The Greater Cleveland Skins Game will open up its 18th season on Thursday, April 17 at Fowlers Mill Golf Course, and all amateur players are welcome to participate in this 9-hole weekly skins game conducted at six different area courses throughout the season. Cost is $30 for the skins game entry plus the (reduced) green fees.
The season culminates with a “Shoot-Out” on Labor Day leading up to the weekly season finale in October, and the leading skins money winner being crowned ‘Greater Cleveland Skins Game Champion’ and taking home the Thompson Cup.
“This is a great value for the player,” states John Niedzialek, Greater Cleveland Skins Game Director. “Many of the host courses are reducing their green fees, which allows for a better net payout to the players.”
“The intent of the Greater Cleveland Skins Game, our season-ending Shoot-Out tournament, and our associated golf scrambles is to provide an opportunity for amateur players to get a little ‘pay back’ for all the work they put into their games and all the money they spend on golf in the area,” says Niedzialek. “Many players are tired of getting harpooned with high-priced charity events, outrageous green fees, high administrative-fee amateur events, and low- or no-dollar prize payouts. There is a place for some of those events, but we wanted to offer something significantly different.”
This year, the following courses will host the Skins game nights: Pleasant Hills, Little Mountain, Fowlers Mill, Thunderhill, Powderhorn, and Chardon Lakes. A sampling of the green fee rates includes Thunderhill at $15 and Powderhorn at $13 (and yes, that includes the cart!). Little Mountain has been added to the schedule this year on April 24 and is offering skins game participants a special rate of $20 that evening.
“Thanks to all the host course owners of the Greater Cleveland Skins Game, as many of the better players in the area participate and will no doubt spread the word on the excellent treatment and super conditions these courses offer to players of all handicap levels,” states Niedzialek.
Thunder Hill Golf Club in Madison is a favorite among many of the players. Todd Bishop, one of the new owners at Thunder Hill, wants everyone to know that the course is improving. He commented, “Thunder Hill Golf Club is excited about being a host for the 2008 Greater Cleveland Skins Game. The crew at Thunder Hill has been busy in the off season with an aggressive tree pruning program and a deep tine aerification program to help ensure the golf course is in top condition for 2008.”
Last year, Dave Sotka of Chardon won the Thompson Cup. Dave remarked, “The skins game was well organized and I really enjoyed playing the courses we had on the schedule. I am looking forward to another good season of golf and defending the Cup.”
The 2007 Greater Cleveland Shoot-Out Champion was Steve Blackburn of Willowick. Steve is also a regular player in the Skins Game and says, “With all the snow we have had, I am ready to play some golf, especially in the Greater Cleveland Skins Game. It’s a great opportunity to play with some good players and also meet new ones from all the different courses we play.”
A bonus for regular Skins Game players is they are eligible to play in the Greater Cleveland Shoot-Out Tournament. The Shoot Out tournament, started by course owner Ed Tresger at Fairway Pines, offers one of the best one-day payouts for amateur players anywhere in Ohio. This year’s Shoot-Out tournament will be held at Fowlers Mill Golf Course on Labor Day Monday, with a huge money-added skins pot and a reduced green fee of $28 for 18 holes (cart included!).
The Greater Cleveland Skins Game also will get some extra exposure this year. Participants can log onto the Northeast Ohio Golf website at NEOHgolf.com (or go directly to the Skins Game pages on that site through the URL ClevelandSkins.com) to see weekly results and leaderboard updates. Players also can check out all the other tournament opportunities being played here in Northeast Ohio at NEOHgolf.com.
Players do not need to pre-register for the Skins Game events; simply show up at that week’s course 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start, and pairings will be made then. Question? Skins Game Director John Niedzialek can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-639-8524.
The full schedule is posted below.
— Allen Freeman and John Niedzialek