Jacksonville Sports Day

GOLF NOTES: JAGA’s Annual Meeting Coming up Dec. 15

The Jacksonville Area Golf association’s (JAGA) annual meeting will be Dec. 15 at Marsh Landing.

Fred Seely

Election of the 2021 officers highlights the agenda. Guest speaker will be Bob Dickson, a former PGA Tour executive and a winner of the U.S. Amateur, the British Amateur and two PGA Tour events, among others.

        • The Northern Chapter PGA’s next meeting is Jan. 14 at San Jose.

        • The North East Florida Seniors will have its annual meeting on Dec. 15 at Palencia. Officers for 2021 will be elected. Most of the association’s 2021 schedule is set and is on the NEFSGA website.

        • The Senior Men’s Interclub’s semi-annual meeting is on Dec 17 at Queen’s Harbour Yacht & Country Club. 2021 Officers will be elected and future play as affected by Covid-19 will be discussed. The current schedule is on the website here.

Who is Bob Dickson?

        He’s now a Ponte Vedra resident and came here as a key advisor to Commissioner Deane Beman when the PGA Tour moved here in the late 1970s. He was an All-American at Oklahoma State, won both the U.S. and British amateurs in 1967, and had some success on the professional level, winning two PGA Tour tournaments and once on what is now called PGA Tour Champions.

        These days, Dickson plays frequently with friends at TPC Sawgrass in a group called “The Munchkins” and often breaks 70 and occasionally competes in statewide PGA-sponsored tournaments…and wins!

        He and Beman, also still a local resident, share one of golf’s great achievements: they won both the U.S. and British Amateurs, and also won an event on the PGA Tour. The nearest anyone else has come to this trifecta is another area resident, Steve Melnyk, who won both amateurs but never won on the PGA Tour, where he was a runner-up four times.

JAGA/Northern Chapter PGA Club Team

        On a picture-perfect day, the team representing host Jacksonville Golf and Country Club posted a 14-under-par score of 130 last month to outlast 21 other area teams and win the 23rd Club Team Championship, conducted by the Jacksonville Area Golf Association and the Northern Chapter of the North Florida PGA.          

       The winning team consisted of Northern Chapter PGA member Ray Barr and club members Bill Devine, Skip Lunsford and Fermin Mendez in the two best balls format. 

        Two strokes back at 132 was the Sawgrass team of pro Rhonda Ferguson, Darrin Ferguson, Lisa Morrison and Sarah Phillips.

        Taking third-place honors with a score of 133 was pro Hayes Farley, Marty LaPrade, Rob Sandlin and Steve Settles of San Jose Country Club.

Prep news

        The Ponte Vedra HS boys team captured a record fourth FHSAA Class 2A state championship in late October in a playoff at Mission Inn Resort. It was their sixth title overall. Shark Danny Erickson was individual runner-up….Bolles junior Tori Mouton shot 70-69—139 at Mission Inn to finish runner-up in the Class 1A state girls’ event. In early October, Tori fired a 64, with 10 birdies, at the Episcopal HS-hosted tournament at Timuquana CC…In the boys Class 1A, Cam Goldknopf, also of Bolles, was the low area player posting 73-76—149. The Wolfson boys tied for second… Elizabeth Kondal of Bartram Trail was runner-up in Class 3A.

Events

        • Pro Brad Rollinson and amateurs Pong Mattiace, Darlene Deo and Jen Steinman won the annual Pro-Lady at Eagle Harbor at 15 under. Three shots back were pro Jennifer Borocz and amateurs Kay Buirge, Cynthia Hastings and Dot Peck. Kim Cochrane made a hole in one on No. 15.

        • The First Tee will have a benefit at Deerwood on Dec. 7.

        • The Northern Chapter’s team finished second in the annual North Florida Section Porter Cup at Reunion. Representing this area were Jack Aschenbach, Clint Avret, Borocz and Hayes Farley.

        • David Anthony was the area’s best finisher in the FSGA Senior at Naples with a tie for 6th. John Lobb tied for 12th and Bill Hardaker tied for 15th.

        • The St. Augustine Amateur moves to Nov. 12-14 in 2021 and will add a women’s division in 2021, Nov. 5-7. The women will earn WAGR points and the LPGA may recognize the tournament as a Player Ability Test. This year’s tournament was played in October and was won by Samuel Anderson of the University of Wisconsin. The Mid-Am division went to Toby Ragland of Jacksonville.

        • Brett Schell (72) was medalist at the Palencia Club qualifier for the upcoming 103rd FSGA Amateur Championship, set for December 17-20 at Black Diamond Ranch. Schell plays for Ole Miss. Also among the eight qualifiers were Jason Duff, Tommy Bishop and Lucas Slayden (73s), JAGA Match Play champion Christopher Williard and Cooper Smith (74s) and Cam Goldknopf and Match Play runner-up Jacob Posze (75s). Chris Henderson, Brando Valvano and Daryl Barnes are the first three alternates, respectively.

Upcoming JAGA Tournaments

JAGA’s most fun and diversified event, The Family Championship, takes place Dec. 19 at Jax Beach. There are separate family and couples’ competitions for players ages 9 to 99. Entry deadline is Dec. 14.

The First Coast Amateur field of 96 is once again close to being full. The 2020 tournament featured players from 22 states and 29 colleges. The Conservatory hosts for the second year in a row, Jan. 16-18.

Dates for the 2021 Jacksonville Amateur have been set. The 60th playing of the championship will take place July 22-24. Marsh Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach will host. Cody Carroll of UNF won the 2020 title at Jax Beach

For details and to enter any of the above, go to www.jaxareagolf.org and click on “Calendar of Events.”

Great cause

        Moore-Myers Children’s Fund is a Jacksonville based non-profit whose goal is to lift up underserved children through golf and mentoring. M-MCF could use the support of the North Florida golf community via mentors, coaches, volunteers, instructors and donations.

        Founders Dr. Justine Redding and Richard Blackston talked about their six-year-old program at a recent Northern Chapter PGA meeting. Brentwood Golf Course is home base. To learn more, send email to: www.info@moore-myers.org or Duke Butler III.

People

        • Joe Porfidio is the new director of golf at Magnolia Point. He was a pro in Palm Beach County prior to relocating here to go into private business. He replaces Mike Trinley, who moved out of town.

        • Zack Vital is the director of golf at The Yards. From Syracuse, N.Y., he has been working in California

        • Duke Butler III will be stepping down as chair of the PGA’s Northern Chapter Diversity and Inclusion Committee after more than three years. Kudos to Duke for his dedication and commitment to developing new programs and encouraging the participation of new players, especially minorities and women. Going forward, the committee will fall under the Section’s umbrella.

        • Shannon Wheeler is the new superintendent at Plantation Country Club. He moves down the road from TPC Sawgrass where he oversaw Dye’s Valley. Wheeler also has been superintendent at Fernandina Beach, among other courses in Florida.

        • The Florida State Golf Association has named Jeff Magaditsch as its executive director.  Magaditsch will become the fourth executive director in the 107-year history of the organization, after serving as the assistant executive director for the last year. Magaditsch succeeds Jim Demick, who will be retiring after 24 years with the FSGA

        • David Hochbruckner is the new head pro at Deercreek. He comes to the club from nearby Deerwood.

Hard opening holes

        Links magazine recently featured a list of 10 courses with very difficult opening holes. It was an international list and the United States had three: Oakmont, Oakland Hills and Augusta National.

        Here are some area courses that will challenge you off the first tee. All but one are par 4s:

        Atlantic Beach: A narrow fairway with a big bunker guarding the green. Not as hard as the adjacent second hole, but not an easy start.

        Eagle Landing: Trees left and right, plus a lot of yardage to a big green.

        Fleming Island: Not often is the first hole also the No. 1 handicap hole. A good dogleg right to a well-guarded green.

        King and Bear: Long, water right, hills to the left and a well-bunkered green.

        Golf Club of Amelia: A par 5 with a funky fairway that goes up and down. No flat lies, a long hole and a tough green to hit.

        Magnolia Point: A sharp dogleg left plus one of the course’s longest par 4s. OB to the right, too.

        Pablo Creek: It’s a better hole now since they lowered the fairway to give you a better visual. But it’s still a long way to the green.

        Ponte Vedra Lagoon: Not long but a demanding tee shot. It takes a big poke to clear the corner on the dogleg left, and a narrow fairway is easy to go through.

        Yards: The hole routes the same as you played at its previous name, Oak Bridge, but the greenside lake is bigger and the green is even more of a challenge. The back right pin position may be the area’s toughest.

        TPC Sawgrass/Stadium: It looks easy, but that’s because you’re comparing it to other par 4s on the course. The waste area off the tee looms and the green is on a diagonal that doesn’t leave much room for error.

The Yards: From Beth Mason, marketing director at The Yards

        The Yards in Ponte Vedra Beach is now open and offers a fresh perspective on the game with 12-, 9-, 6- and 3-hole options. The shortened 12-hole format provides golfers a round that feels less like the warm-up 9 holes often does, but that takes roughly half the time of 18. In its first weeks since opening, The Yards has seen a typical playing time of around 2 hours and 15 minutes.

        With quick rounds and a fun, relaxed atmosphere, The Yards is a complement to the established clubs of the area with unique elements like a bunker in the middle of a par 3 green filled with black sand and a tee box positioned for play to three greens.

        Located on the site of the former Oak Bridge Club inside the gates of the Sawgrass Players Club, The Yards is a total transformation. “The Front Yard” is a more traditional championship nine, while “The Backyard” is an imaginative six-hole par-three course anchored by a new lake directly in front of the events patio and 3 Palms Grille.

        The Yards is a semi-private club that offers memberships with limited public and resort play available.  Information is available at playtheyards.com.

Schedule

Some of the following events may have been cancelled or rescheduled due to the pandemic. Please check with the club or association.


Dec. 14: North East Florida Seniors, Palencia.
Dec. 15: JAGA directors, Marsh Landing.
Dec. 16: Northern Chapter PGA Pro-Am and Partner Appreciation, TPC Sawgrass.
Dec. 17-20: FSGA Men’s Amateur, Black Diamond.
Dec. 19: JAGA Family Championship, Jax Beach.
Dec. 22-23: Gator Bowl Pro-Am, Sea Island.
Jan. 5: JAGA directors, San Jose.
Jan. 5-6: FSGA Winter Series, Jax Beach.
Jan. 14: Northern Chapter PGA meeting and Pro-Pro, San Jose.
Jan. 16-18: JAGA First Coast Amateur, The Conservatory
Jan. 25: North East Florida Seniors, St. Johns G&CC.
Feb. 1: Northern Chapter PGA Pro-Am, Deerwood.
Feb. 3: JAGA directors, Eagle Harbor
Feb. 22: JAGA Scholarship Trust benefit, Ponte Vedra Ocean.
Feb 22: North East Florida Seniors, Deerwood.
March 11-14: PLAYERS Championship, TPC Sawgrass.
March 22: North East Florida Seniors, Hidden Hills.

ABOUT JAGA

        Established in 1954, JAGA celebrated its 67th year in 2020. It is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (4) corporation comprised of approximately 40-member golf clubs located in the Northeast Florida area. JAGA’s mission is to promote golf and goodwill through tournaments and related events and activities. It conducts 11 tournaments, including six championship events and five others that feature team formats. JAGA manages a scholarship program that currently provides college funding for 27 area students. Since 1974, the program has generated approximately $1.8 million in financial aid to approximately 375 students. Anyone interested in receiving monthly Northeast Florida Golf News and announcements about JAGA and its tournaments via email may do so by signing up at jaxareagolf.org. Simply click on the home page link that reads “Subscribe to JAGA Email“.

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