Joe Black Classic Helps Golf Team for the 20th Year
David Sherman says his favorite part of the golf tournament he organizes is seeing the camaraderie that goes on among the participants.
Sherman has been organizing the Joe Black Golf Classic for ten years and says it is always a lot of fun to see new players making friends. "We have a team coming in from Midland-Odessa," he says in his always friendly tone. "The players have never played in our tournament before, but they heard about it from a friend." In fact says Sherman, "We have about nine first-timers we are looking forward to meeting."
Anyone who has every met the Hardin-Simmons golf coach knows that Sherman will slap you on the back and give you a hearty welcome. That is just one of many reasons the tournament is so popular. Sherman won't take in any credit, however, for its growing numbers. He simply says, "It's the fun, the food, and the course that keeps the tournament participants coming back each year."
One of the longest returning players is a former HSU golf team member. "Bobby Sharp has been coming even long before I started organizing the tournament," says Sherman. "Tommy Hale is another one, but of course Joe Black himself tries to come every year. Last year, he wasn't able to come because of his participation in the PGA Championship."
That is why the Joe Black Golf Classic was moved to September, so it would not conflict with PGA events in which Black might be involved. "This is the first year it hasn't been in August, and I think we are going to really like this," says Sherman. "The weather is better, our players have started school so they are all here, and this month does not conflict with other golf events in Abilene during the summer."
This year, the tournament has grown to 90 players. Sherman says he's pretty happy with those numbers. "That's more than we had last year, so I'm pretty pleased, especially in this economy."
The money raised from the tournament goes to help the HSU golf team cover expenses. Many of the participants are former players themselves. Faculty and staff also participate, as well as friends of HSU, and some personal friends of Sherman's.
Sherman says it is a great year when Joe Black can get away from his duties with the PGA, "People enjoy seeing him, and I am particularly pleased that he and the other players can meet all of our students on the golf teams."
Black is a professional golfer and former president of the Professional Golf Association. He has also been the PGA tournament director, and the longest-running rules official with the Master's Tournament.
Black led the Hardin-Simmons golf team to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics title in 1953, and joined the PGA tour in 1955. He is also a 1982 Texas Golf Hall of Fame inductee, he is credited with placing the PGA in the solid financial position it now enjoys. He established the Joe Black Golf Endowment at HSU in 1989, and organized the Joe Black Golf Classic to raise funds for the University golf program. You may see his plaque on the wall in the HSU Athletic Hall of Fame in Mabee Complex.
Also a recent inductee into the HSU Hall of Leaders, Joe Black is not only a legend in the golfing community, but a selfless mentor and leader.
The Joe Black Classic is open to the public. It is a four-person scramble September 11th at the Abilene Country Club Fairway Course. This is the 20th year for the fundraiser. That means Sherman becomes the event's longest-running organizer.