Bill Shanks

One of the best golf teachers in Middle Georgia entering Macon Sports Hall of Fame

Bobby Hix helps Austin Penny of Griffin with his backswing during a golf lesson in 2011 at Idle Hour Country Club.
Bobby Hix helps Austin Penny of Griffin with his backswing during a golf lesson in 2011 at Idle Hour Country Club. jvorhees@macon.com

Perhaps no other sport can humble you more than golf. Even those who are great at it can be brought back down to Earth with a horrible round. One bad day can make you want to throw your clubs in a lake and give it up completely.

Sometimes we need instructors to tell us and even show us how not to look stupid on the golf course. One of the best golf teachers in the midstate is Bobby Hix, a senior instructor at the Blum Golf Learning Center at Idle Hour Club. Those who take lessons from Hix usually wind up being better golfers.

Hix will be inducted into the Macon Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night at the Macon Coliseum — along with Catherine Radar, Charlie Anderson, Eddie Ashley, Grant Serafy, Lee Stockslager, Shana Askey and Theron Ussery. The Peter G. Appling girls’ basketball teams from 1962-1964 will also be honored.

Hix was a standout athlete at Stratford. He played football, basketball and baseball there and then got a baseball scholarship at Mercer. But an injury his sophomore season pushed him towards a different sport that he hadn’t even played competitively.

“I broke a bone in my right hand and never really recovered from that,” Hix said. “My dad always played golf. He played all the sports in high school, too, but then he played golf exclusively. He first got me to the golf course when I was 7 or 8 years old, so I had always played. After baseball I wanted to find something to scratch that competitive itch.”

Hix wanted to own a business after college, and he thought golf was his avenue. His parents had been members at the Riverside Golf Course, so Hix got a job there working for Ray Cutright. Then Hix followed Cutright to the Island Club on St. Simons Island, where he also learned from the late Davis Love Jr. and the late Jimmy Hodges.

“It was there I learned you could teach golf and teach for a living,” Hix explained. “I thought I was just going to be a coach, but as I got down there I found out I could teach all the time. It was tremendous.”

Hix has been at Idle Hour for the last 18 years, and one of his more famous students is Russell Henley, now making a name for himself on the PGA Tour. But whether it’s a big-name player or a beginner, Hix relishes the opportunity to help make players better.

“Every day is different,” Hix said. “Even if I saw Russell five days in a row, every day would be different. I’ve been in this business 32 years, and I learn something new every day. I’m convinced as long as you keep learning, you can keep going. It stays interesting.”

Cutright is convinced Hix’s athleticism and his ability to build relationships is what makes Hix a special instructor.

“I think what makes Bobby unique is he took the skills he had in high school and turned it into a great living as a great teacher,” Cutright said. “That’s how he develops relationships. He’s great at it. I think he learned that through playing sports himself. That made him a great teacher.”

And now, Hix’s contributions to golf in middle Georgia have propelled him into the Macon Sports Hall of Fame. He’s overwhelmed by the honor.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Hix said. “There are so many guys I played for, against and with that I’ve admired over the years, trusted over the years, that I’ve used for inspiration over the years, that have always been talked about in the highest honor, and to be included in the same Hall with them … it’s kind of unbelievable. It’s surreal. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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