Elizabethton Golf Course is being managed these days by Hampton Golf, a company based in Orlando, Fla. This will be the first East Tennessee Amateur at the course since the takeover.
“Other than seeing some new faces in the pro shop, it should be the same,” Carter County Bank’s Chris Guy said Tuesday during a news conference announcing the 24th annual tournament. “Hopefully we’ll try to make the guests even more welcome than they have been before.”
The tournament is set for July 6-8 and a field of about 150 golfers is expected.
“We’re looking forward to another good tournament,” said Guy, who has finished second in this event five times.
Guy was filling in for Mike Matheson, the tournament director who couldn’t attend the news conference because of a work conflict.
The tournament has become the area’s most popular competitive event, drawing as many as 156 players a couple of years ago.
“We actually had a waiting list that year,” Guy said. “We never dreamed of it becoming this big.”
The tournament has competitions in the championship flight, three senior divisions based on age, and match play flights based on handicaps. Garrett Whitfield is the defending champion.
When Hampton Golf began to run the course for the city of Elizabethton, locals wondered about the fate of the tournament.
“There’s been some rumors as far as they didn’t want to have it,” Guy said. “They’ve seen all the media and publicity it gets and they all wanted to have it. There’s been no talk whatsoever (of canceling the event).”
Carter County Bank has been the title sponsor since the tournament’s inception.
The tournament is a points event for the Tennessee Golf Association’s player of the year and senior player of the year awards. It’s also the second stop on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour, after last weekend’s Tillinghast Invitational at Johnson City Country Club.
The entry fee is $165, marking the first price increase since the tournament began in 1995. That includes three tournament rounds, a practice round, cart fees, range balls, lunch each day and prizes.
For entry information, call the pro shop at (423) 542-8051.