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TABLE OF CONTENTS APRIL /MAY 2019 Volume 8 Issue 2

The Goods 15

Commander in Cheat reviewed, Ed Travis rates the best new irons, Smokelahoma comes to OKC, Surf & Turf takes off and new Mezcals.

Chip Shots 22

Bass Pro Legends is back, Paradise Greens, Historic tournaments renewed, Danny Edwards and expert chipping, APT back in Muskogee, NAIA National Championship at Lincoln Park.



Features 30

First Tee of Tulsa and First Tee of OKC two of nations top programs

35 38

New Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame class revealed.


Sam Humphreys back on the course

Privately-owned public courses having rough go in Oklahoma.

High School Preview 54

William McDonald, Taylor Towers head our rankings of Top 10 prep players for boys and girls.


The best of the rest from Oklahoma collegiate squads

Travel 44


A grand time in Grand County, Colorado

College Preview 46

Will this be the year the Cowboys and Sooners meet in NCAA Championship?


Quade Cummins has willed himself to be one of nation’s top collegians


Putting tip has Austin Eckroat challenging top-ranked teammates


The Blessings is immaculate, beautiful and very hard.

8 10 10 12 14 58 59 61 62

Letter from the Publisher OGA ED Mark Felder WOGA ED Susan Ferguson Rules, Gene Mortensen USGA by David Thompson Architect’s Corner: Colton Craig Instruction: Jim Young Fitness: Clint Howard Schedules and results

On the cover Oklahoma State’s Viktor Hovland and Oklahoma’s Quade Cummins, will they face off at The Blessings in the 2019 NCAA Championship?

Support junior golf by contributing to the OGA Foundation Call 405-848-0042 for more information 4



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APR/MAY 2019


Club Champion fitting an informative process The good news is I’m fairly consistent. We’ve all watched golf pros stare in disgust at the ground, curse the wind or exam- I hit most of the combinations down the ine their club for an imperfection anytime a middle with about the same amount of carry and roll. The bad news is there wasn’t shot goes slightly awry. It must be nice to have that much confi- any magic moment where I was suddenly dence that your swing is perfect, any poor bashing it 15 or 20 yards farther, though I understand this does frequently happen result is to be blamed on an outside factor. This writer has always been a bit more for others who were perhaps not fit to their equipment previously. realistic about his Not that we didn’t pick swing flaws and tends up some distance. The to blame himself rather best combination for me than equipment or othwas an Oban Devotion er factors for poor shots. shaft in the new Titleist When I swing well and TS3 head, which gave do things correctly, the me basically 10 yards adresult is usually favorditional carry and 8 yards able. When I don’t, the overall. Lighter than my latest in technology is current shaft, I picked up not going to salvage 3 mph in clubhead speed that shot. Perhaps that’s and 4 mph in ball speed. why I’ve always been How does it perform more partial to course on the golf course? I’ll let design and strategy you know. than to the nuances of Notice I’m not sharclub design, leaving ing the carry or roll that to the gear heads numbers (I’ve got some like our great equippride), but you get those ment writer Ed Travis. along with smash factor, That doesn’t stop me launch angle, spin rate, from pining for lost disattack angle and more as tance, particularly now part of your fitting using that I’m past the big the Track Man technol6-0. If I could buy 10-15 ogy. It’s a very informayards back, that would Trey Howard tive process. be fantastic. For those who get the fitting and proSo that’s what I was looking for when I took my trusty Titleist 913 circa 2012 to ceed to purchase, particularly if doing a the new Club Champion store in Oklahoma full set as opposed to one club, it’s pricey, City to go through a driver fitting and see but you be the judge of what an improved what’s out there that could help mitigate the game is worth. If you want to better understand your ravages of time. The first thing club fitter Trey Howard own swing, both the opportunities and told me was that the numbers on my cur- the limitations, the fittiing alone is well rent driver were fairly ideal, in other words worth it. Trey confirmed that some golfers believe I was getting about as much out of the club as I could with my swing. I wasn’t quite sure there is a malfunction involved when Track Man confirms their 7-iron carry is about 127 how to take that. We then proceeded to try a variety of the instead of the 150 they imagine. Or their 200-plus shafts that Club Champion carries best drive is not going to carry that pond at in addition to the latest clubheads from ma- 220. But hopefully by the time they leave, jor manufacturers such as Ping, Callaway, the numbers are more what they imagined. Cobra, Taylormade and Titleist. We set the At the least they can adjust their games on clubs up to match what I use currently (10.5 the course to what’s realistic. degree loft, fairly open to compensate for a – Ken MacLeod low draw ball flight). 8


Volume 9, Number 2 Golf Oklahoma Offices Southern Hills Plaza 6218 S. Lewis Ave., Ste. 200 LIKE US! Tulsa, OK 74136 FACEBOOK.COM/ 918-280-0787 GOLFOKLAHOMAMAGAZINE Oklahoma City Office 405-640-9996 Publisher Ken MacLeod ken@golfoklahoma.org


COO/Marketing Director A.G. Meyers agm@golfoklahoma.org Art & Technology Director Chris Swafford chris@golfoklahoma.org Subscriptions to Golf Oklahoma are $15 for one year (five issues) or $25 for two years (10 issues). Call 918-280-0787 or go to www.golfoklahoma.org. Contributing photographers Rip Stell, Bill Powell Golf Oklahoma PGA Instructional Staff Jim Woodward Teaching Professional, Oak Tree National jwoodwardgolf@sbcglobal.net, 405-3482004 Jim Young Teaching Professional, River Oaks CC 405-630-8183 Pat McTigue Manager, GolfTec Tulsa pmctigue@golftec.com Tracy Phillips Director of Instruction, FlyingTee vt4u@yahoo.com, 918-352-1089 Maggie Roller Director of Instruction, Cedar Ridge CC maggie.roller@sbcglobal.net, 918-261-1441 Jerry Cozby PGA Professional jerrycozby@aol.com, 918-914-1784 Kyley Tetley, PGA Professional The Golf Studio 918-232-6564 Oklahoma Golf Association 2800 Coltrane Place, Suite 2 Edmond, OK 73034 405-848-0042 Executive Director Mark Felder mfelder@okgolf.org Director of Handicapping and Course Rating Jay Doudican jdoudican@okgolf.org Director of Junior Golf Morri Rose morose@okgolf.org Copyright 2018 by Golf Oklahoma Magazine. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from Golf Oklahoma. Golf Oklahoma is published by South Central Golf, Inc.






OGA Executive Director

A double helping of good news for OGA There was a double helping of good news for the Oklahoma Golf Association this spring. First, Edmond’s Taylor Moore announced he will sponsor the OGA Boys and Girls Junior Championship. Second, PGA professional Bob Phelps was hired as the OGA’s director of rules and competitions. Moore’s sponsorTaylor Moore ship is a wonderful gesture by a young professional who is currently on the Web.com Tour with hopes of making it to the PGA Tour as soon as next fall. The tournament, scheduled June 3-6 at Kickingbird Golf Course in Edmond, will now be known as the OGA Junior Championship hosted by Taylor Moore. His contribution will allow us to add a lot of special amenities to make the tournament a memorable event for all the competitors. Brian Soerensen, the PGA director of golf at Kickingbird, has known and mentored Moore for years, and the two had wide-ranging discussions about how Moore could contribute before settling on the OGA Junior sponsorship. “We wanted to give the kids an experience they won’t forget and create the best state junior championship in the country,” Moore said to Golf Oklahoma. “We want to give them a little bit of the experience of what it’s like to play in a tour event, with ropes around the putting green, tee gifts,


other little touches that will make it a really special event.” Moore, who was also an excellent baseball player, was a two-time state champion at Edmond Memorial and entered the University of Arkansas as one of the top-ranked juniors in the country. Following a successful collegiate and amateur career, he qualified for the Web.com Tour by Bob Phelps finishing third on the order of merit on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada in 2016. The OGA Junior Championship dates back to 1954. Celebrated champions include Labron Harris Jr., Mark Hayes, Joey


Dills, David Edwards, Jeff McMillian, Brian Montgomery, brothers Craig and Chance Cozby, Talor Gooch, Hayden Wood, Austin Eckroat and Quade Cummins. Moore’s name is not on the list, although he reached the finals in 2010 only to lose to Ian Davis, who went on to an AllAmerica career at Oklahoma State before playing professional golf for five years. The OGA is very glad to have both Taylor and Bob Phelps to work with in 2019. Bob is a highly-respected rules official nationally and his expertise will benefit us tremendously. We have been blessed to lean on the volunteer efforts of great rules officials such as David Thompson, Gene Mortensen and Robert O. Smith, but now we will have that same level of expertise in-house.

Visit www.okgolf.org for more information

Date Event


May 20-21 Spring and Senior Four-Ball Championship GC of Edmond, Edmond June 3-6

Junior Boys and Girls Championship

Kickingbird GC, Edmond

June 11-14

Senior State Amateur Championship

Greens GC, Oklahoma City

June 24-26 Stroke Play Championship

Oak Tree CC, Edmond

July 8

State Amateur qualifier

Lincoln Park GC (West), Okla. City

July 11

State Amateur qualifier

Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso

July 22-24

State Amateur

Oak Tree National, Edmond

July 30-31

Senior Stroke Play Championship

Gaillardia CC, Edmond

Aug. 15

Oklahoma Open qualifier

Oak Tree CC (West), Edmond

Aug. 22-24 Oklahoma Open

Oak Tree CC (East), Edmond

Sept. 4-5

Twin Hills CC, Oklahoma City

Mid-Amateur Championship


President WOGA

Tourney supports WOGA’s mission Entries are being accepted for the WOGA Fundraiser Team Tournament scheduled June 17 at Quail Creek Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City. The four-person shamble is a fun event that also funds the WOGA junior golf program. Teams of four are just $600, which includes green fees, cart fees, range balls, breakfast and awards luncheon. This tournament helps fund WOGA scholarship and grant recipients. In 2018, WOGA gave scholarships to six seniors and grants to 12 programs, including the First Tee of Tulsa and First Tee of Oklahoma City. The scholarship recipients

See WOGA on page 12 10



Visit www.woga.us for more information Event Location

April 29-30

WOGA Stableford Partnership

Lincoln Park GC, OKC

May 20-21

Senior Championship

The Trails Golf Club, Norman

June 10-11

Stroke Play Championship

Hillcrest Country Club, Bartlesville

June 17

7th WOGA Junior Fundraiser

Quail Creek Golf & CC, Oklahoma City

June 18-19

69th WOGA Girls’ Jr. Championship

Quail Creek Golf & CC, Oklahoma City

July 22-25

101st Women’s OK State Amateur

Oak Tree CC (East course), Edmond

July 28-30

Fore State Championship

Shadow Valley GC, Rogers, Ark.

Aug. 19-20

WOGA Partnership

Shangri-La Resort, Grand Lake

Sept. 30-Oct. 1 WOGA Cup

Oakwood Country Club, Enid GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

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WOGA, continued from page 10


were Alex Hack of Marlow, Faith Hopkins of Bartlesville, Emile Jackson of Edmond North, Joie Patterson of Chandler and Faith Stewart of Deer Creek. Go to www.woga.us to register online.. WOGA is excited about the 2019 season and the great venues for events. The highlight will be the 101st State Amateur Championship scheduled July 22-25 at Oak Tree Country Club on the East Course. The WOGA Stroke Play Championship will be held June 10-11 at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville. Other events include the Stableford Partnership on April 29-30 at Lincoln Park and our Senior Championship will be May 20-21 at The Trails Golf Club. WOGA’s 69th Girls Junior State Championship is June 18-19 at Quail Creek. The age requirement has changed to include girls who will not have reached their 19th birthday on or before June 17, 2019. The annual WOGA Partnership will return to Shangri-La Resort on Aug. 19-20, and the season will conclude with the annual WOGA Cup on Sept.30-Oct.1 at Oakwood Country Club in Enid. For information about these tournaments, or the WOGA Junior Fundraiser Tournament, please visit our website at www. woga.us or call 918-760-4255.

New rules speed up play



I think we are all going to be happy about the way the Rules provide the means to speed up play and, possibly, shave off some strokes. Let me explain. Rule 5 provides that a round of golf is meant to be played at a prompt pace. There is the strong suggestion that each player complete the stroke within 40 seconds after he becomes able to play without interference. Forty seconds is fair so look for Committees to use it in pace-of-play policies. The concept of “Ready Golf” is also approved. In match play, if you are ready and your opponent is still looking at yardage, agree among yourselves that you will play to save time. In stroke play, without regard to who is away, if you can safely play without distraction, you will proceed. Look at it as each player moving at his own pace rather than as a member of a group, each taking turns. Rule 13 applies to greens and it provides that the player is permitted to putt with the flagstick in the hole. Not only will this save the time of removing/replacing the flagstick, if left in the hole it will serve as a backstop for the moving ball. The pros got their first

OGA Rules Director

opportunity to leave the flagstick in at Hawaii and the general feeling was disbelief at how much it helped. It would be great to shave four of five strokes off your score and save time while doing so. Rule 17 pertains to “Penalty Areas.” The new term essentially covers what was called water hazards, but since the Penalty Area can include other spaces, the word “hazard” became obsolete. With the authority to include other spaces, such as extreme rough, they can mark such areas so that a player need not return to the spot of the previous shot for a lost ball, he will simply take relief where the ball crossed the margin into the Penalty Area. In this same respect, the Committee can adopt a Local Rule which provides relief for the player who does not play a provisional ball and then finds his original ball out of bounds or lost. Using this procedure, the player can create a forward relief area and does not have to return to the spot of the previous shot under stroke-and-distance. It will take some time for us to become familiar with the revised Rules. For help, go to the new rules guide at www.okgolf.org.



USGA Regional Affairs Committee


Much ado about nothing from tour 2019 has brought new rules that have been highly visible with TV coverage of the PGA Tour Players. Most college coaches have been very active in having rules presentations for their players to ensure there is a good understanding of the rules to avoid any slipups or misunderstandings. The USGA has been proactive at tour events beginning with the initial 2019 tournament to help players understand the changes. Unlike the college players, there is no one that can require the professionals to attend any session. My observation is that there have been virtually no issues in college or other amateur events resulting from the 2019 changes. So, why the issues on the PGA Tour? In my professional life (not golf), I was required to understand laws and regulations that were associated with my profession. I don’t recall a regulatory agency asking me what I thought about those regulations. And yet, we hear that some Tour Professionals want to regulate themselves with their own rules. In my opinion, this view is extremely short-sighted. What would happen if the



PGA Tour had its own set of rules and players from that tour play other events like The Open where the R&A have set the rules or other events around the globe? CHAOS! It appears that some of the tour pros view the USGA and their rules officials as uneducated amateurs. That is interesting in that most of those players have grown up playing in events that were administered by those same people. Those people were capable enough to assist those players reaching their current level, but all of a sudden, they are no longer knowledgeable enough to work with tour professionals? For the most part, yes, those rules people are amateurs, in that they are not paid for their work, but certainly not uneducated. The day before writing this column, I saw that a tour pro advocated for a change

in a rule that has been around perhaps from the original rules. Play the ball as it lies. I found an interesting interpretation. “Take responsibility for your own actions or face the adversity.” While I hesitate to compare golf to other sports, what if the running back said that he didn’t intend to step out of bounds, so that touchdown should count because he didn’t mean to step out? Ludicrous? I think so. The Rules of Golf are a consolidated work of the USGA and The R&A. Those bodies are held responsible for preserving the integrity of the game of golf. Until all players, amateurs and professionals fully understand that responsibility versus making the game something different, a division will likely continue.




we’ve gone continues to find through or love on his home are transi- turf; about a third tioning out of Surf & Turf purof golf. And veyors are in Texas that goes and Oklahoma. “Some great for club professionals, PGA Professionals or by judd spicer places like Jimmie touring professionals.” Hundreds of (unpaid) brand ambassadors Austin OU Club, Norman native Taylor Artman has never across all levels of pro golf have aided the and then the city Josh Creel likes the look. stopped swinging for big things. visibility. PGA Tour players Abra- courses like Lincoln A first-team All-State selection at ham Ancer, Charley Hoffman, Brice Park, Lake Hefner, Trosper, Westwood have Norman North in 2008, Artman’s Garnett and Talor Gooch have all also been great to us,” Artman said. southpaw swing would later take Further rooting his company in a donned the Surf & Turf’s flaghim to Oklahoma City University, charitable “Course to Coast for a stick and surfboard logo where he was a key member of Cause” effort, which donates off-course, while players NAIA championship teams in 2010 five percent of online sales to cutting their teeth on and 2012. As a senior, he was sea new recipient in need each smaller stages furlected to the NAIA All-America Taylor Artman month, the player-turnedther boast the brand. second team. clothier has never strayed from “Some of the biggest helpers While getting fitted for a third national title his roots, no matter the course. ring as a Stars’ assistant coach in 2013, Artman are the lesser-known players,” “People from Oklahoma was equipping himself for a pro golf odyssey. Artman said. “For guys, it’s have each other’s backs, and “I played everywhere, from Mackenzie been players like Mikel MarChelsea Pezzola Tour-PGA Tour Canada and a couple events tinson, Ryan Ellerbrock, Brady media personality and you just don’t see that in other places I’ve lived,” Artman in Latin America, to at least a few events on Calkins, Josh Creel; and then S&T Ambassador. said. “That’s not a knock on at least every mini-tour in the States,” Art- for the women, it’s been playother people or places, but people in Oklaman said. “From the Hooters Tour to the ers like Summar Roachell and Elaine Wood.” Shelved across more than 100 shops around homa have ties to the core and it seems like Dakotas to the Golden State to the Adams, the country and having partners including the everybody sticks together. That’s my upwhich is now the All Pro Tour.” Measured results and a right shoulder in- Men’s and Women’s All Pro Tours, Artman bringing; that’s where I’m from.” jury led Artman toward stitching a new path through the golf world. “I had a couple good years, a couple bad years,” Artman said with a smile. “When I took some time off for injury, I got out of 415 S Owasso Ave Tulsa, OK 74120 918.832.5544 my rhythm, and that was a struggle. I played better for a few years after I came back, but that’s when my right shoulder got to a point of no return. And that’s about the time when I mixed in the start of Surf & Turf.” Co-founded by Artman in Southern California in 2016 with a motto of “Course to Coast,” Surf & Turf Golf set out to establish a different kind of golf apparel philosophy – one that went beyond a logo and tag, and instead, created a communal canvass of likeminded golfers. Using contacts farmed throughout his golf journey, Artman’s now Dallas-based outfit has grown from humble vision to budding national presence. “Growing organically has so much to do with people we’ve met along the journey,” said Artman, Surf & Turf’s managing partner. “Our reach is all over, and it seems like we have boots on the grounds all over the country who are sticking up for us. “We couldn’t do this without the help of others; our network is what, I think, makes us so unique. The people surrounding us are people who have gone through what www.jonesplan.com BUILDER we’ve gone through, are a step above what

Surf & Turf Golf

Taylor Artman's next big swing






Some things we like to do before and after the round


The Bookshelf

though reactions may vary depending upon one’s political stance. Those who have had quite enough of Trump will have their worst fears confirmed while laughing their heads off. Fans of Trump, or apologists, may find the going a little rougher, although I’d wager they’ll have to stifle a few guffaws as well. Reilly, as he has shown in a raft of books, particularly in the golf novels “Missing Links” and “Shanks for Nothing,” can’t seem to help but write with rousing good humor. In this case, it does seem like he’s also writing with barely controlled fury over the antics of 45, even if mainly circumscribed here to the world of golf. But if how one approaches golf is indeed indicative of one’s character, then this book may be a document far more damning than the Mueller Report turned out to be. Chapter after chapter indicts Trump — if not with prosecutable actions then surely with a total lack of ethics and character and, most inexcusable in a golf context, unsportsmanlike behavior. We learn, to take just a few examples: • Of the 18 Club Championships that Trump claims to have won, Reilly found 16 of them to be false, two unlikely, none confirmable. • While he’s probably a legitimate 9 or 10 handicap, Trump claims to carry a 2.8. Reilly claims, “If Trump is a 2.8, Queen Elizabeth is a pole vaulter.” • Trump doesn’t post all his scores anyway. • His scores are suspect in any case, since Trump is an inveterate cheat while playing. He knocks balls out of the rough onto fairways, tosses balls out of bunkers, and has been known to toss opponents balls into bunkers. And he routinely rakes away putts of 6 feet or more. • He never walks, always rides, and drives his cart right onto the greens. (Reilly: “Driving your cart on the green is like hanging your laundry in the Sistine Cha-

Taking the measure of a golfing man by tom bedell


t was the late, great P.G. Wodehouse who said, “To find a man’s true character, play golf with him,” and surely variations on the sentiment have been repeated many times over. And anyone who takes the game to heart can recognize the inherent truth in it. Rick Reilly uses the quote as an epigraph for his opening chapter in “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump” (Hachette Books, $28). As might be expected, things don’t go well for Trump for the next 244 pages. They go pretty well for the reader, al-






At top courses in:

Oklahoma Arkansas S. Kansas












pel.”) And that’s just Trump playing golf. Which, at the rate he’s going so far, should far surpass the number of rounds Obama managed to get in in his eight years in office, which Trump so roundly criticized during his campaign. For those who really want to keep track, Reilly notes the eagle-eyed website TrumpGolfCount.com, which at this writing has him at 161 rounds since his swearing-in, at a total cost to taxpayers of roughly $91 million. Then there are the financial shenanigans involved in purchasing the golf courses he owns, until it begins to sound like a grand Ponzi scheme. We hear from the many contractors and architects he has shortchanged. And his exaggerated plaudits for the greatness of his courses head into the land of the delusional. Reilly isn’t just claiming all this; he’s clearly done the spadework to unearth all his anecdotes with many an interview with caddies, pros and others, and he, well, liberally quotes them all. His constant question is why does Trump do all this? He’s actually a decent golfer; he doesn’t need to cheat. Some of his golf courses are indeed very good; he doesn’t need to gild the lily. The answer appears to be, as Reilly often notes, that it’s all about winning, no matter the cost. Many of those quoted in the book who have played with Trump say it’s actually a lot of fun. So is Reilly’s book. But like some of the players, one is likely to be shaking one’s head in stupefaction once it’s all over. Indeed, in a final chapter Reilly waxes wroth over the damage he feels Trump is inflicting on the character of golf. Golfers know something about integrity. And if you’ll cheat at golf, Reilly surmises, you carry a stain that can extend to any endeavor you may be elected to undertake. DAN JENKINS There’s little I need to add at this point to the tributes that flowed forth in praise of the late Dan Jenkins, who passed away on March 7, except to remove my cap. JenGOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

kins is one of three writers (with Bernard of two of his best-selling football novels, Darwin and Herbert Warren Wind) in the “Semi-Tough” and “Life Its Ownself.” But in terms of golf writing, Jenkins had Golf Hall of Fame, and as he said at his infew peers, especially duction, the only one to when it came to covarrive vertically. ering, and attending Jenkins shows up majors. I met him at in another epigraph in the 2009 U.S. Open in Reilly’s book, and the Bethpage. Jenkins had former was clearly a taken to social media model and a mentor to by that point, and was the latter, as he was to churning out mostly himany other writers in larious tweets, often, it the wake he churned. seemed, at the expense As Reilly tweeted afof Sergio Garcia. Who ter the news emerged surely deserved it. that Jenkins had passed The final tally — 68 away at age 90: “So Masters, 63 U.S. Opens, long to the great Dan 45 Open ChampionJenkins, the funniest ships and 56 PGA sumbitch to ever call Dan Jenkins Championships — 232 hisself a sportswriter. majors in all, to save you the addition. And There’ll never be another.” Jenkins was a Trump supporter, but I a lot of fine words about the dogged vichave the feeling he would have, at least, re- tims of inexorable fate. spected Reilly’s effort. I reviewed only one Except when forced to take a mulligan or pick Jenkins book in these pages, “His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir” (in the April-May 2014 is- up a gimme, Tom Bedell plays the game with rigsue), the title of which was a play on words orous honesty.







Mezcalero a new postround treat by greg horton

Craft Distillers have been producing premium spirits since 1982 at their property in Mendocino, Calif. A partnership between Ansley Coale and Hubert Germain-Robin produced one of the best brandies in the world, as well as Low Gap whiskey, Russell Henry gin, and Alipus Mezcal, among other products. Named Craft Distillers because the partners lamented the homogenization of spirits brought on by uber-modern methods, all the products in their line are made by genuine artisans, including the new-toOklahoma Mezcalero line. Mezcal has exploded in popularity in the United States, seeing a more than 300-percent increase in sales from 2014-17, according to Beverage Media Group. The once



The expressions in the Del Maguey, Vino de Mezcal Series are hand selected by Founder, Ron Cooper to represent a slice of deep culture in very limited quantities. obscure product is now on back bars all over Oklahoma, and single-village batches are typically less than 1,000 bottles and can sell for well over $100 a bottle. Mezcalero will likely run $95 to $115 a bottle, depending on the store. All tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. Mezcal is a spirit distilled from maguey, a family of succulents that includes blue agave, the most widely cultivated maguey in Mexico and the source of tequila. Other members of the family have been distilled in small villages for centuries to make mezcal.

Jeff Cole is a spirits representative for Oklahoma-produced Prairie Wolf spirits, and he’s a well-respected industry expert on spirits and wine. Cole said most mezcal until 10 or 20 years ago had been produced by mezcaleros (a distiller) in small villages, and the product was the village’s supply for an entire year. “It’s the traditional spirit of Mexico, but tequila is better known in the U.S.,” Cole said. “U.S. demand for mezcal has led to more cultivation of maguey around these small villages. Many of the traditional mezcaleros simply foraged for maguey,


2019 Golf Pass is BIGGER AND BETTER! Visit scspgagolfpass.com to order yours today! and since they couldn’t really afford to import yeast strains, the fermentation process always began with native, wild yeast.” That process, which begins with roasting the maguey in underground ovens, led to a wildly unpredictable, high alcohol, smoky, earthy spirit. The flavor from year to year was completely dependent on the species of maguey foraged by the mezcaleros. Cooperation between the villages led to a synergistic economy, too, so that one village produced clay serving cups, one produced wicker liquor baskets, and one produced mezcal. The economies supported each other. Ron Cooper’s line, Del Maguey, also available in Oklahoma, tries to ensure that proceeds from the sales of their outstanding line of Mezcal gets back to all the villages involved in the process. The Del Maguey line includes Ron Cooper Mezcal de Pechuga, a category of the spirit made for special occasions that includes local grains, fruit and botanicals. The pechuga is very rare, with typically a few hundred bottles made, so prices are very premium in this category. Some of the popularity of mezcal is directly related to the smoky, earthy characteristics. Fans of peated Scotch will appreciate the smoky character, and like Scotch, the intensity of the smoke varies from village to village. Cole said he makes cocktails with mezcal —not the single-village stuff, which should be treated like a great spirit and sipped — by cutting the mezcal with tequila. “If I have 1.5 ounces of base spirit, I’ll do 1-ounce tequila and a half-ounce of mezcal,” he said. “That keeps the smoke from overpowering the drink, but still gives it a nice smoky texture.” The Mezcalero is hand distilled each year using foraged maguey in keeping with Craft Distillers’ emphasis on the slow, traditional ways. The Craft Distillers website has a wealth of information about the maguey blend in each year’s batch. Given the quality of Mezcalero, it’s best enjoyed neat or with a single cube. GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

Smoklahoma coming to OKC early entry to the event, ultra-premium cigar sampler, private seating area, top shelf spirit Spring has sprung and with the rise in tastings and premium food bar. Take advantage of substantial discounts, temperature it’s time to dust off those clubs, retune your swing and for some, find new event exclusives, branded swag and chancgolf course cigars. Enjoying the game of golf es for raffle items throughout the evening, all the while, savoring a great cigar and can be as simple or as complex as the comradery with friends and fellow person holding the club allows. For cigar smokers. Finally, to top it the cigar novice to the seasoned all off, a portion of the proenthusiast, Oklahoma City ceeds from Smoklahoma benhas a new cigar event in town efit Fields and Futures, a local “Smoklahoma” that allows charity that provides upkeep customers first hand access to and maintenance of Oklacigar owners, brand ambassahoma City Public Schools athdors and representatives from letic fields and complexes. What a over 25 companies. Smoklahoma is Oklahoma ZT Cigars owner great opportunity to expand your knowledge of the cigar industry City’s premier cigar event and Todd Naifeh. and learn the history behind some soiree held Saturday, April 27th at the Criterion Event Center in Bricktown. of your favorite brands. Doors open at 6:30 for VIP and 7:00 for Designed for the beginner and aficionado alike, guests will enjoy live music by Justin general admission. Tickets for SmoklahoEchols & the Papa Midnite Jazz Band, spirit ma can be purchased online at www.okctastings, food station, complimentary host smoke.com. For any questions or inquiries bar and Smoklahoma commemorative bag please contact ZT Cigars at 405-942-0070 of cigars from participating vendors. Those or email us at info@ztcigars.com. See you who upgrade to the VIP level will enjoy all there! by patrick little

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Iron technology races TaylorMade

by ed travis


his has been called the year of ball speed. In 2019, every club manufacturer is talking about driver designs that give average players more ball speed, which of course, when matched with the right trajectory and the right spin is another way of saying more distance. However, drivers are not the only clubs benefiting from high-tech improvements. Irons also have and especially irons meant for play by average golfers. Golf Oklahoma thought it would be valuable to look at some of the latest models in three iron categories in case new irons are on your to-do list. Most of us should start our evaluating with game-improvement models since these tend to work the best for the greatest number of players. Mixed sets have become popular with, for example, a game-improvement model in the lower lofts and players-category in the higher lofts. Here are iron models we like in the three more “golfer-friendly” categories.

Players-Distance Irons This relatively recent way to categorize irons is in response to those with lower handicaps who want and need some help getting more distance plus added forgiveness but who are not ready to move over to game-improvement irons. They have thin toplines and at address look very like players-category irons. Narrow soles minimize turf contact and thinner faces are often a cup face design. Some have a hollow-head construction with foam inside and others a medium-size cavity back. Callaway Apex 19: Good-looking platinum chrome finish on this forged 1025 carbon steel body with progressive shaping. Inside are urethane microspheres encasing tungsten weighting for forgiveness and feel. Callaway’s proven cup face in long and mid irons with variable thickness forged face in scoring lofts. PW loft 43°. 5-iron through PW $1,050 (steel). Mizuno JPX 919: Forged Body is forged from a single high strength 1025 boron steel billet. Face is CNC milled from sole upward to lower center of gravity. Frame is open at heel for better launch, head stability at impact and high ball flight. Chrome plating brushed to a pearl finish. PW loft 46°. 4-iron through GW $1,300 (steel). PING i500: Forged steel variable thickness face in a classic muscle-back shape head with moisture shedding Hydropearl 2.0 finish. Blade-like look at address but constructed like a metal wood for high ball flight and distance. Sculpted hosel to save weight. Heel and toe perimeter weighting. PW loft 45°. 4-iron through PW $1,137 (steel). TaylorMade P790: Shallow face with progressive offset. Resilient foam injected into 4140 carbon steel forged head to give soft feel. Thin 1.77mm wrapped face with Inverted Cone interior has slot in sole to improve flex. MIM (metal-injection-molded) tungsten weighting. PW loft 45°. 4-iron through PW $1,138 (steel).

Game-Improvement Irons — for the average player These designs provide added distance with a relatively clean look at address and minimal to medium offset. Faces have been made more flexible and, in many models, wrap the sole and top. Mid-size cavity backs use a variety of weighting schemes often with tungsten to give improved launch and 20


M6 forgiveness. Cobra King F9: A member of the Ping SpeedI500 back family. Tungsten weights in heel and toe with added Ping weight G410 low in head and back. Three material medallion absorbs vibration. Variable thickness Mizuno face (1.88mm JPX 919 at thinnest) with channel wrapping sole. Variable and one-length available. Cobra Connect by Arccos standard. PW loft 44°. 5-iron through GW $800 Callaway (steel). Apex 19 PING G410: G400 model update with weight shaved from face and cavity moved to toe and hosel to increase. MOI 8 percent in PXG a head with 0311XF reduced offset and shorter blade. PING’s COR-Eye face interior has added flex to improve ball speed. Co-molded aluminum and elastomer cavity badge. PW loft 44.5°. 4-iron through PW $875 (steel). PXG 0311XF Gen2: Thin maraging steel face and forged stainless steel body


85 YEARS OF COMBINED EXPERIENCE. ONE PIECE OF ADVICE. GET CUSTOM-FIT CLUBS FROM CLUB CHAMPION The world’s most renowned swing coaches are quick to tell you that proper technique can only take you so far. You also need clubs custom fitted to your swing. Club Champion is America’s premier club fitter offering 35,000 hittable club component options. They have the most highly trained fitters and builders to create clubs that help you hit the ball farther and lower your scores.

Schedule your fitting today. Call 888-335-9445. clubchampiongolf.com 1001 W. Memorial Road Oklahoma City, OK 73114 GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019






News around the state Sponsored by

Edwards will chip away at your scores Five-time PGA Tour winner and former Oak Tree Gang member Danny Edwards agonizes every time he witnesses an amateur golfer pull out a lob wedge to hit a simple chip shot. Danny Edwards “You want to get the ball on the ground and get it rolling like a putt,” Edwards said. “That’s always been my fundamental plan when I chipped. It’s always been an area where the amateur can greatly improve and save several shots a round. You don’t need great athleticism or strength. You just need a precise setup and a formula.” Without giving too much away, Edwards

has developed that formula and will give you Edwards said. “I taught it to a coach of a golf the basics of stance, grip, setup and the for- team recently and he and all of his players have fallen in love with the sysmula for how far to land each tem. It just gives them a system shot depending on total distance and a formula where they can to the green and the hole. He chip balls right up beside the demonstrated it to golfers at the hole.” Oklahoma Golf Expo and is sellEdwards was the 1969 Oklaing the secrets in his new video, homa high school golf champion “The Chipping Equation,” availat Edmond, and a three-time Allable at www.dannyedwardsgolf. American at Oklahoma State. He com. was a member of the 1973 U.S Edwards, who lives in Arizo.Walker Cup team. This is not na, said for almost all chips one his first venture into the business of two different clubs will work Danny Edwards side of golf, having previously and neither of them are a lob teaches you how to founded Royal Grip and Greenswedge. hit chip shots efFix Golf Inc. “It works because it’s physics,” ficiently in video.

Two historic state tournaments renewed Two of the state’s oldest and most iconic at McAlester Country Club. First golf tournaments are back with renewed held in 1959, the McAlester Invitational has produced notable vigor this year. The oldest golf tournament in the state champions such as Oklahoma and one of the longest running in the country Golf Hall of Famers Bob Dickson and Mark Hayes. Joe Nick will return with a of Okmulgee won the event new professional an incredible 14 times, in- c l u d flight for its 91st ing nine in a row from 1982-90. edition July 5-7 at Bushwood Country Club in Washita Valley Invitational Chickasha. There will be 16-person flights in The Washita Flights A through E, with qualifying Valley Invitaon July 5, followed by match play on tional, first held July 6 to determine a winner’s and in 1927, is addconsolation bracket and 18 holes of ing a 16-person, stroke play on July 7 in each flight. $16,000 chamThe tournament will have a $500 pionship flight entry fee for the professional Chamwith a winner’s pionship Flight and $150 entry fee share of $4,800. for the other flights. There will be Max Stewart, a dinner on Friday night and a live owner of Bush- Just 15, Bob Dickson shot 64 band on Saturday night. For more wood CC (for- and was low qualifier in the information, call Bushwood CC at merly Chicka- first pro-am in 1959. 405-224-1250. sha CC) expects many of Oklahoma’s young professionals McAlester Invitational will compete in the event, which will be a Golf Tournament mixture of match play and stroke play. Entry fee is $200 for this historic event Also back to its traditional format, which which includes a practice round on Friday is a 36-hole stroke play event preceded by a June 7 and the two tournament rounds on practice round, is the McAlester Invitational the weekend. There will be dinners both FriGolf Tournament, this year slated June 7-9 day and Saturday and live music and other 22


entertainment. Golfers will be flighted according to handicap with added money for those declaring for Championship Flight. A horse race and skins game also are part of the festivities. For more information or to enter, call McAlester Country Club head professional Kelly Byrd at 918-423-3599.

Chickasaw Pointe GC in Kingston.

Rounds 4 Research The Environmental Institute for Golf, the research arm of the Golf Course Superintendent’s Association will be conducting its annual Rounds 4 Research course auction to benefit research, advocacy and education, and golfers are the beneficiaries. Beginning April 29, golfers can go to www.biddingforgood.com/rounds4research for the chance to bid on donated rounds from Oklahoma and throughout the country. The auction ends on May 5. The courses that have been donated are on the website so golfers can see them in advance and plan their bids.


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Equipment, cont. from page 20 with a high speed/ high rebound TPE inside the slightly longer clubhead help give added ball speed. Seven tungsten weights across the back. Easy to hit and forgiving with high resistance to twisting. Custom fit only. PW loft 44°. 5-iron through PW $3,000 (steel). TaylorMade M6: Unique strap from sole to topline allows more face flex and reduces body distortion for less energy loss and more ball speed. Dampener in cavity absorbs vibration. Fluted hosel with undercut cavity raises launch angle and helps impact low on the face. Face interior TMaG’s Inverted Cone. PW loft 43.5°. 5-iron through AW $875 (steel).

Super Game-Improvement Irons Players with higher handicaps often have slower swing speeds and trouble getting the ball airborne. This category of irons provides a solution with lots of sole weighting combined with strong lofts for better launch to give added yardage. Designed with weighting towards the perimeter, they are the most forgiving category and usually have


lightweight shafts to promote faster swings. glare. PW loft 43°. 5-iron through PW $975 Some have hybrid-like heads and mixed sets (graphite). Cleveland Launcher HB: Long irons are often offered. built like hybrids and conventional deBridgestone Tour B JGR HF1: sign short irons. Lightweight Forged heads with slit near base crown pushes center of of variable thickness face gravity low and deep allows more deformaand increasing stabiltion at impact raising ity at impact. Steel trajectory and ball face is very thin speed. Hollow cavwith added flex ity design for disand weight saved tance with easy moved to perimlaunch. Extremeeter. Progressive ly low center of shaping and offgravity. 5-iron set through set. through attack PW loft 44°. 4-iron wedge sold sepathrough PW $800 rately. PW2 loft (graphite). 44°. 6-iron through Wilson Staff D7: PW2 $850 (graphite). Callaway Big Bertha Plastic-filled holes in the Callaway Big BerThree-piece sole, three rows in long iron tha Three-piece: Core with to one row in short irons, allows tungsten weight surrounded by urethane microspheres places clubhead the hot and responsive face flex at impact weight low. Easy launch with high trajecto- for more distance. Cleaner look at address ry. Callaway’s thinnest cup face design has a than previous models. Shafts are ultraflexible rim giving additional flex to produce light at only 65 grams. PW loft 43°. 5-iron more ball speed. Smoked PVD finish reduces through GW $700 (graphite).






Jack is back at Bass Pro Legends The Bass Pro Legends of Golf is back at Big Cedar Golf and there will some changes and fun new attractions in store. We are talking about a Johnny Morris venture, after all. This year’s event will open on Friday, April 26 at Top of the Rock, the nine-hole Jack Nicklaus par-3 course, before venturing over on Saturday to the new Ozarks National, designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. This leaves the Mountaintop by Gary Player and Tom Fazio’s Buffalo Ridge open to the public during the tournament, so one can arrange a watch-andplay staycation. To make that more enticing, there is a special tournament ticket offer for Golf Oklahoma readers. For $200, one can get a VIP ticket that includes free food and beverages, the best seating available, and

Jack Nicklaus returns for a special match at this year Bass Pro Legends of Golf. tickets to the Cave Tour and the Natural History Museum at Top of the Rock. And what can one see? Well the Legends always attracts a field of the best Champions Tour players and this year already has commitments from such favorites as John Daly, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Retief Goosen, Ian Woosnam, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. But the real treat while the field is playing Ozarks National on Saturday may be to slip back to Top of the Rock and watch a $50,000 winner-take-all four-

ball match between the teams of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, Lee Trevino and David Graham and Ben Crenshaw and Jerry Pate. A fourth team consisting of two celebrities will be named as well. If interested in the VIP tickets, call tournament director Kirk Elmquist at 417-988-4235. For regular tickets, which are $25 or $20 if purchased with a Mastercard, call 888-347-4426 or go to www. basssprolegends.com. Tickets are also available at the gate. The Ozarks National Course will open to the public following the tournament.






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Ryan Rody is named Director of Instruction at Southern Hills CC

From a simple backyard green to this extravaganza, Paradise Greens is ready to help.

Paradise in your backyard Celebrity Greens has made a reputation of installing artificial greens for the rich and famous, no matter how challenging the project. That same quality turf and performance that more than 70 PGA Tour players have installed is now available in Oklahoma City and Tulsa via Paradise Turf and Greens, an exclusive local partner of the Celebrity Greens brand. Paradise Greens is a family project. Grant Raney and his father are golf enthusiasts who are in the oil


and gas business together while his two brothers have experience in construction and landscaping. His father actually was the first to attend a Celebrity Greens conference after hearing the ads on the PGA Tour channel on XM Radio. They have now installed greens in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and have access to experienced Celebrity Greens designer Weston Weber when needed. For more information on Paradise Greens, go to www.paradiseturf.us or call 405-510-0178.

Rising teaching star Ryan Rody, whose students include Quade Cummins of Oklahoma and Austin Eckroat of Oklahoma State along with dozens of other top junior and collegiate players, is the new director of instruction at Southern Hills Country Club. Rody was previously the director of golf and instruction at Gaillardia Golf Club in Oklahoma City. He will operate out of the new indoor teaching facility that is part of Southern Hills’ extensive renovation. “One of the things that was so attractive about him was the ability to teach all types and skill levels of players,” Cozby said. “He’s taught the every day player right up to Will Kropp on the Web.com Ryan Rody works Tour.” with Drive, Chip and Rody worked at Madison Club Putt finalist Evyn in LaQuinta, Calif., and Spanish Cannon of Edmond. Oaks in Austin, Texas, before settling in at age 25 for a five-year run as an assistant teaching professional at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas. At Brook Hollow, he worked alongside and learned from Cameron McCormick, instructor to Jordan Spieth.






Josh Creel

Grant Hirschman

Logan McCracken

APT returns to Muskogee CC The APT had two stops in Oklahoma last year, and the second of Some have moved up, Muscogee those two was others have moved Creek Nation Casinos won by Oak on, but plenty of Real Okie Championship Tree Nationtalented Oklahoal member mans will again Location: Muskogee Country Club Josh Creel be filling up Purse: $135,000 at Indian leaderboards Dates: May 21-24 Springs on the All-Pro CC in BroTour (formerly Go to www.visitmuskogee.com for details. ken ArAdams Pro Volunteers or Pro-Am Info: row. Creel, Tour) this sumContact Justin O’Neal at Muskogee who won mer as it winds Chamber of Commerce at three times its way across joneal@muskogeechamber.org and was the central United or call named Player States, including of the Year, went the Muscogee Creek 918-682-2401 on to earn a spot on Nation Real Okie Chamthe Web.com Tour for pionship May 21-24 at Musk2019, one of four APT regulars ogee Country Club. by ken macleod

Max McGreevy 26


Sam Stevens

Matt Mabrey

Trent Whitekiller GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

to do so. Max McGreevy of Edmond, who two years ago led Oklahoma to the 2017 national championship, is playing APT events this year after having failed to keep his Web.com Tour card. He started the year by finishing in second place at the Coke Dr. Pepper Open at OakWing CC in Alexandria, La., at 24-under par. Other Oklahomans on the APT in 2019 include former University of Tulsa player Logan McCracken, former OSU golfer Sam Stevens, former OU golfer Grant Hirschman (tied for second in the season’s second event), former OSU golfer Trent Whitekiller of Sallisaw, former TU golfer Matt Mabrey and others. Admission to The Real Okie Classic is free. Practice rounds are on Monday, followed by a pro-am Tuesday morning and a free clinic for young players at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon. The 72-hole tournament gets under way Tuesday morning. A field of 130 players will compete for a purse of $135,000. Last year Daniel Miernicki won $20,000 for first place. For more information on the event or the pro-am, go to www.visitmuskogee. com.




Chip Shots


NAIA national championship to be contested at Lincoln Park by ken macleod

It’s a rare year when the Oklahoma City University women’s golf team is not in contention for the NAIA national championship. If Marty McCauley’s 2019 team is capable of adding a ninth national title or fifth runner-up finish to the OCU trophy case, it’s kept that talent mostly hidden from view during a season when a top-10 finish rather than a runaway victory has become the norm. Unfortunately, this is also the year that OCU is hosting the NAIA National Championship, May 14-17 at Lincoln Park West in Oklahoma City. McCauley, who is now the overall di-



rector of OCU golf after men’s coach Kyle Blaser stepped down in JanuThe Stars will take aim at the NAIA national championship at Lincoln ary, hasn’t lost Park. Back row: Natalie Gough, McKenzie McCoy, Regan McQuaid, faith that a Arianna Medina, Clair Hill. Front row: Lauren Behnken, Loren Malate surge and trone, Melissa Eldredge, Lauryn Pritchard and Rachel Eckert. home course advantage could put his team in the title pains and found our own identity.” OCU will be one of 29 or 30 teams and hunt. “This team has a lot of talent,” McCauley approximately 10 individuals who will said. “I’m not sure quite why we’ve under- comprise the field of 156. All conference achieved, but we need to get some pep in champions are invited as well as eight atour step. I’ve never had a team this young large invites based off NAIA rankings. and I’ve never had a team this close to each Practice rounds will be May 12-13. The field will be cut to the low 16 teams other. I’m hopeful by the end of this spring we’ll have worked through the growing and individuals in the top 40 after 36 holes.


front end.” Lincoln Park’s staff is also busy preparing. Director of Golf Steve Carson said his crew is excited to be the host site and the course’s 30,000 square-foot clubhouse, which opened in 2015, and the challenge of the West Course will make a great site. Volunteers are welcome and should contact the course. There will be walking scorers with each group and other roles needing to be filled. Depending on the weather and the setup, McCauley said Lincoln Park West offers the flexibility to make it a challenge to break 75 or one where the scoring will be much more relaxed. “You can set it up so completely differHead coach Marty McCauley with only senior Regan McQuaid. Teams will be staying in downtown Oklahoma City and there will be a banquet and other activities for the players. Planning for an event of this magnitude has not been easy for the OCU staff, which includes athletic director Jim Abbott, McCauley and two other associate ADs and the team trainers. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” McCauley said. “But fortunately we’ve got a good group and got of the planning done on the


ently for any round,” McCauley said. “You can do some really cool stuff with that golf course.” Admission is free to the tournament. Until the final tournament of the regular season, McCauley probably won’t be able to nail down his starting five for the championship. Junior Melissa Eldredge of Eufaula and Bixby freshmen Natalie Gough and Rachel Eckert along with freshman Lauryn Pritchard of Allen, Texas, seem set at four spots, but finding a consistent fifth starter has been problematic. “This group is very special but just so young,” McCauley said. “I think we will really surprise a lot of people by the end of the year.”

May 14, Lincoln Park, Oklahoma City First Round Begins at 7:15 a.m. May 15, Lincoln Park, Oklahoma City Second Round Begins at 7:15 a.m. May 16, Lincoln Park, Oklahoma City Third Round Begins at 8 a.m. May 17, Lincoln Park, Oklahoma City Final Round Begins at 8 a.m. VISIT W W W.NAIA .ORG FOR MORE INFOR M ATION



First Tee of Tulsa Astounding growth, success creates need for additional funding expose all kids ages 8-18 to the game of golf, and Without The First Tee of Tulsa, Nadia through the game, instill Majidizadeh probably would never have life skills based on the First Tee’s nine core valtried golf. And what a shame that would have ues (honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, been. Majidizadeh was the Tulsa World’s high confidence, responsibilischool girls golfer of the year in 2012 and ty, perseverance, courtesy inducted recently into Union’s Athletic and judgment). Golf, perHall of Fame. She was a four-year letter haps more than any other winner at the University of Tulsa, having sport, is uniquely suited earned an athletic and academic scholar- to teach such values. And as Majidizadeh ship. It all traces back to when Majidizadeh said, the First Tee of Tulsa was eight years old and introduced to the makes it affordable. It is one of the few programs First Tee. “I don’t think (I would have ever tried in the nation to offer all golf) because a lot of times our family its programming includwould not have been able to afford it,” Ma- ing transportation at no jidizadeh said. “Golf is a very, very expen- charge. “Every single one of sive sport to get into. It’s insane. The First Tee is an avenue for people who don’t have those values are inherthose means – (they) can go to the First ent with the game of golf First Tee of Tulsa Executive Director Janice Gibson has Tee. (Kids can) be taught basic life lessons and so each one of those helped thousands of young players learn golf and life skills. but also have the exposure to this amazing nine core value are taught in the life skills classes that we teach on a the program. “First of all, listening to peosport.” Therein lies the First Tee’s mission: to daily basis to all these children,” said First ple teach me those life skills and then beTee co-founder Nick Sidora- ing someone who was A, expected to live kis, who is also the general out those life skills and B, was expected manger at Southern Hills to teach those life skills to the kids during classes. Golf is such a great vehicle to teach Country Club. For example, if a player’s life lessons.” The First Tee launched in June 2001. It ball moves, rules dictate that player must call a penalty on served 341 kids that year. Now, it serves himself. That doesn’t happen more than 15,000 per year. Executive Diin other sport. That teaches rector Janice Gibson and her team are very active in going into elementary schools honesty and integrity. Sidorakis noted at the 1925 and conducting classes. This past winter, U.S. Open, legendary golfer the First Tee enjoyed its most successful Bobby Jones lost the champi- outreach program , teaching 6,329 chilonship when his ball slightly dren at 29 area elementary schools, utilizmoved and he called a pen- ing the school’s gym time. That is up from alty on himself, despite the 4,564 in 2018. “Since I’m one of the founders, it’s fact that no one saw the ball pretty near and dear to my heart, basically move. “A lot of my adolescence starting it and seeing it grow to what it is was spent at the First Tee of now,” Sidorakis said. “I think it’s one of Nadia Majidizadeh began at The First Tee and took Tulsa,” said Majidizadeh, the best chapters in the nation for numerthose lessons to the University of Tulsa who spent about a decade in ous reasons. We’ve changed a lot of chilby patrick prince




dren’s lives that would have never had the ability to play the great game of golf and also learn the life skills and the values. It’s changed lives and I’ve seen it.” One of the reasons for the First Tee’s growth has been its focus on elementary kids. The elementary outreach program uses the SNAG (starting new at golf) program to expose kids to golf. SNAG was developed by Tahlequah resident Terry Anton, a former PGA Tour player. Aimed at young beginners, it features colorful plastic clubs where kids hit tennis balls at Velcro targets. The goal is then to certify the school’s gym teachers so they are able to conduct the classes on their own in what is called the National School Program. The initiative has been highly successful. “Once they experience the game of golf, they love it,” said Gibson, a former Oklahoma State All-American, long-time LPGA Tour player and member of the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. “They just don’t have a chance (to play). If we describe the First Tee of Tulsa in one word I’d say, `opportunity,’ and access. Of course golf is not cheap so that is what the First Tee is all

See TULSA, on page 34


First Tee of OKC a labor of love for Debi Martin “Debi Martin is the one who’s made it happen,” said Craig Humphreys, the longThe First Tee of Oklahoma City has time First Tee board president and a popucome a long way since conducting classes lar Oklahoma City sports radio host. “It’s just like a calling for Debi. She does it out out of a horse trailer. of the kindness of The program, her heart.” with a mission of Martin estiteaching life skills mates she works through golf, about 90 hours a launched in Spring week for the First 2003 and has enTee. She’s also the joyed significant chief of staff for growth that conthe City Council tinues today. of Oklahoma City. Debi Martin has “People ask me, been with the pro‘When do you gram since the besleep?’” Martin ginning, helping write the chapter First Tee of Oklahoma City students enjoy an said. One reason license in 2002. outing at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Martin is so dediAs the First Tee’s Tree National. cated to the First volunteer executive director, she is the heart and soul of Tee is because of the benefit she sees in it. a program that has affected thousands of See OKC, on page 34 kids. by patrick prince



Tulsa, cont. from page 31 just passing on our passion.” Fundraising is mainly done by about.” One of the opportunities for Sidorakis and his staff at Souththose who stay with the program is being ern Hills Country Club. Sidorakis able to apply for the Jo Bob Hille Memo- said the First Tee’s yearly operating rial Scholarship, an annual scholarship budget is about $425,000. Southern provided by the Hille Foundation. Sixteen Hills conducts an annual golf tourFirst Tee of Tulsa teens have been helped nament to raise money. Last year’s event raised more than $156,000, in their path to college thus far. The First Tee offers enrichment pro- said Sidorakis’ assistant, Nancy Acgrams for reading and math for elemen- ton, who works closely with him tary-aged kids. The program has an ACT on First Tee fundraising. Other donors include the H.A. & prep course and also offers STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pro- Mary Kay Chapman Foundation, gramming. New for this year is the com- the Hille Foundation and the Mervin petitive edge class, designed for those who Bovaird Foundation. But as the First Tee of Tulsa has want to pursue golf at the next level. First Tee students line up to meet Nancy Lopez Another unique aspect of First Tee Tul- grown and reached so many more on a visit to Tulsa. sa is its use of vans. Three vans picked children, so has the need for more money. “We’ve involved with the First Tee from the beup 706 kids made a concert- ginning. Their connection to the program last year proed effort over runs deep. viding youth “It’s one part of my job where I really the last couple with roundtrip of years to mini- see that I am making a difference,” Acton transportation mize the reliance said. “When you go out and see the proto First Tee on the Southern gram and see the children who are being prog ra m m i n g Hills Charitable impacted by it, it gets you hooked.” for the eightSaid Gibson: “It’s a joy to work here, I Foundation to lesson series. diversify our couldn’t think of a better job.” During the Added Sidorakis: “It’s beyond my wildfundraising,” sessions, there Sidorakis said. est dreams. I never once thought that we are different “We can only would be touching so many lives.” stations that In addition to the outreach programs at contribute so include putting First Tee of Tulsa program manager Austin Quintmuch. Back area schools, classes are held at their headand driving. At en takes the lessons on the road with the help of when it was quarters at Mohawk Park Golf Course and each station, SNAG equipment. smaller, the golf satellite sessions are held at The Canyons a core value is at Blackjack Ridge in Sand Springs as well emphasized. Kids work on golf and life tournament supported the whole thing.” Anyone who wishes to get involved in as Page Belcher Golf Course. skills at the same time. “I think it’s kind of bringing Tulsa to“We have a wonderful staff and they supporting the First Tee can contact Acton gether, north, south, east and west, sublove kids just as much as I do,” Gibson said. or Sidorakis at Southern Hills. The First Tee of Tulsa has been fortunate urbs,” Gibson said. “It shows how the “When we come in here, we’re excited to game of golf can really bring the commube here. We can’t wait to get kids excited to have staff continuity. Sidorakis, Gibson and Acton have been nity together.” about golf and the values it teaches. We’re OKC, continued from page 31 Through nine core values — honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment — the program’s focus is to instill these values in kids while exposing them to golf. Golf, perhaps more than any other sport, is uniquely suited to teach such values. In its first year, the First Tee served 75 kids. The retro-fitted horse trailer held classes with 15 kids at a time. The trailer was pulled by a truck donated by Cox Communications and drove around the city to bring the program to kids. Classes also were conducted at James Stewart Golf Course. But times have changed. 34


In 2011, the First Tee moved into a new dedicated to it and who is as unselfish with her time.” 5,100-square-foot facility at 600 N. Martin said the First Tee is in Martin Luther King Blvd. It’s on the process of hiring a com15 acres and features a par-3 munity outreach person course, a 12,000-squareto oversee the National foot putting green and a School Program. That 40-bay driving range. would bring the total of Nowadays, First Tee non-volunteer staff to is affecting more than four, which includes her 15,000 kids each year. daughter Wendy. The “You’re only as good program also uses volunas your people and this teers. program exists because of In addition to the NSP, Debi Martin, really,” Humclasses are conducted all around phreys said. “She’s given her life to this and that’s why we are where Debi Martin Oklahoma City as well as in Edwe are. It’s hard for me to picture anyone as mond, Midwest City, Norman and El Reno. GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

2019 Class announced for Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame Moody, Awtrey, Luellen, Nichols and Glasson to be honored


klahoma’s only native born U.S. Open champion, the late Orville “Sarge” Moody, will be one of five new inductees into the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. The 2019 class will be inducted Nov. 24 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. Also unique to this class is a second member of a family will be inducted for the first time. Melissa Luellen, daughter of 2006 inductee Dale McNamara, will join her mother in the hall. The other members of the class are seven-time PGA Tour winner Bill Glasson of Stillwater; former University of Oklahoma coach and long-time PGA of America Executive Director and CEO Jim Awtrey; and the state’s first golf professional, William Nichols, an early champion of both the Oklahoma Open and the State Amateur. “The history and legacy of golf in Oklahoma is truly amazing, and this year’s class continues to showcase the diversity of those accomplishments,” said Tom Jones, chairman of the Hall of Fame Executive Board. “Our list of inductees past and present represents every area of golf in Oklahoma. The class of 2019 ranges from the very first professional in the state of Oklahoma to a professional that worked his way to the top of the largest organization in golf. This year’s inductees all exemplify the qualities and criteria that it takes to be selected. “ GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

Tickets and table sponsorships for the event will be available at www.oklahomagolfhof.org or by calling 918-280-0787. Donations help the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame offer scholarships and the Everett Dobson Award, which helps a deserving collegiate graduate begin his professional career in golf or any endeavor. Orville Moody Orville Moody’s lone victory on the PGA Tour was a doozy. The Chickasha native claimed the 1969 U.S. Open at Champions Golf Club in hot and humid Houston, Orville Moody where he posted a one-stroke victory over future PGA Commissioner Deane Beman, future TV analyst Bob Rosburg and future “Mr. 59” Al Geiberger. Moody won at age 35 and just 18 months after being discharged from the Army. Even more impressive, defending U.S. Open champ Lee Trevino had picked Moody to win beforehand. “He’s one helluva player,” Trevino said. Afterward, Moody said, “I won it for Lee. It took a lot of guts for him to believe I could win.”

The late Dan Jenkins of Sports Illustrated wrote of Moody’s victory: “And then Orville Moody wept, along with a lot of other Moodys, his wife, Doris, and his two children. They had been out at some Holiday Inn in Houston where the nonnames were. Orville Moody had been driving to the course, from about an hour away, which was even a better reason to weep, some thought. But the tears came from the delirious joy of it all.” Known as “Sarge,” Moody spent 14 years in the Army. Assigned to Special Services and reaching the rank of staff sergeant, Moody oversaw Army golf courses, taught the game to Army personnel and played in tournaments around the world. He collected eight titles worldwide and won the Korean Open three straight years (1958-60) while serving. Moody also won the 1969 World Series of Golf, which was not an official PGA Tour event at that time. Two decades after his lone official PGA Tour victory, Moody would win two more major championships on the 50-and-older PGA Senior Tour, claiming the Senior Tournament Players Championship and the U.S. Senior Open, both in 1989. Armed with a long-shafted putter and a pendulum stroke, Moody prospered on the senior circuit with 11 victories, one of which was an 11-stroke victory at the Vintage Chrysler Invitational in 1988. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


2019 OK L A HOM A GOL F H A L L OF FA M E Moody was the youngest of 10 children and the son of a golf-course superintendent. He was Oklahoma state high school medalist in 1952 while at Capitol Hill and briefly attended the University of Oklahoma before joining the Army. Moody died on Aug. 8, 2008, in Allen, Texas. He was 74. Jim Awtrey Jim Awtrey has been honored in just about every way imaginable for his contributions to golf. The list is lengthy and prestigious, and Awtrey admitted his selection as a 2019 OklaJim Awtrey homa Golf Hall of Fame inductee is particularly significant. “This one means a lot,” Awtrey said. “It’s a place I’m from and still have a great affinity for.” The 75-year-old Awtrey has run the golf gamut, having been a junior player, an amateur, a collegiate player and coach, a touring pro, an assistant pro, a golf course and facility manager, a rules official and tournament director before ultimately becoming one of the most impactful executives the sport has known. Although Awtrey was born in Oakland, Calif., while his father was stationed there with the Navy during World War II, he grew up in Shawnee. Awtrey played collegiately at the University of Oklahoma and after graduating with an accounting degree in 1966, his career in the industry began as an assistant professional for 2017 Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame inductee Joe Walser at Lake Hefner Golf Course in Oklahoma City. Awtrey later returned to his alma mater as head coach from 1972-77 and led the Sooners to three NCAA tournament appearances while mentoring three All-Americans. After leaving the OU program, Awtrey served a variety of roles with the PGA of America and South Central PGA Section, from treasurer and president of the section before becoming a member of the PGA Rules Committee and its Board of Directors. In 1986, the PGA offered Awtrey the position of tournament manager. Nine months later, he was selected as Executive Director on an interim basis and soon became the first PGA professional ever to hold the title. In 1993, Awtrey was named 36


the PGA of America’s first CEO and held the position until his retirement in November 2005. During Awtrey’s tenure, the PGA of America enjoyed unprecedented success. Most notably, the Ryder Cup became golf’s preeminent international competition and the PGA Championship gained in stature as one of golf’s four majors. “We developed a strategic plan early and we were able to get to all of them because we kept evolving and creating benefits out of the money raised,” Awtrey said. “The plan was executed and it was a great time to do it.” Awtrey and his wife, Jeanne, have been married 51 years, live in Windermere, Fla., and are the parents of daughters Jena and Julie; and a son, Justin. Melissa McNamara Luellen Melissa Luellen never shied away from the challenge of having a famous mother with a daunting list of playing and coaching accomplishments. Melissa Luellen Instead, Melissa not only helped Dale McNamara to the last of her four national championships, she wound up succeeding her at the University of Tulsa. But first she exceeded her mother’s playing accomplishments with an 11-year career on the LPGA Tour, including a victory in the 1991 Stratton Mountain Classic. Melissa’s junior accomplishments were stout. A three-time Oklahoma high

school champion at Jenks, she also won the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Amateur twice and was the 1983 state amateur champion, winning the title that her mother won seven times. She joined her mother at Tulsa in 1985 and had a stellar college career, winning four times and earning first-team AllAmerican honors as a senior. She capped her career by winning the 1988 NCAA Championship as an individual while leading Tulsa to the team title in Albuquerque. After graduating, Luellen competed on the Futures and Ladies European Tours in 1988 and 1989 before qualifying for the LPGA Tour in October of 1989. She spent 11 years on the LPGA Tour, winning the 1991 Stratton Mountain LPGA Classic and teamed with Mike Springer to win the 1993 JC Penney Classic. In 2000, Luellen succeeded her mother as head women’s golf coach at TU. In her two seasons, she led her team to seven tournament titles, including back-to-back Western Athletic Conference and NCAA Central Regional championships each year. The 2001-02 season saw her team win five tournaments, including the 2002 PING/ASU Championship at Karsten Golf Course, earn a No. 3 national ranking for most of the season, and finish 12th at the 2002 NCAA Championships. Luellen was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in each of her two seasons and was the 2002 Central Regional Coach of the Year. During her very successful tenure at Arizona State, Luellen led the program to an NCAA team title, 10 NCAA Top 10 finishes, two conference championships and 25 team titles. She also coached one

Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame scholarship entries due May 1 The Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame announced it will again award two $5,000 scholarships in 2019, one to a male and one to a female. The Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame Scholarships are for Oklahoma high school seniors graduating in 2019 with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher who have been accepted and are enrolling at an accredited institution of higher education for the 2019 fall semester. Also eligible are Oklahoma residents currently at-

tending institutions of higher education. Students must have an active interest in golf and may not be previous recipients. The specifics of the criteria and the application form for the Hall of Fame scholarships are both available at www. oklahomagolfhof.org. Deadline for entry is May 1, 2019. Entries must be mailed to Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame, 6218 S. Lewis Ave., Suite 200, Tulsa, OK, 74136, or emailed to ken@golfoklahoma.org.


NCAA Individual Champion, three Pac12 Golfers of the Year, three NGCA Freshmen of the Year, 14 All-Americans and 21 individual tournament medalists. Luellen’s coaching accomplishments have earned her several personal coaching honors. After the Sun Devils’ NCAA Championship run in 2009, she was named SkyCaddie NGCA National Coach of the Year. Luellen was also named Pac10 Coach of the Year three times (2006, 2007, 2009). Now the head coach at Auburn, the team made a return trip to the NCAA Regionals and saw their players earn three individual tournament wins. Off the course, Luellen is involved in several charitable projects. She created G.I.V.E.H.O.P.E. (Get Involved Volunteer, Educate, Help Other People Excel) cards that she passes out at tournaments and special events where participants write an inspirational message or quote to Give Hope to others. William Nichols One of if not the first golf professional in the state of Oklahoma was also one of the most accomplished. William Nichols arrived in New York on May 24, 1908, after sailing from William Nichols Glasgow on the SS Caledonia. He was a pro from North Berwick and a frequent foursomes partner of Fred McLeod, the ‘08 U.S. Open champion. Nichols made his way to Oklahoma, which had just achieved statehood in 1907, and began introducing the game. He laid out the original nine-hole course at Tulsa Country Club in ‘08 and also helped open Muskogee Country Club that same year. In 1910, he helped organize and competed in the first Oklahoma Open at TCC, winning it that year and also in ‘11, ‘14, ‘16 and ‘20. He competed in the Western Open in ‘12 and ‘14 and the U.S. Open in ‘14. His career took him to clubs in Dallas in ‘15 and ‘16 before retiring from pro golf in ‘17, regaining his amateur status and returning to Muskogee. As an amateur, Nichols won the OGA State Amateur in 1925 and 1927 and the OGA Senior Amateur in 1939 and 1946. He was a founding member of the OGA and helped created the bylaws, servicing as president 1930-33 and again in 1942. GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

Nichols remained involved with all aspects of golf, helping Perry Maxwell with the re-design of Muskogee Country Club in 1931. He and wife Margaret lived in Muskogee until his death in 1972 at the age of 89. Bill Glasson Bill Glasson was a bit rough around the edges when Bill Brogden convinced him to come from Fresno, Calif., to Oral Roberts University. But his combination of a relentless work ethic and Bill Glasson a take-no-prisoners attitude soon had him outplaying his more celebrated teammates as well as the rest of the nation. After nearly leading the Titans to the 1981 NCAA Championship, Glasson joined the PGA Tour, where he won seven times and led the PGA Tour in driving distance in 1984. His first win came in the 1985 Kemper Open and epitomized his tenacious

attitude. Trailing seven strokes behind the leader Larry Mize with 14 holes to play, Glasson made a 45- f o o t birdie putt on the 18th hole for a round of 66 to finish one stroke ahead of Mize and Corey Pavin. Glasson won a second Kemper Open in 1992. His best finish in a major is a tie for 4th place at the 1995 U.S. Open. Glasson has over 60 top-10 PGA Tour finishes and has earned more than $6.7 million in career earnings. He was featured in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. His most recent win on the Tour was in 1997 at the Las Vegas Invitational. Glasson could have accomplished much more, but the body that looked like Tarzan often felt like he had fallen out of a tree. Glasson has undergone more than 20 surgeries and is still battling health issues today while competing on the Champions Tour. “Bill is the toughest, most competitive guy I’ve ever been around,” Brogden said. “He came to ORU with the least and just willed himself to become a good player. He would play Joey Rassett every day and lose, but he came back the next day determined to beat him.”


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STAT E OF T H E GA M E Sapulpa, Cotton Creek in Glenpool, Lakeside Park in Moore, Hilltop in Porter, Northern Hills in Enid, Riverbend in Chickasha, Rock Creek in Hugo, Silverado in Durant, Wildhorse in Velma and some other venues in small towns. Buffalo Rock Golf & Gun Club in Cushing is currently closed and efforts to sell it are underway after owner David Hough died in an accidental fall at his home. The latest to close was White Hawk Golf Course in Bixby, which was shut down by owner Roger Rodich in February after he said he lost $272,000 in one year of operation since purchasing the course from former majority owner Gerald Pope. And that is without paying himself or some of his family members for work performed that would normally have cost an additional $100,000-plus. Rodich, a homeowner at White Hawk Estates, was prepared for operational losses in his effort to bring the course and restaurant back to standards at the close of a 20-year lease by American Golf, but the owner of a successful office furniture supply company said he wasn’t willing to put his personal or company finances at risk. After a year in which the course drew just over 14,000 rounds when industry analysts point to 30,000 as a benchmark to break even, Rodich quickly moved to switch gears and announced he would be bringing in a developer to convert

Want to buy a golf course? Think again by ken macleod

There are as many ways to structure, manage and operate a golf course as there are golf courses, part of what makes this business of golf unique. In the past we’ve looked at the many organizational structures used by municipalities and their varying degrees of success, from the model structure in place in Oklahoma City to the fluctuating support the City of Tulsa offers its courses at Page Belcher and Mohawk Park. One common thread for municipal courses is that – whether the course is owned and operated by a city, county, the state or a tribe – when times are tough, there is an organization that receives funding from other areas that can help mitigate a bad year or circumstance. It could be a subsidy for operational losses or a bond issue or other revenue measure for capital improvements or to fix weather damage. At privately-owned public courses, that backstop is often dependent on how deep the pockets are of the owner or how willing he or she is to fall into debt when revenues do not match expenses or a major project such as new greens or an irrigation system is needed. Look at the golf courses that have closed of late in Oklahoma and nearly all fit into this category of a privatelyowned public course. Examples include Coffee Creek in Edmond, Silverhorn in Oklahoma City, Scissortail in Catoosa, Eagle Crest in Muskogee, Emerald Falls in Broken Arrow, Clary Fields in



the course into residential lots. “I’m not a golf authority, but in my yearand-a-half of studying everything I could about the industry, I’m convinced that unless you are private and getting year-round dues, or a municipal course getting subsidies when needed, that the business is very, very difficult,” Rodich said. “If we would have had 26,000 rounds, it still would have been a loss, but you would have seen an upward trend. But we weren’t even close to that and there was no upward trend to point to.” Industry analyst Pellucid estimates another 1,000 courses need to close in the United States before the supply and demand reach equilibrium. Many of those will be privately-owned public courses that don’t have a subsidy to rely on. Rodich will likely face opposition in his efforts to develop from some White Hawk Estates homeowners who are worried the loss of the course will affect their home values. At press time, they were examining options to lease or purchase the course from Rodich, have White Hawk and nearby home owner associations potentially subsidize operations through mandatory monthly dues and possible legal challenges to its conversion from golf to housing. Any updates will be posted at www.golfoklahoma.org and on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. White Hawk’s closing leaves Forest Ridge Golf Club in Broken Arrow as the only privately-owned public course remaining in Tulsa County. In contrast to the other failed courses in the area, Forest Ridge just opened a new restaurant and lifestyle center (Page 39). Forest Ridge is a unique property and well equipped to withstand any fluctuations in the golf market. In 30 years, owner and developer Joe Robson has built over 1,000 homes in the community and there is room for many more. It is the rare residential course where the building wasn’t all rushed to completion. The privately-owned residential course, whether public or private, has been a source of great controversy across the country


as many developers put in courses in an effort to help sell lots with no long-term plan for the course beyond that. Developers leave and residents find themselves with a course that doesn’t cash flow and either have to buy it and operate it, hire a management company or allow it to be developed for additional residential units. In the case of Coffee Creek, the members of the home owners association sued the developer who purchased the course from the previous owner with plans to turn the property into a combination of residential and commercial development. The problem with the lawsuit strategy is even if the homeowners were successful in blocking development, they would still have to find someone to purchase the land as a golf course, when previous seller Andy McCormick said he could not get a nibble in over a year of trying. Additionally the purchaser would have to invest in getting the course, clubhouse, maintenance equipment, etc., back in condition – money difficult to recover in today’s climate for golf. All this is not to say that ownership of a public golf course is a futile effort. Michael Henderson purchased the former Fairfax Golf Course in Edmond, made

Forest Ridge expanding with social center, Rocking R Restaurant by ken macleod

Though open to the public, Forest Ridge Golf Club in Broken Arrow is keeping pace with the nation’s top private clubs in terms of amenities for its players and for the home owners in the surrounding residential development. Owner Joe Robson recently unveiled The bistro area in the new Ridge Club, which will serve as a two new venues for social and fitness center for members. one of Oklahoma’s up on the sprawling 18,500 acre ranch in premier golf development communities. He honored his family’s ranching heri- Broken Arrow. It replaces the former Cafe tage with the opening of the Rocking R Savannah. The Rocking R Ranch was a working Ranch House, a completely renovated restaurant specializing in southern comfort cattle ranch when Robson was growing food and utilizing many of the recipes Robson enjoyed as a child while growing See FOREST RIDGE, cont. on p. 41



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STAT E OF T H E GA M E significant improvements and renamed it the Golf Club of Edmond. He purchased it even after all of the surrounding real estate had been sold by the previous owner/developer and said the course is doing well on its own. Henderson’s course is not far from a heavily utilized municipal course. Kickingbird Golf Course, in 1992, registered more than 62,000 rounds. In 2018 the number was close to 43,000, and that still ranks it near the top in the state. Rounds at other courses that once routinely pulled more than 50,000 rounds annually such as LaFortune Park, South Lakes, Lincoln Park East and West and Lake Hefner North and South, are all currently registering between 30,000 and 38,000 rounds, a reflection of many factors, including what many perceive as a lull in golf’s popularity between the baby boomers and the new generation of junior golfers. In Oklahoma, there is also a huge competition for discretionary dollars from the state’s 100-plus casinos and in the last 10 years the Oklahoma City Thunder consistently enjoys sellout crowds but is not a cheap date. Still there is some evidence that golf is bouncing back. “I’m optimistic about the game,” Henderson said. “I’m excited about the direction it’s

heading. Golf is growing at the junior level at unprecedented levels. This new customer is changing the way we teach, operate, and market our facilities. For the facilities that evolve, the future is bright. “ And thanks in part due to the market cor- Michael Henderson, owner of The Golf Club of Edmond, is rection that has taken encouraged by an influx of junior golfers. place, the courses remaining have the chance to benefit if they But it doesn’t account for other privatelyare perceived as golfer friendly and in good owned public golf courses, such as the 72hole bastion of public golf Duffy Martin condition. “I do believe we are getting closer to the created in Guthrie at Cedar Valley and Cipoint of equilibrium – especially close to marron National. Those coursers have surthe large markets of Tulsa and OKC,” Hen- vived and thrived at times by keeping costs derson said. “Most of the courses that are down. You won’t find a bunker that needs having success have found a niche market to be raked at Cedar Valley because Duffy in between the private and municipal of- Martin didn’t build any. Even there, play is 40 percent less than it ferings. These semi-private facilities offer membership options, but also give custom- was in the 1990s. But Marty Colbert, who ers a second option of upscale daily fee golf runs Cimarron National, said play has been without the requirement of an initiation fee picking up steadily since cratering in 2008. “It’s been tough, but we’re starting to get or monthly dues. “ That description would fit Rose Creek in a lot more young players,” Colbert said. Edmond, which is owned by a golf manage- “They are getting off their phones and comment firm out of Houston called Tour 18. puters and outdoors.”

Located in Blanchard, OK ExperienceWinterCreek.com 40



Forest Ridge cont. from page 39 up and is now famous as a refuge for wild mustangs. A good 1,000 acres was carved out as home to the highly-regarded Forest Ridge Golf Club, now 30 years old and surrounded by close to 1,400 homes. Those homeowners and anyone in Broken Arrow or the Tulsa area can enjoy the restaurant and the Ridge Club, a fitness center and social hub that will be the equal of just about any facility, public or private, in the country. The Ridge Club, located about ¼ mile from the clubhouse, is a new 11,000-square foot social epicenter surrounded by six lighted tennis courts, a resort pool, two bocce ball courts, a playground and a sand volleyball court. Inside the building, the second story boasts an extensive fitness center with all manner of exercise equipment and free weights. Stone Creek Spa has a satellite office located there offering massages and spa treatments. The first floor offers lockerrooms, a bistro and a full service bar where seating can be opened up to host special events. Robson stressed that social activities would be emphasized with nights for


games, wine tastings, painting, poker and other activities. Memberships will be available for residents and non-residents alike ranging from $99 to $199 per month. B.T. Wood, the director of operations who came to the club after Sky Fitness in south Tulsa, is excited about his new post. “Very excited,” he said. “We’ll be at the forefront of the new social fitness center movement and there’s really nobody that’s going to be offering what we have.” “When you look at the trends nationally, the social fitness center is what clubs and golf communities are going to,” Robson said. “This one is cutting edge and keeps Forest Ridge up to date. I think it’s something we’ve needed for a while.” Outside the Rocking R Ranch House, the hallways are now lined with photos of the Robson family at work and play on the ranch which was founded by his grandfather Leland Stanford Robson in 1928. “We’ve always had a great golf course,” Robson said. “Our goal was to have a great restaurant with a great golf course. This part of Broken Arrow needs a nice restaurant. There’s enough critical mass out here and we’re excited to open this up to the public. We want this to be a destination

Members will be able to keep fit inside and out at the Ridge Club. restaurant and have the staff and personnel to do it.” Robson said his mother and grandmother were great cooks. “Everything revolved around food. That was the hub of our social life,” Robson said. “We’re going to include a lot of our old family recipes but often with a twist.” In addition, the menu will feature a variety of items, including hand-cut steaks, salads, and monthly specials. The restaurant will continue to serve breakfast and lunch daily and dinner on Wednesday through Saturday evenings.





by john rohde

just a miracle. A lot of people would be upset when they found out they have cancer, but I felt so lucky they found it.” The Humphreys met with urologist Dr. Charles “Chip” McWilliams, who coincidentally is a longtime friend of Craig and his brother, Kirk. The following evening, Sam had emergency surgery to remove his right testicle. “That surgery was tougher than people think,” Sam said. “They go through your abdomen and cut through a lot of muscle.” For two weeks, he rested and allowed the incisions to heal. That was followed by a full month of trying to regain his core strength. “The most important person in all this was my mom (Beverly),” Sam said. “She was my caretaker. That’s hard on someone who already had gone through raising me. She already had to deal with all of that. She was just amazing. I had to call her into the room because I had to sit up or lay back because I couldn’t do it myself.” After the six-week recovery period, he returned to golf and was prepping for the 2018 fall season at UMKC. However, a monthly CAT scan revealed the cancer had spread into the lymph nodes. Instantaneously, rounds of golf were replaced with rounds of chemotherapy. From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. five days a week, Sam would undergo chemo treatments and that would be followed by two weeks off. All this constituted one round and he did this for four rounds, from Aug. 27 to Nov. 2. During chemo, his weight fluctuated from 214 pounds to 238 and back down to 195. In mid-November, tests showed he was cancerfree. “The first week after chemo is awful,” Sam said. “It’s basically like having the flu and being hungover at the same time. I would always try to at least get out and chip or putt. You don’t really feel like it, but getting up and being active definitely helped me get ready for the next round (of chemo). I was thinking about golf all the time. Kind of like one of those motivation things, especially during chemo. I missed my teammates and everything here (UMKC) so much. You don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone. “One of the things I thought about during chemo, it put a lot of things in perspective. My faith got a whole lot stronger. It was interesting to me, as far as all those big golf tournaments go, I would have no clue who won. All these things I had built up in my mind about golf before weren’t as much of a priority at all.” Had the tumor not been traumatized, it

back with team after cancer scare Humphreys hopes to play again this spring for UMKC


am Humphreys now laughs at the thought of being mentally strong enough to overcome adversity on the golf course. “I might not get as upset about a bad shot as I would in the past,” Humphreys said. “I still want to succeed and do well, but it’s just kind of a perspective thing with me now. The way I think about golf definitely has changed.” Cancer has a way of doing that. One of Oklahoma’s elite junior golfers while growing up in Edmond, Humphreys won four straight Class 6A state championship rings (2011-14) as a member of the title factory that is Edmond North High School. Humphreys was consistently prominent in Oklahoma Golf Association events. In the OGA Junior Boys Stroke Play Championship, he won the event in 2010, tied for second in 2012 and tied for fourth in 2013. He also won the 2015 OGA Spring Four-Ball Championship, teaming with Draegen Majors of SMU. Humphreys also enjoyed national success throughout high school. Since then, however, real life has knocked him off his feet more than once. First came a redshirt season in 2014-15 season at the University of Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane had a deep and experienced squad, but no one likes to sit. In mid-March 2016, Humphreys and his teammates were blindsided when the school announced it would shutter the men’s golf 42


program following the spring season in an effort to shave $500,000 off the athletic budget. Not one to hide his feelings, Humphreys shared his thoughts on social media: “It’s a shock and a shame that they are taking all of this away from us and the tradition away from our alumni. It makes me sick,” stated Humphreys, a redshirt freshman at the time. “I know we will all be OK and that God has a plan. Let’s not focus on the ridiculousness of the athletic department, but let’s focus on the tradition and the great times we’ve had here at TU.” Humphreys transferred to the University of Missouri-Kansas City as a redshirt sophomore in 2016-17. The following season, after shaving more than three strokes off his previous fall scoring average, Humphreys established himself as one of the Kangaroos’ top players, posting the team’s second-best round of the season with a 66 and five rounds at or under-par. On June 6, 2018, less than a month after his redshirt junior season at UMKC, Humphreys was back in Oklahoma and leaving the Oak Tree National driving range with his father, WWLS The Sports Animal radio host Craig Humphreys. Rather than bending down to pick up his 9-iron, Sam stepped on the clubface. When he did so, the shaft popped up and the butt of the club struck his right testicle. Two days later, the pain was still there. “I thought to myself, ‘That should hurt for a few minutes or a few hours. That shouldn’t hurt for a few days,’ ” Craig Humphreys said. Sam visited a doctor and had some tests done. Three days later, he competed in the OGA Stroke Play Championship at Tulsa Country Club, where he tied for seventh despite being in pain, on medication and unavoidably distracted by what news his test results might reveal. That’s the last time he played competitive golf. Upon returning from Tulsa, he learned he had testicular cancer. A persistently upbeat Sam Humphreys considers this to be a miracle. “Normally you don’t feel it until the tumor is about 5 centimeters in circumference,” he said. “Mine was like 2.5. The club hit right on the tumor and traumatized it. I mean, that’s


would have taken another 9-12 months of growth before it would have made its presence known. In other words, right around now is when Humphreys would have first discovered he had testicular cancer. “Even at 2.5 centimeters, the cancer still spread to my lymph nodes,” he said. “It probably would have spread who knows where if it had happened now.” If Sam remains cancer-free until next June, there’s a good chance he won the fight. “The two-year mark is the big mark,” Craig said. “If you’re still clear after two years, there’s a very, very small chance it could ever come back. Basically, you’re in the clear.” Last fall, the UMKC golf program introduced the #SamStrong hashtag on Twitter. With constant interaction through social media, Humphreys reached a far bigger audience than he imagined during his recovery. “That was the most surreal part of all of it,” he said. “People say a lot of things they wouldn’t normally tell you. When you have cancer, they feel the need to tell you what you really mean to people. It was really overwhelming. I got texts and calls and tweets and everything from people who I didn’t even know.” What resonates most with Sam are the interactions he had with sports columnist,

under the gun and I haven’t author, and television perplayed in a tournament sonality Skip Bayless of Fox since (OGA State) Stroke Sports 1, an Oklahoma City Play. Just as a competitor, I native and a lifelong friend miss it. I have no clue what of Craig’s. my competition shape is “He would text me evgoing to be like once I come ery single morning and ask back.” how I was doing,” Sam said Though the 23-year-old of Bayless. “He’s up early Humphreys likely would be and knew I was up early. granted a sixth year of colHe’d ask me if I’m staying legiate eligibility if he petistrong and would send me tioned, he instead will opt to Bible verses. He didn’t have give the Adams Tour a try, to take the time to do that followed by qualifying atlike he did. A lot of people tempts with PGA Tour Candid that and that support is ada, PGA Tour Latinoamerithe most important part A thumbs up during chemo cana and PGA Tour China. for someone going through treatments. “That’s the main way treatments. You can’t do it alone. Even the people I don’t know, their now to get on the Web (.com) Tour,” said Sam, who is just two on-line courses short support meant so much.” As of mid-March, Sam had no idea if his of earning his bachelor’s degree in interpergame was tournament ready. Frigid tempera- sonal communications. Sam Humphreys has endured all this, yet tures and snow in Kansas City had allowed him to play just two practice rounds all se- you still can’t smack the smile off his face. “Hey, it’s all good,” he will say, more than mester. “I can’t wait to see where my game is at,” once. “Right now, I’m happier than I’ve ever Sam said, acknowledging the vast difference been. There’s nothing better than being able between playing golf and playing tourna- to do what you love. I’m living life now like ment golf. “You don’t know until you’re I should have died yesterday.”





A Grand adventure Distance, spirits rise in the Rockies

Grand Elk Golf Club by michael cunningham


o matter what level of golfer that you are, we all wish to have longer drives. Continual bombardments of messaging from club and ball manufacturers hyping the many benefits of investing in the “latest and greatest” leaves us overwhelmed as to what is best for our game. Well, I have the answer to what is best for your game, and I can guarantee you more distance – play golf in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. On a recent trip, my friends and I were off to play some of the nation’s highest golf courses – all exceeding 8,000 feet in Colorado’s Grand County and Grand Junction, known as the “Grand.” Our first stop was the eclectic town of Granby. Traveling along Colorado’s Route 40, we reached the summit of 11,315-foot Berthoud Pass and then began our circuitous descent towards this small community with stunning mountain vistas and the mighty Colorado River our constant companions. Granby rests at 7,900 feet above sea level and is located 85 miles northwest of Denver in the valley of the Fraser River. Founded in 1904, the town now boasts a population of 2,500. Best known for its winter activities and close proximity to world-class skiing centers, including Winter Park, the region has become very popular as an all-season destination. With countless hiking and climbing trails, and white water rafting the area is an adventurer’s paradise. Golf enhances the area’s four-seasons reputation with panoramic scenery and majestic landscape. The Grand attracts golfers from 44


around the world wishing to experience golf “on top of the world.” Oklahoma’s mean elevation is 1,300 feet where Colorado’s mean altitude is 6,800 feet - the highest in the nation. The state boasts more than 1,000 peaks over 10,000 feet with 54 towering above 14,000. What does this mean for your golf game? Well, that can depend on weather conditions, but the general rule is that the difference between playing golf in Oklahoma and the higher-elevation courses of Colorado is that a ball can carry 10-20 percent farther due to the thinner atmosphere in Colorado. You will have to master the management of your distance and trajectory of your ball. Also, you will need to prepare yourself for the thinner atmosphere as overexerting, especially on the first days, can cause fatigue. I am not saying give up your beer or caffeinated beverage, but certainly, drink more water and acclimatize yourself at least a day in advance as you are in for a memorable golf experience. There are numerous courses in the area, but four that should definitely be played: Granby Ranch Golf Club was an excellent way to start our four days of “elevated” golf. At 8,100 feet, this course is consistently ranked as one of the state’s most beautiful public courses. It was the Nicklaus Design Group who reworked the rolling landscape into what Golf Advisor rated as the 10th-best course in Colorado. With the Fraser River running through the property and the majestic Rocky Mountains seeable on every hole, this 7,190-yard layout provides a variety of tee boxes and excellent value as Blue Grass fairways and Bent grass greens are perfectly groomed.

The following day, we ascended towards the Grand Lake Golf Club. At 8,500 feet, it was once the highest golf course in the nation, and there are tee boxes where you feel that you are “on top” of the world. Not long in length at 6,500 yards, the slope of 130 shows that this course can be a challenge. Stands of aspens and lodge pole pines protect well-manicured fairways and greens that tempt you to “go for it.” The course offers excellent value and it too is rated as one of the region’s best public courses. Another enjoyable course to play is Colorado’s first “heathland” style course, Grand Elk Golf Club. Many holes have the feel of the British Isles with its low-lying vegetation and rolling terrain, however, with the surrounding splendor of the Rockies -- this is definitely Colorado. Designed originally as a private four-season club, it is now open to the public. Designed by Craig Stadler and Tripp Dav of Norman, at 7,200 yards it was recognized by Golfweek as the 24th-best new golf course in the country following its opening in 2005. The clubhouse and practice facilities were created for an exclusive membership, but now the public is more than welcome. It is a great Grand County golf course, as its scorecard states, “This is not your typical mountain course.” By our fourth day, our group was much more confident with our ball flight and shot strategy as we approached Pole Creek Golf Club, at 8,600 feet above sea level. Located 15 minutes from Granby, the course features 27 holes. Each nine – The Meadows, Ranch and Ridge – showcase ample fairways and large greens, but the similarities stop there as each nine is distinctive in the way every GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

hole is set up. From sagebrush to meadows, lakes and trees, dramatic tee boxes and multiple elevation changes. Pole Creek is another golfing jewel. We were up early the following morning to catch a train from Granby to Grand Junction, in the state’s southwest corner. The light of the locomotive can be seen from a mile away. Coming to rest, we load our golf gear and board our designated passenger car. Amtrak’s Zephyr has journeyed from Chicago on its way to San Francisco with many stops in between. There is a feeling of nostalgia as we take our seats aboard this comfortable means of travel. For $29, this less than five-hour journey will take us along the upper banks of the historic Colorado River in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, perhaps one of America’s most scenic rail lines. As fly fisherman cast their rods below, we venture to the domed observation car to witness scenic wonders above and beyond. After we descended close to 300 feet and stepped off the train, we could feel the warmth from the lower elevation. Grand


Pole Creek, spectacular at 8,600 feet.

stunning and award winning, The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa, considered by Golfweek as the “No. 1 Golf Course You Can Play in Colorado.” The course is dramatic as red rock formations provide extreme contrast to the stunning green of meandering fairways. With a slope of 135, there is plenty of trouble, desert sands, rocky crags and strategic water hazards. At 4,600 feet above sea level, our length was not as it had been 4,000 feet above, causing some consternation attempting to avoid putting a ball into a hazard. You should definitely bring your camera to this course. As our weeklong adventure came to an end, we decided to visit Grand Junction’s municipal course, Tiara Rado. This Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary course is home to a variety of wildlife. Casual and friendly and at only 4,500 feet, we actually felt invigorated walking the course.

Junction is a charming town. Main Street is lined with trees and flowers and features one of the nation’s largest outdoor sculpture collections. Restaurants, many featuring outdoor patios, and trendy as well as traditional shops provide a casual and inviting atmosphere. The area is internationally recognized for its exceptional hiking. Colorado’s National Monument Park is a must visit. Now burgeoning wine and craft beer industries are Michael Cunningham is a golf and travel writadding to the allure of this region. But don’t forget golf as the area is blessed with a vari- er/broadcaster who travels the world exploring memorable golf destinations. www.golfandtravety of distinct options. Located very close to Grand Junction is the elwriter.com



2 0 1 9 ncaa Preview

Viktor Hovland

Matthew Wolff

Riley Casey

Gearing up for NCAA Bedlam


by ken macleod


arring injury, there is no doubt about Oklahoma State coach Alan Bratton’s starting lineup for the 2019 NCAA Championship at The Blessings. Viktor Hovland, Matthew Wolff, Austin Eckroat, Hayden Wood and Zach Bauchou have dominated the collegiate landscape the past two years. Hovland and Wood are locked in a battle for Player of the Year, Eckroat has a win and three other top-10s, Wood has four top-10s and Bauchou has been in the top 20 six times, including a tie for second. Things are not as certain for the 2017 NCAA champion Oklahoma Sooners. Two mainstays of the past two seasons, Brad Dalke and Blaine Hale, were trying to battle their way back into the lineup in early April after going through lulls in their game. Uber- talented freshman Logan McAllister was also working on swing changes and could make a


who has developed into one of the top collate push. As the result of all that flux, Patrick legians in the country. Garret Reband and Welch and Thomas Johnson stepped into Riley Casey each had three top-10 finishes the lineup and the Sooners won the presti- by the end of March. No matter who starts, the Sooners are gious Southern Highlands Collegiate in Las hoping they can play their way into a Vegas against an elite 15-team field. This Sooner team is deep. OIU coach match play duel with the Cowboys. It Ryan Hybl is faced with the same difficult failed to materialize in 2018 as OU lost in choice Bratton was as post-season neared the first round to Auburn. “That was our fault,” Hybl said. “We had a year ago, deciding which talented players to leave home when the Big 12 Cham- everybody geared up for a big-time match. We pionship (April 26-28) and NCAA Regionals are held prior to the NCAA Championship on May 24-29 at The Blessings. “We recruit for depth,” Hybl said. “So this is the normal process. From a competitive standpoint, this will just make all of our guys that much better as they learn from each other and compete with each other.” Definitely in the OU lineup will be ju- The Cowboys have had the individual medalist in their first nior Quade Cummins, eight stroke play events of 2019. GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

2019 GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS prepared when regional assignments are same way.” The Cowboys have literally won handed out and making certain to be one just about everything this year as of the 30 teams that advances to the NCAA well, at least through this writing in Championship. Five teams in each of five late March. Wolff had won five indi- regionals will advance. “For all of these teams, it’s a one-week vidual events, Hovland three (they tied in one) and Eckroat the other year,” McMakin said. “Welcome to our of the eight stroke-play events. As a world, but we’ll be ready for that.” McMakin noted that in one previous reteam, however, OSU had won four of nine events and didn’t fare well in the gional held at The Blessings prior to major Big 12 Match Play Championship in changes, Illinois won at 1-under as a team, the fall. The vagaries of match play on but the fifth-place team was 35-over. “It’s going to be a great championship a difficult course on which the Cowboys have little experience also leaves week,” he said. “You’re going to see some good scores and you’re going to see some the outcome in doubt. Arkansas, with two Oklahomans people struggle. “ in its starting five, including Mason Overstreet and OSU transfer Tyson Reeder, will have the home course The Blessings, Johnson, Ark advantage at The Blessings and MEN WOMEN could be a dangerous match-play Stroke Play May 24-27 May 17-22 opponent. However, Match Play May 28-29 Stroke Play May 17-20. coach Brad McMakin’s Razorbacks struggled Par: 72, Yardage TBA Match Play May 21-22 in early spring, finishing no better than sevTICKETS: enth in their first four Underwritten, no charge events and 14th of 15 PARKING AND HOTELS: teams at the Valspar See details at arkansasrazorbacks.com/ncaagolf19/ Invitational. TELEVISION COVERAGE: For Arkansas as well as OSU and OU, it’s all Golf Channel, details TBA about being ready and



Garett Reband wanted that and it would have been a beautiful setup with the television show (Driven) and all. But maybe this will be the year. We’re hoping we have that opportunity.” On the other hand, Hybl concedes the Cowboys of 2018 and the 2019 version are “two of the better squads we’ve ever had in college golf. What they did last year was not only win just about everything they played in, but then make it to match play and go ahead and win it. If you don’t win the match play, you’re not remembered the

Milligan, Sooners hope for deep NCAA run by ken macleod

Which of the four state Division I women’s golf programs will be at The Blessings in Northwest Arkansas for the 2019 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship? Of the four, the University of Oklahoma would seem to be a fairly safe bet heading into postseason action, beginning with the Big 12 Women’s Championship April 14-16 at The Golf Club of Oklahoma in Broken Arrow. Led by Kaitlyn Milligan of Norman as well as freshman Libby Winans and steady senior Julienne Soo, the Sooners have finished in the top six in all but one event through March. Oklahoma State, which last year lost star Maddie McCrary at the semester break


when she turned professional, this year least earn an opportunity to compete in a regional. TU needs continued depicked up strength as three golfers became velopment from its young eligible. A very young squad had quite squad of freshmen the learning experience in the fall Shaelee Scarberry, and but with Lianna Bailey of LeicesSammy Liu along ter, England, Han-Husan Yu of with sophomore Taiwan and Sara Camarena Taylor Dobson and of Mexico City gaining their senior Johana Sameligibility at semester break, uelsson. the Cowgirls won in a spring Tseng has won an break trip to Hawaii and event and finished in have some hope of making the top five in five of the 30-team field after the diseight tournaments. appointment of missing by a shot Oral Roberts is an unlikethe chance to compete on their home course Karsten Creek in 2018. Kaitlyn Milligan ly participant in regional play but has found a rising The University of Tulsa found a star in freshman Lorena Tseng and could at star in freshman Sarah Bell.





Quade Cummins during the first round of The Goodwin at the Stanford Golf Course in Stanford, Calif.

OU's Cummins feels right at home by john rohde

thing before anyone else did.” mitted to the Sooners following his sophoAfter making a recruiting trip to OU, more year in high school. y his own choice, Quade CumBecause Cummins competed inside the mins opted to compete only in Cummins promptly cancelled his planned Oklahoma as a junior golfer. He visit to Oklahoma State and orally com- state only, there was an unknown variable didn’t venture outside state lines until he finished high school. “I just didn’t really want to, honestly,” Cummins said. “I felt comfortable in Oklahoma. I didn’t really want to leave.” Cummins certainly excelled inside his comfort zone, becoming a two-time Class 4A state medalist at Weatherford High School with individual titles in 2013 and ‘15 and a two-time regional champion in ‘14 and ‘15. He also was the 2011 OGA Junior Boys champion and claimed the 2016 OGA State Amateur Championship. Oklahoma coach Ryan Hybl wasn’t about to let one of the state’s finest escape elsewhere. “Coach Hybl started watching me first,” Cummins said. “He obviously saw some- Cummins and teammates celebrate the 2018 Big 12 Championship at Southern Hills.





on how he would fare nationally. Hybl was forced to evaluate Cummins solely on his local achievements rather than as a junior golfer in national events. “His achievements inside the state were strong, but you didn’t know how it necessarily would translate,” Hybl said. “You never know with these guys until they step foot on campus.” Cummins’ skills eventually would translate just fine, but he needed some time. “Within the first month – and I never do this – I sat him down and told him I thought we needed to redshirt him,” Hybl said of Cummins. “It was almost like the biggest relief came off of his shoulders because he knew he wasn’t ready. I knew he could (team) qualify for a tournament or two, but I didn’t think he was ready to play big-time golf week after week. I didn’t want to waste that moment with him. He handled his redshirt year beautifully.” Although redshirt seasons can be demoralizing, Cummins said he was on board with the decision from the outset. “I knew I wasn’t really good enough to play,” Cummins said. “I came in with some really good players (Brad Dalke, Blaine Hale and Thomas Johnson) and they were all better than me. I just needed to get better.” Cummins has since become a 6-foot-3, 23-year-old redshirt junior and Palmer Cup team member who excels both as a player and leader. “It’s been a beautiful ride with him,” Hybl said of Cummins. “He’s the ultimate team guy. We all feed off Quade.” To help Cummins find more consistency, Hybl had him switch from playing a sweeping draw to a controlled fade. “It actually wasn’t that tough,” Cummins said of making the change. “Coach Hybl worked with me quite a bit on it. He hits a fade himself, so he taught me, which was great.” Six months after switching to a fade, Cummins chose to work with instructor Ryan Rody, who served as Director of Golf at Gaillardia Country Club for five years before becoming Director of Instruction at Southern Hills in April. Rody previously had worked with former OU standout Will Kropp. “Ryan Rody has done a masterful job with him,” Hybl said. “Quade has something to depend on (in his swing), that’s why he’s become such a big-time player. There were a lot of missing pieces with his swing before. He knew how to play golf and shoot low scores, but it wasn’t really dependable. He knows how to get around a GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

Austin Eckroat enjoys the competition among his Cowboy teammates.

Eckroat making bid to stand out on his own by ken macleod

Rory McIlroy credited his putting sessions with Brad Faxon as a huge reason for his improved confidence on the greens, leading to his great start to 2019, including his victory in The Players Championship. McIlroy is not the only one the former three-time PGA Tour putting leader has been helping. Oklahoma State sophomore Austin Eckroat met Faxon when he was shooting rounds of 66-66 to set the low qualifying record at the 2017 U.S. Junior Championship. Eckroat ended up losing a quarterfinal match to future teammate Matthew Wolff, not the last time he would be eclipsed by the Californian. Faxon invited Eckroat to come spend a day with him in Florida if he ever felt the need to reinforce a positive attitude on the greens. Faxon has always credited his success to the belief that each putt is going in

the hole. Eckroat took it upon himself to visit Faxon in Florida over Christmas break. “I just thought it was about time to give it a try,” Eckroat said. “He really just tries to reinforce things, make putting fun and keep you in an athletic stance. It wasn’t any drastic changes or anything crazy. He’s just a super cool guy and really fun.” Aided by a renewed confidence on the greens, Eckroat shot rounds of 69-63-67 to win the Querencia Cabo Collegiate by two shots over Wolff. It gave him four topseven finishes in five events, a torrid streak that would be cause for massive hype at most schools. At OSU, however, when teammates Wolff and Viktor Hovland are locked in a battle for Player of the Year honors when not off playing on the PGA Tour or, in Hovland’s case – the Masters, it’s hard to get noticed. Wolff has won five times in the 2018-19

See ECKROAT, cont. on page 51 W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


2019 GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS golf course now, even when he’s not hitting it well.” Cummins and Rody have since formed a bond that remains intact through endless contact, which has included Cummins forwarding video of his swing to Rody at 9:30 p.m. “He’s one of those guys who will do absolutely whatever it takes,” Rody said of Cummins. “He’s going to hit as many balls and practice as much as he can. He’ll send me videos of him hitting balls at night when it’s dark in the (Charlie Coe) Learning Center. I’ve never had any student that I taught do that.” One of the more flattering moments for Cummins came when the Sooners won the 2017 NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Though Cummins didn’t crack the starting lineup, he made the trip as OU’s sixth man. “One of the main reasons I brought him is he’s such a team guy,” Hybl said. “Whether he played or not, I knew he would help us get to the level we needed to get to because the guys love him so much. He can bring an entire room up to a whole new level.” Cummins said of that experience: “I was there to watch and learn how those



guys played the golf course and how they handled themselves. I needed to learn all that stuff, doing things the right way. They never got nervous when it came down to it. I think it’s helped me a lot being able to watch that.” Nowadays, all eyes are on Cummins, who has shaved three full strokes off his scoring average in his three years of competition. “Last year, he really turned into a beast for Quade Cummins won the prestigious Sun Bowl in El Paso. us,” Hybl said. “He’s made that big of a transition to his new to me. Then Brad made the team and game. When he’s playing well, he can win I thought that would be pretty cool to be almost any golf tournament. He doesn’t on that team.” What impresses Rody most is Cummins backdoor his way into the Top 15. When he’s playing well, it’s always with really refuses to be satisfied. “The patience factor with him is so good performances and that’s a sign of a cool,” Rody said. “He’ll finish seventh in big-time player.” Last November, Cummins finished sec- a tournament and rather than say, ‘Hey, ond in the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic in it was awesome,’ he’ll say, ‘We’re getting closer.’ He’s not satisfied with seventh. He Lahaina, Hawaii. In early March, Cummins drained a 20- wants to take it to that next level. “Plus, he always says ‘we,’ which is foot birdie putt on the final hole to give OU the Southern Highlands Collegiate kind of cool. He’s worked really hard and title in Las Vegas, where an elite 15-team had steady improvement over the last two field featured five teams ranked in the Top years, and now he’s re-set some higher goals. He’s been really impressive. He 10 and eight in the Top 25. It marked the Sooners’ 23rd tournament has a great, long-term vision of where he victory in 10 seasons under Hybl, who re- wants to go. He understands that it’s not a ferred to Cummins’ title-clinching putt as quick-fix. He’s willing to put in the time.” Cummins’ work habits captivate those “legendary.” The next day, Cummins was selected who work alongside him. “His work ethic is awesome, but it’s reto compete for Team USA in this year’s Palmer Cup to be held June 7-9 at the Alo- ally his ‘want-to’ that is so high,” Hybl tian Club in Roland, Ark. In 2018, Dalke said of Cummins. “He wants it more played for Team USA, which was coached than everybody, in my opinion. I’ve been by Hybl in a victory over the International around a lot of big-time players in my life and with Quade, it almost feels like team. “The Palmer Cup is a sweet spot for him he missed out early in his life because he because he’s such a team guy,” Hybl said of didn’t get to experience all of the things Cummins. “He’s going to have a great time.” a lot of other junior players got to experiPretty heady stuff for someone naïve to ence traveling all over the place. It’s like he’s trying to make up for it every day. He such things upon his arrival at OU. “When I first got to college, I had no loves to come out and learn. Every day is a idea what any of this stuff was,” Cum- new challenge for him. He’s trying to inmins said of the Palmer Cup. “It was all crease his skill set every single day.” GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

Eckroat, continued from 49 season. Hovland has won three times and not finished lower than eighth in six events. A Cowboy has placed first individually in every one of the team’s eight tournaments. Brad McMakin, coach of host school Arkansas of the 2019 NCAA Championship at The Blessings, says this OSU squad is the best he’s seen in 25 years of college coaching. Eckroat prefers to win himself. He grew up doing a lot of that at Edmond North, where he was the Class 6A medalist as a freshman and a senior and won 15 times overall. Yet he is happy whenever one of his teammates comes out on top. “We’re all happy when one of us wins, but you definitely want to be the one,” Eckroat said. “As long as I’m beating Matt or Hovey, you know you’ll be near the lead. It makes it fun to go play every day and test your skills against them.” Eckroat earned a starting spot on the deep 2018 national championship team as a freshman, edging out talented and pedigreed players such as Sam Stevens, Nick Heinen, Brendon Jelley and Stratton Nolen. This year’s starting five is set in stone, with Hayden Wood and Zach Bauchou joining

Eckroat, Hovland and Wolff. “I really believe this year’s team is better and that every player has gotten better,” said Eckroat, who proudly lifted the NCAA championship trophy at Gallagher-Iba Arena when the title banner was displayed in early March. Besides becoming the first OSU team to repeat as national champions, Eckroat wants to earn a spot on the U.S. Walker Cup team this summer. He is likely the only one of the five OSU starters that will be back in 201920, as Wood and Bauchou are seniors and Hovland and Wolff are projected to turn professional, although no firm announcement has been made. Team leader is a role Cowboy coach Alan Bratton expects Eckroat to assume with no problems. “He’s on a solid improvement trajectory and I hope he takes over this year,” Bratton said. “He’s growing into that role nicely. He’s a good driver of the ball and his swagger or belief in himself is a big part of who he is. He’s a very solid middle and short putt putter and thrives in the moment. You put him on a big stage and he takes off.” There will be plenty of those coming up shortly.

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The Blessings, equally beautiful and demanding.

The Blessings will separate field quickly by ken mac leod

at The Blessings before beginning the deeyond the one allotted practice fense of their NCAA Championship. round, no member of the defendThat is a bit unusual, considering the ing champion Oklahoma State proximity of the northwest Arkansas Cowboys will have played a single round course to Oklahoma, the fact that it is


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rated as one of the most difficult in the nation and that it has hosted events on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. OSU coach Alan Bratton is confident his players will learn what they need to know in that round. Arkansas coach Brad McMakin, whose team plays and enjoys incredible practice facilities at The Blessings, says it’s a course that will quickly separate the teams playing well from those that are not. “If the greens are firm and fast and the zoysia fairways are firm, you’ll see a lot of separation between the teams,” McMakin said. “You can shoot a really bad score out here if you’re not playing well. And it can turn in a hurry. It should definitely be an advantage for us, especially if we get two or three wind directions during the tournament, teams won’t know which clubs to hit or which lines to take off the tee.” Tom Jones, who ran both Karsten Creek and The Blessings (2005-13) as general manager before his present role as president and chief operating officer of Oak Tree National, said the last two NCAA Championship sites are equally hard, but with a significant difference. “With Karsten Creek, it’s all out there in front of you,” Jones said. “The Blessings is a mystery. You’re saying, what is going on here? What is the architect asking me to do? It’s confusing, and that adds difficulty. You know at Karsten Creek when you hit a good shot it’s a good shot. At The Blessings, you may think you’ve hit a GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

great shot and get up there and you’re dead.” Many of the holes Jones knew, however, have changed significantly since he left in 2013. The course last year completed a major renovation that included discarding the original downhill first hole, changing two par-5s to long par4s, moving and rebuilding five other greens and rerouting the course to shorten the walk by nearly a mile among other changes. It remains a par-72, but has been stretched to 7,900 yards, longest of any host course for the NCAA Championship. A recent routing change made the walk shorter, but the course longer, up to 7,900 yards. The green on what used to be the tight, uphill par-4 11th hole, now No. 9, was moved forward tect’s job is to give you things to look at bers have been hitting off portable grass and lowered while 3,000 truckloads of and there is plenty to catch your eye and mats throughout the spring to eliminate fill raised the fairway to make it a more distract you. It’s very fair, but you really divots and only portions of the course level hole and a risk-reward driveable par need to pay attention to your line of play.” were open at a time from 2017 until the Barring any significant spring storm fall of 2018. A huge flood event in the 4. The new first hole shares part of its fairway with No. 18 and moving spectators damage, the course should be in magnifi- spring of 2017 set the renovation back sevsafely through the corridor will require cent shape for the championships. Mem- eral months. planning. All the bunkers were reworked with a more natural look and new Capillary Concrete liners. Architect Kyle Phillips of California oversaw the changes, with input from owner John Tyson. Tyson also had major input when the course was originally designed by architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., and initially received a course rating of 155, the highest slope rating allowed, on both of its back two sets of tees. Although it was softened somewhat over time, the recent changes have not made it easier for the better players such as those competing in the NCAA fields. “After the project it’s more playable in some areas for the member play, but for the championship golfer it’s not easier,” said Richard Cromwell, the general manager and COO since 2014. The NCAA will not set it up at its full length, but there will be a premium on driving and accurate iron play. The Cavalier zoysia fairways tend to run more than other zoysia varieties and balls hit off line won’t stop until they find a home in rough or worse, often the dreaded “Arkansas hay.” “It will be a tough challenge for everybody,” Cromwell said. “It can be intimidating when you first play it. The archiGOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019




2 019 O k l a h o m a H i g h S c h o o l STATE GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS Boys, May 6-7

Class Course


tops in elite class by scott wright

6A 5A 4A 3A 2A

Girls, May 1-2

Class Course 6A 5A 4A 3A 2A

William McDonald of Heritage Hall is bound for Arkansas. Another in-state pickup for OU coach Ryan Hybl, Dowell is the reigning 3A state champion thanks in part to a second-round 63 at Jaxson Dowell Trosper Golf Course in BOYS TOP 10 Oklahoma City. Like 1. William McDonald, Heritage Hall Jaxon Dowell McDonald, he also postThe Class 4A state runner-up a year ago, McDonald led Heritage ed all scores of 70 or below on the OJGT Hall to the team title at schedule last year. 4. James Roller, Regent Buffalo Rock Golf Club Prep in Cushing. The ArkanNow a junior, Roller sas signee led the OJGT staked his claim as the in stroke average last 2A state champ last year. year. He never posted a He posted a first-round score above 70 and fin65, but found himself a William McDonald ished with an average shot down after the secof 67.25. ond round before ral2. Andrew Goodman, Christian HeriJames Roller lying for the one-shot tage Only a sophomore, victory. His team’s title — the school’s Goodman has verbally first team championship in a boys sport — wasn’t as close, posting a committed to Okla41-shot victory over Linhoma and established coln Christian. himself as a top-100 5. Jack Glenn, Stillwaplayer nationally with a ter good run on the AJGA A mainstay in the PioTour last summer. That Andrew Goodman includes a victory at the neer lineup during his career, Glenn has played Under Armour/Jordan Spieth Championwell since last season, ship and a runner-up finish at the Bass Pro Jack Glenn with a 71.3 stroke avShops/Payne Stewart Junior. He was the erage on the OJGT schedule and an AJGA Class 3A state runner-up last year. win at the Kansas Junior last June. He bird3. Jaxon Dowell, Oklahoma Christian Oklahoma’s high school state championships are set to be held during the first two weeks of May. Here’s a look at the top-10 boys and girls golfers this season, as well as several others to watch:



Rose Creek Golf Club Lawton Country Club Dornick Hills Country Club Tulsa Country Club Trosper Golf Course

Earlywine North Course Lincoln Park West Course Lake Hefner South Course Westwood Golf Course Aqua Canyon Golf Course


Edmond Lawton Ardmore Tulsa Oklahoma City


Oklahoma City Oklahoma City Oklahoma City Norman Guthrie

ied the final hole for a 54-hole total of 1-underpar 215 and a one-shot victory. 6. Jordan Wilson, Edmond North Was the second-round leader and fourth-place finisher at the 6A state Jordan Wilson tournament last year as a freshman, Wilson is the next young star in line for the dominant Huskies program. He shot a 64 in an OJGT event last summer, which was tied for the low round on the circuit. 7. Luke Morgan, Guthrie In leading Guthrie to the 5A state title last year, Morgan finished tied for third individually. Since then, he has Luke Morgan posted three top-25 finishes on the AJGA Tour, including a thirdplace finish at the Kansas Junior. 8. Davis Woodliff, Bishop Kelley Bound for Samford University, Woodliff was the 5A runner-up a season ago and had a strong summer on the AJGA circuit. He placed 14th or better in his last Davis Woodliff three AJGA appearances, taking third at the Tulsa Junior. GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

9. Logan Brooks, Berryhill Brooks was the fourth-place finisher in 3A last year, behind two of the top-three players on this list — Dowell and Goodman — plus current OU Sooner Logan McCallister. He won twice and finished fifth Logan Brooks in OJGT points last year. 10. Christian McAllister, Putnam City McAllister, who has signed with Central Oklahoma, has played some of his best golf in OJGT events, with a tie for first in the John ConChristian McAllister rad Spring Challenge in March, and a third-place finish at Muskogee Country Club — where he won last year. OTHERS TO WATCH Charlie Jackson, Norman North Zane Heusel, Edmond Memorial William Sides, Cascia Hall Parker Rose, Stigler Gabe Replogle, Broken Arrow Eric Schuessler, Stillwater Said Powers, Oklahoma Christian School Buddy Wehrli, Victory Christian Jake Hopper, Norman North Max Roberts, Ada HS GIRLS 1. Taylor Towers, Rejoice Christian In her high school career, Towers was the Class 2A runner-up as a freshman and 3A champion as a sophomore, then tied for third in the rain-shortened 3A tournament last year, though she was within striking distance, just two shots back of winTaylor Towers ner ShaeBug Scarberry of Purcell. Towers, who signed with Missouri State, had a win and was second in OJGT points in 2018. 2. Raychel Nelke, Pocola The next young star in Oklahoma girls golf, Nelke won the club championship at HardRaychel Nelke scrabble Country Club in Fort Smith, Ark., when she was only 11. Now a freshman at Pocola, she’s coming GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

off a year in which she won junior tournaments in Oklahoma and Arkansas, and competed nationally. 3. Sydney Hermann, Ponca City A top-10 finisher at state last year, Hermann had a win and a third-place OJGT finish last year, coming in with a stroke average of 72.8, good for second-best on the tour. 4. Emma Shelley, Bartlesville Bound for Central Sydney Hermann Oklahoma, Shelley won the Girls Junior PGA qualifier at Battle Creek Golf Club in Broken Arrow last summer, to go with an OJGT win, following up a seventhplace finish at the 6A state tournament. Emma Shelley 5. Alyssa Wilson, Yukon An Oklahoma Christian signee, Wilson had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2017 and hopes to return to that level again, when she posted a top-five finish Alyssa Wilson at the 6A state tournament. She was sixth in OJGT stroke average at 75.6 last year. 6. Jenni Roller, Regent Prep Another talented player from the Roller family, Jenni is getting her Jenni Roller first crack at high school competition this spring as a freshman. She won an OJGT event last spring and earned a spot in the Girls Junior PGA Championship. 7. Maddi Kamas, Kingfisher The sixth-place finisher at the 3A state tournament a year ago, Kamas Maddi Kamass led the OJGT in points last season, and was fifth in stroke average, including the low round on the tour with a 65. As much potential as any player in state. 8. Adeline Norton, Plainview Picking up the mantle for perennially talented Plainview, Norton had Adeline Norton

a sixth-place finish at the 4A state tournament last year to help her team to the crown. The Oklahoma City University signee also had a top-10 OJGT stroke average. 9. Lilly Whitley, Edmond Memorial Whitley won five tournaments as a freshman last season before dipping to 14th at the 6A state tournament. She had top-10 finishes in the first two spring OJGT events. 10. Blayne Barker, Durant The Oklahoma City Lilly Whitley University signee got off to a strong start with a win and third-place finish in the first two OJGT events of the spring. She is hoping to improve on her seventh-place finish at the 5A state tournament a year ago. Blayne Barker

OTHERS TO WATCH Mika Ramos, Bishop Kelley Jordan Clayborn, Hilldale Reagan Chaney, Plainview Megan Brown, Cordell Brooklyn Bostick, Duncan Grace Griggs, Edmond North Hallie Schultz, Plainview Brooklyn Benn, Oklahoma Christian School Maisie Liddell, Dickson Emily Miller, Edmond North

Taylor Towers of Rejoice Christian. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


top 10 small college

Cody Burrows

Rhett Bechtel

State college talent abundant though he’s been a mainstay in the SNU lineup since arriving on campus. As a junior, he had five finishes in the top eight or better, and ended his season tied for 28th at his regional. Cody Burrows, Oral Roberts The senior from Chickasha has been a three-time All-Summit League honoree, including being named the SL’s Golfer of the Year as a sophomore. He has been ORU’s stroke average leader in each of those three seasons as well. He had three top-seven finishes in the fall. MEN Rhett Bechtel, Southern Nazarene Kason Cook, Southwestern Having come from tiny Hydro, just A product of Edmond North, Bechtel earned his first college victory a few miles east of the Southwestern at the Houston Classic in February, campus, Cook was a small-school star Oklahoma and Oklahoma State golfers get plenty of attention — in some cases, on a national level — but they’re not the only talented college players in the state. Setting aside the state’s Big 12 programs, let’s take a look at 10 college golfers at other Oklahoma schools, five men and five women, who have proven themselves worthy of recognition. This list could easily be twice as long.

Gloria Choi 56


in the high school ranks, and he immediately inserted himself into the Bulldog lineup. Now a junior, Cook has finished in the top 10 at the Great American Conference championship each of his first two seasons, including a tie for third last year. Zach James, Southeastern Originally from Whitesboro, Texas, James had a dominant fall performance to kick off his senior year. He won three consecutive tournaments, bookended by a pair of runner-up finishes in Southeastern’s five fall events with a scoring average just under 70. He won again this spring and had three wins as a junior and finished

Kate Goodwin GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

Kason Cook tied for 26th at the NCAA Division II championships. Blake Murray, Central Oklahoma Another former high school star of the small-town level, Murray was a two-time state champ at Mooreland. He began his college career at Oklahoma City University and sat out last season after transferring to UCO. Murray closed the fall season with a pair of top-three finishes. WOMEN Gloria Choi, Southwestern The Canadian senior, originally from Langley, British Columbia, picked up a victor y in March, following up her impressive junior season in which she had seven top-10 finishes. She has finished in the top five in each of her three previous appearances at the Great American Conference Championships and has


Zach James been in the top 25 the last two years at the NCA A Division II Central Regional. Kate Goodwin, Oklahoma Christian Already with a tournament victory this year, Goodwin won her super-regional last spring to qualify for the NCAA Division II Championships to cap a season in which she had four top-five finishes. A former Class 2A state champion from Riverfield Country Day School in Tulsa, Goodwin has the only tournament holein-one in Oklahoma Christian women’s golf history. Ebba Moberg, Northeastern The senior from Sundsvall, Sweden, has been a WGCA All-Region selection and All-MIAA first-team pick each of her first three years. Though she hasn’t qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships since her freshman year, she got off to quite a start in the fall, finishing outside

Lorena Tseng

Blake Murray the top seven only once in five events. Lorena Tseng, Tulsa The Taiwanese freshman exploded onto the scene with top-10 finishes in her first four college tournaments. That included a victory at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown with a 13-under-par 203, the best 54-hole individual total in school history. She posted a stroke average of 71.3 over 15 rounds in the fall and has started her first spring season equally strong. Jess Whitting, Rogers State The Australian made RSU women’s golf history last year as a freshman when she was named an All-American by the WGCA, becoming the first player in the young program to receive that honor. A native of Perth, Whitting picked up two victories in her freshman season, to go with six more top-five finishes. She has a pair of top-10s this spring.




Maxwell devotees form society Exactly 100 years after beginning his career, the Perry Maxwell Society has formed to honor the great legacy of golf architecture he left behind. As a young man, Colton Craig Maxwell moved to Oklahoma and worked as a banker in Ardmore. Maxwell was a great tennis player, but his body was beginning to deteriorate in his early 30s. His wife recognized this and showed him a magazine with the National Golf Links of America photographed in 1913. For longevity, she encouraged him to take up the game of golf. After traveling to Long Island and meeting with C. B. McDonald (“Father of American Golf Architecture”), Maxwell returned to his Ardmore dairy farm to build the first four holes of what today is Dornick Hills Country Club. In the years following, his wife encouraged him to build golf courses for other communities, knowing golf architecture was his true passion, but Maxwell resisted and continued as a banker. In 1919, his wife died and at the age of 33, Maxwell decided he would take her advice and quit the banking industry. Dubbed the “Father of Oklahoma Golf,” Maxwell had one of the greatest careers in the history of golf architecture. Maxwell’s timeless designs live on today and are studied by today’s architects as treasured archaeology. Golden Age peers such as Alister MacKenzie, Donald Ross and Walter Travis all have societies dedicated to their legacies. Consequently, it felt incomplete for a Perry Maxwell Society not to exist. Membership: By joining, you will receive a welcome letter, inventions to all society events, quarterly newsletters, access to publish writings in the “Library,” membership directory, and someday access to the “Duke’s Dwellings” (see below). Events: The first society event on June 1 will appropriately be held at Maxwell’s first design, Dornick Hills.. A presentation will be given on the history of the property followed by a round of golf on the storied course. Maxwell visited Scotland in 1923 to study the great, ancient golf courses. In 2023, the Perry Maxwell Society is planning a similar pilgrimage to seek the same 58


answers to the questions Maxwell was Jones Sr., Charles Blair Macdonald, Alister MacKenzie, Old Tom Morris, Willie Park asking 100 years ago. Masters of Maxwell: The Master of Jr., Donald Ross, A. W. Tillinghast and Maxwell is an inter-club tournament Walter Travis are all golf course architects where every Maxwell-designed course is who have been inducted into the World invited to send a representative to com- Golf Hall of Fame. Maxwell is in this same pete in a match-play format. Details on the class as these great architects but has not tournament location and date have not yet received that honor. The society is writing a proposal for Maxwell to be nominated. been finalized. From the Roaring ‘20s, to the Great DeDuke’s Design Competition: Cash prize - $500. A golf course design compet it ion will be held for the general public in the fall. Base topog raphy will be provided, and a nine-hole routing will be required. Drawings must reflect the simplistic style of Maxwell’s sketches. No fancy graphics are required or desired. A panel of proPerry Maxwell, left, with his son and fellow architect Press Maxwell fessional golf at the Palmetto Golf Club near Bossier City, La. course architects will judge the entries and select pression, and post-World War II, Maxwell’s a winner. The winning design will be an- career (1919-52) was during arguably the nounced on Nov. 15 (the anniversary of most economically diverse time frame in U.S. history. His courses reflect the socioMaxwell’s death in 1952). Duke’s Dwellings: Maxwell spent the economic realities of those different times second half of his life in Tulsa. Through and range from the elite championship research, we have tracked down his old clubs to rural nine-hole courses. Maxwell property. Part of the Perry Maxwell Soci- was truly a man that appeared well in all ety’s long-term vision is to bring this home company. The Perry Maxwell Society has an upper back into the golf community. The home would act as a Perry Maxwell Museum, hand on other similar societies because he “clubhouse” for society members, and an mostly worked in the Midwest’s southern Airbnb for golf enthusiasts who are travel- parts. The close proximity of his courses ing to Tulsa. The home is a 12-minute drive will allow for easy travel for members. All from the recently restored Southern Hills who are interested are encouraged to join the organization. Country Club. Go to www.perrymaxwellsociety.com Library: On the website there is a “library” that allows members to post Maxwell or for further information. golf architecture-related writings. The liColton is the owner of Colton Craig Golf Debrary acts as a platform for society members sign and lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, to write their thoughts on Maxwell. World Golf Hall of Fame: James Baird, Annie president@colton-craig.com Twitter - @craig_colton Ben Crenshaw, Pete Dye, Robert Trent GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019


Nothing wrong with unique golf swings Over the years golf pundits have lamented the death of the unique or idiosyncratic. In the 1970’s they said that all of the tour pros looked alike, had the same Jim Young haircut and color, had the same “Reverse C” finish to their swings, and wore the same color bell-bottoms. In the late ’80’s or early ‘90’s, they said that everyone’s golf swing was starting to look the same, the product of what they called homogenized instruction (an argument that continues today by the way). For the last few decades a large contingent of the golf establishment has contended that modern equipment somehow removes the artistry and uniqueness from the game. I would contend that all of these arguments are false and that the golf instruction community with the science behind it are now in a position to explain why.

Matthew Wolff is a sophomore at Okla- that his left foot slides backward as he homa State. He’s won five college tour- moves into his finish. He regularly flies naments this season after finishing 2018 the ball over 325 yards “on a rope” with as an All-American on the Cowboys’ very little curvature. Wolff’s posture is national championalso different from ship team. Wolff the razor-straight made the cut in the backs we’ve come to PGA Tour’s Waste see out of a number Management Phoeof players over the nix Open earlier this last decade or so. He year. His golf swing tucks his pelvis in at looks like someone address and rounds took Jim Furyk and his shoulders more turbo charged him. like Jack Nicklaus Wolff takes the and Ben Hogan rather club way to the outthan seeking straight side on the backlines. These features swing, reaches the of his setup, along top with the club with the high right across the line, right arm at the top are elbow “flying” and Matthew Wolff actually some of the his left heel well into the air. At that point the “weird” stops and tenants of Wolff’s swing coach, George the incredible commences. Wolff puts the Gankas, from Westlake, Calif. Gankas left foot back on the ground as he shifts, works with a number of touring profesturns and launches off the ground so hard sionals and high-level amateurs, and has


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9253 S. Elwood • Jenks, America 918-746-3760 www.SouthLakesGolf.com GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019



I NST RUC T ION an online instructional following in the thousands. Gankas’ approach to teaching is one that is shared by a growing number of people in golf instruction. According to Gankas, it’s all about matchups. During last month’s South Central Section PGA Teaching Summit and Spring Meeting in Broken Arrow, the subject of matchups in teaching came up repeatedly. Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher E.J. Pfister of Oklahoma City Golf & CC cited Gankas and Wolff several times when discussing how deciphering what students’ bodies do naturally helps him teach. Lee Trevino at the Bass Pro Legends of Golf tournament. Pfister said that he screens each stuScott Lynn, a biomechanical scientist same. He said that if you tried to get Kuchar dent to see how they pivot most effectively, what their most effective stance width with Swing Catalyst technologies and pro- to operate on the same platform as Watson is, what grip matches up best with their fessor at Cal State Fullerton, echoes Pfis- he’d never hit the fairway again. Joseph Mayo, director of instruction at movement and much more. He points out ter’s assessment of the changing landscape. that rather than assume one size fits all, Lynn also spoke at the South Central PGA TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, also cited instructors are using screening, 3D mo- meeting. His testing has found that golf- Wolff in his presentation to the meeting. tion analysis, force plate and launch moni- ers tend to be front leg, rear leg or center Mayo pointed out that Wolff’s swing extor technology to decipher what a student dominant in how they pivot their bodies in emplifies what he believes to be the more is doing well and what they can do with- the swing. He points out that people like likely true fundamentals of the golf swing: out. Pfister said this is the path to quicker, Wolff, Furyk, Bubba Watson, J.B. Holmes shaft pitch, maintaining tilts, pivot and more accurate diagnosis and more rapid and Matt Kuchar are effective for very proper transition in wrist angles. Mayo specific reasons, none of which are all the contends that grips, alignments, postures improvement. and other watch words in instruction are so varied in good players that it’s almost impossible to call them fundamentals. In my opinion this is all great news. If you look at the golfers of the ‘70’s a little closer, they may have dressed the same but that’s where most of the real similarities ended. Some may have given in to a fad or two in instruction, but Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino and Johnny Miller could not be accused of having the same swing. David Leadbetter may have worked with Nick Faldo, Nick Price and David Frost , introducing some more functional principles to all of them, but none of them lost what made them uniquely great players. Sit in the stands on the range at a tour event and tell me the current crop of players aren’t artists with what they can do with the golf ball. And please don’t tell me that modern equipment and golf balls are ruining what is still a very, very difficult game. Take your weird swing in for a checkup with your PGA Professional. You might be surprised at what you find out. As always, let me know if I can help. Jim Young, PGA Teaching Professional River Oaks Golf Club, Edmond, OK 405-630-8183 www.jimyounggolf.com 60




How specific does your golf fitness training need to be? The principle of specificity states that individual’s weaknesses. A good way to One of the most important we should try to mimic the dynamic find out your weaknesses is to go through principles of a structure of a skill as well as the body po- a full TPI Screen/Evaluation with a TPI Clint Howard Golf Fitness Systems good strength sition in relation to the environment. The certified Fitness Professional. The golf swing uses a kinetic chain training program golf swing requires almost every muscle is Specificity. It states that training should in your body to be utilized in specific se- movement pattern to transfer force from be relevant and appropriate to the sport quence, in specific ranges of motion and the ground, through the body and out to for which the individual is training in or- in correct tension relationships to all other the arms and ultimately to the club. This occurs at very high velocity. Therefore der to produce a training effect that posi- muscles. Golf fitness training should be to train power exercises such as medicine ball tively impacts performance. A problem I often see in a desire for the body in all 3 planes of motion – sag- throw variations, chops, jump variations, overspeed training, sled golfers to train sportpushes, etc, accomplish specific, is golfers taking this in a highly effective a med ball/band/cable way. All should be peretc. and mimicking the formed with correct form golf swing in their exerand preferably under sucises. I call this “golfish” pervision of a qualified exercises. trainer. Not that you shouldn’t A well-designed traindo some exercises and ing program should acdrills that look like and complish all the things mimic a golf swing. But we need to do in our doing these alone as workout sessions– nameyour primary golf fitness ly build a good solid base training leaves way too of strength and stability many other factors neas well as cardiovascular glected. These certainly health, improve physidon’t do much for overall cal qualities required for strength development, injury prevention, and Regent Prep golfer James Roller do- Bishop Kelley’s Mika Ramos does a the sport such as proper flexibility/mobility and force development. ing power/speed core rotations. golf posture follow through stretch. speed/power, and esGolf is an asymmetritablish proficiency and cal pattern and by trainprevent movement coming too much in a highly pensations and injury. specific manner you end Our workouts need to up neglecting antagonist/ achieve what we need stabilizer muscles and reto improve, then we can inforcing those asymmeget back out on the golf tries that are already crecourse or practice range ated. This is particularly and improve our skills. important when you conClint Howard is the Ownsider overuse is the most er/Director of Golf Fitness common mechanism of Systems and is recognized injury for golfers. as one of the Top 50 Golf Overall strength and The Jenks High School girls golf team doing rotational power throws. Fitness Professionals in the athletic development needs to be established first and fore- gital, frontal/lateral, and rotational pat- country by Golf Digest. PGA Tour Pros, Oklamost. Balanced strength development terns, or combinations thereof (multi-pla- homa State Men’s and Women’s golf, University of Tulsa golf, and many other collegiate and through full body movement pattern train- nar motions). The best way to enhance the perfor- high school golfers, world long drive champions, ing should therefore always be incorporated in training, especially in the beginning mance for golf is to develop sufficient and golfers of all levels go to Clint and Golf Fitof a workout program.  Perform compound strength, speed/power, stability, and ness Systems to improve their body, and their full-body exercises such as squats, dead- flexibility/mobility in an athletic specific game. To learn more, call 918-296-7418 or go manner – and focusing on improving the to www.GolfFitnessSystems.com lifts, rows, pushes, step ups, etc. GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019



SCH E DU L E S & R E SU LTS : More at w w w.gol fok la homa.org OKLA. JUNIOR GOLF TOUR MUSKOGEE SPRING BREAK CLASSIC AT MUSKOGEE CC, MUSKOGEE (PAR-71) MARCH 18-19 BOYS 1, Zane Heusel 72-72—144; 2, Jacob Grellner 74-77 – 151; 3 (tie), Christian McAllister 76-76 – 152 and Hayden Hall 75-77 – 152; 5, Gus Fritz 77-76 – 153; 6 (tie), Colby Cox 74-80 – 154 and Phisher Phillips 78-76 – 154; 8 (tie), Brayden Strickland 79-76 – 155 and Buddy Wehrli 74-81 – 155; 10 (tie), Ryan Bell 78-78 – 156 and Shane Herlihy 75-81 – 156; 12, Brodey Claborn 77-80 – 157; 13, Kaden Armstrong 81-77—158; 14, Austin Dolan 76-83—159; 15, Trey Dallas 82-78 – 160; 16, Conner Meehan 82-79 – 161. GIRLS 1, Jordan Clayborn 78-78 – 156; 2, Taylor Towers 79-79 – 158; 3, Blayne Barker 81-82 – 163; 4, Kenzie Kirkhart 80-84 – 164; 5, Emily Miller 88-78 – 166; 6, Olivia Coit 86-83 – 169; 7, Lilly Whitley 86-85 – 171; 8, Sarah Sherrard 84-89 – 173; 9, Rylee Roberts 9282 – 174; 10, Kirsten Matlock 92-87 – 179; 11, Beans Factor 91-91 – 182; 12 (tie), Hannah Torres 94-89 – 183 and Rylei Gunter 91-92 – 183; 14, Morgan Landes 95-92 – 187. JOHN CONRAD SPRING CHALLENGE AT JOHN CONRAD GC, MIDWEST CITY (PAR-72) MARCH 9-10 BOYS 1 (tie), Charlie Jackson 76-70 – 146 (won playoff); 2, Christian McAllister 71-75 – 146; 3, Logan Brooks 75-74 – 149; 4 (tie), Bo Robbins 76-75 – 151 and Eric Schuessler 78-73 – 151; 6 (tie), Jordan Wilson 75-79 – 154 and Jake Hopper 76-78 – 154; 8 (tie), Buddy Wehrli 80-76 – 156 and Brodey Claborn 78-78 – 156; 10, Shane Herlihy 81-76 – 157; 11 (tie), Ryder Cowan 80-78 – 158 and Trey Dallas 80-78 – 158; 13, Joseph Lewis 82-77 – 159. GIRLS 1, Blayne Barker 77-81 – 158; Maisie Liddell 83-79 – 162; 3, Brooklyn Benn 86-77 – 163; 4, Lilly Whitley 85-79 – 164; 5, Maddi Kamas 87-81 – 168; 6, Olivia Coit 86-83 – 169; 7, Sarah Sherrard 84-90—174; 8, Beans Factor 93-86 – 179; 9, Gracie Doke 88-93 – 181; 10, Kristyn Andrews 93-89 – 182; 11, Hannah Torres 92-91 – 183; 12, Kamryn Zuniga 93-96 – 189. SCHEDULES OKLAHOMA GOLF ASSOCIATION May 20-21: Spring and Senior Spring Four-Ball Championship, GC of Edmond, Edmond June 3-6: Junior Boys and Girls Championship, Kickingbird GC, Edmond June 11-14: Senior State Amateur, Greens GC, OKC June 24-26: Stroke Play Championship, Oak Tree CC, Edmond July 8: State Amateur qualifier, Lincoln Park GC (West), Okla. City July 11: State Amateur qualifier, Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso July 22-24: State Amateur, Oak Tree National, Edmond July 30-31: Senior Stroke Play Championship, Gaillardia CC, Edmond Aug. 15: Oklahoma Open qualifier, Oak Tree CC (West), Edmond Aug. 22-24: Oklahoma Open, Oak Tree CC (East), Edmond Sept. 4-5: Mid Amateur Championship, Twin Hills CC, Okla. City WOMEN’S OKLAHOMA GOLF ASSOCIATION April 29-30: Stableford Partnership, Lincoln Park GC, Okla. City May 20-21: Senior Championship, The Trails GC, Norman June 10-11: Stroke Play, Hillcrest CC, Bartlesville June 17: WOGA Fundraiser for WOGA Jr. Programs, Quail Creek G&CC, Okla. City June 18-19: Girls Junior State, Quail Creek G&CC, Okla. City July 22-25: State Amateur, Oak Tree CC (East), Edmond July 28-30: Fore State, Shadow Valley GC, Rogers, Ark. Aug. 19-20: WOGA Partnership, Shangri-La, Grand Lake Sept. 30-Oct. 1: WOGA Cup, Oakwood CC, Enid USGA LOCAL QUALIFIERS May 8: U.S. Open, Gaillardia CC, Okla. City June 17: Junior Boys and Girls Amateur, Dornick



Hills CC, Ardmore July 15: U.S. Amateur, The Territory, Duncan July 25: Senior Amateur, Hillcrest CC, Bartlesville Aug. 12: Men’s and Women’s Mid-Amateur, Oak Tree National, Edmond Sept. 29: Women’s Four-Ball Amateur, Tulsa CC, Tulsa OKLAHOMA SENIOR GOLF ASSOCIATION May 6-7: Spring Medal Play, Shawnee CC, Shawnee July 15-16: Four-Ball, Oakwood CC, Enid Sept. 16-17: Fall Medal Play, Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso Oct. 21-22: Fall Outing, Dornick Hills G&CC, Ardmore OKLAHOMA JUNIOR GOLF TOUR March 2-3: John Conrad Spring Challenge, Midwest City March 18-19: Muskogee Spring Break Classic April 6-7: Lake Hefner South Spring Classic, Okla. City April 13-14: Bailey Ranch Spring Challenge, Owasso May 26-27: Oklahoma Jr. Cup, Shawnee CC May 29-30: Oklahoma Junior Cup Matches, Shawnee CC, Shawnee July 16-17: Kickoff Classic, Lincoln Park GC (East), Okla. City July 27-28: South Lakes Junior Shootout, Jenks Aug. 3-4: Bailey Ranch Bash, Owasso Aug. 10-11: Forest Ridge Fall Challenge, Broken Arrow Aug. 17-18: Jo’s Famous Pizza Kickingbird Fall Challenge, Edmond Sept. 1-2: Battle of Broken Arrow, Indian Springs GC, Broken Arrow Sept. 14-15: Lake Hefner Shootout, Okla. City Sept. 21-22: Lincoln Park Best of the West Classic, Okla. City Sept. 28-29: Muskogee Fall Classic Oct. 5-6: Tour Championship, Shawnee CC Oct. 19-20: OJGT/TJGT Red River Challenge, Dornick Hills G&CC, Ardmore AJGA Aug. 5-8: Gateway Mortgage Group Tulsa Junior, Oaks CC, Tulsa Oct. 11-14: The PING Invitational, Karsten Creek GC, Stillwater TULSA GOLF ASSOCIATION April 6-7: Two-Man Challenge, South Lakes GC April 25: Three-Man Team Best Ball Shamble Net, Tulsa CC May 4-5: Four-Ball Stroke Play and Seniors, Forest Ridge GC May 7-8: Senior Stroke Play, LaFortune Park GC May 14: Three-Man Team Best Ball Shamble Net and Individual Stroke Play, Oaks CC June 13: Three-Man Team Best Ball Shamble Net and Individual Stroke Play, Forest Ridge GC June 22-23: Stroke Play and Seniors, LaFortune Park GC July 13-14: Two-Man Challenge II (Scramble/ Modified Alternate Shot), South Lakes GC Sept. 6: Par-3 Member/Guest or Member/Member, LaFortune Park Par-3 GC SOUTH CENTRAL PGA EVENTS April 22-23: Oakley Assistant Match Play, Terradyne CC, Andover, Kan. June 17: Web.com Monday Qualifier, Willbowbend GC, Wichita July 8-9: SCPGA Pro Championship, Patriot GC, Owasso July 15-16: Wildhorse Canyon Farms Senior Match Play, Fayetteville CC, Fayetteville, Ark. July 22-24: Yamaha Match Play, Dornick Hills G&CC, Ardmore July 29-30: SCPGA Sr. PGA Pro Championship and Yamaha Senior Section, Shangri-La Aug. 5: National Car Rental Assistant, Forest Ridge GC, Broken Arrow Aug. 12: Section Championship, Rolling Hills CC, Wichita July 31: Senior Cup Matches, Auburn Hills, Wichita Sept. 3: Justice Pro-Assistant, Oak Tree CC, Edmond Sept. 9-10: Justice Sr. HOF, Jimmie Austin GC, Norman Oct. 9: TaylorMade Players, Flint Hills National GC, Andover, Kan.

COLLEGE EVENTS IN OKLAHOMA MEN March 18-19: UCO Broncho Invitational, Oak Tree GC (East), Edmond March 18-19: Rogers State Hillcat Invitational, Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso March 21-22: UCO/RCB Men’s Invitational, Gaillardia CC, OKC April 28-30: Summit League, Sand Creek Station GC, Newton, Kan. May 24-29: NCAA Championship, Blessings GC, Fayetteville, Ark. WOMEN March 4-5: Diffee Ford Lincoln Women’s Invitational, Kickingbird GC, Edmond March 18-19: Rogers State Hillcat Invitational, Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso April 8-9: Susie Maxwell Berning Classic, Lincoln Park GC, Okla. City April 14-16: Big 12, GC of Oklahoma, Broken Arrow April 19-20: Sooner Athletic Conference, Lincoln Park GC (West), Okla. City May 6-8: NCAA Regional, Jimmie Austin OU GC, Norman May 14-17: NAIA Championship, Lincoln Park GC, Okla. City May 17-22: NCAA Championship, Blessings GC, Fayetteville, Ark. U.S. KIDS TOUR (OKLAHOMA CITY) March 31: Lincoln Park GC (East) April 7: Westwood Park GC, Norman April 14: Lake Hefner GC (South) May 5: Trosper Park GC June 2: Earlywine GC (South) June 9: Westwood Park GC, Norman June 17: Kickingbird GC June 23: Tour Championship, Lincoln Park (East) U.S. KIDS TOUR (TULSA) March 31: South Lakes GC, Jenks April 7: Muskogee CC, Muskogee April 14: Indian Springs CC, Broken Arrow April 28: LaFortune Park GC May 5: Page Belcher GC June 2: Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso June 9: TBA June 16: Spring Tour Championship, Cherokee Hills GC, Catoosa Aug. 18: Muskogee CC, Muskogee Aug. 25: Battle Creek GC, Owasso Sept. 8: TBA Sept. 22: Page Belcher GC Sept. 29: South Lakes GC, Jenks Oct. 6: LaFortune Park GC Oct. 13: TBA Oct. 20: Fall Tour Championship, Indian Springs CC OKLAHOMA HIGH SCHOOLS April 23: Girls Regionals (6A: Lake Hefner GC, Broken Arrow AC; 5A: Aqua Canyon GC, Pryor Creek GC; 4A: Jimmie Austin GC, Patricia Island GC, Lake Murray GC, Elk City GC; 3A: Kingfisher GC, Fountainhead GC; 2A: Riverside GC, Sapulpa GC) April 29: Boys Regionals (6A: Meadowlake GC, Bailey Ranch GC; 5A: Owasso GC, Crimson Creek GC; 4A: Jimmie Austin GC, Peoria Ridge GC, Lake Murray GC, Elk City GC; 3A: Brent Bruehl GC, Fountainhead GC; 2A: Kingfisher GC, Arrowhead GC) May 1-2: Girls State (6A: Earlywine GC North; 5A: Lincoln Park West; 4A: Lake Hefner GC South; 3A: Westwood GC; 2A: Aqua Canyon State GC) May 6-7: Boys State (6A: Rose Creek GC; 5A: Lawton CC; 4A: Dornick G&CC; 3A: Tulsa CC; 2A: Buffalo Rock GC) July 22: OCA All-State, Cherokee Hills GC, Catoosa LPGA June 24-30: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Pinnacle CC, Rogers, Ark. DRIVE, CHIP & PUTT May 30: Sunset Hills, Guymon June 1: Tex Consolver GC, Wichita June 5: Lincoln Park GC (East), Okla. City June 10: The First Tee of NW Arkansas, Lowell, Ark. June 27: Forest Ridge GC, Broken Arrow July 18: Burns Park GC, North Little Rock, Ark. Aug. 12: LaFortune Park GC, Tulsa GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019

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