Santa Rosa, Calif. – To get members more engaged with the competition, Mayacama Golf Club paired each representative at the Ninth USGA Men’s State Team Championship with an individual from the club.
Many members jumped at the opportunity. David Hayes, who grew up in South Carolina, requested his home state and had a flashback when he saw one of the team members.
“There’s no way it could be the same guy,” said Hayes of 42-year-old Todd White of Moore. “He e-mailed me back right away. Same Todd White.”
Turns out that White and Hayes were high school golf mates for one season at Dorman High in Spartanburg. Hayes was a senior and White was a hotshot seventh-grader good enough to play with the varsity squad.
“He was a little superstar athlete at a young age,” said Hayes, who earned a college soccer scholarship to the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg. He later transferred to Augusta (Ga.) State. “What was impressive was how great a player he was at that age. He was something else. He just had a great move through the ball.”
Hayes, who joined Mayacama less than a year ago, and White had not seen each other for 28 years until their reunion at Mayacama on Wednesday. After White posted a 1-over-par 72, the two enjoyed lunch inside the clubhouse. A team dinner was planned at Hayes’ home on Wednesday evening.
That 1982 Dorman High golf team was good enough to win its region and finish in the middle of the pack at the state tournament. White later earned a golf scholarship to Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and played professionally from 1991-98, qualifying for the 1995 U.S. Open and competing in a few Nationwide Tour events.
He tired of the pro circuit and became a history teacher at Dorman High, where he also coached the junior varsity golf team. He also got his amateur status back and couldn’t be happier.
“My golf game has been really good to me,” said White, one of 25 players in the Men’s State Team field who qualified for last month’s U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay. “I have no complaints. It’s given me the opportunity to play in some nice places. I have met some really nice people. [Getting my amateur status back] was the best move I have ever made. I have more fun playing the game now.”
Hayes, who watched White’s round on Wednesday, said his game hasn’t changed all that much.
“He would have to give me a shot a hole,” he said. “It’s fun watching him strike the ball. It’s amazing how he has that same move through the ball. It’s just better [now].”
Hayes came to California with his Augusta State roommate after graduating in 1987. Now a successful CEO for a general contracting firm in the Bay Area, Hayes said he doesn’t get to play golf as much as he would like.
But he’s loved the fact that Mayacama chose to host this competition.
“It’s a wonderful place and I am glad it’s getting some [national] notoriety,” said Hayes. “It’s an opportunity to show the place off. It’s in great shape and what a surprise to get to see Todd. I am proud to be associated with the club and I think everyone is having a good time.”
David Shefter is a USGA communications staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.