CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The 108th Tennessee Amateur will start on August 8, 2023 at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 144 player-field contains Tennessee's top Amateurs and has a stacked group of golfers all looking to finish at the top.
Founded in 1896, Chattanooga Golf and Country Club is a prestigious course that will be a challenging, but fun atmosphere for the competitors. The history is rich at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, considering it opened just eight years after the first country club in the entire United States. It sits on the same land it did when the course first opened its doors in the 19th century.
A Donald Ross course at its core, the course underwent an extensive renovation in 2005 led by Bill Bergin to bring the course back to its roots. It has hosted many high-caliber events and seen extraordinary winners.
This will be the 15th time Chattanooga Golf & Country Club has hosted the Tennessee State Amateur. Previous winners include Garner Watkins (1915), Polly Boyd (1922 & 1930), Emmett Spicer, Jr. (1926), Scudday Horner (1934), H.P. Childress (1939), Wes Brown (1948), Lew Oehmig (1952 & 1962), Ed Brantley (1957), Larry White (1967), Bob Wolcott (1983), Marvin Morris (1996) and Steven Fox (2013). It also hosted the 1920 Southern Amateur which was won by the great Bobby Jones.
Bruce Etter, Head Golf Professional at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club says he enjoys hosting tournaments at the course and looks forward to gearing the course up for the events. “I’m excited to see the contrast in scores from the last State Amateur to this year’s.”
This will be Etter’s second Tennessee State Amateur since becoming the head pro in 1998. Steven Fox was the last to win the Tennessee State Amateur at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club in 2013. Then, there were bent grass greens, which have since been replaced with bermuda.
Accurate players will have a strong advantage when it comes to this course. The greens are in great condition and rolling at about 12 to 13 and a half.
Etter gets to go out and play the course about once every two weeks, and he says hole 8, followed by 18, are the toughest out on the course. Hole 8, a long par 4, requires two good shots to have a chance at walking away with a birdie. At 472 yards, it will be one of the longest par 4s of the event. In 2013, it played as the third toughest hole in the tournament. It was the second hardest par 4 on the course with a scoring average over 4.4 strokes a hole.
Bordered down the right side by the Tennessee River, there is not much room to the left to miss your drive. If you can keep it in the fairway, you will still have a mid-long iron into a 25-yard wide green with steep slopes on the front and back. Any shots that come up short and to the left or right of the green may end up in one of three greenside bunkers that sit below the elevated green. Like it did in 2013, the hole will separate the top players from the rest of the field.
Notable players include:
Dalton Chuba (Hixson)- With another attempt for the first place title after finishing in a tie for 15th last year, Chuba returns for another Tennessee Amateur Championship in 2023. Chuba finished fourth place at the 2022 Chattanooga Men’s Metro and also has a top 30 placement from this year’s Tennessee State Open.
Jake Hall (Knoxville) - The University of Tennessee-Knoxville golfer is back at this year’s Tennessee Amateur after a top 20 finish from the previous championship, and a 3rd place tie in 2021. He also earned the Low Amateur award at the 2022 Tennessee State Open.
Cooper Hayes (Strawberry Plains) - Just over a week removed from earning his first TGA victory at the Tennessee Match Play Championship, Hayes is coming to the Tennessee Amateur this year more than ready to battle for that trophy. The Lipscomb University golfer also has a second place finish under his belt from the Knox County Amateur, and a tie for fourth place from the Greater Knoxville Amateur.
Jackson Herrington (Dickson) - Herrington, along with his partner Blades Brown, ended up in the quarter finals at the US Amateur Four-Ball this year. The future University of Tennessee-Knoxville golfer also tied for 14th at this summer’s Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship at Spring Creek Ranch.
John Houk (Etowah) - A recent transfer to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Houk was instantly a starter for the Mocs golf team. He set a school record at UTC with 139 during the 2022-23 season and won the Wofford Intercollegiate. Before being named a member of the PING All-East Region team, Houk was a two-time NAIA All-American at Tennessee Wesleyan. While at TWU, Houk won eight tournaments and was in the top 3 of all NAIA players in 2021 and 2022.
Aaron Ingalls (Jackson) - The winner of the 2018 Tennessee State Amateur at Spring Creek Ranch, Ingalls returns to the Amateur field ready to play. Ingalls was a representative of Team Tennessee at the 2023 Simmons Bank Cup, helping earn the TGA’s second-straight win in the event against Team Arkansas. He also tied for 9th place at this year’s Tennessee State Open Championship.
Tim Jackson (Williston) - Playing in his final Tennessee State Amateur, Jackson is coming back to the field this year to go out with a bang. A member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame class of 2012, the Williston native has won two US Mid-Amateur Championships (‘94 & ‘98). Those two wins earned him a spot at Augusta National in The Masters. He also won the 2003 US Men’s State Team Championship with Brandt Snedeker and Danny Green. Jackson is the all-time leader in wins in Tennessee Golf Association state events with 27 victories. Three-times Jackson earned the low amateur award in the US Senior Open. In summary, he is an 11-time Tennessee Men’s Golfer of the Year and eight-time Tennessee Men’s Senior Golfer of the Year.
Carson Kamman (Knoxville) - Kamman is returning to the field this year after a top 25 finish at the previous Tennessee Amateur Championship. He recently made it to the semi-finals at the 2023 Men’s Match Play at The Links at Kahite.
Grant Leaver (Murfreesboro) - The Centerville native won the 2010 Tennessee State Open at GreyStone, though that wasn’t his first professional win. That came just a few months after graduating Austin Peay State University at the Hilton Garden Inn Classic at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club. In 2015, Leaver was inducted into the Austin Peay Athletics Hall of Fame.
Mike Poe (Loudon) - Poe is ready to be a fierce competitor on the course for the 2023 Tennessee Amateur after his Senior Four-Ball Championship win this summer alongside Tim Dinwiddie. Coming off his emotional Tennessee Senior Match Play Championship in 2022, some other impressive accomplishments from Poe include a 2012 Senior Four-Ball win, and a T2 finish at the 2022 Tennessee Senior.
Ryan Terry (Brentwood) - Ending in a tie for 5th in 2021 and a tie for 25th in 2022, Terry is prepared to earn himself a top finish in the 2023 Tennessee Amateur. He is also a 2018 Tennessee Mid-Amateur winner, and placed 3rd at the 2022 Tennessee Mid-Amateur.
Whit Turnbow (Murfreesboro) - This 2023 Tennessee Four-Ball Champion is coming to the course to earn himself another first place title. With a top 30 finish at this year’s Tennessee State Open, Turnbow will be working hard toward a top of the leaderboard finish for the Tennessee Amateur.
Brendon Wilson (Ringgold) - Wilson has been a fierce competitor on the amateur golf circuit as of late and has started to see his hard work translate to wins just in the past twelve months. He started by finally capturing a Tennessee Mid-Amateur Championship in 2022 after some close finishes the previous two years. That momentum carried on to the 2023 Gasparilla Invitational where he took top honors at the prestigious Mid-Amateur event in Tampa.
Evan Woosley-Reed (Shelbyville) - Top 3 finisher from last year’s Tennessee Amateur Woosley-Reed will be one to look out for on the course throughout the week. The UT-Knoxville golfer also earned a top-five finish at the Thomas Sharkey Individual Collegiate during his freshman year.
Jaden (JJ) Zimmer (Humboldt) - After a tie for tenth place at last year’s Tennessee Amateur Championship, Zimmer is back in the field for another go at the top. The Union University golfer also placed 3rd at last year’s Choo Choo Invitational, and tied for 6th in the Low-Amateur division at the 2023 Tennessee State Open.
The full 144-player field is available here.