A tradition like no other

Published 2:42 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021

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It’s one of the county’s most storied traditions each year, but last year, Greystone Golf and Country Club sat empty during the month of May due to COVID-19.

On Wednesday, May 5, however, the tradition returned.

Some of the top golfers to ever play the game took to the course alongside famous celebrities, including Charles Barkley, Nick Saban and Bo Jackson among many others.

The grounds were bustling with a large gallery of fans following each of the bigger groups in attendance, but it’s always more than just the famous athletes, coaches and celebrities that make the day memorable for so many.

It starts every year on the first tee when they all walk up and greet the Children’s of Alabama patient ambassadors.

Different patients from the hospital come out every year and are greeted by each amateur golfer, including the celebrities, as well as the professional golfers from the PGA Tour Champions.

This year, Saban gave a golf ball to a girl named Logan. Diagnosed with severe spinal bifida, she sat on the first tee in her wheelchair and was introduced to several of the top celebrities in attendance, but her interaction with Saban was memorable.

When meeting Saban, the 4-year-old offered him a golf ball, which he gladly accepted before then offering her a trade. He pulled out one of his golf balls with the Alabama ‘A’ logo implanted on it and said “Oh, you want to trade, here, I’ve got one for you. It’s got an A on it.”

The girl immediately got excited and said “whoa, an A?”

She was beaming with joy from that moment forward and could hardly look at the cameras trying to take her photo as she looked around to show everyone the ball she had just gotten from arguably the greatest college football coach in history.

That was just one of many memorable moments with the Children’s of Alabama patients. Both Barkley and Jackson had memorable interactions with different kids, while several others in attendance also took their turns at making each one smile.

That kicked off 18 holes of a truly special event that seeds fans and celebrities up close and personal for close to five hours.

The celebrities cracked jokes on each other and their golf games, while interacting with fans through signing autographs, taking pictures and sharing conversations.

It’s as personable as we get to see those who live in the limelight, and while they are still in the spotlight during the pro-am event, they seem to let their guard down and just have fun for a few hours.

It made the day of the patient ambassadors, helped raise money for charities and kept smiles on the faces of all in attendance.

It was good to see the Regions Tradition back in 2021.