TRI Fun Golf hopes to grown the game

Joe Avento • Apr 3, 2019 at 4:24 PM

Mike Freels is trying to grow the game of golf by making it more fun and giving players a better chance at shooting even par.

TRI Fun Golf, an idea Freels is putting into operation this spring, uses a unique concept. Instead of players being made equal by handicap strokes, they do it by playing from different sets of tees — 12 to be exact. The tees are set by distance from the hole.

If you make a four, you hit from the same tees on the next hole. If you make a five, you move up one. A three pushes you back one.

“The idea is to learn to shoot par and then back up,” Freels said. “Most high-handicap players, by the time they get to the green, they’ve hit the ball so many times they might pick up. They miss the beauty of golf, those little putts. They never learn how to score.

“We want everybody to be able to shoot 36 by playing the right tees.”

The league, which begins in May, will play at three courses to start: Mondays at Millstone in Morristown, Tuesdays at Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville and Thursdays at Graysburg Hills in Chuckey.

An 18-hole “Monthly Medal” will be played once a month beginning in June.

Qualifying is being held through April. An afternoon nine-hole round, including cart, a hot dog, chips and a drink, costs $25. Players need to qualify to figure out which tees to use at the start.

Freels said he envisions entire families coming out to play.

“We’re hoping for everybody,” he said. “We have women in our life, children in our life, people who want to play games together. But golf can be so intimidating.

“If we get them to have fun, then we have a chance to grow the game.”

For more information, go to www.trifungolf.golfgenius.com or contact Freels at [email protected]


Johnson City is in the process of hiring a new golf professional at Pine Oaks.

Jim Hughes, the city’s former director of golf, said there were more than 50 applicants and the field has been narrowed to about 10. The city is replacing Mike Jennings, who retired after 32 years at the municipal course.

“At this point, we’re leaning toward setting up interviews in the next couple weeks,” said Hughes, who is serving as the interim assistant director in the Parks and Recreation Department. “Hopefully we’ll have somebody in place in June.”

Hughes said it’s been business as usual at Pine Oaks.

“We’re still scheduling tournaments and the course is in good shape,” he said.


Johnson City Country Club pro Jeremy Beachner will be putting on an event in conjunction with Johnson City Brewing Co. on May 2.

For $20, participants get two craft beers and an individual golf lesson from Beachner on the club’s range.

The event runs from 6-8 p.m. Call (423) 928-5161 for more information.


Next week is Masters week and Elizabethton Golf Course is holding its Elizabethton Masters Pro-Am. The tournament is set for Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14.

Players must have a USGA handicap and their net score each day will be added to a Masters competitor chosen from the top 25. The cost is $10 per day plus cart fee.

Call Elizabethton Golf Course at (423) 542-8051 to register or for more information.


Sugar Mountain Golf Course in Banner Elk, North Carolina, opens for the season on Saturday, April 13. It will be the 45th year of golf being played on the course below Sugar Mountain Ski Resort.

Tom McAuliffe and his staff run a top-notch operation and the par-64 layout is fun and always in superb shape.

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