Hard work goes into the first Victoria Texas Open

July 15, 2010 at 2:15 a.m.

When the Victoria Country Club found out they would be hosting the NGA Hooters Tour, they jumped to planning.

That was in December. Since then, a committee of members at the country club has worked to prepare for the professional tour that has gone on to produce major PGA players.

"Much more goes into this tournament than most tournaments," said Kyle Monk, one of the club's assistant golf pros.

The club worked to put together sponsorships, advertisements, volunteers, signage, food and beverages, player benefits and group hotel rates, General Manager Chris Stewart said.

They managed to find 10 to 12 sponsors, mostly local, for the event, including the presenting sponsors, Jim and Carol West. All sponsors have their names on banners by the pro shop and have spots in the Pro-Am tournament.

The club even went so far as finding host homes and caddies for players who requested them.

"A lot of members and high school students asked to be able to caddy," Stewart said, adding that this tour is a chance for aspiring golfers to see professionals in action.

The professional tour also attracted many more volunteers than other tournaments do. Monk said that altogether, the club has about 200 volunteers doing anything from filling water, taking scores, spotting balls and keeping up the leaderboard.

Then, there's the actual course that had to be prepared for professional stomping.

"We let the rough grow and sped up the greens," Stewart said. "It's more difficult, and these players appreciate that."

The players started rolling in Monday, Stewart said, and since then, they've enjoyed a variety of events, including a practice round, shoot out, juniors clinic, a Pro-Am pairing party, a Pro-Am tournament, awards banquet and catering by Hooters.

The professional tournament started at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, and will continue until Sunday, with cuts being made throughout the weekend.

The top 60 winners at the end of the tournament will share a $200,000 purse, with the top winner receiving $30,000.

The club's executive chef, Matt Reid, said there's been "a lot of footwork" that went into preparing the appetizers, meals and drinks for such an elite group of golfers.

Standing outside by a giant barbecue grill, Reid said, "It's not nerve-wracking. It's just hot."

The Victoria Country Club has a three-year contract with the Hooters Tour. Stewart said he's pleased with how well everything came together this year, but he's still carrying around a pencil, taking notes for next year.

"It's been a lot of hard work, but it's been gratifying," he said. "Since we know we get two more years of this, we'll make next year's even better."



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