This will be the 9th straight NCCGA National Championship I have competed in or helped run, so I speak from experience when I say this will be the largest tournament to date. Over the last 4 years, it has been great to see the growth of the organization as a whole, but also see the National Championship grow from 96 players at Bryan Park Golf Course in the fall of 2010, to 240 players at Dancing Rabbit next month.
Fall 2010 National Championship Leaderboard
With a large field of 120 players competing each day on the Azaleas and Oaks courses, the new NCCGA Pace of Play policy will be critical to meet our under five-hour round goal. With the top players in the nation competing, we are confident that the NCCGA staff and volunteers will be able to enable this pace.
The Dancing Rabbit facility will be one of the best, most hospitable host sites that they players will experience (not to take anything away from some other great experiences at Sea Island, Pinehurst, and Bryan Park). This National Championship will be the association’s most western-based location. As we continue to grow through the US, we are excited at the possibilities in the future of exploring new parts of the country.
The Azaleas course, built in 1997, ranks #34 on Golf Magazine’s top 100 courses you can play in America. Winding through the tree line, this course has many comparable features to Augusta National. Having hosted numerous Mississippi State Amateurs (both men and women’s event) along with Hooter’s Tour and other professional events, the Azaleas course will be a true test for our players. Based on the suggestions from the Dancing Rabbit Director of Golf, Mark Powell, we will be playing this course shorter than the tips (you will thank me later). So if you are hoping to challenge the course record, sorry you will not have the chance to challenge the 63 Chris Stroud shot in the Hooters event from the tips.
The Oaks course, built two years after the Azaleas, will provide a unique challenge as well, boasting additional water hazards and more elevation changes. Course record here from the back tees is 63, not bad.
Our sponsors will also play a big role in making the event successful. Srixon/Cleveland, our official golf sponsor, will once again provide a skills challenge and demo night, giving players access to top of the line equipment. On the Oaks #5, they will setup a feature hole where players will have a chance to earn free gear and a chance at a full set of clubs for a hole-in-one. State Traditions and other sponsors will also be in attendance to showcase their involvement with collegiate club golf.
Looking forward to a great event next month. If you have questions about how qualifying works for the National Championship, I encourage you to check out the qualifying procedure on the Rules page or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to see who around the country has already punched their ticket, check out the National Championship page.
***Matt Weinberger is the Chairman of the NCCGA.