The AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods earned the 2018 Invitational of the Year Award for the third time since 2009.
The Invitational also previously earned the 2009-2015 Junior-Am, 2004 and 2014 Hospitality and 2013 Golf Professional of the Year Awards.
Each year, the AJGA honors tournaments with the best individual hospitality, Junior-Am Fundraising, charitable giving and volunteer base. Awards are also given to the events with engaged media and social media participation. Finally, the AJGA recognizes the year’s most outstanding golf professional, superintendent and general manager, as well as the most improved event, and top events in several categories: new event, Junior Golf Hub Preview Series, Junior All-Star Series, Invitational and tournament of the year. Awards will be presented on-site at 2019 tournaments.
The AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods was honored in its 10th year for providing a first-class experience to the participants, families, honored guests, AJGA staff and volunteers as Invitational of the Year. The Invitational continues to give a unique player experience year-after-year and incorporates a special tribute to the military during the Presidents' Day weekend event.
"We all try so hard to make this one of the best events on the AJGA schedule," Tournament Chairman Christine Dernick said. "We want each year to be even better than the last so that these players love The Club at Carlton Woods as much as we do. To be recognized in our tenth year was very cool because these awards keep you going and we've already started planning for 2020."
The Club at Carlton Woods and Dernick bring a full committee and more than 50 volunteers to help during each day of the event. The volunteers assist with duties on and off the course, provide walking live scorers for every group all three rounds and standard bearers for the second and final rounds. Dernick and her committee also provided meals, private housing, and transportation during the week.
The core focus of the event is player experience. The Club at Carlton Woods hosted a welcome reception with a Peeps Long Drive contest, three-point basketball contest, putting contest and hole-in-one challenge. Other social activities throughout the weekend included a golf ball launcher, wedge challenge, ping-pong and pool tables and Xbox set up in the locker room.
One of the unique aspects of the AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods is the tribute given to the military. Over Presidents' Day weekend, each player in the field received two dog tags with their name on it. Players wrote thank you cards and put one of their dog tags in one of the 78 donated PING patriotic golf bags given to Tee It Up For The Troops. The awards ceremony annually includes a full color guard and bi-plane flyover during the national athem. The event also decorated Junior-Am carts with American flag stickers. The final round had two high-ranking military officers as guest starters and uniformed military tending an American flag on No. 18 green.
"We want everyone involved to have the best experience possible," Dernick said. "The bottom line is to give them fun and unique opportunities year-after-year to grow and develop their game to compete at the college level. There are so many people involved and I'm lucky to have the best committee and sponsors to make it happen."
The Invitational also brought a local sports talk radio show, Smokin Joe's Driving Range, out to the first round to do a live broadcast with player and staff interviews. Representatives from AJGA National Sponsors TaylorMade and adidas were also on-site.
The Tom Fazio Championship Course at Carlton Woods was recognized as the "Best New Private Course in Texas" and the "No. 3 Best New Private Course in the U.S." by Golf Digest. Designed by Fazio in 2005, all 7,358 yards of rolling hillsides on the bluffs of Spring Creek blends 18 individual holes together to make one great signature course. The Club at Carlton Woods has hosted a number of major golf tournaments including: 2004 Texas State Amateur, 107th Southern Amateur, 2007 USGA State Team Championship and 67th U.S. Junior Amateur. The Club at Carlton Woods has the distinction of being only one of two private clubs in the US with a Jack Nicklaus/Fazio course combination.
The AJGA returns to The Club at Carlton Woods in 2019 for the AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods February 15-18. For more information on 2019 activities, visit the schedule of events.