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New Watson Challenge Dates Announced

2020 Watson Challenge Rescheduled Amid Coronavirus Concerns

LENEXA, Kansas, April 3, 2020 – The 2020 Watson Challenge, originally scheduled to be played at The National Golf Club of Kansas City on May 29-31, has been rescheduled following its postponement last week due to coronavirus concerns. The 2020 Watson Challenge will now be played at The National on August 4-6.

Last week’s postponement marked the first time since the tournaments’s inception in 2007 the event has had to be postponed. The only other interruptions of the tournament occurred when two final rounds were canceled due to weather, including last year’s tournament at Nicklaus Club at Lionsgate.

“This was a very difficult decision, but we felt with the current, ongoing health crisis, it was not in the best interest of the players, club, staff and volunteers to continue with the event in May,” said Tournament Director Doug Habel in regards to the difficult decision to postpone.

The date change may not be the extent of changes for the event this year. Amid the ever-changing times we now face, other alterations might be made to the event which will be announced at a later date.

“The Watson Challenge is one of the premier golf events in the Kansas City area, and it’s our intention to explore all possible options to still play the event this year in a safe way for all involved,” Doug Habel informed.

The public will be informed as more details and information become available in the coming weeks. We understand the rescheduling could cause conflicts for players, and we hope everyone can understand the predicament we are facing. Monitoring of the health crisis will continue on in to the future.

For any questions regarding the Watson Challenge, please reach out to Doug Habel at doug@clgolf.org. We appreciate your patience and support during this time.

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Golf in all 50 States

It is often hard for us as working individuals to find time to play golf at our home club throughout the year. However, despite the busyness of our lives, we always find time to sneak in a round here and there. For Gary Kipp, his life journey with golf started as a simple hobby but turned into something much greater – a national exploration of golf. Gary Kipp, a retired Navy General from Wichita, Kansas, has played a round of golf in all 50 states in the United States of America.

Playing golf, let alone in all 50 states, was not a goal of his to start with – Gary grew up in Wichita in Hilltop, right across the street from LW Clapp Golf Course, and had a paper route that took a paper to LW Clapp every morning. He borrowed a set of golf clubs and started playing golf at the age of 14 in 1960. He recalls the greens fees at his home club were only 75 cents a day to play all day. Oh, how nice it would be to play for 75 cents today! Gary said, “72 holes a day was a piece of cake!”

As his love for the game grew over time, Gary began to play at the courses located in military bases across the country as he traveled. Six months after he graduated from Fort Hays State University, Gary was drafted into the Navy. He became a Naval Flight Officer flying in P3 Orions, whose primary mission was to hunt and track submarines. After completing 4 years active duty and 21 years in the Naval Air Reserve, he retired as a Commander (LtCol) in the Navy when he was 48. Throughout his journey in the Navy, he began to play more and more courses located within military bases, which got him thinking he could really complete his 50 states goal. Here are some of Gary’s highlights of his golfing journey across the United States and many military bases:

  • Alaska: Gary remembers being on a 13-man flight there… he was the only passenger with golf clubs. Gary played at the Elmendorf Air Force Base, in Anchorage, AK. Gary said, “You see a lot of deer in Kansas, but in Alaska, I was able to see a few moose!”
  • In California, Gary not only played at the course located at the North Island Naval Air Station, but he also played famous courses such as Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and others. Gary says, “this was his most memorable experience of all 50 states.”
  • In Boston, Gary played a round and then rented a car, went to Maine to play golf, then drove to play more golf in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island’s Newport Naval Station, and then back to Boston and he flew home. “One-week trips really helped knock out my goals”, Gary said.
  • The last two stops in Gary’s journey of golf in all 50 states were to Idaho and Montana. Gary flew to Spokane, WA, and rented a car and drove to Idaho. In Idaho, he played the Coeur d’Alene Island Green Course (pictured below, one of Gary’s favorites).
A small boat in a body of water

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  • Once he finished playing in Idaho, he drove the next day to Anaconda, Montana, to the Old Works Golf Course for his final state (#50). The course was unique, as it was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is famous for its black bunkers and waste areas composed of crushed black slag leftover from copper mining in the area. Quite the unique course to end on!
  • The most difficult states to cross off were the western states because of how expansive it is. “I couldn’t play them the same way as the northeastern states. It was almost an effort to knock one state off at a time in that area… Oregon was hard. I had to wait until I visited a cousin in Portland at Pumpkin Ridge (another of Gary’s favorites). Luckily, I crossed off Washington when I played in Seattle while I was in the Navy Reserves.”

Once the journey was over in Montana, Gary was elated that he finally completed his amazing goal, but he also realized he needed to find a new goal. “After I did it, I told my buddy, ‘Rich, it’s all over. I don’t have anything else to look forward to now. Somebody just let all the air out of the hot air balloon.’”

Gary is still heavily involved in golf and other aspects of his community. For the past twenty years, Gary has made an impact in his community through the caddy program at Flint Hills and as a golf coach. In 1996, Gary went through a professional golf coaching seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, and became certified to teach golf. When he came back to Wichita, to McConnell AFB, he taught golf there for about 5 years, between 1997-2001. Once the unfortunate events of “9/11” struck our country, it became hard to get onto the base and then the golf course closed. Once that ended, his attention turned to the caddy program. In 1997, Flint Hills National opened and developed a caddy program. Caddies got to play free on Monday, so Gary started caddying there. After a few years, Gary became an instructor for the caddies at Flint Hills for 17 years, between 2001-2018.

Gary is still a busy man who is finding new goals to set – his most recent goal that he hit was shooting his age. Gary shot a round of 73 one month after completing his “50 states” goal. Gary has experienced a lot of amazing things throughout his life, but he will never forget his life journey of playing golf in all 50 states. Gary said, “I can’t say that I liked every course, I played some just because I was traveling through there, but it was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget.”

No matter the course, no matter the score, it is always a blessing to be able to play the beautiful game that is golf. Gary’s story is a special one and should motivate us all to go out and make time for a round of golf – no matter which state it’s in.

Story written by Nelson Searcy.

Ladies Golf Gab

Join us for women’s golf conversations, virtually.

We are feeling the itch to get out and play some golf, however, we know that might not be possible for most women throughout KC and KS. 

We will be hosting a weekly webchat with Central Links Golf staff and area female golf professionals covering all things golf – Rules, Handicapping, swing tips, fitness, stretching, drills, and more. Get your golf on with our golf nerds.

Schedule: 

Sally Krystyn – Tuesday, March 31
Courtney Mahon – Tuesday, April 7
Penny Hickman – Tuesday, April 13
Wendi Brandt – Tuesday, April 21
TBD – Tuesday, April 28
Registration is free. All webinars will be held from 9:30-10:15 AM

Session One Recap

Click Here to watch the recorded session
Click Here to view the Handout
Penalty Area Videos:
Lateral Relief
Red & Yellow Penalty Areas
Back on the Line Relief Procedure

USGA | Announcement

The USGA announced this afternoon that scores with any modified hole are permissible and should be posted for handicap purposes. This announcement comes in response to the many different safety measures golf facilities are taking at this time. These recommendations will be in effect throughout the United States until further notice by the USGA.

Click here to view the USGA Announcement.

Click here for Covid-19 Rules and Handicapping FAQs. (Includes information regarding bunkers/bunker rakes, scorecards, local rules regarding the flagstick, etc.)

Coronavirus Press Release

March 20, 2020 

Central Links Golf Community –  

At this time, the Board of Directors and staff for Central Links Golf have decided to suspend competitive golf activity though May 17th

This includes the following events: 

  • Kansas Senior/Mid-Am Series at Crestview (North) – April 13 
  • Kansas Senior/Mid-Am Series at Crestview (South) – April 14 
  • Stateline Amateur Tour at Milburn – April 20 
  • Kansas Seniors/Mid-Am Series at Ironhorse – April 29 
  • Kansas Seniors/Mid-Am Series at Mission Hills – April 30 
  • Kansas Women’s Spring Triple Threat at Rolling Hills – May 4
  • Kansas Mid-Am & Seniors Team Championships at Falcon Lakes – May 4-5 
  • Watson Challenge Qualifying at Stone Canyon – May 5 
  • Kanza Players Cup at Flint Hills National – May 11-13 
  • The Kansas Cup 
  • The Kansas City Cup 

The Kansas City Match Play Championship has been rescheduled for September 25-27 at Swope Memorial. We will make every effort to reschedule the remainder of the affected events. 

If you are currently registered for any of these events, please do not log in and withdraw. We will reach out with options to transfer your entry to another event or get a refund. 

It is with the health and safety of our players, volunteers and staff that we reluctantly make this decision. We will reevaluate in late-April to determine whether additional suspensions are necessary. 

In the meantime, we hope that you are getting out and supporting your golf facilities during these tough times. Here are some ways to keep yourself safe, while still enjoying the game: 

  • Stay at least 6-feet away from your playing partners
  • Walk and carry your own clubs, rather than ride 
  • If you must ride, sanitize the cart often 
  • Avoid touching the flagstick, bunker rakes, etc… 
  • Eliminate handshakes, high-fives and hugs 

Central Links Golf staff is still working (mostly from home), so please let us know if you have any questions or if we could help. 

Thank you for your support and patience, 

Doug Habel 

Executive Director 

Central Links Golf 

Tournament Registration 101

Breaking Down Registration One Step at a Time

We are just a few days away from registration opening for the 2020 season. This year the KCGA and KGA have combined in to one association – Central Links Golf. There are a few things to know before registration opens on Monday, March 2nd at 10:00 a.m.

Do You Have an Active GHIN Number?

To be eligible to play in any CLG events, players must have an active GHIN number. Players can get a GHIN number through their golf club or through an online eClub.

For instructions on how to get/renew a GHIN number through our various eClubs, visit here: https://www.golfnations.com/central-links-golf/

When doing so, please make sure to select the eClub that matches the county you live in. Under each option a drop down will allow you to see what counties are associated with each eClub.

To renew your GHIN number at your local golf club, contact the pro shop directly.


Log In to Your Player Profile in Golf Genius

In order to register for tournaments, players must have a player profile through our tournament management program called Golf Genius. If you had a player profile with the KCGA or KGA, your log in information will be the same as last year.

To access the player profile registration page, visit here: https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/1297184

If you did not have a profile with the KCGA or KGA, you will need to register and create a player profile using your GHIN number and last name.

Once you have filled out the required fields, click “Register”. At this point, players will need to read through the CLG and USGA Terms and Conditions. Click the two boxes to show that you acknowledge each Terms & Conditions and click “Next”.

Please read over the instructions on the registration page if unsure about what to do or contact a CLG staff member at (913)-649-5242 or (785)-842-4833 so you don’t accidentally create a duplicate profile.


Purchase a Membership Program

If you plan to play on any of our various tour programs such as Stateline Amateur, Senior Series, Mid-Am Series or Junior Tour, you must first register for that membership program before tournaments are available to you. Below are the fees for each membership program. Click on the name of the program to learn more about it before registering.

Stateline Amateur Tour – $50
KC Junior Tour – $40
KS Junior Tour – $25
Senior Series – $65
Mid-Am Series – $35

Once you have completed your player profile or are logged in under your old profile, click on the Purchase Membership Program tab. You will see all five of our membership programs listed. Click the “Add to Cart” button next to the membership program you would like to play on.

A “Membership Programs Cart” button will appear in the right-hand corner prompting you to “Click to Checkout”. It will ask you for information in order to bill for payment. Once you have completed the information and billing tabs, you will successfully be signed up for your membership program.

If you have questions regarding a membership program, please reach out to a staff member before signing up for it.

Todd Stice – Stateline Amateur Tour – todd@clgolf.org
Casey Old – Mid Amateur Series and Senior Series – casey@clgolf.org
Taylor Albritton – KC Junior Tour and KS Junior Tour – taylor@clgolf.org


Sign Up for Individual Tournaments

To sign up for individual events, hover your mouse over the “Register for Events” tab. Under this tab, you will see a list of categories for all our events. You can search for an event based on category such as Juniors or Men’s events or you can click on “All Events”. On this page, you will be able to scroll and see every event the CLG will host this season.

Find the specific event you want to register for and click on the name of the event. It will take you to an information page, where you will see a “Register Now For ____” button on the left margin. Click “New Registration” on the following page and follow the instructions for that event.

Continue this process for each event you wish to register for. If you try to sign up for a junior tour event or a senior series event without first purchasing the membership program you will not be able to sign up for an individual tournament.


Sign Up for Team Events

When signing up for team events, both players must have a player profile in order to enter the event properly.


Contact the CLG Staff with Any Questions

On March 2, the CLG staff will be prepared for any questions or issues regarding registration. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Give us a call at (913) 649-5242 or (785) 842-4833. Any extension will be available to help you with this process. We look forward to a great 2020 season!

The Prairie Invitational 2020

The Prairie Invitational Committee has been hard at work planning for the 2020 championship and beyond.  They are announcing some changes to the tournament beginning with the 2020 championship which are designed to better align with the mission of the championship which is to “determine the best Female Golfer in the Midwest”.  The 2020 championship is scheduled at Shadow Glen Golf Club on July 27-29, 2020.  The changes in the championship are outlined as follows: 

  • The field is reduced to a total of 78 players with 54 players in the Open Division and 24 players in the Players Division 
  • All play will be in starting times off the #1 and #10 tee beginning at 7:30am on July 27 and July 28; starting times on July 29 will all be off the #1 tee beginning at 7:30am 
  • All play will be in threesomes 
  • A Player’s Reception will take place on Sunday, July 26th in the evening 

These changes are designed to create a championship with the highest caliber players in the region while improving the player experience.  Golfers in the Players Division will all begin on the #1 tee on Tuesday and finish on #18 in true championship fashion. Awards for the Players Division will take place immediately following the completion of play on Tuesday, and the cut to the low 18 players and ties in the Open Division will be announced at that time as well. 

The Prairie Invitational Committee sent invitations to compete in the 2020 championship on February 1, 2020.  Registration will open on March 2, 2020.  The committee anticipates that the championship will fill within a few days of open registration.  Golfers who do not receive an invitation to compete may apply to play in the championship, and those applications will be reviewed beginning on June 1, 2020.  Places in the championship field will be allowed to applicants not on the invitation list if there is still space available in the tournament. 

The Prairie Invitational Committee will issue invitations to the 2020 championship based on the following criteria with the six-state area defined as Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Oklahoma: 

  • Champions and Runners-Up in state or regional golf association major championships (such as Women’s Amateur, Girls Junior, Women’s Match Play, etc) 
  • Champions and Runners-Up in high school state championships 
  • All female PGA and LPGA professionals 
  • USGA National Championship Qualifiers 
  • Members of the Girls 4-State Teams 
  • Members of the Women’s Fore State Teams 
  • Any player who has completed 54-holes in the two prior Prairie Invitationals 
  • Players who reside in or play collegiately in the 6-state area who have a World Amateur Golf Ranking 
  • Top 10 in previous years: Women’s Player of the Year Points List, Senior Women’s Player of the Year Points List, and Girls Player of the Year Points List 
  • In addition, invitations will be extended to the champion or highest finisher not currently registered for the following events in 2020: 
  • Kansas City Women’s Match Play
  • Kansas City Girls Junior 
  • Kansas Junior Amateur 
  • Kansas Women’s Mid-Amateur 
  • Kansas Women’s Amateur 
  • Kansas Girls Match Play 
  • Kansas City Girls Match Play 

Please contact Jacque Madison (jacque@kcgolf.org or 913-649-5242, ext2) with any questions regarding The Prairie Invitational. 

5 Things You Should Know About The World Handicap System

Beginning in 2020 a brand-new set of Rules for Handicapping will be introduced globally

1. Your Handicap Index may change.

But that’s ok! Finally, players around the world will have an apples-to-apples handicap. Your new Handicap Index will be more responsive to good scores by averaging your eight best scores out of your most recent 20 (currently, it’s 10 out of 20 with a .96 multiplier). In short, your Handicap Index will be determined by your demonstrated ability and consistency of scores. In most cases for golfers in the U.S., it will change less than one stroke.

2. You need to know your Course Handicap.

In the new system, your Course Handicap will be the number of strokes needed to play to par. This will result in greater variance in that number and presents a change, as historically it has represented the number of strokes needed to play to the Course Rating. This is a good thing, as par is an easy number to remember. Target score for the day? Par plus Course Handicap. The Course Rating will now be inherent within the calculation to be more intuitive and account for competing from different tees. You will also have a Playing Handicap, which is Course Handicap adjusted for any Terms of the Competition such as Handicap Allowances or a difference in Par. The majority of the time, your Course Handicap and Playing Handicap will be the same number.

3. Net Double Bogey.

The maximum hole score for each player will be limited to a Net Double Bogey. This adjustment is more consistent from hole to hole than the Equitable Stroke Control procedure. Net Double Bogey is already used in many other parts of the world and the calculation is simple: Par + 2 + any handicap strokes you receive.

4. Your Handicap Index will be revised daily.

One way that handicapping is being modernized is a player’s Handicap Index will update daily (which will provide a fairer indication of a player’s ability in the moment), if the player submitted a score the day before. On days where the player does not submit a score, no update will take place.

5. Safeguards in the new system.

The new system will limit extreme upward movement of a Handicap Index, automatically and immediately reduce a Handicap Index when an exceptional score of at least 7 strokes better is posted, and account for abnormal course or weather conditions to ensure that scores reflect when a course plays significantly different than its established Course Rating and Slope Rating.

These safeguards help maintain the accuracy of a Handicap Index, greater integrity within the system and promote fun and fair play for golfers of all abilities.

(Document provided to the KCGA by the USGA)

KCGA Announces 2019 Club Award Winners

Lenexa, KS – The KCGA is pleased to announce its annual club award winners for 2019.  The awards are presented to both public access and private clubs for growth in women’s golf and junior golf and based on new handicap subscribers at each club.

Women’s Growth Award (Private Club) – Falcon Ridge Golf Club leads all KCGA member clubs in the growth of women’s core golfers for the second year in a row.

Women’s Growth Award (Public Club) – Overland Park Golf Club led all public clubs for the second year in a row, and took over in 2018 from sister course St. Andrews Golf Club.

Junior Growth Award (Private Club) – Hallbrook Country Club leads all KCGA member private clubs for the most new junior core golfers.  This is the first time Hallbrook has been recognized by the KCGA for junior golf growth.

Junior Growth Award (Public Club) – Fred Arbanas Golf Club claimed the public club junior growth award for the second year in a row.

The KCGA thanks all our clubs for their efforts to grow the game throughout the season.  We congratulate our annual award winners for the outstanding efforts in 2019.