Five legendary Chattanooga-area golfers get together

Five legendary Chattanooga-area golfers get together

May 30th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sportlocal

Legendary Chattanooga golfers Pier Morgan, left, listens as Hugh Goodman gestures in a pre-game meeting with Ed Brantly and Mike Malarkey on the first tee at Valleybrook Golf.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

Valleybrook Golf and Country Club owner David Drake insisted that Chattanooga-area golf legends Ed Brantly, Charlie Taylor, Pier Morgan, Hugh (Banjie) Goodman and Mike Malarkey play as a fivesome last week.

At one time, those five golfers were among the best amateurs in the South, the state and certainly the city.

"They're legends," said Drake, who grew up at Valleybrook. "Man, they could play. And oh my gosh, they could putt."

Brantly is in the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. Taylor played for the University of Tennessee, and Malarkey was the Volunteers' longtime coach.

Morgan was the first golfer inducted into the UTC Hall of Fame.

Goodman finished third in an NCAA tournament won by Jack Nicklaus.

Taylor beat Lew Oehmig in a playoff to win the Chattanooga Metro tournament after his freshman year at Tennessee.

And Malarkey was the second-youngest player to win the Southern Amateur, behind only Bobby Jones.

"It's my pleasure to get these guys together, and they all grew up at Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club," Malarkey said. "We've seen each other over the years.

"But we haven't played golf together in 30, 40 years -- maybe 50 years. These guys are all champions. They won significant golf tournaments."

Ed Brantly

Notable accomplishments: Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame member since 2002; won 1957 Southern Am; won Tennessee Amateur three times; won Signal Mountain Invitational six times; won Red Bud Invitational eight times.

He said: "One thing that I'm proud of is that I qualified for the U.S. Open in 1961, and I made the cut. I think I'm the only person from Chattanooga that's ever made the cut in the U.S. Open."

Charlie Taylor

Notable accomplishments: He played three years for the Vols before freshmen were eligible to compete; won the Chattanooga Metro championship in a playoff against Lew Oehmig; won the Red Bud twice.

He said: "Chattanooga has always been a great golf town, and it still is. I was just another good golfer. I never won an individual state title, which kind of put me in the middle of the run. I am part of an elite group that did win a state four-ball with Eddie Brantly."

Pier Morgan

Notable accomplishments: He was the first golfer inducted into the UTC Sports Hall of Fame in 1992; won Chicago City Amateur in 1956; won Nashville Metro Open in 1964 and '65.

He said: "Those current Mocs are just following in my footsteps! Chattanooga golf has always been big. We had Banjie, myself and Ed plus Lew Oehmig and Ira Templeton. Chattanooga had guys who could play with anybody in the United States."

Hugh (Banjie) Goodman

Notable accomplishments: Won the 1963 Signal Mountain Invitational; played for the University of North Carolina; finished third to Jack Nicklaus in 1961.

He said: "Amateur golf was really strong back then, and there were galleries. Amateur golf now in the state is to the point where Tennessee golfers could play in 100 events if you're a junior."

Mike Malarkey

Notable accomplishments: He won the Southern Amateur at 17 years old, which is the second youngest besides Bobby Jones; coached at UT for 21 years; two-time SEC coach of the year.

He said: "The current crop of us old-timers would be those guys and girls who are 13 to 15 years of age who are breaking 40 for the first time and breaking 80. I don't know the names of those kids, but they're out there."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP