Greystone coming together for Bruno’s

While most of the golf world is keeping up with the Masters at Augusta National this week, folks at Greystone Golf Club are busy preparing for Shelby County’s biggest sports event of the year.

In less than three weeks, the senior golfers will be at Greystone as the Bruno’s Memorial Classic begins its second decade as one of the favorite stops for the 50-and-above crowd.

In case you’ve forgotten, the winner at Greystone a year ago was Hale Irwin, who turned in three remarkable rounds of 65 to finish 21 under par for a $210,000 paycheck.

Also, to jog your memory, Dr. Gil Morgan, who left his optometry practice years ago to spend his time hitting that small white ball, was in the running until the final hole did him in, and not for the first time.

Irwin was the 10th different winner of the Bruno’s. George Archer won the first one, followed by Bob Murphy, Jim Dent, Graham Marsh, John Bland, Jay Sigel, Alabama’s own Hubert Green and Larry Nelson, John Jacobs and then Irwin.

That’s a strong array of some of the world’s top golfers on both the regular PGA tour and the senior tour.

It will be interesting to find out on May 5 whether Bruno’s produces still another winner.

Whoever wins, you can be sure that he and the other pros will be followed by huge crowds, with the Bruno’s annually drawing one of the largest galleries on the senior tour.

All those ticket buyers, plus the corporate sponsorships, have resulted in extremely generous gifts to various charities over the past decade.

One of the week’s favorite activities is the clinic put on by the charismatic Chi Chi Rodriguez, the man with the quick quip and the hilarious histrionics.

Bruno’s attractiveness for the golfers and the spectators doesn’t just happen, of course.

Virtually every family living at Greystone welcomes the tournament and helps in the hospitality toward guests.

Club members surrender days of playing at Greystone before the tournament so the course can be prepared the week of the tournament.

The corporate sponsors’ tents add to the drawing power.

The groundskeepers put in extra duty to put the course in condition as required for the pro tournament.

Tournament officials go out of their way to provide the best accommodations and perquisites not only for the golfers but also for their wives.

In fact, the wives each year maintain that they are treated better here than at any other stop on the tour.

Obviously, the contributions of hundreds of volunteers help make things go smoothly &045; the shuttle drivers, the parking lot attendants, media center workers and countless others.

Somehow it all comes together, which reflects excellent leadership and organization by tournament and Greystone officials.

So, while you’re watching the Masters this weekend, give a thought to the folks at Greystone who are getting ready for their big week