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New look for the 78th Pine to Palm Tourney

The new Pine to Palm showcase trophy.

One of the strengths of the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament is the tradition it holds, allowing its patrons through its 78 years to know what to expect.

But to keep that tradition strong and keeping the tournament a destination for golf families, changing with the times is also a necessity.

Tradition is still a very important virtue to the Pine to Palm Tournament Committee, but change has also been a valuable tool in making the golfing experience through the week strong.

One improvement is a definite notice, while the second will not be seen until Sunday afternoon.

When golfers and fans are sitting enjoying drinks and a meal inside the Little Easy Restaurant, they can simply look up and see the daily updates of Championship play on the new 51-inch flat screen television.

The new addition was installed by Pine to Palm Committee member and technology guru Dave Johnston, while Pro Systems of Detroit Lakes donated the flat screen. It's a first step of a potential future of having a digital scoreboard format outside in the rotunda area.

"That could be in the future, where we could have four to five displays of showing the results of the tournament," Johnston said. "There is a potential future of having all results on a digital display system."

If that day does come, the final goal would be to have all flights' results on screens, displayed where the current scoreboard is.

Currently, there are limitations of what results can be shown on the flat screen inside the Little Easy, because for each flight -- albeit named, Championship, Mid-Am, Seniors or Super Seniors -- there needs to be a computer running results for each of them.

Logistically, that's difficult to run.

One feature which was highlighted during Championship qualifying was the estimated cut the software predicted with each score reported.

"And in the end, the projected cut was correct (148)," Johnston said.

Already, a tournament champion is already inked into Pine to Palm lore with their names printed up on the clubhouse Championship board.

Now, their accomplishment can be seen on the Pine to Palm Tournament Championship trophy, which is displayed in the DCC Pro Shop.

All 77 champions names are etched into the trophy, with No. 78 being crowned Sunday.

"Our idea came from the Jack Nicklaus Memorable Pro Tournament trophy," said Pine to Palm Committee chairman Bob Gorden. "It's a good showcase for people to look at inside the clubhouse."

Another change which will be noticeable is the change from the Pine to Palm silver punch bowl trophy to a more traditional trophy, which features a crystal golf ball, held up on two swirls of crystal, which is perched on a solid oak platform.

In many cases, the punch bowl rewarded to the Pine to Palm champion is packed away, due to the high maintenance it takes to keep care of the silver, which tarnishes easily.

"We discussed it as a committee that we've always had silver for our trophies, so we decided to try some other options."

Last year, crystal wine glasses were given to runners-up in divisions.

This year, a crystal wine decanter will be awarded to the consolation champion.

"We received good feedback about the crystal last year, so we tried to expand on it," Gorden said.

Change has been responded to favorably with the additions of the Mid-Am and Super Seniors Divisions.

The Mid-Am nearly doubled in size, from 22 to 33 the last two years and the Super Seniors had 34 entrants in its first year.

There still will be some tinkering with each division, such as the possibility of enlarging the Super Senior match play bracket from eight to 16, but overall, both have been working out well.

"People just have to remember, if we add a flight, we need to take one away," Gorden said.

Change has been good for the Pine to Palm Tournament, but not so much to change the tradition of it.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.