Most people, myself certainly included, don’t remember the Southern States Four-Ball Championship. Simply put, it was before our time.
Still, there was a time when it was one of the country’s premier amateur competitions.
And, it has some pretty impressive names in the world of golf to prove it. Charlie Yates, Harvie Ward, Fred Haas Jr. and Gardner Dickinson Jr., were among the winners and contenders when the event was played from 1939 through 1948 (with a break for World War II).
The heavy involvement from the great Bobby Jones hardly did anything but make it a “must play” for the country’s top amateurs at the time.
Jones typically presented the winning trophy when the tournament took place six times at his home club of East Lake in Atlanta. It was also played once each at Birmingham (Ala.) Country Club and General Oglethorpe Golf Club in Savannah, Ga.
The unique trophy was a large plaque dedicated to Jones, with small replicas of the four trophies he won in his “grand slam” series in 1930.
Now, after more than a half century of dormancy, the Southern Golf Association is reviving the Southern States Four-Ball Championship. The ninth edition of this event is scheduled for Jan. 17-19, 2012 at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The event will feature two divisions of 30 teams each: mid-amateurs (25 years and older) and seniors (55 and older). Format will be 54 holes of stroke play with no cut.
“We really like this championship and the four-ball concept,” said Buford McCarty, executive secretary of the Southern Golf Association. “We felt bringing this back would be a great addition to our portfolio.
“This will give us an opportunity to stay in the mix with the mid-amateurs and seniors.” McCarty said. “We’ve talked to a number of players and they all seem extremely excited about it. We think it’s going to be a great event and will continue to grow over the years.”
While called the Southern States, McCarty made it clear the competition is open to everyone.
“We hope to have players from all across the country competing,” he said. “It will truly be national in scope.”
Entry forms are expected to be posted on the SGA website (www.sgagolf.com) this month. For further information, contact the SGA at 1-800-783-4446.