New date, new format – and hopefully same Tacoma City Amateur tradition

Sorely in need of a jarring infusion of juice, one of the oldest city amateur golf championship in the country has a revised look.

The Tacoma City Amateur has a new format — three rounds, all on one weekend.

And it has a new month — August.

“We had heard grumblings about it before from guys who were having difficulty playing two weekends in a row,” said Lanny Wagner, the vice president of the Tacoma Golf Association, which puts on the tournament.

“And playing on Father’s Day was becoming a problem.”

The tournament traditionally played its first two rounds on public courses on Father’s Day weekend — Saturday and Sunday — in mid-June. And after the tournament cut, the top 30 returned the following weekend for the final round at a private golf club.

Last year, the TGA handed out a questionnaire to the golfers on the first tee during the opening round asking if they would be in favor of tournament changes.

“I know they were considering it being a two-day event,” said Bonney Lake’s Sean Packer, a three-time Tacoma City Amateur champion. “I emailed them back to tell them to keep the tournament three days, because it helps with the tournament’s tradition a lot.”

With a scheduling conflict looming with the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, TGA officials took action based on the golfers’ feedback by keeping the Tacoma City Amateur at three rounds, but switching it to one weekend.

The format will be very similar to another city championship just up the road — the Seattle Amateur, which plays on three consecutive days. But there are differences, too, because the Tacoma City Amateur will rotate courses, and always be played on a weekend.

As far as the new date in August, Wagner said the TGA adopted the same weekend as the discontinued Fircrest Amateur.

“It seemed like a natural fit for us,” Wagner said.

Oddly enough, this year’s Tacoma City Amateur comes in conflict with the year’s final professional major — the PGA Championship.

“I think it was an easy choice for them,” Packer said. “We all wanted to play the Tacoma City Amateur, and watch the U.S. Open.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442



When: Friday-Sunday.

Where: Lake Spanaway (first round Friday), Lipoma Firs (second round Saturday), Twin Lakes (final round Sunday).

Format: 54 holes of stroke play. Cut after two rounds for low 30 scores and ties. Golfers must have a handicap of plus-10 or lower, and a minimum age of 16.

Defending champion: Sean Packer, Bonney Lake.

Skinny: With the change in date (mid-June to mid-August) and format (three consecutive rounds on one weekend), the field is smaller (39 golfers) than usual for this city championship. That has to improve Packer’s chance of becoming just the third golfer to not only win four or more Tacoma City Am titles (joining CD Hunter Jr.’s 10 and Jack Walters’ six), he would also become the first repeat winner since Tacoma’s Jamie Follen (1990-92). … Other former champions in the field include two-time winner Edgewood’s David Talcott (2002, 2006), Olympia’s Tom Lewis (2007) and Puyallup’s J.D. Rushton (1997). … Lacey’s Casey Adams, the 2012 runner-up to Ben Nelson, has had a banner summer, winning the Capitol City Amateur and Bremerton City Amateur. … Enumclaw’s Tyler Salsbury, a University of Washington golfer, is in the field. His best finish is tied for third in 2012 and last year. … Former mini-tour professionals Follen and Ryan Welborn, who own “Foley’s On the Green” at Meadow Park, are in the field as well. They also help organize the Tacoma Open.