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Dacula golf club honors local Navy veteran

Woody Hall

Woody Hall

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Woody Hall

DACULA -- Woody Hall of Auburn has been playing golf for the past 14 years while working at the Trophy Club of Apalachee Golf Club in Dacula.

Now that the 94-year-old World War II Navy veteran has decided to "retire" as one of the club's ambassadors, his former employers are hosting an event in his honor: the Woody Hall Charity Golf Tournament, which is being played on Friday. Registration begins at noon.

"The ambassadors are golf rangers ... their group wanted to honor (Hall) with a golf tournament," Woody's son, Alan Hall said. "They wanted to honor his 14 years of service with them and tie it in with his war service on Memorial Day (weekend)."

Before Woody ever had children or golf, he was a semi-professional baseball player in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he got called to serve in the war, he continued to play ball as a pitcher with his Navy comrades.

"They had a lot of down time between flying because you could only fly so much, so they played baseball," Alan Hall said. "He played with a lot of greats, like Joe Gordon, Johnny Mize, Merrill May and Enos Slaughter."

In the Navy, Hall was an aerographer (charting weather) while serving in the Pacific and was part of reconnaissance missions over Iwo Jima and Japan. Before the first atomic bomb dropped over Japan, he briefed the pilots of the Enola Gay who were on the mission.

"He had no idea what was going on," his son said, laughing. "He was just doing his job and knew nothing about the atomic bomb."

Hall was eventually injured -- wounded in the shoulder -- on an air mission which ended his baseball career. When he left the Navy, he received a Purple Heart and went into property management around Atlanta.

He managed South DeKalb Mall, Cumberland Mall and Phipps Plaza until his retirement in the 1990s, and eventually ended up at the Trophy Club.

Today's tournament benefits Disabled Veterans of America, a charity close to Hall's heart.

"(The club) asked dad what charity was his favorite and he wanted it to do with disabled veterans," Alan Hall said. "They aren't charging a lot for the tournament and want to raise at least $5,000."

The tournament is $50 per person, which includes 18 holes of golf with cart, range balls, a $10 Golfsmith gift card and a chance to win prizes. Donations are also accepted. The tourney will tee off at 1 p.m.

For more information, call 770-822-9220 and press 1 for the pro shop.