After leaving Rome's Shorter College years ago, River Pointe Golf Club pro Sonny Skinner
was unsure of where his
career was going.He was a certified pro working at Valdosta Country Club in the early 1980s, blending time between working behind the desk and helping golfers perfect his or her weekend golf game.
That, at the time, seemed to be the life for him.
Then, in an instant, a man approached Skinner
about the offer of a lifetime "He
said, ,Boy?What are you doing behind the counter?You oughta be playing,' " remembered a laughing Skinner, who had just scored an even-par 72 Thursday in the first round of the Nationwide Tour's
South Georgia Classic at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club
The gentleman introduced Skinner
to somefriends and he
suddenly had financial backing to join the Tour
.Skinner's birth certificate might state he was born in Portsmouth, Va., but his road to playing professional golf began in Valdosta."This is where I started my career, 26 years ago," said Skinner, who played at Abraham Baldwin College before continuing his career at Shorter.
"It feels good to be back here."Skinner became the first Abraham Baldwin golfer to reach the PGA Tour in 1990 (ex-Stallions golfer Boo Weekley is currently on it and has won the past two PGA events at Hilton Head).
Skinner's best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for 13th in the 1997 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic.Skinner has won twice on what then was known as the Nike Tour, placing first in Shreveport, La., in 1993 and the next year in Glen Allen, Va.
To add another piece of nostalgia this weekend, Skinner's roommate when he
first moved to Valdosta, a delivery courier named Rick Bellinger, is his
caddie."We played college golf at ABAC, and we'd been good friends since '77," Skinner said, also noting that they attended each other's weddings.
, who would be the first to tell someone putting is not his strongest asset attempted 30 Thursday, but Bellinger keeps his hopes high for today's round.
played once again at Valdosta Country Club
on Thursday.It's almost as if Skinner's
back in his
element , back to his
Now, at the age of 47, Skinner
has other goals besides helping people improve their golf games at River Pointe.When he
reaches 50, he
wants to reach the Champions Tour and keep competing.
"I've been doing this a long time and I really don't have anything to prove to anybody," Skinner
said."I'm one of the oldest people on the tour.
I'm one of the shortest , if not the shortest , hitter out there.