Montgomery County welcomes golf championships

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Elements of the strategic partnership include: Golf Genius as the exclusive tournament management solution for Golf Channel Am Tour. (MONTCO.Today file photo)

By Tony Leodora

Turn the calendar back 17 years.

Montgomery County was the undisputed golf capital of Pennsylvania.

It had everything.

There was a total of 60 golf courses in this tiny county – 28 miles long and 14 miles wide. That was the most golf courses, per square mile, of any county in America.

It had some of the most renowned golf courses in the country – many having received Top 100 recognition over the years.

It had a number of new daily fee courses that brought modern technology and conveniences to the golfers of the area.

It had everything … except the most basic of elements, when describing life in the competitive golf world. It didn’t have a championship.

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That’s when the Montgomery County Amateur Championship burst on the scene – uniting public and private players in the quest to identify the best golfer in this golf-rich county.

Since that time the Amateur Championship grew to include the Senior Championship, the Super-Senior Championship, the Individual Handicap Championship and the Better-Ball-of-Partners Handicap Championship.

Probably the most significant addition was the Junior Boys’ Championship and the Junior Girls’ Championship. Both provided a path for deserving junior golfers to earn college scholarships. The winners of each Junior Championship won a scholarship – the Dave Marshall Memorial Scholarship, named after a former Blue Bell CC member and accomplished amateur golfer who had a passion for promoting the game to youngsters.

Also, all junior players were encouraged to submit their personal resumes. Based on academics, sportsmanship and service to the community, additional scholarships were awarded – the Harry Mirabile Memorial Scholarship, dedicated to the memory of a county businessman who started a scholarship fund and encouraged other golf-friendly businesses to become involved. Over the years, a total of 48 scholarships have been awarded.

This year’s championships will be played on four courses in the county.

The Individual Handicap Championship will take place on Saturday, July 28 at Westover Golf Club. Competition will take place in three divisions – Men age 49 and under, Men age 50 and older, and Women. The winners in the three divisions will compete in a putt-off to determine the ultimate Handicap Champion, who wins a spot in the 2019 World Amateur Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach.

The Better-Ball Handicap Championship will take place on Sunday, July 29 at Raven’s Claw Golf Club – site of the LPGA Symetra Tour’s Valley Forge Invitational in May. The winning team in that competition also will claim a spot in the 2019 World Amateur Handicap Championship in Myrtle Beach.

On Thursday, August 2, the Amateur Championship will be held at Blue Bell Country Club — a 36-hole one-day battle for county residents who have a USGA handicap of 7.0 or lower. Also, in 18-hole competition, the Senior Championship (age 50 and older), Super-Senior Championship (age 65 and older) and Women’s Championship will be contested.

The Junior Championships, for both boys and girls, will take place at The 1912 Club (formerly Plymouth CC) on Friday, August 3. Trophy presentations and the annual Taste of Montgomery County – restaurants providing menu samplings to players and their guests — will take place after each day of competition.

Each year – a sign of modern times – entries have come to the tournament office later and later. This year, there has been a flood of last-minute entries.

As a result, the deadline for entries has been extended.

The new entry deadline for the Handicap Divisions is close of business Monday, July 23.

The new entry deadline for Championship Divisions is Thursday, July 26.

Entries must be received in the tournament office by those dates.

Entry forms are available at any golf pro shop in Montgomery County, as well as online at www.montcoamateur.com. For more information, call 610-279-9220.

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