Cypress Lakes Golf Course celebrates its 50th anniversary in two years. Best known as home of the Floyds, it’s the site of this year’s 48th annual Cumberland County Golf Championship. This is the course where PGA Hall-of-Famer Raymond Floyd learned to play the game from his father, the late teaching pro L.B Floyd. Ray Floyd won 22 PGA tour events including four majors. He played on eight Ryder Cup teams.
Long-time Cypress Lake PGA Professional Robert Wilson says the course is in great shape.
“I don’t see anything but positives coming from the way we are doing things this year,” said Wilson.
It’s a feeling that pervades Fayetteville’s amateur golf community. Local golfers are determined to bring the county championship back to the prominence it once enjoyed. “It is great to see the community support and resurgence of this event as it has always been the marquee event in the area,” said Kevin Lavertu, general manager of Gates Four Golf & Country Club.
Pre-tournament events are at Gates Four. The Cumberland County Championship Pairings Party will be held the evening of Thursday, Sept. 15. It’s the only time the entire field of participants get together. “We will have the main ballroom along with the outdoor patio set for seating,” said Lavertu. Light hors d’oeuvres will be available at various food stations with a cash bar. All players are welcome at no charge. Entry fees include the pairings party this year. “There will be a putting contest as well, so bring your putter,” added Lavertu. Gates Four is hosting next year’s CCC Championship.
Revitalizing the tournament is a goal of Up & Coming Weekly and other sponsors. “If the local TV and print media followed Up & Coming’s leadership and covered the tournament, it would likely raise participation and the stature of the tournament,” said six-time winner Billy West Jr. He would like to see all players in the men’s amateur division compete from the same tees the first two days with the top two flights playing the championship tees on Sunday. West points out “this was the tournament format for 25 years from 1980-2005 and seemed to garner more participation from the players in the 5-15 handicap range.”
Improved participation is the goal of event sponsors including local PGA professionals who’ve rallied to make this year’s events special. Given his many years of experience, West was asked about other amenities that might make the tournament successful again. “Leaderboards on the course made the tournament unique, in that most if not all local amateur tournaments do not have leaderboards,” he noted. They haven’t been used in this event in several years. West notes that from 1980 through 2000 the county championship was played the weekend after Labor Day which tended to attract the most participation. Another idea he offers is the creation of new divisions for junior players and ladies. “This may increase participation and interest as traditionally the junior county championship and the ladies’ championship have not been held in conjunction with the men’s and senior’s championships,” he added.
The 54-hole stroke play event will be staged over three days, Sept. 16-18.