It’s never too early to begin talking about the Greater Slidell Golf Championship. The 36th annual event will be held June 27-29, and it’s one of the most distinctive golf events to take place each year in Louisiana.
The tournament rotates through three golf courses to determine a city champion.
It doesn’t happen often, to my knowledge, and certainly not in a municipality the size of Slidell. But for the past 35 years, that’s exactly what’s been happening in the Greater Slidell Golf Championship.
This year, as many as 150 golfers will play three 18-hole rounds to determine the best local golfers in 2014. The championship flight, from which the tournament winner will emerge, will begin with a full round at Pinewood Country Club on June 27, then travel for 18 holes at Royal Golf Club on June 28, before ending June 29 with another full 18 at Oak Harbor Golf Club.
It’s a daunting 54-hole challenge that tests the skills of even the most serious golfers.
Jack Abney is the man who’s practically owned the tournament in recent years. Abney is a former Slidell High and Tulane University player who first won the event in 1996.
Not soon after, Abney left to play on several professional tours. After regaining his amateur status, he began teeing it up at the GSGC in 2004, and he’s rattled off nine wins in the past 10 championships.
The only man to interrupt what would have been a decade of wins is Robbie Rhodes, a former Northshore High standout, who won the 2012 GSGC.
The overwhelming majority of golfers who won championships in the tournament’s earlier days either don’t participate anymore, have moved from the area or play in the senior (over 50) flight.
That by no means, however, is an indication of the quality of recent fields. An emerging scene of prep players, coupled with a handful of seasoned adult regulars, makes each year a thrilling event.
Here’s the scoop on the 2014 event. Each flight of golfers will be at a different course each day, with the first tee time at approximately 9 a.m. All tee times, pairings and such will be determined after 5 p.m. on June 25, which is the deadline to enter.
To enter, you must be a resident of the greater Slidell area, or be a member of one of three participating golf clubs. You also must have a certified handicap from a golf course to enter.
A senior city scratch champion (over 50) will be named, as will a winner in each flight. Players are flighted by handicap and will play full handicap. Women will have a separate flight, with a low-gross champion being named and a prize to the net winner.
The cost to enter the tournament is $100, which includes cart fees. If a flight doesn’t start a round, the cart fees will be distributed as prize money.
All awards will be presented after the June 29 rounds.
Practice rounds will be made available to tournament participants leading up to the competition, as well. The cost is $10 plus cart, and rounds will be played Tuesday through Thursday (after 11 a.m. at Oak Harbor). Call the participating clubs for details.
Entry forms can be picked up at Oak Harbor, Pinewood and Royal. Each entry must be accompanied by a check made payable to a participating club.
The Greater Slidell Golf Championship is a tradition in St. Tammany Parish and is open to golfers of all abilities.
I hope to see y’all at the course!
For more information, call Oak Harbor at (985) 646-0110; Pinewood at (985) 643-6893; or Royal at (985) 643-3000.
Andrew Canulette covers recreation and leisure activities for the St. Tammany Advocate. To reach him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.