Bratton Brothers Invitational brings fun loving golfers to Coast
It started in ‘71 when seven Birmingham buddies came for golf weekend
The 49th Annual B.B.I. Golf Tournament will bring 91 fun loving golfers to Gulf Shores for two rounds of tourney golf March 8-10 at the two courses at Craft Farms and an optional practice round on March 7. Tacky Jack’s/Gulf Shores will host the annual get-together following the practice round.
“For the 1st time in our tournament history, we will have a father, son and grandson attending, said Greg Waldrop, one of the tourney’s organizers and founders.
Tom Hancock (Jacksonville, FL), Tim Hancock, Tom’s son (Round Rock, TX) and Justin Hancock, Tim’s son (Round Rock, TX) will be in attendance.
“Due to some health issues, Tom will not be able to play but he will be there with his wife Patricia cheering Tim and Justin on,’’ Waldrop said. “Also, Dick Majors, our 2014 Champion, will be participating. Dick will be 91 years young later this year.’’
This year’s participants will travel from as far away as South Dakota, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Ohio and Tennessee.
“We have a few locals that will participate this year,’’ Waldrop said. “They are Ken Harper (2016 champion), Tom Bailey, Steve Johnson, Don Lane and Captain Jack Malone.’’
The tourney’s local history started when seven Birmingham golfing buddies traveled to Gulf Shores for a weekend of golf, staying in a two bedroom/one bath vacation home near the Intracoastal Waterway owned by the Bratton brothers’ (Bobby, Charles, Joe and Richard) parents. The original cast members were Bob Bratton, Joe Bratton, Roy Dillon, Jim Lynch (deceased), Butch Mitchell, Waldrop and Waymond Whitten. Bobby
They played at Gulf Shores Country Club (the only course in the area) for $5 a day plus cart and played 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. There were very few restaurants in Gulf Shores and the men ate all their meals at the Friendship House (now the Diner) in Gulf Shores and Meme’s Restaurant (damaged by hurricane Frederic in September of 1979 and never reopened) in Bon Secour.
As participants invited more friends, the golf weekend grew into the current BBI, which has been held at 20 plus different golf courses in Alabama and Florida.
Tourney notes: There have been 581 golfers from 14 different states and Canada attending at least one tourney. In 1999, the tourney peaked with 156 golfers. Six players have aced holes during the tourney, including two hole-in-ones the same year – Norman Glass and Timothy Honeycutt (2009); Keith Howell (2015); Charles Martin (1980); William “Sleepy” Phillips (1999); and Waldrop (1972). The oldest winner is Dick Majors (known as Major Dick), who won the tournament at 86 years young. In 2009, the tourney was ambushed by Golf Digest’s Matt Ginella, who presented players with beverage tickets and filmed festivities at the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club. There is one sad note – 49 BBI Brothers have passed away. They are truly missed. (More info at BBI.net)