“a Buddies Trip Tradition Since 1970”
# 8 / Cypress
Peninsula Golf Club
BRATTON BROTHERS INVITATIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
In 1970, seven Birmingham golfing buddies traveled to Gulf Shores, AL for a weekend of golf. All seven stayed in a two bedroom / one bath vacation home near the Intracoastal Waterway owned by the Bratton brothers (Bobby, Charles, Joe and Richard) parents. The original “cast members” were Bob Bratton, Joe Bratton, Roy Dillon, Jim Lynch (deceased), Butch Mitchell, Greg Waldrop and Waymond Whitten. Bobby Bratton recalls playing the Gulf Shores Country Club (only course in the area except the Perdido Bay Golf Course 30 miles to the east in Pensacola, FL) for $5.00 a day plus cart. We drove down on Friday after work. We played 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. Today the tournament is a 3 day event (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) with an optional practice round on Wednesday..
In 1973, a few of the 1970 , 1971 and 1972 participants invited a buddy to join us. After 1973, several of those participants invited a buddy and so and so on. This is how our group continued to grow. As the group got larger, additional houses were rented on what is now West Beach. In the 1970’s, there were no “high-rise” condominiums like you see today. There were very few restaurants in Gulf Shores and no “fast food” restaurants at all. When we did not eat in/cook out, we dined at the Friendship House (now Cazadores a Mexican Restaurant) in Gulf Shores and Meme’s Restaurant in Bon Secour, AL which was damaged by hurricane Frederic in September of 1979 and never reopened.
In 1974, Hugh Johnson joined our group and served us well until 2016. He did a fantastic job for the BBI for many, many years. Hugh is still an active member of our tournament even though he has had some physical issues. In 1977, we took the BBI out of the state of Alabama for the first time and headed east to the panhandle of Florida landing on the Sandestin Resort property. The Links course was the only course they had at that time. Over our 54 years, we have played tournament rounds on several courses in the Gulf Shores, AL area and many courses in the Florida panhandle which includes Destin, Freeport, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, Pace, Panama City, Pensacola and San Destin, Fl. We have played 22 plus different golf courses in Alabama and Florida since 1970.
There have been 675+ golfers from 14 different states and Canada that have attended at least one of our 54 Annual Tournaments since 1970. In 1999, we had the largest number of participants ever. There were 156 golfers. We had to play our tournament (30th BBI) on two different golf courses each day. There have been father/son, brother/brother, grandfather/grandson and father-in-law/son-in-law combinations to play in many BBI tournaments. In 2018, we had our 1st “3-Generation” attendees. They were Tom Hancock, his son Tim Hancock and Tim’s oldest son Justin. In 2023, Tom Hancock, his son Tim and Tim’s youngest son Brandon played all 3 rounds. That’s special.
During our 54 Annual Tournaments, we have had 8 “Hole-In-Ones”. Those making “Hole-In-Ones” are: R. Wayne Alexander (2021) , Charlie Bratton (2023), Norman Glass (2001), Timothy Honeycutt (2009), Keith Howell (2015), Charles Martin (1980), William “Sleepy” Phillips (1999) and Greg Waldrop (1972). If I’ve left anyone off the above list, please let me know.
We had a “very special” winner of our 45th Annual BBI in 2014. Mr. Dick Majors (known to many as Major Dick) won our tournament. What makes it so “very special” is that Dick was 86 years young. Dick has been playing in the BBI since 1990. Congrats to you, our friend. UPDATE: On 08-20-20, Dick shot an 80 on the Bent Brook Golf Course [Brook/Graveyard]. He celebrated his 93rd birthday on 08-23-20.
In 2009, the 40th Annual BBI was “Ambushed” by Golf Digest. Matt Ginella, Senior Editor of Travel at that time and is now with Golf Digest/Discovery, presented us with “beverage tickets” and filmed many of our participants as the tournament was being played on the Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club courses. The BBI was featured in an article including a group picture in the June 2009 (Vol. 60, No. 6) issue of the Golf Digest magazine.
In March of 2019, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary BBI Golf Tournament in Gulf Shores, AL where it all started. We teed off 116 players. The Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Sports Commission played a big role in making our 50th a total success as did the Mullet Wrapper and the fantastic crew of the Craft Farms Golf complex.
A sad note concerning our tournament is that 85 of our “B.B.I. Brothers” have passed away over our 54 years. (Please visit our Memoriam page) They are truly missed.