The scorecard for the 2011 Tidewater Golfweek Amateur Tour is a big-time winner again.
The scorecard features the following:
• A national team championship for the third time in the last four years.
• Two national individual champions.
• A record payout in prize money.
• An all-time best for the average size of its tournaments.
• The largest contingent competing at the nationals.
Without reservations, that adds up to an amazing year. And no one could be prouder than tour director Lyle Joyner, the cornerstone of the operation — the man who took over a once-shaky tour in 2005 and turned into a highly-successful amateur tour for players of all skill levels.
Since 2005, membership has increased from 78 players to an average of close to 200 the past four years.
That huge growth and national achievements can, in large part, be attributed to Joyner's excellent marketing skills and the players getting their friends to join the tour with words of encouragement.
"Word-of-mouth" always is of great help, Joyner says.
Another plus is that the tour caters to players of all skill levels, with gross and net winners from the championship level to four other flights.
Numbers-wise, the Tidewater Tour continues to rank in the Top-5 among the 40-plus clubs that are members of the Golfweek national operation.
Has the Tidewater tour exceeded Joyner's expectations?
"Very much so, and it amazes me that we have so many wonderful local golfers on the tour," he said.
Heading the standouts for 2011 have been Tony Mauro of Virginia Beach, Jim Gallagher of Yorktown, and Dan Barrows from the Southside.
Mauro, a three-time winner in the championship flight during the regular season, was Player of the Year.
Gallagher, a former Rookie and Player of the Year, capped his season by winning the National Seniors Championship in Pinehurst, N.C., Nov. 15-16.
At the season-ending nationals for all players at Hilton Head, S.C., Barrows became the tour's fourth individual national champion by winning the 2011 A Flight. The first to achieve the feat was Brian Lane of Grafton in the B Flight in 2008 and Jeff Hawkins of Virginia Beach in the A Flight in 2010.
Blake Brookman of Seaford also stood out at this year's nationals. The 2010 Rookie of the Year came up with the best individual performance for Tidewater players in the championship flight, placing third with rounds of 75, 75, 75.
The prize payouts have also stirred the interest of Hampton Roads players.
In 2011, the Tidewater Tour awarded $45,000 to its players — the most among all the national tour member clubs, according to Joyner.
This past season also showed growth in the number of players that signed up for its 12 regular-season tournaments. The average size of each event was an all-time best of 111 players.
It could be more this coming season. As of Sunday, 100 players had already registered for the 2012 regular season, which doesn't start until March 24.
The 2012 schedule is already out, with members slated to play 12 events at 14 sites. They include stops at Heron Ridge, Elizabeth Manor, Oceana Hornet, Nansemond River, Kilmarlic, Cahoon Plantation, The Pines at Elizabeth City, Cypress Creek, Brickshire, Kiskiack, Riverfront, Virginia Beach National, Stonehouse, and Sleepy Hole.
The cost to join the tour is $110. Players may register online for $110 at agtva.com. Interested players also can join now and still play on Tidewater's two-man Winter Tour.
Karen Terry of Newport News, the most-prolific winner among Peninsula women in 2011, opened her 2012 season with a runaway victory in the Sentara New Year's Day 5K around Coliseum Central in Hampton.
Terry, an assistant cross country coach at Smithfield High School, finished the 3.1-mile race almost three minutes ahead of women's runnerup Jessica Armstrong of Newport News. Terry, 23, was timed in 18 minutes and 45 seconds.
Armstrong, 16, ran 21:38 and Kim Ratcliffe of Yorktown placed third in 22:25.
Dylan Sydnor, 16, of Grafton High School topped the overall field of 263 finishers in 17:05. Smithfield High cross country coach Todd Kessler took second place among the men in 17:39 and Robert Lindermann, 24, of Yorktown was third in 17:40.
The deadline to enter the Virginia Peninsula USBC Open Championship or the Youth City Tournament is Jan. 15.
This year's 60th annual Open will be hosted by Century Lanes in Hampton. Action will be held on the weekends of Jan. 21-22, 28-29 and Feb. 4-5.
The youth tournament is slated for Feb. 4-5 and 11-12 at Classic Lanes in Newport News.
For both tournaments, competition will be held in singles, doubles, and team events.
Prize money for the Open will be on the line in handicap and scratch divisions.
Also coming up is the 58th annual Women's City Championship. That is scheduled for Feb. 25-26, March 3-4 and, if needed, March 10-11 at the Fort Eustis Lanes. Entries will close Feb. 16.
For more information on any of the tournaments or to obtain an entry form, go to vpusbc.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun