My home course would be the perfect host for a ...
How often have we heard them begin a sentence just that way? Maybe you and I are part of that “they.” If it’s not our home course, then it’s another local track that everyone rates the best this or the best that. And if it were simply the course that mattered, then all would be well and the 2010 US Open would be contested over the Nuestro Favorito Golf and Country Club, in Pueblo Mio, USA.
But that’s not all that matters, is it?
Everyone shoots for the top, and thinks US Open. Viewer Greg Pinelli, in an insightful commentary, recommended reading Open, by John Feinstein, to get a sense of what actually goes into a top-level tournament. In as pithy a manner as I can summon, a lot.
I’ve been fortunate to attend a Telus Skins Game in Ontario, four or five Nationwide events, a number of Porter Cups (top-level Amateur) and Junior Masters renditions, and have come away with a bit of sight myself. I was at Bethpage as a spectator for the Feinstein Open, and at Shinnecock as a writer. So here is my step-by-step tournament path for clubs that might want to hold the best of the best in the next L years.
1) Local championship: Publinks or local District event. Get the scratch players in your area to agree that your course is challenging, then speed up the greens, slow down the rough, and firm up the fairways so that an average score of +5 per round wins the day.
2) State championship: You’ll guarantee a number of collegiate players, as a state title gets you an invite to all the great amateur events (Western, North & South, Sunnehanna, Monroe, Porter Cup, Rice Planters, Players, et al.) These kids will bomb it, so set the tees way back and do A, B and C from step 1. If the champ is at least +2 per round, then you’re in good stead.
3) One-Day Pro-Am or Invitational: There’s a course in western New York called Crag Burn that used to have all the pros down from the Canadian Open for a one-day shoot-out. The acclaim for the course was universal, yet the consensus was that the Trent Jones, Sr. course was just a step away. Lack of extensive clubhouse facilities, no local housing, and wee roadways precluded funneling of mass amounts of spectators in and out.
4) Nationwide or Tour event: If you can’t get the big one (US Open), many courses go for this one. A cute little course in Rochester (NY) called Irondequoit held the Xerox classic this year. It is a healthy three-wood from neighbor Oak Hill, site of multiple PGA and Open championships, but not nearly the test. Still, it was so old-school (narrow fairways, quirky approaches, moundy-boundy greens) that the Nationwide boys had a tough time with it.
5) Any other USGA event: The amateur and women’s Open are excluded, but any of the other events do not require the length of course and sizeable facility infrastructure needed for the big-ticket events. A junior event is a nice way to introduce your membership to the commitment required to host a larger event. If you can deal with teenagers and their over-zealous parental entourages, you just might be ready to step up to older ams and their overly over-zealous parental entourages.
Those are my thoughts. Note that I did not delve into the committee structures, sponsorship requirements, security issues, ordinance variances, etc. There is a good reason: I don’t know enough. That’s why Feinstein wrote the book and I didn’t. But my copy is on the way. Abebooks.com came through again with a $4 copy (including shipping.) Thanks, Greg, for the tip.
|« Galileo and GPS: Euros win Ryder Cup again!||A baker's dozen of modern books on golf that you need to read »|