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Gerring, McRae Selected to Hall of Fame

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (Oct. 17, 2016) – A longtime teaching professional and a Pinehurst Resort caddy -- both still active in the game of golf into their 80s -- have been selected for induction into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

John Gerring, 81, who won the Atlantic Coast Conference individual golf title his senior year at Wake Forest and is a member of the PGA Hall of Fame, was selected by members of the Carolinas Golf Association Hall of Fame committee, as was Willie McRae, 83, who has caddied for presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford – and thousands of others for more than 70 years -- at famed Pinehurst No. 2.

The two will become the 73rd and 74th members inducted into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame at a banquet staged by the CGA at a date and location yet to be determined.

Gerring, a High Point native who used to log daily practice rounds with Arnold Palmer as a freshman on the Wake Forest men’s golf team, still teaches lessons five days a week at Eagle Zone Golf Improvement Center in Greenville, S.C.

“I am still going strong, and I try to hit 100 balls a day myself,” said Gerring, who was runner-up in the 1956 Carolinas Amateur and was the PGA Professional of the Year in 1981. He has also been head professional at Biltmore Forest in Asheville, N.C., and Green Valley CC and Greenville CC in Greenville, S.C., before working at Eagle Zone.  

Gerring shakes his head at his more than six decades in the game of golf.

“After I finished at Wake Forest I kind of envisioned I was going into the military,” he said. “Then I realized that I could still play a little bit so I decided to explore that, and then after that I kept on going.”

Arguably Gerring’s biggest contribution to golf has been his ability to teach ordinary golfers with handicaps from 15 to 35 to enjoy the game.

“I have tried to teach a golf swing for the recreational golfer,” Gerring said, “It’s sort of old school vs. modern and I am an old school teacher. If you are 24 years old and are 30 inches in the waist line you can probably handle the modern swing for awhile, but the recreational golfer is not in a position to do so.”

Meanwhile, McRae started caddying at Pinehurst Resort in the early 1940s, even looping for famed golf course architect Donald Ross and Richard Tufts, the grandson of Pinehurst founder James Walker Tufts.

“I got tired of working on the farm so hard so when I was 10 my daddy asked me if I would like to caddy and I said ‘yeah,”’ McRae said. “I’ve met so many good people that I wouldn’t have met on a regular job. Everybody has been so nice.”

The Pinehurst Resort caddymaster still receives as many as eight requests a day for McRae to forecaddie for groups, and the 83-year-old at times comes in at 6:45 a.m. and will log 36 holes. 

“I figured out three things early on about caddying – show up, keep up and shut up,” McRae said.

When asked if he was ever nervous caddying for presidents, the affable McRae laughed and shot back: “No, I have nerves of steel. When you come to think about it they ain’t no better than you. Presidents put their clothes on the same way as you; they don’t jump into them. He has to put them on and pull them up. He may have a higher job than me but that don’t mean nothing because in God’s eyes we’re all the same.”

Also on the 2017 ballot were Ron Crow, Michael Dann, Charles Dudley, Frank Ford III, Ted Gaston, Bill Haas, Walter Hall, Bob Harlow, Jerry Hogge, William Mann, Donald Padgett II, Clarence Rose, Ellen Shulby, David Strawn, Heyward Sullivan, Dorathy Dotger Thigpen and Dillard Traynham.

Story courtesy of David Droschak, who has covered golf in the Carolinas for more than three decades. Droschak is also the media representative of the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

About the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame

Founded in 1981, the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have contributed to the game of golf and have a connection to the Carolinas. The plaques commemorating all of the inductees are housed in the convention hall of the Carolina Hotel of Pinehurst Resorts. The Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame is under the care of the Carolinas Golf Association.

For more information about the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, visit

About the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA)

The CGA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization that was founded in 1909 to promote and to protect the game of golf in the Carolinas by providing competitions, education, support and benefits to golf clubs and golfers. The CGA is the second largest golf association in the country with over 700 member clubs represented by nearly 150,000 individuals.

The CGA annually conducts 43 championships and five team match competitions for men, women, juniors, and seniors. It also runs over 140 One-Day (net and gross) events and qualifying for USGA national championships. The CGA serves golf in the Carolinas with numerous programs such as: the USGA Handicap System; tournament management software and support; course measuring and course/slope ratings; agronomy consultation; answers about the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, and Handicapping; Carolinas Golf Magazine; Interclub series; Tarheel Youth Golf Association; Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame; expense assistance for USGA Junior and Girls' Junior qualifiers from the Carolinas; and the Carolinas Golf Foundation (CGF). The CGF has distributed more than $1,500,000 since 1977 to benefit Carolinas' golf initiatives including junior and women's programs.    

For more information about the CGA, visit



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