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

Meek Is Crowned Prairie Invitational Champion

LEAWOOD, KS — The final round of the Prairie Invitational was played today at Hallbrook Country Club.

Jessica Meek, Columbia, MO, battled back and forth with Round 2 leader, Katy Winters. Meek opened her round with a double bogey but quickly made up for it with two birdies on the front nine. Winters held her lead after 9 holes, however, Meek played steady on her back nine with one birdie and zero bogies, shooting one-under for the day. Her overall three-day total was 72-71-71-214.

Sera Tadokoro had a great round, making seven birdies to shoot 69 (-3) for her final round. Tadokoro finished in second place overall.

Danica Badura and Katy Winters finished tied for third place with three-day totals of 218.

Jaylee Castro was the only Junior in the field to make the cut, earning her the Low Junior title with rounds of 78-74-80-232.

Opal Hill Division Concludes, Open Cut to Low 18 and Ties

LEAWOOD, KS — Round two of the Prairie Invitational was played this morning. It was the final round for the Opal Hill Division and cuts were made for the Open Division.

Leading the Open Division was Katy Winters after firing an impressive 67 (-5) for her round, carding a total of seven birdies on her day. Winters, who shot 75 yesterday, is sitting at two-under-par with a one-stroke lead over Jessica Meek going into tomorrow. Meek shot 71 (-1) today after shooting even-par yesterday.

Danica Badura sits two shots back from the lead with her rounds of 71-73.

Caroline Klemp, Sera Tadokoro, and Emma Whitaker are all tied for fourth at four-over-par.

Low Senior and Low Professional were awarded after the cut was made today. Susan DeVoe earned Low Senior, shooting 82-76-158 for the tournament. Low Professional was awarded to Jacque Madison with rounds of 85-76-161.

The Opal Hill Division concluded this afternoon with Diane Sparks leading the field with rounds of 82-82-164, Sparks made birdies on two par threes today, holes 2 and 13. First Place Net was awarded to Lyn Daugherty with net rounds of 68-73-144.

Full results and tee times for tomorrow can be found here >>

Three Under Par After Round 1 at The Prairie Invitational

LEAWOOD, KS — 80 women teed it up at Hallbrook Country Club today for the 36/54 hole invite-only event.

Leading the Open Division are Danica Badura, Emma Whitaker, and Sera Tadokoro all at one-under-par. Badura started her front nine at even-par followed by one bogey and two birdies on the back nine. Whitaker, the 2018 Prairie Invitational Champion, had a colorful front nine with a double bogey, bogey, and birdie but then had three birdies on the back nine to secure her 71. Tadokoro had five birdies and four bogies to shoot one-under on her round.

Jessica Meek sits in solo fourth place at even par, followed by McKenna Rice at one-over-par and Caroline Klemp at two-over-par.

The Open Division will be cut to the low 18 and ties after Round 2 tomorrow, with the final round being played on Wednesday for those who make the cut.

Leading the Opal Hill Division are Sarah Brookfield and Hallbrook member, Mary Larson; both fired an 80 in round one. Diane Sparks and Lyn Daugherty follow closely behind with rounds of 82. The completion of the Opal Hill Division will be tomorrow after round two. Awards will be given for both Gross and Net scoring.

Results >>

A Prairie Invitational Preview

LEAWOOD, KS — The 2021 Prairie Invitational will be contested at Hallbrook Country Club on July 26th and will last through the 28th. The event will have two divisions, the Opal Hill Division and the Open Division The divisions are determined according to handicap index, with the golfers having an index between 5.1 and 15 playing in the Opal Hill division and the golfers having a 5.0 and below competing in the Open Division.  

Open Division 

The Open Division for this year is lined with talent but is led by Rachel Stous. Stous recently won the Kansas Women’s Amateur in commanding fashion by shooting nine-under-par for three rounds. She also won the 2021 Kansas City Women’s Match Play, and she is the reigning champion of the Prairie Invitational.  

Danica Badura will also be featured in the Open Division. Danica, the Nebraska native, placed third at the Kansas Women’s Amateur, plays college golf at the University of South Dakota, and she also won the 2020 Nebraska Women’s golfer of the year award.   

Alongside Danica in the Open Division is Emma Whitaker. Emma is a past champion of the Prairie Invitational, and recently played very well at the Kansas Women’s Amateur, as well as playing collegiate golf at Oklahoma State University.  

Another golfer in the Open Division is Ximena Gonzalez Garcia. Ximena has a decorated collegiate golf career at the University of Arkansas heading into her senior season.  

Katy Winters is also a name to watch out for as we have seen her ability to events like she displayed in 2019 at the Kansas Women’s Mid-Amateur. This year Katy tied for sixth place in a very strong field of competitors at the Kansas Women’s Amateur, shooting a total 221.  

Scarlet Weidig also poses a threat to the title as she displayed her talents in the KC Women’s Match Play event earlier this year.  

Making a return to the Prairie Invitational is 2020 Low Senior Champion, Martha Linscott. Martha had a great year of golf last year, including claiming the Kansas Women’s Senior Championship title shooting a gross 154 through two rounds.  

Another high-level collegiate golfer in this division is Aristelle Acuff who plays at the University of Kansas. Aristelle competed in five events last season including the Gator Invitational where she was the second highest Kansas finisher.  

Kenni Henson, a golfer at Wichita State University, was a runner-up at the KC Women’s Match Play this year. She is looking to bounce back at the Prairie from her performance in the Kansas Women’s Amateur earlier this month.  

Former Wichita State golfer, Laine Evans, who recently won the Women’s Mid-Amateur (75-71-146) in June and is looking to continue her hot streak into this event this year.  

Lastly, making the lengthy trip from Texas is Stacy Dennis. Stacy is the executive director of the Texas Golf Association and looks to leave her mark on the Prairie Invitational this year after Stacy shot a 77-71-82 at the 2020 Prairie Invitational, placing her ninth overall.  

Five local PGA Professionals will also compete in this year’s event. Cassie Auxier is a professional at Hallbrook Country Club, making her a home-course favorite. Former KU golfer and the PGA Head Professional at Sykes/Lady Overland Park Golf Course, Jennifer Walker will be showing out this year as well. Jacqueline Madison and Jane Yi are returning for another year of competition. Local PGA instructor from the Overland Park Golf Division, Maureen Farrell is also competing.   

The Opal Hill Division  

Formerly known as the Players Division, the Opal Hill Division will honor the legendary golfer for the first time this year. Opal Hill was turned to golf by a doctor prescribing her to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. She quickly fell in love with the game and began practicing several hours a day. Her passion for golf grew every day and eventually enrolled in tournaments, leading her to win several of them. She then turned professional but after her husband passed, she was forced to quit the game. Although Opal did not play anymore, the game never left her. She was asked to lead the founders of the LPGA, and to help create the teaching division of the LPGA.  

The Opal Hill division is also filled with some great competition. Topping the list is Barbara Cusick. Barbara and her Husband Dr. Douglas Cusick are the tournament title sponsors as well as Barbara being a member of the Prairie Invitational committee, and Hallbrook Country Club. Alongside Barbara on the Prairie Committee and fellow Hallbrook member is Mary Larson.  

Jayne Clarke will also be making an appearance in the field at the event. Jayne is on the Board of Directors of Central Links Golf.  

Lastly, Sharon Henes, the winner of the 2021 Spring Triple Threat, will also be competing in the Opal Hill Division.  

Tournament info >>   

Stous Wins Women’s Amateur

ANDOVER, KS- The final round of the Kansas Women’s Amateur wrapped up on July 13th, 2021. Rachel Stous, the leader heading into the final day, started her round off with a birdie and four consecutive pars. She finished the front nine holes with a score of 36, and then she shot an even-par on the back nine (35), tallying a 71. Stous ended her round on Tuesday with birdies on 16 and 18 to safely seal her victory. Her three-day total was 66-67-71-204 for an overall nine-under-par finish, leading the field by 10 shots.

Emma Whitaker, 2018 Kansas Women’s Amateur Champion, played consistently carding rounds of 70-71-73-214.

Danica Badura who was in second place going into the final round finished in third place with rounds of 66-70-80-216.

Low Junior was awarded to Meg Tilma and Raychel Nelke. Tilma shot rounds of 72-73-78-223 and Nelke shot 70-76-77-223.

Low Senior was awarded to Martha Linscott who shot 76-82-77-235, winning by 11 shots.

Stous Leads Women’s Amateur

ANDOVER, KS – The first and second rounds of the Kansas Women’s Amateur took place at Flint Hills National Golf Club today. 61 female golfers played 36 holes of stroke play and will complete the event tomorrow with the final round of 18 holes.

Rachel Stous lead the way shooting an impressive 66 (-5) on her first round and 67 (-4) on her second round. Stous carded a total of 12 birdies on her 36 holes. She holds a three-shot lead over Danica Badura going into the final round tomorrow.

Badura fired an equally impressive 66 (-5) on her first round after starting her day with three birdies in a row on holes one through three. She finished her second round shooting 70 (-1).

2018 Kansas Women’s Amateur Champion, Emma Whitaker played consistently today shooting 70 (-1) on her first round and an even-par 71 on her second round.

Additional Results & Tee Times for tomorrow can be found here >> https://centrallinksgolf.org/competitions/womens-competitions/kansas-womens-amateur/

Spring Triple Threat

108 women from across Kansas and Kansas City came out to play in the first Women’s Event of the Year on Monday, May 17. Canyon Farms Golf Club hosted the fun “triple threat” 6-6-6 format; six holes Four-Ball, six holes Chapman Alternate Shot, and six holes Scramble. Despite the weather and wet course conditions, the tournament was played without delay.

Leading the event as Overall Gross Champions was the team of Sharon Henes and JoAnne Bridgnell (+4). The team performed their best in the Alternate Shot and Scramble formats, carding a total of 3 birdies for the day.

The Overall Net Champions were Monica Bury and Daleen Spradlin who carded a Net five-under-par for their round. The team won the scorecard playoff by having the lowest Alternate Shot aggregate total.

The next women’s event hosted by Central Links Golf will be the Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship on June 5-6 at Sand Creek Station.

STT Flight Winners

First Flight:
First Place Gross: Tracee Lechner + Barbara Cusick
Second Place Gross: Mary Larson + Mary Kolich
First Place Net: Kendra Beaver + Lyndsey Baxter
Second Place Net: Erin Priddy + Karen Hass

Second Flight:
First Place Gross: Jill McAtee + Tracy Singh
Second Place Gross: Patricia Seber-Bradley + Joni Caldwell
First Place Net: Rose Schuh + Peggy Rickets
Second Place Net: Kathy Stuntz + Victoria Jewett

Third Flight:
First Place Gross: Judy Moning + Iris Vorhies
Second Place Gross: Kelly McFarland + Brenda Head
First Place Net: Susan Koralewski + Janice Wiley
Second Place Net: Tawnya Neal + Kim Ekiss

Fourth Flight:
First Place Gross: Donna Nelson + Beth Schmitt
Second Place Gross: Deb Nittler + Reatha Juden
First Place Net: Holly Grier + Mary Dalsing
Second Place Net: Sondra Jordan + Linda Schuttler

Special Events

Closest to the Pin:
Flight 1: Mary Kolich
Flight 2: Karen Clothier
Flight 3: Christy Kleweno
Flight 4: Valerie Wente

Rose Schuh + Peggy Ricketts – Hole #12
Iris Vorhies + Judy Moning – Hole #6

No Holes-In-One means $370 will be donated to the Girls Performance Initiative.

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. 

Golf Gab is Back!

Come chat with the Ladies at Central Links Golf as we discuss a variety of golf-related topics. We will have featured guests that range from 2020 champions to area golf professionals. There will be new fresh content each week and opportunities for you to engage! We’re looking forward to another great season of Golf Gab.

2020/2021 Schedule

November 17 – Kickoff the new season with 2020 Players of the Year & CLG Champions
December 1 – PCC Adjustment, Abnormal Course Conditions, and Yoga with Sally Krystyn, LPGA. Orange Whip mentioned by Sally can be found here. Get a discount with the code “Sally Krystyn”.
December 15 – Effective practice in 30 minutes with Kristen Samp, PGA/LPGA
January 5 – Kansas Golf Foundation, Rules of Golf, and Mental Game Tips with Gianna Augustine, LPGA.
January 19 – A panel discussion about the benefits of playing golf for women in business. Panelists include:

  • Kristin Tyson | President, CrossFirst Bank Kansas City ​
  • Angela Hurt | CEO, Veracity​
  • Rachel Smith | Owner, Smith Mohlman Injury Law​
  • Erica Brune | CEO, Lever 1 ​
  • Melissa Windon | Co-Founder, Driving Pursuits Kansas City​
  • Heidi Thummel | Director of Business Development, GBA

February 16 – Courtney Mahon, LPGA & Mary Leahy, Callaway

All sessions will take place on the first & third Tuesday from 9:30-10:15 AM and will be recorded.

Register for all sessions here >>

Topic requests can be sent here >>

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.