Area high school golf coaches voted to alter the format of the City Prep Championship today at Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.
"We've been encouraged to speed up play," said Chattanooga Christian coach Don Holwerda, the tournament director. "We're getting out of kids shooting 48 or 49 on the front, and we're limiting the field."
The most drastic change is that only four boys will compete for each team and each of those four scores will count toward the team total. In past, teams have played with five golfers counting four scores.
Another change is limiting the girls' field to four teams. And individuals must have validated nine-hole average scores of 43 or better for boys and 50 or better for girls.
Other moves to increase the pace of play include using coaches, who normally watch their players, as fore-caddies and asking the first player to hole out to move ahead to the next teeing ground and hit first instead of the player with the lowest score having honors. There will be shuttles between the 12th green and 13th tee and along the par-3 14th over water.
"I think it's going to make it more competitive and speed up the pace of play," Holwerda said. "While we'd like to include everybody, we feel that it's a tournament that the best play and they have to prove they're the best."
The changes impact the teams with five quality players such as Baylor and McCallie.
"I worry about if a player gets sick or injured or DQ'd, then the whole team is gone," Baylor coach Gary Partrick said. "Maybe what we're doing is the right thing. We'll try this and see."
Soddy-Daisy coach Kevin Templeton understands the need to speed up play, but he would still like the inclusion of as many players as possible.
"It's tough for me to tell a guy, 'I need you Monday for districts, but you can't play tomorrow,'" Templeton said. "I trust the people in charge to do the right thing."