When Mac McLendon looks back on his 12 ½ years on the Professional Golfers Tour, it is the many stories he collected along the way that are his most favorite memories.
“In all honesty, I thought my career of 12 ½ years on the PGA Tour was somewhat mediocre, but what meant the most to me were the many stories and people I encountered along the way,” McLendon said.
McLendon, with the help of freelance writer Niki Sepsas, has compiled many of those stories in the newly released book “Changing Courses: The Journey of PGA Tour Golfer Mac McLendon.” A book signing ceremony was held recently at the Troy University Golf Clubhouse facility.
His time on tour enabled McLendon to develop relationships with some of the greats of the game, including Arnold Palmer. It also provided the opportunity to play with some celebrities like renowned stunt performer Evel Knievel and to give a putting lesson to President Gerald Ford.
“I never really thought about writing a book,” McLendon said. “I played a lot of amateur golf when I was young and then went on to LSU on scholarship. When I was starting my junior year at LSU, I was really playing well. I had read that Jack Nicklaus kept a journal in which he kept up with every round of golf he ever played. I thought that was a great idea, so I started doing it and just continued it. I would write down after every round who I had played, how they had played and how I had played. I would write down anything notable.”
After finishing his college career, during which he won the Southeastern Conference individual title for three straight years and was named an All-American, McLendon had supporters that wanted to sponsor him for the PGA Tour. He advanced through the qualifying school and earned his way onto the tour.
“The first tournament I played, I won it. It was the Magnolia Open,” he said. “The next tournament was the Memphis Open, and the last round, I played with Arnold Palmer, who I had met in college when I was named to the All-American team. I got where I was playing practice rounds with him, and we just became friends. But, Arnold was a friend to everyone.”
After leaving the PGA Tour, McLendon chose to follow a new path – that of a financial advisor. However, the cherished memories of his opportunity to make a living while playing a game he loved never faded, and he wanted to share those stories with others.
“My main goal in writing this book was to inspire as many young people as possible to set their sights on a goal and then work hard to achieve that goal,” he said. “I hope that they will find lessons in this book that will lead them to success and happiness in pursuing their dreams.”
All the proceeds from the sale of the book, which is $30, will go to the Lance Robert McLendon Foundation, which Mac and his wife, Joan, established in 2001 in memory of their son, a TROY graduate, who passed away at the age of 29 due to complications from Crohn’s Disease.
“Lance loved Troy University, and set his sights on graduating from what he considered ‘his school.’ He did just that,” McLendon wrote in the book’s forward. “He wanted to be a ‘brother’ of the TROY chapter of the Farmhouse Fraternity. He did that also. He wanted to go to Campus Outreach during the summer months to enjoy fellowship with other young people. He did that as well. Lance felt these goals that he set were necessary for him to accomplish his mission and for his life to have true meaning. He successfully reached each of his goals in the very brief 29 years he was with us.”
The McLendon Foundation has continued to honor Lance’s love for TROY through the years in a variety of ways, including assisting with the renovation of Bibb Graves Hall. A classroom in the building bears Lance’s name.
A lasting impact on the University is also seen through the close to 100 scholarships that have been awarded over the last 12 years thanks to the Foundation.
“What we hope is continuing to have the greatest impact on Troy University is the number of scholarships that are awarded annually to the school’s students through the Lance Robert McLendon Foundation,” he said, noting he, his wife Joan and daughter Amy and her husband Jason personally interview finalists for the scholarship awards each year.
Those interested in ordering the book may do so by emailing Joan McLendon at firstname.lastname@example.org.