If you're a golf fan, you know about Brandt Snedeker - last year's PGA Tour Rookie of the Year who looks like anything but a fluke with three Top 10s in nine events played in 2008. Brandt Snedeker's a good story. His older brother Haymes Snedeker just happens to be a better one.
Haymes Snedeker became the youngest judge in Alabama at age 28 when he was appointed by the Fairhope City Council and Mayor. Four years later, he's still the youngest judge in Alabama. He's also a criminal defense attorney and budding real estate developer. All after coming to grips with the end of his own promising golf career, a career he once put on hold to help take care of his sick parents.
Talk about a John Grisham novel waiting to come to life.
Listen to people on the Alabama Gulf Coast (an extremely underrated golf destination with beautiful beaches, spring breaking babes in bikinis and high class, reasonably priced courses) who know golf and they'll tell you that Haymes Snedeker was a better player than his younger brother growing up too. The cart kid at Peninsula Golf Club was almost visibly wowed by having Haymes Snedeker at the course.
"How did you get hooked up with Haymes?" he asked me in wonder after the round.
Yes, you're cool if you just play golf with Haymes Snedeker in these parts.
The thing is, he couldn't be a better guy to play with either. He drove a green, cut majestic bombs over towering trees on doglegs, hit a few shots you only see PGA Tour players hit. I hit my usual clunkers into the marsh and low-flying sideways stingers into the woods. And Haymes still had a blast with it.
Brandt Snedeker seems like a good guy from the few times I've interviewed him covering PGA Tour events. But there's no way he's playing with the worst golfing golf writer in the world for four hours and keeping a genuinely happy face.
I tried my best to goad Haymes into a good rip quote for a BadGolfer.com column, but he wouldn't take the bait. At one point, I turned to him and said, "You probably could have beat me when you were 4-years-old," but he only laughed and said, "No way. I didn't even start playing until I was 11. You're not close to the worst I've played with either."
He was probably talking about other 11 year olds, but the guy's too classy to ever say it. You've never seen seem somebody more happy with life.
"I wake up next to my wife every morning, look over and think I stole something," said Haymes, who met his wife while he was a star SEC golfer at Ole Miss - which happens to produce more Miss Americas than any other university in the country.
If you're the Snedekers' parents - ordinary hard-working folks who largely raised their two boys in Nashville - who are you more proud of? The PGA star in waiting or the youngest judge in Alabama?
I know which Snedeker will always be welcome at any Baldwin family function. And he and Nick Faldo are the only high-level golfers who have that distinction. Not that they care at all about that, but it just shows sometimes golf really does reveal character.
You will not find more interesting good characters in any golf region than the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coasts either. When the first regular golfer told me, he came back because of the people, I frankly chalked it up to him being something of a loon. When the third, fourth and fifth golfer over several days told me the same thing and I experienced more of it myself, it became apparent it's a real factor.
For more on the Gulf Coast's great characters, including the Gumbo king who just wouldn't leave when Hurricane Katrina's waters kept rising and the guy who keeps the oldest course in Mississippi alive, stay tuned for the next On The Spot column on TravelGolf.com.
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