Warren & Burkett Win 2024 KC Junior Championship

The 2024 Kansas City Junior Championship, presented by Granite Garage Floors Kansas City, was held at Winterstone Golf Course in Independence, Missouri, and concluded on Tuesday, June 4th. 

Bennett Warren emerged as the victor for the boys division, with a two-day total of nine under par. Warren’s two rounds of 68-67 for a 36-hole total of 135 showcased his consistency and skill. Bailey Burkett won the event for the girls at five under par for two days. Burkett’s 66-73 for a two-day tournament total of 139 demonstrated her determination and ability.

Bennett Warren claimed his first Central Links Championship event at nine-under par. He led the tournament after Monday’s round by two strokes. On Monday’s back nine, Warren carded five birdies coming into the clubhouse. He kept that momentum going into his final round, carding eight birdies and only one double bogey. Chance Rinkol finished solo second, scoring a two-day total of 70-68-138 (-6). Rinkol carded four birdies in his first round and two eagles in his final round. He finished three strokes ahead of Myles Tarvin, who earned third place, carding a two-day total of three under.  

Bailey Burkett, in a display of skill, carded eight birdies on her Monday round, leading the first day by an impressive nine strokes over Hadley Neese. In Burkett’s final round, she carded two birdies and three bogeys, showcasing her ability to adapt and perform under pressure. She carded five pars coming into the clubhouse, a testament to her consistency and focus. Burkett’s performance earned her the title of the Central Links Junior Championship at five-under par, a well-deserved achievement. 

Hadley Neese earned runner-up, finishing one-over par. On Monday, Neese carded three birdies and two double bogeys. However, on Tuesday, she stayed consistent and carded four birdies to finish with a total of two-under. Neese earned a solo second by two strokes over Makenna Casey, who placed third, carding a two-day total of three-over. 

Full Results >>

2024 February Funding Drive

The Annual February Funding Drive for Youth on Course is back! Help us reach our $15,000 goal!

Did you know Central Links Golf is responsible for subsidizing the YoC program in Kansas & Kansas City?

Members of Youth on Course pay $5 to play a round of golf at participating facilities. This program allows juniors to have greater access to the game of golf.

Help us continue to expand and sustain this program by donating to our campaign.

Strong & Schartz Win the Junior Amateur Championship

Final Score >>

The Final Round of the Kansas Junior Amateur concluded late Wednesday afternoon at Carey Park Golf Course. Tyler Strong won the Boys title, beating Drew Krystyn in a playoff. Emerie Schartz won the event in the Girls Division by four strokes over Kinslea Jones.

Strong was steady finishing even after the first nine but turned on the heat when he made the turn. Krystyn was strong from the start carding six birdies on the front nine. Strong had four birdies coming in, including a clutch birdie on the 18th green to score a three-day total of 71-66-69-206 (-7). Krystyn stalled a little on the back nine, scoring even par and a three-day total of 69-70-67-206 (-7). Strong and Krystyn headed to 18 tee for a playoff. Strong had the advantage on the first playoff hole with a tee shot in the fairway and then stuffed his approach shot to 6 feet. With another birdie, Tyler Strong claimed the KS Junior Amateur Championship.

Schartz had six birdies in her final round to have a three-day score of 68-67-67-202 (-11). She was steady all day, carding two of her birdies on the last three holes. Defending Champion, Kinslea Jones, played well but just couldn’t get enough putts to drop, carding three birdies and two bogeys. Emerie Schartz was thrilled with her score and finish as the Girls’ Junior Amateur Champion and enjoyed the competitiveness with Jones and Meg Tilma. 

Thank you to Carey Park Golf Course for hosting the Championship, and thank you to all the players for making it a memorable week.

Top 3 Things to Safely Return to Golf after a Total Knee Replacement

Have you had a TKR in the last year or are considering getting one and want to know what you can be doing to either delay it or come back from one the fastest way possible?

The Total Knee Replacement is one of the, if not the number one, performed orthopedic surgery in the U.S. with over 800,000 performed each year.

Many golfers prefer to walk and find themselves having to ride a cart due to knee discomfort. Even worse, some golfers find themselves modifying their golf swing by not loading onto an affected knee or favoring it after surgery due to a fear of putting load or stress on to it.

With golf, anything that creates more compression/rotation into the knee joint will stress the knee more than it is designed to handle. So, here are three things that I recommend to my golfers that are trying to either delay or come back from this surgery to reduce the compression/rotation into that knee.

1 – Hip mobility

This is by far the most important mobility that a golfer with a total knee replacement should be able to have. As you make your turn, if you do not have a full range of motion in your hip, you will place more rotary pressure into the joint above (low back) and below (knee). While you’re working on your ‘knee’ rehab, be sure to have a ton of emphasis placed on the hip region.

Are your hips moving? Check yours at home here >>

2 – Ankle mobility

The ankle is the second most important mobility that a golfer with a total knee replacement should be able to have. In the same conversation as the hip, with a mobility restriction in the ankle, the joint above (the knee) and the joint below (forefoot) are now going to have more stress placed on them. Similar to the previous point, as you’re working on your ‘knee’ exercises, be sure to have a few exercises targeting the mobility in your ankle.

3 – Avoid the ‘jockey’ setup position

The final point is in regards to set up. When a golfer addresses the ball, we ideally want to see them get ‘down to the ball’ using a hip hinge move versus a lot of knee bend/flexion at address. The reason is that increased knee bending/flexion increases the amount of compression through the knee joint. If we’re trying to reduce this compression and take stress off the knee, the jockey position (if you can imagine someone riding a horse and bouncing up and down through the knee joint) should be avoided.

This begs the question do you have a good hip hinge at address? You can try placing your driver along your spine and bending forward from your hips and not through your knees as a quick check.

As this season approaches, a lot of you had surgery this fall/winter or are wondering if you’ll be able to get through this season without needing one. My hope is that you can be more efficient in the gym and will look beyond your ‘knee’ problem and rather address the rest of your body. Even shoe wear can impact how your knee responds on the course!

Off-season is coming to a close…if you have any questions on this, RobertsPT helps educate, equip, and train golfers to play for years to come with less pain and more distance.

If you don’t have a trusted Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in golf supervising your plan, we’d be happy to jump on a call to discuss your off-season goals. Call 214-998-9904 or email wade@robertspt.co.

Dr. Wade Roberts is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Roberts is the owner of Roberts PT, a golf PT and Performance Center in Kansas City. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. He then earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College. Dr. Roberts is able to provide specialized therapies for a variety of patients but has a special interest in decreasing pain, increasing speed, and achieving longevity in the game of golf.

Black History Month

It didn’t start with Tiger

By Don Kuehn,
CLG Board of Directors

If your exposure to minority participation in golf starts with Tiger Woods winning the Masters by nine shots in 1997 you’ve missed a great deal. Maybe you go back further, to names like Calvin Peete or Lee Elder (the first Black golfer to play in the Masters). You’re still not back far enough.

Ever heard of Charlie Sifford? He was the first Black player to break through the PGA’s “Caucasians only” clause and actually tee it up in Tour events on a regular basis. He made the way for guys like Jim Dent and Peete and Elder to join him on Tour.

It was through the caddie yard that most Black kids got their first taste of the game. Working long, hot days and playing on those days when the courses were closed (usually on Mondays), with whatever broken or discarded clubs one could find, is no way to hone a game. But many persisted and many excelled, only to be stymied by Jim Crow and “Caucasians only” rules of the day.

The fact that their place in history has not been adequately recognized should take nothing from the importance of those African-American golfers who persevered and persisted in pursuit of the game we all love (and alternately hate).

The reason for this article is not to recount the entire history of the Black experience in the game of golf. There are plenty of resources one can turn to for in-depth reflections and recaps of that topic. The point is to shed a little light on a few under-appreciated milestones that have seasoned the gumbo that is golf in America.

In 1896 the fledgling USGA held its second  “Open” championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island. It followed by just a day or two of the playing of the (more prestigious) US Amateur over the same course. Since golf was just a recent import to these shores, many of the participants were foreign-born — and white — save two: John Shippen and Oscar Bunn.

Over the protestations of many of the foreign-born who threatened to pull out of the tournament if these two were allowed to play, USGA President Theodore Havermeyer (yeah, the guy whose name is on the big trophy) stood his ground and allowed the two to play. To the surprise of many, including the renowned Charles Blair MacDonald who withdrew after the first day, Shippen tied for the lead after the first of two rounds. His fate was sealed, however, at the relatively easy par-four 13th hole on the second day where he took an unlikely 11 and finished the event in a tie for 5th place.

Shippen, it is believed, was not just the first Black player to compete in an Open, he was the first American-born golfer of any race to turn professional.

If you’re interested in pursuing this topic, I recommend two very good books that take on the Black golf experience in-depth: A Course Of Their Own by John H. Kennedy and Uneven Lies, by Pete McDaniel. In those works, you’ll find tales of indignity, intolerance, and injustice that we’d probably wish were not part of the great game that binds us together. You’ll read about Bill Spiller, Teddy Rhodes, Elder, Peete, Sifford, and others. You’ll get to understand the role heavyweight champion Joe Louis had on Black golfers in the United Negro Golfers Association, the Negro National Open, and more. Black golf, not unlike the Negro Leagues in baseball had a social and cultural fabric that was woven in tough times, glad times, and struggles.

But what about here in the Midwest?  Well, In 1879  a freed slave by the name of Junius Groves 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: 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 and sand greens of the potato farm, came a group of players who eventually morphed into the Heart of America Golf Club. The HOAGC 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: Swope #1. 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, eventually, 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 would be the ones to break the color barrier in the major leagues (though that wouldn’t be complete for another decade).

>> Dr. Martin Luther King’s first application of non-violent protest 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, not just here, but around the country.

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 shop in stores of their choosing was denied to them.

In golf, Kansas City’s 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 the most exclusive clubs in town.

Black golfers had access to that nine hardscrabble 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:

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

Mr. Sylvester “Pat” Johnson, and Mr. Leroy Doty  — 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 an article written by J. Brady McCollough for the Kansas City Star in 2005,

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.

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.

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.

In 2014 the Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame inducted those four gentlemen, Johnson, Benton, Doty, and Johnson, known as “The Foursome,” into the Hall for their courageous stand against the Jim Crow laws of the time.

But the Swope episode opened the door to a number of quality Black players who came later. Tommy Williams was as good as any around here, Bill “Turk” Redmond had game, and Tom Rhone not only played and played well, he was an early leader in the First Tee program here, in Kansas City.

Over the past few years, Chris Harris has taken steps to not only improve his neighborhood, but he has built a sports complex around 40th and Wayne that includes a golf course, basketball, and volleyball courts. Harris’s goal is to provide urban kids with activities that foster sportsmanship, honor, and discipline which he believes are “skills needed to thrive in the growing and ever-changing world in which we live.”

John Shippen, Tommy Williams, Chris Harris… just a few names that deserve some recognition during this Black History Month. It didn’t start with Tiger.

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2023 KC Golf Show

Central Links Golf will be at the Kansas City Golf Show on February 24-26, at the Overland Park Convention Center! There will be 80-plus golf exhibits, top-level manufacturers, huge sales and experiences for golfers, and front-door bonuses!


  • AMAZING Front Door Bonuses with rounds of golf, golf balls, PGA Korn Ferry tickets and more.
  • 80 exhibits – one of our best expos ever.
  • Proud to have AdventHealth Championship join the expo as a sponsor. They are giving tournament tickets to the tournament to all attendees each day.
  • GOLF MD Equipment Testing and Fitting Zone and Sale area. Test and buy from: Callaway, Cleveland, Mizuno, Odyssey, PING, Srixon, and more.
  • STRETCHLAB and also FIT Muscle and Joint Wellness Zone where fitness, rehab and better golf await.
  • Cleveland and Srixon will showcase their Tour-level fitting and equipment as OFFICIAL CLUB and has a great sale.
  • Bushnell will have a new simulator and range-finding experience.
  • The Short Game Central chipping challenge will have 100s of prizes.
  • Edward Jones Long Drive Challenge, powered by Cleveland/Srixon and Midwest Golf Solutions.
  • Olathe Ford KC Putting Championship.
  • Michelob Ultra 19th Hole with their beers and Nutrl Vodka flowing and sampling of whiskey, gin, and rum sampling all weekend long.
  • PGA Midwest Junior area and Family Golf experience on Saturday will be catering to youth golfers.
  • Xtreme Green Putting Experience
  • Step into The Imperial Golf teaching exhibit and meet gurus that will lower your scores.
  • Michelob Ultra/WHB Main Stage where lessons, seminars, and pros teaching all weekend.


The show has many front-door bonus offers with the General Admission ticket including bonus golf, a Golf Magazine subscription, and more. The Players Tour Pass ticket offering will have special offers and bonuses. Details on the show site.

Saturday of the show weekend will again be Family Day where there will be special programming and focus on youth golf and family fun. Kids under 12 are free always at the show.


Stay informed by following kansascitygolfshow.com and socially via Facebook and Instagram. If you are interested in volunteering or exhibiting at the show, contact Tiffanie Neyens at tiffanie@varsitycommunications.com.

The show is once again endorsed by regional governing bodies Central Links Golf, PGA Midwest, MGA, and LPGA Amateur Golf. All are scheduled to be at the show.

Tickets can be purchased here >>

2023 February Funding Drive

The Annual February Funding Drive for Youth on Course is back! Help us reach our $15,000 goal!

Did you know Central Links Golf is responsible for subsidizing the YoC program in Kansas & Kansas City?

Members of Youth on Course pay $5 to play a round of golf at participating facilities. This program allows juniors to have greater access to the game of golf.

Help us continue to expand and sustain this program by donating to our campaign.

2022 Volunteers of the Year Announced

Central Links Golf is pleased to announce our 2022 Volunteers of the Year. John Bott and Les Ansay have demonstrated tremendous service to the game of golf in Kansas City & Kansas.

Rules Official of the Year: John Bott

John has been involved with the KGA/CLG Junior Golf program for over 30 years. John oversees the Kansas City section of the Kansas Junior Golf Tour. “Working with Junior players, and I don’t find it work, is rewarding in that their participation and development as players and young people is enhanced by the total golf experience and we help that happen,” John said. 

Course Rater of the Year: Les Ansay

Les has been involved in Course Rating since 2011. He serves as a lead rater, travel course rater, and rating trainer for new volunteers. “I love the game of golf and course rating has introduced me to another aspect of the game. It’s been a great experience. It has challenged my thinking and kept my mind sharp,” Les said. 

Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame Welcomes Three

On November 19, the Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame will welcome three new members at a gathering at Blue Hills. Long-time stand-out Fred Rowland who plays out of Wolf Creek; a fixture among the senior ranks, Don Kuehn; and the Devers Family who hailed out of Lake Quivira Country Club, will be added to a roster of twenty-one previous honorees.  

Over a fifty-seven-year span, Rowland won seven KCGA titles from 1956 (Junior Amateur) to the Super Senior flight in the KCGA  Amateur in 2013, including three consecutive Heart of America Four-Ball Championships with his long-time partner Dave Broderick.

He also won nine Kansas Golf Association titles, including three Senior Amateurs, three Senior Four Balls, and the Senior Team Championship. Add to that his eleven USGA Championship appearances and his Canadian Senior Amateur Championship and it’s no wonder voters overwhelmingly selected Rowland to join this year’s class.

With forty-four Championships and thirty-two runners-up to his credit, Don Kuehn has been a winner at the local, state, and national levels. He is the only player to have won the “Kansas Senior Slam” of three Senior Amateurs, five Senior Four Balls, two Senior Match Plays, and “The Railer” stroke play Championship. His victory in The Railer set records for the lowest score (-10), margin of victory (14 strokes), and as the oldest champion (71 years, 7 months).

He took his game on the road in 2011 and added three Porter Cups (Niagara Falls, NY), two Lupton Memorials (The Honors Course, Chattanooga), the Golfweek National Senior Match Play (Tobacco Road, NC), two Maumelle Classics (Arkansas), two Geranium Seniors (Georgia) and the Sunnehanna Senior (Johnstown, PA).

The Devers Family was nominated by the committee based on their collective record of success on the local, state, and international levels. Matriarch, Levon Devers won titles in six decades and was named one of “The Greatest Golfers in Kansas City History” by the Kansas City Star in 2001. She won the Kansas Women’s Amateur, the Senior Amateur, and eleven Kansas City Amateur titles.

Ian Devers won the Kansas Junior Amateur three times, played in the US Junior in 1987, was medalist in the KC Match Play, and was a finalist in the Kansas Amateur. He played college golf at KU and the University of Central Florida.

Clay Devers amassed an impressive portfolio as an amateur, winning the Kansas Junior and state High School titles in 1985, three consecutive Kansas Amateurs, and the KC Match Play and Open twice each before turning pro and racking up titles in the US and abroad.  He won the South Dakota Open twice and won four times on the Asian Tour. He was a board member of that tour for four years.

Patriarch, Andy Devers served the members as Head Professional at Lake Quivira Country Club for 38 years and was a member of the British PGA, the Midwest Section, and the PGA of America.  He was known as a fine teacher of the game, as witnessed by three of his prized pupils: Levon, Ian, and Clay.

The three honorees were chosen by a broad cross-section of local electors which included the Board of Directors of Central Links Golf, living members of the Hall of Fame, representatives of the Midwest Section PGA, and the Golf Course Superintendents Association.

Mark your calendar, and plan to attend the induction ceremony at noon at Blue Hills Country Club on November 19th. Email doug@clgolf.org for more information.