Country Club ready for New Ulm Invitational
NEW ULM — Last year, New Ulm Country Club was set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its New Ulm Invitational Tournament with some extra events and entertainment. When COVID-19 shut everything down last year, those plans, along with the tournament itself, were pushed back.
The tournament had to be rescheduled for Labor Day weekend, with reduced participation.
This year, the Country Club will be celebrating again with a full slate of golfers and a few extras for the participants, said NUCC golf pro Tim Huffmann.
Among the special events is a weekend-long Bean Bag Tournament open to 64 players. There will also be live entertainment both Friday and Saturday night at the tournament.
The tournament itself will follow the same format, with competition on Saturday and Sunday, with a championship flight final nine-hole round starting Sunday afternoon to decide the winner.
This year Invitational is bringing back the Senior Championship flight. For the past several years, all championship level players competed in the Championship flight, with a cut after the first day of competition. Those who didn’t make the cut were placed in the President’s Flight while the rest continued in the Championship flight.
Huffman said this sort of nullified the importance of the Saturday round for those who didn’t figure to make the cut.
With this year’s numbers, it makes more sense to split the Championship flight into regular and seniors. Fourteen golfers have signed up for the Senior Champions flight, with 18 in the regular Championship flight. Huffman said this should create good, competitive golf through the whole weekend.
Huffman said there will be about 120 golfers in all in the tournament, with a chance for some late entries.
Competition in the Championship Flight could be wide open. Last year’s champion Lukas Stull is back to defend his title. Huffman said he has the ability to run away with it, but if he falters, there are a few up and comers who could make a move.
This year Stull is the only previous winner in the championship flight. A lot of the older regulars are not entered this year, like Johnny Larson of Brian Reagan. But there are a pair of golfers who have finished second in the past — Jimmy Fromm did it in 2010 and 2013. Ehan Kraus is another one, with second place finishes in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Some younger players, like Logan Haala and Ethan Kirchberg are fresh off the Cathedral High School golf team season and could make some noise.
Huffmann praised the work of the NUCC grounds crew, which has been making special efforts in the recent hot, dry weather to keep the course green and playable. The fairways are firm and could lead to some extra length off the tees, but the groundskeepers have been hand watering special spots and working to keep the greens receptive.
As always, the public is welcome to come out and watch the action, especially the final championship nine hole round.
Practice rounds will be played all day Friday, with a shootout at 6 p.m. The first round begins Saturday at 8 a.m., with the Chopper Shootout at 6 p.m.
The second round starts at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, with the championship flight final nine starting around 4 p.m.