Monday, Apr 21, 2014

Harder Hall has new look


Published:

SEBRING - In 2002, Jimmy Beasley was on top of the world.

The Jacksonville native was at the peak of his golf game, playing on the Nike Tour, and living his dream of being a professional golfer.

And that's when tragedy struck.

Playing in Atlanta, Beasley was preparing to take a routine shot he'd done a thousand times. But as he uncorked his swing, the head of the club collided with a root hidden underneath a handful of pine needles. The impact caused part of his vertebrae to lurch forward, impacting his spinal cord, and it sent him into shock paralysis.

He woke up two days later in a hospital.

"I originally thought I got struck by lightning," Beasley said. "When I woke up, that was the first thing I said: 'I'm so glad to be alive. I know I got hit by lightning - where did I get hit at?'"

Once the paralysis wore off, Beasley began an intense journey of rehab and therapy to become a teaching professional. Now the father of three has come to Sebring with a vision of making Harder Hall Resort Club one of the premiere golf courses in the city.

"I hadn't been behind the counter in the golf business since 1991," Beasley said. "But I got a call from Paul Howard, the owner of Harder Hall, and he asked me if I was interested in taking care of his golf course."

With help from new superintendent Geno Moles, Beasley has had little trouble in implementing his goals.

"There's a lot of new stuff," he said. "And the golf course is in great shape. We've got new pins, new flags, new tee markers, along with four different sets of tees to play from."

The Sebring Golf Academy, which Beasley also oversees, is now located at Harder Hall as well.

"It's on our executive course, which is nine holes and has a driving range," Beasley said. "That will be opening on Oct. 1 - with awesome rates. You can play 18 holes of golf with a cart for between $8 and $10. But we also offer rates at $5 to $8 to walk. It's as good as it gets to play golf."

Much of what's inspired Beasley's work at Harder Hall is due to the majestry of Sebring.

"I fell in love with this town," he said. "The small town love, the humility that people have, and how everybody knows each other - it's just great. Especially the barbers, because I'm pretty OCD when it comes to getting my hair cut, and Huddleston's Barber Shop is just fabulous for me."

Local golf phenom Kendall Griffin has even reached out to Beasley for assistance with improving her game.

"I was hired by her family to help her with her short game," he said. "I love the family. They're just great people. We go to the same church, Grace Bible, and they're just awesome."

Still, even with the golf academy and instructing Griffin, Beasley said his primary goal is lifting the profile of Harder Hall. "I grew up on a golf course," Beasley said. "It was my babysitter. And I want people to know that our team here, we're going to make Harder Hall the No. 1 course in the county."

bhoward@highlandstoday.com

863-386-5841

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