Eleventh green at Lake MonticelloThe Lake Monticello Golf Course is gearing up for a busy 2017.

Golf contracts at the Lake course run from March 1 to the end of February, so the 2017 season is just under way. PGA golf pro Mark Marshall said that due the mild nature of the winter so far, there has been a high level of play on the course in January and February.

Now that March has arrived, the organized activity will start to flourish. Players need to get their 2017 contracts signed and pay their handicap fee. If payment is not in by March 15, Marshall said that players will be dropped out of the system and will have to reestablish themselves in the system when they do pay. The senior men’s Gray Foxes play will begin the third week of March. The 18-hole Gray Foxes, who play every Thursday morning, begin their season on March 23, and the nine-hole men’s Gray Foxes, who play every Friday morning, begin play on March 24.

The ladies’ weekly play starts on April 11. The nine-hole ladies’ group has a kick-off breakfast scheduled for April 10 and the 18-hole ladies’ group has a kick-off breakfast scheduled for April 4. Both groups play on Tuesdays. The nine-hole group usually plays the back nine, which is a little more user-friendly. 

Both the men and women have matches with other courses around the area. The men will be playing home and away matches this year with Waynesboro, Birdwood, Stoney Creek, Keswick, Glenmore and Greene Hills. These are all fine courses that are comparable in quality and difficulty to the Lake Monticello course. The ladies’ traveling team will play home and away matches with a comparable list of courses.

The first scheduled tournament of the year at the Lake Monticello Golf Course is also in March. On Saturday, March 18, the Saint Patrick’s Day tournament kicks off an active season. On April 1, the schedule calls for the annual Black and Blue tournament. In late April, the men’s match play qualifying rounds are scheduled. Then on May 6, May 20, and May 27 rounds one, two and three are scheduled to be completed.

Probably the biggest event of the year is the Faulconer Invitational tournament. This is the tournament that brings top amateur golfers from the entire Central Virginia area to the Lake Monticello course. The invitations to top amateurs have been sent out and Marshall said that he expects about 90 golfers to sign up for this year’s event.

On May 28 the course will host a flag tournament, and then comes another big event – the annual men’s member guest tournament. This event usually draws 36 two-man teams, each consisting of a member and a guest. Guests are usually relatives or friends from outside the area, so a lot of players who are consumers of goods and services are brought into the county by this event.

On June 29 the Lake Monticello course will host the first Citizens’ Junior Golf tour. July is a busy tournament month with the Red, White and Blue event on July 2, the men’s super, senior medal play event on July 15, and the member-member event on July 30.

In August, the men’s medal play event is scheduled for Aug. 19-20, while the Monticello Cup event is on for Aug. 26-27. On Sept. 17 couples will compete for the Couples’ Championship. Finally, Oct. 15 is the date of the two-person scrabble contest.

In addition to all this tournament activity, there are also six charity events on the schedule, with a possibility of more to come. The scheduled charity events are: Habitat for Humanity on April 29, Fluvanna girls’ softball on May 7, Golf Week Senior Am Tour on May 31, Senior Golfers of Virginia on June 13, Lake Monticello Fire and Rescue on June 17, and the Phil Browning Memorial on Oct. 8. 

The adults are not the only ones who will be actively using the Lake Monticello course this year. Marshall said he expects that the Lake will field two teams of 10 players each in the PGA Junior League this year. Last year the Lake had one team. This league includes youth teams from courses around the area. The teams have players of all abilities and they are outfitted with matching and numbered golf shirts. The teams play nine-hole matches with a triple bogie maximum on each hole, so players having problems clearing a water hazard can pick up and not be embarrassed and frustrated by a double-digit score on a difficult hole.

Marshall said he is instituting a women’s instructional program this year to try to attract more women players to the course. This program will consist of a first swing session for novice golfers or players who have not played in a long time. This will be followed by a second swing program for players who have had the first swing session or comparable basic instruction. The third stage will be a first round where Marshall will take groups of four out on to the course to play four holes of actual golf. Once players have completed this course of instruction, they should be ready to move on to the Pink Flamingos group, which is a low pressure group that focuses on making golf fun for beginner women at the Lake. Check in at the course for dates and prices.