Saturday, July 21, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
Links golf at its best is center stage this weekend as the world’s best golfers battle across the pond for the British Open championship.
Come Monday morning, 50-60 Chattanooga area junior golfers will have their own version of the British Open – the William Bryan Memorial Championship – at the Lookout Mountain Golf Club, known as a links course on a mountain.
“Links golf is played on a wide open course without a great deal of trees and that is Lookout Mountain Golf Course,” said Lookout Mountain Golf Club general manager Billy Buchanan.
“It’s a great, challenging course and the junior players look forward to playing here each year.”
Breathtaking as it is challenging, the Lookout Mountain Golf Course is the only links course designed by world famous golf course designer Seth Raynor in the late 1920s.
“This is a stand alone junior event supported by the Chattanooga District Golf Association and the players in each age division compete for the championship on a point system,” said Windstone Golf Club pro Jeff Craig, who has directed the tournament for the past five years.
The two-day, 36-hole Bryan Memorial event is scored on a points system – 1/2 point for a double bogey, 1 point for a bogey, 2 points for a par, 3 points for a birdie, 4 points for an eagle – with the highest score the winner in five age divisions; Girls: 12-14, 15-18 … Boys: 12-13, 14-15, 16-18.
Bryan Memorial History: Former club president John Gass III had the idea for the tournament in the late 1980s in memory of Lookout Mountain resident William "Chops" Bryan who died in the mid-1980s ... Mr. Gass also established a trust fund for the event and Rody Davenport was the first main financial contributor ... Former Lookout Mountain Golf Club pro Brett Mullin and club members Allen Brown and John Williams ran the event until 2002.
A plaque in memory of Mr. Bryan is located ona rock at the 6th tee.
“I ran this tournament like you would a PGA tour event with a professionally-made scoreboard, USGA officials, pre-tournament dinner, free housing for players who requested it and more,” said Mullin.
“Our goal was to make this the best golf tournament these junior players would compete in all year and I believe we succeeded.
“We built the tournament to where we had an annual full field (144 players) in two age divisions (boys, 13-14, 15-17) and had players come from a 15-state area and two foreign countries.”
Big Name Alums: Current tour players Luke List (2001) and Scott Weatherly also are past Bryan Memorial winners … other tournament alums include PGA Tour players Garrett Willis and Casey Wittenberg … Willis is tied for 16th (7-under) at this weekend’s True South Classic, while Wittenberg tied for 10th at the U.S. Open and has won twice in 2012 on the Nationwide Tour.
Lookout Mountain natives Lex Tarumianz Jr (first winner) and Winston Brown have also won the memorial.
Junior Program on Lookout: “Thanks to the great work of golf pro Adam Campbell our juniors program is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Billy Buchanan, who played on the TSSAA state champion Two Rivers High School team in 1967, followed by a college career at Memphis State.
“We host four golf camps this summer with about 25 per camp and many of them will compete in the William Bryan event.”
LMGC Hosts a Variety of Championships: This weekend the men’s club championship will be played Saturday and Sunday
The Swing Ding Junior tournament will be July 29, while players on the LMGC Oehmig Cup team will be selected via a variety of tournaments including the club’s match play event.
In the next two years, Lookout Mountain will host the Chattanooga City Championship (2013) and the Tenn. Golf Association Senior Amateur (2014)
July 21-22 – Men’s Club Championship
July 23-24 – William Bryan Memorial Junior Championship
July 29 – Junior Swing Ding
Aug. 11-12 – Sr. Super Sr. Championship
Aug. 17 – Ladies Member-Member Championship
Oehmig Cup – Sept. 8-9 (at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club)
annual two-day, Ryder Cup format
2013 – Chattanooga City Championship
2014 – Tenn. Golf Assoc. Senior Amateur
Re-Design of the Lookout Mountain Course: While the club has a full calendar for 2012 and the immediate future for adults and juniors, the LM membership looks to the future and has hired the 2016 Olympic Games golf course designer Gil Hanse to put his midas touch on the mountain course.
“Gil is the official architect and he has created what we feel is the perfect draft to tweak (re-do bunkers, greens, tee boxes) and update and make our course the perfect Seth Rayner course,” said Buchanan.
“The plan is down the road a bit, but when Gil and our club can work out a block of dates, he and Tony Altum, the nation’s foremost golf course irrigation specialist will come here and re-design the course “
First and Foremost, Lookout Mountain is a Golf Club: “We have a small membership compared to larger clubs, we don’t play a lot of rounds (14,500 a year), don’t have tee times and the course doesn’t get crowded,” Buchanan stated. “We have a challenging, beautiful course, solid membership and good events for all ages.”
Directed by executive chef Margaret Mebane Johnson, the club serves lunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wed.-Sun and the week is highlighted by the famous Thursday night Fried Chicken Dinner.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com