The story of The Greatest Golfer turns, rolls and shines like best golf holes in America.
Founded in Youngstown, Ohio in 2010, it was a partnership of the local newspaper, The Vindicator, and several key initial partners, namely Mill Creek Golf Course, The Lake Club, Farmers National Bank and businessman Ed Muransky.
Greatest Golfer now operates as an private golf content and competition business since the 2019 closure of The Vindicator. Most of the core team below is still in place after 11 years.
At the helm since the start have been Todd Franko and Ted Suffolk, co-workers at The Vindicator. To steer Greatest, they've been counseled, coached (and politely scolded) by some greats of eastern Ohio golf, including Mike Ferranti, Jonah Karzmer, Brian Tolnar, Stacie Butler, Dennis Miller, John Diana and Don Confoey.
Along the way, many great golf voices and places have also helped steer the event — too many to name and too easy to get in trouble for not naming them.
Greatest started as a weekly golf holes feature for 18 weeks in 2010. An idea was hatched to have a 54-hole tournament at the end of the weekly series.
That decision and those first 97 golfers seeded what Greatest is today.
The 54-hole event hosted by Farmers National now draws 300 players every August.
In 2011, Greatest added a juniors championship that plays in June and July. The 6 qualifiers each draw 70+ players ages 12-18. The top 48 players compete at Avalon Golf and Country Club.
In 2012, the Coors Light Scramble Championship launched. Hosted by Superior Beverage, the event assembles the winners of 24 charity scrambles to compete to be the Greatest Scramble Team in the Valley.
In 2014, the Greatest Long Drive Championship was created at Tippecanoe Country Club — now crowning champs in Mens, Womens and Seniors divisions.
In 2019, The HBK Par 3 Shootout Under the Lights joined the Long Drive event at Tippe. The night became an instant crowd-pleaser.
Also in 2019, the first expansion of Greatest Golfer outside Youngstown took place with an event in Columbus. In 2020, Greatest expects to return to Columbus in July and also add a D.C. event in October.
Youngstown is the home of Greatest Golfer, and new things are always in the works. That's been in the DNA of Greatest since its start in 2010.
The Greatest Gurus
Todd Franko, Director
Ted Suffolk, Director
Brian Tolnar, Mill Creek Golf Course
Mike Ferranti, Reserve Run Golf Course
Jonah Karzmer, The Karzmer Insurance Group
Mark Walters, GolfLeagueSite
The Greatest Sponsors
Farmers National Bank
HBK CPAs and Consultants
Coors Light/Superior Beverage
Greatest Golfer Partner Courses
The Lake Club
Mill Creek Golf Course
Youngstown Country Club
Trumbull Country Club
Tippecanoe Country Club
Avalon Golf and Country Club
Salem Golf Club
Tam O'Shanter Golf Course
Pine Lakes Golf Course
Salem Hills Golf Club
Reserve Run Golf Course
... And all the other courses that tee it up in the Mahoning Valley.