Golf event keeps getting Greater

How can work become tedious and joyous at once?

A word: Greatest.

Our eighth annual Greatest Golfer of the Valley is upon us, and it’s just as unfathomable saying “eighth annual” as it was last year saying “seventh annual.”

Equally unexpected both years was to say “and this year is our best year yet.”

But that’s the truth – and we are the proud pied pipers of this event. We are essentially sold out.

Even if you are not a golfer, there’s a solid chance you have a neighbor, niece, spouse, co-worker or ex- in-law who has spent months talking about this “Vindicator golf thing” that – for adults – is now here.

(It was actually for the juniors all summer long. )

But for 3,000 adults, Greatest engages this week – the Greatest Week in the Valley as pegged by our friends at Covelli Enterprises.

We’re packed for the Miller Lite Greatest Scramble Championship at 1 p.m. Monday at The Lake Club.

We’re loaded Thursday for the Covelli Enterprises Greatest Long Drive Bash hosted by Tippecanoe Country Club at 6 p.m.

Those set up the granddaddy event Friday – the Farmers National Bank Greatest Golfer of the Valley adult tournament to be played by more than 300 players – its second-highest total ever. It starts at 8 a.m. at Mill Creek, continues to four great courses Saturday (Youngstown, Tippecanoe, Avalon Lakes and Oak Tree clubs), then closes with a Greatest finish Sunday at The Lake Club.

But that’s enough coming from me.

The coolest things to hear about Greatest come from our guests.

Here’s a collection:


I need to tee off early Saturday for Greatest Golfer.

My daughter is getting married at 5 p.m.


You know it’s kinda like the anticipation of Christmas when I was a little kid.

Love the Greatest.


Just want to thank you for all of your hard work in this endeavor – the Vindy crew, the sponsors, and the course staffs.

I’ve met a lot of good people over the years and always look forward to seeing them every year.


I only did Greatest once 2 years ago – and it was so much fun. I’d love to do it again.


I couldn’t be happier that my son is making time again this year to come home to play in the Valley’s Greatest Golfer with me.


After last year’s 4th place finish, my level started to climb.

Last year, I was dealing with a lot of injuries from a tough year in motocross. (20 broken bones.) I started to focus on playing and practice and it’s paying off.

I’m glad to be moving up to the 5 to 8 division.


I am super excited to be back in the Greatest for the first time since 2014!

I played in tourney from 2011-2014 and then I had my second surgery.

Through the healing process and my own fear of swinging the clubs I waited till this year to see if I could golf again.

Oh by the way I am going to need a third surgery. But I made a decision to lose 100 pounds and see if that would help, and it has been fine for golfing.

Now my golf game – that’s another story. I think I have hit more grounders this year then some MLB players have hit all year.

Anyway just wanted to shout out and say can’t wait for next week and I know you all will put on a great tourney!

See you at The Creek.


Why I play Greatest?

Outside of the obvious, the great job that you and the golf courses do that make the weekend memorable. For me, it’s also about challenging myself.

Golf is a game that is impossible to master and I get 18 challenging tries every time I play, and to do that in a tournament is even more gratifying.

Cut day is the most memorable for me. I have been lucky enough to make the cut half of the time.

I’m sure that that memory will stand until I rise to the biggest challenge and win the flight I’m in.

Thank you to all the people that help make this a success.


What’s been key for Greatest has been the corporate partnerships.

We’re joined for what seems like the 100th year in a row by Farmers National, Superior Beverage, Covelli Enterprises and The Lake Club.

We also get help from New Castle School of Trades, Avalon Lakes Golf Club, Lariccia’s Italian Marketplace, Rebuild911 and

We like, too, when other merchants jump on.

When we’re at Tippecanoe Country for the long-drive event, Judy and Jim Rafoth of Adamas Jewelers will be sponsoring a hole-in-one for the long-drive contest.

While the players will hit it well past 300 yards, many will be in that 300-yard range at some point. At that spot will be an 8-inch cup, and the first player to land in it will win a $10,000 shopping spree from them.

Pretty cool.

What’s more cool – all of this is free for you all to come watch.

Hope to see you.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at He blogs, too, on Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.

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