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Kansas Golf Associaition

News from Around the Sunflower State

For the Kansas golfer in mid-February you are either watching golf on television or traveling to a warmer, sunnier place to get your “golf fix”.   But, with a few breaks from the weather since the New Year, Kansas golf courses have been open for play making us even more anxious for spring golf.

In the golf news since the holidays:

Judy Bell, native Kansan and member of the 1991 inaugural class of the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame, has been named by the USGA as the 2016 recipient of its top honor, the Bob Jones Award.  At the age of 79, she will be honored in special ceremonies during the 2016 US Open at Oakmont in June.   Judy grew up playing golf in Wichita.  She won the City Women’s Championship there at the age of 14.  She later won three Broadmoor titles, played for the USA on two Curtis Cup teams, and later captained the team on two occasions.  Her career as a volunteer in golf culminated in her election as president of the USGA in 1996, the first women to hold the position of responsibility and honor.   Judy is also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Matt Gourlay
, the golf course superintendent at Colbert Hills
Golf Course in Manhattan, was recently named the 2015 TurfNet Superintendent of the Year.  Gourlay has been golf course superintendent at Colbert Hills for the past nine years.  In those nine years, Gourlay has cut water use by 71 million gallons per year to 41 million gallons. At a current billable rate of $3,000 per 1 million gallons, the savings mount.  Criteria on which nominees are judged include: labor management, maximizing budget limitations, educating and advancing the careers of colleagues and assistants, negotiating with government agencies, preparing for tournaments under unusual circumstances, service to golf clientele, upgrading or renovating the course and dealing with extreme or emergency conditions.  Click here to read more.  Congratulations, Matt!

Since January 1st new and modified golf rules have been put into effect.  “Anchoring” the club against the body during a stroke is now banned.   The rule-making bodies gave golfers worldwide a couple of years to find a new way to putt before the ban was put into effect.  Long putters are still allowed, but the club must not have the grip end anchored to the body during a stroke.   There are some other good improvements to the rules that can be reviewed at www.usga.org.  For a quick, informative video explanation, click here.

The popular new junior golf skills competition called Drive, Chip and Putt Championship that is a cooperative national program between the USGA, the PGA of America and the Masters Tournament, is now accepting entries for one of the local qualifying sites.  In Kansas, the local qualifiers are at Sand Creek Station in Newton on June 15th and at Ironhorse Golf Course in Leawood on July 6th.   For the complete multiple qualifier schedule and a full description of the program, go to www.drivechipandputt.com.   Regional qualifiers get to compete in the finals at the 2017 Masters at Augusta National!

Speaking of The Masters, if you have an interest in attending the Monday and Tuesday practice rounds at this year’s tournament, the KGA can refer you to a local source for tickets, a hotel reservation, ground transportation (between the golf course and the hotel) and a dinner reservation (something hard to come by!).  The cost of the package is $2,795, which does not include airfare.  Email Kim Richey at kim@kansasgolf.org if you want one of the few remaining spots.

The Kansas Golf Association is now taking entries for its slate of 2016 championships and the KGA Senior Series.  Entries for the Kansas Junior Golf Association program open on February 29th.   Entries are best done at www.kansasgolf.org, but entry forms can be downloaded and mailed to the KGA office as well.

Highlights for the 2016 season include an expanded number of events for the KGA Senior Series & Mid-Amateur Series with many outstanding and popular venues around Kansas.   The Kansas Amateur will be held July 18-24 at The Golf Club at Southwind in Garden City.  A championship field of 312 golfers will play 36 holes of stroke play qualifying (one round each at Southwind and Buffalo Dunes) to determine a 64-player match play bracket.  The match play portion will be played at Southwind.   With the expanded field the KGA will not be conducting local qualifiers.  In the event more than 312 entries are received, the best 312 handicap indexes as of July 5th will comprise the starting field.  An alternates list will also be built.

The Konza Prairie Amateur Championship returns to Colbert Hills Golf Course for the 36-hole stableford format stroke play event on the weekend of June 4-5.   The Mid-Am Team & Senior Team, the season-opening two-man team events, have been enhanced to a 54-hole competition.  With the field limited to a total of 52 teams, all teams will play 36 holes on May 2nd (Foursomes and Modified Chapman) and the final 18 holes on May 3rd (Four-Ball).   The Father-Son Championship will be played at Topeka Country Club on August 1-2.  Teams are encouraged to enter early in order to secure one of the 64 team spots available.

As previously announced, the Kansas Four-Ball Championship, which will be played the weekend of June11-12 at Eagle Bend Golf Course in Lawrence, will be a dual championship and qualifier.  The top 16 teams will earn spots in the “new” Heart of America Four-Ball Championship.  The Heart is scheduled for Milburn Country Club on August 8-10 and will be a match play only event.  The 16 teams qualified by the KGA will be seeded on the right side of a 32-team match play bracket.  The left side the bracket will be teams qualified by the Kansas City Golf Association.  A new rivalry for Kansas golfers!