Hanning sets course record

Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bain Hanning has already scored better than every Selma Country Club player since the course was built in 1923.

Hanning, 20, set the course record Saturday, shooting an 11-under 60 at the par-71, 6,342-yard Selma Country Club. In a way, he was disappointed because of his 59th shot.

“I lipped out from 15 feet on the 18th hole,” Hanning said. “I could have shot a 59.”

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Oh, not that he won’t take the 60. The previous course record of 61 was set by Mike Smith in 1974 and equaled by David Cothran in 2008. Gary Burns held the 62 starting in 1966, while Otey Crisman’s 63 was the long-time course record.

Still, Hanning probably remembers No. 18 before the other 17.

“I hit the right rough on No. 18 and I was afraid I would hit a flyer and make a double bogey,” said Hanning, hoping to avoid tying the course record. “But I hit a 9-iron about 15 feet away. The putt ran over the lip of the cup.”

His scorecard had nine birdies and one eagle — the par-5 No. 17, where his second shot stopped four feet from the green, then he chipped it in from 30 feet.

The course record adds to Hanning’s golfing achievements this year. He also won the Selma CC Men’s Invitational this year by three strokes.

Golf is in his blood, literally. His grandfather and namesake, Arthur Bain Gleason Jr., was five-time SCC Men’s Invitational champion and former club president. The Alabama Golf Association’s Junior Amateur champion takes home the Art Gleason Jr. Memorial Trophy.

Like his grandfather, Hanning can’t remember not swinging a club. For the past two years, he has worked part-time at the Selma CC pro shop.

“His working here has been a small, small part of what he’s done in golf,” said Selma CC pro Tommy Burns. “His game has really matured in the past year. He’s moved to another level.”

One switch before the weekend landmark round was a change in putters.

“I made a putter switch Thursday,” Hanning said. “At a tournament in Montgomery, a –4 won and I shot a +6. I missed 16 putts at less than five feet.”

So he started looking for the right combination.

“I used a bunch of putters,” he said. “I settled on an old-style putter that has no sight line. That way I worry more about speed.”

Why now for Hanning? What’s made the difference in the past year?

“It’s been a good mix of things,” he said. “I always thought I had the potential. I wasn’t doing it for me; I was doing it for someone else.”

He tried playing at Huntingdon, but that didn’t work out. So he went to Birmingham for a year to work on his mental game.

“I just practiced, played, like a machine,” Hanning said. “I’ve gotten to where I love practice.”

The proof of the change is in his last 24 rounds, where only three rounds have been above 70. Only one round has been over par.

Hanning said his future would depend on how hard he works.

“In my spare time, I hope to be back in shape,” he said. “I realize that possibly I have the potential to make the tour. I know it won’t be easy.”

He leaves Wednesday for a match-play tournament in Dothan before he leaves for Troy, where he expects competitive golf.

“In about a year, we should really be good,” said Hanning, who will be ineligible until the spring semester because of transfer rules.