E.A. Sports Today

Challenge Cup a ‘go’

Golf pros finalize four-club series backed by EA Sports Today

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The new series of interclub matches intended to foster participation, fellowship and competition among county courses officially became a part of the season’s golf calendar when the participating club pros finalized the format this week.

The Calhoun County Challenge Cup presented by East Alabama Sports Today (www.easportstoday.com) is a four-match interclub series among Anniston Country Club, Cider Ridge Golf Club, Cane Creek Golf Course and Silver Lakes.

It’s basically a revival of the popular Challenge Cup weekend that was the forerunner to the current Calhoun County Golf Tour and a concept EA Sports Today publisher Kenny Wright eagerly embraced.

“I’ve always wanted someone to bring back the Challenge Cup,” said Wright, a former junior champion who is providing the traveling trophy that goes to the winning club. “When I found out it was coming back, I knew EA Sports Today had to be a big part of it and its coverage.”

The teams will play four mid- to late-week matches in May, June, July and August. Each club will field an eight-man team comprised of seven amateurs and its pro. They will play four-ball matches, scoring points for the front and back nines and overall with three bonus points going to the match’s winning team.

It will be left to the individual clubs to determine the format for the makeup of their teams, and it won’t necessarily be the same eight players each event. Each team will have at least two senior players (65 and older) in their lineup. The pro and his ‘A’ amateur will play a gross match while the others will play a net-type format.

The schedule is set so each team plays the other during the series and no team plays a home club more than once. The final event at Silver Lakes will determine the season-long champion.

“I think it’s pretty neat,” ACC pro Jake Spott said. “People are excited to get something match play, Ryder Cup style, going between our facilities. I know the golf pros are excited about it.

“The cornerstones of our business is essentially teaching and playing the game. Personally I don’t think our pros get to play enough. I’m one of the types of pros who want to keep my game sharp and compete, so I’m looking forward to it. I want my members to be proud of my playing ability, too.”

Here is the order of events:

May 30 – Anniston CC (ACC vs. Cane Creek, Cider Ridge vs. Silver Lakes)
June 24 – Cider Ridge (ACC vs. Cider Ridge, Silver Lakes vs. Cane Creek)
July 24 – Cane Creek (ACC vs. Silver Lakes, Cider Ridge vs. Cane Creek)
Aug. 21 – Silver Lakes (No. 1 vs. No. 2, No. 3 vs. No. 4)

“This is a great way for the PGA golf professionals to get together with their members and have some good competition throughout the summer,” Cane Creek’s Kenny Szuch said. “It’s a chance for everybody to go around and see everybody else’s facility and get bragging rights for the season.”

“I’m just happy we’re doing something to try to get more people playing golf; that’s the true concept of it,” Silver Lakes director of golf Jason Callan said. “We’re just trying to get something started and hopefully we’ll build something from that.”

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