When I came back to Macon in 1993, it was like coming home. I had been at Riverside Country Club for six years starting in the mid-1970s before going to Sea Island for an 11-year stint. As a teacher, one of my first goals was to watch and hopefully learn why and what made Arnold Blum tick. I had watched him play in a Peach Blossom with another great player, Wendell Barnes, right before leaving, but I wanted to see why he was considered one of the best amateurs in the world for a very long time.
There is not enough room in this article to describe what I have learned during the past 22 years. Many words describe Blum -- humble, gracious, tenacious, gentleman, class. I read many publications that described him as the best amateur in the world that worked. In his prime, top amateurs barnstormed the country, playing money matches against anyone who could afford it. Blum stayed in Macon building mattresses and leaving work at 5:30 p.m. to practice a few hours so he could go out and compete successfully on a national scale.
He built an amateur record statewide, countrywide and worldwide. There are so many accomplishments that he cant even remember them all, and he wouldnt tell you anyway. I have had the pleasure and honor to see some articles and trophies, but there are too many in storage to list. One of my favorites is a newspaper article with a picture of him sinking a putt to defeat future U.S. Open Champion Ken Venturi in the U.S. Amateur.
I tried very hard on a regular basis to get information out of Blum because he lived golf at the top level during one of its greatest periods. He played in five Masters, but the only thing I could ever get out of him was he didnt do very well. I was in Florida having lunch with Edwin Watts, and he had just purchased a collection of Masters pictures that he was putting into categories. I asked him to pull up Blum, and a final scoreboard of the 1952 Masters appeared. What a pleasant surprise to see Blum finishing at 24th. I couldnt wait to get back to Macon so I could ask him why he never told me about it. When I asked, his reply was there was not that many good players back then.
I will always cherish my time spent with Georgann Blum as I took every opportunity to absorb as much as I could about Blums career. What an awesome team.
Born in Macon in 1922 and so many accomplishments to list, but here are a few: 1937 and 1939 state champion at Lanier, SEC champion at Georgia, two-time Southern Amateur champion, three-time Southeastern Amateur champion, five-time Georgia Amateur champion, 1957 victorious Walker Cup team, qualified 16 times for the U.S. Amateur, President of the Georgia State Golf Association, member of the Georgia Golf Hall Of Fame and Georgia Sports Hall Of Fame.
As my club prepares to host the Georgia Amateur Championship (July 10-13) for a record eighth time, so many fond memories go through my mind about the wonderful golf history Macon has been privileged to be a part of. And a lot of that has centered around Blum.
Ray Cutright is the director of golf operations at Idle Hour Club