2014 PREVIEW: Greater Cleveland Skins Game

Fowlers Mill GC

John NiedzialekThe Greater Cleveland Skins Game will open up its 2014 season on Thursday April 17 at Fowlers Mill Golf Course in Chesterland (pictured below). Defending Champion Steve Blackburn Jr., will hit the first tee shot at 4:30 p.m. to kick off the year.

Fowlers Mill GCAll amateurs are welcome to participate in any of the Greater Cleveland Skins Game events, which are run as each week as a 9-hole individual skins game with pin shots on the par 3s. There is no membership fee and no pre-registration is necessary; simply show up 15 minutes prior to the start of the weekly events as listed in the Tournament Calendar to get paired up with other competitors on-site.

The weekly entry fee is $30 plus the green fees, all of which feature special rates for the Game.

The Thompson Cup is awarded annually to the season-long money list winner. The Greater Cleveland Skins Game was originally started in 1990 at Fairway Pines Golf Course and is now rotated at various courses in the region. Skins Game Director John Niedzialek notes, “The Skins Game has always been a blue-collar event trying to maximize the payment for our amateur players while trying to keep green fee rates under control. We have promoted that concept over the years and the 2014 season will be no different as we are grateful that many courses have worked in partnership with our association for many years.”

Steve Blackburn Jr. 2013 Thompson Cup ChampLast year, Blackburn Jr. of Willowick broke the record with a season-ending total of $1,796. Blackburn Jr. had an exceptional season taking home the “hat trick” by not only winning the Thompson Cup but also the Greater Cleveland Shoot-Out on Labor Day and the season ending Mulligan’s Cup Trophy.

Blackburn Jr. has set his goal on winning the Thompson Cup 3 years in a row. “But it will be fun to take away the Cup from him this year,” says Niedzialek.

The Greater Cleveland Skins Game does have some rules to make it a level playing field. One rule allows seniors age 55 and up and any player with a handicap of 12 or higher to hit from the next forward tee except on par threes. Another rule adopted this spring clarifies any player with pro status. For skins game purposes, a pro is defined as any player who has participated in tournament play in the pro division in the last 2 years. Such players who want to participate must be voted in to play that evening and pay double the entry fee. “The rule helps define pro status and helps maintain the integrity of promoting amateur participation in the Skins Game,” states Niedzialek.

Greater Cleveland Skins GameSkins Game players will again qualify for The Greater Cleveland Shoot-Out which will be played on Labor Day starting at 12 noon with another great payout. This year, the Shoot Out will be held for the first time at Madison Country Club, where the course is offering participants an excellent green fee rate.

Also thanks to Sean Kreft of Mulligan’s Pub in Highland Heights who has once again agreed to sponsor the Greater Cleveland Skins Game by adding $500 to the Mulligan’s Pub Trophy Pot. “A cash donation to amateur associations is hard to come by and much appreciated,” says Niedzialek.

The season will culminate at Fowlers Mill Golf Course on October 16th, where the 2014 champion will receive the annual champagne toast and be awarded the Thompson Cup.

For the complete up-to-date schedule, see the Northeast Ohio Golf Tournament Calendar.

2014 Golf Course Roster and Greens Fee Rates

Rates shown are for 9 holes and includes cart:

Tanglewood $19
Erie Shores $16.50
Fowlers Mill $21
Chardon Lakes $25
Legend Lake Country Club $20
Madison Country Club: $20
Manikiki $24
Powderhorn: $15
Quail Hollow Country Club $27
Twin Lakes :$14


Thompson Cup Past Champions

2001 Paul Kish
2002 Jeff Bors
2003 Tom Evans
2004 Patrick Tyrrell
2005 Patrick Tyrrell
2006 Steve Blackburn Jr.
2007 David Sotka
2008 Steve Blackburn Jr.
2009 Steve Blackburn Jr.
2010 Eddie Neer
2011 David Sotka
2012 Steve Blackburn Jr.
2013 Steve Blackburn Jr.

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