VanDolah Wins Kansas City Match Play Championship

VanDolah Wins Kansas City Match Play Championship – Presented by Granite Garage Floors

Zach VanDolah won the Kansas City Match Play Championship on Sunday evening.

Going into the week, VanDolah was feeling confident because he knew the golf course well. Swope Memorial Golf Course has been home to the event since its resurrection in 2013. “I was able to work on the pieces of my game that I knew I would rely on at Swope which was mainly tee shots and wedges to tight pins.” VanDolah said.

VanDolah, the 2 seed, shot 69 in Friday’s Qualifying Round, and he didn’t slow down from there. He won his first match 3&2 against Jeff Mason. In the round of 16, he defeated Park Ulrich 5&3. In the Quarterfinals, he defeated 2021 KC Match Play Champion, Doug Albers, 4&2. In the Semi-finals, he played against Max Ernst and won 4&3.

During the Final Match, he was struggling to hit greens and had to make a lot of up and downs. “I missed it right on 13, the long par 3, and had a long pitch across the green to a left pin. I hit the pitch like I wanted to, but it hit the green and was running a bit hot. It ended up hitting the pin and going in.”

VanDolah had a few more shots go his way leading to his 4&2 victory over Drew Carlson in the Final match.

When asked how he feels about this win, VanDolah says “I’m fortunate to get to compete a lot, and to finally seal the deal was huge. I feel like I have been knocking at the door for a while and have lost some heartbreakers throughout my life. It’s a good feeling to get the win, especially against the competition I faced. All my matches were against great players. All of whom could have won this thing.”

Full results >>

Tournament history >>

Saturday Update:

Final Four at the Kansas City Match Play

Four golfers will continue to the Semi-final matches on Sunday Morning at the Kansas City Match Play Championship.

Drew Carlson vs. Andrew Campbell
Zach VanDolah vs. Max Ernst

Carlson won both of his matches 4&3, the first against Liam Coughlin and his Quarterfinal match against Ben Pearson.

Campbell won his first match of the day against Jeff Spradlin 2 up and his Quarterfinal match against Nathan Hughes 4&3.

Carlson, the 25 seed, will play Campbell, the 29 seed, in the Semi-finals Sunday Morning at 7:30 am.

VanDolah will look to earn his KC Match Play crown on Sunday, after finishing Runner Up in the 2021 Championship. He defeated Park Ulrich 5&3 and the 2021 KC Match Play defending Champion, Doug Albers, 4&2 during the Quarterfinals.

Ernst defeated Conrad Roberts 2 up in his first match and defeated Will Harding 4&3 during the Quarterfinals.

VanDolah, the 2 seed, and Ernst, the 22 seed, will play in the Semi-finals Sunday Morning at 7:38 am.

Live scoring and tournament updates can be found here >>

Friday Update:

Baldwin Earns Medalist in Qualifying Round

In perfect Kansas City Match Play style, there was a weather delay to begin the Championship Friday morning at Swope Memorial Golf Course. One hundred men teed it up in the stroke-play qualifying round in hopes of making it into the Match Play Bracket, which was determined by the best 32 scores.

Leading the field was Brooks Baldwin of Warrensburg, shooting five-under-par. Baldwin started his round with an eagle on the par 5, 12th hole. He made another birdie on hole 15 before making the turn at three-under-par. On the front nine (his back nine) he birdied holes 1, 2, 3, 7, and 9…a total of six birdies appeared on his card for the day.

2021 KC Match Play Runner Up, Zach VanDolah fired an impressive round of 69 to secure his spot in the Match Play bracket safely.

The cut line into match play was four-over-par. Kit Grove won the 6 for 1 playoff, earning him the 32nd seed.

16 Will Continue Playing In Saturday’s Championship

With the weather cleared, the 32 qualifiers began their matches around 3:00 PM Friday, beginning an upset-filled afternoon.

Notable Matches Include:

  • 2021 KC Match Play Champion, Doug Albers, defeated Ryan Thompson 3&2
  • #32 seed, Kit Grove, defeated #1 seed, Brooks Baldwin, 1up
  • #30 seed, Jon Platz, defeated #3 seed, Andrew Hatten, 4&3
  • #29 seed, Andrew Campbell, defeated #4 seed, Jay Gregory, 5&4
  • #28 seed, Nathan Hughes, defeated #5 seed, Brian Fehr, 2&1
  • The Match against Caleb Carter & Max Ernst went into extra holes, with Ernst winning on the 21st hole of the match

16 golfers will tee off Saturday morning beginning at 8:00 AM.

Pairings, live scoring, and results can be found here >>

The Steepest Hill in Local Golf

[Ed. note: In 2014 the Kansas City Golf Hall of fame inducted four Black golfers who integrated the previously segregated links at Swope Park. The following remarks were delivered by Hall of fame Committee member, Don Kuehn]

A few years ago, while I was doing research for a series of articles for the centennial of the Kansas City Golf Association (which became known as “Jimmy, the caddie”), I came across an article that haunted me for several months. 

In July 2005, on the eve of the USGA’s Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at Swope Memorial Golf Course, J. Brady McCollough wrote a story for the Kansas City Star that I just couldn’t shake.

Had McCollough not explored his topic with the depth he did back then and interviewed the people he did (many of whom have since died), a chapter of our history, and an important piece of civil rights history in Kansas City may have been lost forever.

I’ll mention McCollough again a bit later, but, now, I want to tell you a story. I call it “The Steepest hill in local golf.”  Today we think of this tale as unbelievable; troubling in so many ways. But, in the 1940s and ’50s, it was the way it was.

From the time golf came to Kansas City in about 1894, until early 1950 there were fifty-five golf courses opened in the area (this is according to my friend, “Jimmy, the Caddie”). Nineteen of these were supposedly “open to the public.”

There was a movement around the country back then, to build municipal and public golf courses as a way to “democratize” the game, allowing poor and middle-class people an opportunity to enjoy the values of health, recreation, and camaraderie that we associate with playing golf… that is, so long as you were white.

But these same values were largely denied to men and women of color.

On an otherwise quiet Friday afternoon in March of 1950 that began to change. That was the day four very brave and very dedicated black men showed up at the pro shop counter at Swope #1 and demanded the right to play the course they had been barred from since it opened.

Golf had been played somewhere in Swope Park since the first free links opened near the front gate in 1906. James Dalgleish designed the original public course in the park in 1911. And, of course, we know that A. W. Tillinghast crafted what we now call Swope Memorial in 1934.

In all that time, no black man or woman had ever played on these so-called “public” golf courses. With one exception: because of a lawsuit brought against the city, the Central States Golf Association did, indeed, hold a tournament at #1 in 1948. The Central States was a “tour” of amateur and professional minority golfers who played throughout the Midwest on whatever courses they could find. But that aside…

There was that other course that African-Americans were “allowed” to play.  It was the hardscrabble, unkempt nine-holes down the hill. Folks called it Swope #2.

In order to fully understand how deep the roots of the game had grown,  I have to tell you that black golfers had been playing the game in Kansas City since the early 1920s.

Here’s the “back-story” as they say:

In 1879 a freed slave by the name of Junius Groves (photo) walked from Kentucky to Kansas City.  When he got here he had virtually no money, but he found work as a sharecropper, eventually, he did save some money, bought a little land, and started growing potatoes.

By the early 1900s, he was so successful he became known as “The Potato King of the World”.  He was so good at what he did, a small town grew up around his operation between Edwardsville and Bonner Springs. It was called Groves Center.

So, I guess you’re asking yourself: “Don, what do potatoes have to do with golf?”

Well, I’ll tell you. Groves built a small golf course on some of his property just for the use of his black employees. I doubt there was any other exclusively-black golf course anywhere else in the country at the time… that is, not on purpose, anyway.

So, from the dirt and dust of the potato farm, came a group of players who eventually morphed into the Heart of America Golf Club. The HOA became THE organization for minority golfers in this area.

In 1938, they sued the city and its Parks Board for the right of its members to play on the course that they were, in fact, paying for through their taxes.

Times were changing.

A few years later the US entered World War II. Thousands of black men enlisted in the armed services.  Thousands of black women worked in war industries. 

In 1948 President Harry Truman issued Executive Order #9981  which abolished racial discrimination in the armed forces. Although effectuating the president’s order would take years, it proved to be the first bullet fired at “Jim Crow” in the military.

So, veterans came home and tried to rebuild their lives. But on the streets of Kansas City, like the rest of the country, it wasn’t so easy.

Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey had broken the color barrier in the major leagues; Dr. Martin Luther King’s first application of non-violence was still years away; Brown v. Board of Education was not on the radar yet; Ms. Rosa Parks wouldn’t take her stand on the Montgomery bus for another five years. But golf was becoming one of the first battlegrounds in the fight for civil rights.

African-Americans fought for freedom in Europe and Asia but found little of it when they came home. The right to vote, to have access to good schools, to eat in restaurants, and to shop in stores of their choosing were denied them.

In golf, Swope #1 was like a virtual country club for middle-class whites. The A.W. Tillinghast design was about as closed to the non-white public as Kansas City Country Club or Milburn were.

Black golfers had access to the nine holes at Swope #2, but… only on Mondays and Tuesdays! 

Well, on March 24, 1950, the President of the HoAGC, Mr. George Johnson – who started playing on that potato farm back in the ’20s – and three of his buddies: 

Leroy Doty

Mr. Reuben Benton, a newspaperman who later became co-owner of The Call newspaper;

Mr. Sylvester “Pat” Johnson; and Mr. Leroy Doty (left) — who were also part of the Heart of America Golf Club — climbed the steepest hill in local golf: they drove up to Swope #1 and forced the issue. 

According to that article written by J. Brady McCollough for the Kansas City Star (July 17, 2005)[1]:

“They drove that winding road up the hill, walked into the clubhouse, and laid their greens fees on the counter. The man behind the counter looked up, astonished. They knew what he would say.

‘You can’t play here, but you can play at course #2.’

He expected them to walk away and get back into their cars like the black men who preceded them. But not on this day. Not with the seeds of change that had been planted across the country.

The Call reported the conversation that ensued something like this: (I suspect the vernacular of the times was “sanitized” prior to publication):

Now, boys, you know you can’t play here; you’re colored fellows.

    Who said we can’t?

They said it downtown.

    Who said it, and why?

Can’t say who said it, but they said it, and that’s all I know.

    Well, if you can’t say who said we can’t play, and if you don’t know why, then        we’ll just go ahead and play and let them tell us.

They went to the first tee and hit their drives under the glare of the superintendent. Beaten, he walked back to the clubhouse. 

Meanwhile, anticipating the sounds of sirens and police that never came, the four men enjoyed what would be the first of many rounds on the hallowed grounds of Swope #1.

But the white men who frequented the course weren’t about to give up their turf that easily.  Incidents of broken windows and slashed tires were numerous. Some would show up in groups of five and roll dice to see who would stay behind for the first nine holes, then the high score of the other four would stand guard while the others played the back.

Others would meet at a shopping area near 47th street and take a taxi to the course.

Eventually, the city stopped maintaining the Tillinghast course as fewer and fewer white players showed up.  The period of decline lasted almost 25 years. Not until Mr. Ollie Gates (an old friend of Reuben Benton’s) and head of the Parks Board, pushed for the city to back the renovation of Swope to its pre-1950s splendor did it become everybody’s golf course again.

Fifty-five years later, in 2005, the USGA conducted the Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at Swope Memorial (as it is now known). Players from all over the globe competed.

Just as the Foursome might have imagined… the doors of the course were open to all.

They called themselves “The Foursome”. And they beat Jim Crow 1-up in a classic battle that went on for years.

For their courage to defy the “Jim Crow” conventions of the times; for the example, they set for the generations who followed them to the well-maintained fairways of municipal courses all across America; for the love, they demonstrated for the game of golf against great obstacles… the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Golf Association is proud to include The Foursome: Mr. George Johnson, Mr. Reuben Benton, Mr. Sylvester Johnson, and Mr. Leroy Doty, in the 2014 class of the Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame.

[1] read the full McCollough article at

Story written by contributing writer: Don Kuehn

2022 Season Spotlight

The 2022 season is approaching quickly! Central Links Golf can’t wait to see everyone out on the golf course after the long off-season. Interested in playing in an event for the first time? Whether it’s junior, senior, men, or women’s event you are looking for, here’s a quick guide to some of our events!

Click here to sign into your Golf Genius player account to enter online for events.

Women’s Events:

KS Women’s Amateur | Topeka Country Club | July 11 & 12

The KS Women’s Amateur is open to female amateur golfers with an active handicap with CLG. This event includes 54 holes of stroke play and play between 5800 to 6200 yards.

KC Women’s Match Play | Hillcrest Golf Club | June 20 – 22

This championship is open to any female amateur golfers with an active handicap with CLG. Ladies will participate in an 18-hole stroke-play qualifying round and the top 32 scores will advance to match play in the Championship or Silver Bracket.

Tee Fore Two Championship | Salina Country Club | August 29 & 30

This fun, team event includes one round of four-ball and one round of Chapman alternate shot. Bring a friend and play as a team in one of our more laidback events! The field will be split into flights based on team handicap index and includes net winners as well as gross.

Men’s Events:

KS Four-Ball | Eagle Bend Golf Course | June 11 & 12

One of our most popular team events, the KS Four-Ball also serves as a Heart of America Match Play qualifier. Teams of two compete in two rounds of four-ball with gross scoring only and in two divisions: open and masters. This event is open to all male amateur golfers regardless of age or affiliation. The top 8 teams will qualify for the HOA Championship.

KC Amateur | The Golf Club at Creekmoor | July 29 – 31

This city amateur includes 54 holes of stroke play over three days with five different divisions players can compete under: open, senior, players, super seniors, and legends. Players will compete in gross and net scoring depending on the division and there is a cut after the first 36 holes.

Senior Events:

KS Senior Amateur | Terradyne Country Club | August 15 & 16

This stroke play event is open to male amateur golfers aged 50 or older. Players will compete in 36 holes of stroke play in one of two divisions: senior and super senior. Players that wish to compete in the overall championship must enter the senior division.

KC Senior Match Play | Hillcrest Golf Club | July 6 – 8

This match play event is open to senior male amateur golfers aged 50 or older and with a GHIN handicap index of 8.0 or lower. The field is limited to 30 players. Players compete in an 18-hole stroke-play qualifying round and the top 16 scores will advance to match play.

Junior Events:

KS Junior Amateur | Ironhorse Golf Club | June 13-15

Our premier junior event of the summer includes 54 holes of stroke play over three days. This event is open to any junior amateur golfer with an active handicap index with CLG. Male golfers will be placed into a division based on their age and the girls will play in one division together. A cut after the first 36 holes is made in each division.

Sadie Park Sunflower Girls Championship | Emporia Golf Course | August 5 & 6

A newer event is offered to any female amateur golfer with an active handicap with CLG. A fun event that includes 36 holes of stroke play over two days and played at a Kansas High School State golf site. This year it will be held at Emporia Golf Course. All levels are encouraged and there is no handicap index requirement. This is a fun event for all girls to play in before school starts back in the fall.

KC Junior Tour | KS Junior Tour | June & July

Between the two tours, CLG offers over 30 events for junior golfers during the summer. For more information on junior tour registration and schedule, please see our junior tour page here.

These events are just a few options available for all golfers. For a full slate of events offered, click here!

2021 Players | of the Year Announced

It was another great season for Central Links Golf and its member clubs and players. Players of the Year have been determined for the 2021 season. It was a close battle for some award winners, but all worked extremely hard to earn their respective Player of the Year title.

Women’s Players of the Year

Women’s Amateur Player of the Year: Katy Winters

Third place finish in the Prairie Invitational, Sixth place finish in the Kansas Women’s Amateur, Third place finish in the Kansas Women’s Mid-Am, Runner Up finish in Fall Triple Threat

Women’s Senior Amateur Player of the Year: Pam Simpson

Kansas Women’s Senior Champion, fourth place finish at Kansas Women’s Mid-Amateur

Women’s Super Senior Amateur Player of the Year: Denise Desilet

Tee Fore Two and Fall Triple Threat Champion, Kansas Women’s Senior Runner Up

Women’s Legends Amateur Player of the Year: Jettie Bezek

Kansas Women’s Super Senior and Fall Triple Threat Champion, top 15 finish at Prairie Invitational (Opal Hill Division)

Men’s Players of the Year

Kansas Amateur Player of the Year: Cooper Schultz

2021 Kansas Amateur Champion, 2021 US Open Sectional Qualifier, 2021 US Amateur Qualifier (made match play)

Kansas Mid-Amateur Player of the Year: Brian Fehr

2021 Kansas Mid-Amateur Champion, 2021 Kansas Amateur match play qualifier, Quarterfinalist in 2021 KC Match Play, top 10 finish in 2021 Railer, Team qualifier for 2021 Kanza Players Cup & Director’s Cup competitions

Kansas Senior & Super Senior Amateur Player of the Year: Greg Goode

2021 Kansas Four-Ball Masters Division Champion, 2nd place at 2021 Senior Series Championship, top 10 finishes in the Kansas Mid-Amateur, Railer, High Plains, KC Amateur, Konza Amateur, and Kansas Senior Four-Ball

Kansas Legends Player of the Year: Don Kuehn

Top 10 finishes in 2021 Railer, Legends of Kansas Championship, Kansas Senior Team Championship, KC Amateur, and Kansas Senior Four-Ball

Kansas City Amateur Player of the Year: Sam Parrott

Kansas City Amateur Champion, 4th place in Missouri Amateur Stroke Play

Kansas City Senior Player of the Year: Dave Cunningham

Kansas Senior Amateur Champion, Kansas City Four-Ball Championship Runner Up, 6 Stateline Amateur Tour Wins

Junior Player of the Year

Girls Player of the Year: Kate Tilma

Top 5 finish at Kansas Junior Girls Amateur Championship, KS Optimist Qualifier Medalist, Qualified for the US Women’s Four-Ball and US Girls Junior, Runner Up at 2021 KSHSAA 5A Girls State Championship

Boys Player of the Year: Luke Scheufler

Konza Prairie Amateur Champion, Kansas Junior Tour Champion (Boys 16+), Kansas City Boys Match Play Runner Up, Runner Up in the Kansas Boys Junior Amateur, Qualified for the US Boys Junior and a Kansas/Nebraska Cup team member

Albers Wins KC Match Play

The KC Match Play Semi-Finals and Finals were originally scheduled for May 16, however, the rainy Kansas City weather prevented them from being played as scheduled. On Monday, May 24, the Semi-Finals were held at Swope Memorial Golf Course. Zach VanDolah defeated Ben Pearson after 20 holes. Doug Albers defeated Alex Springer 3&2.

On Wednesday, May 26, the Championship match was held. Albers won the first hole with a birdie and VanDolah came back to tie the match on the third hole with a birdie. Albers proceeded to win holes 6 and 7, going two up into the back nine. Albers and VanDolah went back-and-forth with Albers going three up on 14. VanDolah fought back by winning the 15th hole, but Albers prevailed winning 2&1.

KC Match Play Down to Two

After a week off from competition after Mother Nature postponed the semifinal matches of the KC Match Play Championship, we are finally down to two competitors. The top four agreed to play Monday, May 24th at Swope Memorial at 4:00 p.m. Doug Albers was facing Alex Springer and Ben Pearson was up against Zach VanDolah.

1 seed Pearson had a strong front nine and was 2 up over VanDolah making the turn. Zach fought back to tie the match through 13 holes after two birdies, but Pearson rebounded with a win on the 14th hole. VanDolah tied the match once again with a birdie on 17 and with two pars on 18, the match would go extra holes.

VanDolah and Pearson both parred the 19th hole, and after almost driving the green on the Par-4, 20th hole, VanDolah had a great chance at birdie. He would convert his birdie chance and win the hole and match against 1 seed Pearson.

In the second semifinal match, Doug Albers was in full control most of the match. He quickly got out to a 3 up lead through the first five holes and again through 10. Springer tried to dip in to the lead with a birdie on the 11th hole, but after a few pars and a bogey on 15th, the match was heading to 16 tee dormie. Albers and Springer would both par the 16th hole, and Albers clinched his spot in the final with a 3 & 2 victory.

The Championship match is set between Zach VanDolah and Doug Albers. A date and time is to be determined and will be updated on the website and social media. Live scoring will be available.

Final Four Postponed due to Weather

Championship Sunday at Swope Memorial never began as thunderstorms rolled in to Kansas City. The semifinal matches of the KC Match Play Championship were first delayed until noon with the hopes of at least getting one round of match play in, only to have the golf course become unplayable due to the amount of rain throughout the morning.

An unfortunate delay to our first championship of the year, but the semifinals will be scheduled at a later date that is yet to be determined. Opponents will work with each others schedules to determine an open date and more information will be relayed at that time. A champion of the 2021 KC Match Play Championship will be crowned of the following players: Doug Albers, Ben Pearson, Zach VanDolah, or Alex Springer. Stay tuned.

Top Seeds Set for Semifinals in KC Match Play

Despite some early rain, day two of the Kansas City Match Play was completed in narrowing down the field from 16 to its top four semifinalists. 1 seed Ben Pearson continued on after an easy victory of 5 & 4 over Jesse Helms and then defeated Brian Fehr 3 & 1 to clinch the first semifinalist spot.

2 seed Doug Albers defeated Jordan Bobert in his Round of 16 match 5 & 3 and then took out Drew Carlson 3 & 2. He faces 3 seed Alex Springer in his semifinal match after Springer defeated Ian Boat 2 & 1 and then Hank Simpson 5 & 3.

5 seed Zach VanDolah defeated 4 seed Lane Wallace in his quarterfinal match in 21 holes after taking out Jim Gates 2 up in the Round of 16. In unusual fashion, four of the top five seeds have advanced to the semifinal round.

The semifinal matches are scheduled for Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. The weather forecast predicts some thunderstorms, but we hope to begin on time and any weather delays will be updated on the website and event page.

Full results for the event can be found here >>

Day One Concludes for KC Match Play

The 2021 Kansas City Match Play Championship returned to its traditional May date after COVID forced its reschedule to last Fall for 2020. The Friday morning stroke play qualifier began at Swope Memorial with 100 players vying for the top 32 spots to advance to match play, including the first female in the field – Julia Misemer.

Doug Albers, Leawood, KS, and Ben Pearson, Overland Park, KS, both tied for low medalist honors in the qualifying morning session with a three-under, 69. Albers’s card was highlighted with five birdies and the only blemish coming on the Par-4, 7th hole with a double bogey. Pearson carded six birdies on the day with a few bogeys. Watson Challenge Champion, Alex Springer, finished at one-under, 71, along with Lane Wallace, Zach VanDolah, and Kade Prentice to make the only six players under par.

Tied for 26th position at 77 (+5) was the magic cut off number and saw 15 players in a playoff for the final 7 spots to advance to match play in the afternoon to fill the field. The top ten seeds were set: Ben Pearson, Doug Albers, Alex Springer, Lane Wallace, Zach VanDolah, Kade Prentice, Ryne Fisher, Brian Fehr, Will Harding, and Daniel Duffin. 9 of the lower seeds won their match to advance to the Round of 16. Pearson, Fehr, Springer and Harding all won handily with 6 & 5 victories. Kade Prentice defeated Jeff Mason 4 & 3 and Hank Simpson clinched their ticket to the next round with 4 & 3 and 4 & 2 wins. 20 seed Nick Noland upset 13 seed Michael Garden 2 & 1 and 26 seed Michael Foster upset 7 seed Ryne Fisher in 20 holes.

The field is down to the top 16 and matches are set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning depending on the weather conditions. Any weather delays will be communicated to players and updated on the website.

Holiday | Golf Gift Guide

Stay Warm

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

Techy Favorites

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.


Handy. Asher golf gloves have become the newest way to express your style on the course. Asher also offers custom gloves that match your colors and logo. Asher gloves: Men’s | Women’s

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!

Snowball Open

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. 

2020 Players | of the Year Announced

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.

In Kansas:

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!

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.