Larry Nelson is many things: a World Hall of Fame golfer, a U.S. Army veteran and a native of Acworth. Though born in Alabama, Nelson grew up here in the Lake City and is a graduate of North Cobb High School. After graduation, he served in Vietnam, and during his time in the military, he married another Acworth native, Gayle Harrison. He graduated from Kennesaw Junior College (now Kennesaw State University) in 1970.
Unlike many of the famous golfers he has come to know over the years, Nelson did not start playing golf until he was 21, instead preferring baseball and basketball while he was in school. After discovering his natural talent for golf, he learned to play by studying Ben Hogan’s book, “The Five Fundamentals of Golf.” Nelson broke 100 the first time he played and broke 70 within nine months.
Nelson turned pro in 1971 and qualified for the PGA Tour in 1973. He won his first PGA tournament in 1979 and, since then, has gone on to win countless tournaments around the world during his long career.
The Marietta resident was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 1990 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006. He was the 2011 PGA Distinguished Service Award recipient and, most recently, was the 2023 Memorial Tournament Honoree at an event hosted by Jack Nicklaus.
In September, Nelson and his wife will be returning to their hometown of Acworth for a special evening in their honor. An Evening with Larry and Gayle Nelson will be held in the Tanyard Creek Overlook at the Acworth Community Center, 4361 Cherokee St., on Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Hosted by the Save Acworth History Foundation and the city of Acworth, the event will be emceed by Mayor Tommy Allegood and will feature dinner catered by Acworth’s 1885 Grill. The Nelsons will share stories and take part in a Q&A session. And there will be several surprises, including an auction for a chance to play in a foursome with Nelson.
Tickets, which are on sale through Sept. 1, are $40 each, and VIP tables that seat eight are $1,000. All proceeds benefit the efforts of the Save Acworth History Foundation to preserve and share the city’s history.
For more information and tickets, call 770-546-7511 or visit https://saveacworthhistory.org.
– Andrew Bramlett is vice president of the Kennesaw Historical Society and an honorary member of the Kennesaw Cemetery Preservation Commission.