Golf has been a time-honored sport in the United States, and for many years it was only for the wealthy. Now, times have changed, and everyone can make their golf dreams come true, and the Vols are a team that is taking golf to new heights and levels of success every year.
The team began to play in 1934, and they were under the coaching of James Walls, who stayed with the team for decades, leading them to success. Surprisingly, however, despite the success and talent of the team and the coach, it would take close to half a century before they could win their first conference.
The honor was possible due to Stuart Smith and Jim Gallagher Jr, who both played so well that they finished in the top five of the tournament. They stunned fans everywhere and brought honor to the team. During that same year, the team achieved the highest finish they had ever had in the NCAA Championships. When Tom Carr played for their team in the eighties, they were also able to have a great run in the singles competition.
Another reason 1988 was a good year for the team? Jim Kelson led the team to over a hundred wins in just his first year alone. Since then, he has led the team to a trio of berths in the NCAA Championships. He then guides the team to wins over Alabama and captures the Carpet Capital Collegiate Golf Tournament which had never happened before in the history of the school.
When he retired just two years ago, Sean Pacetti stepped in as an interim coach until Brennan Webb stepped in as the head coach. Since they had started in 1934, the team has massive success in that four of their golfers have won SEC titles individually, and thirty-five golfers earned over fifty All-SEC honors. In addition to this, more than a dozen earned the title of All-American.
It doesn't stop there, though. Almost two dozen UT Vol players have played on exceptional golf tours while others have won amateur championships, and others have gone on to play professionally.
Another good year was the 2002 and 2003 season. Ian Parnaby was able to take the team to a second-place showing at the Tennessee Intercollegiate. Through dedication and passion along with a beautiful coach who devoted his all to the team, their star continued to rise higher and higher. The Vols golf team is recognized as one of the best teams that golf has ever seen, and throughout the school's history, they have more than earned the title.
When the new century began, the team started grabbing attention once more for their three wins and that they had finished second twice in a dozen tournaments and even half a freshman claiming medalist honors. Charlie Ford was another incredible player who helped the team by winning the Turtle Bay event and had a school-record score.
Chris Paisley followed suit and used his talent to stun everyone at the Tennessee Intercollegiate competition by taking medalist honors. The very next year, he won titles that helped the Vols team to runner-up showings improving their overall standing.
As the years continued, the team continued to grow and shine while their talent grew as well. With the hard work the seniors, along with the freshman, they have managed to surge past the other SEC Golf teams.
Rick Lamb was one such senior who led the team to victories back to back while a new freshman Oliver Goss proved to be an incredible secret weapon that the team used to their fullest advantage. The two together led UT to an NCAA run, and a top-four finish at the Regional in Baton Rouge. As the years have gone by, the team has managed to achieve new heights of success.
Unfortunately for the team with the Coronavirus, they had to cut their season short, but before it did, they had managed two tournament titles and a duo of top-five team finishes.
They had completed seven tournaments before the season was brought to a halt. Individually, members of the team recorded finishes in the top ten, and in particular, Tyler Johnson had an individual win at the Grove's Intercollegiate.
Rhys Nevin was another surprise as he finished the season with a stroke average of seventy-two or better and led the team with the top twenty-five finishes six times.
The team has been saddened that this year's season was cut short but is still making sure that they are in top form so that when the virus has passed, and everyone is safe, they will be ready to take on a new season and continue rising to the top of the golf world inspiring people everywhere.