E.A. Sports Today

Local golf notebook

Lindsey team first to enter SKCC, ACC’s Spott on the move, Indian Oaks Invitational on tap, Honors for Cider Ridge

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

John Lindsey didn’t waste any time signing up for the Sunny King Charity Classic. In fact, he unwittingly beat everyone to the punch.

The tournament formally “opened” its electronic registration for this year in February, about the time it made its sponsorship packages available, but the entry form had been available on its website. Lindsey found it in late January and his quick action made him and partner Ryan Abernathy the first entries for this year’s event.

“I just happened to be sitting there looking at it and didn’t realize it wasn’t open,” Lindsey said. “I’ve got some other things going on business wise around those dates and wanted to make sure it didn’t slip past.

“To me, the earlier you register the better. You’ve got to put down your handicap and I’ve gone about two months without playing a whole lot. You want to take full advantage of what you have to work with.”

Lindsey beat his Golf Channel Am Tour travel partner and former SKCC champion Lance Evans to the first tee.

The story goes that Evans, the 2014 champion with Ryan Howard, told Lindsey he wanted to be the first to enter this year, but when the subject came up in their conversation Lindsey told him he’d already done it.

“I didn’t realize I had beaten him to the punch,” Lindsey said. “I wasn’t trying to. I thought everybody was getting in. When they said I was the first to register, it was a big deal.”

Entry forms – and payment options – are now open at the tournament website (www.kingclassic.com). The tournament is July 8-10 at Anniston Country Club, Cider Ridge Golf Club and Silver Lakes.

ON THE MOVE: After a little more than two years here, head pro/general manager Jake Spott is leaving Anniston Country Club to rejoin former ACC general manager Jack Sauers as the head pro at the University of Louisville Golf Club. His last day is April 1, some six weeks before the Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Spott said. “The GM thing, I think I’m pretty good at it, but at my age (31) I don’t want to deal with a lot of that stuff. I knew what I was getting into, I don’t have any regrets about it, but I’m a golf pro and that’s what I want to do.”

Spott came to ACC from Abington, Va. He had general manager added to his ACC title after Sauers left for the same job at ULGC.

Spott announced his decision to ACC officials last Friday, ironically one year to the day he accepted the GM promotion. Interestingly, the new pro at neighboring Valhalla Golf Club was an intern at Wynlakes when Spott was an assistant there.

“We are in need of a multi-talented golf professional, someone with personality to become the face of the club,” Sauers said. “Our program is on the cusp of becoming a fantastic club with a focus on competition and learning. Jake has all the tools to lead us to new heights.”

Tom Roberts, the president of the ACC board, said a search committee will be formed to find Spott’s successor. It wasn’t immediately known if the positions would remain linked.

BACK ON TRACK: Indian Oaks is back in the rotation of the Calhoun County Golf Tour and its invitational April 2-3 is the first of this season’s Tour schedule.

Entry fee is $85. The field will compete in three flights with closest-to-the-pin prizes on all four par-3s. Players will go off on tee times Saturday and a later start Sunday.

Players can sign up to participate on the Calhoun County Golf Tour at that time. Registration fee is $25. The top 16 players in the Tour points standings after the County Championship qualify for the County Match Play Championship.

The second event on the schedule is the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge April 23-24. Entry fee is $135 entry fee ($150 after April 16).

HONORS FOR HONOURS: Cider Ridge Golf Club has been recognized among the top five courses in two national customer satisfaction surveys.

The Oxford course was ranked No. 5 in the state in a Golf Advisor survey of post-round player comments on the nationwide website and was among the top five nationally among courses under $70 in a similar survey conducted by the National Golf Foundation.

“I was totally shocked, just floored and so excited for our entire team here,” Cider Ridge head pro/general manager Doug Wert said. “That’s really what it’s been – a full team effort – when it comes to this. Not just the people here, but at Honours and Troon Golf who have helped us.

“It shows me the things we’ve been doing since Honours has come in here are the right things. I know there are other things we can continue to do and we will continue to do within the parameters we have to provide the best product and service we have.”

The top 10 courses in the Golf Advisor survey: FarmLinks, Gunter’s Landing, Country Club of Brewton, Terri Pines, Cider Ridge, Goose Pond, Gulf Shores GC, RTJ Trail-Magnolia Grove, Limestone Springs, RTJ Trail-Ross Bridge.

The top five courses in the NGF survey (under $70) were Cider Ridge; Sand Creek Station, Newton, Kan. (No. 1); Tunica (Miss.) National; Shoal Creek Golf Course, Kansas City, Mo.; and Riverside Golf Course, Janesville, Wis.

Another Honours Golf property, Craft Farms in Gulf Shores, was among the top five in the over $70 category.

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