This is great news. The LPGA’s Portland Classic is returning to Columbia Edgewater Country Club this summer from August 26-September 1. As many of you know, this is my home course and it is exciting to know that a professional event will be held there for a number of reasons:
1. Watching the ladies practice: The course opens for practice rounds a few days before the event. Since The Classic has not been held at CECC since 2008 I think it’s safe to say that many of the competitors have either not played the course since then or never at all. I’m extremely curious to watch how they prepare for such an event. When the time draws near I will pick a couple of the ladies and do my best to observe their preparation routines over the days leading up to the event.
2. Course management decisions: I play this course as much as anyone and I know where to hit your shots and where not to miss. I’m very familiar with the greens as well and will be interested in closely following a couple of the ladies during the tourney to see how they manage their rounds. If their drives go askew where do they lay up to? Where are the misses around the greens? How close do they cut it on the water carry shots? Lots of questions that will be answered while watching them plan.
3. Playing with grandstands and conditions: They will set up the grandstands the weekend before the competition and hopefully that means I will get a chance to tee it up with the full shebang of an LPGA tournament. It’s not the same as playing with all of the people filling the seats, but it will be fun to see whether that puts more pressure on approach shots and how it’s different to hit fairways when there are roped off areas that people are supposed to watch from. Wonder how many times I’ll hit it into the audience :). Also, the greens will be rolling fast and the rough might be grown out a bit extra long. It will probably play like the Club Championship, and will be fun to tee it up from the exact boxes and pin placements as the ladies play from.
4. Competition!: I’ll do everything I can do get a round in with at least one of the competitors. Whether it’s playing in the Pro-Am or playing a practice round with one of the ladies, I’ll make it out there to play a round. Since it’s a practice round there won’t be much literal competition, but it will be good to tee it up and pick their brain for 18.
5. Michael Phelps.. This is the wild card. But, what better chance to get this match rolling than right before an LPGA event? There will be some film crews here already and it makes sense for us to tee it the Tuesday before the event. It will be a fundraiser match and it looks like the stars are aligning to make it possible.
6. Exposure for CECC: In my opinion, Columbia Edgewater is the best course in Portland and it is great that the event has come back to where it was held from 1974-2008. CECC is close in to Portland which makes attending the event very accessible for anyone. I encourage you all, whether a golfer or not, to come out and enjoy the day walking around this beautiful course.
That is most of the reasons. It’s going to be a great week and I’m very excited that the tournament has returned. One day I hope there is a PGA event in Portland, too, but I’m glad there is at least an LPGA for now. The Pacific Northwest is a great golfing destination and needs to get a bit more recognition for all of the wonderful golf courses.