Golf pros in state during June

BELLA VISTA — The Bella Vista Foundation, the group organizing the charity part of the Cooper Community Charity Classic, the professional tournament stopping in Bella Vista over the past three years, is busy planning for 2020.

In fact, foundation chairman Charlie Teal said recently they’re working on multiple plans because it’s impossible to know what restrictions will be in place next month.

The tournament is planned for the week of June 22 and both Teal and the Property Owners Association’s Golf Operations director Darryl Muldoon are confident it’ll take place.

“Our intent is to ensure that all the activities associated with the tournament will be consistent with the Arkansas Department of Health guidelines,” Teal said. He pointed out the golf courses have been operating with restrictions in place throughout the coronavirus shutdown.

The All-Pro Tour is the group bringing the tournament. The organization took some time off in April and May and rescheduled some of its stops. The first stop since the shut down will be this week in Brownswood, Texas, and Muldoon will be watching closely to see how that tournament is handled.

Its sister organization, the Woman’s All-Pro Tour, was also forced to reschedule and will be coming to Bella Vista for the first time this year. Both the men’s and women’s groups will be in Bella Vista together, Teal said. The women’s tournament is expected to be smaller, with about 70 golfers. They will play their first two rounds on the Scottsdale Course on June 24 and 25, while the men play on the Country Club course. The men’s field, which will start with up to 140 golfers, will be narrowed to 45 or 50, leaving space for the women’s group at the Country Club.

On June 27 both groups play their final rounds at the Country Club.

The addition of the WAPT makes one change in the foundation fundraising plans, Teal said. This year the Pro-Am will feature teams of five people instead of the usual foursome that matched three amateurs with one professional golfer. The fifth person will be a female professional golfer.

“We think this is a unique opportunity for amateur golfers in the area,” Teal said, adding, “We have openings for more pro-am teams.”

The amateur golfers will have the chance to talk golf with the professionals in an informal setting on the course.

Even with the current restrictions in place, Teal said the Pro-Am Tournament will go on. If necessary, each of the three amateurs would be issued his or her own golf cart and the two pros would probably walk the course as they do in a regular APT tournament.

The foundation also organizes the Pro-Am Party at the start of the tournament with a silent auction. Teal said, there may be changes in the plans if current restrictions are still in place. Usually, it takes place at the Country Club, but if more space is needed for social distancing, it could be moved to Lake Point.

The foundation is working closely with the charities benefiting from the tournament, Teal said. The charities provide many of the silent auction items and receive all the funds raised by their contributions.

Over the last three years, the tournament has donated more than $84,000 to charities. This year the recipients include the Bella Vista Animal Shelter, The Courtesy Van, the Benton County Boys & Girls Club, and the Bella Vista Rotary Club. One new beneficiary this year is Bella Vista Community Television.

Teal pointed out because of the shutdown, most of those charities have had their own fundraising difficulties, so the tournament is even more important than usual this year.

Most years, the APT tournament is scheduled close to the LPGA tournament played at the Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, but this year the LPGA rescheduled. It won’t be in town until August.

The Cooper Community Charity Classic will be the only professional tournament in the state in June, Teal said.

NW News on 06/03/2020

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