USGA Mens State Team Blog – Live from St. Louis
(NOTE: AGA Director of Rules and Competitions, Scott McNevin, is blogging from the USGA Mens State Team Championship, at The Country Club of St. Albans, just west of St. Louis, Missouri. Michael Wog II, Chris Kessler and Dalen Linnerson are the three AGA players representing Arizona in the Championship. The first round begins Wednesday.)
Team Arizona arrived safely by lunchtime on Monday, September 21st. With a good chance of rain throughout the week, our guys came prepared with rain gear, umbrellas and multiple pairs of shoes. The plan was to play a practice round on Monday afternoon, and head to the welcome reception at The Country Club of St. Albans immediately after the round. After arriving at the club, it didn’t take long to realize why the club and its members were chosen as the host site. Every staff member and volunteer was very welcoming, almost as if we were already members at the club. After getting a tour of the large, tudor-style clubhouse, by one of the many member-turned volunteers, we knew we were in for a special week.
The Country Club of St. Albans has 36 holes, but the entire championship will be contested on the Lewis and Clark Course. Monday afternoon, our practice round was cut short by some possible lightning coming to the area. At about 5:30 pm, as our guys were just on the 10th hole, we were evacuated to the clubhouse, which concluded our play for that day. Having a Tuesday morning practice round at 9:00 a.m., we were not too worried, as would be able to see the entire course the next day as were hopeful to get a full practice round in.
Monday evening was the spectacular welcome reception at the club. A great food display was setup for the dinner, which was highlighted by the pork short ribs (which was one of a few of the main entrees), and funnel cake with vanilla ice cream for desert. Only about halfway through dinner, the thunderstorm that brought us off the course struck with force, dropping 1.3 inches of rain, which would make the course a little bit longer for the week.
During the welcome reception we got to meet our adopted host family, so if we have any issues, questions, etc, we can give them a call. They actually live on the other golf course at St. Albans. We sat and talked with them for most of the reception, and they gave us a little background on The Country Club of St. Albans. The club opened in 1992, with the Lewis and Clark Course being the first course to open that year (Tavern Creek, the other Course at St. Albans, opened in 1997). Currently with about 800 members, The Country Club of St. Albans is one of the largest private clubs in Missouri, and annually ranked one of the best private golf communities in the state.
The Lewis and Clark Course was designed by the team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, which should be very familiar to Arizona golfers. A few of the courses in Arizona designed by this famous duo include Troon Country Club, Forest Highlands and TPC Scottsdale – Stadium Course. The great layout will be playing as a par 71, at a stout 7150 yards, with three par 4’s over 480 yards. The course is in excellent condition, and with the rain from Monday evening, it will be a great test of golf for all players.
Tuesday evening was the player dinner, hosted at the Country Club of St. Albans. The highlight of the evening was the flag ceremony, where the captain from each state walked into the dinner reception with their respective state flag (there are 51 teams in the championship, as the District of Columbia is also represented). USGA President Jim Vernon was present, and Vernon announced each state as the flags were inserted in the flag stands and displayed behind the head table. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, also known as the “Wizard of Oz” for his spectacular defense during his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals, was present as the Honorary Chairman of the event. Smith carried the United States flag into the reception immediately following all the state flags.
Team Arizona tees off in the afternoon wave for Round 1, with Dalen Linnerson off at 12:40, followed by Michael Wog II (12:50) and Chris Kessler (1:00). The two low scores each day will count toward the team score. Good Luck to Team Arizona! Live scoring can be found at http://www.stateteam.org/mens/