Hamori: Perspective on NCCGA Championships
It’s hard to believe the hype and momentum surrounding the Fall 2013 NCCGA National Championship at the Barefoot Resort’s Love and Dye courses for an organization that had 50 teams last season. In the past year, we’ve over tripled in size, added eight new regions in expanding across the country and drawn the attention of the a variety of leading organizations in the golf industry.
The teams and individuals have now been decided, and everyone is amped for the ultimate NCCGA experience, the #RoadtoMyrtle national championship. Due to a wildcard system that the NCCGA put into place last season, each team has been ranked based on their play this fall. The ranking system puts an interesting twist on everyone’s pick for a National Champion, especially since the usual favorite – East Carolina – is out of the mix this season. Matt Weinberger, a former NCCGA competitor at Dayton and current Chairman of the NCCGA Board, explained that, “The qualifying system focuses on capturing the best teams across the country, while emphasizing the importance of representation across the Regions showing the best growth and stability.”
At the top of the rankings sits the California Region winner, The National University Golf Academy, led by consistent play from the entire eight-person team. In second place is the Great Lakes Region Winner, Purdue University, led by Aaron Amick who had the lowest Regional average for all of the Great Lakes. Following in a close third and fourth in the team rankings are University of Georgia, the Southeast Region winner, and Baylor University. Baylor’s team won the Texas Region, and is led by the Texas Regional Coordinator, Matt Brugner. Chris Reina, another member of the Baylor squad, tied with individual competitors Andrew Wiley and Andrew Paisley for the low round of the season with scores of 68. Since this will be Baylor’s first time competing in the National Championship, I asked Matt Brugner what this opportunity meant to him, he replied with, “It is a honor for Baylor Club Golf to be in the NCCGA Nationals. A year ago, we did not have a club golf team at Baylor, and now we are a national contender. This is the culmination of an amazing year of growth.”
The history behind many Regions and their competitive nature can be seen with the three teams coming from the Midwest Region – Michigan, Miami, and Ohio State – along with three teams from the North Carolina Region – Campbell, North Carolina State and North Carolina Chapel Hill.These Regions have some of the longest history within the NCCGA, and are represented by the outstanding Regional Coordinator leadership of Nick Reynolds (Midwest) and Will Dull (North Carolina). The Great Lakes Region, led by Regional Coordinator Bobby Puchner, will also be represented by three teams: Purdue, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. Puchner, who is also a member of the Wisconsin Club Golf team, had this to say about his experience as a Regional Coordinator and what he is looking forward to most at the National Championship, “As a region, we are extremely pleased with our inaugural semester in the NCCGA. We have a unique combination of new teams and NCCGA veterans, and we’re excited to prove that our teams can compete on a National stage. All three of our qualifying teams had terrific seasons, and our region as a whole will only continue to get stronger going forward.”
As we look toward the weekend, I can hardly express in words what the experience will be like at the National Championship. Through the partners and sponsors the NCCGA has secured with Cleveland/Srixon Golf, Golfweek, CollegeGolfPass, 5 Hour energy, Kind Bars, and the USGA, I can assure you that this will be the best NCCGA Tournament experience to date. At the tournament be sure to check out for the Cleveland Golf skills challenge, along with a demo tent to learn all about their new custom wedges and Smart Square putter. The NCCGA Leadership team also will be roaming around the course taking pictures, videos, conducting interviews, and most importantly enforcing the USGA #Whilewereyoung campaign to make sure there is a rock-solid pace of play. Mike, the COO of CollegeGolfPass and NCCGA Board member, explained, “Our brand and sponsor relationships are demonstrative of NCCGA’s growth and it’s amazing to see buzz we’ve created especially on Twitter in engaging our players with the brands.” Kind Bars were #KindAwesome enough to give everyone in the field bars and we are excited to see who tweets out a picture of their longest drive using the #5hourpower and bet shot using #5hourshot.
The NCCGA community is filled with unbelievable talent, seen not only on the golf course, but also through our member’s academic and leadership capabilities. Kris Hart, CEO of CollegeGolfPass, had this to say about the student leaders within the NCCGA, “Our student leaders are the backbone of this organization. I am so impressed with the talented young men and women who volunteer for the NCCGA and am confident many of them will be the future leaders of America.”