The hits just keep coming for Idle Hour director of golf Ray Cutright, and it couldn’t happen to a better man.
Ray is genuinely one of the nicest people I know, and I honestly can say I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like him.
Back in November, he was honored by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America as the PGA golf professional of the year at the group’s 98th annual meeting in Indianapolis. It is the group’s highest annual honor bestowed upon a PGA professional.
He is the 60th winner of the award and only the fourth Georgian to be so honored. To give you an idea of how big this award is, there are more than 28,000 PGA golf professionals around the country.
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In December, he was named one of the top 50 junior teaching professionals in the world for the second time.
This Saturday, Cutright joins three others for induction into the Georgia State Golf Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek. It’s well-deserved recognition for a man who has spent his entire professional career centered on a little white ball with a diameter of at least 1.680 inches and a weight of no more than 1.620 ounces.
Cutright is in his 39th year as a PGA member and has served only four different clubs as the head professional. He got his first club at the ripe old age of 24 at a nine-hole semi-private facility in the north Georgia mountains before landing the head professional/general manager position at what was then known as the Riverside Country Club, now the Brickyard, in Macon, in 1976.
After seven years at Riverside, he moved to the Georgia coast and took on the role of head golf professional at St. Simons Island Golf Club, and then later as director of golf at the Sea Island Golf Club.
In 1993, he returned to Macon and Idle Hour Club, replacing longtime professional Dan Nymicz. At 63, Cutright is now in his 22nd year at Idle Hour.
His impact at Macon’s oldest golf club has been profound.
During his tenure, he has established events and programs such as the Swann Cup, a two-day, 24-hole team event in memory of former British senior open champion Duck Swann of Macon; The Rising Star Players Academy, a comprehensive six-week program for students who want to play high school golf; and instruction night, a clinic at night to accommodate working men and women. These are just a few examples of many offerings at Idle Hour.
He developed the Blum Golf Learning Center (named for noted Macon golfer Arnold Blum) in 2004, This 3,000-square foot facility has six instructors who teach more than 3,000 private lessons and many groups annually. It is an ideal resource for teaching and for beginner golfers to learn to play on the course.
During his 38-plus years as a golf professional, Cutright estimates that he has taught more than 35,000 lessons, and that’s a conservative figure. I know he has a lot of patience as an instructor, because I took about a half-dozen lessons from him.
Even with all the activities at Idle Hour, Ray has been involved with the PGA on a chapter, section and national level since becoming a member in 1976. He has held positions at all three levels, including the presidency on both the chapter and section levels. He served on the national PGA board from 2007-12, and on the four-member PGA Board of Control -- the equivalent of the Supreme Court of golf -- from 2000-04.
If his plate is not full enough, he also operates the successful club-making business he started more than 40 years ago at the age of 19.
Among those joining Ray in this year’s Georgia Golf Hall of Fame class is Macon native and Atlanta attorney Gene McClure, who has been one of the sports top volunteers.
Contact Bobby Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org.