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Senior Amateur Golf Tour debuts

The Senior Amateur Golf Tour kicks off its first season in Virginia in 2012, hosting a lineup of local tournaments beginning March 13 at Poplar Grove Golf Course and ending Oct. 30 at Hunting Hills Country Club. The tour is open to all golf levels of senior amateurs who are 50 years of age or older. Members are placed in one of four flights based on handicaps. Flights are Championship (0-3.9 handicap), A Flight (4-8.9handicap), B Flight (9-13.9 handicap) and C Flight (14-18.9 handicap).

Tour membership fee is $80, and includes a tour gift pack, plus reduced rates on weekly practice rounds. Entry fees are $60-$70 per event, and include cart and green fees, range balls and prizes.

Golfers who are 50 years or older may join the tour at any time during the year.

Area golfers wishing to join the tour should contact area tour director Kenny Powell at (434) 792-3728. Golfers may also sign up online at www.senioramateurgolftour.net.

Tournament format is gross stroke play, with USGA rules in effect. A software program tracks each player’s handicap to ensure participants are placed in their proper flight. Once players begin playing on the tour, the integrity of each flight is kept and many players will be moved up in flights during the season.

Powell has assembled a schedule of 17 tournaments on some of the area’s premier private country clubs. In addition to the opening and closing venues, tour stops will include: Stoney Creek and Devil’s Knob, both at Wintergreen Resort, Virginia Tech’s Pete Dye River Course, University of Virginia’s Birdwood Golf Club, The Manor Resort, Olde Mill of Groundhog Mountain , The Keswick Club , Spring Creek, Tuscarora, Goodyear, London Downs, Draper Valley, Chatmoss and Pulaski Country Clubs, as well as Danville Golf Club.

Golfers who finish in the top 15 in points in their flight receive invitations to the 2012 National Senior Amateur Tour Championship in Pinehurst, N.C. All of last year’s results are currently posted on the web page www.senioramateurgolftour.net

More than 220 players competed at Pine Needles/Seven Lakes Country Club and National Golf Course in Pinehurst, N.C. last season. The Charlotte, N.C. team will be looking to defend its Team Cup victory from last season.

Nationally the tour has grown to 12 states with over 1000 members expected to compete this season.