Bratton Brothers Invitational

                                          

 

 

         “a Buddies Trip Tradition Since 1970”

                                                                                           # 8 / Cypress

                                                                                     Peninsula  Golf Club

 

past_champions_clip_image001.gifBRATTON BROTHERS INVITATIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT

 

In 1970, seven Birmingham golfing buddies traveled to Gulf Shores, AL for a weekend of golf. All seven of us stayed in a two bedroom / one bath vacation home near the Intracoastal Waterway owned by the Bratton brothers (Bobby, Charles, Joe and Richard) parents. The original “cast members” were Bob Bratton, Joe Bratton, Roy Dillon, Jim Lynch (deceased), Butch Mitchell, Greg Waldrop and Waymond Whitten. Bobby Bratton recalls playing the Gulf Shores Country Club (only course in the area) for $5.00 a day plus cart. We drove down on Friday after work. We played 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. Now the tournament is a 3 day event (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) with an optional practice round on Wednesday..

In 1973, a few of the 1970 , 1971 and 1972 participants invited a buddy to join us. After 1973, several of those participants invited a buddy and so and so on. This is how our group continued to grow. As the group got larger, additional houses were rented on what is now West Beach. In the 1970’s, there were no “high-rise” condominiums like you see today. There were very few restaurants in Gulf Shores and no “fast food” restaurants at all. When we did not eat in or cook out, we dined at the Friendship House (now the Diner) in Gulf Shores and Meme’s Restaurant (damaged by hurricane Frederic in September of 1979 and never reopened) in Bon Secour. 

In 1974, our current chairman / benevolent dictator, Hugh Johnson, became part of our group. In 1976, Hugh was elected permanent chairman and the rest is history. He has done a fantastic job for the BBI for many, many years. In 1977, we took the BBI out of the state of Alabama for the first time and headed east to the panhandle of Florida landing on the Sandestin property. The Links course was the only course they had at that time. Over our 47 years, we have played tournament rounds on several courses in the Gulf Shores, AL area and  many courses in the Florida panhandle which includes Destin, Freeport, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, Pace, Panama City, Pensacola and San Destin, Fl. We have played 20 plus different golf courses in Alabama and Florida since we started.

By the early 1990’s, our group had grown to well over 100 participants. In 1999, Hugh Johnson decided to solicit the expertise of Teresa-Wirth Helms of Destination Golf (www.destinygolf.com) to secure lodging and golf courses for our tournaments. The 45th BBI in 2014 was her 15th anniversary working with the BBI. She has done a terrific job. 

There have been 581 golfers from 14 different states and Canada that have attended at least one of our 48 annual tournaments since 1970. In 1999, we had the largest number of participants ever. There were 156 golfers. We had to play our tournament (30th BBI) on two different golf courses each day. There have been father/son, brother/brother, grandfather/grandson and father-in-law/son-in-law combinations to play in many BBI tournaments.

During our 48 annual tournaments, we have had 6 “Hole-In-Ones”. Those making “Hole-In-Ones” are Norman Glass, Timothy Honeycutt (2009),  Keith Howell (2015), Charles Martin (1980), William “Sleepy” Phillips (1999) and Greg Waldrop (1972). If I’ve left anyone off the above list, please let me know.

We had a “very special” winner of our 45th Annual BBI in 2014. Mr. Dick Majors (known to many as Major Dick) won our tournament. What makes it so “very special” is that Dick is 86 years young. Dick has been playing in the BBI since 1990. Congrats to you, our friend.                       

In 2009, the 40th Annual BBI was “Ambushed” by Golf Digest. Matt Ginella, Senior Editor of Travel (now with the Morning Drive on the Golf Channel) presented us with “free beverage tickets” and filmed many of our participants as the tournament was being played on the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club. The BBI was featured in an article with a group picture in the June 2009 (Vol. 60, No. 6) issue of the Golf Digest magazine.

A sad note concerning the BBI is that 48 of our “BBI Brothers” have passed away over our 48 years. (Please see our Memoriam page) They are truly missed.