Gentlemen and Ladies, start your backswings

The 2016 Golf Season beganApril 9 with Steve Wilson and Ed McDugle winning the Old Waverly Regular and Senior Divisions respectively, both capturing trophies in playoffs. The Bermuda is about to start spreading, and so are the birdies and eagles.

The MGA State Four-Ball teed off Friday to signal the start of the Mississippi Golf Association schedule, a calendar that includes sixteen sanctioned events as well as the regular MGA State Championships. The schedule can be found at

The Pine Burr Spring Four-Ball/Shrimp-Crawfish Boil tees off the local schedule April 30 and May 1, an event that usually beckons golfers to put their cardigans in the cedar closet and to scrape the ice off their golf clubs.

"We're doing everything we can to bring this back to the giant tournament it used to be," said Tournament Director Bret Barger. Information, 601-928-4911.

State Amateur qualifying begins May 9 with entries closing May 2. The tournament proper is scheduled for June 2-5 at Reunion Country Club in Madison. For amateur golfers, this is the biggest event in the Magnolia State. Coast residents Lane Pippin, Steve Wilson, Nick Beale and Gary Martin have their names permanently engraved on the trophy.

Juniors are waiting for the last bell to ring in summer golf. The Mississippi Junior Golf Association schedule tees off April 30-May 1 with the Mississippi Junior Cup Matches at Greenville Country Club and concludes with the Boys and Girls Junior State Championship July 25-27 at Deerfield Golf Club in Canton.

The Gulf Coast Junior Tour will begin in June with a slate of six tournaments and a Tour Championship. Golfers will be able to join the tour at on May 1. The GCJT will have six divisions in 2016 with a new High School Division for those juniors who hope to play collegiate golf. The Tour Championship is scheduled for Aug. 27-28.

The Yamaha Coast Open is scheduled for Aug. 12-14 at Grand Bear Golf Club, and the Bancorp South Coast Amateur will tee off at Shell Landing Nov. 5-6.

Tommy Snell, golf coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, writes a column for the Sun Herald.