It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to put on a golf tournament.
Savannah, GA (May 25, 2017) - When the PGA Tour was looking at adding another tournament for the Web.com Tour to fill a hole in the schedule, it knew just where to go to find that community: The Landings Club on Skidaway Island.
The Landings Club, with its six pristine courses, is one of the premier golf course communities on the Eastern Seaboard. The Web.com Tour announced Monday that it was awarding The Landings Club a spot on its 2018 schedule with the addition of the Savannah Golf Championship at the Deer Creek course.
The tournament will feature a 156-man field with a purse of $550,000, and it will be played March 26-April 1, 2018. The tour and TLC signed a five-year contract to put on the tournament.
This year’s Web.com schedule features 26 tournaments running from January to October, but there are no tournaments in the first three weeks of April. Savannah will fill one of those weeks.
The opportunity to host the tournament at Deer Creek was presented to The Landings Club approximately two months ago. In one of the easiest sales he has probably ever made, TLC Executive Director Steven Freund found himself and his club hosting a professional golf tournament.
“We went over the risks and rewards with our board and membership,” Freund said. “Everyone immediately said, ‘You have to do this.’
“It is good for the club, good for the community, good for the membership, good for the tour. There was no resistance at all from anyone. It just made an abundance of sense.”
The Landings Club has in the past hosted several USGA and Georgia State Golf Association events including the state amateur. Also since 2009 it has held the St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger tennis tournament for up-and-coming tennis professionals.
The positive experience with the tennis event made the decision to host the golf tournament easier. The tennis tournament, as will the golf event, relies heavily on volunteers and for residents to open their homes to players.
Landings resident Terry Breyman was one of several people attending the news conference Monday, and he sees it as a win-win for everyone involved.
“I think it’s exciting, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for it,” Breyman said. “I think it will be well attended, especially by people out here.
“I think it will be great for the community, and logistically we can pull it off,” Breyman said. “Parking might be an issue, but the people out here will ride their golf carts or bicycles to the tournament, or walk, and they’ll get it worked out for people coming from outside.
“I think it was a no-brainer to do it. I’m looking forward to it, and everyone I know is, too. I think it’s going to be a great event for the entire Savannah community.”
It was a built-in audience, an army of volunteers, an outstanding golf course, and the PGA Tour’s positive experience with the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf tournament on the Champions Tour that made Savannah and TLC an attractive option for the Web.com Tour.
“We’ve been looking at Savannah for about a year,” said Dan Glod, president of the Web.com Tour. “We were looking at the 2018 schedule and where we had open dates. We then looked at where Savannah might fit in.
“Tim Iley (who was director of the Legends tournament and now works at PGA Tour headquarters) made a few phone calls. The process came together rather quickly.”
There is no doubt in Freund’s mind TLC made the right call, and he believes his club and the Web.com Tour have a lot to offer one another.
“We’ll have a volunteer chairman, and our members will take the lead on that,” Freund said. “When I read the tour operations manual, there are about 10 specific disciplines that require member involvement for volunteers. One of those is hospitality and housing.
“We are going to see, just as in the Challenger, a large outpouring of members who will open their homes to whomever.”
One possible concern could be parking, especially if there is a large turnout of fans from outside The Landings community, but Freund believes that is an issue that will be readily solved.
“One of the limitations is this site (Deer Creek) was designed first and foremost for member play,” Freund said. “There’s no tennis or pool here. Just a great golf course, so parking is limited.
“But, there are sites we’ve identified that are in close proximity where we’ll be able to shuttle fans and spectators to the golf course. The largest percentage of spectators will come from The Landings, but we want anyone who wants to attend to know they’ll have no problem getting to the site.”