Tennessee Golf Association begins centennial year at The Honors Course

Tennessee Golf Association begins centennial year at The Honors Course

June 19th, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Outdoors

2014 TGA Championship Sites

State Open: Belle Meade Country Club

State Amateur: Memphis Country Club

State Match Play: Holston Hills Country Club

Four-Ball Championships: Hillwood Country Club

State Mid-Amateur: The Honors Course

State Senior Amateur: Jackson Country Club

Women's Amateur: Cherokee Country Club

Women's State Open: Stonehenge Golf Club

The centennial celebration is set to start.

The Tennessee Golf Association will begin its 100th anniversary this weekend with a special reception and round of golf at The Honors Course.

It will be followed by more celebrations across the state in the coming year, including competition in its most prestigious tournaments on the association's original membership courses and those that have risen to elite status within the Volunteer State, the Southeast and the entire United States.

"We're going to do a substantial reflection of the last 100 years of accomplishments of our events and our champions," TGA executive director Matt Vanderpool said. "We want to focus on the amateurs of the last 100 years and recognize accomplishments not only on a state level, but a USGA level."

The TGA was created on June 5, 1914, and Vanderpool said it's appropriate to use The Honors Course to kick-start the celebration and the new Amateur Golf Championship Fund that is designed to enhance existing championship tournaments.

"We looked to form a launching pad for the anniversary and we wanted to do a fundraising event, and it was a natural fit to work with the Honors because of the history we have there and what Mr. [Jack] Lupton has done for us in amateur state golf and other elite amateur championships," Vanderpool said. "It's natural to kick things off there."

The centennial event this weekend -- which is now closed to reservations -- is headlined by a dinner beside Lake Lupton and a fireside chat with TGA Hall of Famer Tim Jackson from Germantown and reigning U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox from Hendersonville and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

A schedule for similar celebrations across the stare is in the works from the Tri-Cities Area in the northeast to Memphis in the southwest. Every region of the state has been represented by TGA and even USGA champions.

"There's no other place for us to really start," Jackson said. "With what Jack has meant to Tennessee golf, this was the only place we could kick this off."

The no-tie event Saturday will have Honors Course member and Golf Channel star Charlie Rymer running the show once he gets a microphone. It will be followed Sunday with a charity event to begin the fund.

Fellow TGA supporters will be able to contribute to the campaign after the first of the year.

"Amateur golf has been strong in Tennessee and especially in Chattanooga recently," Rymer said. "It's an honor to spend some time around folks who support it and make it happen. I'm looking forward to sitting down and telling some stories for a cause that's near to everybody's ear.

"I'm fully authorized to answer any question about golf, and if I don't know I'm capable of making something up that's very convincing."

The top courses in Tennessee needed little convincing to join the TGA in its celebration by hosting the major events on the state amateur schedule in the actual centennial season. And the courses hosting the championships are spread West to East across the state.

"It's unprecedented. What we're doing is going back to our old historic clubs that were there in the beginning at 1914," Vanderpool said. "Then there are a few modern ones we're using.

"We're bridging the gap with today's great courses."

The centennial celebration begins Saturday.

"It's appropriate that they do it at Mr. Lupton's course," Rymer said. "He was known to have fun on occasions like this."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.