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Kansas Golf Associaition

A Quick Review of 2013 and a Look Forward

Another great golf season has come to an end and we can know sit back and reflect on the events and memories created during the last twelve months on the Kansas golf scene.   We can also take some time to prepare for next year.

In this final issue of Kansas Golfer Online, you will find some helpful information on getting and staying golf fit.  After all, golf is a sport and we need to meet the challenges both physically and mentally.  Bottom line, practice doesn’t end just because there is snow on the fairway!

Also, I would encourage you to take the KGA membership survey (click here).  Your answers to the 5-minute survey will help the KGA assess its programs and benefits and build a better 2013 Players of the Year - Hanna, Stevens, Newman, Krsnich (clockwise)association to meet the needs of your member club and your golfing interests.   The survey will conclude soon, so please take a moment now to give us your input.

Looking back on my 21st season as Executive Director of the KGA (my goodness, time flies!) I see some great things that happened in 2013:

Chase Hanna, the 2013 KGA Player-of-the-Year, won both the Kansas Junior and the Kansas Amateur in the same year.  Johnny Stevens, a member of the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame, was the first and only other player to do that.  In 1960 he as a teenager himself, just like Hanna who won the Kansas Amateur on his 19th birthday!   Stevens was on hand to witness the feat as his grandson, Sam Stevens, was the other finalist.

Sam Stevens may have been Kansas Amateur runner-up but he won his second consecutive KGA Junior Player-of-the-Year award.  He also won the Big “I” National Championship.  With another year of high school and junior golf coming in 2014, Stevens looks to solidify his golf resume on his way to the golf team at Oklahoma State.

Steve Newman may be a senior in age, but he can still play with the young ones.  He won the Mid-Amateur at Topeka CC.  His performance throughout the year earned him another KGA Senior Player-of-the-Year award.

Former two-time Kansas Amateur champion Gary Woodland, won his second PGA Tour title in 2013 and finished the season strong enough to erase any doubts about his long-term viability on the big tour.  By the way, Gary now has a home in Lawrence where he is spending much of his time in the summer when not competing.

Kansas juniors retained the Virgil Parker Trophy by winning another Kansas-Nebraska Junior Cup Match and the Kansas team now leads the annual series 15-13.2013 Kansas-Nebraska Junior Cup Team

A team of nine Kansas mid-amateurs played in their first Culvers Midwest Cup at Wild Horse GC in Gothenburg, Nebraska and finished second in a field of eight states.   Kansas will host the event next August at Firekeeper GC where teams from the same eight states will compete for the 11th time.

Over 30 different KGA member clubs hosted a KGA championship or event in 2013, continuing the ability of the KGA to offer its member golfers one of the most ambitious and successful competitive golf programs in the country.   Approximately 130 days of competition are played each year under the banner of the KGA.  Of course, we could not do that without the support of our member clubs AND a corps of very professional and dedicated volunteers!   It is particularly noteworthy that the KGA championships played on the weekend continue to grow in the number of entries.   The Railer at Sand Creek Station in Newton and Dr. Terry Duncanthe High Plains Amateur at Southwind in Garden City are now two of the most popular events of the season!

On the sad side, I can’t help but feel a loss by the passing of our friend and president Terry Duncan.  Golf is a tough sport, particularly from the mental side.  Terry knew how to handle that.   Anyone who either knew or met Terry would say the first and most important thing Terry had was a positive outlook – even living with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Always smiling and pulling for his Baylor Bears, Terry was and is an inspiration for us.

In the “keep swinging” category, I have to note that three Kansas teams missed their chances for a victory in 2013.

A team of eight Kansans travelled to the same Wild Horse GC in Gothenburg for the Directors Cup with the goal to be the first state to win the event as a visiting team (the home team has always won this event).  Nebraska prevailed over Iowa and Kansas.

Despite having the overnight lead after two rounds of matches, the Kansas senior team was unable to hold on to win its first Ozark Senior Challenge against a rival team from Missouri.  The same fate fell upon the Kansas super senior team.  The Missouri team won the Association Senior Cup also.  The two Kansas teams will try for a sixth time in 2014 to return those two trophies to Kansas!

Looking forward, the future looks pretty bright.  Hoping that the national and regional economy continues in a positive direction, Kansas golfers will have more time and resources to pursue the game they love.  Bringing more people to the game is always a goal.

Kansas will be in the spotlight in 2014 with Prairie Dunes CC hosting the NCCA Men’s Golf National Championship in late May.  As a bonus, the event will be televised on the Golf Channel.  Many KGA staff and volunteers will be assisting with the event showcasing the best collegiate golfers in the country.  By the way, spectators are welcome and volunteers are still needed.  Then in July the USGA comes to Kansas for the final US Amateur Public Links ChampionshipSand Creek Station GC is the site and it will be a great test.  Spectators are also welcome at this event, and there are several volunteer opportunities as well.

In summary, my sincere thanks to all in the KGA family – our staff and volunteers, our member clubs, our vendors, the USGA, and our thousands of golfers – for making golf in Kansas an important economic and recreational industry.   With that same support the 105 year-old KGA will continue in its mission to promote, protect and preserve the best of golf in Kansas!