LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
For nearly two decades the multiple course Military Classic Golf tournament has served Air Force venues in San Antonio well. This year, the tournament - renamed Joint Base San Antonio Military Golf Classic - continues in its 18th year with the addition of Fort Sam Houston.
For the first time, Airmen at the event will share the fairways with Soldiers at Fort Sam Houston as Salado Del Rio Golf Course replaces Kelly Annex Field as one of the three locations during the three-round tournament May 29 - 31.
The two other days of golf will remain at the Gateway Hills and Randolph's Oaks golf courses.
The golf tournament surfaced as another way to unite the city's servicemembers under joint basing and reinvigorate the annual event, tournament and Gateway Hills golf director Craig Brooks said.
Even with the three locations, Brooks said preparing for the tournament has been painless, since each course is essentially running its own one-round tournament. Gateway Hills course management will tally the scores through three rounds.
Because it's a joint event, the tournament is actually a "really good event to showcase the military golf courses," Brooks said.
In previous years, competition was held at three venues simultaneously. This year, the 72 two-player teams will share the same course each day.
The golfers play at Randolph Oaks May 29, at Gateway Hills May 30 and at Salado Del Rio May 31.
The tournament also has a different format each round:
· Round one is a scramble;
· Round two is alternate shot; and
· Round three is best ball.
In anticipation of the venue's debut, Fort Sam Houston head golf professional Joseph Mendez said the staff at the Army golf course is excited to join the tournament and hopes to add interest to the long running competition.
"We don't know what to expect," Mendez said. "At one point, it was quite a popular tournament. We're hoping by adding us into the mix, we can rejuvenate it and at least have it be a premier event."
It wouldn't be the course's first big event, having been the site of past All-Army Golf Championships and Texas Opens.
Mendez said Salado Del Rio "will be a very good test of golf for these guys."
He said one of the signature holes golfers will face Monday is No. 4, with its elevated tee looking over a half visible fairway.
"You can play it conservatively with an iron off the tee box or be more aggressive with a driver and possibly get (to the green)," Mendez said. "There's definitely risk and reward to it."
The teams consist of active-duty and retired servicemembers and civilians. Each team competes for daily prizes following a round of play. A final prize will be given to the team with the best total score at the three courses.
The final awards banquet is May 31 after the round at Salado Del Rio.
For more information, call the Randolph golf course at 652-4653, the Lackland course at 671-3466 or the Fort Sam Houston course at 222-9386.