It’s a family affair. Each year families from all over the country make their trip down to the beach for the Oregon Coast Invitational. Usually it’s all laughs and a good time until families get paired to play against each other. Then the game changes, the serious face is put on and it becomes grind time.
This year, on Tuesday Cappy Mack took on her younger sister, Nikki Mack. Then, on Wednesday Taylor Swingle played his dad, Mike, while the Ryan brothers were also playing. All matches lasted until the bitter end. Besides playing family members, it’s inevitable to get paired with someone you know. Frequently reiterated, the Coast tournament is a reunion to so many. It's always fun to see everyone off the course, but sometimes challenging when you meet them on the course. The only good news is that regardless of the outcome, there’s always hole 19, and also the next year to take them on again.
Besides the match play format, the Coast is fully equipped to last for another 106 years. Melora, the Tournament Secretary, does a lot of behind the scenes work, weeks in advance. Once the invitations have been sent out and they start coming back in, they are put in order based on points.
The Point System
You get two points for the past three years, and one point for the seven years prior to that.
The maximum amount of points you can have is thirteen. Astoria Golf and Country Club members always first, and ordered after that. After the points are dispersed and people are put in order, they are then distributed into their suggested flights and the waiting lists are formed.
In 2014, the age limit changed from 21 to 18 which made the competition much more challenging because it allowed for college players to participate. The field is made of 352 people in 5 different flights: The Grand Champions, Women, Seniors, Super- Seniors and Junior- Seniors.
Though the tournament has always produced a fairly large field, the five divisions and age requirements have fluctuated and evolved over time. The Senior division was added in 1952, and the Super-Senior division was added in 1990.
The Women’s division has been around since 1910, paving the way for Joan Edwards Powell to win the tournament ten times—the most that any woman has ever won. Others like Harry Dichter, won so many times that his nickname became "The King of the Coast."
In addition to Melora, there are tons of other people that put their best efforts forward to prepare for the Coast. Once a month throughout the entire year, the committee meets to get ready for the event.
Once the fourth week of July comes around, former employees come back to work 'Coast Week' and everyone—from the greens committee to the dining room staff to the bag room boys, to the ladies in the office, all the way to the volunteers—puts in their long and strenuous hours. The greens crew kicks off the day 3:45 AM, and everyone stays until dark (without many breaks at all in between).
Despite the long hours, week is highly rewarding. So, even though it’s a lot of work, it’s all worth it in the end.