It has been six years since the last Owensboro Men’s City golf tournament was held.
The event was once a summer staple for Owensboro-Daviess County golf enthusiasts and recreational players of all skill levels. The city tournament was last played in 2016.
The city tournament rotated at various times between Ben Hawes Golf Course, Pearl Club at the Summit, Owensboro Country Club, Windridge Country Club (name), Owensboro Country Club.
High profile amateurs over the years were well known for winning the town’s golf championship, there was a local level of prestige and respect that came with winning the title.
The players who have won the men’s city championships have also had a real level of accomplishment.
“I was lucky enough to win five, between 1999 and 2010,” said Jason Cox, a longtime competitive amateur player and coach of Brescia’s men’s and women’s golf teams. “For people my age and older, the men’s town was a big tournament. Four days on four different courses, there was nothing like it that people who play tournament golf would play.
“I find myself at this time of year thinking about it all the time, it stinks we don’t have this tournament anymore.”
Terry Delk is the General Manager of the Pearl Club at Summit, and he also liked the uniqueness of the different class formats offered by Men’s Town.
“Being played over multiple courses, it offered something individual courses can’t replicate,” Delk said. “Most of the local courses offer some type of tournament open to outdoor play, but they don’t seem to have the widespread effect that the city has had.
“I think the lack of a city tournament has reduced the level of competition for local fans.”
There is an opinion among some Owensboro-Daviess County golfers that there should be a town championship here due to the sheer size of the area.
Still, in the last years of Men’s Town, there were fewer players signing up and just the logistics of a few people trying to run the tournament was difficult.
“It’s a shame the town tournament is gone, but I don’t see anyone reviewing it,” said Charles Whelan, golf course manager for the town of Owensboro. “It is very difficult and time consuming to organize an event like this in multiple locations and most people who would like to organize the event would also like to play there, which adds to the difficulty.”
Players must qualify for the Men’s City Championship in Evansville, Indiana.
It looks like there are plenty of players who could make a good enough squad for a men’s town if revived.
“I think there’s some good young talent that would be attracted to that,” Cox said. He believed that the number of interested golfers on each course in Owensboro-Daviess County would result in a large number of players.
“Three different days of a tournament, on three different courses, should be enough to attract people who want to play,” Cox said. “There are a lot of juniors or college-age kids, they travel all over to play.”
The number of talented golfers who are juniors through college age and then over the years into their 40s is a good sign that there are a number of talented players in this region.
John Augenstein and Matt Atkins play on the Korn Ferry Tour and have made the start of the PGA Tour. The State Amateur had players like Cox, Andy Roberts (also a multiple city championship winner) and several others from the Owensboro area who finished well.
Muhlenberg County’s Connor Combs and former Murray State golfer, along with Stephen Warren of Owensboro Catholic and former Western Kentucky University golfer, tied for 18th at the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop Kentucky Championship Amateur last week at the Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Vert.
Travel related to summer golf has also changed over the years.
“For Ben Hawes and Hillcrest, the lack of a city tournament hasn’t hurt the game, but with the pandemic the game has exploded and the rounds continue to be up,” Whelan said. “I see Owensboro as a city of jamming events. We had huge turnout and support for local charities running events.
“The other side of that is that golf in the state has gotten smaller. Twenty-five years ago nobody really traveled for tournaments and now, with junior and national events so well attended, it’s not It’s nothing to go play in Louisville or in the Lexington area for a big tournament.
The number of game rounds has not decreased here.
“I don’t see it really affecting the local courses,” Delk said. “It impacted those who played because it was an event where they got to play different courses against a good competitive field. We actually hosted the last city as The Pearl Club.