STANWOOD – Golf course architect James Engh is elated the LPGA’s Symetra Tour is stopping in to play the Tullymore Classic at Tullymore Golf Resort on the Fourth of July weekend, but not because he wants to see professionals take on the classic golf course he designed.
“I’m thinking about the people outside the ropes, visiting the resort, walking around, watching and having a good time,” said the award-winning Colorado-based architect who designed Tullymore for its 2002 opening. “I want them to see all the things that go with great golf – challenge, skill and the beauty of the course.”
The Tour staff will do the course set-up and Engh said tournament experts can make almost any golf course as easy or as hard as they choose. He just hopes they take advantage of the flexibility, versatility and variety of the course design.
“The thing I would recommend is that they change it daily because you have the ability to do that with the many distances and angles that can be played,” he said. “Tour golfers usually don’t like changes all that much. They get in this cocoon of concentration, and change messes with that. I think changing the distances and angles would make it more interesting to watch.”
The 54-hole stroke play championship will tee off on Friday, July 3, and conclude on Sunday, July 5. The top 144 up-and-coming professionals in women’s golf will compete for a purse of $100,000. The winner will earn $15,000 and have an opportunity to move into the top-10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. The top-10 on the year-end Symetra Tour money list earns LPGA Tour membership for the 2016 season.
Tullymore can play well over 7,000 yards from the back tee positions with as many as six possible tee positions on each hole. The Symetra Tour works on courses around the country and will find the comfort zone for its players. Engh said he designed the course so that a comfort zone could be found for all golfers regardless of ability.
“There are a lot of interesting features on the course, like the quasi blind shot on No. 3, the risk-reward factors on the five par 5s, negotiating the wetlands and I hope these girls go out and appreciate the quality and the value of the setting and the uniqueness of the holes,” he said. “Of course, when you play at the level the pros play, they lock in and I think it’s very rare that they appreciate the aesthetics of a golf course. Still, Tullymore can be made difficult without having to trick it up. You just adjust the tees and pins and change the angles.”
Tullymore can challenge the pros Engh feels, but he doubts they will find it too difficult. He said designing a course today that would function only as a dramatic challenge to touring professionals without having to be tricked up would not make sense.
“It would be almost impossible for others golfers to play,” he said. “The gap between even an amateur scratch player and a touring pro is wider than ever. In the 60s they were in the same area code. Today a legit scratch player is probably closer to a 10-handicap player than to a touring pro. The professionals are that good and they hit it that far.”
Fans who attend the Tullymore Classic should enjoy the course as much as watching the players. When Engh first came to the property he was captivated.
“It had a lot going for it – great vegetation, mature trees and a wonderful sand base to work from,” he said. “Mix those things with existing wetlands and we came up with beauty and variety. The goal was to preserve what we found along the boundary of the wetlands and we did that creatively.”
Awards came quickly, too. Tullymore was named the Best New Public Upscale Course in 2002 by Golfweek, and it has been a regular among the Greatest Public & Resort Courses in America by Golf Digest in the last 13 years. Engh finished Tullymore while on a hot streak with awards. In 2003 he was Golf Digest’s Architect of the Year. Visit www.enghgolf.com for more about Tullymore’s designer.
ABOUT TULLYMORE: Two distinct world-class golf courses welcome golfers to Tullymore, including the award-winning Tullymore course. In addition, St. Ives Golf Club is a prime example of the best design work by Michigan’s own Jerry Matthews. The 36 holes of great golf wind amid 800 acres of glacier-carved rolling Michigan woodlands and wetlands in the captivating Canadian Lakes area.
The luxuriously appointed accommodations and premium amenities like the fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and two comfortable clubhouses with great dining service options make for more reasons to visit and stay for a while. Choose from a getaway for two in the cozy inns, or a cottage, condominium or rental home for an unforgettable few days away or even a home away from home.
Tullymore was named Michigan’s No. 1 Golf Resort and one of the Top 50 Golf Resorts in the U.S. in the 2010 Golf World Readers Choice Awards. It has also been selected as a Silver Medal Winner – Premier Resorts 2010 – The Best Destinations in Golf by Golf Magazine.
Sponsorship opportunities, playing spots in the Tullymore Classic pro-am and some volunteer slots remain available. Visit www.tullymoreclassic.com for more tournament information and to be a part of the Tullymore Classic.
Visit www.tullymoregolf.com for resort information, and for reservations, call 1 (800) 972-3837 ext. 239.