Since the age of 12, Canton Golf Club has been a big part of my life. The club was built in 1938 by Robert Tyre Jones Sr., who was the grandfather of legendary Bobby Jones. This was a time in our history when the Jones family owned and operated many of the businesses in Canton. It is one of the few places in this world I feel at home.
My opportunity to be a part of this place is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.
It was always a common ground between my Daddy and me. He had many friends who were also a part of the club. Daddy made friends everywhere he went because of his extroverted personality. I have made friends there too. Some are gone on. Some are still there. My introverted personality has kept me from having near as many friends as Daddy did.
Before his death several years ago, J.T. Holbrook gave many of us at the club a
handwritten history of Canton Golf Club. The stories he shared were told from a personal perspective from his time spent in the club and his close relationship with the Jones family. Mr. Holbrook was one of the many treasures who also called the golf club home. So much so, his face is memorialized in marble on the first tee.
Like all golf clubs, Canton has an annual Club Championship tournament to crown the
best player for the year. It is usually held at the end of summer or the beginning of fall. Many great golfers have won the tournament. You can’t talk about this tournament without mentioning Hall Fowler and Craig King who have won it multiple times. I have had the honor of playing with them both on many occasions. We all basically grew up together as friends. Such great memories.
Todd and Kristi James Ledford are one of the many young couples in our community
who are well-known and respected. Kristi and I met when we were just children attending Chalcedonia Baptist Church. Our families worshipped together for many years. She and Todd have two sons. Luke attends the University of Georgia while Josh attends Creekview High School. They are an entire family of golfers and an asset to Canton Golf Club.
In a recent tournament, I had the privilege of playing in the same group with Luke and
Josh during a tournament. Both are fine golfers. I basically tried to stay out of their way. Todd followed us most of the day. He and Kristi did not just produce their children. They are active in their lives. Many times, during our round of golf, both boys mesmerized me by just how good they really are. It was a pleasure to watch.
You can tell a lot about people on the golf course. Mark Twain is credited with once
saying, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” The game can drive you crazy if you let it. There have been a few times I have let it. After four hours of ups and downs with the Ledford boys, I saw nothing but respect coming from them. They showed respect to the game, to other golfers, to the course, and certainly to their dad who was blessed to be able to watch them perform. You could see the kindness of Todd and Kristi in both fine young men. Spending the day with them reminded me of how one should behave on the golf course and in life. We are never too old to learn.
The Canton Golf Club championship was held this year in August. After two days
of play, Josh Ledford beat everyone to claim the title of the 2021 Club Champion. Several others gave a run at him, including Craig King. In the end, no one could beat the young champion. I heard several people whisper, “I’m glad to see Josh win. I like that boy. He’s a good boy.” These words are a testament to more than his golfing abilities. It speaks volumes about his character.
Golf sometimes brings out the worst in people. I am the guiltiest of all. For those times, I am both ashamed and apologetic. It also brings out the best in many people. While it is only a game, it also parallels life’s mountains and valleys. Bobby Jones once said, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots. You get good breaks from bad shots. But you have to play the ball where it lies.” Todd and Kristi have done a wonderful job of teaching their sons this important life lesson.
Congratulations Josh Ledford. You truly are a champion, on and off the course!