Commuters Tourney Begins This Weekend

Commuters Tourney Begins This Weekend

 

Hundreds will flock to the Chuck Corica Golf Complex this weekend to take part in one of Alameda’s most significant yearly events. The very best Northern California amateur golfers will participate in the 89th Annual Alameda Commuters Golf Tournament at the golf complex on Bay Farm beginning this Saturday, April 16.

The 72-hole championship tournament is played in four rounds over two weekends. The first two rounds are on the first weekend April 16 and 17. The third and final round will be on the second weekend April 23 and 24. The tournament field will be cut to the low 50s after the second round. 

The 29th Annual Commuters Senior competition will take place on the second weekend as well. They will only play two rounds. It is for players 55 years or older. Jim Knoll is the reigning champion.

With 250 Northern California Golf Association (NCGA) points at stake, this is one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in Northern California. More than 200 golfers are expected to compete in the tournament. However, the big story is who will not compete in the event. A new champion will be crowned as the 2015 Commuters’ winner, Miguel Delgado, will not compete in the tournament. Delgado is a freshman on the University of Notre Dame golf team. Jonathon Del Los Reyes, the 2014 champion, also will not take part this year. 

De Los Reyes is tied with the lowest score in Commuters history. He and Matt Bettencourt (2002) shot a 266. Nonetheless, many of Alameda’s best players will participate this year including Chico State star David Na and great Northern California amateurs including five-time champion Rick Reinsberg. Jason Anthony, last year’s fourth place finisher will play this weekend. Several of the participants are still in high school including Mitchell DiRaimondo.

The “Commuters,” as it is fondly called, has been played every April on the Bay Farm links, in Alameda, since its inception in 1928. The Commuters golf tournament started as a fun affair for the boys riding the 7:30 ferry to San Francisco every morning. Very quickly it became an annual event that everybody wanted to enter. The first place prize at the first Commuters was a keg of nails, awarded to J. Charles Jordon, and the last place was a sack of manure. 

By 1936, the tournament grew to a field of 21 handicap flights of 16 players, a total of 336 entries. At one time players that did not make the cut were awarded a box of Saylor’s candy. “Even the losers were winners.” 

The majority of the prizes in those days were displayed at the sports shop in the Alameda Theatre building on Central Avenue and were donated by many local businesses, such as: Alameda Elks Lodge, The Kiwanis Club of Alameda, Bank of Alameda, Ansel’s Electric, Jack Burt’s Service Station, Crocker First Federal Trust, Hotel Alameda, Wells Fargo, Wold’s Quality Shoes and many other local businesses. The Commuters’ committee consisted of local businessmen that volunteered their time and resources to make the tournament challenging and rewarding for the amateur golfers that entered. 

Since that time, the appearance of the committee has changed to meet the times, Bing Crosby hats, mullets, loud pants until 1969 when the committee became known as the “Green Coats.” Players and the Green Coats have been limited to only one 18-hole course the past two years, the Earl Fry North course, while a complete restoration and renewal of the Jack Clark South course is being completed by Rees Jones.

Many changes over the years have allowed the tournament to keep its highly rated approval by the NCGA, 250 points awarded to the championship winner, and 200 points to the Senior flight winner. Each entrant must have a NCGA index or 5.2 or lower to enter.

The tournament could not take place without its sponsors. This year’s sponsor list includes Bank of Marin, Gold Coast Grill, LaVal’s Pizza, Greenway Golf and many more.

For more information on the Alameda Commuters, visit alameda commuters.org.