CRandIC golf tour looks for bigger things in 2017

Gardner and Pleasant Valley course join the field this year

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IOWA CITY — Year 1 was about getting off the ground. Now, the focus shifts to growing the game.

Buoyed by a successful debut, the CRandIC amateur golf tour is set to launch its second season with five events in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor, beginning May 6-7 at Finkbine Golf Club in Iowa City.

“I think the camaraderie that was built over last year was a big thing,” tour commissioner Matt Taylor said. “We have a lot of guys that played together for the first time in one of the events, and throughout the year you’d end up seeing them play more golf together. It’s really neat to see that.”

Last year, the tour averaged 65-75 competitors for each of the four events. With word-of-mouth interest now extending from Waterloo to the Quad Cities, tour organizers believe that number should reach 75-100 this season.

“It was a heck of a start to what we think is going to be a longtime thing,” said tour board member Mason Linn, who golfed at Cedar Rapids Prairie and at Northern Iowa. “A lot of players were very pleased with the quality of the courses that we played, and that is one of the standards that we hold very important to us.”

Linn, 29, also unveiled a program to incentivize existing member referrals in order to further boost participation numbers.

After a June stop at Ellis Golf Course in Cedar Rapids, there are two events in July. Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville will stage a two-man team, better-ball event July 8-9 in which players will have the opportunity to choose their partner. On July 29-30, the tour will make its first stop at Pleasant Valley Golf Course.

Pleasant Valley is one of two new golf courses on the tour. The season concludes with a one-day, two-man better ball tournament Sept. 5 at Gardner Golf Course in Marion.

“We’re excited to get down there,” Taylor said of Pleasant Valley. “It’s a great course, great facility.”

Like last year, there will be an open division (minimum age 23) and a senior division that starts at age 50. Tournaments are flighted after day one to accommodate various skill levels, and both the flights and the subsequent payouts will be based on the size of the player field. There are no cuts, so all players are guaranteed two days of golf.

Registration is located on the tour’s Facebook page and website. The fee for each event typically costs $85 per player, with the exception of the tour finale at Gardner ($45).

“I really think it’s going to take off this year,” said Taylor, who golfed at Marion High School. “We’re expecting a lot bigger year this year, bigger payouts and a lot more fun.”

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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