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Kansas Golf Associaition

Kansas Golfer Online - April 22, 2015

Wondering About the Health of Our Game?

The National Golf Foundation recently published its annual golf industry overview after an extensive survey of the game’s players, courses and equipment companies.  Their conclusions are optimistic and welcome news after eight years of declining numbers.  Here are the highlights of the report:

The game remains incredibly popular and fortunate to have a deep well of interested prospects (players) to activate (women, Millennials, juniors).   Participation is expected to remain in the range of 25 million golfers nationally for the fourth consecutive year.   While this is down from the peak of 30 million golfers in 2003, the game’s most committed customers continue to play at a substantial level.   The average number of rounds player per year per golfer is increasing.

Mother Nature is a big influence on the amount of golf played every year.  It’s an outdoor game and there are some days it is just not possible or safe to play golf.  The first quarter of 2014 was horrible for golf – too wet, too much snow, or just too cold.   Despite the slow start last year, 2014 finished very close to the 2013 participation rate – a good sign in the opinion of golf economists.

Golf course closures continued in 2014, a trend that started in 2006.  Industry experts are quick to point out that this is a “healthy” trend since the inventory of golf courses had become too high.  The closures are seen as a correction in supply and are expected to continue for the next several years.   Even with the closings, there are new golf courses in development and there are significant numbers of renovations to existing courses.  Interestingly enough, there are more than 700 golf courses under development globally, many in underdeveloped golf regions such as Central America and the Middle East.

The NGF report says that “the biggest single influence on golf industry is the health of the U.S. economy and the state of a consumer’s personal discretionary income.  It’s only natural that when golfers’ feel their financial situations are improved, golf benefits; when financial confidence is low, the sport tends to suffer.”   Economic indicators of consumer confidence and spending are currently at post-recession highs.  Also, the real estate market is beginning to show signs of growth and home values are beginning to rise.   Golf is said to be a “lagging indicator”, meaning it takes some time for the game to experience the rise or fall of the economy.   So, 2015 has a chance for further improvement!

The NGF concludes that “golf isn’t going anywhere.  The game continues to prove its powerful draw.  NGF doesn’t believe that today’s facts support the conclusion by some that golf is destined for an unrecoverable decline.  Golf is very competitive, as is the case with many business categories in the U.S. economy.  The smartest, best-managed and most-innovative companies and operators will win market share and have the best opportunity for growth.”

So, let’s play more golf in 2015!


Here’s a Great Deal!

Speaking of playing more golf in 2015, here’s a great way to make it easier and even more affordable.  Our friends at the South Central Section PGA have their 2015 Golf Pass available for purchase now.  If you don’t have yours already, the 2015 PGA Golf Pass is the most unbelievable bargain in golf.  For just $49.95, you get FREE or discounted rounds at many of the top public courses in southern Kansas and neighboring states.

What’s the catch?  Well, there is a fee for golf carts at some courses.  You will also be doing a good deed since part of your proceeds goes to help the PGA South Central Section junior golf program.

You can view all of the 2015 deals online at www.scspgagolfpass.com.  You will see every dealy and easily purchase online in one stop.   You can order a Golf Pass for each of your friends.  If you want more information or want to order, you can call 918-357-3332, ext. 4.

There are several golf discount cards in the area but there is only one PGA Golf Pass that is the official card of the PGA South Central Section and endorsed by the Kansas Golf Association.  It is also the only one that has access to all the top public or semi-private golf courses like Auburn Hills, Reflection Ridge, Sand Creek Station and Terradyne.


On the Professional SideZechariah Potter

Wichita-based professional golfer Zac Potter, a standout KGA junior and Wichita State collegiate golfer, will get his chance on the PGA Tour this week having successfully advanced through a Monday qualifying round with a 5-under par 67 for co-medalist.   The Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, Louisiana begins on Thursday, April 23rd.  First and second round pairings will be announced on Wednesday.   Good luck, Zac!


Lineup Changes to Announce

As the 2015 Kansas golf season gets out of the gate, there are some new golf industry faces at KGA member clubs.

Wichita area golf pro Keith Gunter has been installed as the new golf pro at Wichita’s L.W. Clapp Golf Course and Scot Weller has moved from the Topeka area to become the golf pro at another Wichita city golf course, Arthur B. Sim Golf Course.

Sean Dougherty moves from Milburn Country Club across the state line to Oakwood Country Club in Kansas City, Missouri.  Milburn then hired Charlie Johnson, who has worked at both private and public facilities in the greater KC area.  The vacancy at Oakwood was created when Todd Stice, the Oakwood head pro, was hired as the new Director of Rules and Competitions at the Kansas City Golf Association.   Jacque Madison, formerly at Meadowbrook Country Club, also joins the staff at the KCGA as the association’s new Director of Member Services.


P.J. Boatwright Interns at the KGA

The KGA is pleased to announce the placement of two outstanding USGA P.J. Boatwright Interns for the 2015 golf season.

Read Langhenry, a Georgia native, is a 2012 graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Economics. Since graduation he worked on the superintendent’s crew at Chateau Elan Golf Club in Braselton, Georgia and then did an internship with the American Junior Golf Association last year.  Read aspires to work as a golf rules official on a professional golf tour.

Dylan Carver is from Cole Camp, Missouri and a 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Sports Management.  Last summer Dylan travelled 15 states conducting a series of golf tournaments for the Florida-based Hurricane Junior Golf Tour.   He also looks to find a career in golf administration.

Outstanding Field Set for 2015 Kansas Cup Competition

Twenty six Kansas golf clubs will soon begin divisional play for the 2015 Kansas Cup competition.  This team-formatted match play competition is one of the most popular programs conducted by the KGA each year.  Each participating club brings several of its members along with their golf pros to compete in a series of matches head-to-head against another member club.  The rivalries have been established over the last 20 years and the competition can get intense.

Defending champion Manhattan Country Club won the Kansas Cup for the first time in 2014.  Their goal to repeat will find considerable resistance from outstanding teams from Salina Country Club, last year’s runner-up, and former champions from Wellington GC, Alvamar CC, Crestview CC, Topeka CC and Shawnee CC.

Each club is assigned to a division of three other clubs (with the exception of two divisions that have five clubs) and they will play a home-and-home series with each division foe.  After six divisional matches, the divisional winners are identified and they advance to the single-elimination playoffs.  The final four teams will play the semifinals and finals in September at Eagle Bend Golf Course in Lawrence.

The 2015 Kansas Cup champion club will win custody of the travelling crystal trophy along with bragging rights for as long as they can back it up!