Laurel senior golfers keep in the swing

  • Jim Rymer tees off July 27 in the weekly tournament hosted by a chapter of the Maryland Interclub Senior Golf Association (MISGA) at Cross Creek Golf Club.
Jim Rymer tees off July 27 in the weekly tournament hosted by… (Photo by Noah Scialom, Patuxent…)
August 10, 2011

While Bethesda's Congressional Country Club was hosting the U.S. Open in June, a group comprised of Laurel residents was hosting a tournament of its own at Cross Creek Golf Club, in Beltsville.

Then, it held another the next week and the week after that.

In fact, almost on a weekly basis, members of Cross Creek Golf Club's chapter of the Maryland Interclub Senior Golf Association hold a tournament of their own in addition to the tournaments they play across the state weekly.

"It's a great chance to get the guys together and have a good time together," said Mike Lavelle, a member of the Cross Creek MISGA chapter. "We play here just about every Wednesday, and it can be pretty demanding. And then we usually have at least one other MISGA tournament weekly."

Lavelle said he first joined MISGA as a member at Patuxent Greens Golf Club, in Laurel.

"I was a member there with some of their guys. I saw them play, and they seemed to be having a great time," he said. "I loved the idea of playing a couple new courses, like Manor Country Club."

Lavelle said he joined the group soon after and immediately loved the experience. But after 12 years, Lavelle and several other members of Patuxent Greens MISGA chapter decided to try and start a new chapter at another club.

After looking around, Lavelle said, the group decided to approach Cross Creek.

The management there quickly jumped at the chance. Brian Boltz, a manager at Cross Creek, said the club's management was excited by what Lavelle and his colleagues were looking for.

"He actually approached us with interest in moving to Cross Greek," Boltz said. "And we thought it sounded like a perfect match."

Boltz said the management at Cross Creek had been thinking of new ways to boost membership and interest in the club for a while and had been most interested in holding tournaments.

"We didn't have an SGA or any tournaments," he said. "They were interested in coming here, and they hold a tournament almost every week."

After some consideration, Cross Creek's management developed a new membership level for the Laurel-based SGA members to join the golf club and set up their own MISGA chapter. Then the club began setting aside tee times on weekday mornings for the members to hold their own events.

"The club's not playing on the weekends anyway," Boltz said. "We blocked around them, and it's absolutely working out well for us."

Since joining Cross Creek, Lavelle said the Laurel MISGA members have swelled their ranks to 45 members and are hoping to eventually bring in about 70 members total.

In the meantime, Boltz said the new MISGA chapter has allowed Cross Creek to achieve its goal of tournaments.

"It's definitely worked out great for us," Boltz said. "In fact, now that we have a larger base, we're actually able to hold a club membership."

Lavelle said that while MISGA tournaments run from mid-April through September, he and his colleagues at Cross Creek generally continue to play year-round.

"It's a great chance for these seniors to play courses they've never seen before," Lavelle said.

And it doesn't stop there. Several of the members have traveled as far as Williamsburg, Va., and Florida for other Senior Golf Association tournaments.

But, Lavelle said, the travel isn't the big draw, even within the state. Rather, it's the opportunity to play together every week.

"We try to mix it up: Stableford, points, you name it," he said. "The main thing is getting to play with the same guys every week."

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