ELIZABETHTON — The folks who run the Carter County Bank East Tennessee Amateur golf tournament are using a simple philosophy this year: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
That was the message longtime tournament director Mike Matheson conveyed Thursday during a media day announcing this year’s event.
“This will be the first year in a long time that we haven’t made any changes, so we’ll see how it goes,” Matheson said. “My English teacher wouldn’t like this, but if it ain’t broke, we ain’t gonna fix it.”
The 19th annual tournament will run July 5-7 at Elizabethton Golf Course. Based on participation numbers, it has been the most popular tournament on the local circuit in recent years. Last year, a field of 150 players competed and a payout of more than $13,500 was handed out.
The entry fee is $150, $100 for Elizabethton members. That gets a golfer three tournament rounds, a practice round, range balls and lunch each day.
“For what you pay and what you get, it’s second to none,” Matheson said. “We try to take care of the golfers. As an example, we went through 2,000 pounds of ice last year and about 55 or 60 cases of water. We make sure the guys are taken care of. That was the hottest one I’ve ever been involved with. We went and got ice from anywhere that had it.”
The course has had a change of management since last year’s ET Amateur. Steve Howard is no longer the pro-manager. Herman Roland is the course’s manager, while three-time ET Amateur champion Adam Shanks is serving as the pro.
Matheson said Thursday that despite the change at the top, all merchandise certificates won in previous ET Amateurs will be honored by the course.
There will be several levels of competition in the 54-hole tournament. In addition to the championship flight and senior divisions, several flights based on golfers’ handicaps will compete in match play.
Last year, the match-play flights played in twosomes instead of foursomes, and the pace of play was increased significantly. That will be the case again this year.
“One of the best moves we’ve ever made,” Matheson said.
The senior divisions and championship flight will play in threesomes. The championship flight will play late all three days.
Former Milligan College golfer Ben Treadway is the defending champion. Mike Poe, who won the senior title in the Tillinghast Invitational last weekend, is the defending senior ET Amateur champ.
“This is the first time since I’ve been running it that the tournament has fallen after the Fourth,” Matheson said. “I look for us to have a really big crowd. I think we’ll get a few more working golfers this year because of that.
“I have to make sure I thank Carter County Bank for sponsoring us. We wouldn’t have this tournament without their help and we really appreciate them.”
To enter, call Elizabethton Golf Course at 542-8051.