NORWICH – The 64th annual Member Guest Tournament at the Canasawacta Country Club kicks off next week. The practice rounds begin on Wednesday, Aug. 3, with the official three rounds starting on Thursday, Aug. 4. The Tournament concludes on Saturday, Aug. 6.
While the tournament started in 1958, the Carson family didn’t take it over until 1984 and remain the owners today.
Owner and General Manager Tim Carson said he is looking forward to another year of the tournament after the success of last year’s with the same consistency as past events.
The tournament saw 200 teams last year where Carson said it did get a bit crowded but the participants did spread out due to COVID.
This year, he is welcoming 180 teams, which should be more manageable on the course.
Carson will be dividing the golfers up into groups of 90 to correlate with the tee times of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Among those 180 teams, there will be eight different flights with eight winners of each flight. Then, those eight will duke it out to see who the overall winner of the tournament will be.
“This is a prestigious event that attracts a lot of golfers. One of the biggest events in the area,” Carson said. “These are people that love golf, who go by all the rules, and overall they love to compete.”
Carson and his staff have been anticipating the event, something that is always a big turnout each year.
“ My favorite thing to do is see people play golf and have a good time. I manage the entire event. So when people come here, they feel welcome, “ Carson said. “They know they’re going to have a good time, even if they don’t play their best.”
Last year, Matt Burrell and Craig Dawson won with a score of 204. They look to be three-peat winners after also having won in 2020 (200). They also won in 2014 with the lowest score of 194.
But they are up against some fierce competition. Paul Brunick, the Club Champion from 2014, has teamed up with Brian Loomis to go after the title. Brian is a six-time Member Guest Champion while current Club Champion from 2020 and 2021, Eric Waling has teamed up with one of the better young players in the area, Brett Smith. Eric won the Member Guest back in 2013 playing with Corey Johnson.
On the veteran side, Bob Branham with his son Michael, still remain solid contenders, regularly finishing in the top three whenever they play. Bob has seven Member Guest titles dating back to 1977 to go with his 24 Club Championships titles.
For the first time, the golf course’s Superintendent Chad Kressler makes his tournament debut, teaming up with Brian Wood to see if they can make a run.
The Evening Sun will have a full publication of the tournament pairings in Wednesday’s edition. Good luck to all the participants.