In This Weeks Edition: 07-13-2011

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Old Friends Golf Tournament Founder ‘wanted to give back’

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Unlike many people who become successful in life, Bamberg native Joseph L. “Joe” Land never forgot his small town roots. Land, who came from a modest back-ground in Bamberg, the self-described son of a cotton mill worker (Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Land) wanted to give something back to the community that helped him become who he is today.

Land was a star baseball player at Bamberg High School. In 1966 his outstanding skills in baseball allowed him to be drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers. But he decided to accept a full baseball scholarship and attend the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where he had an outstanding career.

He rose to the top of the world in the field of business in 1982 as a young business executive, who owned Joseph Land & Co., Coast to Coast Trucking Services headquartered in Lake Wales, Florida only to have to start all over again ten years later and then “only to see God bless me” even a second time. Land noted that “growing up in Bamberg taught me how to deal with tough times.”

In 1982, when he was 34 years old, he said God gave him the dream of starting the Old Friends Golf Classic and Scholarship. “ I just wanted to give something back to a community that loved me and gave me so much,” Land told the large group gathered at the 2007 Scholarship Banquet in the commons area at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School.

Land shared his dream of the golf tournament with the late legendary Judge Julius B. “Bubba” Ness of Bamberg, whom he said was “like a Godfather” to him. In a 1983 interview in the Advertizer Herald, Land said he thought about doing the same format for the tournament in Florida where he lived at the time; but since the Swindell’s had made the golf course here, prepared the layout and “I played it , I just fell in love with it. It can be a difficult course, and it can be enjoyable, it has two personalities,” Land said of the Paw Paw Golf Course selected for the tournament. As a result of the efforts of those two men and countless other people over the years, the results have been a 28- year success story in the Old Friends Invitational Golf Classic supporting the Joseph Land Scholarship Fund.

Since the Old Friends Invitational Golf Classic was founded in 1983, 29 worthy students have been able to further their education by receiving thousands of dollars to attend the college or university of his or her choice. Since 1983, 34 of Bamberg’s most prominent citizens have proudly donned the Gray Jacket emblematic of being named an Honorary Chairperson.

Land noted why the tournament that has lasted nearly 30 years was given the name Old Friends: “Why do we call this Old Friends?

Because it’s just a bunch of old friends getting back together, encouraging each other and being a blessing to young kids that are trying to get an education.”

2011 OLD FRIENDS GOLF INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

SUNDAY, JULY 17, 2011
6:30pm Teen Scavenger Hunt Ages 13-18, Paw Paw Country Club

MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011
7:30am Registration Junior Old Friends Golf Tournament
Paw Paw Country Club for boys and girls ages 8-18
7:00pm Family Bingo night at the Little Theatre

TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011
9:00am Women’s Bridge Tournament, Paw Paw Country Club
6:30pm Family Fun night at the Town Pool

WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 2011
2-4 pm Registration & Practice Round Old Friends Golf Tournament
4:00 pm Women’s Golf Tournament Registration, Ladies Putting A Contest, Paw Paw Country Club
4:30 pm Women’s Golf Tournament tee off

THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2011
8-4 pm Registration and Practice Round for Tournament
3:00 pm nine Hole Shoot Out Draw (Starts at 3:30)
8:00 pm “American Pride” Old Friends Banquet, B-E Dancers & Ordinary Men Quartet performance at Little Theater

FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2011
8am-4 pm Registration at Paw Paw Country Club, Old Friends Golf Tournament Begins
6:30pm Otto Morrell Memorial Shrimp Boil at Blair Crosby Wellness Center
9:00pm Social and Auction with entertainment by Cody Webb at Little Theatre (no charge to attend)

SATURDAY, JULY 23, 2011
8:00 am Second Round Begins; Tee Times start
9:00 pm Dance and Awards Ceremony at Little Theatre (featuring “The Fabulous Kays”)