Kenny Walker is an SC golf icon whose pace challenges all golfers, no matter their age.
The ancient Greek poet Hesiod is credited with first observing that “moderation is best in all things.” For one member of Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island in the South Carolina Lowcountry, that sage advice rings true—about everything but golf.
Kenny Walker was born in Massachusetts in 1936 but spent much of his youth in the textile town of Anniston, AL. Always a good student with an interest in the sciences, he earned a degree from Harvard. A new job in the growing plastics industry brought him to Greenville, SC, where he met a local girl who would become his wife.
“Hila and I got married in Greenville in 1960,” Walker says, “and after a stint in the military, we were living there when a neighbor’s boss very graciously let us use his new house in Sea Pines. Back then, you knew you were in the Lowcountry from about an hour out, driving on the narrow roads with the big, mossy oaks hanging over them. Even after you crossed over to the island on the old two-lane bridge, it was like that all the way to Coligny Circle on the south end. It was just beautiful.
“So we started vacationing on Hilton Head almost every summer,” he continues. “We’d stay at the William Hilton Inn, which was a very classy oceanfront hotel where you had to dress for dinner—jacket and tie required. One year, probably in the early 1980s, the club pro at Harbour Town, John Farrell, told me that I should check out Pete Dye’s new private course at Long Cove Club. After a friend invited me to play it, I told myself, ‘that’s where I want to live one day.’”
But, taking care of business came first, and Walker found that his growing passion for golf would play a significant role in both the journey and the ultimate destination of his life.
“I took up the game in my late 20s,” he says, “because I saw that it would be a big asset to take prospects out for a round of golf. In fact, with thousands of manufacturers in the plastics business, I made a decision early on to focus on the companies run by people who were also golfers. It worked out very well.
Do What You Love
“I started my own company in 1982,” he points out. “We were living up north, and when it reached the point that we could live anywhere we wanted to live, we first went to Atlanta. We also visited Aiken [South Carolina] frequently because our daughter lived there at the time and we liked it very much. But, we kept getting drawn back to Hilton Head Island.”
Kenny and Hila Walker moved into their new home in the Long Cove Club residential community in February 1991. Then, as now, the initial fee for club membership was built into the purchase price, so he was at the clubhouse and ready to play within days.
Play it Fast
“I couldn’t have been more warmly welcomed that first day,” Walker recalls, “and I got paired up with some guys who quickly became great friends. Since then, I’ve tried to be just as welcoming to new members. We form our own golf groups at Long Cove Club—my current group has about 40 people—and I’ve always thought it was important to include players of different ages and skill levels. The only thing I ask is ‘don’t be slow.’”
But Walker’s vigorous pace of play isn’t the reason for his status as a local golf icon; it’s his Iron Man durability: He’s the acknowledged (if unofficial) all-time record holder on Long Cove Club course with more than 6,000 rounds played and counting.
“Back in the ‘90s,” he says, “I played over 300 rounds a year—five or six, even seven days a week sometimes—and for most of those I’d walk the course and carry my own clubs. When you walk the entire 18 holes, it’s about five miles, plus the weight of the bag. Now that’s a good workout.”
Lead with a Club
Over the years, Walker also got involved with club leadership by serving on the golf committee, then being elected club president in 1996-97. He introduced player-friendly changes in course operation—allowing walking rounds any time of the day and carts on the fairways for the benefit of older members—and other improvements that have kept Long Cove Club among the nation’s top-rated private clubs. He also developed a friendship with Pete Dye (“he’s a treasure”) during the course architect’s annual visits to the club and supported investment in a complete restoration of the golf course that was completed in October 2018. “They did an excellent job,” according to Walker.
All the while, he’s continued to set course records: On December 5, 2016—at age 80— Walker shot his fourth hole-in-one on the Long Cove Club course, his seventh ace overall during a half-century of play. “I tell people these days that I don’t really play golf anymore, I play at it,” he muses. “But that was a pretty good shot.”
Now in his 82nd year, Walker has cut back his golf schedule to just two or three rounds a week, but enjoys the game and his playing companions just as much. Has that been his key to a healthy lifestyle?
Keys to the Good Life
“Well, I was blessed with great genes, and I watch what I eat. We have a lot of seafood and fresh vegetables,” he says. “And I do enjoy a cocktail, not every night, but I’ll have one when I want one.
“It’s no secret that I enjoy golf and being around people who make me laugh. I think that makes for a long and happy life,” Walker notes. “It’s important to do as much as you can to fill your life with the things you like to do and do them with people you enjoy. Being married to Hila is my greatest joy.” The Walkers recently celebrated their 58th anniversary and cherish time with their son and his family when they’re visiting from North Carolina, and their daughter and two grandchildren who now also live on Hilton Head Island.
That choice of location seems to have played a role in his happy longevity as well.
“Obviously, there’s been growth and a lot of changes since we moved here in 1991,” he says. “One new thing is that they’ve finally extended the runway at the Hilton Head Airport, so regional jets can fly in directly from Charlotte, and eventually Atlanta and other places. I think that will help to keep the island as a top retirement and vacation destination. But, one thing that hasn’t really changed that much is the natural character of the island. Hilton Head has done a magnificent job of maintaining the beauty of this place,” he concludes.
“And, the same is true of Long Cove Club—it looks great, the people have been so friendly, we have lots of good neighbors, and we share all these great amenities. We really have been blessed.”
Gracious and affable. Generous and polite. The folks at Long Cove Club will tell you that Kenny Walker is the kind of member who has made their community such a special place for so long. There was only one reason that he’d kindly point out that the hour allotted for this interview was up.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA at historic Independence Hall during autumn season.
King Charles II in 1681 granted the region to William Penn, son of a famous admiral and a devout Quaker. He wanted to simply call the colony “Sylvania,” from the Latin silva meaning “forest,” but the King added “Penn” to honor William’s father.
Retirement income, including Social Security and military benefits, is exempt from taxation for Pennsylvania residents age 60 and older.
Pennsylvania is one of four American states founded as a “commonwealth,” an English term meaning “a political community created for the common good.” The others are Massachusetts, Virginia, and Kentucky.
Home sweet home in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
There are nearly 60,000 farms in Pennsylvania covering more than 7.5 million acres. On the list of state agricultural productivity, Pennsylvania ranks No. 1 in mushrooms, No. 2 in apples, and No. 3 in Christmas trees.
The Crayola Factory in the Lehigh Valley produces nearly three billion crayons a year.
Spring is on the way!
Up to 20,000 visitors celebrate Groundhog Day every year on February 2nd in Punxsutawney, the self-proclaimed “Weather Capital of the World.”
World-famous Martin guitars and other stringed instruments have been made in Nazareth, PA, since 1838.
A State of Firsts
America’s first magazine (1741) and daily newspaper (1784) were published in Philadelphia, while Pittsburgh was home to the nation’s first baseball stadium (1909), automobile service station (1913), and commercial radio station (1920).
“The Centennial State” joined the Union during the nation’s 100th-anniversary year of 1876.
According to a 2014 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Coloradans have a life expectancy of 80.2 years, the longest of any state.
The Coors Brewing Company operates the world’s largest single-site brewery in Golden, Colorado.
North America’s tallest sand dune rises more than 700 feet above the valley floor in the Great Sand Dunes National Monument near Alamosa.
Colorado has no inheritance or estate taxes.
The federal government owns nearly 25 million acres in Colorado, about 37% of the entire state, including the U.S. Air Force Academy and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), as well as four National Parks, 11 National Forests, and 42 National Wilderness Areas.
The town of Deer Trail hosted the world’s first rodeo on July 4, 1869.
Well-known Colorado natives include actors Tim Allen, Lon Cheney, and Douglas Fairbanks; astronauts Scott Carpenter and Jack Swigert; Indy 500 winner Bobby Unser; boxer Jack Dempsey; MLB pitchers Goose Gossage and Roy Halladay; writer Ken Kesey; Supreme Court justices Byron White and Neal Gorsuch; and South Park creator Trey Parker.
Gold & Ghost Towns
The discovery of gold outside of Colorado Springs in 1859 set off the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. The world’s largest silver nugget weighing 1,840 pounds was unearthed near Aspen in 1894. Today, the state has more than 640 ghost towns.
Colorado’s average elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level is the highest of any state and contains 75% of the land area of the U.S. with an altitude of over 10,000 feet.
A fairly young city, Aiken, South Carolina was founded in 1835, and named after William Aiken, then president of the South Carolina Railroad. Near the South Carolina-Georgia border, Aiken is just thirty minutes from The Augusta National Golf Course, home of the Masters Golf Tournament. It’s centrally located; approximately two-and-a-half hours from both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Atlantic Beaches.
Aiken is a smallish town with a big personality, and a year round equine and golf destination. Its humid subtropical climate boasts temperatures ideal for those trying to escape harsh winters, but still desire seasonal variance. It’s famous for an average of 210 days of sunshine, and the native Sabal Palmetto Palms that line roads and highways, and pop up along the outskirts of shady forests. Over the years, southern charm and the area’s northeastern roots have blended to create traditions and a culture that have made Aiken a bit of a South Carolina standout.
Once a winter colony designed to create an escape for the elite of the northeast wanting to flee from harsh winters, the equine sporting tradition in Aiken began with families the likes of the Vanderbilts, and the Rockefellers. The horse racing and training industry remains a integral force in Aiken’s culture and economy. It’s known as the horse training capital of the world. The home of the Fall Steeplechase and spring’s Triple Crown, Aiken attracts tens of thousands of visitors from around the world.
While the equine sporting tradition remains, the city of Aiken has changed and modernized significantly around it. Dirt paths still connect to downtown Aiken, with a stoplight designed specifically for horses and their riders. Recent downtown revitalization brought an influx of high-end restaurants, boutique shops, and a thriving arts and culture scene.
The Augusta National is indeed the area’s most famous course, but Aiken is an equally popular golf destination for non-professional players.
Places to See
Carolina Bay Nature Preserve
Not your average old body of water, Carolina Bays are oval or circular depressions thought to be the result of meterorite impact. Over centuries, they have become natural wetlands in the lowlands of South Carolina. The preserve boasts plant and wildlife not seen elsewhere.
Walk beneath century-old Live Oaks along Hopelands Gardens Estate paths to tour the property and gardens bequeathed to the City the Aiken by Mrs. Oliver Iselin, known as “the great lady of horse racing”.
There’s nothing like a narrated peek at what’s up and out there. Situated on the campus of the University of South Carolina at Aiken, the planetarium’s educational program is directed and run by professors and students of the College of Sciences.
Mardi Gras Festival
Creole cuisine and Abita Beer dominate this yearly festival scene in downtown Aiken every February. Complete with a parade, plenty of beads, bagpipes, and a raucous good time, you might want to plan your trip around this one.
Rose Hill Estate
Initially a winter colony for elites from the northeast, this complex was the first in Aiken to make the list of National Register of Historic Places. It encompasses an entire city block in downtown Aiken, but its intimate charm, stunning grounds, and stately aura has been maintained.
Formerly the Rose Hill Estate’s stables, this downtown Aiken restaurant is one of four in the country to have made the stable-to-table transition.
Hitchcock Woods is sprawled out over 2,100 acres, making it one of the largest urban forests in the country. 70 miles of sandy trails make a horseback tour with the folks at Rebel Ranch Horse Tours the way to go.
Art and Soul of Aiken
Aiken’s creative outlet and gallery of fine, local art, Art and Soul is a place for local artists to sell, and for budding artists to learn to create.
Seahorse Stables offers charming cottages and nearby stables for visiting horses and their families. At Seahorse you can rent horses or bring your own. Trails, tours, and lessons are available.
Aiken Steeplechase and Horse Park
Home of the Triple Crown Races, plan to discover Aiken in March to view the race of your life at Aiken Steeplechase.
Where to Live
A Southern Living-Inspired Community, Woodside is a gated, golf-centric, 55 plus community. The Reserve Club is the community’s social hub with 60+ clubs including a 75-member Trails Club. Woodside makes it easy for visitors to “live like a resident” with a $199, 2 night, 3 day Discovery Package when exploring their ideal living options.
A 2,000-acre private golf community situated between Aiken and Augusta, Mount Vintage hosts a 27-hole golf course designed by world-renowned architect, Tom Jackson. The semi-private clubhouse is a fully restored Piedmont Plantation home built in 1840. Mount Vintage’s nearby Town Center complete with Athletic Club, community garden, and lending library speaks to the family and community focused culture at Mount Vintage.
The Bradshaw Group – Lake Greenwood Real Estate Source/Greenwood Real Estate
Lake Greenwood property is coveted, to say the least, both as second home sites and by active adults looking for their ideal forever home. The Bradshaw Group is Greenwood’s top source for ideal lake homes and property. A bustling and progressive Downtown Greenwood breaks through lake life seclusion, lending lake lovers access to cultural luxuries, nightlife and culinary sophistication.
Mount Vintage is a well-established 2,000 acre private community conveniently located just a few miles from Augusta, GA and Aiken, SC.
Carefully planned to enhance the natural beauty and tranquility of this setting...it is truly one of a kind.
Carefully planned 2,800-acre gated community, recently named one of Money Magazine's "Top Ten Retirement Communities."
Three private 18 hole championship golf courses, tennis pavillion, wooded walking trails and more. Top medical facilities, university town with a mecca of cultural events.
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The Tennessee Music Scene Attracts Visitors of All Ages
Tennessee was made for music. The Tennessee Music Pathways program illustrates this best.
Perhaps it’s the singular geographical breadth of Tennessee – a 500-mile span that sees the Volunteer State remarkably sharing a border with eight brethren (Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina) – that literally make it a crossroads, a geographical confluence of culture, cuisine, dialect, and maybe most importantly, an enduring and profound crossroads for American music.
For it is in Tennessee where seven genres of music – country, gospel, bluegrass, soul, blues, rockabilly, and rock – found a home, were nurtured and have flourished, from Memphis and Nashville to Chattanooga and Bristol. And, all of that enriched musical history can be explored through a new program from the State’s tourism folks called Tennessee Music Pathways (www.tnvacation.com/tennessee-music-pathways).
Tennessee Music Pathways
Tennessee Music Pathways is a state-wide driving tour program that identifies, interprets, and preserves a broad perspective of Tennessee music events, locations, and stories, some great and well known, and some less so, yet equally intriguing. Working with the state historian and through internal research at the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, more than 500 locations, including birthplaces, resting places, hometowns, high schools, churches, and locations of first-known recordings or performances of the musical pioneers and legends, are being incorporated into the driving tour.
“Tennessee Music Pathways connects fans to the people, places, and genres that make Tennessee the Soundtrack of America,” says Tourist Development Commissioner, Kevin Triplett. “From the largest cities to the smallest communities, this state-wide program identifies, explains, and preserves the legacy of music in Tennessee.”
In addition to the seven genres that have found a home in Tennessee, the state has more musicians per capita than anywhere in the world and is home to world-renowned music attractions such as Beale Street, Bluebird Cafe, Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Dollywood, Graceland, Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and the historic Tennessee Theatre.
The State also has partnered with Rolling Stone to offer a program called Six Degrees, a custom online search tool that allows users to enter an artist’s name to see their ‘pathway’ to Tennessee in six degrees or less.
For instance, enter the name Frank Sinatra and you’ll discover that he was inspired by the rhythmic swing of Billy Holiday, who considered legendary Chattanooga native and Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith, as her mentor for musical phrasing. Look up U2, and you’ll see that the band from Dublin recorded the hit song “When Love Comes to Town,” featuring legendary blues performer B.B. King, at historic Sun Studio in Memphis.
Additionally, for those looking to relocate or retire, the state has designated 22 rural and urban locations as Retire Tennessee Communities, all of which either include or frame some of the iconic landmarks of the Tennessee Music Pathways, and all provide the resources and amenities needed to be a viable retirement community. You can discover these communities online at www.tnvacation.com/retire-tennessee/communities.
So, how did Tennessee come to be the home of seven distinct, yet intricately related musical expressions? For the country and bluegrass genres, we can look to the thousands of Scotts-Irish immigrants who moved to the southern Appalachian Mountains in the 18th and 19th centuries, bringing their fiddles and folk music with them. Over the decades their lyrical immigrant music evolved, often in isolation, hidden on mountain cabin front porches or in humble churches across North Carolina, Virginia, and east Tennessee.
That is until 1927 when Ralph Peer, a record executive in New York City for the Victor Talking Machine Company, was scouting for recording talent in the southern states. Peer set up a makeshift recording studio in Bristol, in the very northeast corner of Tennessee, and put the word out he would pay $50, a fortune in those days, for individuals or groups to record their music. Peer’s groundbreaking efforts there are reverently known in the music world as the Bristol Sessions.
The Birthplace of Country Music
Roughly 30 miles away, in the shadow of Clinch Mountain in Virginia, A.P. Carter got the word, and he, his wife Sara, and her sister Maybelle drove to Bristol to make a record. You could do a Ken Burns documentary on the colossal impact of the Carter family on American music, but on the afternoon of August 2, 1927, the three sang “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow,” with Maybelle on scratch guitar and Sara on autoharp. That afternoon marked the birth of commercial country music in the United States. Fittingly, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is located in Bristol, with Mother Maybelle Carter as its matriarch. Bristol is a Retire Tennessee Community.
The popularity of country music was growing in pockets around America in the 20s, largely through the local radio broadcasts of Saturday night barn dances: staged performances of music, square dancing, and other entertainment. Even Chicago had the WLS National Barn Dance radio show.
But, the granddaddy emerged in 1925 when the WSM Barn Dance in Nashville – renamed the Grand Ole Opry in 1927 – became a sheer gravitational force for country, gospel, and bluegrass talent in 1932. That year, the station boosted its signal to 50,000 Clear Channel watts, allowing most of the eastern and central United States to tune in to the Opry. So important is WSM that in 2001 the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville incorporated the unique diamond shape of the WSM radio tower into its logo.
It’s a bit harder to pinpoint the genesis of gospel music in Tennessee, as the genre covered the southern states like dew, born largely from the music emanating from evangelical revivals. We can, however, look to 1871 when an African-American a capella choir from Fisk University in Nashville first began touring and performing Negro spirituals and gospel music…and they still do today. The Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Museum is located at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN, just down the road from Ms. Parton’s home town of Sevierville.
As Nashville was emerging as the country music capital, Memphis, tucked on the banks of the Mississippi River in far west Tennessee, was doing the same as a home to the blues. Its gravitational force was Beale Street, where blues clubs and juke joints sprouted like wildflowers in the early 1900s. B.B. King moved from Arkansas to Memphis in 1948 and became the acknowledged crowned head of the city and undeniable international ambassador for the blues. The original B.B. King’s Blues Club is located in the heart of vibrant Beale Street. King is also acknowledged as one of the founders of the R&B and soul genres.
From the Tennessee Music Pathways website, “They say Country and Blues had a baby, and they called it rock ‘n’ roll. Stand in the delivery room at Sun Studio and watch it grow throughout Tennessee.”
Indeed, The King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley’s first hit recording had the African-American blues song “That’s All Right Mama” on the A-side and the classic Bill Monroe bluegrass song “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on the other. But, the tempo and virility of each song was vastly increased from the original, and therein, Elvis took a giant step in blurring genre lines on his way, along with others, to create a brand new one.
We’ve only scratched the surface here of the vast depth of Tennessee’s musical legacy, iconic landmarks, songwriter inspirations, countless performing arts sites, and renowned music festivals. The 500-mile breadth of Tennessee awaits to share with you and your family the Soundtrack of America.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced film and television productions generated $9.5 billion in economic impact in fiscal year 2017, setting a record with $2.7 billion in direct spending.
320 film and television productions were shot in Georgia, including several Marvel movies, Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
With a total area of nearly 60,000 square miles from the mountains to the sea, Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest airport in terms of both passenger and aircraft traffic.
“The Peach State” of Georgia is no longer America’s leading producer of that sweet fruit. A more contemporary nickname for the nation’s No. 1 grower of peanuts and pecans might be “The Nut State.”
The Masters golf tournament, played every year during the first week in April, is the only one of the game’s four “Majors” to always be played on the same course at Augusta National Golf Club.
Georgia is tax-friendly toward retirees.
Social Security income is not taxed.
Withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially taxed.
Wages are taxed at normal rates, and the marginal state tax rate is 4.00%.
Historic Saint Marys on the Georgia coast is the second oldest city in the nation and the gateway to the pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Coca-Cola was created in Atlanta in 1886 and still has its corporate headquarters in Georgia, along with CNN, Delta Airlines, Chick-fil-A, and Home Depot, among others.
Downtown Savannah, with its 22 park-like squares, numerous restored homes, and commercial buildings, is one of America’s largest National Historic Landmark Districts.
Founded in 1836, Wesleyan College in Macon was the first college in the world specifically chartered to grant degrees to women.
Athens, home of the University of Georgia, was named in 2017 by Southern Living magazine as one of the “Best Small Towns in the South to Retire.”
The Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia encompasses more than 400,000 acres of waterways, moss-draped cypress trees, and lily-pad prairies that provide sanctuary for hundreds of wildlife species, some endangered.
Lake Arrowhead is a beautiful master planned community is just 40 minutes from Atlanta, convenient to nearby Canton, minutes from the new, state-of-the-art Northside Cherokee Hospital and the premiere Cultural Arts Center at renowned Reinhardt University. The vast list of amenities includes miles of walking/hiking trails, pickle ball, championship golf and breathtaking lake and mountain views.
Waterways is a 2,300-acre master-planned community located just 30 minutes from historic Savannah, Georgia, in charming Richmond Hill. Surrounded by a 1,600 acre nature preserve, this is a place where six-and-a-half miles of marsh frontage, over four miles of winding lagoons, and more than a thousand acres of ancient oak hammocks embrace our new homes and homesites.
Welcome to the Low-Country! Located on a peninsula bounded by rivers and ocean we are Georgia's Premier Coastal Community. Enjoy world-class amenities with pools, tennis, fitness center, parks and community docks. All protected by manned/gated 24/7 security for peace of mind.
Located just 21 minutes from Jacksonville, FL International airport, and just a 90 minute drive to Savannah, GA and St. Augustine, Osprey Cove is a constant recipient in the "Top 100 places to Retire." Kiplinger rated Georgia as the #3 in the Top 10 Tax Friendly states for Retirees. This plush coastal community boasts 665 homes. Home buyers in search of an active lifestyle are finding the right fit at Osprey Cove with private golf, tennis, boating and fishing available year round.
The Landings on Skidaway Island is a private gated community known as much for its beauty as for its personality. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway and just 12 miles from the charming and historic city of Savannah, GA, The Landings celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012.
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