The Treasure Coast has some of the best golf courses in the country and many of the world’s top golfers who are members of these clubs.
This weekend our region is going back to its roots, so to speak, when the 34th Treasure Coast Amateur Championship takes place at the Sandridge Golf Club in Vero Beach. The 36-hole event takes place on Saturday and Sunday on the dune course.
“If it’s not the oldest tournament on the Treasure Coast, it’s one of the oldest,” said Bela Nagy, Sandridge Golf Director. “It’s what I call one of our three majors, with the Father-Son and the Dick Bird Team Championship.”
The Treasure Coast Amateur Championship was started in 1988 when Bob Komarinetz was hired as a professional chef at Sandridge. Komarinetz, now the Distinguished Professional Golfer who sits on the Tournament Rules Committee, saw the need for such an event and no doubt a way to raise awareness of Sandridge.
The three previous columns by Craig Dolch:
Designed for TV:Chance encounter leads to documentary about paralyzed golfer that airs on Golf Channel
Honored again:Dolch: Induction into Fifth Golf Hall of Fame, a surprise for Stuart’s Jerry Tucker
Fly by:Dolch: Hush! Putting silence could give way to loud planes at Sailfish Sands golf course
The tournament has stood the test of time. It was held in October, but after being delayed for a year by a hurricane, the event was moved to December and combined with the Indian River County Championship and Indian River County Senior Championship. This weekend’s event is sold out again with 84 players.
The beauty of this event – aside from the nominal $ 125 entry fee – is that it attracts the Treasure Coast’s top amateur gamers as well as the rest of us weekend hackers. The Championship division will be based on the 10 lowest scores after the first round, with everyone competing in their age groups from different tees for scratch and net prizes.
Bottom line: Everyone has a chance to win something with a few good spins. But it’s never easy to put together a course that caters to such a wide range of skills.
“That’s the challenge,” said Nagy, who said the course will be set at 6,500 yards for the top players. “We have a lot of very good players – some over-handicaps. But you need to be aware of the whole area, so you don’t want to set it up too hard. I try to vary the bowling with six easy, six medium and six difficult each day.
There have been a few notable winners, particularly in the Indian River County Championship. The inaugural event was won by Ed Barenborg (Jackie Stoelting’s dad), followed by Sal Spallone (who played professional golf) and Steve Owen (Jake’s dad) twice. Tim Kelly has won the event five times, Jamie Hall three times.
Kelly will look to defend her senior championship this year, as will reigning champions Jon Cross (Treasure Coast Amateur) and Tim Gavrich (Indian River County Championship) in what should be Chamber of Commerce weather.
Due to the tournament setup, more than three winners will be leaving the Sandridge Golf Club.
With the game of golf.
Anniversary at the PGA Golf Club: The PGA Tournament Series returns to the PGA Golf Club this week, marking the 25th anniversary of the first event the PGA of America hosted at the club in 1996.
The PGA Tournament Series attracts most of the top PGA pros from across the country, some of whom have competed in the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions. They play six 36-hole events with the winner receiving $ 5,000.
In January, the PGA also hosts its Winter Championships at the PGA Golf Club, which consist of six tournaments, including a pair of team events.
Once again, Marie-Claire De Bortoli of Club Med Sandpiper in Port St. Lucie was named one of the LPGA’s 50 Best Teachers list… Patrick Capozzi and David Jatlow were named Course Rating Volunteers of the Year by Florida State Golf Association. Capozzi and Jatlow Co-Captain of the Vero Beach Area Course Review Team… The PGA Golf Club will be holding their annual Red, White & You Charity Tournament on Sunday with money raised to benefit PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) and PGA REACH. The event is sold out. There will also be a Fairway 5K run / walk on Sunday.