HCC course in great shape for Invitational

May. 02, 2013 @ 11:32 PM

The course is in such great shape Ken Young wonders whether he should offer up the Henderson Country Club to the PGA Tour.

Some have compared the bent greens at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow, site of the Wells Fargo Championship, to a rundown municipal course.

Young, the golf shop manager, and course superintendent Chris Langston have seen no such troubles ahead of the 56th annual HCC Invitational this weekend.

“He’s done a great job of setting the course up and it’s ready to go,” Young said of Langston. “We’re in great shape.”

“I think as far as how people should shoot, it should be as good as any time,” added Young. “And we don’t set it up extra hard. We kind of put the pins in tournament positions on Sundays, but most of the guys know the course pretty well. They should play to their standard anyway.”

Young has assumed the role of overseeing the tournament following the recent departure of former club professional John Robinette. Robinette served as the pro for more than 12 years.

Young has been on staff at the club for about the same length of time, beginning a full-time position three years ago. He said preparing for the Invitational without a pro hasn’t been difficult.

HCC will be using a new system, the Golf Handicap and Information Network, to manage the tournament so a transition was in store anyway, Young said.

“Talk to me on Sunday night and I’ll tell you how difficult it was,” said Young. “Right now, we’re ready to go. I think we’ll be alright.”

The field for the tourney is down from 116 last year to 95 as of Thursday afternoon. The 2011 field increased to 84 from 72 in 2010.

Young is expecting a competitive event. Henderson’s Stephen Brame is back to defend his title after recording a two-day total of 138 last year, an all-time tourney low.

“He’s been playing really well,” said Young. “Every time he plays, he’s under par. I think he would be a favorite.”

Four of last year’s top-five finishers are back and the club is also welcoming some new players with low handicaps after the tournament was posted on the Carolinas Golf Association website.

“We’ve got some people that we don’t even know,” said Young. “So it’ll be fun. We’re looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a good tournament.”

Player entry fees will be donated to the Boy Scouts of America.

“Great tournament for the Boy Scouts,” said Young. “It gives players a purpose for signing up besides just playing and trying to win,”

The first wave of players tee off Saturday at 8 a.m. After a few years of rain interrupting play, the forecast is clear for Saturday with a chance of showers Sunday.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.