Bowman ready to bring Cherokee Run back

CONYERS -- When Andy Bowman got out of the golf business a year and a half ago, he thought it was the best thing for him and his family. But when he got a call, he knew where he belonged.

"I came back for the love of the game, for sure," said Bowman, now Cherokee Run PGA teaching professional. "It got to be spring, the smell of the grass and all the things that bring out the golfer in everybody."

It was around Masters week when Bowman got a call from a company. Even though he made it to the third round of the hiring process, he was not selected. However, the call made him realize where he belonged. That was when the wheels to get him back into golf started turning.

"I used to work with Trey Russ, who's the superintendent (at Cherokee Run)," Bowman said. "He was one of my references. He said that Tommy Moon (director of golf/general manager) was looking for a pro and that I should talk to him.

"I met Tommy and he's fantastic. The staff here worked with me and my schedule to let me teach as much as I want to teach. I want to start my junior golf programs again."

Bowman started at the time when most golfers are ready to pull out their bags and hit the links, during Masters week. The excitement of starting a new position and having his love for the game awaken after being dormant was enough to get him excited once again.

Before Bowman stepped away from the game after 20 years, one thing he really liked was teaching the game to those that were interested in seeing what all the excitement was all about.

Cherokee Run is once again giving him the opportunity to do what he loves.

"I love to take people that want to learn golf and build golfers," Bowman said. "I love to do the kickoff-ready programs and the junior camps and clinics."

The Get Golf Ready program is sponsored by the PGA, Golf Course Owners Association and Superintendent Association. The program shows new players how to place their clubs in their bags, what they need in their bags and, more importantly, how to use the clubs in the bags. They also learn the basic aspects of the game.

"When they leave, they have a solid foundation in the game," Bowman said. "They understand the fundamentals, rules, etiquette."

While the classes are open for everyone, it seems that 75 percent of those taking the program are women. A reason why women find the group lessons more inviting is because they are able to achieve a level of success while at the same time being able to ask questions without feeling intimidated.

"I feel that after they finish this class they feel better about coming in and playing golf," Bowman said. "That's fun for me to watch them smile and look at me and say 'This is so much fun.' I know I've created a golfer when I do that."

In addition to teaching the Get Golf Ready programs for adults, he has two programs during the summer for junior golfers.

The junior camp, which starts on July 8 and ends on the July 11, is a four-day camp where golfers learn a different aspect of the game as they cover the fundamentals.

"The clinics are more for kids that have been through the camps or may already be involved in the sport," Bowman said. "We take the kids out on the course each week and go over etiquette, position, order of play -- basically fine-tune, depending on their skill level."

The final summer clinic of the summer will take place on July 18 and will start again every Thursday beginning Aug. 1.

While giving group lessons is something which Bowman enjoys, he is also available for individual lessons.

"Tommy has been working with me and my schedule and people have been welcoming me back into the business," Bowman said. "I've actually gotten two letters of people thanking me for getting back into the business. Every time I hear something like that, it really warms me up. It makes me realize that I was doing something right."

Besides the traditional lessons, Bowman is looking at other avenues that will help players improve their skills, making the game more enjoyable as well as bringing new players into the sport.

"We have corporate outings with team building exercises," Bowman said. "We're looking at having specialized clinics. Maybe somebody doesn't need help with their irons but they need help with chipping. That way we can zone in on what they want to work on."

For more information on the Get Ready Program, junior clinics or lessons, contact Bowman by email at andy.bowman@conyersga.com or 770-785-7904 ext. 4705.