In the world of golf, Tony Farmer has done everything. To honor his myriad accomplishments on and around the links, Tony has been elected to the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame class of 2015.
At West Fannin High School he played basketball for three seasons, baseball for four seasons and golf during his junior and senior years, the only two years that the school had a golf team during his time there. He graduated from West Fannin in the spring of 1971.
Tony began playing golf around the age of 15. He had a natural talent for the game and improved rapidly. While at West Fannin, he won the Region 6A individual championship in 1971 at Chattahoochee Golf Club near Gainesville and went on to finish third in the state tournament held in Hinesville, Georgia.
After high school, Tony entered West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia. As a freshman there, he finished in the top 5 at the NAIA, District 25 tournament played at Callaway Gardens. That performance earned him a full golf scholarship at West Georgia. He was a member of the varsity golf team for the next three seasons and was named MVP of the team each year. He was the low medalist in the GIAC Conference in 1972 and was named to the NAIA All-District team.
Soon after earning his college degree in accounting, Tony turned pro and began his professional golf career like many others, as an apprentice professional at a recognized PGA golf course, namely the Rolling Hills Golf Club near Cleveland, Tennessee. He won the Rolling Hills Tournament Championship in 1972 and 1973. Thus began Tony’s 42-year (so far) career as a professional golfer.
Tony’s golf odyssey has taken him from Fannin County to Cleveland, Tennessee to Memphis to Arizona to Texas, back to Arizona and finally back to Cleveland and Naples, Florida. Although he narrowly missed earning his PGA Tour Player’s Card, his accomplishments have been many and varied.
He won more than 20 mini-tour events during his playing career. He also won three tournaments in Mexico. Tony won the West Tennessee PGA Championship at Colonial Country Club in Memphis in 1978. He won the New Hampshire State Open in 1984. He finished third in the Tennessee State Open in 1976.
Tony holds 10 course records including a score of 58 at the Copper Basin Golf Club. He qualified for and competed in the U.S. Open at Oakmont, Pennsylvania in 1983. He recently recorded the 15th hole in one of his career.
On the non-playing side of golf, Tony has worn a number of hats including those of head pro, teaching pro, general manager and he even owned a golf course for a time in Arizona. He achieved the PGA membership classification of A-1 when he held the position of Head Professional at the Casa Grande Golf Club in Arizona.
In 2000, the rigors of playing golf almost constantly for 40 years caught up with Tony and he was required to undergo hip replacement surgery. Although an unpleasant physical experience, the surgery did open up an entire new golf opportunity for Tony. His lofty reputation for his knowledge of all aspects of the game, gave him the opportunity to become a teacher and caddy for many luminaries such as Peyton Manning, George W. Bush and John Schuerholtz.
Today Tony Farmer splits his time between the Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tennessee and the Olde Florida Golf Club in Naples, Florida. He spends spring and summer in Tennessee and fall and winter in Florida. His client base includes several corporations and individuals who depend upon his expertise in pursuing their golfing passions. His strength when playing was his putting and Tony’s fortes as a caddy are reading greens and club selection. He has earned the reputation as one of the best in the business.
Golf has been good to Tony Farmer, and Tony Farmer has been good for golf. He has played at least one round of golf in all 50 of the United States and on five different continents. When asked about his favorite course, he thinks a while and finally decides that Cypress Point on the California Monterey Peninsula is pretty hard to beat for the combination of golf challenge and natural beauty of the surroundings. He singles out Ben Hogan as his favorite professional golfer of all-time.
Tony grew up in McCaysville, the son of John and Edna Earle Burger Farmer. His older brother, the late Gregg Farmer, was a standout basketball player at West Fannin and West Georgia College. His younger brother, Johnny Farmer, was also an outstanding player and legendary coach of the Fannin County High School girls basketball teams for many years. Tony joins brother Johnny as a member of the Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame.
Tony has one son, Matthew, who is a fire fighter/paramedic in Arizona. He met his wife Evelyn in 2000 and the two have been married for seven years.