All it took was a broken lawn mower belt and an impromptu phone call to change his career path. Murphree is now the director of golf at TP (formerly Terri Pines) Country Club in Cullman.
Murphree, a 2001 Cordova High School graduate and former assistant professional under Phil Green at Musgrove Country Club in Jasper, is back on the course after a few months away.
“I was cutting my grass at the house and the belt came off the mower so, I took a break,” said Murphree, who worked at Musgrove Country Club for 12 years, seven as the assistant director of golf. “When I came inside, I called a guy out of the blue that I hadn’t heard from in a while. He told me that TP was going to be looking for a director of golf soon. I put my name in and sent a resume.”
From there, things went quickly. Murphree impressed at his interview, and his first day on the job was June 5.
“There’s nothing like being back,” Murphree said with the course behind him. “One of the things I told them when I interviewed was, ‘Even though golf is a business, you have to have that passion and desire because it takes your weekends and holidays away. Someone that has that passion and desire will promote the course and the game the way it should be.’”
Murphree spent the last four months doing boilermaker work.
“It’s where you go around to steam plants doing precipitator work. It’s tough,” Murphree said.
Barry McGriff, owner of TP Country Club, said Murphree stood out from the stack of resumes that came in for the position.
“We had interviews with a lot of applicants. We were very impressed with Jason. What really sold me was that a couple of high school players told me they loved working with him. They had big grins on their faces. That’s the biggest thing, he does a great job with kids and has a great personality. It will help make a big difference in the club,” McGriff said.
“He sees an opportunity, and I do too, that our club will not only grow, but really develop to the next level. From his former boss, Phil, to the students he coached, everybody has been very, very positive about Jason. I think he will be a geat asset for us.”
McGriff said the club is working on getting Murphree his A-1 PGA Card, which is designated for head professionals at PGA recognized golf courses.
Since he’s been involved with golf, Murphree, 31, has put an emphasis on teaching youngsters the game. When Walker High School’s Hali Lyle signed a golf scholarship with Faulkner University last month, she became Murphree’s 19th student to sign to play golf at the next level.
“At my interview, they asked if I was more of a playing pro or teaching pro. I said I teach, but I also promote the game,” Murphree said. “The thing that I promote with juniors is that golf is here today, but what you’re doing today determines how golf will do tomorrow.
“Even when I was boilermaking, people were telling me that I needed to get back into golf. I would work the night shift (6 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.), and by 10 o’clock I would be at Eastside Driving Range giving lessons.”
Murphree said he earned his most valuable experience for his new job while working at Musgrove Country Club.
“The experience I had at Musgrove, and what Phil taught me, speaks volumes. Phil has encouraged me along the way,” he said.
Now that’s he a director of golf himself, Murphree oversees every golf event at the course. TP will host the 51st annual Girl’s State Junior Championship later this month. The more tournaments, the better for Murphree. He’s just happy to be around the game.
“It’s just an honor to be back. When we sat down and started talking about packages and pay and all that kind of stuff, I told them the biggest incentive for me is allowing me the opportunity to get back in golf,” Murphree said. “If this was the only door left for me to get back in, I wanted to take it. They believed in me. I’m not going to let them down. This place is going to thrive. It’s definitely going to be a spot on the map that when people come around, they are going to want to play.”