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County Cup golf tourney reaches 20-year milestone

Rewind time 20-plus years. Ronnie “Doc” Moore, Chris Dockrill, Bob Thomasson and Jackie Thomasson are relaxing in the clubhouse at Green’s Folly Golf Course watching the PGA Ryder Cup golf tournament. Some of the on-going conversation was about the pro golfers they were watching on television.

“We were watching the Ryder Cup, and Ronnie said, ‘Man, this would be an awesome thing to do,’” said Dockrill, the president of Green’s Folly Golf Course.

“I told them we used to play this tournament back home in Canada called the Rose Bowl. You would have challenge matches against every other club. Originally, we were thinking you could have it and challenge other teams and things like that.

“Then” added Dockrill, “we thought about the Country Club (Halifax Country Club) and having a competition. Doc asked, ‘why don’t we do something like this?’

From there, the concept of the County Cup Golf Tournament moved forward, creating a competition between the two county golf clubs that has expanded to include both seniors and women.

“Once we decided we needed to do this, Bob and I sat down and tried to find someone from the Country Club to get on board,” Moore explained.

“Chris was willing to do anything the Country Club was willing to do. This idea had to be approved by the Country Club’s board of directors.”

Bob Thomasson said the tournament board at Halifax Country Club was willing to become involved.

“We went to the tournament board, and the people on the board felt it was a good idea, especially with the qualifying for it supporting the events like the Club Championship and, at the time, the Walter McCormick Memorial Tournament,” Thomason pointed out.

With that matter having been taken care of, the by-laws governing the competition had to be set. The four men sat down and began developing the rules, each contributing in different areas.

“We said that no matter what we do, when we set these by-laws this is going to be it,” Moore said.

“We said this is going to be the only way we do it. Very little has changed since we made the by-laws.”

This coming weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the County Cup Golf Tournament. Now 20-years-old, the event is still played much as the first tournament was played.

The County Cup Golf Tournament is the only local golf tournament that features match-play competition. That, Moore said, makes the tournament unique.

“There were no match-play events around here at that time,” he pointed out.

“We wanted to keep it as close to what the actual Ryder Cup matches are. We do a little bit differently with the alternating shots than they (the pros) do to make it a little easier for our players. Aside from that, the County Cup pretty much mirrors what they do.”

Another key ingredient in the tournament is that it features the best golfers from both Green’s Folly Golf Course and Halifax Country Club.

“The idea was to get the best players from both clubs,” Thomasson explained.

“There wasn’t another event that did that. Everything else involved handicaps and mixing things up. Even though we wanted to keep players qualifying so that you were supporting the club events during the course of the year, we still wanted the best players from both clubs to be in this tournament.”

The County Cup Golf Tournament has grown in popularity with each passing year. It has become the county’s all-star golf tournament, and golfers from both venues compete to make the respective county cup teams.

“It grew to be so popular that the seniors then wanted to do it,” Dockrill noted.

“Once the seniors wanted to do it, the ladies wanted to be involved. We’ve had a lot of different events here, but they have never had the popularity that this particular event has.”

The all-star aspect has made qualifying for spots on the two clubs’ teams very competitive.

“There is a lot of prestige in getting your name associated with the top 12 at each club,” Dockrill said.

“We have people that play golf here at Green’s Folly that their whole summer is set up on trying to make either the senior or regular team. They put a lot of effort and time into being able to make this team.”

Dockrill said he knew from the beginning if done right, this tournament would grow and perpetuate itself.

“I know that back home it was the biggest thing we did at our club,” Dockrill said.

“All anybody wanted to do was get on that team. You could tell that was the way it was going to be here, even in the first couple of years with this.”

The competition in the County Cup is serious business among the participants. At the end of the weekend, though, everyone remains friends.

“It’s not to say that we haven’t had our controversy because it is so competitive,” Moore said.

“We are all friends, and still are. Some of us have switched teams over the years, but at the end of the day, everyone shakes hands at the end of the last match, and win or lose, we all look forward to next year.”

Moore said that while he had high hopes for the continuation of the tournament, he had no idea that it would be what it is now.

“I really had no idea it would grow to be this big,” he pointed out.

“You certainly hope that when you do something that it will continue and survive us. What we wanted to do more than anything was make it available to everybody. The only criteria is that you had to be a good golfer.”