April 21, 2013

Chris Whitfield: Catching up on (golf) courses this spring

— With the arrival of spring weather — this weekend’s temperature drop notwithstanding — area courses are getting ready for their busiest time of the year, and the area’s public courses are in varying conditions.

In Cohutta, Nob North officials had been hoping for a break in the rain so drier conditions could help firm up the course. Despite not getting any rain during this past Wednesday’s storms, the back nine at Indian Trace in Chatsworth was closed over the weekend after runoff came onto the course.

Also in Murray County, Spring Lakes Golf Club general manager Lonnie Reese said the course went through its first fertilization in a number of years over the winter, and it is showing on the course.

“The course is as green as I can ever remember it this early,” Reese said. “Because the course drains so well with the ponds and lakes we have on it, we can get a lot of play even when it has been wet like this year as been. It is in great shape.”

• Do you still have some college eligibility left or are you a student at Dalton State College who likes to chase balata? Think you can hang with collegiate golfers from around the Southeast?

If this is you, the Roadrunners, who are restarting their athletic program during the 2013-2014 academic year, are looking for men and women who might want to give college golf — or golfers who want to give college — one more try.

Tryouts will be held this Thursday at Nob North Golf Course with tee times scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

Dalton State coach Ben Rickett, who recently caddied for U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox at the Masters, asks anyone planning to try out to contact him at brickett@daltonstate.edu. A waiver form and a personal information form must be completed and returned to Rickett no later than Tuesday.

• The area’s high school region tournaments will conclude this week, with the state sectionals and state championships scheduled for May.

The Region 7-4A boys tournament will be played Monday at Dalton Golf and Country Club. That club will also host the Georgia High School Association’s Class 4A boys state tournament on May 20, the date for all state tournaments. The state championship for Class 4A girls will take place at Nob North.

Christian Heritage’s boys play in the Area 4-A tournament Monday at Coosa Country Club in Rome. Also on Monday, Murray County’s girls will play in the Region 7-2A tournament at Elks Course in Calhoun, while the Indians will play their region tourney Thursday at Calhoun’s Fields Ferry. Indian Trace will host the Region 7-4A girls tournament on Tuesday.

The Class 3A girls state tournament — the field will include the North Murray girls, who won the Region 5-3A championship — will take place at Chateau Elan in Braselton. North Murray’s Colby Hipp made the Class 3A boys state tournament as the lowest scoring golfer on a non-qualifying team, so he’ll play at Reunion Country Club in Hoschton.

The Class 2A boys state tournament is at Rocky Creek, while the girls will play Hawks Point. Both courses are in Vidalia.

There is no truth to the rumor that the low medalist gets a bag of onions.

• Henry Van Antwerp won a unique tournament at Nob North during Masters weekend.

Golfers at Nob North were “paired” with players competing in Augusta, with the two golfers’ scores from Sunday combined.

Van Antwerp was paired with Adam Scott and won the first flight. Second flight winners were Michael Cole and Tiger Woods. In the third flight, Wayne Mathis and Brandt Snedeker took the win.

The next tournament in the Nob North series will be May 18-19 for the Spring Fling tournament. The Spring Fling is a two-man event with six holes of best ball, six holes of alternating shot and six holes of select shot on the first day. The second day is a best ball format.

For more information on events at the course, visit nobnorth.com.

• Spring Lakes has a couple of competitive events coming up in the next few weeks.

On April 28, the Members Men’s Association tournament will be played, and on May 4-5, the course will host a three-man Texas Scramble event with shotgun starts at 1 p.m. Like a regular scramble, teams of three will play their best ball on each shot, but the variation is that each of the players must use their drivers an equal number of times.

Spring Lakes also has one of the best twilight packages in the area. Most courses offer some sort of late afternoon discount on rounds, but Spring Lakes’ twilight rates take effect at 1:30 p.m. For $27, you can play unlimited golf with a cart.

For more information on happenings at Spring Lakes, call (706) 695-9300.

For a little competitive golf on a weekly basis, Indian Trace offers a two-man select tournament each Tuesday with tee times starting at 3 p.m. and lasting until 6. The cost of the tournament is $20 for nine holes, with $5 of the entry fee going to the tournament prize pool.

• One of the best local high school tournaments of the year is the Lady Conasauga Cup for girls teams from Whitfield and Murray County. This year’s tournament will be played April 29 at Indian Trace.

Dalton, Murray County, North Murray, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield teams will meet in a bid to take home the Cup.

• This time of year is also a busy one for area courses as they host fundraiser and charity benefit tournaments on a regular basis.

Usually four-man scramble tournaments, these events serve as a huge revenue generator for area charities, booster clubs and worthwhile causes. Be sure to check out the Local Sports Calendar for listings of area benefit scrambles, and send information on upcoming events to sports@daltoncitizen.com to get your event listed when our calendar runs each Monday (and additionally as space allows) in the sports section. The calendar is also always online at daltonnow.com/events.

• The Georgia State Golf Association has plenty of competitions coming up this summer, and the organization will bring one of its most prestigious tournaments to Whitfield County.

The 48th annual Georgia Junior Championship will be held June 17-19 at The Farm in Rocky Face. The event is open to male amateur golfers between the ages of 14-17 on the dates of the competition and the deadline for entry is May 29.

The format of the event is 54 holes of stroke play, with the field cut to the low 70 and ties after 36 holes. The top eight finishers will be invited to represent the state in the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge later this year.

Last year, Duluth golfer Andy Shim won at Doublegate Country Club in Albany with an 11-under-par 205 and went on to win the U.S. Junior Amateur.

Registration is also open for the 34th annual Georgia Girls Championship. The tournament will take place June 17-19 at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek and is open to female golfers ages 9-17 on the dates of the tournament. The deadline to register is May 29 as well.

Other tournaments currently open for registration are the Georgia Senior Women’s Match Play Championship (through May 1) and the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship (through May 15).

For more information on all GSGA events, visit gsga.org.

Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Send your golf news, notes and story ideas to him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.