Local courses care about high school golf

Published 8:57am Thursday, May 12, 2011

Column: Second Thoughts

I’ve experienced it myself. Local golf course superintendents and club owners unwillingly handing me the keys to a cart so that I can cover high school golf meets.

Management at Green Lea Golf Course and Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea care about high school golf. The 20-team boys’ golf meet that kicks off Friday at Green Lea and continues Saturday at Wedgewood Cove reaffirms that belief.

The Albert Lea Invitational held its inaugural tournament last May. Seventeen teams from 16 schools attended the two-day event, which was held on what is remembered to be the most beautiful weekend of last spring. According to Albert Lea boys’ golf coach Riley Worth, the visiting coaches’ feedback was tremendous, and although many have access to some of the top courses in the state in the Twin Cities metro area, they loved both of Albert Lea’s courses.

When Worth began planning the inaugural Albert Lea Invitational two years ago, he wasn’t sure there would be a second, much less a first, but this year’s tournament field is even more impressive than the first’s.

Worth said that when Albert Lea’s second course opened, he figured it was time to do something special with his group of senior golfers.

“They were a pretty amazing group and I wanted to show them how much I appreciated their years on the team.”

Worth then began talking to Green Lea owner Jeff Elseth and Wedgewood Cove superintendent Donnie Teeter. When Worth approached both men about the possibility of hosting a large-scale high school golf tournament, their answer was a resounding yes.

Then Elseth and Teeter did something surprising.

“They offered to host it in mid-May so we could have nicer weather,” Worth said. “To give up their courses in mid-May when the weather is starting to get nice showed dedication. I was dealing with the two best advocates of high school golf I could hope for.”

Worth said both courses enjoyed hosting the tournament last season and that it has grown this season partially due to the weather during the invite’s inaugural year. Worth said it was 70 degrees and sunny both days and that Teeter said it was the two calmest days he’d seen at Wedgewood Cove since it opened. While it looks like the tournament won’t see the same weather this year, let’s hope the tournament runs just as smoothly.

The second annual Albert Lea Invitational begins at 2 p.m. Friday at Green Lea Golf Course and continues at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club. After the tournament is finished, there will be longest drive, longest putt and closest to the pin contests at Wedgewood Cove.

Andrew Dyrdal’s column appears every Thursday in the Tribune.