By Chris Chaney
Stillmeadow Country Club, located in Pierce County, was the host of the 105th Annual Tony Blom Men’s Metropolitan Amateur Championship last week. The championship, which pits the best amateur golfers from around Cincinnati against one another, was won by rising University of Cincinnati senior golfer Jared Howard over 55-year old Ed Steiber in 19 holes on Saturday, June 28.
The 172-man field teed off in the stroke play qualifying portion of the tournament early last week, playing 36 holes — 18 at Stillmeadow and 18 at Western Hills Country Club — to determine the top-64 players who would compete in a bracket-style match play championship to determine a winner.
The Clermont County course was selected by the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association as the host club of the championship.
“In the past, there used to be a set rotation of (courses used), but as the years have passed some new clubs have popped up throughout the area that have shown interest in hosting,” GCGA Executive Director Todd Johnson said. “I don’t have a set process. It (depends upon) if a club is willing to host it and what the club has going on the last week in June.
“Stillmeadow showed interest in hosting it a few years ago and we looked into it. We want to give it to the clubs that want to do it and want to have us there.”
Johnson said that with his relationships with the PGA of America professionals, general mangers and owners of courses around the Greater Cincinnati area, the vetting process of getting a club or course to host a championship is much more casual than other places around the country. During the GCGA’s club visits each year, Johnson and his staff will either approach management or have management approach them about the possibility of hosting an event at a certain course.
“We sit down and discuss what their want is and what our need is and go from there,” he said.
The course, which was formerly known as Royal Oak Country Club, opened in 1963 and has been rated among the best courses in the area ever since. As such, the green’s staff had the 18-hole track in peak condition for the week.
“The greens at Stillmeadow were absolutely perfect in terms of speed and condition,” Johnson said. “I think (the green’s staff) was hoping to get the greens a little faster, but we got a late Sunday night rain that threw a wrench in the plans, but they were still beautiful.
“The staff (at Stillmeadow) was phenomenal as far as of getting the drink stations and everything set up for us. It’s all the little things that make the event better each year.”
Johnson said he and his staff enjoyed moving around tee boxes and working with the superintendent, Klint Ladd, to set up the course that would make the championship interesting and challenging, yet fair.