BOB WEST ON GOLF — Bryan Jackson made his mark in area golf circles
Every golfer in Southeast Texas who celebrates after rolling in a good putt the next few days should pause for a moment of silence in memory of Bryan Jackson.
Jackson, 55, who built a reputation as a greenskeeper with a magical touch, passed away Tuesday morning following a long, courageous battle with cancer. He’d been battling some form of the disease off and on since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.
“Bryan was a good man and a great people person,” said long-time area pro Ed Campbell. “He was an amazing guy who dealt with a lot of pain and adversity for many years. From a professional standpoint, you couldn’t find anybody more conscientious about taking care of a golf course than Bryan was.”
A pretty fail high school football player at Thomas Jefferson in Port Arthur, Jackson got into the golf business as the course superintendent at Port Arthur Country Club in 1995. He would do stints as an area superintendent or club pro for the next 20 years.
Stops included Wildwood Golf Club, Brentwood Country Club, Belle Oaks Golf Club and the Palms at Pleasure Island. Everywhere he worked, the greens drew raves. In his spare time, Bryan became a really good player capable of driving a ball out of sight.
A mountain of a man whose weight once reached 430 pounds, Jackson, by design, had shed more than 200 pounds in recent years. In addition to continually fighting off cancer, he survived two motorcycle accidents and a house fire.
Jackson was the club pro/superintendent at Belle Oaks in Taylor Landing when the breast cancer diagnosis first came down. He would ultimately overcome what was a rare cancer in men, but cancer wasn’t through with him.
Before his death, he would have to deal with cancer in his left hip, sternum, right pelvis area, shoulder blade and C2 and C3 vertebrae.
“It’s been rough,” he said a couple of years ago as he was preparing to return to Wildwood as the course superintendent. “I have undergone a lot of radiation, but I am feeling much better. Things are under control. Cancer can’t beat this old man.”
Unfortunately, health issues prevented him ever making it back to Wildwood.
The golf community’s affection and feelings for Jackson were reflected when word got out that he did not have health insurance after the breast cancer diagnosis in 2009. Two fund-raising tournaments on his behalf filled up while he was the pro at Belle Oaks.
“You could tell by the turnout at those fund raisers how much people cared for Bryan,” said Campbell. “He was just that kind of guy, always a smile on his face. I saw him hitting balls on the range not long ago and went out and talked with him. He was so upbeat. He will be missed.”
Amen to that.
CHIP SHOTS: Andy Meshwert, of Bridge City, continued the recent run of holes in one at Babe Zaharias last Thursday. Meshwert used a pitching wedge from 108 yard to score his ace on the 7th hole. Witnesses were Bubba Morgan, Archie Myers and Erick Tallent.
Chris Stroud missed the cut at last week’s PGA Tour Corales Punta Cana Classic in the Dominican Republic after rounds of 72-73. Stroud had placed second to Graeme McDowell the last time that event was played in 2018. He’ll try to get back on track at this week’s Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi.
Braden Bailey, after finishing T7 on rounds of 71-70-70 in the APT Colbert Classic last week near Manhattan, Kansas, missed by three shots with an even par 72 while trying to Monday qualify his way into the Sanderson Farms. In a round that saw him make five birdies, Bailey was T24 out of 72 players.
Lamar ex MJ Daffue fared better in the Sanderson Monday qualifier, shooting three-under-par 69, then winning a playoff for one of the four spots available. West Orange-Stark ex Michael Arnaud missed that playoff by one shot, after shooting a 70 . . .
West Brook grad Jordan Soper won the 79th Beaumont City Championship last weekend, after posting a seven-under-par 36-hole total of 137 (69-68) at Henry Homberg. Soper won by a whopping 15 shots over William Miller.
Worthy of note was a tie for third by 5 Under Golf Center CEO Austin Williams. Williams, an eight-time city champion, finished T3 at 155. That’s noteworthy because it was Williams’ first time in competition since suffering serious injuries in an auto accident last year.
In the Thursday Senior 2 ball at Zaharias, the team of Ed Holley, James Shipley, Cap Hollier and Dan Flood won the front with plus 1. On the back, the foursome of Jim Cady, Danny Robbins, Bob Luttrull and Everette Baker prevailed with minus 3.
Robbins sparked his team’s win with the rare feat of back-to-back eagles on the 10th and 11th holes. He wound up shooting 74.
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