Former Pro Crashed Local Championship
A couple of weeks ago, we tried to answer a question that you’ve no doubt debated with many of your golf buddies – what would a pro shoot at your local course? Bubba’s round at Starfire Golf Club was impressive and a fun way to see for ourselves.
Not everyone wants this question answered on their home course, however. At Blue Hills Country Club in Massachusetts, a former pro entering the club championship was not well received by some of the members. Jake Shuman, who played on the PGA, Korn Ferry and Mackenzie Tour entered the event after getting the permission of the golf committee since he is still 7 months shy of amateur status.
“He should not be allowed to play,” one member complained. “You’re either a pro or amateur. You can’t be both.”
“Why? What’s he trying to prove?” another chimed in “It’s not a classy move for Blue Hill.”
While Shuman did reach pro level competition, he burned out early and saw most of his success as an amateur. Shuman didn’t let the haters get to him. After the committee gave the okay, it seems there is no reason he shouldn’t be allowed to participate. Even the USGA’s Senior Manager, Rules of Golf & Amateur Status, Rob Ockenfuss, agrees:
“Like any other competition, it’s up to the Committee in charge to decide who is eligible, whether based on amateur status, handicap index, or some other stipulation. If a competition is limited to amateur golfers, a professional or A/R would not be eligible, unless the Committee decided it was OK for him to play (in which case, it’s not an event limited to amateurs).”
Those members who objected to his involvement were likely not happy when Shuman made it to the top two in the event. While another member, a local golf coach, ended up taking home the title he only ended with 2 shots up on the former pro. After the championship, Shuman was likely feeling the sting of defeat after getting so much pushback for his participation.
“I entered the tournament because I like to play tournament golf, I know the course well having played here for 20 years and checked with the USGA about eligibility,” Schuman said. “There have been other club championships where pros have competed. No one says anything when Phil Mickelson plays in a club championship at one of his courses. I was approved to play by the golf committee. It’s not the outcome I wanted, but Ben played an incredible round of golf today to win.”
— Teetalk (@teetalktom) August 9, 2021