Event Registrations Open March 1

The season is right around the corner for many golfers across the United States, including in Kansas City.

Schedules for both the KCGA regional championships, Kansas City StateLine Amateur Tour and Kansas City Junior Tour are all available on the website. Registrations for these events open at 10 a.m. March 1.

Area golfers may also begin posting scores to their handicap starting March 1.

Youth On Course memberships also activate on the same date, allowing YOC members to use their memberships at local courses. For a complete list of YOC participating golf facilities, click here.

For questions regarding competition registrations, contact Todd Stice, todd@kcgolf.org.

Questions about your handicap or posting scores should be directed to Jacque Madison, jacque@kcgolf.org.

Shoal Creek Golf Club hosts the second round of the Kansas City Amateur Championships Saturday
Event registrations open March 1. Handicap scores may also be posted.

Youth On Course Partners with KCGA, Brings $5 Youth Golf To KC

The Kansas City Golf Association and Youth On Course announced its partnership Thursday, bringing $5 rounds of golf to youth and junior golfers across the Kansas City Metro. Below is the complete press release, posted on the Youth On Course webpage. The KCGA will post a complete list of participating golf courses in the Kansas City area at a later date.


PEBBLE BEACH, California — Youth on Course — the non-profit organization providing rounds of golf for $5 or less, college scholarships and caddie programs – will implement programming in the greater Kansas City area following an agreement with the Kansas City Golf Association (KCGA), and the initiative will be reinforced by the Golf Foundation of Kansas City and the Tom S. Watson Supporting Foundation.

Kansas City Golf Association Logo

Born in Northern California, Youth on Course now has a new easternmost region of courses and members. Other states actively incorporating YOC initiatives include Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. Nationwide, nearly 15,000 YOC members ages 6-18 have affordable access to unlimited golf at hundreds of courses.

“Youth on Course provides an inexpensive opportunity for young Kansas City Golfers to play a multitude of courses,” says 39-time PGA TOUR winner and World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson. “This will open the door for kids to play new courses and to connect with other junior golfers outside of tournament settings.”

Through the subsidizing of greens fees by organizations like Tom Watson’s, Youth on Course eliminates the financial barrier that might prohibit young golfers from enjoying the game. No YOC member ever pays more than $5 for a round at a partner course, and paid intern and caddie programs are available at select locations. Additionally, $282,000 in college scholarships were awarded to 50 deserving members in the past year – part of an ongoing mission to provide educational support.

“Tom Watson, the KCGA and the Golf Foundation of Kansas City realize the benefits for both young golfers and courses embracing financial accessibility through YOC,” says Youth on Course Executive Director Adam Heieck. “With junior golfers come parents, friends and family to the course, helping these properties develop lasting relationships with new guests.”

For additional information, as well as a full list of Youth on Course partners, visit www.youthoncourse.org, or call 831.625.4653.

About Youth on Course

Headquartered in Pebble Beach, Youth on Course is a non-profit organization serving as the charitable arm of the Northern California Golf Association. The core purpose of Youth on Course is to provide youth with life changing opportunities through golf. This is achieved through initiatives that include subsidized rounds at partner courses, mentorship opportunities through caddie programs and paid internships, and scholarship grants for qualifying members. Currently, Youth on Course serves California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Northern Nevada, Arizona, and Utah, with plans to expand nationwide.

About the Kansas City Golf Association

The Kansas City Golf Association (KCGA) is a full service regional golf association dedicated to the betterment of the amateur golf community of greater Kansas City. Founded in 1912, the Association is volunteer-based and governed as a non-profit 501 (c) 4 Missouri corporation. More than 60 volunteers (course raters and tournament committeemen) assist in course ratings, competitions and communications. For more information, visit www.kansascitygolfer.org.

Keywords: Kansas City, Kansas City Golf Association, Youth on Course, Tom Watson


KCGA to Induct Three into Hall of Fame

Local touring professional Bob Stone and renowned amateur Karen Schull MacGee will add their names to the roster of local golf greats when they are inducted into the Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame in the class of 2014.

Joining this duo of great players will be the “The Foursome,” golfing pioneers who took on “Jim Crow” and opened public golf facilities to players of color in the 1950s.

In the early 20th Century, the movement to build municipal golf courses was seen as a way to democratize the game, allowing the poor and middle-class to enjoy the values of health, recreation and camaraderie associated with playing golf. But these same values were denied to men and women of color. Until The Foursome came along.

These four men: George Johnson, Reuben Benton, Sylvester “Pat” Johnson and Leroy Doty changed that in March 1950. They drove “up the hill” from the hardscrabble nine-hole course blacks were allowed to play (Swope #2) to the A.W. Tillinghast designed Swope #1 (now Swope Memorial).

Demanding the “right” to play the course their tax dollars were used to maintain, the four were turned away by the man behind the desk. Unwilling to accept “no” for an answer, they laid their money on the counter and proceeded to the first tee where, to threats of arrest, they took on “Jim Crow” and won. It wasn’t quick or easy, but their heroic first steps eventually opened the gates of city owned facilities to all people, regardless of race.

Bob Stone won more than 45 times as a professional, including the Florida Citrus Open on the PGA Tour in 1969. He found success throughout the country from the mid-1950s to the 1980s always returning to his club professional roots at Rockwood and later, at Crackerneck Golf Club in Independence.

In the 1981 US Senior Open, Stone finished tied with legends Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper. In the 18-hole Monday playoff he surged into an early lead, only to be overtaken by a streaking Palmer, but besting Casper by three strokes.

Stone was a contender in state Open Championships throughout the mid-west winning multiple times in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kentucky and Wisconsin. He was Midwest Section PGA Champion four times, US Open Sectional qualifier three times and Senior Open qualifier twice.

Karen Schull MacGee was a graduate of Southwest High School and the University of Kansas. Between 1958 and 1980 MacGee was “the one to beat” in women’s golf in the Kansas City area. She won the Kansas Women’s Amateur five times, the Missouri Women’s Amateur seven times and had twelve Kansas City Match Play and Country Club District championships.

After winning the KC Match Play championship for the eighth time in 1980, MacGee opted to focus on her career in nursing and stepped away from competitive golf.

The Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame was created in 2012 to cap the celebration of the centennial anniversary of the KCGA. The Hall recognizes the contributions and accomplishments of area amateur and professional golfers, teaching professionals, golf course superintendents and pioneers of the game.

Stone, MacGee and “The Foursome” join the golf greats who were inducted in the inaugural class last year. That class included local legend Tom Watson, long-time teaching pro Stan Thirsk, turf grass pioneer and golf course superintendent Chester Mendenhall, Opal Hill accomplished player, teacher and one of the founders of the LPGA, 1927 US Women’s’ Amateur Champion Miriam Burns (Horn) Tyson, former KCGA Executive Director Bob Reid and 25-year Blue Hills professional Leland “Duke” Gibson.

The induction ceremonies will take place in conjunction with the annual meeting of the KCGA Board of Directors on November 15, 2015 at Indian Hills Country Club at 12:00 p.m. For press credentials to the event, please contact Matt Williams at matt@kcgolf.org

Matt Williams to Leave KCGA

KCGA Offices — After three seasons with the Kansas City Golf Association, KCGA Executive Director Matt Williams announced he will be leaving the KCGA.  Matt will be taking the Executive Director position of the Georgia State Golf Association.

“Today is a day of mixed emotions for my family and I,” explained Williams.  “We are so grateful of the opportunity afforded us by the Kansas City Golf Association and so very thankful for the friendships and relationships we have forged here in Kansas City.  Honestly, when I took this position, I thought I would be here for a long time.”  Williams continued by saying, “I inherited a gem of a golf association when I came to Kansas City and I hope to leave it in just a little better shape than where I found it.  I would like to thank the board and executive committee for their leadership over the past three season as well as the volunteers and staff for their tireless efforts in improving the game of golf in Kansas City.” 

The Kansas City Golf Association is already working on finding the next leader for amateur golf in the region.  Current KCGA president, Taylor McCann, had this to say about the KCGA’s transition plan.

“From my discussions with Matt, the Georgia State Golf Association is a wonderful opportunity for him and his family. The KCGA appreciates Matt’s hard work and dedication over the past three seasons and we wish him and his family the very best. Matt will be with us through the middle of November to ensure that we will be able to fulfill all of this season’s competitive obligations.

The Executive Committee has already begun discussions regarding the future of our organization. In my opinion, our association is in a great position to attract a talented leader. The KCGA is widely known for its professionalism and remarkable support team of volunteers. The association is healthy financially and has a strong competition program in place. I am extremely confident that we will be able to attract an excellent leader for our organization and remain very excited about the KCGA’s future. Thank you all for your continued support and service to the game in our area.”

Kansas City Golfers Grab National Headlines

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the legendary Tom Watson will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup team in Gleneagles, Scotland next week.  Watson will try to lead the U.S. team to victory on foreign soil for the first time since he last captained the squad in 1993.

What you may not know is that the area’s best players have been dominating the national golf headlines the past several weeks.

The run of great play from area residents began with Robert Streb at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.  The Kansas State alum caused an uproar throughout local clubs when he holed an eagle putt on his final hole of the championship.  The NBC broadcast team promptly declared that the dramatic eagle putt was good enough for Streb to continue on in the FedEx Cup race.  The putt momentarily put him in the top 70, but after some recalculating, Streb would fall just two FedEx Cup points short of continuing.

Even though his 2014 season was cut short, Streb has made quite a splash in his second year on tour amassing 1.3 million dollars and while becoming the 181st ranked player in the world.  Streb also claimed the title of Kansas City’s best player when he took down the metro’s best at Loch Lloyd earlier this year during the Watson Challenge.  His class as a player and person was on display at this year’s Watson Challenge as he and his wife promptly donated the winner’s check of $10,000 to the First Tee of Greater Kansas City.

“When Robert said that during the awards ceremony, my mouth just dropped open,” said KCGA Executive Director, Matt Williams.  “I know he is having a great year, but he is only three seasons removed from scrapping it around in the mini-tour world. I mean ten grand is ten grand and it took some real class to step up and have an impact on our community like that.”

With the new PGA Tour schedule, Streb is not likely to stay idle for long.  The official 2015 PGA Tour season kicks off at the Frys.com Open in early October which is an event he had reasonable success at last season.

Shortly after Robert Streb’s eagle putt dropped in Boston, the 2014 U.S Mid-Amateur Championship kicked off at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, PA.  The event, which gathers the best amateurs ages 25 and over, boasts one of the greatest first place prizes in all of amateur golf.  The Mid-Amateur champion is traditionally awarded a spot in the Masters each spring.  Needless to say, the competition from the average “working Joes” is fierce.

St. Joseph’s Brad Nurski, is no stranger to big events.  He has been an excellent player on the local and statewide scene, but has never had substantial success on the national level.  After advancing through the Kansas City local qualifier as medalist, Nurski joined 264 other players from across the globe with the hopes of claiming one of amateur golf’s top prizes.

Nurski opened up with two solid rounds of 70 and 71 to finish one under in stroke play qualifying.  The one under total would be good enough to share medalist honors with Scott Harvey of Grensboro, N.C.  The two players received the first and second seeds in the sixty-four player bracket and went about their business.  After five sets of matches, the two co-medalists would end up squaring off in the finals.

When asked if co-medalists have ever played in a USGA final, the USGA’S Mark Passey explained, “I’m sure our historians back at Golf House are scrambling to find out, but I am not sure it has ever happened.  You typically do not see two players sustain such a high level of golf for an entire week.”

Unfortunately for Nurski, his incredible run would end in the finals.  The inevitable question came from the media following the match. “Obviously you are disappointed with the finish, but what do you take away from this experience?”

Nurski responded, “I mean.. you know that you can compete with the top mid-am guys in the country.  And that was my goal, and the goal is always to win, but Ijust didn’t come out on top today.

You know, obviously it’s going to open up a few doors for me which I didn’t have open when I got here.  I’ll get to play in the U.S. Am next year and I’ll get to come back to this tournament for two years, so that takes a lot of weight off your shoulders when you know you don’t have to qualify for some things.  And we obviously got the USGA State Team coming up in a couple of weeks and hopefully team Missouri can get a little revenge on North Carolina.”

As he mentioned, Nurski will team up with Skip Bermeyer and Phil Caravia, both of St. Louis in the USGA State Team Championship for team Missouri next month.

One of the members of the winning USGA State Team from 2010, Bryan Norton, also grabbed the national spotlight earlier today.  A longtime stalwart in Kansas City area competition, Norton came up just short in the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship today in Newport Beach, CA.  This was the first time Norton was eligible for the championship as all participants must be at least 55 years of age.

Norton has already amassed an impressive season with a victory in the Senior Coleman Invitational, earned a spot in the U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree in Oklahoma and took the title at the Kansas Amateur at his home club of Mission Hills.

All that aside, Norton has always had his eyes set on an individual USGA title.  Norton has been very close before.  He suffered an injury in the final match of the 2003 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was forced to concede the match to Nathan Smith.  The final match concession was the first of its kind in the 108 year history of the USGA.

Redemption will have to wait at least one year more as Norton came up just short in his bid at the Senior Amateur today.  Norton dropped four of his first nine holes, but after birdies on holes eleven and twelve, Norton had clawed his way back into the match.  His opponent Pat Tallent of Vienna, VA rolled in a thirty foot birdie putt on the par four 17th to close out the match 2 and 1.

Norton’s year will certainly be a highlight of his golfing career and as one of the “rookies” in Senior golf, he is poised to be a dominant figure in many more events in the future.

With all this local golf excitement, one burning question remains.  Can Tom Watson lead what experts believe is an underdog American team to a victory in the Ryder Cup?  A victory by the Kansas City icon would serve as the bookend on one of the greatest months in local golf history.

Watson has been downplaying his role as of late. “I am just the director. I put the pieces in place and the actors do their thing.  I really don’t have much say in the outcome,” explained Watson.

That may be true, but Watson is the most successful American ever to play in Europe.  His five British Open victories, dominant record and successful captaincy in the 1993 Ryder Cup can do nothing but bolster the confidence of the twelve man team.

No matter the outcome, the additional exposure on Watson has done nothing but enhance golf in Kansas City.  “I can’t explain it, but there is just a buzz going around golf in Kansas City,” said Matt Williams of the KCGA.  “Every day there is a great story about someone doing something amazing on the links and if team USA can win next week, there will be people celebrating in the streets.  The level of competition here in Kansas City is some of the best in the country and it is exciting to see it play out in the world’s biggest events.”