Planet Golf — 30 November 2016 by Bob Sherwin
Aldarra to host 2017 NCAA Regional

FALL CITY, Wa. — The Aldarra Golf Club, a Tom Fazio-designed course 20 miles east of Seattle, is breaking from its own tradition to host the men’s 2017 NCAA Division I Regional Championship May 14-17.

Aldarra, which opened 16 years ago with the mission of providing a premier golf facility for its members with a limited appetence for outside events, said in a statement Tuesday that various golf organizations have approached the course to host an event. The club was always open to the idea “as long as the event harmonized” their core ideas, “did not impose a financial burden on members and the lost member play was manageable.”

As it turned out, it was Fazio himself who sparked the change.

“When Tom Fazio visited last summer, he opined that great courses are generally considered great only after they have been tested by the best players,” read the club’s statement, adding, “we are convinced this event will showcase the magnificence of our course, will have zero financial impact, and will disrupt play for only four days in May.  Based upon this analysis, the Board has unanimously approved and committed to host this event.”

The event was originally scheduled to be hosted by Washington National but a change in course ownership put it back in play.

The host school, the University of Washington, which has a working relationship with Aldarra for its men’s and women’s golf teams, approached the Board to consider. (The picture above with the ‘W’ was chalked across Aldarra’s first-hole fairway last May to honor the Huskies’ 2016 NCAA champion women’s golf team).

There will be 13-15 men’s teams competing in the regional, approximately 80 players. It is expected that several West Coast and Pac-12 teams, including perhaps UW, will qualify for the event. Five teams will advance to the NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois.

The Board added, “we will use this evaluation in considering similar future endeavors, but do not contemplate considering more than one event per year nor events that are costlier in terms of member play.”

 

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 46th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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