It was the summer of 1982 in Chicago, Tom Tunnicliff had a win streak that rivaled MJ’s Bulls. His free-throw sharp shooting won him a bicycle at a sports bar in Lincoln Park. Dialed in and feeling confident, Tom returned the following week to defend his crown. With the hot hand, he also asked out a young lady named Mary. She agreed to go on the date under one condition, Mary wanted a bike too. Tom’s form went cold, he did not defend his title, however Mary accepted his invite. Just 14 months later Tom and Mary were married; summer ’82 was good to Tom — very good.
Fast forward 34 years, Chicago is still home and always will be, but Georgia is a close second these days. Tom and Mary became members at Reynolds Lake Oconee 17 years ago and love it more each year. The Tunnicliff’s are easy to find on the lake and driving around Greensboro, Georgia. They’re boat is named “Cubs Win” and the Georgia license plate on their car reads, “CUBFNS”.
“One of Tom’s colleagues introduced us to Reynolds and we bought a lot there in 1999,” says Mary. “Eventually we sold the lot and bought a cottage, then sold the cottage and now have a lake house. With each visit, we love Reynolds a little more. And since MetLife bought Reynolds, it continues to get even better,” she adds.
Family trips from Chicago to Georgia were magic for the Tunnicliff family through the years. Their daughter liked it so much that she chose the University of Georgia and is now Bulldog alumni. That same daughter got engaged on the Bluffs Course’s fourth hole, a beautiful par three that sits alongside Lake Oconee. The “Cubs Win” boat was discreetly parked nearby to capture the proposal. Reynolds memories and Georgia roots run deep for the Tunnicliff’s.
Affectionately known as “Camp Happy” by the members, Tom and Mary visit Reynolds from Chicago as often as possible. They play golf three or four times a week and spend a lot of time in the resort-like fitness center at the Lake Club. The Lake Club is the hub in the community; there are three pools there, weight room and full schedule of group exercise classes such as yoga and Zumba. Members go there to swim laps, relax poolside, have lunch or grab a standup paddleboard and explore the lake.
“With six golf courses, we have several options. I choose the course depending on how I’m playing. If I’m playing well then, I take on one of the harder courses such as Great Waters and if I’m playing bad then I play an easier one to get my confidence back,” Mary says laughing.
Every fall the Tunnicliff’s and other Reynolds members go on a golf trip somewhere else for a change of scenery. The trip has a name Tom tells us, “We call it the ‘Reynolds Appreciation Trip’ because it doesn’t matter where we go, all of us agree that it’s better at Reynolds.”
There’s a lot of love in the Tunnicliff story: love for golf, putting green proposals and fondness for Chi-Town and “Jawja.” Love knocks without warning — for those that see the “Cubs Win” cruising around Lake Oconee, its origins are a free-throw shooting contest at a Lincoln Park sports bar.