Tag Archives: golf

Corker Golfs With Obama; Partner Chambliss Sinks Hole-in-One

From the News Sentinel:
Just weeks after breaking bread with President Barack Obama during a rare dinner at a fancy restaurant near the White House, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker scored another rare invitation on Monday: A chance to golf with the commander-in-chief.
The Chattanooga Republican was one of three senators invited to play golf with Obama — an invitation usually extended only to the president’s closest advisers and friends.
The golfing party, which also included U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., arrived at the first green at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland around 1:20 p.m. under overcast skies. Obama, wearing a blue jacket and baseball cap, chipped his a shot beyond the hole and later appeared to miss a putt.
Corker, also casually dressed in a gray sweater and khakis, tossed Obama a ball from about 15 feet. Later, the two stood together and chatted as Chambliss and Udall putted.
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the golf outing was in keeping with Obama’s recent efforts to reach out to lawmakers of both parties, but Republican senators in particular, to see if they can find common ground on challenging issues, such as deficit reduction.
“He’s willing to try anything,” Carney said, when asked if Obama believes golf is conducive to discussions on policy.
Corker, who joined a handful of other Republican senators for dinner with Obama back in March, indicated he saw no harm in a little golf-game bonding.
“With the major fiscal issues our country is facing, not to mention foreign relations issues around the world, anytime you can get the president’s ear for a few hours, I think that’s a good thing,” the senator said in a statement released by his office.
Corker was rated one of the best golfers in Congress by Golf Digest as part of its 2011 list of Washington’s Top 150 Golfers. Corker came in 12th on the list, right behind Udall. At the time, both golfers had a handicap of around 2.
During Monday’s outing, Obama, who has the highest handicap of the foursome, paired up with Udall, who has the lowest. Chambliss and Corker, aided by Chambliss’ hole-in-one on the 11th, won the match.

From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON — So much for overshadowing your rivals, Mr. President.
Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss didn’t seem fazed by a rare congressional invitation to golf with President Barack Obama Monday, sinking a hole-in-one on the par-three 11th hole. The ace shot helped lead Chambliss and GOP teammate Sen. Bob Corker or Tennessee to victory over the Democratic duo of Obama and Colorado Sen. Mark Udall on an outing meant to strengthen ties between the president and Congress.
Chambliss told reporters upon his triumphant return to Capitol Hill that “everyone went crazy” when he made the shot and there were high-fives all around. The president retrieved the Chambliss’ ball from the hole, while Corker took a picture.
“I told him since I made the hole-in-one, he ought to give us everything we want on entitlement reform,” Chambliss said with a smile. That’s Washington speak for legislation to change benefits like Social Security and Medicare.
Obama took the senators to a favorite course at Maryland’s Andrews Air Force Base, where he frequently plays on weekends with aides and friends. He once took along House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and has also included Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., but this was his first outing with any lawmaker in his second term.
The afternoon game added a recreational twist to Obama’s months-long effort to strengthen ties with lawmakers, hoping some quality face time now can lay the groundwork for compromise on pressing issues down the road.
The foursome played under overcast skies that seemed to threaten rain that never came. Their game was cut short on the 15th hole so the senators could get back for a vote to allow states to tax Internet sales. The casually-dressed lawmakers had to rush in and shout their votes from the Senate’s cloakroom since they did not have time to put on ties that are required in the chamber.
Corker said they agreed not to say much about what happened on the course, other than Chambliss’ ace shot. “We talked a little business but mostly enjoyed just being out there,” Corker said.

Golf Course Lose ‘Greenbelt’ Tax Break

Two Knox County golf courses have lost their property tax breaks, reports the News-Sentinel.
Cherokee Country Club owes $324,385 in back taxes, according to the Knox County Property Assessor’s Office, a fee applied after it recently lost a tax benefit reserved for Tennessee’s open spaces.Holston Hills Country Club will owe $53,301.
The clubs have enjoyed tax subsidies since 1983 through classification as open spaces by the property assessor, under the state’s Greenbelt Law for agriculture, open space and forestry.
After a News Sentinel inquiry to the Tennessee comptroller of the Treasury on whether the golf courses should be considered open space, general counsel Robert T. Lee wrote in an opinion Sept. 26 that “golf courses cannot qualify for open space.”
In 2011, Cherokee received a $28,921 tax break and Holston Hills took a $3,496 tax break from Knox County. The intent of the Greenbelt Law when it was implemented was to protect farmers from being taxed off their land and encourage more open space and forested areas.
Knox County Property Assessor Phil Ballard said his office will comply with Lee’s opinion, and added that a five-year rollback would be applied right away. He said that attorneys representing both courses have contacted his office.
They could have waited to the reappraisal in 2013 to pull the golf course properties out of greenbelt but, “we went ahead and done it,” Ballard said.
Mark Moon, chief operating officer at Cherokee, said the board of directors would meet this week and he expects to discuss losing greenbelt status and the rollback.
“This kind of came out of left field for us,” Moon said.

Rep. Todd Goes Golfing, Tells Governor He’s Sorry for ‘Bad Mistake’

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday that Rep. Curry Todd has acknowledged and apologized for a “bad mistake” in being arrested on drunken driving and gun charges last week.
Haslam told reporters after a speech in Franklin that he had spoken with Todd at a charity golf tournament hosted by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell and Democratic Rep. Gary Odom earlier in the day.
“I just asked him how he was doing … He said, ‘I realize I made a bad mistake and I’m sorry,'” Haslam said.
Todd, a Collierville Republican, was arrested in Nashville the night of Oct. 11 after failing a roadside sobriety test and refusing to take a breath test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found in a holster stuffed between the driver’s seat and center console.
“It was a big mistake from Rep. Todd that could have had dangerous consequences, and I think he’s aware of that as well,” Haslam said.
“Drinking and driving is wrong under any circumstances,” he said. “Now obviously having a weapon in the car makes it worse.”
Todd, a retired Memphis police officer who holds a state handgun carry permit, was charged with possession of a gun while under the influence and drunken driving. He posted bail of $3,000 and was released from jail Wednesday morning.
Todd also led an effort to enact a new state law that allows handgun carry permit holders to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, if they don’t drink.
Haslam declined to weigh in on whether Todd should remain chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee following his arrest.
“I don’t think that’s my proper role to decide that. That’s why we have that branch of government,” Haslam said. “I’ll let the speaker and others in House leadership make that call.”
Haslam’s approach mirrors statements made by Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, who said last week that Todd should be “punished to the fullest extent of the law,” but that it was up to the House to decide his leadership status.
Harwell was travelling out of state last week and said she wanted to meet with Todd before making a decision about whether he will keep his chairmanship.

Town Takes Advantage of Golf Cart Enabling Legislation

EAGLEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When state lawmakers passed an ordinance creating a pilot program for eight communities to write golf-cart-friendly ordinances, the response was less than enthusiastic.
Waverly City Manager Buddy Frazier called it “one of the sillier things the legislature’s ever done.”
In Soddy-Daisy — the only community to register any carts, with three — the person who recorded registrations wrote, “I couldn’t find anyone at the Department of Safety to send this information to.”
And then came Eagleville.
The farm town of about 600 located an hour south of Nashville was added to the pilot program in the spring and officials there have embraced the idea, according to The Tennessean..
They already have held the Highway 99 Golf Cart Rally, and they are trying to fast-track an ordinance to allow the carts on city streets.
That last initiative has prompted the local police department to issue a warning on its website: “Carts are not yet legal to drive on roadways or sides of roadways.”
Planning Commission Chairman Nick Duke said Eagleville officials want to use golf carts to put the city on the map.
“We’re gonna make a good push at it and do everything the way the state wants us to do it and hopefully attract some people to Eagleville,” Duke said.
(Peachtree City, Ga., for example, claims 9,000 cart-owning residences and touts about 90 miles of cart trails.)

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Golfing on Government Time?

Thursday afternoon, Doug Bataille, Knox County director of parks and recreation, and Dick Moran, Knox County director of information technology, were found golfing at Three Ridges Golf Course by a News Sentinel photographer.
Sometime that same afternoon, a county payroll employee confirmed Moran had his timecard corrected – from sick time to partial vacation time – to account for the time spent on the course.
The full News Sentinel story HERE.