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Golf Booms in 2020

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. 

KC Retains Mid America Cup

The 22nd Mid-America Junior Cup took place in Lake St. Louis at Lake Forest Country Club this past weekend. A Ryder-Cup style format event in which the top juniors from Kansas City and St. Louis battle it out in match play to determine who wins the Cup.

KC has had the Cup since 2013 and was hoping to keep the Cup heading in to the weekend against a strong St. Louis team. In order to tie and retain the Cup, KC needed 8 of the 16 available points. St. Louis needed 8.5 points to win and keep the Cup in St. Louis.

Saturday consisted of morning Foursomes and afternoon Four-Ball matches. Foursomes (alternate shot) is typically the toughest session of the weekend with boys and girls teaming up for co-ed alternate shot. Team KC played well and took 2.5 points with two victories of Misemer/McCrary and McVey/Rinkol and a tie from Currier/Tarvin.

Heading in to Four-Ball, KC had a 2.5 to 1.5 lead. Four-Ball didn’t have the same success for KC, with St. Louis taking 3 out of the 4 points. KC’s lone victory came from Currier/McVey with a 2 and 1 victory. St. Louis held a 4.5 to 3.5 point lead heading in to Singles on Sunday.

Sunday singles is always exciting and this was no different. KC needed to take 4.5 points from singles in order to tie and keep the Cup in Kansas City. The 8 year streak was on the line and St. Louis proved to be quite the opponent.

KC got off to a quick start with two wins from Myles Tarvin (3 & 1) and Hillary Currier (6 & 5). KC and STL would split with a tie from Chance Rinkol and Bubba Chapman to add a half a point to each team, bringing the team totals to 6 to 5 in KC’s favor. Drew Nienhaus of STL followed with a win of her own over Libby Green to bring the teams’ total to 6 to 6. Julia Misemer defeated Brooke Biermann 4 & 3 to give KC another point and within one point to retain the Cup.

Maya McVey of KC would fall in a close and hard fought match to STL’s Rylie Andrews. KC and STL were tied 7 to 7 at this point with only two singles matches left to decide who would take the trophy. Ryan Walsh of STL defeated Michael Winslow 4 & 2 and KC’s only hope would come down to Ian McCrary’s singles match. Without a win from McCrary, KC would snap it’s streak.

Ian McCrary was 1 down heading in to 17th tee against Blake Skornia and needed to win the final two holes to win his match. After a tee shot that sat on the edge of a penalty area, McCrary was forced to pitch out in to the fairway. Skornia with a great drive and approach shot was on the green in two, facing a lengthy birdie putt. McCrary hit his approach shot on the green to about 15 feet for par. Skornia’s birdie putt ran past the hole and he faced a tough par putt coming back. McCrary, with a must-make par putt, sank the 15 footer to put pressure on Skornia. Skornia’s par putt would slide just by and we were heading to 18th tee.

Both players hit their tee shots to the right side of the fairway, just in the rough on a dog-leg left, par-5. McCrary’s second shot was hindered some by tree branches but he was able to hit an amazing punch shot that left him about 75 yards out. Ian followed with an even better approach shot in to the green that left about 5 feet for birdie. Skornia was putting for birdie from about 20 feet. His birdie putt would run past the hole on a tricky sloped 18th green, leaving some work left for par. Blake’s par putt missed the hole and McCrary just needed to two putt for the win. McCrary would do just that and par the hole to give KC the tie and bring the Cup back home!

It was an exciting competition and so proud of all the competitors and how hard they fought. Team KC battled and with a great team effort and Ian fighting until the last shot was able to retain the Cup for another year. We look forward to competing against St. Louis again next year, this time in Kansas City.

2020 Roster:

  • Michael Winslow – Overland Park, KS
  • Ian McCrary – Overland Park, KS
  • Julia Misemer – Overland Park, KS
  • Libby Green – Shawnee, KS
  • Myles Tarvin – Olathe, KS
  • Chance Rinkol – Leawood, KS
  • Maya McVey – Blue Springs, MO
  • Hillary Currier – Olathe, KS

Match Results can be seen here.

Keep Posting Scores Through December 31, 2020

Don’t let cooler temps keep you from posting your scores. Golfers in our region can keep posting their scores to their GHIN Handicap through December 31, 2020.

What about the weather?

In most parts of our region, golfers can continue to play through the end of the year. If the course conditions have mildly changed, we should see an adjustment to your handicap through the Playing Conditions Calculation. This adjustment can account for anything from course set up to weather conditions. Watch this video about the PCC Adjustment.

When can I start posting scores again?

In our region, Kansas & Kansas City, golfers can post scores beginning March 1-December 31. Be sure to keep your game going in the offseason by cross-training or hitting indoors!

What about January and February?

Continue to post any scores played in an ACTIVE season in January and February. For example, some golfers might play in Florida during the winter. Go ahead and continue posting your scores! Not sure if you are playing in an active zone? Ask the pro shop or the regional golf association.

What if I don’t have an active Handicap Index?

We’ve got you covered! There are several clubs that will still offer a full year of handicap services when you join online. Join here >>

We hope you get out and play several more rounds this year, there is still plenty of great weather ahead!

Brian Fehr Wins 32nd Kansas Mid-Amateur

Results
Photo Gallery

Manhattan’s Brian Fehr earned his first Central Links Golf individual championship on Tuesday at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate in Overland Park.

Fehr posted a remarkable 6-under par 66 in the cold and wet conditions to rally from four shots back to win the 32nd Kansas Mid-Amateur Championship by three shots over Olathe’s Tim Zande.

Leawood’s Doug Albers took third while Jeff Spradlin and Hank Simpson rounded out the top five with a tie for fourth.

Garden City’s Sean Thayer, Salina’s Greg Goode and Springfield’s Scott Whittaker tied for low honors in the senior age division.

Thank you to the full field of participants for braving the difficult weather conditions. We appreciate the membership and staff at Nicklaus Golf Club hosting the 2020 championship. We look forward to seeing everyone in 2021 at Terradyne Country Club for the 33rd Kansas Mid-Amateur!

Kansas Wins Ozark Senior Challenge

Ozark Senior Challenge Results

Team Kansas defeated Team Missouri in the 2020 Ozark Senior Challenge on Thursday at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in Joplin, MO. Kansas was victorious by 20.5 to 7.5 point margin in the annual Ryder Cup competition between the Missouri Golf Association and Central Links Golf which dates back to 2007.

Association Senior Cup Team
Tom Vilkanskas, Dennis Switzky, Joe Rothwell, Sam VanLandingham, Randy Vautravers, Doug Kaup, Tom Nielsen, John Emerson, Dave Steeples, Mike Grosdidier

Association Senior Cup Results

Team Missouri bested Team Kansas by a 11 to 9 point margin in the Association Senior Cup Matches on Thursday at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in Joplin, MO.

About The Senior Cup Matches

The respective teams are selected from each association’s Senior Series programs. Players age 50 to 64 comprise the Ozark Senior Challenge teams while players age 65 & older compete on the Association Senior Cup teams. The Ryder Cup style competitions include Four-Ball and Foursomes matches on day one and Singles matches on day two.

Fall Triple Threat Ends Women’s Competition Season

Sunny skies and cool temperatures yielded a perfect day for Fall Triple Threat. 102 women from across Kansas City and Kansas teed it up at Country Club of Leawood to participate in the fun 6-6-6 format: 6 holes Four-Ball, 6 holes alternate shot, 6 holes scramble.

Leading the way were Alane Studley and Mary Larson at two-over-par for the day. The duo won the overall gross championship after playing exceptionally well in the scramble format, making two birdies. Larson held the team during the Four-Ball after making a birdie on the par-four fourth hole. After being crowned the Women’s Mid-Am Net Champion and Tee Fore Two champion, this makes Studley’s third Central Links Golf victory for the season.

Jettie Bezek and Denise Desilet earned second place shooting three-over-par on their day. Susan Mueller and Vicky Heibsch followed in third place at four-over-par.

In overall net, Kay Egidy and Janet Ziegler earned their championship title shooting 64 (-8). The duo played exceptionally well in the alternate shot format, making two eagles and three birdies.

The Fall Triple Threat ends the Central Links Golf championship season. We thank all of the women who have participated in our 2020 season and look forward to seeing you next year!

Individual results and flight champions can be found here>>

Pictures >>

Stone Canyon Wins KC Cup

Stone Canyon repeated as KC Cup Champions, defeating Shamrock Hills, in their second win. Stone Canyon first won the event in 2017.

At Blue Hills Country Club, both Shamrock Hills and Stone Canyon hoped to be crowned the KC Cup Champions. 11 total points were available, the winner needing at least 6 points. It was a close match that came down to the wire. Of the 11 matches, 3 ended up being halved and proved to be the deciding factor.

Stone Canyon got off to a quick start, taking the first two matches 4 & 2 and 2 & 1. Admire got a point for Shamrock Hills with a 4 & 2 victory. Stone Canyon took another two points with wins of 1 up and 5 & 4. Shamrock Hills added to their deficit with a 4 & 3 win but Stone Canyon would clinch the win with another point, giving them 6.5 points.

The final total would end up as 6.5 to 4.5 with Stone Canyon narrowly defeating Shamrock Hills. Congratulations to a hard fought victory for Stone Canyon.

Full results >>

Champions Crowned at 32nd Senior Four-Ball Championship

Results
Photo Gallery

Two wonderful days of weather greeted the full field of teams for the playing of the 32nd Kansas Senior Four-Ball Championship at The Jayhawk Club in Lawrence on Wednesday and Thursday. Teams took advantage of ideal scoring conditions during the first multi-day championship played at the redesigned property that was formerly Alvamar Golf & Country Club.

In the Senior Division, defending champions Sid McKnight & Andy Emerson successfully defended their title following a final round 9-under par 62. McKnight/Emerson finished the 36-hole championship at 15-under par 127 total which was good for a five shot victory. 2018 Senior Four-Ball Champions Matt Murray & David Rismiller took second and team of Chris Hutchens & Dane Ogden took third.

In the Super Senior Division, veteran golfers Tom Bachelor and Don Kuehn bested the field by one shot after finishing at 11-under par 131 total which included a final round 5-under par 66. The win was the second of the year for Bachelor who teamed up to win the Senior Team Championship last month at Falcon Lakes Golf Club. The win gave Kuehn his fifth Senior Four-Ball Championship title with five different partners.

Thank you to the teams, Central Links Golf rules volunteers and the membership & staff at The Jayhawk Club.

We look forward to the 2021 Senior Four-Ball Championship at Topeka Country Club!

Staley Farms wins Women’s KC Cup

A thrilling season of the Women’s KC Cup concluded today at Lakewood Oaks Country Club with Staley Farms Golf Club winning this year’s Cup.

Staley Farms defeated The Deuce with a final result of 2-1.

The first match, the Low Handicap match, was won by Staley Farms with a result of 2&1.

The second match, the Mid Handicap match, was won by The Deuce with a result of 2UP.

The third match, the High Handicap match, was won by Staley Farms with a result of 2&1.

This is Staley Farms 4th Women’s KC Cup victory in 5 years – quite an impressive feat!

Thank you to Lakewood Oaks Country Club for hosting the Championship matches today and thank you to all of the clubs who participated in this year’s Women’s KC Cup!

You can check out the results here: https://centrallinksgolf.org/competitions/womens-kc-cup/

Linscott Claims Senior Title

A new era of Women’s Senior champions has begun.

Martha Linscott claimed the title shooting 80-74-154. Linscott held the lead going into today, “I wanted to stick to my game plan which was hit the fairway, hit the green, and not worry about what everyone else was doing,” Linscott said.

Her plan worked well, as she finished one over on the front nine today. Going into the back nine she was coaching herself to stay in the moment and think positively about her putting. On the tough par-3, 17th hole she hit the green and made par. From there she knew she had a good chance of finishing strong.

This was Linscott’s first year eligible for the championship. Historically champions at the Women’s Senior Championship have won the event multiple times throughout their careers. Most notably, is Denise Desilet who has won the event 11 times during her career.

2019 Champion, Pam Simpson finished in a close second shooting 81-77-158 for the event. Susan DeVoe, 2019 Senior Player of the Year, shot 83-76-159 to hold third place.

Calmer conditions today at the Senior/Super Senior championship yielded lower scores.

Darlene Allen claimed the Super Senior title this afternoon shooting 91-84-175 winning by two shots over Jettie Bezek. “Yesterday I shot a 91 and I didn’t feel too bad about it,” said Allen while discussing the weather on Monday, “I looked forward to today to play again.”  

The last women’s event of the season will be Fall Triple Threat at Country Club of Leawood on October 12.

Full Results >>

Pictures >>

Round 1

Wind Prevails at Women’s Senior/Super Senior

It was a very windy day in Manhattan, Kansas for the first round of the Women’s Senior/Super Senior Championship.

Leading the overall gross Senior division is Martha Linscott, Mission Hills. Linscott shot 80, holding a one-shot lead over 2019 champion, Pam Simpson, Kansas City. Susan Mueller, Wichita holds third place at 82. Terri Albers, Susan DeVoe, and Denise Desilet all hold fourth place at 83. With scores so close, the championship is still in reach for many.

Jettie Bezek holds first place in the overall gross Super Senior division. Bezek shot 88 on the cold and windy round. Jan Allerheiligen is in second place shooting 90 today. Darlene Allen holds third place with her 91.

With cooler temperatures predicted for Tuesday, golfers will need to dress warm and mentally prepare for tougher course conditions. Tee times will begin at 9:00 AM.

View full results >>