Marino Looking to Launch New Pro Golf Mini Tour in Northeast Ohio

Chris Marino

As the assistant tournament director for the now-defunct Medalist Tour, Chris Marino spent 2010 watching first hand what concepts worked on that tour and what concepts did not. He had a front line perspective as to what the players appreciated, and what they found lacking.

Taking those lessons to heart, Marino is working to start a new regional professional golf mini-tour series for 2011, something he thinks is needed in Northeast Ohio.

But the big question is whether or not players will ‘forgive and forget’ by choosing to participate in an event series run by a former Medalist Tour staffer, even if his involvement was administrative and not managerial.

What are your thoughts about a new Northeast Ohio pro golf mini tour? What would it take for you to play? What level of fees would you be willing to pay? What rules would need to be in place? Is Chris Marino the man for the job? Log in and make your comments known after reading the full story!

Marino is working on creating the Lake Erie Golf Tour, and he says he is trying to develop the concept in a way that addresses the shortfalls in the operation of the Medalist Tour.

Marino explains:

“Ironically, the inspiration for this tour is derived from the Medalist Tour, from working at all the events last year. I learned a great deal about the business and how to run a golf tour. Mike Hastings had a great idea, and it was just unfortunate that poor decision-making ruined what could have been a much-needed golf tour in our region.

I’ve spoken with a bunch of guys who played last year, and I ran the idea by them over the winter months. I received 100% support from all of them.

What it basically came down to was that we really need a tour in this area. So I decided that I was going to put this together and provide a tournament venue for professionals and amateurs that was cheap and accessible, yet still lucrative in the way of purses.

I’ve made it a point to openly speak about the financial details thoroughly so that there is no question about how the money is being allocated. I looked at all the mistakes that Mike Hastings made last year, learned from them, and did the complete opposite when putting this tour together.

I am not looking to get rich off this tour. I just know that there is a great demand for a competitive tour in our area and I am providing that for the players.

I believe that if I operate under these principles, the tour could be a success for everyone for years to come. My intent is to make the Lake Erie Golf Tour “˜by the players, for the players.'”

Marino has been working on creating the new rules, entry fees, prize amounts and more, and he is disclosing that information fully on the website he is still in the process of building.

“The Lake Erie Golf Tour is currently negotiating course costs down to the lowest possible price in order to maximize the purses. A schedule of dates and courses will be released soon, the first tournament will be sometime in mid to late May.

The first 50 players to register will only have to pay a $100 membership fee. The membership fee after that will be $200. The Membership fee is due before any player can compete in a Lake Erie Golf Tour event.

Entry fees for each event will be $150 for professionals. Out of the $150 entry fee, $35 will go to the golf course, $15 will go to the Tour. The Tour will never take more than $15 per man. The remaining $100 will go directly into the purse. If the golf course rate is less than $35, the remaining money will go directly to the purse.

Amateur entry fees will be $100 per tournament, with $35 to the golf course, $15 to the Tour, the remaining $50 goes into the Amateur prize pot.

Furthermore, if any sponsor money is raised, 100% percent of that money will go directly to the purse. Purse sizes will vary by event based on the number of players; the more players that compete, the higher the payouts. And the Lake Erie Golf Tour will make same-day payouts at every event!”

Marino has posted four sample prize money charts on his website, and those charts are based on the number of players entered into the field. Marino also mentions an idea that was not done on the Medalist Tour that he may try.

“There is going to be a cumulative skins pot this season on the Tour. Each week, $5 dollars will be set aside and put into a “cumulative” skins pot that will build up each week so that later in the season there will be an event with a HUGE skins pot!”

Marino hopes to launch the tour in May, and he plans a schedule announcement soon.

Marino also hopes to form a players’ committee, and he has been asking professionals and amateurs to make themselves available so he can poll them for ideas and rules. He also has stated that he is interested in what players in the region have to say — and wants straight-forward comments from the readers of Northeast Ohio Golf! So provide your feedback below!

What are your thoughts about a new Northeast Ohio pro golf mini tour? What would it take for you to play? What level of fees would you be willing to pay? What rules would need to be in place? Is Chris Marino the man for the job? Log in below and make your comments known!


  1. Avatar
    April 22, 2011

    Smthswing, there is an amatuer series playing on the weekends in Cleveland, it is called the Championship Golf Association, details are on the website

    Event fees are only $5 per event, with some small exceptions, and we play for cash, not credit cards and it is all USGA acceptable.

  2. Avatar
    April 20, 2011

    We need the Xempt Amateur Series in the Cleveland area!!

  3. Avatar
    April 18, 2011

    Allen…We need something Local…with the gas prices now at $4.00 a gallon i dont think there will be too many guys driving to Chippewa this summer…i believe there is a Huge need for either a Friday or Sunday Amateur Series…im sure there are many reasons why someone doesnt want to run one…but like i said John from the Greater Cleveland Skins does a incrediable job…and does not pay himself for his time…that is a crime!! Something like what the Metroparks run….a Senior and Amateur Championships…Both are alot of fun to play and run very smoothly…

  4. Allen Freeman
    April 18, 2011

    smthswing: the 2-player weekly amateur series you describe already exists. The Monday Chippewa Scratch League is a series of 2-man events with a different competitive format each week. See

  5. Avatar
    April 17, 2011

    hmmm since everyone doesnt like this PRO Mini Tour idea…why not put a local Amateur Tour together? Really ANYONE who puts Any Tour or Tournament together Should make something for their time…John who runs the Greater Cleveland Skins Game does a incrediable job for the guys who play in that game…good courses, great greens fees and Fair Skins & Pins games…The Blue Tee 4-man scramble used to be alot of fun as well…but 6 1/2 or 7 hour rounds were terrible…and a few dishonest people…it seems to me that Everyone wants to put up their own money and play for it….what is wrong with that? I just dont think its fair to put the Pros and the Amateurs together…i think it would be sweet to have a Weekly Amateur Skins & Pins game with a 2- man format…2-man scramble…2-man shamble the next…2-man alternate shot and a Monthly Major with just the Winners playing from the past weeks games…any thoughts?

  6. Avatar
    April 16, 2011

    Karl you hit the nail right on the head, wouldn’t surprise menif Hastings was hissing in the background collecting a penny on this too since he can’t get a real job after insurance fraud, and Marino was just as much to blame last year as Hastings take the money and run!! You would think guys would realize paying basics and marinos bills last year was bad enough but nope gotta do it all over. Every “tour” in Ohio fails because the players here don’t play enough, 15 guys is hardly a mini tour, it’s a glorified pot game at least call it by it’s real name, your a traveling pot game! And this forum is just a way for them
    To spew there garbage through Freeman, he’s there little journal boy post what they want when they want how they want. Let’s make chris look real good and save him so he can have one more year to scam on the guys up here just wanting to play golf. Stay to golfchannel am tour and skins game it’s at least legit!!

  7. Avatar
    April 15, 2011

    If this is a one-man operation run as poorly as the Medalist Tour, I do not know how you can validate a $200 membership fee for those entered after the first 50. There are only 15 events planned for this tour. For those that could only play in 10 events they are paying a $35 in overhead every event! Just because there is transparency doesn’t mean this isn’t a huge moneymaker. Assume 135 members, and 90 show up for each tournament… you’re looking at (50*100) + (85*200) is $22,000 in membership fees before anyone knows how these tournaments are run. Add in the (90*$15*15 events) and you have over $20,000 in tournament fees, I don’t know about everyone but $42,000 sounds pretty good for a summer gig.

  8. Chris Marino
    April 5, 2011

    I would like to personally thank everyone for all the support and positive feedback that I have received. I have been working very hard on the tour and getting everything ready for the 2011 golf season. New Members are signing up daily and the schedule is just about finalized and will be online very shortly so be sure to check out for all the lastest info!
    If anyone has any questions as to how the tour is being run, where the money is being allocated, or any other questions/comments/concerns, I will gladly answer them openly and honestly, just as I have from the beginning. All my contact information is posted on the tours website. Thanks again to everyone for their support. I know we are all looking forward to a great golf season!

  9. Avatar
    April 5, 2011

    That’s cute mud slinging you sure do know a lot about thatand hiding behind a screen name 2/3rds of your bloggers hide behind them. I guess I hit a nerve lol, forgot your buddy buddy with them maybe yOu can there personal journalist. Its funn how golf in northern Ohio is like high school. Everyone has an opinion but when someone speaks something truthful everyone gets all up in arms. Who cares it’s going to fail just like that shot medalist tour that Hastings and Marino took everyone to the cleaner on last year. Same group new name. Well u won’t get my money Am tour is much better and we know it’s realistic and not a scam. Yet you go aheadand continue to praise and support them, we know how you really feel. It’s a joke. Blah blah blah I’m done.

  10. Allen Freeman
    April 5, 2011

    To me, comments lose validity when the user fails to post his or her full name. It’s easy to sling mud behind initials or screen names; personal identity and reputation lend far more credibility to a posted opinion.

    Also, the posting of an article on is not “support” per se. This article simply gives the facts about what Chris is hoping to do.

  11. Avatar
    April 5, 2011

    ahh yet another scam, lets see pay me money i will run sh**ty tournaments just as in the past year and keep all the money for myself and mike to help bail him out. we all know marino is hastings flunky and just wants another free handout like last year, hell hastings never paid courses, players or anyone. we all he took the money and ran. the tournaments that were run last year by both of them were funny to say the least, unbelievable. And allan you actually support this, i thought we knew you better oh well. guess it’s back to the golf channel am tour hey at least there legit.

  12. Avatar
    March 31, 2011

    As I told Chris when we spoke, as long as he doesn’t plan on getting rich off of this tour, it has a great chance of working. He was there and saw first hand what didn’t work he saw that there were several players looking for a place to play, but just wanted to be know where there money was going. As long as every dollar is accounted for, it can work. Players know that no one is going to run a tour for free, they just want to know how much money is going towards “administrative” fees.

    I do think that there is going to need to be a pro rated membership fee, like an extra $20 an event until the $100 membership fee is paid in full. I am not sure that too many people are going to give Chris $100 up front. Mike had the right idea giving away memberships last year to get people to sign up for events, but he tried making up for that on/in the back end! So if this is how Chris can make some money to allow him to run events, than it is understandable.

    I hope it works out.

  13. Avatar
    March 30, 2011

    A bold and valiant effort. I envision this tour folding like a cheap lawn chair.

  14. Avatar
    March 29, 2011

    SIGN ME UP….I AM IN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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