News and Information
Give Egypt Valley credit for landing USGA event
Posted by Greg Johnson | The Grand Rapids Press
January 20, 2009 00:15AM
Egypt Valley Country Club deserves a pat on the back. It's giving back to golf and local fans in an exciting manner.
The area's largest private club will host the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur, the United States Golf Association announced recently.The club doesn't have to do this, and will not get rich as the host. The event will have some local economic impact, but mostly it serves to enhance the club's reputation as a place to join and allows the public golf fans to see some incredible young golfers.
The future of golf will be here. The event attracts to the top under-18 male golfers in the world.
Tiger Woods won it three consecutive times starting in 1991 at age 15, and he is the only multiple winner. It's the only USGA national championship Jack Nicklaus has ever played in that he didn't win at least once. Reigning Masters champion Trevor Immelman was a runner-up in the event.
And I could go on with David Duval, Johnny Miller, Hunter Mahan, Al Geiberger, Andy North, Aaron Baddeley and more. Name the golfer on the current PGA Tour, and it's very likely he has competed in a U.S. Junior or two.
Talent will be on display, and local juniors will have chances to be part of it through sectional qualification.
The host clubs usually don't charge admission, and the format includes 36 holes of stroke play followed by match play. The final match is a grueling 36 holes of head-to-head play, which is great for galleries to watch.
It's great stuff for the true golf fan.
The USGA plans to use the two back nines, or inward nines, on the two Art Hills-designed courses. The back of the Valley and the Ridge are the easiest to walk, and the easiest for fans to get around as well. The closing holes offer wonderful stadium-like settings as well.
Egypt Valley has battled an internal mess in the last year with a personnel scandal, and, like all private clubs, is fighting against membership losses in the face of a poor economy.
The club has moved forward with the USGA and this event though.
Some private clubs choose to not share their courses. The members don't have to give back to area golf to keep their club viable. That's why they call them private clubs.
Egypt Valley could find reasons to not do a national championship -- costs for maintenance recovery from crowds, lost golf time for members and profit margins that in no way compare with professional golf among them.
John O'Donovan was among the many at Egypt Valley who kept at the project of hosting a great event, however. The long-time Egypt Valley member is well known in local golf both as a player (former City Match Play champion) and a director for the Grand Rapids Golf Association. Currently, he is serving a term as president of the Golf Association of Michigan, and bringing honor to our golf community as a leader.
He is rightly excited about the first ever national USGA championship in Grand Rapids. Give the club credit for seeing the bigger picture O'Donovan and others painted.
E-mail Greg Johnson: email@example.com