BLACK BUTTE RANCH —
As the sun began to warm up the Glaze Meadow course at Black Butte Ranch early Sunday morning, old friends and new acquaintances began rolling into the clubhouse.
There were handshakes and hugs, smiles and laughs, even a story or two of their friend: the namesake of the tournament in which a full field of 120 golfers were preparing to tee off.
For the first Terry R. Anderson Classic, Sunday — a day celebrating the life and memory of Anderson, who died in January at 74 years old after a three-year battle with bladder cancer — was as ideal as it could be.
“It’s necessary now,” Emily Anderson Stewart, the second of Anderson’s four children and a golf pro at Black Butte Ranch, said of the tournament she organized. “It’s hard to find community anymore. You’ve got people that have been in Bend since it was 15,000 people, and you have people that just moved here and just met (Anderson) last year.
“It’s pretty awesome.”
It says something about the level of respect for Terry Anderson in these parts that the playing field for the tournament was filled within just a few days of it being finalized several months ago. In fact, Stewart said, she had to turn away an estimated 65 players because the tourney reached its maximum.
“It wasn’t made public, and it sold out within 72 hours,” she said of the tournament. “I got phone calls for three days straight. It was crazy.”
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Randy Chang, who worked with Anderson at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland some 30 years ago, said of the tourney’s turnout. “It’s nice to see what he’s done when you talk about his legacy and how he touched all the people he’s been around at all the places he’s been to. Just that genuine personality. He really cared about everybody. That just shows right here.”
The slogan of the inaugural Terry R. Anderson Classic was a simple: The legacy begins.
In reality, however, it was more like the legacy continues. After all, Anderson had been a Central Oregon golf fixture since becoming the first director of golf at Eagle Crest in the mid-1980s and through his time as the PGA head pro at Black Butte Ranch.
He maintained junior golf programs in the area, and he had a hand in beginning the now decades-old Central Oregon Junior Golf Association (COJGA). He was a strong supporter of the KIDS Center, a child abuse intervention center based in Bend, and took pride in hosting charity golf tournaments — like the one staged in his name Sunday.
Fittingly, proceeds from the Terry R. Anderson Classic benefited the KIDS Center, with 120 Anderson “disciples,” if you will, carrying on the legacy of the tournament’s namesake.
“He did so many good things, and there’s so many good things we still do, that a group like this understood his purpose and his mission,” Stewart said. “And I think if I can keep it going … really until it’s not supported anymore, I’m just going to keep it going.”
“The legacy’s been alive for decades,” laughed Max Levitch. “It’s everything.”
Levitch grew up playing in COJGA, from his days as a sixth-grader through his four-year high school career at Summit in Bend. Now an assistant superintendent at Pronghorn’s Nicklaus Course, Levitch recognized the importance of carrying on what Anderson left behind.
“He meant so much to me in my life,” Levitch said. “The crazy thing with Terry is all the years I knew him and all the years I went out to play at Eagle Crest or at Black Butte, I never once played golf with him and he never once saw me hit a ball and I never once saw him hit a ball.
“But it’s just what he meant as a mentor and as someone to look up to. It was all due to our love of golf. In the grand scheme of things, he was just a good friend.”
It did not matter if one of Sunday’s players — or one of the 200 or so who attended a memorial service at Unitarian Universalist Church in Bend the day before — knew Anderson for 30 years or 30 seconds. All stories and emotions paralleled each other.
“He’s just been one of those friends that lasted forever,” Chang said. “I didn’t think something would happen like that.”
At the tournament Sunday, an oil painting of Anderson, commissioned and donated by Bend Golf Club, rested on an easel in the Black Butte Ranch clubhouse. As she looked at the artwork, Stewart paused in awe. She thought about the 120 golfers out on the course, hacking away in honor of her late father. She thought about how many more were turned away from this inaugural tournament, how she might go to a double-shotgun format next year to accommodate.
“It’s like having my entire childhood brought back into one time frame,” Stewart said. “I’m hoping to keep it going as long as I can. If I can get even just this 120 every year, it’s going to have such a good impact. There’s so much good stuff that gets done.”