The word that comes to mind when describing Southern Hills is grand. The entrance drive, the clubhouse, the course, and the history are all superb.
We experienced this grandeur first hand in June when we sat down with Director of Golf, Cary Cozby, to learn a little more about the clubs’ inner workings, its history, and its preparation for the 2022 PGA Championship.
Living up to its name, the property has just the right amount of elevation. These hills are more than gently rolling, but manageable if you feel inclined to walk 18. The sprawling carnation-hued stucco clubhouse sits on the highest point of the property, providing expansive views of the entire 326 acres.
One of the most memorable shots of the day is on the first hole. The tee box is just steps from the golf shop, and the aiming point is downtown Tulsa to a downhill slight dogleg left par four. It’s a thorough opener and a microcosm of what’s to come.
During our visit, Cary gave us an in-depth look into the ambitious Gil Hanse renovation and restoration of Southern Hills. Hanse completed the project in 2019 and revitalized several original Perry Maxwell features including updated bunkering and green complexes. The course weaves in and out of mature oak trees that are meticulously placed throughout the routing. The renovation included a substantial tree removal project that really opened up the course, giving the player better views of the adjoining holes.
Inside the clubhouse, Southern Hills’ championship pedigree is on full display in History Hall. Vintage relics and trophies from eight major championships (four PGA Championships, one Senior PGA Championship, and three U.S. Open Championships) line the walls. One could spend hours traversing the hall to take it all in.
It was easy to see what sets this special place apart during the brief time we spent on site. From the daily operations to the long-term vision, Cary is running a top-tier club with top-notch service. We’re honored to be partners and excited about the future of this one-of-a-kind property in the Sooner State.
You may recognize John Webster if you've been lucky enough to stay or play at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. John is the Director of Instruction at the famed resort and also founded The John Webster Golf Academy. We are fortunate to be able to partner with him as an H&B Brand Ambassador.
John is a master of the game and he is as nice as he is stylish, so he is a natural fit to represent Holderness & Bourne.
We wanted to catch up with him to learn a little more about his background, his work as a teaching professional, and his thoughts on all things golf. We hope you'll enjoy the second installment of In Good Company.
1. H&B: What is your hometown, and did you have a favorite course growing up?
JW: I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. I grew up playing The Audubon Par 3, where I would chase after my father’s shag bag of balls. I had my first birdie on that Par 3, but I was fortunate to later play a Donald Ross that hosted the 1934 PGA Championship...Park CC. That is where I grew to appreciate golf but its reciprocal course, Oak Hill in Rochester, is the course that truly inspired me to achieve more in the game.
2. H&B: How, when, and why did you get involved in the game?
JW: My father, Gerald Webster, captained his University of Notre Dame golf team and had always been a good amateur player. He loved introducing me to the game at a very young age, and it certainly was a key ingredient in the development of our relationship.
JW: Like many, my first job in the golf world was caddying at a very young age. I would ride my bike to both The Country Club of Buffalo and Transit Valley to earn a dollar.
My first job later in life was an assistant’s position at Loblolly Pines in Hobe Sound, FL. Buddy Antonopoulos was at The Medalist and sent me over to Rick Whitfield to start right at the bottom washing carts, cleaning clubs, picking the range, etc.
I spent my college days at Loyola University in Baltimore, and I was lucky to meet a number of Baltimore folks at Loblolly. Henry Lebrun was kind enough to introduce me to Dennis Satyshur, who was now the Director at a relatively new club called Caves Valley. I was immediately immersed in the North-to-South seasonal golf chase as a professional in the club business. While in my first season at Caves, I met Jim McLean who asked me to come work for him at Doral. This was the beginning of nearly a decade working for both Jim and Dennis.
I was fortunate to ultimately work my way into Director of Instruction at both locations. When the position of Director of Instruction opened at The Breakers Palm Beach, I knew that it was the perfect convergence of the high-end private and resort worlds and would allow me the opportunity to create my own business - The John Webster Golf Academy. The owners and Senior Management at The Breakers are more family than colleagues. Due to incredible timing, I’m lucky to have been there for 16 years.
4. H&B: What have you learned most working in the golf space?
JW: The life lessons you learn being around the game of golf are endless. There are too many to name, as the game and life truly are one in the same. More than anything, golf is a people and relationship business that requires more selflessness than selfishness to really be successful. The relationships you develop and what you get back from them is really the greatest reward.
5. H&B: Favorite time of day to play? Favorite time of day to teach?
JW: Playing with shadows is always the best… any time is a good time to teach.
6. H&B: What was your all-time favorite day of golf? Describe the day.
JW: Sinking a 60-foot putt to win the father-son championship in a playoff at age 10. Everyone behind the 18th green at Park CC booed my father for somehow snapping a wedge low left to a back right pin and he felt terrible. Making that putt was my first real golf victory and possibly one of the greatest for my Dad.
7. H&B: Any advice for amateur players? Where should they focus their practice time?
JW: There are three types of players: those who appreciate a well-struck ball; those who don’t care how it flies as long as it gets in the hole in the least number of shots; and those who are a combination thereof. Figure out which one of those you are and focus on it...the game will be much more enjoyable that way.
8. H&B: Sweater or quarter-zip and why?
JW: I could go either way and do like both so long as they are lightweight. There is not much cold weather down my way, so my layers can’t be cumbersome. If forced to choose, I’d go with a sweater as I tend to favor simplicity. This is probably due to the fact that my day job revolves around streamlining and simplifying the game.
9. H&B: Favorite H&B piece and why?
JW: The Navy Chapman is my wear anywhere, anytime shirt.
10. H&B: Post-Round Drink?
JW: A Transfusion with or without the giddyup juice, depending on the time and place.
11. H&B: Describe your personal style
JW: Tough question as I don’t really try to have one… I know I like clean and simple with something small that makes it stand out. Kind of like chrome on a classic car. A little shine on quality that can be appreciated for a long time.
In Good Company is a set of conversations and experiences that we will be having over the course of 2021. The subjects will be a few of our friends who are out there doing interesting things. We’ll go behind the scenes to introduce you to them and learn more about their vision and endeavors.View full article →
We first met Matt back in 2015 at Seaview, a great Hugh Wilson/Donald Ross collaboration, on the Jersey Shore. Matt was flying his drone on the range, and a handful of inquisitive onlookers gathered around him as he navigated it above the property.
At the time, drones were fairly new and rarely seen at a golf course. Matt was a pioneer of golf drone photography, and he has a knack for perfectly capturing the magic of the courses he visits. We wanted to catch up with him to learn a little more about his background, his work, and his future plans. We hope you'll enjoy the first installment of In Good Company.
1. H&B: What is your hometown and what was your favorite course growing up?
MH: Wyomissing, PA - grew up playing Manor Golf Course and Galen Hall (the Tillinghast design that gets some hidden gem love on Insta).
2. H&B: How and why did you get involved in the game?
MH: My grandfather is the one that introduced me to the game while I was young. Really started taking it more seriously when I burnt out of legion baseball in HS and caught the bug bad playing a local par 3 course with some teammates. Ended up dropping ~20 shots off my average score between my junior and senior years of high school and the rest is history from there.
3. H&B: When did you start taking photography seriously and what has been the toughest part to learn?
MH: I'd say I started taking it more seriously after I got a chance to play in the Ringer in 2019 - I played in the event with Dave Plaster (the CMO @ Dormie Network) and he encouraged me to consider shooting more professionally based on my work he saw, and it's kind of snowballed since. Personally, I think the toughest part is building out your own unique style that feels somewhat consistent across your work - I ultimately want people to be able to look at an image I shot and be able to guess it's my work.
4. H&B: Any drone flying secrets you can share?
MH: Chase the good light - so cliche, but do whatever it takes to catch golden hour. I find that good light makes even more of a difference with drone content.
5. H&B: Favorite time of day to shoot? All-time favorite property you've shot?
MH: Golden hour - doesn't matter whether it's AM or PM as long as the light is good. All-time favorite property to shoot is Bandon - Bandon Dunes is my personal favorite of the bunch.
6. H&B: What was your all-time favorite day of golf? Describe the day.
MH: This is a really tough one - I think I have to go with when I got to take my grandfather to Briggs Ranch to play a few rounds of golf with Lanto Griffin while he was #1 in the FedEx cup. Lanto couldn't have been a better dude and gave us all sorts of tips and an inside look into life on Tour. Getting to experience this with the guy who got me started in a game that's given me so much was priceless. Second pick would be getting to play the Champions Tour Pro-Am at Hualalai in Hawaii.
7. H&B: Favorite golf shot shape and why?
MH: Draw - strikes feel so much more solid to me and have played my best golf when I have that shot shape going. Had it going last year and helped me qualify for the Texas Mid-Am.
8. H&B: Sweater or quarter-zip and why?
MH: Primarily a quarter-zip guy, but recently got Ward and Betts sweaters for Christmas and they've become staples in my golf wardrobe. The Betts is so perfect for those in-between days where you'd normally be on and off with layers
9. H&B: Post-round drink?
MH: Recently have become more of a bourbon guy, but don't really discriminate when it comes to post-round drinks. Big transfusion guy for on course too…
10. H&B: Describe your personal style.
MH: I'd say I'm a mix of performance and style - usually lean more towards the stuff that's going to perform well in the elements (think extreme heat in Texas) while still allowing you to look good in the process. I like to keep pants and shorts to the basic solids and usually add my "style" via polo prints or colors. Frequently can be found in a bucket hat for style and sun protection in the summer