DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) Starters.
Many times they are a golfer’s gateway to a great day on the course.
Johnny Culpepper and John O’Connell are serving as Starters for this year’s Future Masters tournament. As Starters, they maintain the starting times and tee sheets. They also go over all of the rules with the young golfers before they strike their first ball. Most of all, they make sure every golfer gets teed off on time.
Between them, this dynamic duo has more than 30 years of Starter experience. O’Connell has been a Starter since 1990. Culpepper since 2001. Both have touched multiple generations of golfers.
"This is my 52nd Future Masters and now I have boys come back that's bringing their grandsons,” said Johnny Culpepper, Future Masters Starter. “I teed off their grandfathers or was involved in the tournament when they played and now they're bringing their grandsons back."
"When we get up on tee, I try to get them relaxed and tell them a joke,” said John O’Connell, Future Masters Starter. “I ask them if they're going to drive the green on the first hole, and you know, maybe they smile. I just try to get them relaxed so they enjoy the game."
Both Culpepper and O’Connell live in Dothan and are avid golfers themselves. Both say their favorite part of being a Starter is getting to meet the young golfers and interact with them at the first tee.