The Ithaca Best Ball began in 1970 at the Country Club of Ithaca as a memorial to Skip Wallace. The tournament was named the “Skip Wallace Invitational.”
Skip was a Syracuse All-American and one of Ithaca’s greatest golfers who was tragically killed in a car accident the year before while preparing to play professionally. The first three years of the event were played as an individual medal play tournament. In 1973, the tournament changed to a best ball match play tournament and was won by Jim Boeheim and Tony Santelli.
In 1978, future professionals Joey Sindelar and Mike Hulbert won their first of two Skip Wallace Invitationals. In 1980, Ed Mazza won with partner Jim Ganotis for what was the first of Ed’s eight titles. That is the most of any individual while Ed and his brother, Rob hold the record for the most team titles of six.
In 2008, John Duthie and partner Ed Herzog won their first Skip Wallace Invitational a year after John won the NYS Amateur Championship at Yahnundasis Country Club.
In 2010, the tournament named was changed to the “Ithaca Best Ball Memorial Invitational” to honor a couple of individuals who passed away who left a huge mark on the Skip Wallace Invitational. Jason Gates and Gordon Richardson both played huge roles in making what the tournament is today.
In 2015, the tournament had another loss when longtime participant, MC of the event, and all-around great person to be around, Charlie Bell passed away.
In 2019, as we celebrate the 50th playing of the Ithaca Best Ball, we will continue to honor our friends that we have lost and compete in the spirit of the event.
The format for the tournament attracts seasoned players who are looking for competition with some of the top players in the region. In addition golfers of all levels have a fun weekend competing in the higher flights.