Vicksburg Country Club hires new pro

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Vicksburg Country Club assistant general manager Chris Rutherford has no problem with being beaten on the links by his students like Chris Ingram, Nick Mekus and son Parker Rutherford.

It means he’s doing his job.

In addition to teaching lessons, running the pro shop, conducting clinics and managing tournaments, he’ll also pull double duty running food and beverage operations at the club.

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“I think this is a great situation for me,” Rutherford said. “I’ll still be able to teach golf and run some tournaments and also work with food and beverage down here.”

The Colorado native and long-time Vicksburg resident has excellent teaching credentials, as he was a senior instructor at the Mike McGetrick Golf Academy in Englewood, Colo. His primary focus was growing the game through  junior golf and that’s something he intends to bring to Vicksburg. He coached eight Colorado state golf champions during his five-year tenure in Englewood and over 60 of his former students have gone to college on a golf scholarship.

Both of his children, son Parker and daughter Peyton, have made noise on the state level at Warren Central. Parker is the county’s defending junior champion as a freshman while Peyton finished sixth in the Class 5A state tournament as a seventh-grader.

“I have a strong teaching background, especially with kids,” Rutherford said. “I’ve gotten tons of satisfaction when my students improve. I’ve coached eight state champions and I’ll never forget the joy I got when they succeed or win a big tournament like that and knowing that I was a part of that and helped them. That’s where my my passion is, helping somebody get better with golf.”

Rutherford believes that golf can not only be addictive, but contagious for youngsters. He is looking some small junior tournaments, clinics and possibly a golf camp or two or to bolster junior golf in the area.

“We’re in a good position to start building up,” Rutherford said. “It just multiplies. When other kids start having success, some of their friends want to play, see how they’re taking lessons and practicing and it just grows.”

One of the skills that Rutherford learned at the McGetrick Academy was using video and other technologies to help aspiring golfers analyze their swing and correct any deficiencies.

He intends to use that to help his students in town hone their games.

“With my video equipment, I can videotape somebody, put them side-by-side with Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson,” Rutherford said. “When they can see how different what they are doing is than what they should be, it kind of hits home.”

Contact Steve Wilson at