STAG Finds Visit to Pinehurst Special
They call themselves the Royal Society of Soon-to-be Ancient Golfers, and they’re a fun-loving, fun-golfing, fun-giving group with an enviable bucket-list agenda.
STAG consists of 32 men who are at least 40 years of age and have met a list of requirements that guarantees they’re going to be fun to spend a week with at one of the finest golf destinations in the country.
That’s because STAG, the brainchild of Scott Cotherman, who carries the title “Founder and King,” or “King Scott the First,” exists solely for enjoyment, both by its members and those they encounter as they follow their stated dream of visiting all the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play in the U.S.” as listed by Golf Magazine.
STAG was founded in 2008 and recently made Pinehurst its fifth destination. In keeping with its tradition, the group played four courses on its bucket list, had a great time during the annual dinner at the Carolina Hotel, and made a generous contribution to the game — a $6,720 check to the Carolinas Golf Association’s Junior Golf Program.
During this visit the group played Pine Needles, Tobacco Road, Pinehurst No. 2 and Pinehurst No. 8. Previous destinations have been Whistling Straits, Barton Creek, Bandon Dunes and Reynolds Plantation.
“Pinehurst was very important to us because we were able to play four of the courses on our list,” Cotherman said. “We wanted to make No. 5 on our list really special, and what better place than Pinehurst, the mecca of American golf?”
The group has now played 15 of the Top 100. There’s a bit of a sense of urgency as all the members are hoping to reach their stated goal before aging out.
While STAG is limited to 32 members and has now established a waiting list, there are 11 states represented, including Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, Connecticut and Kentucky.
“I created this organization as my 50th birthday present to myself,” Cotherman said. “We had 11 guys at our first outing at Whistling Straits, but some of them have dropped out. We grew by having members invite others they felt would qualify, and we’re very selective.
“A lot of our members basically run their own corporations, but we represent doctors, lawyers, financial service executives, insurance executives and entrepreneurs.
“But most importantly, we’re all about camaraderie and having fun. The most enjoyable thing is the fellowship and the support of the charitable organizations that help advance the game of golf.”
Jason Cox, the Carolinas Golf Association director of junior golf, including the Tarheel Youth Golf Association, and Stuart Taylor, an avid supporter of junior golf in the Sandhills, were presented the check by Cotherman and Don Hester, STAG’s “Duke of Do Good Deeds.”
“It’s great to be able to do that,” Cotherman said. “That pays for 64 kids in the program.”
Cox was delighted by the donation.
“This is really important,” he said. “If a kid wants to play golf, we’re going to find a place for them and this really helps us do that. We want kids to go out and play and have fun.”
Taylor was just as happy.
“This is my kind of group,” he said. “I don’t know them individually, but they’re my brothers. I’m 64 years old, but when I get around kids, I’m 14 again.”
Don Porter, the “Duke of Linksland” and organizer of golf events on this outing, was able to take home a great memory of the No. 2 Course. He holed his second shot on the 18th hole for an eagle and was presented the flag as a memento.
“It occurred in front of many spectators who were gathered on the veranda overlooking the green,” Cotherman said. “When Don’s ball disappeared into the cup, a roar could be heard all across the golf course. The pro came out for photographs and presented the pin flag to Don for his achievement. They also put an item about it on their blog.”
Jay Putterson also took home a memento, a picture of himself with the famous Pinehurst Putter Boy taken by photographer Thomas Toohey Brown.
“We thought it was only fitting that Putterson and Putter Boy should be photographed together,” Cotherman said.
While STAG members were complimentary of all four courses, they especially praised Pine Needles and No. 2, both of which were designed by famed architect Donald Ross.
“The No. 2 Course certainly lives up to its billing as one of the world’s greatest golf courses,” Cotherman said. “Each hole is challenging, and the landing areas on the greens are sculpted so as to require precise approach shots for fear of the ball rolling away and down into a swale.
“It was one of the longest rounds of our lives, but what better way to spend the time than with great friends?
“For Don Potter — as a result of his shot heard ’round Pinehurst on Friday, Oct. 19 — he would likely say that Pinehurst No. 2 is his favorite golf course in the world!”
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