Executive and par 3 golf courses are an integral part of growing the game of golf initiatives. The Oceanside area has seen two such courses go through major renovations, taken under new management with the idea of making golf more accessible, affordable, less of a time commitment, all in a friendly and inviting environment. John Ashworth’s Goat Hill Park being one of them and the other is Emerald Isle Golf Course owned by PGA members Don and Nikki Gatch & John and Holly Kennedy. Their emerald oasis played host to the SCPGA’s 2nd Annual Pro-Pro Short Course Shootout this past Wednesday, November 2nd.
The 16 team field was treated to a nice bbq lunch before the 1:00 P.M. shotgun start. The inaugural short course shootout champs, Gary Sowinski, PGA and Chris Starkjohann, PGA were poised and ready to defend their title and found themselves paired with the 2015 runner up team of Jim Petralia, PGA and Paul Wise, PGA.
Another year under the new management proved to be valuable as course conditions were better than they had ever been since Emerald Isle had opened back in 1966, formally called Oceana Golf Course. Players were astonished with the tremendous condition of the greens and quickly realized that this wasn’t your average par 3 “pitch and putt.” With the afternoon shotgun start, players not only had to contend with the slick, undulating greens, but also the afternoon coastal breezes that frequently blow through the emerald isle. Challenging pin locations and course setup required players to control spin and trajectory to navigate the challenging links.
Even with the extremely talented and accomplished field, only a quarter of the field was able to break par. The team of Parun/Wood carded an impressive 5-under par earning them a runner up finish. But it was the team of UCLA Assistant Men’s Golf Coach Andrew Larkin, PGA and Arroyo Trabuco apprentice Bobby Nickell, fresh of his impressive top 20 finish in the 40th Annual National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, that did it best. With seven birdies to just one bogey, they were able to edge out the Parun/Wood team by one to claim the 2nd Annual Short Course Shootout title! Congratulations to the champs!
Sincere gratitude and thanks goes out to the Gatch and Kennedy families for their philanthropy in the game of golf and player development and for sharing their vision and dream with our PGA members. It is the hopes of many that their facility and those like it continue to succeed and pave the way for growth and expansion in the game we love!