunting. He had several back out, thought he found one on social media and then had that one back out.

“I didn’t really know until two days ago that I was going to get to play,” he said. “I am really excited about it.”

The new partners are scheduled to play in the Honda Pilot fourth flight. Beyerle takes a 16-handicap into the tournament, while Dopson carries a 13.

Beyerle had played in the tournament most of the last 10 years with different partners, but missed last year. Dopson played last year with Adam Benefiel.

“Who knows how it will go,” Beyerle said. “It’s just as random as my game is now. In my mid 20s to about 30 I played seven days a week and had no handicap. Nowadays, I play seven days a year, but that zero handicap guy shows up for one shot or one hole or nine holes, then 15-year-old me shows up for a while, so my scores can be all over the map.”

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