E.A. Sports Today

Helping hand

Randall shows appreciation to Pine Hill CC, pro Etter for their part in cultivating White Plains’ golf success

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MOBILE – Pine Hill pro Cory Etter won’t get a championship ring for White Plains’ state title sweep in Tuesday, but Wildcats coach Chris Randall said he’s as much a part of the program’s success as anyone who made it happen on the golf course.

As a consolation prize, the Choccolocco area club’s members will get to spend a few days with the blue championship trophies, much the way Masters champions share the green jacket with their friends after they win in Augusta.

The White Plains boys and girls golf teams both won state titles Tuesday at the RTJ Trail-Magnolia Grove facility. The boys got nine holes in to finish off their first title with a 26-shot victory over Haleyville in Class 4A. The girls had their round wiped out by weather and were declared 4A-5A winners after their opening-round 241.

It was the first state championship for White Plains in any boys sport in school history. It was the first time since 2018 a school won both championships in the same year.

“When I think about the whole thing it has to start with someone like Cory, the owner at Pine Hill who fostered an atmosphere that welcomed the kids to the golf course,” Randall said.  A lot of times older folks will think kids are in the way and he never treated them like they were in the way.

“He treated them like they were important and they fell in love with the game. Pine Hill is home to them. It’s part of their upbringing. He made it fun for them and welcoming. He played a big role in both teams.

“He deserves a big thank you. What he did meant the world to us, and those trophies, they’re going to Pine Hill. We want all the old guys who meant so much to our players and our kids, we want them to spend some time with the trophies and get pictures with them over the next few days.”

Etter, who has been at Pine Hill since many of the current White Plains players were toddlers and took over as owner in 2017, said juniors are an important part of the course’s culture and those relationships start early.

“I feel like I’ve had somewhat of a strong influence because I’ve watched them grow up,” he said. “I’ve had many battles on the golf course with each and every one of them. I feel like our members and our staff feel like they’re family. It’s just a tight knit thing.

“(Course superintendent) John and (brother) Rodney (Grubbs) have been at every tournament and every match they’ve had in this year; that’s the kind of warmth and care our guys have shown them. It says a lot about our employees but also says a lot about the team because they invited that atmosphere and they love it.”

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