CLINE: Former South football star now making his mark in golf biz

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

But the guy was a good sport, offering encouragement and advice while keeping me from doing the heavy lifting of the bag. To be clear, I don't usually run in circles where your bags are toted (in golf or otherwise), but sometimes you get invited places and get to experience how the other half lives. And generally, it is very well.

The outing left me with a deep appreciation for the caddie's job and the idea that maybe they should be introduced into the corporate world. Since the caddie's main job is helping you make decisions, it might be nice to have one to consult with before uttering something you might regret during a conference call. Much like the caddie might suggest an 8-iron rather than a 9, the office caddie could also suggest something else -- like a different tone.

In addition to daily guidance, the office caddie would carry your briefcase and maybe even your tray at the cafeteria. Who knows, it might catch on.

What my caddie provided on top of pep talks, was an introduction to an old friend. You never know who you might run into on a fancy course where people tote your bag, but in this case it was a former South Gwinnett football star. No, not David Greene. But Adam Wilhite -- the guy Greene threw a bunch of touchdown passes to.

I knew Wilhite was in the golf biz -- he was formerly interim superintendent at the Trophy Club of Gwinnett -- but I didn't realize he was at East Lake Golf Club, the home club of the legendary Bobby Jones and one of the area's golf meccas. He's been there three years, working his way up to assistant superintendent. His job working for superintendent Ralph Kepple is helping to oversee the conditions of the course. He manages 20 people and they do everything from keeping the fairways and greens immaculate to making sure the bunkers are perfect.

"We make sure the course is tournament ready as it can be every day," said Wilhite, whose course will host the annual PGA Tour Championship Sept. 22-25. "For some folks it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play here. And Ralph and I want it to be a memorable one no matter what the score."

Wilhite, a 2000 South grad, now lives in Loganville with his wife, Hannah, and their 8-month-old daughter. He said he keeps in touch with Greene, but not as much as he'd like. "It's about time for us to get together and throw the ball around a little bit," Wilhite said of the potent combo that made the Comets' offense go under T. McFerrin.

It's neat seeing a kid you used to cover in high school succeed in his chosen profession like Wilhite has. He seems to be bringing the same passion to East Lake that he did to South, the same passion that makes him fun to talk with and, I assume, work for.

That same passion that sometimes makes him want to be back on the field on Friday night.

"When the weather is like it was this morning, it really gets the juices flowing," Wilhite said. "It makes you wish the band was playing and those big drums booming. It makes you want to be back out there again.

"Those were the days."

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.