Kinloch Golf Club in Goochland County will be the site for one of the United States Golf Association’s top amateur tournaments when it plays host to the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in September of 2020.
The tournament, which is scheduled to run Sept. 12-17, features amateurs 25 and older with a handicap index of 3.4 or lower. The 2017 tournament had more than 4,300 entries.
“To be able to host the Mid-Amateur, with one of the largest fields of the events that they host and one of the best collections of amateur golfers in the world, we’re very proud to have that collection of golfers come here to compete,” said Jonathan Ireland, Kinloch’s general manager.
Ireland said Kinloch’s culture is supporting amateur golf. One of Kinloch’s founders, Richmonder Vinny Giles, is one of the most decorated amateurs of all time.
Giles, who helped Lester George design the course, is the only player to win the U.S. Amateur, British Amateur and U.S. Senior Amateur championships. He was part of five Walker Cup teams, one as a nonplaying captain, and won seven Virginia State Golf Association Amateur titles.
Kinloch played host to the 2011 U.S. Senior Amateur. That spurred interest in holding another tournament, so Ireland said the club contacted the USGA several years ago about the possibility.
“With Mr. Giles’ amateur career being so special, to be able to host the event that really showcases the true amateur golfer, we were very excited about that opportunity,” said Ireland.
Qualifying sites for the 2020 Mid-Amateur haven’t been announced, but those will pare the field to 264 golfers. The first two rounds are stroke play — one each at Kinloch in Manakin-Sabot and Independence Golf Club in Midlothian — with the top 64 advancing to match play at Kinloch.
The final is 36 holes, with the winner currently receiving an exemption to the U.S. Open.
“The club feels it’s good for Kinloch to support the USGA, and it certainly has a little prestige that we’re hosting a USGA championship,” said Giles.
This is the second time the tournament, which began in 1981, has been held in Virginia. It was played at The Homestead in Hot Springs in 2000.
“The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship consistently identifies the world’s best mid-amateur players,” said USGA championship committee chairman Stuart Francis. “With its risk-reward holes, Kinloch will challenge the players to think and execute in their quest to hoist the Robert T. Jones Memorial Trophy.”
Giles, who played in a couple of Mid-Amateurs, said the course puts a premium on executing second shots and putting on fast greens. The fairways “are extremely generous,” he said, but require thought about placement. Some tees have been reworked in recent years, and the course should play between 7,400 and 7,500 yards.
“We’ve continued to try to make the golf course prettier and prettier,” said Giles. “I’ve had a number of people say, ‘Gosh, this is as pretty as Augusta National.’ We don’t have quite the flora and fauna that they do, but it’s just a pretty, pretty golf course.”