Jack’s back|Father of PGA golfer Heath Slocum returns to city as pro at VCC

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 26, 2009

During a career in golf that has spanned 3 1/2 decades, Jack Slocum has seen his share of excitement.

He’s played in majors. Set course records. Taught three future pro golfers and caddied for one of them — his son Heath — when they won a PGA Tour event in Madison.

Bancorp South Scramble

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The annual Bancorp South 2-Man Scramble will be played at Vicksburg Country Club on Saturday and Sunday. The entry fee is $250 per team. For information or to register, call 601-636-8692.

It’s a bit ironic, then, the reason Slocum gives for returning to Vicksburg, a town he last worked in 20 years ago.

“Boredom,” he said.

Slocum, who served as the course pro at Clear Creek Golf Course in Bovina from 1979-88, took over in early April as the director of golf at Vicksburg Country Club. He had last worked as a course pro in Milton, Fla., in the early 1990s, where he mentored not only his son but fellow PGA Tour players Boo Weekley and Bubba Watson as well. After retiring in 1994, Slocum founded the Developmental Golf Tour in Atlanta and played in a number of Senior PGA Tour events, including the 1998 U.S. Senior Open. He also played in the 1984 PGA Championship.

Throughout the years he’d kept in touch with old friends in Vicksburg, and when the job at VCC opened up he decided to return to the city he called home for a decade.

“I’ve always had a love of Vicksburg. The history here is wonderful,” Slocum said. “I have several friends here that kept in contact with me. They came over when I caddied for my son in Madison and they let me know about this.”

Although VCC is a private club, Slocum has plenty of plans to let other people know about the place. The biggest is a tournament this summer that will be open to all city residents, whether they are VCC members or not. The plan, he said, is to give potential new members a taste of the course he said is among the toughest in the country and a clubhouse that recently underwent $300,000 worth of renovations.

“I want to get people to see not only the course and the clubhouse, but to get the juniors and the ladies out here too,” Slocum said.

Slocum also has big plans for the city’s junior golfers. He said he’d like to start a chapter of the First Tee, the PGA’s biggest junior golf program. Currently, there are only two such chapters in the state. In October, he also intends to hold a clinic with his two star pupils — Heath Slocum and Weekley. The two PGA pros will spend an afternoon at VCC in between practice rounds for the Viking Classic in Madison. Jack Slocum also joked that he had challenged them to play a round on his new home course.

“I bet them $1,000 that they can’t break par their first time around here,” he said with a laugh.

A host of other tournaments are scheduled at VCC over the summer, including a challenge match between the club’s members and those from Atmore Country Club in Atmore, Ala. Slocum spent a few months as a teaching pro at Atmore.

The various events he has set up show the advantages of Slocum’s connections in the golf world and his enthusiasm for showing off his new home course.

“I’m just a good promoter,” he said. “Promoting golf is what we have to do, because our future is our juniors. We’ve already picked up 10 new members from the renovations, and we’re hoping to pick up more.”


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com