There's a cliche that pro golfers would play golf in a parking lot if there was enough money on the line. And while that's probably true, it's better when the playing field is an interesting golf course. That's especially true among amateur golfers. We'd rather compete on an interesting layout than a dud.
I happen to think that local tournaments - town, city and county championships - are the backbone of competitive amateur golf. They should be the base of a pyramid whose apex is the U.S. Amateur. In most cases, due to lack of coordination among golf's governing bodies, they kind of float out there on their own, which is why some of them are lackluster and some are excellent. If you tuned into Golf Channel's pre-PGA Championship coverage, you probably heard about the great San Francisco City Championship, which takes place at Lincoln Park and Harding Park and once drew 10,000-strong crowds.
Taking place some 2,300 miles east this weekend, the Charlotte City Amateur is also one of America's best local events in part because of the rota of courses its participants enjoy. This year's edition visits three different area private clubs: Pine Island Country Club, Cedarwood Country Club and the North Course at Carmel Country Club. Carmel anchors a very strong private club scene along with Quail Hollow, Charlotte Country Club, Myers Park Country Club and Carolina Golf Club, the latter three being bastions of Donald Ross' work in the Tar Heel State. Indeed, all those prestigious clubs have hosted the Charlotte City Am since it was revived in 2008 by 1969 Champion Xan Butler and others, who comprise its committee today. If your local city am had that kind of rota, I bet you'd double your weekly range time beforehand. I know I would.