Lupton Memorial continues to evolve

Lupton Memorial continues to evolve

May 23rd, 2014 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Golf

Kris Mikkelsen hits a tee shot in the final round of the 2011 Lupton Memorial golf tournament at The Honors Course. The Lupton keeps growing in numbers and prestige for mid-amateur, senior and super-senior golfers from throughout the United States and beyond.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

A borrowed idea has become a tradition at The Honors Course.

A tournament that began 10 years ago as a preview for golfers anticipating playing in the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship has evolved into an illustrious tournament featuring some of the finest mid-amateur, senior and super-senior golfers in the country.

It's the Lupton Memorial.

"We're ready for an exciting three days of golf where all players will be put to the test," Honors Course head professional Henrik Simonsen said. "The tournament has definitely evolved, and most of the credit needs to be given to [tournament chairman] Randy Yoder. He is the one who travels to similar tournaments, promotes our event and gets the best players to come to our event.

"Our goal is to move this tournament all the way up to where it's considered to be along the same line as other prestigious tournaments in the country."

The tournaments that Lupton planners strive to replicate include the Coleman Invitational at Seminole Golf Club, the Anderson Memorial at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, and the Crump Cup at Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey.

Those tournaments have a long and glorious history. The Lupton, first known at the Lupton Invitational and then the Lupton Memorial after the passing of Honors founder Jack Lupton, has become a Memorial Day tradition in Ooltewah on the splendid couse designed by Pete Dye.

"It happened very simply," Lex Tarumianz said. "Todd Killian, the pro at the time, asked me, 'Should we have a preview in advance of the 2005 U.S. Mid-Am?' I said yes. And that's how the Lupton started.

"They've kept it going for 10 years now to honor Jack and honor the course."

Peyton Manning played at least twice in the early Lupton tournaments.

The evolution of the tournament has met the needs of the golfers. There is a Mid-Amateur division with the Lupton Trophy going to the winner. The senior division winner earns a trophy named for founding member Joel Richardson, and the victor in the super-senior division -- created three years ago -- earns a trophy named for co-founder Lew Boyd, who greets every participant on the first tee.

"We've had about 100 players in the past," Simonsen said. "This time, we have about 120. More quality players are looking to get in. The tournament is getting bigger and stronger."

Participants in the Lupton Memorial hail from 26 states, Canada and even Denmark. The senior division defending champion, Paul Simson, is returning. So is reigning U.S. Senior Amateur champion Doug Hanzel.

"More quality players are looking to get in," Simonsen said.

The 2014 Lupton Memorial tournament will be the first major tournament that the Honors has hosted since switching to Bermuda grass greens last summer.

David Stone, the course's only superintendent since it was created, has the greens in perfect condition, according to Simonsen.

"David is running them about 12 [on a Stimpmeter] or a little more," Simonsen said. "The players will certainly face a test of golf."

The golfers in the final groups of their divisions Sunday will be aided by a new enhancement. There will be standard-bearers, and there will be live-scoring updates on the Internet that will be available to the golfers.

"It will be real-time scoring," said Tim Harrelson, who leads the Chattanooga Classic Club. "We're going to do the same thing 'Shot-Link' does on the PGA Tour, but with different technology."

That's another reason the Lupton is different -- and exceptional.

Contact David Uchiyama at or 423-757-6484. Follow him at