I write this a few days before the 24th edition of the United States Golf Teachers Cup will be played in Sedona, Arizona, at Oakcreek Country Club. Oakcreek is one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever played, and I’m sure everyone there will have a fantastic time. This year we are combining the event with a pro-am, and we’ve had good participation on that level, as well.

But in reminiscing about the U.S. Cup, I go back to 1996, where it all started at Ponce de Leon Resort in St. Augustine, Florida. The course no longer exists, sold to a developer, but we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 players for that one-round event. Edward Lee of New Orleans, Louisiana, playing out of the Senior division shot a 74 on a cold and windy day. Faisal Qurechi nipped me in a playoff for Open division honors. The next year the tournament moved out west to San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall, California, where 23 intrepid souls made the journey. Shawn Clement fired a 73 playing both right- and left-handed! At the time, Shawn was a disciple of Moe Norman and used his method.

The tournament really took off in 1999, when we combined it with the World Golf Teachers Cup at Ballentrae in Port St. Lucie, Florida, at the time the home city of the USGTF National Office. 130 players participated and we took over the course for the entire five days. Players from all over the world were there, and many friendships were made. Somehow, my good friend Ken Butler also won the individual World Cup that week (hey, I gotta tweak you somehow, Kenny!). But Kenny is a great player in his own right, so enough said.

Some of my best friends not only in golf but in life have been made at these events. I won’t list them because I’ll forget someone, but for anyone who has spent some time with me, you are definitely on that list. I look forward to Sedona with great anticipation and adding to that great history.

By Mark Harman, USGTF National Course Director

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