- Last Updated on 08:23 AM 09/19/12
- BY Ronnie Pate/SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE
This time of year, the air is getting a little crisp, the fair is less than three weeks away and football is in the air.
The Ryder Cup is less than two weeks away and Halifax County has one more golf score to settle.
The 22nd Annual County Cup Golf Tournament, a match of skill between Halifax Country Club and Green’s Folly Golf Club is being held this weekend and it will be more competitive and fierce than ever.
It is a special event that was the brain-child of several good friends, and after the initial affair, it has grown into one of the top events in golf in the Southside.
Using a modified type of play that is used in the Ryder Cup, the three teams from each club, regular, senior and women, play two days of match play, singles and alternating shots. If you love golf, this is what you have been waiting for.
The regular teams play a total of 54 holes for the weekend while the seniors and women play 36. Several communities have tried to copy the format but have not found the special niche that is required to pull off such a large affair with two clubs less than one mile apart from each other.
It is the only competition that pits family, best friends, neighbors and even children and parents against each other for the right to be called County Cup champions for the year.
The Ladies County Cup will start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Halifax Country Club, while the men will start at 8 a.m. at Green’s Folly. On Sunday they will switch clubs with the men going at 8 a.m. at Halifax Country Club and the ladies starting in the afternoon at around 1 p.m. at Green’s Folly.
All play has been pretty competitive over the years, but in the last few years, especially in the seniors and women’s divisions, a point here or even a half a point has meant the difference between victory or defeat.
The women match their play up with a certain amount of handicap being involved to allow different golfers with different skills a chance to be competitive and that the chance that someone will be embarrassed will not happen.
In the Seniors Division, captains Mike Hailey and Bobby Wilborn do it just like they do in the Ryder Cup, with one player being put up and the other team matching it with their choice.
In the regular division, Captain Jimmy Clay and Captain David Meeks will go with a blind draw.
All three of this years’ teams are very talented, and on paper, are very even. I understand you do not play on paper, but from a perspective of play, they are as close as I have seen in quite awhile.
The womens’ teams will be without Kay Burton who won the club championships at both clubs this year and usually alternates each year. Her daughter is getting married and the wedding fell on the same weekend as the County Cup.
This by no means makes either team weak, as they are loaded with women that can play with anybody.
Green’s Folly has Suzanne Stevens and Linda Collier, who played Kay tooth and nail. Then, you add Brenda Graham and that makes for a pretty strong opening three that can play with anyone.
Denise Ferrell is a first-time player this year, but has come on strong since picking up the game a few years back. Paigie Allnutt, Janet Johnson and Connie Pate all picked up valuable points last year in a close match and will be counted on again this year.
If you are looking for power off the tee, Mattie Cowan, Yolanda Jeffress and Jeanette Jones can bust it with anyone.
On the Halifax Country Club side, Millie Witt, the runner-up to Burton in the club championship, turned the Captain title over to Carol Gravitt. She will also be putting a strong contender on the course as she hopes to regain the title Halifax Country Club lost the past two years in very close matches.
Along with Witt, Gravitt will counter with Pat Crew, Rita Compton and former champion Linda Lumsden. Lorene Womble was in the final four this year, and Betty Caldwell is playing strong.
Neither team will show any weakness when they match up, and this should be one of the best match-ups in years.
On the Seniors Division side, Wilborn and the Green’s Folly team will try to retain the title they won last year in a very close match.
Wilborn will be without the services of long-time player Billy Payne because of illness, but he has plenty of ammunition to counter with.
Sam Moser and Irvin Carter played on the senior circuit this summer, and Peter McCready and William Murray are playing strong.
Walter Robertson and June Hancock know each other’s games like the back of their hands, and Page Seamster and Bill Robinson can light up Green’s Folly.
Across the street, Hailey will try to counter with Jim Burton and Dennis Witt, who are playing just as well as anyone at Halifax.
Newcomer Tom Kluge is as solid as they come, and Roy Bradley had a great club championship. Nookie Green and Teddy Holt, along with Gary Gupton, will be very effective in match play as all three score well in a pinch.
In the regular County Cup match-ups, you have to start with Green’s Folly because of the county’s premier player, Jimmy Clay.
Clay won both club championships this year and, as always, will be playing for the Folly, where he grew up.
He will bring a lot of his regular players to the table and they all can play. Sammy Puryear, David Day, Chris Young and Scott Vaughan will probably be his go-to guys, and Kevin Haskins and David Graham are no slouches.
Dave Ashwell and J.B. Walker are the wildcards that can light it up, and newcomer Chris Coleman has some low numbers under his belt.
Halifax Country Club Captain David Meeks will try to counter with experience and some of the best talent that team has had in years.
Halifax Country Club has added Woody Clay this year to an already strong lineup, and seems strong all the way down the line.
W.J. Long, Jay Burnett, Brad Thomasson and Brad Mele will come out of the gate swinging.
When Meeks sends out James Lewis and Drew Lewis, Ronnie Moore and Phil Rinker, the talent level does not drop off.
As mentioned previously, on paper, all three levels of play are very close, and this year’s County Cup tournament should produce some of the best matches in recent memory.
I am looking forward to following most of the matches. If you would like to see some of the best local golf in a long time, come out to Greens Folly Golf Club or Halifax Country Club and make yourself comfortable.
County Cup Team
Jimmy Clay - Captain
Bobby Wilborn - Captain
Green’s Folly Women
Suzanne Stevens - Captain
Linda Collier - Co-Captain
Halifax Country Club County Cup Team
David Meeks - Captain
Halifax Country Club Senior Men
Mike Hailey - Captain
Halifax Country Club Women
Carol Gravitt - Captain
Anna Carol Cole