The Sand Trap: Food City tour drawing region’s top amateurs to local courses

8:15 am | April 16, 2012

The Food City Amateur Tour is coming back for another year, and several area courses will be hosting events.

The tour features some of the top amateurs battling it out for points to determine who plays in the tour match team championship at the end of the year.

During the regular season, the Tri-Cities Amateur Championship on July 7-8 at the Country of Club Bristol will serve as the tour’s major event and the point total will be doubled.

According to Tennessee Golf Foundation Tri-Cities regional director Cody Weems, the tour wants to showcase the talents of the standout golfers in the region, with a lot of them being collegiate golfers.

“The Tri-Cities Amateur Tour was created to determine the top players in the area through a Point System. Players can earn points by playing in local Invitationals as well as TGA Qualifiers and Championships. Players will receive points based on their performance but everyone who participates will earn points. The top point getters will earn a spot on the Tri-Cities Cup Match Team and will compete against the PGA team in a Ryder Cup format at the end of the year. The Food City Tri-Cities Amateur Championship is the major of the year with the winner receiving an exemption onto the Cup Team. Players also receive points simply for participation,” Weems said.

The two biggest events of the tour happen in back-to-back weeks with the East Tennessee Amateur taking place at Elizabethton Golf Course June 29-Aug. 1 and then the next weekend the Tri-Cities Amateur Tournament in Bristol.

Both the E.T.A.and the Bristol Tournament have steep traditions, and that two week stretch will go a long way in determining a tour champion.

“The Tri-Cities Amateur Championship is more than double the points, and can really boost players points by playing,” Weems said. “The Championship was created to bring out the best players in the area. Only Tri-Cities residents can participate and by moving the event to July we hope to attract more college players,

“After the season is completed the top eight regular division point getters and top four Senior Division point getters will be selected to the Tri-Cities Cup Match team. The Amateur team will compete against the Professional team in a one day Ryder Cup format. The Cup Match will consist of a morning 4-Ball followed by lunch and afternoon Singles play. Last year the Cup Match trophy came down to the last hole, last putt in which the Pros won.”

The tour begins May 19 and 20 at the Nolichuckey View Invitational and continues June 2 and 3 at the Tillinghast Invitational at the Johnson City Country Club, and there are two stops in Greene County at Link Hills on June 9 and 10 and Graysburg June 16-17.

The tour heads closer to here at The Crossings on June 23-24 before the E.T.A. June 29-July 1 and the Amateur Championship in Bristol July 7-8.

The Lonesome Pine Invitational will be held on July 14-15 and then another prestigious title is up for grabs at the

Ridgefields Invitational July 20-22. The tour’s regular season will close at the Woodlake Invitational.

In addition to the amateur tour, there is a Tri-Cities TPGA Junior Golf Tour. Registration forms can be online at

The biggest tournament on the junior tour takes place at Elizabethton Golf Course June 19-20. It is the only two-day event on the tour.

The junior tour is a great way to get experience in a tournament format and also to make new friends from surrounding counties.

“The Tri-Cities PGA Junior Golf Series registration opens on April 14. This tour exists to foster growth and development of junior golfers of all ages and abilities by providing them with positive experiences through competitive and educational events,” Weems said. “The Tri-Cities PGA Junior Series schedule will consist of seven events in the Tri-Cities region and includes a two-day event at Elizabethton GC in which juniors can earn points towards National Rankings. This year there will be two spring events on May 5 at Johnson City Country Club and May 12th at Country Club of Bristol. The Junior Series is open to all junior golfers ages 18 and below– no experience is needed and all abilities are welcome to play. This is a great chance to meet new friends, learn to compete and have fun.

“The Junior Series will once again determine the field for the Tri-Cities PGA Junior Amateur Championship held at The Virginian Golf Club. The top players will be invited to play in the Championship at one of the areas nicest facilities. The Junior Series is a great compliment to the TGA Junior Tour – a statewide Junior Tour. Players who play in both have the opportunity to choose from 18 junior events in the Tri-Cities area this summer.”



David Reece hit a hole in one at Twin Creeks Golf Course in Greene County recently on hole No. 17. He was playing with John Sawyer and Tim Reece.

Jerry Hook also hit a hole in one at Twin Creeks at the No. 17 Par 3. He was playing with a six hybrid.



Baileyton Golf Club is bringing back “The Three Man.”

The Three Man Tournament will take place on Saturday, Apr. 21 during a 9 a.m. shotgun start.

The cost is $180 per team and it will be scramble format and bring your own team. There will be three flights with 7-11 teams per flight, depending on scores.

First place is $420 in each flight and second place is $270 in each flight.

$800 in the Scats game will be divided based on number of scats. The money will be based on 28 teams.

For more information, call the Baileyton Golf Club at (423) 234-5131.

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Matt Hill is the golf and tennis columnist for the Elizabethton Star. You can reach him by email at

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