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What you need to know for 04/29/2017

VSI embracing Time-for-Nine theme

VSI embracing Time-for-Nine theme

Time is of the essence. We all know that the game we love has a few drawbacks, and one of the major

Time is of the essence.

We all know that the game we love has a few drawbacks, and one of the major ones is the time it takes to play 18 holes. Most of us just don’t have more than five hours to labor through a full round, especially if it’s a couple of times a week.

With that in mind, Van Schaick Island Country Club, located at 201 Continental Ave., in Cohoes, has come up with an exciting new format for a nine-hole tournament, the Capital Region 9-Hole Open Golf Championship, set for May 17.

The fresh new concept will be open to anyone from the Capital Region who has an established USGA handicap index. It will be a nine-hole medal-play event, and all competitors will be grouped according to handicap. Everyone plays scratch in a flight of similar ability. There will be both men’s and women’s flights.

“We’re trying to do two things with this tournament,” said tournament chairman Tom Amello. “We [local clubs] could all use more membership. It’s a real challenge because the game is expensive. Affordability is a real issue, and it certainly costs less to play nine holes than 18.

“But the other thing we’re concerned about is the time it takes to play. You’ve got soccer moms who don’t have the time to play any more, and you have fathers who need to spend more time at work and with their families. It’s tough to find enough time to play.”

The USGA recognizes that one of the reasons for the decline in the number of golfers in this country is the time it takes to complete a round of golf. So the USGA and PGA have combined to establish programs that emphasize playing nine holes as an alternative to playing 18.

“Van Schaick is one of the best-kept secrets in the Capital Region,” said VSI head pro Luke Scala. “We have a real jewel here, and it is the perfect place to have a nine-hole tournament and promote the nine-hole theme.”

“It’s part of the Time-for-Nine theme,” added Amello.

“We have two different sets of tees so our players here can play all 18 holes. I think for an ‘A’ player, a great score is around a par of 68. We really don’t know what a really great nine-hole score will be by one of the better local players. We’d love to see a 31 or a 32.”

Entry fee is $50 and includes golf, range balls, cart, prizes, and beer/soda hot dogs and hamburgers after the round. Tee times will be from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The field will be limited to 60 players. You can get more information by calling either Scala at the pro shop (237-6127) or Amello (527-1349).

Amello has been a member of VSI for 13 years. The Siena College graduate was a teacher at Columbia High School for 30 years. He played basketball for the Saints and later became an assistant coach at RPI under John Quattrocchi. He also coached former Siena head coach Mike Deane when Deane was a player at Potsdam State.

I like the idea of this tournament. There should be more like it around the entire region.

IT’S ABOUT TIME

Although it’s been standard policy in open play, leagues, several local amateur events and even local club-pro tournaments, distance-measuring devices were prohibited in all USGA events, and their qualifiers.

Until now.

The USGA has announced that players will be able to use the measuring devices in its amateur championships this year. The devices will be covered by an optional Local Rule, which has been available under the Rules of Golf since 2006.

But the rule will not apply to the U.S. Open, Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open championships or their respective qualifying events.

Any device used can only measure distance and not other conditions, like wind speed or direction, temperature, or elevation.

“We have seen progressive developments in technologies available to golfers who seek to improve their playing performance and enjoyment that also maintain the essential elements of the game,” said USGA vice president Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. in a press release. “It is in this spirit that we are allowing the use of distance-measuring devices in our amateur competitions.”

The devices were used during last year’s USGA Women’s State Team and U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. Data collected found no evidence that the distance-measuring devices had a negative impact on the pace of play.

AN OLD FRIEND RETURNS

I’m happy to see the Symetra Tour, formerly the Futures Tour, continuing its long-standing relationship with the Capital Region.

This year’s $100,000 Credit Union Challenge will be held July 25-27 at Capital Hills at Albany.

This traditional “road to the LPGA Tour” is still its official development tour and has included a local stop since 1984, except for a year off in 1999.

The Town of Colonie Golf Course hosted a tournament from 1984 through 1998, and then after a year’s hiatus it moved to Western Turnpike for 2000 and 2001

Orchard Creek was the tournament host in 2002 and 2003, and then current host Capital Hills at Albany took over in 2004.

PROS ON THE MOVE

As usual, several local pros from the Northeastern New York PGA have switched jobs over the winter.

Some of the most noteworthy include NENYPGA Player of the Year Scott Berliner, who is no longer an assistant at Cobleskill Golf & Country Club but is still part of the local section.

Scott Battiste, formerly at Eagle Crest, is now an assistant pro at Normanside Country Club, while Siena College grad Don DeNyse III, also formerly of Eagle Crest, has switched to Capital Hills at Albany, where he grew up playing as a youngster. He joins Trevor Jaycox as another assistant under head pro Steve Vatter.

Bradley J. Gardner will work with head pro Craig McLean as an assistant at The Edison Club, and Kevin Maloney and Shawn Wade are the new assistant pros for head pro Jeremy Kerr at Mohawk Golf Club.

Hiland Golf Club head pro Jim Jeffers brings in his nephew, Brian Jeffers, as the new assistant pro, and Jesse Muller is Matt Daley’s new assistant pro at Schenectady Municipal

CHIP SHOTS

One of the new tournaments on the area schedule this year will be the Audrey Van­Alstine Invitational, a team match-play event in August to honor the late Pinehaven Contry Club member who was a longtime participant in Northeastern Women’s Golf Association events.

Former Saratoga Golf & Polo head pro Kent Tarkleson is moving his Saratoga Springs-based Tark’s Indoor Golf Club to City Station East in Troy. Tark’s is a golf sports bar and training facility. It will include six PGA Tour simulators, a club-fitting testing and repair center, and a restaurant and bar.

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