Emerging pro golf tour sets competition for Bluestone Country Club in Blue Bell

The APGA Tour, the professional golf circuit bringing greater diversity to the sport, has announced that Bluestone Country Club in Blue Bell will host a tournament, the APGA Tour Valley Forge, on September 20-22. This will be the 12-year-old tour’s first stop in the northeastern United States and is part of the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board’s (VFTCB) Montco Golf initiative to promote the sport in Montgomery County.

The Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour came into prominence in January and February when three of its top players earned exemptions into PGA Tour events in California and Florida. Willie Mack (Farmers Insurance Open, Genesis Invitational), Kevin Hall (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) and Kamaiu Johnson (Pebble Beach and Honda Classic) teed it up with the best players in the world during that stretch and are pursuing additional opportunities while also competing on the APGA Tour

“This is a big step for the APGA Tour,” offered CEO Ken Bentley.  “The VFTCB hosts major golf events and, as we grow, it’s important to establish a presence in the Montgomery County/Philadelphia market.” The APGA Tour 2021 schedule also includes visits to San Diego, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, Louisville, and New Orleans with four tournaments on PGA TOUR-owned TPC (Tournament Players Club) courses.

“Besides having some of the most historic and top-ranked courses in Montgomery County, we are also committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in everything we do,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “We are proud to welcome the APGA Tour and commend their efforts to bring greater diversity to golf through these tournaments, player development, mentoring programs, and community outreach. We wish them the best of luck!”

The APGA Tour started in 2010 with three tournaments offering $40,000 in prize money and grew to seven in 2020, including the APGA Tour Famers Insurance Open Invitational, a tandem event with the prominent PGA TOUR stop in San Diego. PGA TOUR involvement has accelerated growth over the past several years, culminating in the near-doubling of the schedule for 2021 with $350,000 in prize money at stake.

The VFTCB undertaking coincides with its involvement in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronomink Golf Club late last year and in the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s primary talent development series, at Raven’s Claw Golf Club in Pottstown. The Montco Golf initiative is designed to promote Montgomery County’s 50-plus golf courses as the region moves to emerge from the global pandemic. Golf participation across the United States is up substantially because the sport’s outdoor and social distancing characteristics have attracted otherwise constrained Americans.

“Hosting events like these are so important to Montgomery County because the game of golf exudes such class, respect, and integrity for the sport,” said Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the VFTCB. “Our Valley Forge Sports Commission is always looking to raise the bar by bringing tournaments of this high-quality caliber to the #MakeItMontco Experience to highlight our 50 courses, and the positive economic impact these events have on the region. That’s why we highlight stories like these on our free Visit Valley Forge mobile app, and our annual Montco Golf Guide.”

The field of players, including Philadelphia-area competitors, will be announced in coming weeks. Depending on COVID-19 protocols, a community service component through the APGA Tour’s community service arm, the Advocates Foundation, will be implemented. The Advocates Foundation is accepting donations at AdvocatesFoundation.org in pursuit of its work to mentor youth from underserved communities in career development, personal health/wellness, and golf. 

Sponsorships for APGA Tour Valley Forge are available and information can be obtained by contacting Steve Griffith at (484) 433-7757 or sgriffith@viziongroup.net.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/PGA TOUR. Pictured is tour player Willie Mack.