Written By: Matt Hanlon and Alexis Whitman
AJGA Communications Staff
In the late 1940s, the fertile landscape known as Turf Valley was Pistoria Farm, a 1000-acre farm where Samuel Pistorio trained a number of horses who won stakes in New York, Florida and Maryland.
After his horses found continued success at the track, Pistorio decided to turn the valley into Howard County’s first golf club.
On Thanksgiving Day in 1957, Pistorio met with architect Edward Ault and foreman George Riddle to finalize plans for an 18-hole golf course on the property, said Craig Day, Head Golf Professional at Turf Valley Resort.
The golf course was built the following year, and in 1959 the course opened up its fairways for the first time. Over the years, the course expanded to a 27-hole, 36-hole and eventually a 54-hole facility.
Now, the property includes 36 holes, a resort with tennis courts and swimming pool and soon, a full-scale shopping center and 1400 housing units. Given that the golf course is only open to play from its 420 members and hotel guests, it made the past week that much more special.
Banking on success:
“We knew of the AJGA but didn’t know a lot about it. David came to us a year ago and asked if we wanted to co-sponsor an event,” said Nick Rizzi, who stressed how impressed he was by the quality of play and character in the juniors he saw over the course of the week. “It’s not the easiest of fits, but we knew with David’s passion and request, that we could do it with him helping us.”
David Leadbetter, founder of the David Leadbetter Golf Academy and world-renowned golf instructor, was a big reason the event was possible. His support was visible throughout the week, offering a clinic to all juniors who played in the qualifier and tournament on Monday. He, along with IMG Athletic and Personal Development Trainer Trevor Anderson spoke for more than an hour to the 130-plus juniors in attendance.
Leadbetter offered advice for juniors to use to improve their golf game and their life, discussing ways that the eager juniors could improve their organization, motivation and consistency both on and off the course.
A little help from our friends:
Rick and Sharon Heisley first got a taste of the AJGA when they volunteered at the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Lancaster, Pa. in July. When they heard that Chris White, tournament director at both the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the JoS. A. Bank / David Leadbetter Championship was going to be running another event just under two hours down the road, they decided to join the volunteer force once again. As timing stations volunteers on Nos. 5 and 14, Rick and Sharon are two very vital parts to ensuring that the AJGA’s Pace of Play policy is in play during the round.
“These kids are great,” Rick said of the golfers he watched from his post on No. 14. I’d be willing to argue that Rick and Sharon are just as great, the AJGA truly wouldn’t be able to do what we do without people like them.