This past Wednesday was a day of remembrance at Canton Golf Club. It was a day to remember a member of the club who passed away in November of last year. It was a day to remember John T. Holbrook.
If you’re from around here you might know him as J.T., or T. or even T-Brook. At the golf club I would say that T-Brook won out over the other two nicknames.
Mr. Holbrook was a lifelong resident of Cherokee County. Like so many from his generation, he served our country in World War II.
He retired after working many years at Canton Textile Mills. And, if my information is accurate, he was a member of Canton Golf Club since its conception.
There was a time when Canton Textile Mills controlled Canton Golf Club. This goes back to the time of the legendary golfer Bobby Jones and his family that was so prominent in the city of Canton.
But I really want to tell you about Mr. Holbrook’s significance at the golf club. You see, Mr. Holbrook loved the game of golf and he loved the club. The members of the club were family to him and him to them.
When his health declined and he could no longer play the game, this didn’t discourage Mr. Holbrook from spending time at a place he no doubt considered a second home. As long as his health allowed, he would come to the club and sit on the porch and talk with anyone that took the time to sit a spell.
And if the person he was speaking to would listen, they would hear stories from long ago when this truly was a quiet place in the world.
When it came time for a tournament at the club, Mr. Holbrook would patiently wait on the first tee box and serve as the honorary starter for the tournament. This meant he basically handed us our score cards and informed us of the rules for the day.
It had to hurt him to not be able to play, but you would have never known it. For he sported that wide grin for everyone that came through whether he knew you or not.
After everyone had started playing, he also served as a course marshal. This meant he had the responsibility of telling people to speed up their pace of play if they were holding others up.
Now Mr. Holbrook might have been an elderly man during this time, but I assure you that if he told someone to play a little faster, they did. Those that knew him did it out of respect. Those that didn’t know him did it because they weren’t quite sure what the consequences might be if they crossed him.
He was a gentle and loving man, but he loved golf and everything it stood for. And there is no place for disrespect on the golf course.
Dennis Stowers is currently the president of Canton Golf Club. He called me last week and told me they were unveiling a marble memorial to Mr. Holbrook on the first tee of the golf club. It was a tribute well deserved.
So on Wednesday of this week, several people gathered on the first tee at the golf club for the unveiling. Mr. Holbrook’s only child, Jenny Loggins, was there with her family. After a few words were said by Mr. Stowers, the memorial was unveiled. Jenny cried.
A couple of years ago, Mr. Holbrook hand-wrote the history of Canton Golf Club as he remembered it. I still have a copy of his writing. It was historic in nature.
Yet it was the history of the club as seen through the eyes of a young boy up to the time he was an elderly man. The ones lucky enough to have a copy of his writing will forever cherish his memories and his love for the club and its members.
A couple of years ago Mr. Holbrook asked me if I had any job openings because his granddaughter, Jenna Stoner, was looking for a job. I asked him if she would be a good employee. He said, “If she wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have mentioned it.”
She got the job and made him proud.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of