With the Masters being played this week we naturally start thinking about golf after a winter off season. But, thanks to another mild start of the year, many of you already have your game in good shape. Kansas golf courses are nearing their prime condition and most of our member clubs are reporting record numbers of rounds played by April 1st. This being the first edition of Kansas Golfer Online, let’s catch up on what has been happening in golf here at home.
USGA Announcements on the Rules and its Championships
The USGA has been busy with several important announcements over the last two months. The most attention has been directed to its joint effort with the R&A to “modernize” the Rules of Golf. Their press release is a long one as there are many Rules that are open to change beginning in January 2019. The attempt is to gather in 2017 some “public comment” on the proposed changes, numbering close to 100 items. The prominent changes include:
What is obvious from the changes is that the USGA is getting even more serious about speeding up the game. Pace of play of our game has become a source of frustration for golfers and course operators. These changes should help from a Rules standpoint.
For a complete memo of the proposed modernization of the Rules, go to the USGA website at www.usga.org.
The USGA recently made two important announcements about its Championship lineup.
First, the USGA State Team Championship is being retired. The Women’s State Team will be played later this year. So that means that the Men’s State Team played last year in Alabama will be the last such event. The Men’s and Women’s State Team Championships were both started in 1995 as part of the USGA’s Centennial Celebration. The events were so well received that the USGA continued them on an every other year basis. In 2009 Kansas finished as Runner-up and then came back in 2010 to win the Men’s State Team Championship. The 2009 team set two records: lowest single round score of 133 (-9) and lowest individual single round score of 64 (-7). Jon Troutman is co-record holder of the individual record and he along with teammates Bryan Norton and Dodge Kemmer hold the team score record. The 2010 Kansas team that won the championship was Bryan Norton (who was also the lowest individual scorer in the field), Tyler Shelton and Charlie Stevens.
Second, beginning in 2020 the USGA will conduct an annual national championship for golfers with disabilities. With several million disabled golfers in the US, the association recognized a community that it was not serving with a championship. Details and format for this new championship are being studied and developed at this time.
Drive, Chip and Putt
This relatively new national competition for junior golfers between the ages of 7 and 15 catches a lot of attention since it is conducted at Augusta National Golf Club on the Sunday prior to the week of The Masters. Former Masters champions are on hand to observe and encourage the young participants. A Kansas junior golfer got his name on the leaderboard this year.
Andy Scholz from Fairway, KS where his family is members at Milburn Country Club placed second in the boys 14-15 division with 23 points. He finished first in the chipping competition by holing out and second in the driving competition. Click here to see Andy's chip. Congratulations Andy!
KGA Executive Director Kim Richey Receives USGA Award
In recognition of 25 years of volunteer service to the USGA, Kim Richey, the KGA’s Executive Director since 1993, was given the USGA’s Ike Grainger Award during a celebration dinner at the USGA’s Annual Meeting in Washington DC last February. Kim has been a member of the USGA’s Regional Associations Committee since being named the KGA’s Executive Director. He was able to make the trip to the nation’s capital with his wife Roberta during a pause in his treatment for cancer.
“It was some good medicine for me to share some time with USGA committee friends and USGA staff,” commented Richey on his return to Kansas. “After 25 years you have many fond memories of people and experiences in this great game. I am extremely blessed and fortunate.”
(Note: Kim was diagnosed with a malignant sarcoma cancer in his left leg last October. After a series of chemo and radiation therapy, doctors determined that the best and only way to achieve a cancer free result was to amputate the leg. That successful surgery was performed on March 1st at the KU Indian Creek Medical Center. Kim is currently recovering and rehabbing at home and looking after his KGA responsibilities from there. He is expected to be more mobile by May after working with his medical team to fit and train with a new prosthetic leg. He plans to attend all of the competitions on the 2017 calendar starting with the Big 12 Men’s Golf Conference Championship at Prairie Dunes in late April. Kim sends his heartfelt thanks to all of the golfers and colleagues who have sent their best wishes for a speedy recovery!)
Ireland trip for 2018
It may be 18 months from now, but it is time to make your plans to join a group of fellow KGA golfers for an awesome trip to Ireland in September of next year.
This trip will take our group to some of the very best courses in the world, including the world’s #1 course Royal County Down where two rounds will be played at the end of the week. Other courses on the trip are Portstewart, Royal Portrush (site of the 2019 British Open), Ballyliffin and Ardglass. The trip includes all transportation after a flight into Dublin, hotel, daily Irish breakfast and welcome and departure group dinner.
We encourage our KGA members to find other club members or friends to come on the trip with you. We have room for up to 28 golfers, men or women. Non-golfers are welcome and a site seeing agenda can be arranged. Airfare is an extra cost.
Interested golfers should contact Kim Richey (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the KGA to obtain a full itinerary, price information and a reservation form.
Kansas Team Ready to Defend Midwest Cup Title
Team Kansas composed on eight top mid-amateurs and two of our best senior golfers made the relatively short trip to St. Joseph, Missouri last July to compete against seven other Midwestern teams at St. Joseph Country Club. The format is unique but the winning team is the one with the fewest strokes. At the end of the competition, Kansas stood at the top of the leaderboard a mere one stroke better than the host team from Missouri.
The 2017 Midwest Cup will be hosted by Minnesota and held July 27-30 at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Wilmar, Minnesota. Many of the Kansas victors will return to help defend the team title. It was recently announced that the Kansas team will be Bradley Lane, Jeff Bell, Grant Vollertsen, Spencer Christian, Conrad Roberts, William Gantz, Jack Courington, and Kit Grove as the mid-amateurs and Tim McKinnis and Tracy Chamberlin as the seniors.
Good luck team Kansas – Go win another one!
KGA Competitive Season Starts May 1st
The Kansas Golf Association is pleased to annually present a number of significant multi-day competitions for golfers of all skill levels. Many golfers with handicap indexes in double digits are surprised to learn that several of the KGA championships have divisions for them as well. If you like to compete and test your skills against other golfers in professionally administered events played according to all the Rules of Golf, then go to the KGA website (www.kansasgolf.org) and look at what the KGA has to offer from May through October.
The KGA’s premier championship is the Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship which will be conducted this July at The Kansas City Country Club. 144 of the State’s very best golfers will try for one of the most difficult titles to win – it takes 9 rounds of golf over 6 days to be the champion.
There are several championships conducted on a weekend to help those golfers that have limited vacation days or can’t get away from the office during the week. These golfers should look at the Konza Prairie Amateur which is played annually at the difficult and scenic Colbert Hills Golf Course, The Railer played annually at Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, the Kansas Four-Ball played at Eagle Bend Golf Course in Lawrence, and finally the High Plains Amateur now in its third decade at The Golf Club at Southwind in Garden City. There is a net division in the High Plains and Konza Prairie.
There are also offerings for golfers who prefer to play with a partner. The KGA season opens with the Mid-Am Team and the Senior Team championships played simultaneously at Wichita’s Reflection Ridge Golf Club, May 1-2. Teams will play three rounds in just two days!
Other team events include the Father/Son which will have the good fortune to be played at the difficult and superbly groomed Crestview Country Club (North Course) in July and the Senior Four-Ball at Falcon Lakes in Basehor. Both of these events include a net competition.
For those junior and senior age golfers, the KGA offers a competitive program for each of these popular age groups. The juniors play a series of one-day events and try to qualify for two season-ending team competitions. There are several collegiate golfers and even a couple PGA Tour golfers that got their first taste of golf competition in this program. Seniors have the KGA Senior Series, which this year will offer 19 different days to compete for age group gross and net prizes.
Altogether, the KGA offers over 125 days of competition every year. As we like to say “There’s a Game for Everyone!”