How does that go again?
Throw something against the wall. If it sticks, great!
In late 1990, then La Crosse Tribune publisher, the late Sanders "Sandy" Hook, asked an overweight, baldheaded golf writer about starting up the "old County Amateur" again.
I agreed. The La Crosse County Amateur Golf Championships were re-born in 1991.
The Men's tournament blossomed to 200 entries. A Women's County Amateur, Seniors County Amateur and Juniors County Amateur followed. Through the years, the County Am had lots of peaks and a few valleys, but some how, some way, it survived.
The Men's tournament has a long, storied history. It began in 1932, discontinued during the war years of 1943-1945, and then was dropped again from 1976-1990 before the Tribune stepped up to the plate.
The County Am appeared dead in the water again when the Tribune withdrew its title sponsorship in 2012. However, a small group of course owners and former County Am officials assumed control. Pepsi-Cola Bottling of La Crosse jumped on board instantly as the new title sponsor.
Yes, the County Amateur Golf Championships remain alive and well.
As County Amateur historian/board member/tournament director, I reminded Board members at our recent annual meeting that the County Am actually was a 54-hole tournament from 1932 through 1950. I also brought up the idea to start a 54-hole Men's County Amateur for Championship Flight players only on a trial basis this summer.
Board members suggested we gauge interest by surveying the 34 Championship Flight players from the 2016 tournament. I did. However, after reviewing the survey results, I recommended to the Board that we maintain a 36-hole event for all Men's Flights.
My recommendation was based on the fact of lower than expected player response. Those who did respond, favored a 54-hole tournament by a 2-to-1 margin. However, to me that wasn't enough.
When Sandy Hook and I began this journey 27 years ago, we pledged to always listen to players before reaching a decision.
That is why we are keeping the Men's County Amateur format just like it is.
As for the Seniors County Amateur, there has been a growing chorus of support for a "Super Seniors Flight" for players age 70 and older. Again, overwhelming support by aging players allows the new, low net flight.
We continue to value player input. We always have, we always will. Player input will forever stick on our County Am wall.