8th Annual United States Golf Teachers Cup®
VIVA LAS VEGAS!!!
Nov. 10-13, 2003 • Legacy Golf Club
Las Vegas, Nevada
The United States Golf Teachers Cup is one of the major golf tournaments conducted by the USGTF, and for the first time since 1997 this tournament found itself out west in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event and its festivities, spanning four days (November 10-13), was hosted by the Legacy Golf Club of Las Vegas, one of the “top ten courses to play in Nevada,” and the Sunset Hotel & Casino, a favorite among the people of Las Vegas.
Before the first drive off the tee was hit and the first glass was raised at the opening cocktail party, this year’s tournamental ready was on pace to be the most exciting and eventful yet. Apart from the masterpiece Legacy Golf Club course, the tournament field was full well in advance. 120 USGTF members were ready to participate the field.
The event ‘teed-off’ with a welcoming cocktail party at the Legacy Golf Club on Sunday, November 10. Participants from all corners of the United States showed up for the party. It is always an enlivening moment to converse with other USGTF members and golf teaching professionals from around the nation, and judging by the atmosphere of community and camaraderie, you might find it hard to believe that in less than 12 hours, this same group of people would be vying for prize money, two slots on the team to represent the United States at the 2003 World Golf Teachers Cup & Conference, and the coveted United States Golf Teachers Cup Trophy.
Early the next morning on Monday, November 11, play began early to accommodate the full field and the limited daylight. Foursomes hit the tee every eight minutes and play in the U.S. Golf Teachers Cup was underway. Players competed in the Open, Senior, Super Senior, and Women’s divisions. Although enjoyment and sportsmanship were the primary emphases of the event, as outlined by USGTF President Geoff Bryant the night before, the U.S. Team spots certainly encouraged every player to be at his or her best.
At the close of the first round, which actually was continued the following morning, due to darkness, Mark Harman of Pensacola, Florida, and defending U.S. Golf Teachers Cup Champion, was at the top of the Open division, firing a 3-under par 69. However, the leader board was tight with David Belling of Brights Grove, Ontario just one stroke back, and several others within five strokes. Terry Anderson of Overland Park, Kansas was atop the Senior division with a two-under-par 70; Gary Dozier of Houston, Texas commanded the lead in the Super Senior division with a 72; and Karen Larsen-Rhoads of Monarch Beach, California was leading the Women’s division with a 78.
The second and final day of the tournament seemed to be lining up to be an exciting day and it did not disappoint. In the Open division, Harman was able to repeat as champion, eking out a one-stroke win over Belling. Anderson, Dozier, and Larsen- Rhoads also held on to win their respective divisions. They are considered the 2003 champions, as the next U.S. Golf Teachers Cup will be held in 2004. Each of these players would be recognized at the closing banquet held in the banquet facility of the Legacy Golf Club.
The closing banquet was a magnificent event, with nearly every participant attending for a final evening of fellowship with other tournament participants. Again, the relaxed, cordial atmosphere covered up the intense competition of two-days of close tournament play. Plaques were given to the top finishers in each division, and Harman retained the U.S. Cup Trophy, which he lightheartedly jested at the opening cocktail party that it would have been easier to leave in Pensacola rather than lug it out west.
Prize money was also awarded to these finishers, as well as “second day” money and a lucrative skins game, allowing several other players to cash-in at the event. In addition to awards for success in the tournament, the USGTF recognized some members who have demonstrated a consistent involvement in the organization and commitment to the success of the game of golf and to the golf teaching industry.
David Vaught, of San Diego, was awarded the USGTF Examiner of the Year honor and Jim Perez, who finished two strokes back in the Open division, was recognized as USGTF Player of the Year. Also honored was Ken Kramp of Warren, Ohio as USGTF Humanitarian of the Year.
Overall, the event was great fun and a great success for all involved. A special thanks to all USGTF member participants, as well as to the tournament sponsors and hosts for making the tournament a success and enjoyable for all participants. Having the opportunity to visit the always-amazing Las Vegas and play at the renowned Legacy Golf Club was certainly a memorable combination. Perhaps the only thing that could top this event would be the next U.S. Golf Teachers Cup, but in the meantime, we hope to see you at the upcoming World Golf Teachers Cup & Conference in Orlando, Florida.