LIMA – After a sharp decline in the number of players last season, the Lima City Men’s Golf Championship will be one day shorter this year than in the past.
The tournament, which will run from June 24-28, will start on Wednesday this year instead of on Tuesday.
Last year, 115 golfers signed up for the tournament, a drop of 20 percent from the 143 who played in 2013. As recently as 2009, there were 200 golfers in the tournament.
The two biggest reasons suggested for the drop-off were that the tournament was too long and that moving the tournament to June from July last year might have kept some golfers out of the tournament.
The organizing committee of the tournament surveyed golfers afte the third round of last year’s tournament, asking them what could be done to improve the tournament. It also talked to players who had been in the tournament in past but didn’t play in 2014.
What that survey found was that the length of the tournament appeared to be a much bigger factor than which month it was played.
Committee chairman Scott Geier said in a press release the committee listened to current and former players and found the length of the tournament was “the biggest obstacle” to participation.
“We got 60 to 70 surveys back. There are a lot of factors but the really big factor was time,” committee member Matt Childers said. “People don’t have time to take a whole week of vacation for the city tournament.
Matt Metzger, also a committee member said, “Really, what we found out was there wasn’t a preference to either direction (June or July). It kept coming back to can you make it a shorter time frame? So, we’ll try it.”
Metzger estimated that 15 to 20 golfers did not play because they thought the tournament was too big a time commitment last year.
Childers said the goal for this season would be to bump the number of participants up to 125 to 130 players. “The goal is to have vibrant city tournament,” he said.
One other significant change is that the championship flight will begin play on Thursday with qualifying in the morning and then the first round of match play in the afternoon. The championship flight is the only flight which is scheduled to play two rounds in one day.
The final three days of the tournament will be at the Shawnee Country Club, as in the past. Other courses that will be part of the tournament are the Bluffton Golf Club, Colonial Golfers Club, Hawthorne Hills and Hidden Creek.