WARREN, Ohio – Nearly 150 of Ohio’s top amateur golfers will descend upon The Grand Resort in Howland Township for a statewide tournament at the property’s 18-hole, par 72 Avalon Lakes Golf Course.
The Ohio Golf Association’s Ohio Amateur Tournament, July 26-30, will also include opportunities for the resort to showcase its amenities to spectators and players.
Guests will have access to the fitness centers, tennis courts, swimming pool, cigar lounge and other facilities at the resort – just like Avalon Golf and County Club members.
“There will be a lot of resort action from this event,” says Nicholas Dinsmore, the club’s golf operations general manager.
Dinsmore couldn’t estimate the revenue the tournament will bring in, but noted that more than 50% of the hotel’s 132 rooms will be used. Since it’s an Ohio-based event, not all of the competitors are staying on the premises.
“It’s filling up weekdays in the hotel when generally there would be some rooms open,” Dinsmore says.
The Grand Pavilion, which can hold up to 200, will be the place for food, meeting space, tournament registration and scoring for the participants.
Volunteers and employees will also be on hand to help with running the tournament. “We will have more activity around here, which will bring in more revenue,” Dinsmore says. “For that, we’ll have more hands on deck. It’s not a specific dollar amount, not a specific percentage, but I definitely want more people around the hotel, banquet facility and then also here on the golf course.”
This is the first time Avalon Lakes has hosted the Ohio Golf Association event and the first one in the Mahoning Valley since 1970 when it was held at Tippecanoe Country Club.
PGA golfer and John F. Kennedy High School graduate Jason Kokrak won the event in 2006 and 2007. Columbiana’s Jared Wilson (Kent State University), Brookfield’s Justin Atkinson (University of Findlay), Campbell’s Dean Austalosh (Youngstown State University) and Bryan Kordupel (YSU) are the local players in this year’s field.
The 72-hole stroke play begins with the field of 144 and will be cut to 60 for round three, and then to the final 40 after 54 holes.
Spectators are welcome and can attend free of charge, but there will be no carts available to them.
Matt Lefferts, executive director of the Ohio Golf Association, says the only protocols in place are to respect the players, staff, volunteers and club employees.
Lefferts met with Ron Klingle, chairman and CEO at Avalon Holdings Corp., before deciding on the site of this year’s Ohio Amateur Tournament.
“After the visit, I knew Avalon Golf and Country Club could host any one of our championships,” Lefferts says. “Going to the corner of the state for a championship is always a little risky, but I was willing to take the risk.”
Preparation for the event began in January for the hotel and banquet facilities, Dinsmore says.
Tree trimming around the golf course, cutting the rough to the right height and ensuring greens were at a good speed followed.
Thatch buildup around the golf course has been removed and bunkers affected by the recent rains were restored.
Also, the Ohio Golf Association has requested that the rough be raised about a half inch from where it would be for member and resort play.
By July 21, 7.6 inches of rainfall has been recorded at the nearby Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in July, which has led to clogged drains and puddles around the course.
The Avalon Lakes groundskeeping team will remedy it in time for the event.
“They’re working hard to take care of that stuff right now,” Dinsmore said July 21.
“I thought we were in the clear and then we got that storm [July 20]. It’s frustrating.”
He is adamant about putting on a quality event for the players and the Ohio Golf Association.
“We want to provide the best golf course we can, even though it rains every day,” Dinsmore says. “This event provides great exposure to have the top players in the state coming here to our facilities.
“We are proud to have the Ohio Amateur, and it’s a great resume builder for future events.”
Pictured: The Ohio Golf Association’s Ohio Amateur Tournament will be held at Avalon Lakes. Nicholas Dinsmore is the golf operations general manager at the country club.