Did you know that Central Links Golf is responsible for funding Youth on Course in our region? Help us expand Youth on Course throughout the state of Kansas! Our goal is to raise $30,000 this February. If each of our members donated $1 we would achieve our goal. Help make golf accessible by donating below.
Come join us once a month for a virtual education series about the Rules of Golf and World Handicap System. We will hold 15 minutes of open Q&A at the end of each session.
Central Links Golf — the product of a merger of the Kansas City Golf Association and the Kansas Golf Association in 2020 — has named four outstanding individuals to join the Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame.
Rob Wilkin, Head Professional and General Manager of Heritage Park Golf Course in Overland Park, leads this year’s class. The 18-time Midwest PGA Section Player of the Year played college golf at Coffeyville (KS) Community College and the University of Kansas. He has played in ten major professional championships including the 1988 US Open, four PGA Championships, the 2011 US Senior Open and four Senior PGA Championships. Wilkin has played in every Watson Challenge since its inception and outlasted the event’s founder and namesake in a five-hole playoff for the title in 2016.
Amateur standout Steve Groom of Raytown joins the Hall on the strength of his outstanding playing career. A perennial contender for local and state Player of the Year honors, Groom has amassed more than 40 championships in Missouri, Kansas and Kansas City. He has qualified for nine USGA Public Links tournaments, five US Open Sectionals, two US Mid-Ams and one US Senior Amateur. In 2018 he lead the field in the British Senior Amateur Championship after the first round. In 2014 he carded an impressive 59 (33-26) at Bay Breeze in Biloxi, MS.
For more than 40 years, Dave Fearis served the game of golf as a leader among golf course superintendents at the local and national levels. From 1985 to 2000 he was the Superintendent at Kansas City’s Blue Hills Country Club. He served on the boards of the Heart of America Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation and the Leawood Golf Advisory Board. From 2000 to 2007 he held various offices in The First Tee of Greater Kansas City and was its president in 2006-07.
The first woman elected as President of the Kansas City Golf Association, Mary Jane Barnes, led the organization into a new era of professional management. Under her leadership the organization hired its first full-time Executive Director and expanded tournament opportunities for local players and increased services to KCGA member clubs. Ms. Barnes was also an accomplished golfer in her own right having chalked up 18 Women’s Club Championships at her home club, Kansas City Country Club and played in two USGA national championships. She served on the USGA’s Women’s Mid Amateur Committee for 25 years, earning her the coveted Ike Granger Award.
Ms. Barnes joins the Hall of Fame as a Committee Selection.
“The Hall of Fame was created in 2012 as part of our celebration of the centennial of the KCGA,” said Greg Dunn, president of the newly formed Central Links Golf (CLG). “Our goal is to preserve our past and honor the accomplishments and contributions of those who made golf in this area great. Central Links is committed to continuing the tradition established prior to the merger of the KCGA and the Kansas Golf Association.”
“Over the first three classes of inductees,” he said, “we have recognized amateurs and professionals, men and women, contemporary as well as historic figures, golf administrators and superintendents and players and teachers. We are very proud that our Hall of Fame is all-inclusive and has recognized the greatest of those who have contributed so much to the enjoyment of our game.”
Previous inductees in the class of 2012 included professionals Tom Watson, Stan Thirsk, Leland “Duke” Gibson; 1927 US Women’s Amateur Champion Miriam Burns (Horn) Tyson; founding member of the LPGA Opal Hill; long time KCGA Executive Director Bob Reid; and pioneering course superintendent Chester “Chet” Mendenhall.
In 2014 the honorees were teaching and touring professional Bob Stone; amateur stand-out Karen (Shull) MacGee; and “The Foursome” a group of African-Americans who integrated the links at Swope Park in March 1950.
The 2016 class recognized “The Father of Kansas City Golf” James Dalgleish; amateur player Marian Gault; and Bill Ludwig, long-time Board member, volunteer and champion player.
The 2018 class brought touring professional and outstanding amateur Jim Colbert; Jean Pepper who was the “player to beat” in the 1930’s and 40’S; Frank Kirk who was instrumental in the establishment of the First Tee program and has served on the Boards of various golf organizations; and Maxine Johnson who dominated women’s golf in the 1950 in the region.
Nominees are voted on by a broad cross-section of local electors: all members of the CLG Board, living members of the Hall of Fame, the Executive Board of the Midwest Section PGA, representatives of the Golf Course Superintendents Association and emeritus members of the CLG Board. Five nominees appeared on this year’s ballot and each voter was able to cast three votes.
Because of restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s honorees will be inducted at a later date.
“It is our goal to be able to afford these worthy individuals an appropriate forum to be recognized by the Kansas City golf community as soon as that can be done in a safe manner”, said CLG President Dunn.
By: Cassandra Bausch
If you were to define a “golf club fitting”, your definition would likely vary from that of your playing partner, your father or even the local pro you use for lessons. You may have been fitted at your club a decade ago for your current set, while your playing partner might swear by their futuristic swing analysis session. In an industry with simultaneously so many innovations and so many traditions, it can be hard to know when modernization is truly the best option for your game.
Take golf equipment, for example. Each year, manufacturers release a new model touting faster ball speeds, longer carries, more accurate shots. From a sales perspective, this makes complete sense but from a practical standpoint, is there evidence to support the claim that new equals better?
“In short, the answer is yes,” said Nick Sherburne, master fitter and founder of Club Champion, the nation’s #1 custom club fitter. “We’re in a unique position since we see every model from every brand. Independent club tests back the claims and so do our informal findings.”
The principle is the same with club fitting: if your father’s iteration of a fitting found better equipment options, does that mean a modern version of Dad’s fitting can really give you an even greater competitive advantage?
Sherburne is so sure that the answer is yes that his brand is offering 50% off their custom club fittings to prove it. This winter special — 50% off all fitting types with a $500 equipment purchase — is active from November 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021. Those seeking out a putter fitting are only required to purchase a new putter for the 50% fitting discount to apply.
At any price, the insight and edge a golfer gains after a fitting is priceless. Club Champion uses technology every step of the way, from TrackMan swing analysis during a club fitting, Science & Motion’s PuttLab to optimize the putter, to PUREing machines that orient each shaft optimally into each clubhead during the build process. The mentality is show-not-tell: let the golfer see the improvement in real-time because the data doesn’t lie.
A Golf Digest study found that eight out of nine custom-fit golfers lowered their scores by as much as six strokes per round and added an average of 21 yards off the tee. That same study found over 13 yards extra distance with fitted irons. And that doesn’t even address the improvement in control and overall accuracy found with a fitted set.
“What we do is both an art and a science,” said Sherburne. “Every level of golfer can see massive improvement with a club fitting when they’re willing to embrace a modern fitting process — even if it looks a little different than it did back in the day.”
In short, this is not your father’s club fitting, and thank goodness for that.
For more information or to book your Club Champion fitting, call (888) 340-7820 or visit clubchampiongolf.com.
Trendy. The golf hoodie trend is here to stay. No matter where you stand on this debate, we can all agree hoodies provide warmth in the cold winter months. Here are some of our favorites for the course:
Own your inner Fleetwood. Another trend making a comeback is the golf cardigan. Tommy Fleetwood can be seen wearing Nike’s Dri-FIT Player in Navy.
Wooly warm shirts. Winter runners have figured out how to stay warm & active. These cozy shirts from Runnin Rabbit blend polyester & merino wool to wick away moisture while keeping you warm. Men’s Re-Run | Women’s Ribbit
Stay swinging. Keep your swing in shape this winter with Swing Caddie. Paired with a golf net, golfers can keep their game up anywhere – including the garage! Bonus: all proceeds from the Swing Caddie link here will benefit Youth on Course in Kansas City.
DJ for your crew. Bushnell’s Wingman speaker provides a way to listen to music and receive audible GPS distances – all while mounted to your cart with BITE magnetic technology.
Handicap Index. We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest a GHIN Handicap Index as a great gift for the avid golfer in your life. Handicaps can be purchased through a member club or online Eclub in Kansas City and Kansas here.
Travel in style. The most innovative backpack for golfers. The Birdie Bag from Stitch Golf can convert from a backpack to a carry-on and even into a cooler. This backpack includes easy to use cooler inserts, which keep items cold for 24 hours. The work insert offers storage space for work materials.
A Year unlike any other. We can all agree that 2020 has been a very weird year. Hot Birdie Golf has made several clever items that reflect this year and celebrate the 2020 Masters tournament being so unusual. Ballmarks | Tee Shirts
Best foot forward. Duca del Cosma has disrupted the golf shoe industry by focusing on design with top-quality leather material and Arnflex comfort technology. The company’s attention to detail has lead to several award-winning pairs of shoes, even recognized by Golf Digest’s Hot List. We love the Women’s Festiva Coral Golf Shoe and the Men’s California Navy/Red Golf Sport Shoe.
Made for women. We are obsessed with these new hats made by women for women. All the players at the Kansas Women’s Amateur were gifted one and they were certainly a crowd-pleaser. Vimhue hats are designed for a range of different ponytail heights and can be adjusted for circumference. Get free shipping with code: “MERRY”. X-Boyfriend | Sun Goddess
For the Home
Lie + Loft. This company of creators connects golf to home through beautiful modern artwork. Check out the Course Map Collection featuring contemporary golf course artwork. Central Links Golf members can get 20% off with code CLG20.
Drink up. Upgrade your favorite golfer’s drink with these Golf Ball Shaped Ice Cubes from Uncommon Goods.
Hole-in-One. Did someone you know make a hole-in-one this year? Honor their achievement with a custom piece from ClaireWDesign. The painting includes a picture of the hole and information regarding the hole-in-one that was made.
What did we leave off our list? Drop a comment below and let us know!
Who is Eligible: Anyone with an active GHIN number & valid handicap index
Who Can I Play with: Anyone – teams can be two men, two women, or mixed
- Team members must both play at the same golf course but may play on different tees if desired.
- You may play on more than one team if desired
- The full team entry fee applies for each team on which you play
Format: 2-Person Net Stableford Best Ball with 85% handicap (per WHS Allowances) – the best Stableford point total of the two partners is used on each hole
- 25-30% of teams will win a prize
- Prizes will be Central Links Golf Gift Certificates which may be used at any Central Links Member Club for merchandise (other uses are at the sole discretion of the club)
- Special Prize for the pair with the lowest score and lowest temperature played
Where: Any Central Links Golf Member Club
When: December 4-6 – play your round at your club or the course of your choosing between December 4 and December 6. The overall leaderboard will be available all weekend long. Prizes will be calculated on Monday, December 7, and results will be published as soon as they are available.
Why: Let’s have fun and cap off a great year of golf with a friendly competition
How Much: $40 per team paid at the time of registration (green fees/cart fees not included)
What This Is: a FUN opportunity to get some friends together to enjoy a great day on the course
What This Is NOT: a super-competitive event
What We Expect: Golfers to play by the Rules of Golf, play the ball down, enter scores into the app honestly, and post scores to GHIN after finishing on the date of play
How Do I Register? You can register on our website HERE.
How will I get my prizes? You will receive your certificate via email which may be redeemed at any CLG member club.
Can junior golfers participate? Yes, junior golfers may participate. If a junior golfer plays with an adult and the team wins a prize, only the adult will receive a certificate. If a team of two juniors wins a prize, the prize money will go to Youth on Course. These steps are taken to comply with KSHSAA/MSHSAA requirements about high school athletes accepting gift certificates as a prize.
How will I submit my score? You will need to download the USGA Tournament Management App from the Apple App Store or Google Play. On Thursday, December 3rd, you will receive a GGID and Rules Sheet via email to enter your scores for your team through the mobile app. Login using the GGID only (if your club uses USGA TM, do not use your club ID to login). You may view the Leaderboard all weekend in the app or on our website.
Do I post my score to GHIN? Yes – you should post your score to GHIN on the same day that you play just as in any other round.
Come chat with the Ladies at Central Links Golf as we discuss a variety of golf-related topics. We will have featured guests that range from 2020 champions to area golf professionals. There will be new fresh content each week and opportunities for you to engage! We’re looking forward to another great season of Golf Gab.
November 17 – Kickoff the new season with 2020 Players of the Year & CLG Champions
December 1 – PCC Adjustment, Abnormal Course Conditions, and Yoga with Sally Krystyn, LPGA. Orange Whip mentioned by Sally can be found here. Get a discount with the code “Sally Krystyn”.
December 15 – Effective practice in 30 minutes with Kristen Samp, PGA/LPGA
January 5 – Kansas Golf Foundation, Rules of Golf, and Mental Game Tips with Gianna Augustine, LPGA.
January 19 – A panel discussion about the benefits of playing golf for women in business. Panelists include:
- Kristin Tyson | President, CrossFirst Bank Kansas City
- Angela Hurt | CEO, Veracity
- Rachel Smith | Owner, Smith Mohlman Injury Law
- Erica Brune | CEO, Lever 1
- Melissa Windon | Co-Founder, Driving Pursuits Kansas City
- Heidi Thummel | Director of Business Development, GBA
February 16 – Courtney Mahon, LPGA & Mary Leahy, Callaway
All sessions will take place on the first & third Tuesday from 9:30-10:15 AM and will be recorded.
It was an eventful first year for Central Links Golf, the newly merged association between the former Kansas City Golf Association and Kansas Golf Association. Despite the pandemic, the association saw a record number of golfers registered for events.
Players of the Year have been determined for the 2020 season. It was a hard-fought battle between many golfers for their titles. Players of the Year are decided based on performance at events and points earned. Points lists can be found here>>
Men’s Players of the Year
Kansas City Men’s Player of the Year, Kansas Player of the Year, and Kansas Mid-Am Player of the Year – Park Ulrich
In Kansas City:
Park Ulrich was the runaway winner of the 2020 KC Amateur Player of the Year. Park finished over 500 points ahead of this year’s runner up. Park started his run in June by finishing 3rd in the Kansas City Four-ball Championship which he and his partner turned into a Heart America Four-ball Championship in September at Lawrence Country Club. In July, Colbert Hills was the site of his first title in 2020, the Kansas Amateur. Park claimed the trophy after an impressive run through a strong field. Just two weeks later he finished 4th at the Kansas City Amateur Championship. Park made a deep run in the KC Match Play championship before another top-6 finish at the Kansas Mid-Amateur championship in late October. Park also qualified for his first USGA Championship this year when he and is partner were medalists at the US Four-ball Qualifier at Canyon Farms. He will play in the championship at Chambers Bay in May.
Ulrich became the first player to claim both the Kansas Player of the Year and Kansas Mid-Amateur Player of the Year in the same year in 2020. Ulrich dominated the Kansas golf scene in both individual and team competitions. On the team competition side, Ulrich was part of two winning teams at the Heart of America Four-Ball Match Play Finals with Davis Cooper in August and the Mid-Amateur Team in September with Doug Albers. Ulrich captured the 110th Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship in July at Colbert Hills. Ulrich also recorded a runner-up finish at the Kansas City Amateur in August and a top ten finish at the Kansas Mid-Amateur in October to round out his dominating season.
Kansas City Senior Men’s Player of the Year – Steve Groom
Steve Groom has been one of the top players in Kansas City for many years. Steve claimed yet another Senior Player of the Year title in 2020. Steve won two major titles in 2020: the KC Amateur Championship and the KC Senior Match Play Championship. In addition to multiple top 3 finishes in StateLine events, he had a strong top 10 finish in the Kansas Senior Amateur Championship in August.
Kansas Senior Men’s Player of the Year – Sean Thayer
Garden City’s Sean Thayer captured the 2020 Kansas Senior Player of the Year award by edging two time defending Senior Player of the Year Greg Goode of Salina in a very close points race that came down to the final event of the season. Thayer recorded victories at the Konza Prairie Amateur in June, Senior Series Championship in September and teamed with Greg Goode to take the Kansas Four-Ball Masters Division title in June. Thayer also posted top five finishes at the Kansas Senior Amateur, High Plains Amateur and the Railer Stroke Play Championship. Thayer also was medalist at six Senior Series events and posted top ten finishes in seven others. In the season ending Kansas Mid-Amateur, Thayer tied for low senior honors with Greg Goode to take the 2020 Kansas Senior Player of the Year crown by a slim 24 point margin over Goode.
Women’s Players of the Year
Senior Women’s Player of the Year – Martha Linscott
Martha Linscott wasted no time garnering her first Senior Women’s Player of the Year Award after becoming eligible only this year. Linscott has been an exceptional competitor in this area for many years having competed in 11 USGA Championships in her career, so this award is a fitting accomplishment.
She opened the season with a strong finish in the Kansas City Women’s Match Play Championship against a field of mostly collegiate players, advancing to the quarterfinals. She followed that performance with a 7th place finish at the Kansas Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. She was the only senior golfer to make the cut at The Prairie Invitational, earning her first Low Senior award at that championship. She cemented the award with her stellar play in September with a tie for 6th place at the North & South Senior Women’s Championship at Pinehurst, NC, and a victory at the Kansas Women’s Senior Championship at Manhattan CC. Congratulations Martha!
Women’s Player of the Year – Audrey Judd
The Women’s Player of the Year points list was surprisingly dominated by mid-amateurs. Audrey Judd of Olathe, Kansas narrowly edged fellow mid-amateur Katy Winters or Wichita, Kansas for the Player of the Year honors.
After taking a year off from competition after completing her collegiate eligibility at the University of Nebraska, Audrey Judd opened strong at the Kansas City Women’s Match Play. She was the medalist in the stroke-play qualifying round and advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Kansas Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion, Carmen Titus, in the round of 16. She just missed advancing to the semifinals with a 2&1 loss to active University of Kansas player and 2020 Missouri Women’s Amateur Champion, Abby Glynn. She followed that performance with a T3 at the Kansas Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, earning a spot in The Prairie Invitational. Her competition wrapped up with a Runner-Up performance at The Prairie Invitational in what was a very strong field of golfers including the best collegiate players and mid-ams from the entire region. Congratulations Audrey!
Junior Players of the Year
Boys Player of the Year – Davis Cooper
The 2020 Junior Boys Player of the Year is Davis Cooper of Overland Park, Kansas. Cooper had a fantastic season that was highlighted by a victory in the Kansas City Junior Championship and Heart of America Four-Ball Championship with his partner Park Ulrich. Cooper finished runner-up in the Kansas Junior Amateur at Salina Municipal and finished as a quarterfinalist in both the KC Junior Match Play and Kansas Amateur Match Play Championship at Colbert Hills. He finished out his summer season as a pivotal member of the KS/NE Junior Cup team that defeated Nebraska at Prairie Dunes CC. We wish Davis all the best as he has joined the Kansas University’s Men’s Golf team this fall and embarks on his college golf career!
Girls Player of the Year – Julia Misemer
The 2020 Junior Girls Player of the Year is Julia Misemer of Overland Park, Kansas. Misemer had another strong season this year, winning the Kansas City Junior Championship at Swope Memorial and defending her 6A State Championship title at Hesston Golf Course by four shots. Misemer also placed tied for third at the 2020 North & South Junior Championship at Pinehurst and finished third at the Kansas Junior Amateur Championship. She capped off a great summer by qualifying for the 2021 Women’s Four-Ball Championship with partner Brooke Biermann and was an important member of the 2020 Mid-America Junior Cup team that recently retained the Cup against St. Louis. Julia is in her junior year of high school at Blue Valley West and we can’t wait to see what she does next season!
Salina Country Club claimed their fifth Kansas Cup title on Sunday after defeating Great Life-Salina by a 5 to 3 margin in the championship match at Manhattan Country Club.
Warm fall temperatures and extreme winds with gusts exceeding 40 mph greeted players and made for challenging conditions.
The overall match was back and forth early with each club claiming an alternate shot match point and a singles match point.
Randy Syring and Ben Hadden took the Pro-Am Four-Ball match point for Salina CC to give them a 3 to 2 lead with three matches left on the course.
Both teams took a Net Four-Ball match point to give Salina CC a 4 to 3 lead with only the Open/Senior Mixed Scratch Four-Ball match remaining.
In the final match with Salina CC maintaining a 1 up lead with two holes to play, Salina CC’s Coleman Houk, the men’s golf coach at Kansas Wesleyan University, stuffed his tee shot on the par 3 17th hole to a couple feet for a tap in birdie to take the match point and secure the overall match victory for Salina Country Club.
Thank you to the 16 member clubs that participated in the COVID-19 modified Kansas Cup competition in 2020 and we look forward to seeing everyone in the 2021 Kansas Cup!
Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic Holding Many Industries Back, 2020 has Provided a Boom for Golf
Throughout March and April of this year, many golf clubs, facilities, and organizations were forced to shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic began. However, despite many lengthy shutdowns, we are seeing that only a few months later, that golf has been as busy as it has ever been.
Central Links Golf has seen great participation in 2020 events and has aimed to make sure golfers can be healthy and safe while continuing to provide quality events for players, staff, volunteers, and member clubs.
Executive Director of Central Links Golf, Doug Habel, says “Golf has been one of the few outlets for people in 2020. We have seen an increase in participation across the board in our tournaments, and tee times have been extremely difficult to come by. The COVID-19 protocols we put in place, as well as those put in place at facilities, have seemed to be effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19 through golf” when commenting on the successes seen in 2020.
As for the data, the numbers speak for themselves.
Across all Central Links Golf Member Clubs, there has been a 41.45% increase in rounds posted to GHIN handicaps in 2020, resulting in 880,697 total rounds posted in GHIN this year (as of October 27th). A few significant club increases include Lake Quivira Country Club in Lake Quivira, KS and The Deuce at The National in Parkville, MO, both seeing 72% and 69% increases in rounds posted this year, respectively (both increasing from about 9,000 rounds in 2019 to over 16,000-17,000 rounds in 2020 so far).
As far as the national ranks go, according to the National Golf Foundation’s “The Q”, there was a 19-25% increase in rounds played during July, August, and September. The summer months provided an increase in rounds by nearly 27 million… now that is a lot of golf!
While there has been this golfing boom this year, clubs, facilities, and organizations have still been able to maintain consistent protocols to keep golfers safe when attending. The PGA website provides some operational examples during COVID-19 to get “Back2Golf”, and some of these examples are listed below.
- Clubhouses enforce mandated mask policies
- Single-rider carts, which are always sanitized, are encouraged when riding
- Pin modifications, plus removal of rakes, trash cans, and ball washers have helped reduce the mass touching of shared surfaces
When speaking to member clubs, Central Links Golf hears the impact of the golf rush that 2020 has brought. Baile Stephenson, Club Services and Marketing Manager at Central Links Golf says “Our area clubs continue to report record numbers of rounds. Ultimately, we are happy to be here providing opportunities to link communities and generations together through the game of golf.”
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but also any time that the golfing industry is facing a challenge, the community wants to do all that it can to provide people the opportunity to play this wonderful game we call golf.