SHELLEY — Since the age of 16, Shelley's Tanner Higham has competed in the George Von Elm golf tournament, and up until earlier this week no one, including Higham had any idea if he was even going to tee a ball up when the tournament begins today.
"The Von Elm is always a good tournament and brings in some of the best players in Idaho," Higham said. "I was not sure up until a few days ago that I wanted to play because there was another big tournament in Utah and since I live down there now I thought about playing in that one. But when I sat down and thought about it I figured I would come back and play in the Von Elm."
After finishing his junior season at Utah State, Higham has taken a little break from his golf game over the last few weeks, this weekends Von Elm is the official kick-start to his preparation for his senior season of golf.
"I have really enjoyed my time at Utah State," Higham said. "My teammates are really fun to be around and the competition I get to play against all season is really good. I am really looking forward to my senior season."
Higham ended his junior season on a high note after finishing 11th in the 2013 Western Athletic Conference golf championships played at the Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, Nev.
At just 23 years old, Higham has yet to etch his name on the Von Elm trophy. But the fact does not deter him from going out and giving his best effort in front of many people that have played with or watched Higham play for years.
When it comes to golf in Bingham County the Higham family has made quite the name for themselves. Tanner is the latest in the family to take the local golf scene by storm.
"I think this tournament is the highlight of the local golf scene and it is right up there in the state amateur as one of the best tournaments in Idaho," Higham said. "(Blackfoot club pro) Mike Dayley always puts on a good tournament and the players that come make it a very good tournament to play in."
This years' Von Elm field will included Higham and 207 other golfers ay looking to take home a victory in one of the tournament's six flights.
Higham and his handicap of +2.5 will be participating in the championship flight.
"I don't really know who is playing this weekend, so I am not sure really what to expect," Higham said. "My goal is to gout and play the best that I can."
Like many other who have played a round at the Blackfoot Municipal Golf Course, Higham said the key to a good round is getting through the course's first five holes.
"The first is hole is pretty easy, it's along par five," Higham said. But holes two through five are very tough. Each hole is long and the fairways are very narrow and the greens are very small."
The front nine is the original course designed by Von Elm himself. The back nine was added about 20 years ago and give golfers a lot more room to make a mistake or make a great shot.
"The greens are always in good shape on the course," Higham said. Having good greens is the most important feature of a golf course for me."
While the goal for each who tee up a ball this weekend is to win, all but six will leave the course with nothing but memories and missed opportunities.
"I think the main thing for me is to play good regardless of whether I win or not," Higham said. "My goal from now through any other tournament I play this summer is the same, play well and get my game in order for the college season."
The 52nd annual George Von Elm tournament begins today at 8 a.m. The final round kicks off Sunday morning at 8 a.m. The championship flight is expected to tee-off their final round at around 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.