February 28, 2014

Tournament ups the stakes for area’s top golfers

Even with its tremendous success, organizers of the Roman Open charity golf tournament are always looking for new ways to improve on an event that has raised more than $1 million for local charitable organizations.

This year, golfers can raise the stakes by competing in the first-ever Championship Flight aimed at giving the top teams in the scramble-format event a little more to play for.

The Roman Open will be held on May 12 at Dalton Golf and Country Club with either a morning or an afternoon tee time. In the past, there have been three open flights in the morning and three in the afternoon with teams placed into different flights based on their combined team handicap.

Now, one of the three morning flights will be reserved for a field of 10 “elite” teams of four golfers. The first 10 paid entries requesting to play in the Championship Flight will make up the field.

“The real thinking was that we have had some exciting tournaments, and the participation with some very good golfers has been at a high level,” said Roman Open board member and past president Tom Rennie. “One of the things we thought was making an additional challenge and trying to get the best out of the top golfers. It is all a fun-based tournament, but our thinking was to give the best players a little more to play for.”

In the other five flights of the tournament, teams have been able to buy mulligans and other playing options such as playing a hole from a red ladies tee. However, the championship flight will be played from the course’s championship gold tees and there will be no special offers. Also, standard bearers will walk with each team displaying its score as the tournament progresses.

“It will be straight up golf,” Rennie said. “It will be a winner-take-all system. The team that wins the Championship Flight, they will have the bragging rights for a year and a really big trophy.”

The trophy will remain on display at the Country Club and will have the names of the winners engraved each year.

“We are at the very beginning of it, but word of mouth is that it is generating a lot of excitement,” Rennie said.

“This is adding a little extra enthusiasm for the total tournament. We will still have the five regular flights for the average to below-average golfers to make it a fun day.”

The cost of each four-person team in the tournament is $800. However, the cost of entering the Championship Flight is $1,000.

For the other five flights, there will be contests for closest to the pin, longest drive, most accurate drive, door prizes and, according to a release from the organizers, the “best ditty bag in northwest Georgia.” There will be a breakfast buffet for the morning players and a lunch buffet for the afternoon.

Funds raised will be distributed to local charities. For more information, to register a team, to volunteer or to sponsor the event, contact Andrea Ownbey at romanopencharities@yahoo.com or (706) 980-3884. Businesses wanting to help sponsor the event can also contact Vann Brown at vann.brown@star-na.com.

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