For many years there has been a common thread to the complaints filed by rank-and-file members through state golf association to state golf association. And those members comprise at least 90 percent of the membership rolls.
“What do you do for me?” ask the double-digit handicappers. Unfortunately, the answer all too often has been, “Besides compute your handicap – nothing.”
While this can be somewhat, albeit not totally understandable, in colder climes where golf seasons come and go on the whims of winter snows, in warmer places such as Florida where golf is a 365-day-a-year enterprise, excuses often fall on deaf ears.
The Florida State Golf Association offers no excuses. In their stead, they offer 150 one-day net tournaments. The man in charge of these events is Jeff Magaditsch. He’s listed on the masthead as the head of marketing and tournament director for the FSGA. In truth, he’s a juggler, a puppeteer and magician.
As the newbie in the neighborhood (this is the fourth year for the one-day events), he has to find dates for his events that don’t conflict with either state championships, qualifying rounds for state championships, or qualifying rounds for USGA events.
“Scheduling is the biggest challenge,” Magaditsch admitted. “We have the different regions (five in all – Panhandle, North, Central, Southwest and Southeast). We have 450 tournament days scheduled this year in the state and 366 days to get them in. Then we have to coordinate with the state events. Take June for example, we only have the first and last week for one-day events, because in the middle two weeks we have the Women’s Senior Amateur Championship, Public Links Championship, Girls Junior Amateur Championship and the Amateur Championship.”
As an aside, if you didn’t notice, those two weeks are a bit of aggressive scheduling as well.
Yet through it all, they have managed to not only coordinate dates and golf courses, but fulfill the overriding goal of this program.
“We realized that 90 percent of our membership has nowhere to compete,” said Magaditsch. “But that doesn’t mean they don’t want the same experience as the better golfers.
“We try to provide them with an opportunity to play some high-end, daily-fee resort courses and private courses they might not have a chance to play and we want to give them this experience at a reasonable price. We also give them a chance to win a gift certificate as well.”
The tournaments are open to all golfers who have a FSGA handicap based on the GHIN system. If your club or the course where you have your handicap is a FSGA member, all you have to do is enter. If your club is not on the GHIN system, you can get your official GHIN handicap online at www.fsga.org.
The events are open to women as well. In fact, there are eight one-day events that are “women only.”
The events are limited to 90 players and have morning shotgun starts. There is a pace of play standard to which players are expected to adhere. It’s 15 minutes a hole. You can sign up as a foursome, or as a twosome or threesome and they will try to accommodate you. The deadline for entries is five days before the date of the event.
“If there are still openings, we can try to fit someone in up to two days before the tournament,” Magaditsch said.
One event that’s already sold out is a July date at Bay Hill. A two-day event held at TPC Sawgrass on the Dye Valley and Players Stadium courses is 90 percent booked. The Sawgrass event is a Stay & Play package event.
When this program began, there were 12 one-day events in all. They all were run in the Tampa area, close to the FSGA mothership. It then grew to 60, then 128 and now the current 150-event schedule.
“Next year,” said Magaditsch, “we’re planning to start our schedule in February instead of March and maybe run later in the year as well.”
Sounds reasonable – all Magaditsch and his staff will have to do is clone themselves a few times so they can be in four places at once instead of what seems like the two they are now.
By the way, the deadline for the April 5 tournament at Belleair CC, near Clearwater, is March 29. If you happen to miss it, there will be 148 more you can make.
The Florida Junior Tour visited Mission Hills Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills where Sarasota’s Michael Visacki barely went wire to wire to capture his first FJT victory in the Boys 16-18-year-old division.
Visacki fired two even-par rounds of 72, including a birdie on the last hole of the El Campeon Course to edge Ryan Celano, of Naples, by one stroke. Celano had closed with a 2-under-par round of 70.
In the Girls 16-18-year-old division, not only was Plant City’s Madison Opfer the low Madison in the event, she won her sixth FJT title with rounds of 71-69 for a 4-under-par 140 total on the Las Colinas Course to finish five strokes ahead of Windermere’s Madison Lellyo. Abby Carlson, of Lake Mary, finished third at 147.