Shoal Creek returns to championship status

One of the county’s top golf courses was put on the national stage last week for the first time in nearly two decades and only the fourth time in its 31-year existence.

Shoal Creek Golf Club hosted its fourth championship golf tournament and first U.S. Junior Amateur —joining a small percentage of courses in the United States to have hosted a U.S. Amateur (1986) and U.S. Junior Amateur.

“We are delighted to have the USGA back,” said Mike Thompson, general chairman of Shoal Creek, at the start of the tournament. “We’ve been working hard on it. We sure are proud of what’s happening here. “

The near-400 volunteers, club staff and membership was recognized by the United States Golf Association during the awards ceremony Saturday.

But what Thompson stressed the most during the ceremony was the players’ ability.

“Our patrons, volunteers and marshals knew (the golfers) had skills, but they exceeded our expectations in ball striking and course management.” Thompson said.

In the first two days of the tournament, 156 golfers played 36 holes of golf each, putting their way 669 birdies and 15 eagles, according to Thompson.

Wrapping up his remarks, Thompson directed the USGA and chairman Fred Nelson directly.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to have you conduct this championship. Fred, please come back.”

While no announcement of another USGA championship coming to Shoal Creek has been made, Nelson praised the club’s efforts numerous times.

“I will pass the word that if there was ever a golf course worthy of a national championship, we found it this week,” Nelson said.