Golf tourney provides unique experience
J.J. Goddard, Wayne White, Tim Luchner and Bob Raichle watch a shot during the Swing FORE Life Golf Tournament Sept. 7.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 13, 2012) -- The Silver Wings Golf Course has many tournaments throughout the year, but the 2012 Pro-Am Tournament gives amateur golfers a unique opportunity to compare their skills to professionals in a competitive setting Sept 21-23.

"The tournament is something we do for recreation," said David Unsicker, SWGC business manager. "It's an avenue for people who like to compete in our tournaments … and it really showcases the golf course facility to a lot of people from outside [the area]."

The tournament will be a three-day, 36-hole event where professional and amateur golfers from all over the Southeast will compete in teams of four; one professional and three amateurs per team, according to Unsicker.

"There will be between 25-30 pros that will be playing and about 75-80 amateurs, so it's a pretty big turnout," he said.

The first day of the tournament will be an all-day event of practice rounds and the following days will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.

"The pros that will be playing are a combination of Dixie-section [Professional Golfer Association] professionals that work at clubs throughout Alabama and the panhandle, guys that play on the Emerald Coast tour and other professionals," said Unsicker. "Occasionally we'll get a guy from a nationwide PGA tour."

For golfers to be considered professional, they must be eligible to win money in tournaments, said the SWGC business manager. When people win money in a tournament, they are considered professional and cannot compete on the amateur level.

Amateurs are any golfers that qualify for or have a current U.S. Golf Association handicap index, added Unsicker.

"About 99.9 percent of the golfers around here are amateurs," he said. "They are made up of our regular golfers, our members, retirees, some active-duty Soldiers and even some of the command group here at Fort Rucker."

Each pro will team up with amateurs to create a four-person team, and the teams will play Team Stableford, which is a point system in which the team lumps their score together, and points are added to their pot depending on how well they shoot, according to Unsicker. Unlike traditional scoring in golf, the objective in Stableford point system is to have the highest score rather than the lowest.

The winners of the tournament will receive a crystal trophy and gift certificates that can be used at the SWGC pro shop, said Unsicker.

"A lot of the participants that we have in this tournament are avid golfers, so if they're going to buy something for golf, they're more than likely going to buy it from the golf course that they play at," he said, which makes the prizes well worth the participant's time.

Unsicker said that all participants will also receive range balls, tournament gifts, tournament meals and other prizes.

"We give everybody that plays in the event a gift of some sort," said Unsicker. "It could be anything from shoe bags, apparel, golf balls or any number of golf merchandise from us. We're going to make it worth their while."

The cost to enter the tournament is $125 for members, $150 for non-members and $250 for professionals, and all entries must be in by Sept. 14 at 5 p.m. People can visit www.ftruckermwr.com/recreation/silver-wings-golf-course/ for registration forms and faxed entries with credit card numbers are also accepted at 598-1555.

"I really encourage people to sign up if they have that competitive edge," said Unsicker. "If they want to challenge themselves, they have the chance to compare themselves to someone who plays the sport professionally."

For more information, call 598-2449.

Page last updated Thu September 13th, 2012 at 12:18