Now that the initial buzz of the big announcement is wearing off, the staff at Stonewall Links has a lot of work to do.
Two weeks ago, the United States Golf Association announced that its 2016 Mid-Amateur tournament, one of the 10 amateur competitions it runs, will be held at the East Nantmeal-based club. Though the club has three years to prepare, the early planning stages are already beginning.
Stonewall Links General Manager Paul Mauer said they are in the process of setting up a series of committees to run various aspects of the tournament. Club Vice President Frank Foster has been appointed the event chairman and will start coordinating the groundwork for the planning stages next week.
And, thankfully, the club has had a lot of help from the USGA itself, he added. The USGA gave the club the bulk of the framework for how to plan the event.
“The people from the USGA have been more than accommodating,” he said. “Any questions that you have, you call them up and they call you right back. It’s a pretty good organization.
“I thought that they would be so big that they’d be hard to deal with, but they have not been. They’ve been more than gracious.”
He added that Foster will be attending this year’s Mid-Am in Birmingham, Ala., and Mauer is going to next year’s tournament at Saucon Valley Country Club in the Lehigh Valley to see how other clubs handle running the tournament.
Unlike PGA events, the Mid-Am won’t have the large crowds, being more of a prestigious event within the golf community than a public spectacle. Mauer said they have predicted 200-300 spectators. Still, the club will be working closely with local services, such as fire and EMS, to ensure the safety of spectators and golfers alike during the event.
The USGA will have a meteorologist on site, and the club has lightning detectors. In hospitality, a list of local hotels has been compiled.
One of the biggest changes the club has had to make was to lengthen the course a little bit. But the Tom Doak designed, minimalist golf course lends itself well to the tournament, Mauer said.
“It’s all about the golf, here.”
It’s still early, and Mauer admitted that he still isn’t entirely sure what to expect, but with the news still fresh and the first plans being laid, the excitement level is high, and the staff is really motivated.
“The golf courses here are just excellent, and I think Tom Doak is a great designer,” he said. “And I think it just brings a spotlight on how good this golf course is. It’s just a fun place to play.”