Community Spirit Spills into Fairways of Victoria National

Newburgh, Ind. – Frankly, the names and faces of the competitors in USGA amateur championships are not well-known except to family and friends. Spectators mainly come from that group along with members of the host club and volunteers.

Large galleries have been the norm this week at Victoria National. (Robert Walker/USGA)

And, since a young man named Tiger Woods started playing golf for a paycheck, interest in amateur golf in this country has stayed within that same demographic.

But, if you take the model developed and employed by Victoria National Golf Club for the 2006 USGA Senior Amateur, you’ll find that people will come out to watch.

“They are great,” newly minted finalist Mike Bell of Indianapolis, Ind., said of the crowd watching his semifinal match. “They like everybody. It’s fabulous. And, they are going to be bigger.“

The tangible results – more than 5,000 spectators during the course of the week – came from a ‘community-centered’ approach. That turnout is, conservatively, 10 times the norm for a Senior Amateur.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone knew about this national championship and wanted to be a part of it,” said Brian Tennyson, former PGA Tour player, who is the director of community support.

Volunteers and spectators are enjoying first-rate hospitality at Victoria National. (Robert Walker/USGA)

Through a smart marketing scheme of newspaper, TV and billboard advertising, grassroots networking and old-fashioned face-to-face meetings, the planners at Victoria National brought community awareness to the pervasive level.

Their two prevailing slogans were: ‘Where will you be?’, and ‘The best amateur golfers you didn’t know.’

“I’d be surprised if folks around here didn’t know about the Senior Amateur,” Tennyson said. “We wanted to make sure the Senior Amateur was the thing to do in the Tri-State area this week.”

At USGA amateur championships, admission is free. But the organizers printed 10,000 ‘tickets’ and distributed them in every nook and cranny of the market.

The theory was: come out to a beautiful place, watch some championship golf and then stay a while!

And, once people got on site, the hospitality abounded. The largest Navitrak tent ever erected in the Evansville area – 7,500 square feet – was built for volunteer and spectator hospitality that includes seating, large-screen televisions and food and beverage service. Freely running shuttles brought visitors from a larger satellite parking area directly to the course.

“People came out to watch and came back on other days,” Tennyson said. “We are really pleased that folks showed their community spirit by attending. We thank them for their support and hope they had a great time while walking on what we consider a pretty special place.”

Story written by Pete Kowalski of USGA Media Relations. E-mail him with questions or comments at pkowalski@usga.org.

 

 

 
Championship Facts

USGA Senior Amateur Championship

PAR AND YARDAGE Victoria National Golf Club will be set up at 6,760/6,766 yards and par 36-3672.

COURSE SETUP:
Teeing ground Height of grass .30 inches
Fairways Height of grass .55 inches
Green approaches and closely mown areas Height of grass – .425 inches
Collars around greens Height of grass – .375 inches
Intermediate rough 1 inches and 6-feet wide
Primary rough 2-3 inches
Putting greens USGA Stimpmeter reading of 10.5 feet

The USGA championship setup results in a USGA Course Rating of 73.1 and a USGA Slope Rating® of 139.

VENUE Victoria National Golf Club, east of Evansville, Ind., was designed by Tom Fazio and opened in 1998. The course was the project of the late Terry Friedman, a well-known Indiana entrepreneur.

Victoria National, which has the feel of a links course due to large mounds and contoured fairways, was built around an existing surface coal mine. As a result, water-filled lakes serve as hazards on 15 of the 18 holes.

HISTORY The USGA Senior Amateur Championship was first played in 1955. The 2006 Senior Amateur Championship will be the 52nd.

SCHEDULE Stroke play rounds will be played Sept. 16-17 (Saturday-Sunday). Following two days of stroke play, the field of 156 golfers will be reduced to the lowest 64 scorers, who will advance to match play. The match play portion of the championship runs from Sept. 18-21 (Monday-Thursday). The first round is set for Sept. 18 (9:30 a.m. CDT start); the second and third rounds for Sept. 19 (8:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. starts) and the quarterfinals and semifinals (8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. starts) for Sept. 20. The 18-hole, match-play final (9 a.m.) is scheduled for Sept. 21.

TICKETS Admission and parking are free for all six days of the championship.

 

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