2023 Golf Oklahoma Apr/May

Page 1

Official publication of the Oklahoma Golf Association

thenew home of modern GOLF



Discover a vibrant world of unparalleled experiences spanning championship golf, savory dining, and more - all inspired by the gracious lifestyle and simple pleasures of the modern Texas ranch.




Memorial Day Weekend , May 26 - 29 , 2023

Memorial Day Weekend , May 26 - 29 , 2023

Memorial Day Weekend May 26 - 29 , 2023

Memorial Day Weekend , May 26 - 29 ,






Patriot Golf Days is golf’s salute to sacrifice, where the golf community comes together to honor America’s heroes. There are many heroic ways for you and your club to raise funds that provide life-changing scholarships for families of fallen or disabled American service members and first responders, to include: GOLF

Patriot Golf Days is golf’s salute to sacrifice, where the golf community comes together to honor America’s heroes. There are many heroic ways for you and your club to raise funds that provide life-changing scholarships for families of fallen or disabled American service members and first responders, to include:

Patriot Golf Days is golf’s salute to sacrifice, where the golf community comes together to honor America’s heroes. There are many heroic ways for you and your club to raise funds that provide life-changing scholarships for families of fallen or disabled American service members and first responders, to include:

Patriot Golf Days is golf’s salute to sacrifice, where the golf community comes together to honor America’s heroes. There are many heroic ways for you and your club to raise funds that provide life-changing scholarships for families of fallen or disabled American service members and first responders, to include:

2023 SCAN AND REGISTER FOR PATRIOT GOLF DAYS ' 23 patriotgolfdays.com
23 patriotgolfdays.com

The Goods

10 The Bookshelf, Michael Bamberger is back and we're grateful

12 Ed Travis takes us through the simulators that are changing golf

Chip Shots

14 Talor Gooch helps AJGA maintain Oklahoma event; Justice Golf Cars sold, Fleming, Fuller in SCPGA Hall of Fame


20 2023 Class announced for Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame

22 LIV Tulsa coming May 12 to Cedar Ridge Country Club

32 The Battlefield opens this spring at Shangri-La

36 Waco Turner Open celebrated in renovated museum

38 Looking back at Lone Star origins of Legends of Golf

42 Rhein Gibson's remarkable turnaround on Korn Ferry Tour

45 Moore, Stevens, Eckroat extend OJGT legacy on PGA Tour 46 Drew Goodman could be next home-grown star 48 Top 10 high school stars to watch this spring


4 GOLF OKLAHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2023 WWW.GOLFOKLAHOMA.ORG Support junior golf by contributing to the OGA Foundation Call 405-848-0042 for more information WWW.GOLFOKLAHOMA.ORG APRIL/MAY, 2023 TABLE OF CONTENTS
and results ON THE COVER:
opens at Shangri-La Resort in June 22 38 32 36 Volume 13 Issue 2 RON STRECK MORRI ROSE BO WININGER MIKE HUGHETT STACY PRAMMANASUDH 20
6 Letter from the Publisher 8 OGA ED Kevin Stanton 8 WOGA ED Laurie Campbell
Rules, Bob Phelps
Superintendent's Corner
Instruction: Jim Young
Instruction: Ryan Rody
The Battlefield, a new par-3 course


issue 2023

We all know golf has rebounded strongly since Covid forced many of us to remember just how wonderful four hours spent outdoors with friends can be while trying to puzzle out this confounding game.

In Oklahoma, there are so many good things going on with the game right now that it’s easy to overlook some recent significant events. So let’s recap.

• The Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame announced its 2023 class would include Morri Rose, Ron Streck, Stacy Prammanasudh, Bo Wininger and Mike Hughett. The induction is Nov. 12 at Southern Hills Country Club. Tickets and tables are available at www. oklahomagolfhof.org.

Rose, the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour founder who is retiring at the end of this season, is beaming with pride these days. Just in the two weeks before this issue went to press three OJGT graduates had stunning weeks on the PGA Tour. First, Taylor Moore of Edmond won the Valspar Championship. The next week, Sam Stephens and Austin Eckroat finished in the top five at the Corales Puntacana Championship.

Another OJGT graduate, Talor Gooch of Midwest City, announced his foundation is sponsoring an AJGA event at Gaillardia Country Club in July. Gooch is also a driver in bringing LIV Golf to Oklahoma and wants the new tour to make an annual stop in the state.

As for the rest of this class, we are personally thrilled for Stacy, Mike and Ron whose careers we’ve covered for decades. Bo is a fascinating story and you will learn much more about all five between now and the induction with major features in upcoming issues of Golf Oklahoma.

• The level of investment in the game in Oklahoma is beyond encouraging. From the city of Edmond’s $20 million-plus reimagining of Kickingbird Golf Course to what Eddie Gibbs continues to pour into making Shangri-La one of the country’s top destinations, major projects are taking place that put the game in a stronger place going forward.

Others of note: Oak Tree National’s new TifEagle ultradwarf Bermuda greens will restore it to a true championship venue. Tom Doak’s new greens at Dornick Hills are bringing that course back to prominence.

The city of Tulsa has quietly put $8 million into its next bond issue to resolve water issues at both Mohawk Park and Page Belcher, which could lead to long-term restoration of both those facilities. The new greens and overall renovation of John Conrad in Midwest City by Conor Cummings of Heckenkemper Golf and builder United Golf has led to full tee sheets and waiting lists. Other projects big and small are under way or about to take off. We’ll keep you up to date.

• All of this will make the new Oklahoma Golf Trail even more of a tourist attraction when it takes shape over the next year or so. The idea will be to bring as many outof-state golfers as possible to experience some of our great courses and incredible geographic diversity. We’ve been a hidden treasure for a long time, now time to shine a light on the state.

• The national spotlight will be pointed this way as we host two new professional events this spring and early summer. First up is the LIV Tulsa event May 12-14 at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow. No matter your thoughts on LIV’s Saudi owners, and we have plenty of those, it’s a chance to watch some of the world’s best golfers in action at one of our finest courses. It should be fascinating.

Next is the debut of the Compliance Solutions Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour scheduled June 22-25 at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course in Norman. We all know by now that competitors on the Korn Ferry Tour can burst into stardom on the PGA Tour the next year. And we have a huge contingent of players with Oklahoma ties on the KFT who could well be in contention that week. Oak Tree National member Rhein Gibson has already won an event this spring and there will be several former Sooners in the field that week who are intimately familiar with Jimmie Austin, such as Logan McAllister, Quade Cummins, Grant Hirschman, Garett Reband and Chris Gotterup.

So there you have it. Events, course improvements and investment, legacy, promotion, all taking place right now. Enjoy playing and watching in 2023 and keep up with all the latest at www.golfoklahoma. org, bringing you more about all of this on a daily basis.

Golf Oklahoma Offices Southern Hills Plaza 6218 S. Lewis Ave., Ste. 102 Tulsa, OK 74136 918-280-0787

Oklahoma City Office 405-640-9996

Publisher Ken MacLeod ken@golfoklahoma.org

COO/Marketing Director A.G. Meyers agm@golfoklahoma.org

Sales Sam Humphreys sam@golfoklahoma.org

Art & Technology Director Chris Swafford chris@golfoklahoma.org

Subscriptions to Golf Oklahoma are $20 for one year (five issues) or $35 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 Young Teaching Professional, River Oaks CC 405-630-8183

Ryan Rody Director of Instruction Southern Hills Country Club rrody@southernhilscc.org

Pat McTigue

Director of Instruction, Meadowbrook CC pmtigue277@gmail.com

Maggie Roller Director of Instruction, Cedar Ridge CC maggie.roller@sbcglobal.net, 918-261-1441

Oklahoma Golf Association 2800 Coltrane Place, Suite 2 Edmond, OK 73034 405-848-0042

Executive Director Kevin Stanton kstanton@okgolf.org

Director of Handicapping and Course Rating Jay Doudican jdoudican@okgolf.org

Director of Junior Golf Morri Rose morose@okgolf.org

Director of Rules Bob Phelps bphelps@okgolf.org Copyright

2023 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. THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE OKLAHOMA GOLF ASSOCIATION
Good golf news piles up pril/M Ay


If you’re looking for challenging play and beautiful scenery, you’ll find both in abundance in Mississippi. Our state boasts true destination courses designed by Nicklaus, Palmer, Fazio, and other luminaries, with a number of stunning courses located at our casino resorts. Learn more at VisitMississippi.org/Golf.

Mossy Oak Golf Course | West Point, Mississippi
is famous for the blues. But our greens are pretty spectacular, too.

Looking forward to first season with OGA

The Oklahoma Golf Association is poised for an exciting year, and as the new Executive Director, I am looking to forward to seeing the growth. The following are a few highlights for 2023.

Due to demand, we have expanded all the fields for the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour. We appreciate our host sites working with us as we have stretched many of them to the maximum allowed with daylight to get as many juniors playing as we can.

Junior Championship by 3Bird Kids Foundation, Inc., to be played at Gaillardia Country Club on July 24-27.

Our OGA Championship schedule is also strong. We begin the season at Dornick Hills for the Four-Ball and Senior Four-

There will be a new look to our events in 2023 so if you haven’t played in a while, please join us. We are adding a Player of the Year and Senior Player of the Year points race, and look forward to crowning them both at the end of the season.

2023 OGA SCHEDULE Visit www.okgolf.org for more information

Date Event Location

May 8-9 Four Ball and Senior Four Ball Dornick Hills CC

May 30-June 1 41st OGA Stroke Play Championship The Territory G&CC, Duncan

June 5-8 Junior Boys and Girls Championship Lincoln Park GC West, OKC

June 13-16 35th OGA Senior State Amateur The Trails Golf Club, Norman

June 26 State Amateur Qualifier Lincoln Park GC West, OKC

June 29 State Amateur Qualifier Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso

The Lincoln Park Spring Fling will be a local qualifier for five boys and five girls to advance to the regionals for the Notah Begay III Junior National Championship that will be aired on the Golf Channel. We have also partnered with the Talor Gooch Foundation to provide two boys and one girl a chance to play in the AJGA’s Talor Gooch Foundation

July 10-12 111th State Amateur Championship Southern Hills CC, Tulsa

July 24-25 Senior Stroke Play Hillcrest CC, Bartlesville

July 31-Aug. 1 Women's Stroke Play Quail Creek G&CC, OKC

July 31-Aug. 1 Mid-Amateur Championship Quail Creek G&CC, OKC

Aug. 17 Oklahoma Open Amateur Qualifier Oak Tree CC West, Edmond

Aug. 24-26 109th Oklahoma Open Oak Tree CC East, Edmond

Ball. Our State Amateur will be returning to Southern Hills Country Club on July 1012, and the Oklahoma Open will again be held at Oak Tree CC (East) on Aug. 24-26.

For GHIN, the USGA continues to make improvements to the GHIN App that benefits golfers. It is much more than just creating a handicap index, but a tool to make the game more enjoyable. It now includes the tracking of stats, GPS functions and games with your friends. Sign up at your local OGA facility. The app is downloadable in the Google and Apple app stores, just type in GHIN.

I am excited for my new role, and look forward to seeing everyone this summer out on the golf course.


Ponca City CC to host State Amateur

Spring is here with trees budding, flowers blooming and grass slowly greening.

We’re preparing for a new year of competition throughout the state, seeing friends and making new ones.

It’s always a special time when golf swings into our schedules. This year's State Amateur will be returning to Ponca City Country Club. Ponca City Country Club has hosted 5 State Amateur's as well as many Junior, Senior and Stroke Play Championships. Other tournament sites this year include River Oaks CC, Belmar CC, The Greens, Golf Club of Oklahoma and Forest Ridge.

WOGA would also like to welcome a new board member, Michaela Dierinzo. Michaela was a 2004 graduate of Ponca City High School where she was a

sional golf on the LPGA Duramed Futures Tour (Symetra Tour) for two years before returning home due to injury.

While injured, Michaela began working

2023 WOGA SCHEDULE Visit woga.golf.genius.com for more info

Date Event Location

April 24-25 Stableford Partnership River Oaks CC, OKC

May 16-17 Senior Amateur Belmar CC, Norman

June 26-27 Stroke Play/Mid-Am Championship The Greens CC, OKC

July 10 WOGA Fundraiser Golf Club of Oklahoma, Broken Arrow

July 11-12 Junior Girls State Championship Golf Club of Oklahoma, Broken Arrow

July 24-27 State Amateur Championship Ponca City Country Club

Aug. 7-8 Four State Championship Cedar Ridge CC, Broken Arrow

Aug. 21-22 Four Ball Partnership Shangri-La Resort, Monkey Island

Sept. 18-19 WOGA Cup The Club at Forest Ridge, Tulsa

three-time Class 6A girls golf state champion. After a successful career at the University of Tulsa, Michaela pursued profes-

in the golf shop at The Patriot as an assis-

See WOGA on page 9

Michaela Dierinzo

Revisions to rules effective January 2023

It is hard to believe it has been four years since the implementation of major changes to the Rules of Golf. With those major changes came the need to clarify and modify the rules through the introduction of Model Local Rules (MLR’S) and the release of quarterly Clarifications. Most of those Clarifications and MLR’s, as well as a couple of new changes, have now been written into the updated Rules of Golf effective January 2023. Following is a brief overview of a few changes those changes.


You may recall Rickie Fowler placing his ball on a steep slope after taking relief from a penalty area, walk to the edge of the putting green to survey the shot, and then look back to see his ball start to roll and come to rest again inside the same penalty area. In the past, if a player’s ball located anywhere except the putting green was moved by natural forces, the ball was played from its new location. So Fowler’s only option at the time was to take an additional one stroke penalty and drop another ball in the appropriate relief area. Beginning in 2023, if a player’s ball is moved by natural forces to another area of the course after being dropped, placed, or replaced, the player must replace the ball on its original spot. Be careful though because a ball that is at rest as the result of a stroke and then is moved by natural forces, or the ball moves due to

WOGA cont. from page 8

tant professional and worked there for two years. Michaela then took a position with ConocoPhillips in Bartlesville in 2012 and left in 2021 to accompany her husband on a job move to Oklahoma City. She currently works for Energy Point Consulting in Oklahoma City as the Director of Operations.

Michaela and her husband, Will, live in Oklahoma City with their two sons, Andrew (7) and Hudson (5). Despite being employed full-time, Michaela still enjoys competitive golf and has recently won four WOGA Mid-Am titles (2019-22). During her high school and collegiate careers, Michaela won the Women's Oklahoma State Amateur in 2005, and the Stroke Play twice (2005, ’08). Michaela also did a summer internship for WOGA as part of the

natural forces after being dropped, placed, or replaced, but does not move to another area of the course, will not be replaced, and must be played from its new location. As a refresher, there are only five areas of a golf course: the teeing area, the general area, penalty areas, bunkers, and putting greens.


In situations where a ball in motion is accidentally or intentionally deflected, whether to replay the stroke or play the ball as it lies can sometimes be confusing. Prior to 2023, if the rule required the player to replay the stroke but the player did not and played from where the ball came to rest, the player had played from a wrong place. This sometimes resulted in the player committing a serious breach of playing from a wrong place, which must be corrected before starting the next hole to avoid disqualification. Beginning in 2023, if a player is required to replay the stroke but does not, the player will still get the general penalty but has not played from a wrong place, eliminating the potential for a disqualification.


The rules require a player to hole out at each hole with the ball played from the teeing area, with of course some obvious exceptions. If a player substitutes a ball

USGA Boatwright program in 2008 where she helped coordinate events and organize other administrative items.

We’d like to thank retiring member, Linda Cohlmia, for her eight years of serving on the WOGA board, as secretary, and also as that special person who has found many tournament sites for our championships.

WOGA board members include: Laurie Campbell, President; Louise B. Johnson, Vice President; Nancy Ford, Treasurer; Fran Derrick, Secretary; Susan Ferguson, Past President. And Members at Large -- Kimberley Bell, Teresa DeLarzelere, Michaela Dierinzo, Lori Garrison, Kaye Hansen, Christy Hanson, Pat McKamey, Cherie Rich, Letty Watt and Kathy West. They can be reached through WOGA. golfgenius.com or wogagolfoffice@gmail.com.

when not allowed, the substituted ball becomes the ball in play and the player must continue with the improperly substituted ball. That is all still the same. However, beginning in 2023 the penalty for improper substitution is reduced from the general penalty to a one-stroke penalty. This could especially be important in match play where the general penalty results in a loss of hole. A player in a match could substitute a ball when not allowed and still go on to win the hole. Before, they went straight to the next tee.


The title of this rule says it all. You cannot set an object down, meaning the object is in contact with the ground and the player is not touching it, to help with aiming or taking a stance. And you cannot avoid the penalty by removing the object before the stroke is made. So, this one is simple, laying anything on the ground to help with alignment or aiming is going to cost you a two-stroke penalty even if it is removed before making the stroke.


The relief procedure for taking back-onthe-line relief was changed dramatically in 2019 from the way it had always been. The biggest change being that a ball could not roll closer to the hole from the selected reference point after being dropped. Old habits are hard to break, and players were quickly earning two stroke penalties for playing their ball from a spot closer to the hole than their reference point. This was remedied by a MLR that became widely used and then changed slightly for the 2023 update. Beginning in 2023, when taking back-on-the-line relief, the ball can roll up to one club-length in any direction from the spot on the line where the ball first struck the ground when dropped. Although the relief area is smaller than it was before 2019 (one club length instead of two), the relief area is returned to being a full circle.

As a reminder, the USGA Rules of Golf App is available to download free of charge and includes the full text of the Rules of Golf, Clarifications, and Committee Procedures as well as Equipment Rules and Rules of Handicapping. Feel free to reach out to rphelps@okgolf.org if you have questions related to the Rules of Golf.

PHELPS OGA Rules Director

In the Air and on the Ground

hy do we keep playing this maddening game of golf? It’s so hard, so frustrating, elusive in so many ways. Yet we keep coming back.

And in the end, it’s not really maddening at all, is it? There’s too much going for it in the other direction: exercise, fresh air, fellowship, laughs, competitiveness, memory and emotion and the beauty of the playing field itself.

Golf seeps into our lives in so many deeply rooted ways that we can barely imagine living without it, even, or at least soon after, we feel like pitching our golf bags into a lake. Two recent volumes delve into the attractions of the game: one from an architectural angle, another from the emotional route.


The former is “The Golf Architecture of Donald Ross,” by Bradford A. Becken, Jr. The book’s subtitle could conceivably spark some barroom debate: “A Study of the Work of America’s Greatest Golf Course Designer.” But no one even remotely interested in course architecture would deny Ross his niche in the pantheon of the best designers the game has ever seen. Becken unearths this Tom Doak quote: “Ross’ 50th best course is better than the single best design of most living architects. His 100th might be, too.”

After Ross transplanted himself from Scotland, his design career began in earnest, beginning in 1900 in Massachusetts and ending with his death at 75 in Pinehurst, N.C., in 1948. He is credited with some 420 designs or redesigns in North America (and a few in Cuba). According to Becken, “approximately 365 of which still continue to be enjoyed by golfers to this day.”

WHe should know: he’s played every one of them. He’s also the president of the Donald Ross Society, which aims to help preserve or restore Ross designs. Becken is not an architect himself, and didn’t take up golf into well into his 30s. But when he did he caught the bug, in particular the Ross bug, big time.

If anyone should be familiar with Rossian tendencies, it’s Becken. This is not a biography of Ross. (Books by Bradley Klein and Chris Buie should suffice in that regard.) What it is, is a detailed examination of Ross courses, detailing every aspect of how Ross handled the teeing grounds, first holes, second shots, short par-3s, long par-3s, short and long par-4s, par-5s, bunkering, greens -- you name it, it’s here, packed with plenty of photos and copies of design schematics with comments by Ross.

The book is published by Classics of Golf in a $49.95 digital version available through Amazon, which is how I read it.

And while it’s a handsome volume in that format, real golf design geeks, and Ross adherents in particular, might want to lay hands on the $395-bound limited edition, signed and numbered (but only up to 500).

It’s exhaustive, gold for the true believers. For the casual architectural fan, a complete read through may be more exhausting, but there’s nothing to prevent just dipping in when you want the skinny on when Ross put a bunker behind a green. Not something he normally recommended, but as Becken consistently emphasizes, there were always exceptions to broad Ross principles. It is unwise, he notes, to ever say, “Ross always did this,” or “Ross never did that.” Because sometimes he did, and sometimes he didn’t.

And Becken frequently quotes Ross to

the best effect: “The repeated loss of balls by those to whom the [water] hazard is difficult is apt to create dissatisfaction.” “It’s a beastly nuisance, when starting off play and before getting limbered up, to drive a ball out-of-bounds. It generally means delay, loss of a ball, vexation, and even profanity.” Even profanity. Imagine that.


Michael Bamberger has been no stranger to praise in these pages. Previous tips of the cap went to his “Men in Green” (JuneJuly 2015) and “The Second Life of Tiger Woods” (April-May 2020), not to mention the roman a clef about Woods he co-wrote with Alan Shipnuck, “The Swinger” (AugSept 2011).

He’s as reliable and entertaining a writer on the pro game as anyone wielding a keyboard. And with “The Ball in the Air: A Golfing Adventure” (Avid Reader Press, $30), Bamberger delivers this time, too. The difference being that, despite a strong cameo appearance by Lee Trevino, this book isn’t about the pros at all, but about four disparate amateurs. In telling their stories, Bamberger attempts to get at the essence of the game itself.

The book is broken down into three sections:

Starting, Turning, Finishing, as he traces his subjects’ beginnings in the game and then onward. He’s one of the foursome, his own story of how he came to be bewitched by the game in his youth despite no one else in his family playing it; he borrowed his first set of clubs from his dentist’s wife. But the spotlight is really on the rest of the foursome:

>> Pratima Sherpa, who grows up in the maintenance shed of the Royal Nepal Golf Club in Kathmandu, where her father worked, and who takes her first swings with a stick he whittles for her.

>> Sam Reeves, born in 1934 to a family of well-to-do cotton merchants in Georgia,

Donald Ross

who takes up the game at age 10.

>> Ryan French, who starts playing at 6 with his dad in Alpena, Mich., and is transfixed at a young age by golf statistics.

In the “Starting” section, Bamberger weaves the strands of these three together as their lives —and their relationship to golf — begin to change. For Pratima, it’s an upward journey, as her skills at golf become such that she becomes the subject of articles that set off a series of opportunities, ones that ultimately bring her to the United States to play college amateur golf.

For French, it’s more of a collision course, as years of relentless work and fast living (off and on the golf course) lead him to the brink of suicide. For Reeves, golf is a long game, as he takes the family business to greater, international scope, giving him a humanistic view he tries to impart to his growing family.

In the “Turning” section, we thankfully see French retreat from the brink, start a family and go on to turn his statistical fascination into a successful writing career concentrating on the lesser-knowns in professional golf, the Monday qualifiers, the strivers — to the point that he is now one of Bamberger’s colleagues in the writers

group, the Fire Pit Collective.

Reeves, meanwhile, keeps dipping back into his golf game as his life goes on and time permits, becoming the oldest amateur to make the cut at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Since Pratima is still basically “starting” we see little of her in the subsequent sections, one quibble I have with the book: the opening section balances the lives of the three so well that it feels a little like a wheel has fallen off from there on out. But it’s a quibble.

Bamberger has always seemed to me to be a bit of a pointillist in prose. He puts the sentences on the page and the paragraphs don’t always seem to relate to each other clearly. To mix the metaphor, it’s a bit of a juggling act; there seems to be a lot of stuff in the air, and you’re not sure everything is going to land properly.

But then it does. And the picture looks pretty clear, colorful, satisfying. You’re not quite sure why or how, you’re just glad it is. Kind of like golf, which is what it’s all about.

When the snow recedes in Vermont, Tom Bedell will be back to painting the fairways like an abstract expressionist.

Become an OGA Member

GHIN Handicap & Access to GHIN App (Helps Improve & Increase Enjoyment of Game) Play in OGA Competitions Support Golf in Oklahoma Benefits Track Scores & Stats GPS Included Play Games with Friends More Information at okgolf.org

Simulators – Changing the Way We Golf

ff-course golf has become the hottest growth area of the game and we’re not referring to traditional miniature golf but the computer-aided, full-swing experience.

The merger of sophisticated computers generating eerily realistic graphics with state-of-the-art software has changed the way we golf, whether tracking our swing mechanics or playing virtual courses from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews.

The numbers are interesting, some might even say staggering. The National Golf Foundation (NGF) reports U.S. golf participation in 2022 was the highest-ever, hitting 41.1 million and while on-course golfers rose by 2 percent, the numbers visiting off-course entertainment centers jumped 13 percent.

“Teeing it up” has taken a whole new meaning.

Off-course entertainment centers vary in size from one or two bays in sports bars or golf clubs to multilevel facilities with more than 100 bays such as two of the bestknown operators, Topgolf and Drive Shack or Golf Suites in Tulsa.

The simulator experience is popping up at private and public courses in Oklahoma. It will be a big part of the new driving range when Kickingbird reopens in Edmond this summer. A new Super Fly Golf Lounge opens in Tulsa this spring, simulators are offered at The Anchor at Shangri-La, and you can play them at public courses such as The Canyons at Blackjack Ridge, Indoor 18 in Edmond, among others.

Growing the game could potentially be the best part of off-course only participation. NGF says on-course only participants

course solely

Oplayers; 41 percent are female and 40 percent are non-white, all of which are attractive growth segments for on-course play. Further and even more to the point is a Topgolf study showing approximately 10 percent of current on-course golfers credit their introduction to the game at Topgolf as the reason they got out on the course.

These numbers certainly have caught the golf industry’s attention. Golf entertainment is big business -- Callaway Golf owns Topgolf and last year renamed itself Topgolf Callaway Brands. They are forecasting Topgolf revenue in 2023 will hit $1.9 billion.

The other more personal aspect of the off-course phenomenon are personal simulators often installed in an enthusiast’s home for use by family and friends, and it is another quickly growing segment.

“The golf simulator business is booming,” says Joe Neumeyer, founder and managing partner of Toledo, Ohio-based Ace Indoor Golf, a leading golf simulator retailer and installer. “It was valued at $1.3 billion worldwide this past year and is expected to grow at a 10 percent compound annual growth rate in the near future. Both commercial and residential installations saw significant growth in 2022.”

Ace Indoor’s residential and commercial business grew by more than 50 percent in 2022.

Putting the home simulator experience into perspective, it would be worthwhile to look at some of the do’s and don’ts of building the best facility for your needs. Keep in mind that like everything having to do with computers and technology, in general price and utility are especially important.

A critical question to answer upfront is how sophisticated the simulator unit needs to be, how much swing data is captured and analyzed plus the number and variety of courses that can be played virtually. For full utilization, a dedicated PC is often required as are additional virtual course software which may be an extra charge.

At January’s PGA Show, our attention was caught by several simulators suitable for home use.

Bushnell Launch Pro Full Simulator Package

A Launch Pro launch monitor suitable for indoor or outdoor use is featured in this package ($9,999) that includes the hitting bay enclosure frame, projector screen, computer cart, hitting mat with turf strip. A software bundle of 20 virtual courses comes standard with a subscription after the first year.

Full Swing Sport Series

The Full Swing launch monitor is endorsed by Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth, and simulator packages start at $44,900. The enclosure and platform are solid wood with a cinema-quality projector. The screen is energy absorbing and the carpet is industrial grade as is the hitting mat.

Uneekor SimKit

Included are an EYE XO Launch Monitor with a full HD LCD projector and their View software plus a 10-foot or 12-foot netting enclosure with impact screen. The hitting mat is 4-by10 feet and has a replaceable hitting insert and the landing turf minimizes ball bounce back. Prices start at $17,100.

Phigolf 2

The Phigolf 2 ($299) is a less expensive alternative to a full simulator and allows practice in any location with 3D swing analysis on a smartphone or tablet plus output can be mir-

Ace Indoor Golf's Pro enclosure Uneekor SimKit Bushnell Launch Pro Full Swing Launch Monitor

rored onto a television. No need for a net or mat, simply swing the 9-axis sensor on the weighted swing trainer.

Garmin Approach R10

Another launch monitor for indoors or outdoors ($600), it tracks swing data via a smartphone and records video automatically. The addition of the optional E6 Connect library of 42,000 virtual courses let’s you and up to four friends compete on the world’s more exciting layouts.

For a durable and most importantly safe, indoor hitting bay at home, special attention should be paid to the type

Island Jim #2 Connecticut

Jim Robinson, proprietor at Leaf & Bean cigar shop in Pittsburgh, PA, and has been steadily working his way into the premium cigar business over the last few years. In 2012 Jim’s status in the cigar industry took off. He partnered with Oscar Valladares, a former roller with Rocky Patel, to crafted his ultra-boutique line, LEAF by Oscar for his shop. Jim said that Leaf by Oscar was a nod to the “spirit of the Mayan,” due to its presentation, in that the cigars use a tobacco leaf in lieu of cellophane. This organic feel put Leaf by Oscar on the map, and it’s now a staple in cigar stores nationwide.

of screen, netting and mat and at the PGA Show we inspected hitting bays constructed by Ace Indoor Golf for exhibitors such as Voice Caddie, SkyTrak and GolfTec. Ace’s Pro enclosure kit for $5,999 is a viable option for the enthusiast’s home hitting bay.

A powder-coated steel frame measures 14-feet, 6-inches wide by 8-feet high by 5-feet deep, and 10 feet from the tee to screen is best. Their top-quality, two-piece screen system under the name HiQ provides a high contrast image and is designed to withstand even ball speeds generated by professional players. According to Ace, the three layers of the screen will take up to 34,000 impacts showing only a minimum of stretching.

Safety is assured by Ace’s screen design which uses strong, double stitched webbing and edging rather than inexpensive black vinyl seen on some other enclosures. We noted even small features of the enclosure were made with durability.

If a home simulator is on the agenda for this year, Ace Indoor Golf offers e-commerce purchases for DIYers with a free 30-minute consultation and a white glove custom design and installation service. For custom simulators, Ace Indoor sends a professional team for installation and will not leave until all of your questions have been answered.

Jim, known for his island lifestyle, created the Island Jim blend as a follow up to his successful Leaf. The cigar is available in only one size, yet the presentation sets these cigars apart from other vitolas in the humidor. New to the shelves at ZT Cigars is the Island Jim #2 Pencil Connecticut. The Connecticut Shade #2 is the third iteration in the Island Jim lineup following the previous released Corojo and San Andres Maduro.

The #2 Pencil lives up to its’ name starting with a torpedo shape with a shaggy foot and capped with multi-colored wrappers that looks like the head of a pencil. The cap is open so you can choose to smoke it as is or cut it to one’s personal preference. The cigar has a clean effortless draw upon light. Immediately, one can notice how smooth and clean the smoke is with the Connecticut wrapper as compared to its counterparts. Notes of caramel, cream, and toffee linger on the pallet with very subtle spice on the retrohale. The construction was great with no touch ups throughout the smoking experience. The smoke was very light and soft on the palate giving this a light to light medium rating with the strength hovering in that mild to medium range growing at the final third. Smokers will enjoy the complexity of the cigar as it changes in the middle third with the addition of cedar, molasses and leather. The Island Jim #2 Pencil Connecticut is a great companion smoke to the Corojo and Maduro blends, that not only fills a void in the series but destined to leave a mark with cigar aficionados in the months and years to come.

Proudly serving Oklahoma with a fine selection of cigars and related products. Stop on by our current locations and share a smoke with us! 2726 W Britton Rd Oklahoma City, OK 405-942-0070 1801 Cornwell Dr. Suite 301 Yukon, OK 405-494-7188 www.ztcigars.com (800) 340-3007 2nd Location NOW Open
Garmin Approach

Gooch sponsors AJGA event at Gaillardia

Oklahoma junior golfers will have an American Junior Golf Association event in the state again in 2023 with the announcement of the Talor Gooch Foundation Junior Championship scheduled July 24-27 at Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City. The presenting sponsor will be 3Birds Kids Foundation.

Gooch, the professional golfer from Midwest City and Oklahoma State who now competes on the LIV Golf circuit, pledged $50,000 for the title sponsorship to have the event in Oklahoma. A previous event, the Gateway First Bank Tulsa Junior, that was held at The Oaks Country Club and Cedar Ridge Country Club, concluded its run in 2022. It is a one-year commitment for the new event with an option for more.

Nick Hughes, a Gaillardia member and former Oklahoma City University golfer,

will serve as the event’s chairman. Hughes has two golfing sons who are likely competitors in the event – Chase, 12, one of the state’s most talented junior golfers, as well as Rhett, a senior at Edmond Santa Fe who has signed with Nebraska and plans to make this his final AJGA event before his collegiate career begins. Hughes is also a longtime friend and fellow competitor of Kelsey Cline, who is executive director of the Talor Gooch Foundation, and the two have worked closely on bringing the AJGA back to Oklahoma. Gooch, who grew up playing on the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour and credited it and founder Morri Rose with helping him become the player he is today, has been a staunch supporter of junior golf in the state. His foundation has an ongoing sponsorship of the OJGT.

On those lines, three spots in the AJGA event will be reserved for OJGT competi-

tors who rank highest on the points list in the three spring events, two spots for boys and one for girls. They will go to players who do not have enough AJGA qualifying “stars” or points to be otherwise eligible.

The field for the 54-hole AJGA event will consist of 78 golfers. A local qualifier will be held on July 23. The AJGA also has events that week in Fresno, Calif., Orlando, Fla., Huntsville, Ala., Columbia, Mo., Ann Arbor. Mich., and Beaumont, Calif., so it is likely most of the field will be from the central states.

Cline said Gooch plans to be personally involved as much as his schedule allows, including holding a players’ panel with interesting guests on Wednesday of tournament week, then also being out there as much as he can during the three days of competition Tuesday through Thursday, and presenting the winners with their trophies.

“It was important to him that his schedule allow him to be there,” Cline said. “That’s part of why we wound up on these dates, because there was no direct conflict with his playing schedule. He’s always been a huge supporter of junior golf and this just continues what he is already doing with the OJGT.”

Talor Gooch

Justice Golf Car purchased by Clear Creek

The name Justice Golf Car was synonymous with the sale and service of Club Car in Oklahoma since 1959, when the company was founded by Dave and Dolpha Justice. That will no longer be the case, as the company was sold to Clear Creek Golf Car and Utility Vehicles, based out of Ozark., Mo., with the sale closing on March 1.

Chip Cutler, who has been the majority owner and CEO and run the company since purchasing it from Ab Justice in 2000, said the sale was a perfect fit.

“I honestly believe the Lord brought these two companies together,” said Cutler, who sold the company in consultation and agreement with co-owner and vice president David Justice, Cutler’s brother-in-law and the grandson of the founders. “They may have been the only company in the world I would have sold to and we may be the only

company they wanted to buy.

Just the culture they have, the way they treat their employees, it all made it a perfect fit.”

“The acquisition of Justice Golf Car was much more than a perfect geographic fit for us, it was an opportunity to acquire a highly successful established company, who like us, has built their business on service and support,” said Brian Cheever, CEO of Clear Creek Golf Car. “We believe there is a tremendous growth opportunity in this newly acquired territory and our entire team is excited for the opportunity to engage and make that happen.”

Clear Creek has six stores in Missouri and Arkansas and the acquisition of Justice’s operations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa will make eight. Shawn Anderson, who has run fleet operations for Justice Golf, was retained and promoted to president of Oklahoma operations.

Justice Golf has close to 3,500 golf cars in its lease portfolio and did just under $20

million in sales in 2022, while Clear Creek did around $47 million in sales. Anderson said the main growth area right now for both companies has been in retail sales or rentals and that Clear Creek “are superstars in retail. They will take us to the next level.”

Anderson said he was equally grateful for the opportunity moving forward with Clear Creek and the 19 years he spent working for Cutler.

“I was only 25 when I started and Chip took me under his mentorship and taught me everything I know about the business. But honestly, the industry knowledge I gained by working alongside him pales in comparison to the personal side of our relationship. To this day, I seek his wisdom and invaluable counsel in all aspects of my life. He means that much to me. “

Clear Creek Golf Car expanded from two stores to six within the last four years, acquiring the Club Car distributor in Little Rock, Ark., in early 2021. Clear Creek recently was honored as Club Car’s Distributor of the Year for the second time in three years, which is the highest award Club Car presents, with the Little Rock location earning the Consumer Dealer of the Year award.

APRIL/MAY 2023 • GOLF OKLAHOMA 15 WWW.GOLFOKLAHOMA.ORG News around the state Sponsored by
Chip Cutler Shawn Anderson

Golfer shoots 10 under his age

It’s not unusual for talented golfers to shoot under their age when they become “seasoned.” Allen Paine estimated he’s accomplished the feat close to 100 times.

What is unusual is to shoot 10 shots under your age, which the 86-year-old Paine did recently at Quail Creek Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City.

Even more remarkable, he did it on a cool blustery March Sunday with winds howling at 25 mph or more.

“I’ve never heard of anyone shooting 10 shots under their age,” said Quail Creek Director of Golf Mike Hansen. “That’s pretty remarkable.”

So remarkable that playing partner Jim Young tipped us off about the round after witnessing it in person.

“It was really fun,” Paine said. “I like being about to play decent golf. To do it in a 25-mph wind was even better. I just kept

it under control and made some putts and relied on my short game.”

Paine, a semi-retired former owner of a commercial insurance business, didn’t play much golf until his 40s and joined Quail Creek in 1985. He fell in love with the game and worked his handicap down to a 5 and now it’s an 11, he said. He still loves to play, though the health issues of his wife Darlene have limited his opportunities.

“That day one of my sons came over

and said he was taking care of mom for my birthday, go out and play. I was relaxed and kept my swing under control. I actually bogeyed the last hole and I shouldn’t have.”

That was after he made a 20-foot par putt on the difficult par-4 17th that stunned his partners and picked the pockets of Young.

“It was fun to watch,” said Young, a long-time upper echelon golfer in Oklahoma Golf Association events. “Ten under your age is a pretty incredible achievement. And on a day like that!”

16 GOLF OKLAHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2023 WWW.GOLFOKLAHOMA.ORG 5501 S. Yale Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma 918-496-6200 www.LaFortuneParkGolf.com South Lakes 9253 S. Elwood • Jenks, America 918-746-3760 www.SouthLakesGolf.com Lights on April 6-Oct. 31 CHIP SHOTS
Left to right, Jim Young, Allen Paine, Jim Sharrack and Barry Gangwer. Mike Hansen

First Tee makes impact with high schools

A recent focus of the First Tee of Tulsa has been to keep children from schools that haven’t been traditional golf powers involved longer, allowing the transition from junior golfer to competitive golfer to occur and resulting in more minority golfers staying with the game through their high school years and into adulthood.

The efforts of Executive Director Janice Gibson and her staff in Tulsa Public Schools and surrounding schools have paid off in significantly increased participation. There were 96 high school golfers utilizing First Tee training this winter, well above previous highs.

School and 12 from Skiatook.

“We would like to see high school golf programs expand in the number of players on current teams and for those schools who currently do not have a team, we would like to help get one started,” Gibson said. “Our desire is to get teens hooked on golf and be competitive. We provide them with equipment, player development golf instruction, and knowledge on the basic rules and etiquette of the game. Along

ics and future career exploration.”

Support First Tee through tourneys

Golfers throughout Oklahoma support a multitude of great causes by playing in charity golf events. A list of those seeking players is maintained at www.golfoklahoma.org, just click on the tournament button.

Two of the most important tournaments for the future of golf are the events benefitting the First Tee of Metropolitan Oklahoma City and the First Tee of Tulsa.

That included 12 students from Booker T. Washington High School, 13 from Sperry High School, 12 at Webster High School, 12 from Owasso, 26 from Sapulpa Junior High and Sapulpa High School, 9 from Memorial High

The First Tee of Oklahoma City event is coming up May 1 at Lincoln Park. There is always a huge turnout. For more information on playing or sponsoring the event, go to firsteemetokc.org or

call Debi Martin at 405-818-8672.

First Tee of Tulsa is focused on connecting the link between its starting and outreach programs and turning those initially enamored with the sport into lifelong golfers.

The First Tee of Tulsa Charitable Golf Tournament is scheduled Sept. 18 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. Sponsorships and tournament details are on the Golf Oklahoma site. It is $1,250 per individual player and sponsorships range up to $11,000 which includes three foursomes.

Both First Tee organizations help teach the game and life lessons to thousands of young students annually, including many who would otherwise never have an opportunity to be exposed to golf.

To list your charity event or fund raiser, email the information to ken@golfoklahoma.org.

the way, students learn to apply core values and life lessons that benefit them not only on the golf course but also in their academ-

“One of the quotes I have heard from several of our former students who have now entered the corporate world is they had no idea how much golf would help in their careers,” Gibson said. “I was just out here to have fun. I’m sure glad I know how to play."

Fleming's HOF career gets boost from Pfister

If E.J. Pfister, sweating profusely in a rubber suit provided by wrestling coach John Smith, had run just a few more laps in the bowels of Gallagher-Iba Arena, Tim Fleming’s breakout senior season at Oklahoma State may never have happened.

Fleming, the long-time and ultra successful director of golf at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, told the amusing story on himself at his February induction into the South Central PGA Section Hall of Fame. Also inducted posthumously was his friend and fellow PGA professional Mark Fuller (1961-2001).

Junior golf leader Dawn Darter of The Greens at North Hills in Sherwood, Ark., was named the Section Professional of the Year for the second time since 2019. Nick Sidorakis, general manager at Southern

Hills, was given an honorary membership in the PGA of America for his career work and leadership in bringing the 2022 PGA Championship to Tulsa. Tom Jones, President and COO of Oak Tree National in Edmond, was

both in serving his membership while maintaining an outstanding playing career. He has won more than 20 section major championships, competed in 22 PGA Professional Championships, five PGA Championships and in the U.S. Senior Open. He is a seven-time Section Player of the Year and was the 1998 Section Golf Professional of the Year.

named Executive of the Year. A complete list of award winners follows.

Fleming, who has been the head professional and now director of golf at OKC G&CC since 2008, is one of the most accomplished professionals in the country,

In the fall of 1996, however, Fleming, though a highly-recruited junior star from Oxford, Miss., had experienced a middling level of success at OSU through three years. He finished sixth in a qualifier at the beginning of his senior season and was looking at staying home while the team took off for the Butler National Intercollegiate in Chicago.

Pfister, who was also Fleming’s roommate, had qualified for the tournament, but he was also struggling to meet a weight goal set the

Janice Gibson Students from Booker T. Washington work out at First Tee of Tulsa during the winter months. Tim Fleming Tom Jones Nick Sidorakis

previous year by coach Mike Holder. He had reached 240 pounds as a sophomore and was trying to get down to 185, a number Pfister said was shouted out by Scott Verplank as a worthy goal and then agreed upon by Holder.

“I hadn’t weighed 185 since I was in eighth grade,” Pfister said. “But I was trying. I was losing three pounds a week but it was tough.”

Verplank was now gone but Pfister was determined to make weight. He lost more than 40 pounds from his sophomore to junior season but was still a few pounds short of his goal despite joining Smith for some intense workouts on a running track in the lower depths of Gallagher-Iba.

“I remember coach Holder saying, “E.J., you’re out. Flem get your sticks.” Pfister said Tuesday. “And he really took advantage of it.”

Fleming finished third individually in Chicago, then went on to tie for fourth two weeks later in the Buckeye Fall Classic. He went on to play every event his senior year, recording five more top-10 finishes including sixth place individually at the NCAA Championship at Ohio State’s Scarlett Course.

the NCAA individual title in 2008.

South Central PGA Awards

“I want to give coach Holder credit for not giving up on me and allowing me to be a part of something really special,” Fleming said.

Golf Professional of the Year

Dawn Darter, The Greens at North Hills


Hall of Fame Inductees

Tim Fleming, Oklahoma City Golf & CC

Mark Fuller (1961-2021)


Honorary South Central PGA Membership

Nick Sidorakis, Southern Hills Country Club


Teacher of the Year

Bruce Baxley, Searcy Country Club


Player Development Award

Trent Rommann, Crestview Country Club


Youth Player Development Award

Jett Johnson, Quail Creek Golf & CC


Professional Development Award

Jim Young, Gaillardia Country Club


Bill Strausbaugh Award

Mark Budler, The Club at Indian Spring


Executive of the Year

Tom Jones, Oak Tree National


Private Merchandiser of the Year

Garrett Diel, Gaillardia Country Club


Public Merchandiser of the Year

Tyler Woodward, Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club


Resort Merchandiser of the Year

Rob Yanovitch, Shangri-La Resort


Assistant Golf Professional of the Year

Trent Rommann, Crestview Country Club


Leon Faucett Salesperson of the Year

Yoyo Rosario, Antigua/Lorente


Player of the Year

Austin Peters, The Territory Golf & Country Club


Senior Player of the Year

Jim Young, Gaillardia Country Club, OKC


Super Senior Player of the Year

Vince Bizik, PGA Life Member


“I finished sixth individually but third on my team,” Fleming said. “Probably needless to say but we won the national championship.”

Assistant Player of the Year

Andre Tourinho, Broken Arrow Golf & Athletic

Pfister is now teaching at both Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club and at Oak Tree National. He and Fleming are still fast friends and he appreciates Fleming’s role in the section over the course of his outstanding career.

“Tim is one of the best club pros in the country,” Pfister said. “The work he’s done with his staff, the merchandising, as a teacher, his continuing drive to be the best club pro. When we visit other facilities he wants to know everything about their operations. Plus how hard he works on his own game and his conditioning. He’s so well rounded and the members love him. It’s really cool for me to be working him now.”

Fuller, long-time PGA golf professional in Oklahoma and one of the best competitors in the PGA South Central Section for decades, passed away Oct. 21, 2021 after a threeyear battle with cancer. He was 60.

Brian Watts won the individual title for OSU, with Michael Bradley in fourth, Fleming tied for sixth and a svelte Pfister, now back in the lineup, tied for 65th. Pfister went on to win the Big Eight Championship and

Fuller, who was the Director of Golf at Surrey Hills Country Club in his hometown of Yukon when he was diagnosed in January of 2019, battled back from an original prognosis of only having a few months to live to playing tournament golf and qualifying for the 2019 PGA Senior Professional Championship at Barton Creek Resort near Austin, Texas.

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Accomplished Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame class is Hughett, Prammanasudh, Rose, Streck, Wininger

Adecade in, the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame is only becoming more illustrious with each succeeding class.

The 2023 inductees have accomplished playing records on the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour, Korn Ferry Tour and state and national amateur events as well. And one didn’t play professionally but may have had the biggest impact on Oklahoma golf of any individual in history

The five-member 2023 class consists of Stacy Prammanasudh of Enid, Ron Streck of Tulsa, Mike Hughett of Owasso, Bo Wininger of Guthrie, and Morri Rose of Shawnee.

The fivewillbeinducted(Wininger posthumously) on Nov. 12 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. Tables for

the sure-to-be-sold-out event are on sale at www.golfoklahoma.org. You can also meet all previous inductees, see their induction videos and hear their acceptance speeches at the site.

“This year’s inductees represent different aspects and contributions to the game of golf, and to the state of Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame Chairman Tom Jones.

“The 2023 class encompasses players from the professional ranks, an amateur that has more state titles than anyone on record, to an administrative director, visionary, and mentor to young players across the state.

The Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame is proud to showcase the rich history and heritage that this class represents.”

The 2023 inductees into the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame in alphabetical order are:


Mike Hughett was born in Illinois and grew up in Nebraska from the age of 4, where he won the Nebraska Golf Association Stroke Play Championship in 1977 and Match Play Championship in 1981. He attended Oral Roberts University on a golf scholarship and decided to stay and make his home in Oklahoma following college, working for decades at aircraft manufacturer Nordam, where he retired as chief financial officer in 2020.

In 1986, he won the OGA Stroke Play Championship at Tulsa Country Club. In 2022, he won the OGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville, becoming one of the oldest mid-amateur champions in the history of any state.

In between those two, he won 22 other OGA Championships, giving him a record 24 and counting. He has also won five national amateur events, placed second in three others and qualified for 19 USGA championships, advancing to match play 11 times. It is an amateur record unparalleled in state history.


Stacy Prammanasudh started making her mark on the state at age 11. With father Lou as her caddie, she won most of what was available to play in, including five

Tom Jones Left to right, Hughett, Prammanasudh, Rose, Wininger and Streck.

consecutive Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Championships from 1993-97.

It didn’t stop there. She won three of four high school championships for Enid, an overwhelming majority of the high school events she entered and continued right into a sterling career at the University of Tulsa. She was a four-time All-America, won 10 of the 44 events she entered, was a threetime Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and was the second-ranked collegian in the nation as a senior.

Stacy P, as she was known to most everyone, went on to great success on the LPGA Tour as well, playing 13 full seasons, winning twice, recording 30 top-10 showings and being named to the 2007 Solheim Cup Team. Now retired and living with husband Pete Upton and their two sons in Broken Arrow, Stacy can be found more often on the tennis courts at The Club at Indian Springs, but did come out of retirement for one event in 2022, competing in the All Pro Tour’s event at Indian Springs to show her boys, Ryp and Ryder, what mom did for a living for many years.


Morri Rose is the founder and longtime director of the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour. That tour is credited with helping raise the profile of Oklahoma junior golf and sending hundreds of junior players on to collegiate scholarships since its inception in 2002.

Rose, a fine amateur player in his own right, started the OJGT at the suggestion of former Oklahoma State golf coach Mike Holder as a way to give Oklahoma juniors a competitive fall tour that would keep their games sharp year round. The tour has been credited by professional golfers such as Talor Gooch, Taylor Moore, Quade Cummins, Austin Eckroat and others as being crucial to their development. Rose’s love for the game and all of his competitors has been a treasure for the state and credited by many for lifting Oklahoma from relative obscurity into one of the nation’s junior golf powers.


Ron Streck, the aptly nicknamed “Milestone Man,” achieved several significant firsts in a professional career that spanned 40 years and 355 events on either the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions or what is now known as the Korn Ferry Tour.

He was the first player to win at all three of those levels while also winning an event on the European Tour. He was among the first to regularly use metal drivers and the first to win using one when he captured the San Antonio Texas Open on Sept. 17, 1978, at 15-under-par, finishing one stroke ahead of Hubert Green and Lon Hinkle. He set a record at that time with the tour’s lowest


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two-round total of 125 to close out the tournament. His second PGA Tour victory came at the Michelob-Houston Open on May 2, 1981, at 15-under-par, three strokes ahead of Hale Irwin and Jerry Pate in second.

Streck, a Tulsa native, was a standout prep basketball player at Cascia Hall, and was inducted into the University of Tulsa Hall of Fame in 1997. He won four of his seven events as a senior and was medalist in at least one event each of his four years from 1973-76, including two Missouri Valley Conference titles. He was teammates with famous instructor Hank Haney, but always maintained he wouldn’t listen to Haney’s swing advice until Haney could beat him on the course.

After registering two victories during his PGA Tour career, Streck won on what was then the Nike Tour in 1993 and on the Champions Tour in 2005. While injuries limited his career after the age of 40, he has been a successful businessman in many ventures, written an instruction book and won over $2 million in career earnings despite playing the majority of his career when a good season with seven or so top25 finishes would net $50,000 or less.


Francis “Bo” Wininger was one of the most prolific PGA Tour winners ever from Oklahoma. He was a great natural athlete who played both football and basketball in Guthrie and then served in the United States Naval Air Corps during World War II.

Upon his discharge, Wininger went

to OSU to play golf for legendary coach Labron Harris Sr., who founded the program in 1947. Wininger lettered in 1947-50, and led the team to NCAA finishes of fifth, fifth, sixth and 13th. He won the Missouri Valley Conference individual championship in 1949 and 1950 and Oklahoma A&M won the conference championship all four years.

Wininger went east after graduation, landing a job at Atlantic City Country Club in 1952. He joined the PGA Tour in 1953.

In 1955, Wininger broke through with victories in the Baton Rouge Open and the Hot Springs Open. He won again in 1956 before leaving the tour and its minimal payouts for private business, but joined again in the early 1960s and promptly won three more times in short order. He won the Greater New Orleans Open and the Carling Open in 1962 and then repeated as champ in 1963 in New Orleans.

Wininger then accepted a job directing golf operations in Las Vegas at The Desert Inn, home of the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions. He gave lessons to high rollers and Rat Pack members, hobnobbed with the stars and appeared in an episode of “I Love Lucy.”

When Howard Hughes bought the Desert Inn in 1966, he stopped the practice of hosting the Tournament of Champions. Wininger returned to Oklahoma and worked for a short time in the oil business before suffering a stroke in November 1967 and passing away the following month at age 45.

Golf Oklahoma will profile each of the inductees in upcoming editorial issues.

About the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame:

The Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame (a 501C3 non-profit) was founded in 2014 by Edmond businessman Everett Dobson, owner of Oak Tree National and merged with the previously existing Oklahoma Women’s Golf Hall of Fame. This is the sixth induction class in a format that now inducts a class every other year. Induction videos, bios and acceptance speeches of all previous inductees are on the website at www.oklahomagolfhof.org. The Hall of Fame grants two $5,000 scholarship annually to Oklahoma high school seniors and also presents a $5,000 cash award (The Everett Dobson Award) to a graduating Oklahoma collegiate golfer to help them launch their career.

In addition to the Hall of Fame ceremonies, the organization holds a fund-raising golf tournament every other year at a prominent location in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. The 2022 event was held in early November at Southern Hills Country Club.

Anyone wishing more information or to get involved, please call 918-280-0787 or email ken@golfoklahoma.org.

for ticket and sponsorship information NOVEMBER 12 • SOUTHERN HILLS COUNTRY CLUB

LIVing large at Cedar Ridge CC

LIV Golf with all of its story lines, sub plots, political implications and other controversies, has arrived on our doorstep for the May 12-14 LIV Tulsa event at Cedar Ridge Country Club.

Yet for most Cedar Ridge members who have worked hard on preparing for the event and for those who have purchased tickets, the draw is not the constant swirl of us vs. them on the course and in the courtroom that has created more copy and buzz for national golf media than any story in decades. It is the chance to see 48 mostly highly decorated golfers including at least 13 major championship winners and how they handle a course that competitors across the state have long regarded as one of Oklahoma’s best tests of golf.

“We think it’s going to be a great, fun event

that people will want to attend and be a part of,” said Tournament Chairman and Cedar Ridge member Frank Billings. “It’s about the golf at the end of the day. Having those really great players on your course is something the members are really excited about.”

Reed. Mickelson shot a final-round 65, matching his lowest ever, to tie for third, while Koepka looked in control through 36 holes and seems healthy and back to his major championship form.

“That’s all I keep hearing,” said Director of Golf David Bryan said. “They want to see how these guys play Cedar Ridge, the shots they hit and how they attack it.”

LIV will be coming to Oklahoma riding a buzz created by the encouraging performances in The Masters of Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka, along with Patrick

One of LIV’s 14 2023 events is coming to Oklahoma largely because of the strong contingent of LIV’s roster that have Oklahoma ties. Charles Howell III, who played at Oklahoma State, is married to an Oklahoman and maintains strong ties here, led the effort to recruit an Oklahoma site. Midwest City native and fellow OSU alum Talor Gooch has worked with Howell and is leading the effort to keep the event in Oklahoma long-term whether at Cedar Ridge or another venue.

The rest of the Oklahoma contingent includes former OSU stars Matthew Wolfe, Eugenio Chacarra and Peter Uihlein and for-

Abraham Ancer Matthew Wolff Charles Howell III Cedar Ridge Country Club

mer Sooner Abraham Ancer.

Any long-term plans are probably best to await the outcomes of court battles plus the patience and direction of the leaders of the Saudi’s Public Investment Fund that has spent hundreds of millions launching LIV with little income to show for it. In less than two years of operation, LIV can take credit for causing massive changes to the PGA Tour and how it operates both this year and going forward. With its new elevated events, the Tour has offered much larger purses, more no-cut events and more of the top players competing head-to-head.

That is a credit to LIV but also a huge potential problem. The PGA Tour has struck back hard and the defection of top players to the new league has all but stopped.

In its marketing online, on television and on social media, LIV has shifted gears and spent much of its inventory promoting the team aspect of its 48-man, shotgun start, 54-hole no-cut events. It’s a strategy that is designed to bring in long-term team sponsors and one that it hopes could help the tour begin to be financially self-sustaining. Anyone who can predict whether the team aspect will eventually catch on with the public and sponsors has Nostradamus down 10, but for now let’s focus on what lies ahead at Cedar Ridge.

Billings attended the LIV Tucson event to get a first-hand view of all involved in setup, operations and fan engagement. He said the winning team, the Fireballs, with four players who speak fluent Spanish including Mexicans Ancer and Carlos Ortiz and Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Chacarra, had a ma-

jority of the locals pulling for it and sold out all team-related hats and merchandise.

“The merch aspect was real interesting,” Billings said. “People seem to be catching on to the teams and most of their inventory

was gone by the end of Sunday.”

Gooch said he now hears as many cheers for teams as he does for individuals.

“It’s caught on pretty quick, surprisingly so,” he said. “It feels like the fans are starting

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Bubba Watson Talor Gooch

to enjoy it and I’m hearing as many chants for the team or its players as for the leaders.”

Gooch is a member of the Range Goats with Bubba Watson as captain. Going forward, the teams are responsible for generating travel, hotel and caddie expenses which were covered by LIV in the first season. However, players are still playing for $20 million in individual purses each event, the top three teams get paid on top of that and there are millions more in signing bonuses for some players.

How LIV will be received in Tulsa remains to be seen but Oklahoma is a golf hotbed at every level and it’s very possible this will be the best attended event of the first two seasons. Cedar Ridge is certainly a much more spectator friendly course than most of the venues thus far. Obviously golfers of this caliber were in the state as recently as 2022 for the PGA Championship and the Senior PGA Championship was at Southern Hills in 2021.

The PGA Tour hasn’t had a regular stop in Oklahoma since the Oklahoma City Open concluded its run in 1967 or any event since the PGA Tour Championships at Southern

ern Hills, the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, the 2006 Senior PGA Championship at Oak Tree National and the 2014 U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National, LIV Tulsa adds a different element to the mix.

Fans will be able to see a lot more at Cedar

by what is normally the eighth green. It will be the 17th green for this event, as the nines are being switched and the big Club 54 corporate area being built behind the normal ninth green and 10th tee box, now the 18th green and first tee box.

“I think the course actually plays somewhat better than way,” Bryan said. “And there’s a lot more room up around the ninth green than there is around 18.”

The 10th hole (normally the par-5 first hole), will play as a par-4, making the course a par-71 of just over 7,200 yards.

“It’s not the distance that matters so much is whether the course has any rough, wind or where they put the pins,” Gooch said. “I haven’t played there since the qualifier for the U.S. Amateur in 2010 but I remember it as a great test of golf.”

Ridge than at some other LIV events such as the first two of 2023, held at resort courses not easy to walk. Cedar Ridge is one of the great viewing venues in golf and LIV will be

LIV’s top attractions are players such as Dustin Johnson, Cam Smith, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson. Mickelson was expected to be defending his PGA Championship at Southern Hills in 2022 before he left to help LIV get started. Some of the other top LIV draws include Bryson De

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Phil Mickelson makes his delayed return to Tulsa.
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Mickelson has a mixed history at Southern Hills, with his best finish his first, a tie for third at 4-under in the 1994 PGA Championship. In the PGA Tour Championship in 1995 and 1996, he finished tied for 24th and 12th at plus 15 and plus 3, respectively. In the 2001 U.S. Open he tied for 10th at even par, then finished tied for 32nd in the 2007 PGA Championship.

His other appearances in the state have been better. In 1989 he won the first of three NCAA Championship individual crowns, winning at Oak Tree Country Club while the Sooners took the team title. On Sept. 12, 2000, he beat then good friend Fred Couples by five shots in a Shell’s Wonderful World exhibition at Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City.

Could Mickelson make it three-forthree in Oklahoma events not at Southern Hills? He’ll have to sharpen up his game considerably from what he’s demonstrated on LIV thus far, but without heavy rough and if he can avoid driving too wildly he may well have a chance.

The Oklahoma flavor and support for the event is another selling point. Gooch will actually have his foundation fundraiser on Cedar Ridge the week of the event with a

pro-am on Monday May 8. The practice rounds begin Tuesday and Wednesday and there is a LIV Pro-Am on Thursday followed by the three days of competition.

“Oklahomans love our sports and especially golf,” Gooch said. “When some -


• All levels of tickets and corporate tent sales are available at www.livgolf.com, as well as volunteer opportunities.

• Billed as “golf but louder,” LIV Golf events typically include concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings after play has concluded. Billings said there were no details on who might be performing at Cedar Ridge at press time.

thing like this comes to town I’m sure it will draw very well. And I think Oklahoma can become a staple of the tour going forward, whether it’s at Cedar Ridge or another venue.”

As thousands of golfers have found in Cedar Ridge’s proud history of competi-

tive events, the course is no pushover. It has hosted high school championships, collegiate events, AJGA, Oklahoma Golf Association championships, LPGA regular season events and the 1983 U.S. Women’s Open.

We will take a second to correct one local urban myth, that Cedar Ridge was the more difficult course when it shared stroke play qualifying with Southern Hills for the 2009 U.S. Amateur Championship. Among all qualifiers, the average score at Southern Hills was 77.79 to 75.61 at Cedar Ridge. Among those who made the cut, the average was 73.46 at Southern Hills and 71.69 at Cedar Ridge. For those who didn’t make the cut, the average was 78.92 at Southern Hills and 76.63 at Cedar Ridge.

Despite that factoid, Cedar Ridge has been a fearsome opponent, particularly with wind and tougher pin positions. Length will be an issue, but that will only make certain holes more fascinating. Where will the tee box be and what angle will the players take on 17 (now 8), the sharp, downhill dogleg right with tall trees on a hill right and a pond fronting the green. Will they go for the green on off the tee on the par-4 second (normally 11) now that many trees have been removed on the right side?

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LIV Tulsa conditions weather dependent

Cedar Ridge is about to host its first LIV Golf event. What are the challenges involved for you and your staff in an early May event from an agricultural standpoint?

Well, to put it very simply, our biggest advocate or obstacle will be whatever Mother Nature deals us. Obviously, May is very early into the growing season for Oklahoma and over the last five years, March and April have been unseasonably cooler than normal (whatever normal is for Oklahoma). We have an older variety of bentgrass on our greens (Cato/Crenshaw) that requires warmer soil temperatures to really get going. This is great for us during the summer months, as it has proven to be a very hardy variety when dealing with the heat and humidity that Tulsa and the surrounding metro can experience. However, getting it going in these cooler temperatures is something that we will have to manage around and keep in mind. The golf course should be fully green and will be looking great, but the bermudagrass may not be actively growing yet, depending on soil temperatures leading up to the event.

In working with LIV, have you got a sense of what they are looking for in terms of course setup and conditions that leads you to believe the course will play any particular way in terms of scoring?

I have been very impressed with the LIV organization. They all have a ton of championship preparation experience and have been very professional and accommodating. They want to present a fair, but challenging golf course that will highlight all the intricacies of Cedar Ridge and the importance of precision ball placement. Firm and fast is what these players prefer and what we hope to provide. However, with it being a May event and right in the middle of Oklahoma severe weather season, course conditions and playability will be dictated by weather events.

When you came to Cedar Ridge in 2021, you didn’t replace just any superintendent, but you replaced Mike Wooten, generally regarded as one of the best ever at his profession. What’s that been like for you in terms of managing member expectations and any changes you would like to make?

Taking over for someone as experienced and respected as Mike Wooten, was never

going to be easy for anyone. I expected that I would have some ups and downs and growing pains while I became familiar with the property. I also expected that there would be comparisons and occasional scrutinization of things I do compared to how Mike had done things. That’s to be expected during these types of transitions. I have been very happy with how this membership and the other managers at Cedar Ridge have accepted and supported me through this “changing of the guard” so to speak. All their support and encouragement have been an important aspect of overcoming some of the challenges I have been faced with. One of the biggest supporters and mentors to me during this whole process has been Mike Wooten himself. This property means the world to him, and we both want to see it continue to excel and remain as one of the premier country clubs in Oklahoma, both regionally and nationally. This place will always be one of Mike Wooten’s lasting legacies and it is important to me to keep that legacy going while also adding my name to it. Mike Wooten did a fantastic job of managing this wonderful property for 30-plus years. I am thankful for the opportunity, and I am looking forward to doing the same for many years to come. How much extra help will you have or do you anticipate needing for LIV Tulsa? How much less stress is there from a 54-hole, shotgun start with 48 players rather than a four-day event with a much larger field? Currently, I have around 25 volunteers committed to helping us out on top of a staff of around 24 employees for that event. I am still getting and accepting volunteers leading up to the event and welcome that extra help. I wouldn’t say that this event is any less stressful than any other globally televised professional golf tournament. However, there are some aspects of how and when we prepare the golf course each day that make things a little easier. Fortyeight players over a three-day event greatly reduces the amount of wear and tear to the golf course each day. And the shotgun start allows us much more time in the mornings to make sure that things are perfect prior to the start of play each day. With the current golf ball distance debate, Cedar Ridge would seem to be a perfect example of why some rollback is needed. The course was once regarded as long but would now be one of the shorter ones on

any tour. Is a distance rollback the only defense for land-locked courses such as Cedar Ridge or would it make a difference?

It is no secret that players are hitting the golf ball farther than ever before and most people feel that lengthening golf courses is the only defense. However, I point to Merion Golf Club when they hosted the 2013 U.S. Open Championship. All four rounds of that championship were played under 7,000 yards and the winning score was 1-over by Justin Rose. Tripp Davis once told me that adding length to courses isn’t always the answer. He believes in forcing a player to decide on whether choosing to hit the driver off the tee is truly worth it, by enticing them with many risk/reward shots and having lots of trouble for errant shots. Cedar Ridge has proven itself repeatedly that when set up correctly, and conditions play firm and fast, that this golf course can hold its own against some very good talent. What are you hoping to hear from the players and fans about the course? What would you like the winning score to be or do you even think about that?

There are a lot of us (members and staff) who know exactly how special this property is. The people with LIV and Par5 Group have been on site for a while now and they all feel the same way. I am confident that the players and fans are going to be very surprised at how challenging and how beautiful this property is. We are looking very forward to sharing it with everyone on a global viewership. As far as the score, I know that most fans come to watch the professional golfers make birdies. Selfishly, I want the golf course to have some teeth for these players. So, I am okay with some below-par rounds. I just don’t want any course records being set out there!

You are partway through improvements listed in a master plan by architect Tripp Davis. What is next for Cedar Ridge in terms of improvements and/or other events the club might pursue?

We have been diligently working at completing all of the items within our course master plan. We should be finishing up in the very near future with renovations to our greens, irrigation system, practice facilities, turf maintenance facility and possibly some other items as deemed necessary. There are some other facility improvements that are currently in discussion and getting presented to the membership for a vote soon. As far as events that we might pursue, we will just have to wait and see what the future brings.

Eddie Roach

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The Battlefield indeed

Shangri-La owner Eddy Gibbs is a World War II history buff and has been collecting enough artifacts that a WWII museum on the northeast Oklahoma resort site could be his next project.

Some of the burned-out tanks or ambulances could be used to adorn The Battlefield, the new par-3 course opening in May

to members with a grand opening by early June. It’s going to be exactly that for anyone who plays the wrong set of tee boxes on this spectacular but demanding addition to one of the nation’s greatest success stories.

The Battlefield offers imaginative greens that will be great fun to putt, once you are on them. And each hole can be played as anything from a pitch-and-putt back to a 245-yard bomb on No. 16. But the trouble

will begin for many ambitious golfers when they just miss a green, or hit it from the wrong angle or with the wrong spin.

Again and again, shots that miss a green or hit it and barely roll off are just beginning their journey, down a hill to a bunker, native grass area or into a pond. Most of the greens are perched above surrounding trouble and only a few, such as the long 16th, offer a significant area to miss and still be able to recover with a chip shot.

Photos from the fall of 2022 show the greens just seeded, you will find a full grow-in for the grand opening.
The Battlefield will be a thrill ride with sharp edges.

Superintendent Zach Roach concedes that some collars may be needed to contain the rolloffs, but pace of play will likely determine that. Meanwhile, those fortunate to play are going to experience one of the most beautiful par-3 courses in the nation.

Designed by Tom Clark of Virginia and built by United Golf of Tulsa, the course is mostly fully grown in and ready for greenup. Some native areas did not

take last fall and will be seeded this spring. The railroad tie areas meant to resemble WW I or WWII trenches will also have grasses covering them in time.

“I was kind of hoping Eddy might put some of his World War II memorabilia out on the site, but that was toned down and we substituted a lot of the railroad ties, which makes a great effect,” Clark said. “But he still might.

“It was really a special project.

The holes go in a lot of directions and you’ll have different lengths and wind directions and challenging angles. I’m hoping everyone picks the right tee boxes for them.”

The 0007 greens were seeded last fall after twice being washed out by storms and are in beautiful condition. The course was solid-sodded with Tahoma 31, the advanced Bermuda turfgrass developed at Oklahoma State University that offers earlier green-up, more density and more resistance to cold than earlier Bermuda varieties.

The site has more than 100 feet of el-

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evation change. Hundreds of thousands of trees were cleared and tough limestone rock blasted in many places to allow the course to be built. The pond surrounding the second green at the top of the property will serve as the irrigation pond and source for the long descending waterfalls that cut through the middle of the course and then recirculate.

"It was a challenge to build and it's going to be a challenge to play," said Dale Forrest, owner of United Golf. "It's just going to be a great addtion to what Shangri-La and Eddy have going up there. I think it's going to be tremendous fun to play and I can't wait to get to play it myself."

In fairness, some slopes can cause trouble while others will lend a hand. Golfers can miss the green left on the first hole while concerned with a pond to the right and see

their ball advance toward the green. Golfers who go long on the third hole will get a break from the back slopes, those a bit short will find a false front and pay the price.

“This place is going to be phenomenal,” said Roach, also known as “Peach.” He’s been an assistant to Justin May on the 27 holes at the championship course since 2013, but relishes his new assignment as the man responsible for The Battlefield.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve only been in charge of traditional golf courses,” Roach said. “People who come

out are going to have a great time. If you play the tee that suits you, you’ll love it. If you try to test yourself, you better be ready.”

In addition to the 18 holes, the Battlefield will have a 10,000-square foot putting green that may be enlarged, a warm-up area for iron shots and a clubhouse with pro shop, bar and grill area (no full kitchen) and plenty of outdoor seating with great views of the course below. It also has its own cart barn and is fully autonomous from the championship course approximately ½ mile away. Every green is equipped with a sub-air system and with fans for cooling so they should remain fairly firm and fast year round.

The rates will range from $119 on a weekend before 10 a.m. to $29 on Monday through Thursday after 5 p.m. The most common weekday rate is $44.

A recirculating stream runs through the property, make sure your ball doesn't recirculate.

WACO TURNER OPEN celebrated in renovated museum

Burneyville, in south-central Oklahoma near the Texas border, is the smallest community ever to host professional golf at its highest level.

From 1958-65, the LPGA and PGA tours visited a combined six times to the course then known as Turner’s Lodge and now is Falconhead Resort, located 12 miles west of I-35 Exit 15, on State Highway 32.

Also, the Oklahoma/South Central Section PGA played eight championships in a row, and an Oklahoma Open was contested there.

The history of those events comes alive at Turner’s Lodge Pro Golf Museum at Falconhead Resort, which displays pictures, memorabilia, and accounts of the action. It is the product of 30 years of acquisition and research.

After a two-year renovation, the museum reopened inside the Falconhead Pro Shop on Feb. 20.

Visitors see and hear evidence of golf history:

• Pete Brown won the 1964 Waco Turner

Open. It was the first official win by an African-American PGA Tour member.

• Charlie Sifford, the man who broke the color barrier in golf in 1961, played in the first integrated PGA Tour stop in Oklahoma, the 1962 Waco Turner Open. He finished tied for 21st.

• On his way to a course-record 65 in the final round of the 1962 Waco Turner Open, Buster Cupit took only six putts on the front 9. That remains the PGA Tour record for fewest putts for nine holes, tied by Stan Utley in the 2002 Air Canada Championship.

• The LPGA Tour opened the golf course with the 1958 Opie Turner Open. It was the richest event of the year on the women’s tour. Mickey Wright, the winner, is considered by many golf writers today as the greatest female player of all time.

Top prize money plus a unique bonus system that paid off for birdies, eagles, chip-ins, and other exemplary hole or round scores, were in store nearly every time the pros teed it up at Turner’s Lodge.

The reason for the largesse is the namesake sponsors: Waco and Opie Turner.

Those Burneyville school teachers, turned oil millionaires, loved sports. For decades, they had traveled the country to witness the major horse, yacht, baseball, boxing, and, above all, golf events.

When they finally entered golf sponsorship in the 1950s, the Turners’ intent was to bring entertainment to Ardmore, then Burneyville, and to advance the sport in the state and nation.

The couple put so much of their wealth into helping launch the LPGA Tour in its first decade (1950-1959), and building interest in the PGA Tour in the pre-television days, that Thomas Crane, a PGA Tour executive from 1944-1964, declared at Burneyville, “I personally believe that Waco Turner has done more for professional golf than any man I’ve ever known.”

Butch Baird, who won the first Waco Turner Open in 1961, reminisced during a visit to Falconhead 40 years later, “You can’t believe how much Waco and Opie Turner’s generosity meant to me and all the other pros of the day. They were special people who advanced the game and made golf im-

Curator Barbara W. Sessions displays the Turner’s Lodge Pro Golf Museum’s “photo of the month.” It features iconic scenes of golfers Babe Zaharias and Byron Nelson with gift palominos from Mr. and Mrs. Turner.

portant to the spectator.”

Prior to constructing the Turner’s Lodge course, the couple underwrote three PGA Tour stops and one LPGA Tour stop in Ardmore, from 1952-1954. Waco Turner had been president of Dornick Hills Country Club since the end of World War II. He was elected club secretary in the 1930s when Perry Maxwell, legendary course designer, was club president.

Opie Turner was made a member of Dornick Hills in the 1950s so she could negotiate the club’s contract for the Ardmore Open with LPGA Tour founder and president Babe Zaharias. It was the LPGA Tour’s first visit to Oklahoma.

In advance of the 1954 Ardmore tournaments, the Turners, who were amazing promoters and hosts, brought palomino horses to the course and gifted them to Byron Nelson and Zaharias. Pictures of the great golfers on horseback ran nationwide.

Coincidentally, golfer-and-horse photos taken at the time were the first pictures acquired by Turner’s Lodge Pro Golf Museum, in 1998. Further research revealed that Zaharias decided to keep her horse at Turner’s Lodge.

Cancer cut short the life of Babe Zaharias, at age 45, in 1956, ending the magnificent career of an Olympian, master

sportswoman, and champion golfer – the 20th century’s greatest female athlete, as

voted by AP sports editors.

During the last 12 months of her life, Zaharias returned several times to Turner’s Lodge to ride her horse, chip golf balls, and fish as a guest of the Turners. She found solace there and warm hospitality.

Recently, the Museum acquired a 1957 photo that showed the furnishings and décor of the Lounge inside Turner’s Lodge. In a place of pride on the hearth rest only two framed photos: Babe Zaharias atop her palomino, “Superman,” and Byron Nelson seated on his golden horse, “Ginger.”

Barbara W. Sessions, a journalist and historian, moved to Falconhead Resort in 1989, when she began gradually accumulating the stories, photos, and memorabilia that make up Turner’s Lodge Pro Golf Museum.

Turner’s Lodge Pro Golf Museum is open daily during Pro Shop hours at Falconhead Resort, 115 Falconhead Dr., Burneyville. Phone: (580) 276-9284. Website: www. falconheadok.com/museum. There is no admission charge. Inside the original Turner’s Lodge are a hotel and restaurant. Golf is open to the public. Falconhead Resort is a gated community with homes, condominiums, and houses. Turner Public Schools, grades K-12, is one-half mile west on State Highway 32.

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Historic photos and memorabilia have been collected inside an exhibit cabinet at Turner’s Lodge Pro Golf Museum at Falconhead Resort, Burneyville.

With the 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship coming to a new venue on May 24-28 at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco, it’s worth taking a look back at how another legendary senior event in Texas was created.

Fred Raphael, an Emmy Award-winning television producer who died at age 80 in 1999, founded the Legends of Golf. He has been called "the father of the Senior PGA Tour." That he is not a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame is an oversight.

The Legends of Golf began at Onion Creek Country Club in Austin in 1978 with what was then the richest purse in golf.

Raphael's legacy to the game, his many contributions to its commercial and charitable appeal, may be immeasurable. Inarguably his is one of the most compelling –

Legends of Golf has Lone Star roots

and colorful – success stories in the history of American sports.

And he didn't even play the game.

"I guess you could say I grew up on the wrong side of the (Hudson) river," Raphael said during an interview in Austin in 1993. "We played baseball in Union City (New Jersey). But golf? Never. I interviewed once for a job in Manhattan. They asked me what my handicap was. I thought they meant if I stammered, or had a broken arm or something like that. I didn't have a clue the question was about golf."

His game was baseball, his dream – the Major Leagues.

Growing up during the Depression, in a blue-collar town of immigrants, Raphael worked many part-time jobs – among them sacking groceries, shining shoes and selling newspapers. During the summer, he covered minor league games for the Hudson Dispatch. Union City, across from the Manhattan skyline, had two nicknames: "Havana on the Hudson" and "The Embroidery Capital of the World." His mother and grandmother, who lived upstairs, worked as seamstresses at a "sweat shop."

Raphael never made it to the big leagues in baseball but golf would become integral to his career. At age 30, he finally landed an advertising job in Manhattan, as a production assistant with the J. Walter Thompson Agency. By age 35, he had helped create a global advertising campaign for Ford Motor Company, based on the novel by French author Jules Verne, "Around the World in 80 Days."

Beginning at age 40, and for much of the remainder of his life, Raphael filmed and produced for the Shell Oil Company, a series of more than 100 highly competitive, 18-hole, one-on-one, stroke play challenge matches, broadcast to U.S. viewers on Sunday afternoons on NBC.

The edited matches featured the greatest pro golfers of the era, both men and women, American and international, at golf settings on seven continents. Each match, at stroke play, was filmed in color, though at that time only 2 percent of U.S. households owned color televisions.

Most of the matches were narrated by Masters champions Gene Sarazen and Jimmy Demaret. So popular were the matches, that for 10 consecutive years, "Shell's Wonderful World of Golf" became the highest-rated sports series in television history, averaging a rating of 11 to 12 and never below 7.7.

By 1963, Raphael had filmed golf matches in 22 countries and six continents. Among the matchups: Gary Player vs. Peter Thomson (Melbourne, Australia), Byron Nelson vs. Gerard de Wit (Netherlands), Jack Nicklaus vs. Sam Snead (Pebble Beach), and Jay Hebert vs. Flory Van Donck (Belgium). Other settings (partial list): Hong Kong, Sweden, New Zealand, Rome, Rio, Bangkok and Pine Valley. Raphael eventually would film matches in more than 70 countries. Safe to say as a documentarian of competitive golf, Fred Raphael had few peers.

On April 5, 1963, Raphael and Sarazen were having a late lunch at Augusta National Golf Club. The 61-year-old Sarazen had just made the cut at the Masters by five shots, tied with Arnold Palmer, about half his age. Palmer already had acquired three green jackets, Sarazen one. Sarazen,

Sam Snead, 1983 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, Onion Creek, Austin TX (Photo: Del Lemon)

the 1935 Masters champion, was the first golfer to win each of professional golf's four majors at least once. Ben Hogan was the second.

Raphael asked Sarazen how it felt to make the cut: "Gene had a big grin," Raphael recalled. "Then he said, 'Tomorrow the old legend, Gene Sarazen, tees off with the future legend, Arnold Palmer.'

"That word 'legend," said Raphael. "It stuck."

The Masters Tournament had televised in black and white since 1956. On April 11, 1965, in Butler Cabin, at the conclusion of the green jacket presentation to Jack Nicklaus, Augusta National President Clifford Roberts stared into the lens of a CBS camera and announced that, "Next year you'll be seeing the Masters in color."

Fast forward to 1978. At some point that winter Raphael sent out a press release from New York announcing that he had secured an anonymous corporate sponsor (Nestle, which later dropped out), and use of a newly-opened Austin golf course, designed and co-owned by Jimmy Demaret. Per the memo, Raphael would be hosting a 54-hole, nationally-televised, better-ball tournament on NBC, limited to an elite field of 32 major champions and Ryder

G P S G o l f C a r t s P r e m i e r S e r v i c e U p s c a l e R e s t a u r a n t & B a r

Cuppers - all age 55 and older. It would be called "The Legends of Golf," and it would be "the richest golf tournament in the world."

The total purse would be $440,000 with the winning pair splitting $100,000. Members of the last place team: $10,000 each.

At that time, Sam Snead's official career earnings for 41 years on tour: $620,126. Ben Hogan's official career money for 37 years on tour: $332,517. Hogan's winning share at the 1951 Masters: $3,000. Tom Watson's first place prize at the 1977 Masters: $40,000.

"You have to remember," said Onion Creek head professional Terry McGowan, "this was the late 1970s. Prior to the Legends, no golf tournament had ever been held anywhere in the world with a total purse of more than $250,000. Not the U.S. Open.

Not the Masters. Not the British Open. Not the Tournament of Champions."

And this was to be a nationally televised event on NBC featuring seniors who were major champions, but in some cases decades past their primes. Sarazen was 75. Sam Snead was eligible for Social Security. Byron Nelson had an arthritic right arm and retired to raising quarter horses at his ranch. Hogan hadn't hit a shot in competition since 1971. Tommy Bolt vowed he hadn't drowned a golf club since he moved back to Arkansas.

McGowan shrugged.

"Who would watch?"

As it turned out — millions.

For the rest of Del’s fascinating history piece, please go to www.golfoklahoma.org.

Ben Crenshaw, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw gather for the 1993 Legends of Golf
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Quick climb for Gibson

Afew months after deciding to look hard into a second career off the golf course, Rhein Gibson is playing what he considers the best golf of his life and looking forward to a third act on the PGA Tour.

That’s what three solid weeks capped by a victory in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Astara Championship in Bogota, Columbia, will do to your perspective. For the 37-year-old father of a 2-year-old son, winning the $180,000 for first place and setting himself up for the rest of the year was huge after missing 14 of 22 cuts and winning just $32,454 in all of 2022.

It was the second career KFT victory for Gibson, the Australia native who had an ultra-successful collegiate career at Oklahoma Christian and stayed on to make

his home in Edmond. He is now one of six full-time KFT members to play out of Oak Tree National in Edmond and is excited to see golf’s penultimate tour return to Oklahoma with the Compliance Solutions Classic on June 22-25 at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course in Norman.

“I think it’s fantastic this is coming to Oklahoma,” Gibson said. “Oklahoma coach (Ryan) Hybl saw the importance of having a big-time event like this and how it could help some of his players get on the PGA Tour. And the state of Oklahoma is such a great golf state and in need of a big-time tournament like this.”

Instead of coming into the event wondering about his golf future, Gibson will come in brimming with confidence. His final rounds of 66-64 in Bogota pushed him four shots clear of former Oklahoma State golfer Kevin Dougherty,

giving Gibson his second KFT victory to go with his 2019 win at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. He followed that up with a tie for 10th at his next start in the Astara Chili Classic, shooting 16-under.

Gibson has never had trouble going deep on a golf course. Famous for the 55 he shot at River Oaks Country Club in 2012, later immortalized by Rick Reilly in his “So Help Me Golf” collection, he can get extremely hot with his irons and putting, Inconsistent driving, however, has plagued him in all three of his PGA Tour seasons, 2015-16 and 2019-21.

Then his 2022 season on the Korn Ferry Tour was a disaster that had him ready for a new career.

Someone who can empathize is fellow Oak Tree National and Korn Ferry Tour member Josh Creel, who earned his PGA Tour card in 2020 but then made just four of 17 cuts on the PGA Tour in 2021 and is now back on the KFT.

Ryan Hybl Rhein Gibson revitallized career in advance of Compliance Solutions Championship Quade Cummins Garett Reband
Grant Hirschman Logan McAllister Kris Ventura Brendon Jelley
CONTACT US | 407-260-1011 | customerservice@csilongwood.com Compliance Solutions is proud to bring professional golf to Oklahoma for 5 consecutive years starting in June 2023. JUNE 22-25, 2023 A Celebration of Oklahoma! Celebrating 20+ Years of Service The worldwide leader of tax and compliance services. 20+ To find out more about Compliance Solutions please visit our website at www.csilongwood.com Compliance Solutions provide SOLUTIONS to all sized businesses from small startup businesses in one county to complex businesses in every state/international. Send an email to customerservice@csilongwood.com and we will contact you and discuss the Oklahoma client discount. YOUR COMPLETE SOLUTION for sales tax compliance, accounting, and business advisory services. • Sales Tax Filing & Remittance • Sales Tax Calculation Software • Corporate Income Tax • Merger & Acquisitions Consulting • Audit Defense Services • Incorporation & Exit Strategies

“Anyone who has played the game at any sort of high level understands that it’s a fine, fine line between playing well and not,” Creel said. “You can’t take anything for granted on the PGA Tour or Korn Ferry Tour. This year he came out playing on his past champion status, needed to do well early and now he’s locked up his card and in good position to go back to the PGA Tour. We’re really proud and happy for him.”


• June 19-25, Jimmie Austin University of Oklahoma Golf Course

• Purse: $1,000,000. Winner’s Share $180,000

• Oak Tree National members with Korn Ferry Tour status: Rhein Gibson, Josh Creel, Michael Gellerman, Quade Cummins, Logan McAllister, Chris Gotterup

• Other Korn Ferry Tour members with Oklahoma ties: Brendon Jelley (Tulsa, OSU), Kevin Dougherty (OSU), Grant Hirschman (OU), Garret Reband (OU), Logan McCracken (TU, Oklahoma City), Tag Ridings (Tulsa), Bo Van Pelt (Tulsa), Kris Ventura (OSU), Andre Metzger (Ada), Ryan Grider (Oklahoma City)

• Tickets are available online at: https://compliancesolutionschampionship.com/tickets/ General Admission tickets are $35 for a single

day or $70 for all week (Thursday, June 22 through Sunday, June 25)

for next year, including the Designated Events with limited fields and no cuts, but there will still be opportunities.

• VIP Shared Hospitality tickets are $175 for a single day or $600 for all week. Allow access shared hospitality venue on 18 green and includes food and beverage.

• Volunteers are still needed. Registration is available online here: https://compliancesolutionschampionship.com/overview/

• Event charity is Autism Oklahoma

• Pro-am teams are available. $10,000 for a team of three amateurs and opportunity to play with two Korn Ferry Tour professionals in a 9 & 9 format. Email Erin Gasbarro at erin@anerasports.com for more information on the pro-am.

with his older brother Kane serving as his caddie. The two had a great time catching up at the Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.

After his victory in Columbia, Gibson returned for his first visit to Australia since Covid. He played in two events, finishing fifth in an Austral-Asian event, then flying over to New Zealand for the New Zealand Open, where he tied for sixth at 14-under

Gibson’s early-season victory means he will just need to play solidly the rest of the season to be one of 30 players to reach the new format for the KFT Finals and likely earn a return trip to the PGA Tour for 2024. There he’ll face all the changes instituted



Compliance Solutions Championship as the Korn Ferry Tour makes its debut in Norman, OK. Volunteer and Sponsorship opportunities are available, so please visit us online for more information.


JUNE 19-25, 2023

“It’s going to be confusing regarding status and access to events, and you may have to win in order to move up into that top-70 category for the elevated events,” Gibson said. “But there will be some access. If you can play well in three non-designated events, the top 10 in those will play in the next elevated event. So you can play your way in, but it’s going to be tough.

“I feel like I’m playing really well right now. Last year was a big hit and when you don’t make any money, you start wondering what your next stage in life is. But I’ve got a new teacher/consultant, Scott Cowx out of Canada, who is helping me a lot. I’m really excited moving forward. I want to get in contention and win again.”

Gibson said the Oak Tree National contingent is benefitting from the new TifEagle Ultradwarf Bermuda greens that have the course playing like the championship venue it should be.

“They have definitely put some teeth back into Oak Tree,” Gibson said. “I think the course being closed all last year made it tough on the guys there and a lot of them had average years. Now the greens are firm and fast again but will hold shots hit from the fairway with spin. You need to think smarter and be in the fairway as much as possible and that helps my game.”

Creel practiced two years out of Jimmie Austin after attending the University of Central Oklahoma and considers it a second home course. He said he is pumped to have the Korn Ferry Tour in the state and what Gibson has accomplished has lit a fire among the other Oak Tree National members who are wanting to move on to the PGA Tour.

“If that doesn’t light a fire under everyone’s ass who’s playing out there, I don’t know what will,” Creel said. “As good a friends as we are, we all want to kick each other’s butts every time we play. But we’re all excited for Rhein.”

us for the

Moore, Stevens, Eckroat cement OJGT legacy on tour

The list of accomplishments of Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour graduates continues to grow.

One week after Taylor Moore of Edmond won the Valspar Championship, Sam Stevens of Wichita and Austin Eckroat of Edmond finished tied for third and fifth, respectively, in the Corales Puntacana Championship, giving former OGJT players a first, third and fifth in a two-week span on the PGA Tour.

Stevens then fin ished second by a shot to Corey Con nors the following week in the Valeron Texas Openwith a brilliant 6-under final round and nearly forced a playoff when his birdie putt on 18 grazed the lip.

Moore, who was a two-time state champion at Edmond Memorial before playing his collegiate golf at Arkansas, notched his first PGA Tour victory, landing a spot in The Masters and other 2023 major championships.

While NBC was focused on the final pairing of Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk, Moore won the event with an outstanding closing 10-hole stretch, shooting 4-under from the ninth hole to the 18th to move to 10-under overall. He was on the range just hoping to be in a playoff before Spieth bogeyed 16 and Schenk bogeyed 18. Suddenly he was a PGA Tour winner.

“Honestly, I thought I would be in a playoff or lose by one after I finished,” Moore said. “But I just wanted to give myself a chance. On 18, I had to hit that first putt so hard up the hill and then I had about 5 ½ feet left straight uphill. I was happy to get that one down in two. I was more pleased with how I handled the entire situation knowing what it meant.”

Moore’s victory was nearly as exciting and fulfilling for Kickingbird Director of Golf Brian Soerensen, who started teaching Moore at the age of 10 and regards him as a third son to go along his two.

“It was just fantastic and I just got off the phone with him,” Soerensen said the

following Monday. “It couldn’t have happened to a better young man. Now he gets to play in The Masters and all the majors. He’s worked really, really hard to get to this point."

Soerensen and Moore began working together on his swing early. Moore made some changes when he went to Arkansas under coach Brad McMakin, and again later with instructor Josh Gregory, but still consults with Soerensen. Their relationship is much more than coach-student however, as the families are close. Sorensen and Taylor’s father Rod are good friends and Taylor is close to Brian’s son Brandon, a year older than Moore at age 30.

Moore was ranked 57th in the FedEx Cup standings coming in, having played 15 events already in the wraparound 2022-

23 schedule. The victory lifted him to $2,745,877 in earnings for this year and into the top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings. He played 28 events in his rookie year, making 18 cuts and finishing 67th with four top-10s.

“I’ve become a better golf course manager, a better ball striker and just handled myself internally much better these past two years,” Moore said. “I think physically my game has progressed in all areas. A weakness of mine since coming out of Arkansas was the short game and putting, but I’ve put a lot of time and effort into that.”

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Left to right, caddie Chris Tichenor, Brian Soerensen and Taylor Moore. Sam Stevens Austin Eckroat

Next state star on fire

NORMAN — In grade school, Drew Goodman loved going to Oklahoma coach Ryan Hybl’s golf camps.

But at the time, he loved former Oklahoma State star Rickie Fowler more.

“I started coming to Coach’s camp in probably third grade, and for the first couple years, I’d make a point for at least one of the days to wear all orange,” Goodman said. “I love Coach Hybl. I wouldn’t miss his camp. But I had to make sure he knew I was an OSU fan.”

Now all grown up, Goodman is a budding star in his sophomore season on Hybl’s Sooner squad.

He had a stroke average of 71.29 as a freshman last year and is on his way to improving that this season. Still fighting to break through with a win, Goodman seems to be on the verge of not only that, but his emergence on the national stage.

“(Goodman is) showing signs of improvement from last year to this year that I really like,” Hybl said. “His short game has gotten a lot better. Ball striking continues to get better. Understands who he is more now and he’s getting longer.

“Last year, he was trying to prove he is a big-time player. Now he kind of deep down knows that he is. Now just knows he has to go play good solid golf and doesn’t have to do anything crazy. If he plays solid golf, he’ll be able to compete.”

Hybl and Goodman agree that the young player’s next big step will come between his ears.

“The mental game is something that me and Coach talk about a lot,” Goodman said. “I’ve gotten a lot better, but still, I have a long ways to go, and that is what is keeping me from being, I think, a really elite player right now.

“I’ve gone from a junior golf mentality to thinking my way through a golf course,

keeping my emotions super-stable. I’ve learned a lot playing through some bigtime events and starting to get into contention more.”

The key source of Goodman’s struggles on the mental side is his intensely competitive nature, which creates a lot of positive influence, but can detract from his game as well.

ness to be perfect is something that can hold me back, because I’ll get super-frustrated with myself and I’ll let it bleed into the rest of my round.

“I want so badly to win and for things to go that way, but that can also work against me a lot.”

On the positive side, Goodman’s drive for perfection shows up most in his work ethic.

“He is motivated, accountable for himself, accountable to the team,” Hybl said. “He’s talented, but works his tail off.

“On a day-to-day basis, he kind of puts everybody in the dust when it comes to work ethic.”

When Hybl watches that work ethic in action, combined with Goodman’s natural talent, the coach sees a PGA future.

“He for sure has Tour-quality type of game, Tour-quality work ethic,” Hybl said. “Wouldn’t put a ceiling on a guy like that.

“We hope he’s the next PGA Tour player from the OJGT. He’s a star example of what you want all your guys to be like and a great example for the younger guys.”

His work ethic is a trait Goodman picked up at an early age, but not on the golf course.

“He is naturally intense, best words to describe it since he was a little guy,” Hybl said. “Very goal-oriented family, but Drew has always been a super Type A (personality), a perfectionist. Maybe it’s even hurt him at times because he wants to be so good.”

As he moved from junior golf to college competition, Goodman began to understand the need to keep his emotions in check on the course. He’s still learning the process, but has seen significant progress.

“I’m definitely the definition of a perfectionist,” he said. “For me, my competitive-

“It started with my parents,” he said. “They taught me early on that if I worked hard and did everything that I was supposed to do, that things were gonna work out pretty good. That started with school work.

“Then as I got into sports, they were encouraging me that if I wanted to be really good, I would need to put a lot of work into it.”

When Goodman was in third grade, the family moved to Norman and he began playing at Belmar Golf Club.

A couple years later, his parents began dropping him off at the club and letting him play until dark.

“They weren’t forcing me to do anything, but also not keeping me away from the golf course,” Goodman said. “As I

Drew Goodman started an OSU fan, now a proud Sooner.

started to get better, it made me realize the harder I worked, the better I was gonna get. It grew from there.”

Having grown up a few miles from the OU campus, it means a lot to be a Sooner now. He has left behind those childhood ties to the Cowboys.

Though he grew up in Norman, his grandparents lived in Stillwater.

“They were a big influence on me,” Good man said. “I’d walk across the street from their house to Stillwater Country Club and chip and putt on their putting green. That’s how I started playing golf and loving being out there.”

That’s what led to Goodman’s love of Fowler, who was just hitting the PGA Tour scene at the time. And that, in turn, led to all the orange golf gear.

But through all those days at Hybl’s OU camp, the coach was always able to look past the gear and see the golfer.

“He always told me if I was good enough to play college golf that he was gonna flip me,” Goodman said. “When it came time for the decision, I was pretty neutral, and I realized how awesome this program is. The mentality and the culture that Coach has here was the perfect fit for me. I knew I didn’t wanna be anywhere else.”

918.832.5544 www.jonesplan.com


The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s high school state golf championships are set to be held around the state in early May, celebrating the talented players who have begun to make names for themselves locally and nationally. Here’s a look at some of the best young players, with the top-10 girls and boys golfers in the state of Oklahoma for the 2023 season:



Despite her youth, Herman has already proven herself as the top girls golfer in the state, with five top-five finishes on the AJGA Tour dating back to last summer. That includes a win at the Accenture Northwest Arkansas Junior, where she posted a pair of 69s on her way to a threeround total of 208. Regarded as a top-75 player nationally already, Herman will get her first chance to compete for an OSSAA state title this spring.


The younger sister of former Altus star and four-time Class 5A state champion Megan Blonien, Natalie has made her own name as she enters her junior season as the reigning 5A title-holder.


Sparked by a first-round 73, Roberts took the Class 6A individual title last spring and has multiple OJGT titles to her credit, including a 10-shot win at the Fall Finale at Shawnee Country Club last October.


The Ball State signee is the state’s top recruit in the senior class, having posted top-three finishes in the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Championship and the WOGA Junior.


An exciting young player, Factor took runner-up honors in Class 4A last year, posting a final-round 72 and helping Ada to a second-place team finish. She also reached the semifinals of the OGA Girls Junior Match Play Championship.


The reigning Class 4A medalist edged Factor by two shots thanks to a finalround 73 at Buffalo Rock Golf Club in Cushing last May. She also won a South Central Junior PGA event at Muskogee Country Club last summer.



Don’t let the tiny hometown by her name fool you. Last year’s Class 2A runner-up to current OU freshman Raychel Nelke, Hartman reached the finals of the OGA Junior Match Play, losing to another college player, the University of Tulsa’s Jenni Roller. Hartman is the favorite for the 2A title this year.


The Class 6A runner-up last year, Stanton is the veteran leader of a Jenks squad trying to repeat as team champion in pursuit of the school’s 16th title. Stanton has signed with Illinois-Springfield.


Coming off a strong sophomore year in which she was in contention at multiple events, Darr has won early in her career and will look to carry that over to her junior season.


Last year’s third-place finisher at Class 6A state, Hoang has signed with the University of Central Oklahoma.

Others to watch: Juliana Hong, Fr., Norman North; Sophia Lefler, So., Jenks; Syrah Javed, Jr., Norman North; Peyton Coburn, Jr., Bishop Kelley; Allie Justiz, Jr., Bishop McGuinness; Scarlet Sturch, Sr., Durant.




Cowan ran away with the Class 3A title last year, with only one opponent — teammate Bryant Polhill — within 17 strokes of his three-round total of 203. He also won the OGA Junior Stroke Play Championship last summer. Cowan is a top-30 player nationally and is bound for OU, following former teammate Jaxon Dowell to Norman. This year will have a heavy focus on team success as OCS pursues its 10th state title and first since 2018.

Rylee Roberts Beans Factor Jaiden Gregston Jaci Hartman Natalie Blonien Layne Ailshie Lucy Darr Lily Stanton Lisa Herman Mimi Hoang


The reigning Class 6A champion edged the field by three strokes as a sophomore last spring and has climbed into the top-100 nationally as part of the state’s emerging junior class.


Last year’s winner of the OGA Junior Match Play Championship, Sands is the latest young talent to emerge from the powerhouse Edmond North program.


Joining with Cowan, Polhill and the Saints are chasing a state title first, but Polhill is a strong player individually as well. He signed with Kansas State, where he will join another OJGT alumnus, Ben Stoller of Owasso.


Coming off a strong freshman season that included wins in the OJGT and at the Red River Challenge, Albee is the state’s top player in a sophomore class that is fighting for notoriety against an abundance of talented upperclassmen.


An Oral Roberts signee, Johnson finished strong at the Class 3A state tournament last year to tie for third and help CHA win a team title.



Yet another player in the wildly talented Class 3A field that includes those from Oklahoma Christian School and Christian Heritage, Bond tied for third last year and also has an AJGA win.


Headed to Nebraska, Hughes has been a contender for multiple big junior events, with a top-five AJGA finish and a runnerup at the OGA Junior.


A fourth-place finisher at the Class 6A state tournament last year, Morris anchored Jenks’ run at a team title, which ended with a third-place finish.


A fourth-place finisher at Class 5A state last year, Hennessee has numerous big wins on the Oklahoma junior golf scene during his career.

Others to watch: Josh Stuart, Jr., Norman North; Kyle McLaughlin, Sr., Heritage Hall; Benton Manly, So., Regent Prep; Baylor Bostick, Sr., Duncan; Parker Payne, Jr., Noble; Conner Cryor, Sr., Tipton.

Preston Albee Christian Johnson Collin Bond Rhett Hughes Sam Morris Will Hennessee Parker Sands Bryant Polhill Ryder Cowan Grant Gudgel

Simplifying Wedges from 100 yards and In

horter wedge shots can be puzzling. It’s tricky to decide the club to use, what kind of swing to make, where the ball should go in the stance, etc. Here is a quick set of points that you can use to develop your wedge game strategy:

Sshoulder high. See the photos below.

2. Remember to include a little pivot with the swing. The body still needs to turn and shift as these are not just arm swings. Start with the ball position in the center of your stance or slightly forward. Many people play these shots too far back in the stance, making it tricky to control the low point of the swing.

1. Wedges are not built to be hit hard with big swings. Long swings generally cause the club head to release too soon, resulting in a scooped shot. Starting with any wedge you like, begin by hitting some shots from what feels like hip high to hip high. (It doesn’t matter if it’s really hip high, only what you think it is). Then move to chest high to chest high, then shoulder high to

3. Find your rhythm for these shots. Most people tend to go too long on the back swing and then attempt to slow down. Think “shorter and sharper.”

4. You can control your distance with swing size, club selection, swing speed and stance width. Narrowing the stance takes some of the load and unload out of the motion and allows a bigger swing to go a shorter distance.

5. Use a launch monitor or measured off

targets to determine how far your partial shots are traveling with the different swing sizes, clubs, and stance widths. You will find you end up with a few favorites to build around.

6. “Full” wedge shots usually work better with a backswing that feels around shoulder high and a follow through to a full finish. Use this thought to dial in your full yardages with your wedges.

I hope this improves your wedge game. If I can help, please reach out and let me know.



Instagram: @jpygolf

Jim Set up Chest high finish Hip high backswing Shoulder high back swing Hip high finish Shoulder high finish Chest high back swing Wedges are not built for long back swings like this one

I feel the need . . . the need for speed INSTRUCTION

any of us share Maverick’s sentiments -- we are feeling the need for more speed, and that includes golfers. Is there anything we can do to slow down Father Time? Can we turn back the clock?

I think we can.

With the right information, some of you may even to be able to swing it faster than you ever have before. In order to do this, you must let go of some things that you may have once learned, such as:

*Take it back nice and slow

*Stay down

*Slow down

*Swing easy

*Keep your eye on the ball

*Don’t peek

For now, let us drop all of that and impart a new philosophy – Swing it back faster.

I know, you have been told to take it back slow. Stop doing that.

1) What I do not want to do is be stagnant in my set up, and lift my arms

2) What I do want to do is be dynamic and moving around a little bit before I start my backswing. Feel your lead and trail foot lift ever so slightly back and forth like a seesaw.

Then, to start your backswing, use the pressure from your lead foot to initiate your backswing with some momentum and speed. This faster purposeful backswing will increase your clubhead speed instantly.

3) I have now taken the club back longer, I have turned my shoulders and hips more, and I have taken it back … faster.

4) The difference in these swings was 7 mph of clubhead speed, and 18 yards of carry distance.

So, if you want more speed, start with more speed.

I know this tip will help you increase your speed and hit the ball longer.

Ryan Rody
M3 3 1 1 2 2
W o o d w a r d , O k l a h o m a | b o i l i n g s p r i n g s g o l f c l u b . c o m
"one of the most fulfilling municipal golf options in the country"
-Sugarloaf Social Club

SCHEDULES: More at www.golfoklahoma.org


May 8-9, OGA Four-Ball, Senior Four-Ball, Dornick Hills CC

May 30-June 1, OGA Stroke Play, The Territory, Duncan

June 5-8, OGA Junior, Lincoln Park GC West, OKC

June 13-16, OGA Senior State Amateur, Trails Golf Club, Norman

June 26, State Amateur Qualifier, Lincoln Park West, OKC

June 29, State Amateur Qualifier, Bailey Ranch

GC, Owasso

July 10-12, OGA State Amateur, Southern Hills CC, Tulsa

July 24-25, Senior Stroke Play, Hillcrest CC, Bartlesville

July 31-Aug. 1, Mid-Amateur Championship, Quail Creek G&CC, Oklahoma City

July 31-Aug. 1, Women's Stroke Play, Quail Creek G&CC, Oklahoma City

Aug. 17, Oklahoma Open qualifier, Oak Tree CC West, Edmond

Aug. 24-26, Oklahoma Open, Oak Tree CC East, Edmond


April 15-16, Lake Hefner Spring Challenge, OKC

May 13-14, Lincoln Park Spring Fling, OKC

May 24-25, Bailey Ranch Spring Championship, Owasso

Sept. 2-3, Talor Gooch John Conrad Fall Classic, Midwest City

Sept. 9-10, Bailey Ranch Bash, Owasso

Sept. 16-17, Beast of the East, Lincoln Park East, OKC

Sept. 23-24, Firelake Junior Challenge, Shawnee

Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Lake Hefner Fall Round-up, OKC

Oct. 7-8, Best of the West, Lincoln Park West, OKC

Oct. 14-15, Fall Finale, Shawnee CC

Oct. 26-29, OJGT/TJGT Red River Challenge, Dornick Hills CC, Ardmore


April 24, U.S. Open, The Territory, Duncan

June 27, U.S. Junior Amateur Boys and Girls, Dornick Hills CC, Ardmore

July 17, U.S. Amateur, Rose Creek, OKC

Aug, 7, U.S. Mid-Amateur men’s and women’s, The Greens CC, OKC

Aug 10, U.S. Women's Senior Amateur, Winter Creek Golf & CC, Blanchard

Sept. 26, U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Amateur, Belmar GC, Norman


April 24-25, Stableford Partnership, River Oaks CC, OKC

May 16-17, Senior Amateur, Belmar CC, Norman

June 26-27, Stroke Play/Mid-Amateur Championships, The Greens CC, OKC

July 10, Fundraiser at Golf Club of Oklahoma, Broken Arrow

July 11-12, WOGA Girls Junior, Golf Club of Oklahoma, Broken Arrow

July 24-27, WOGA State Amateur Championship, Ponca City CC

Aug. 7-8, Fore State Championship, Cedar Ridge CC, Broken Arrow

Aug. 21-22, Four-Ball Partnership, Shangri-La Resort, Afton

Sept. 18-19, WOGA Cup, The Club at Forest Ridge, Tulsa



Class 2A, Falconhead Resort

Class 3A, Lake Murray Golf Course, Ardmore

Class 4A, Prairie West Golf Course, Weatherford

Class 5A, Dornick Hills Country Club, Ardmore

Class 6A, Meadowbrook CC, Tulsa


Class 2A, Lake Hefner GC, OKC

Class 3A, Shangri-La Resort, Afton

Class 4A, Prairie West GC, Weatherford

Class 5A, Territory Golf Club, Duncan

Class 6A, Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso


June 26-28, Yamaha Match Play, Oaks CC, Tulsa

Aug. 14-15, SCPGA Professional Championship, Tulsa CC

Aug, 21-23, Senior Match Play, Canyons at Blackjack Ridge, Sand Springs

Oct. 2-3, Yamaha Section Championship, Maumelle (Ark.) CC


Feb. 27-28, Swinging Eagle Invitational, Shawnee Country Club

March 13-14, NAIA Oak Tree Invitational, Oak Tree CC, Edmond

March 20-21, Broncho Invitational, Rose Creek, Edmond

March 20-21, Oakwood Intercollegiate, Oakwood CC, Enid

March 27-28, Allen B. Pease Classic, Rose Creek Golf Club, Edmond

April 17-19, Lone Star Conference, WinStar Resort, Thackerville


Feb. 27-28, Swinging Eagle Invitational, Shawnee CC

March 6-7, Diffee Ford Lincoln Invitational, Lincoln Park East, Oklahoma City

March 20-21, Meadowlake Intercollegiate, Meadowlake GC, Enid

March 27-28, Kyle Blazer Invitational, Gaillardia, Oklahoma City

April 10-11, Susie Maxwell Berning Classic, Lincoln Park, Oklahoma City

April 10-11, Oral Roberts Spring Invitational, Club at Indian Springs, Broken Arrow

April 24-25, Lone Star Conference, Redbud GC at WinStar Resort, Thackerville


June 12-13, Lost Spring Golf & Athletic Club, Rogers, Ark.

June 20-21 Junior PGA Qualifier, Bailey Ranch, Owasso

July 5-6, Forest Ridge GC, Broken Arrow

July 10-11, Stillwater CC

July 17-18, The Club at Indian Springs, Broken Arrow

July 24-15, The Trails, Norman

July 31-Aug. 1, Walter Hopper Tour Championship, Kickingbird GC USGA Qualifiers


April 15-16, TGA Two-Man Challenge, South Lakes GC, Jenks

April 27, 3-Man Team Shamble, Hillcrest CC, Bartlesville

May 9-10, TGA Senior Stroke Play, South Lakes, Jenks

June 3-4, TGA Four-Ball, Bailey Ranch GC, Owasso

June 8, 3-Man Shamble, Forest Ridge GC, Broken Arrow

June 24-25, TGA Stroke Play Championship, LaFortune Park, Tulsa

June 27, 3-Man Shamble, Shangri-La, Afton

July 18, 3-Man Shamble, Muskogee CC

June 29-30, TGA Two-Man Challenge, Battle Creek

Aug. 15, 3-Man Shamble, Meadowbrook CC

Sept. 28, TGA Par-3 Two-Man Shamble, LaFortune Park



May 3-6, The Territory Classic, Duncan

May 17-20, Real Okie Championship, Muskogee GC

June 14-17, Eagle Ops Championship, The Club at Indian Springs, Broken Arrow


Live Golf Tulsa, May 12-14, Cedar Ridge CC, Broken Arrow


June 22-25, Compliance Solutions Championship, Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, Norman

THE BEST VALUE IN GOLF At top courses in: Oklahoma • Arkansas • S. Kansas or DISCOUNTED ROUNDS 200 FREE Call 918.357.3332 for bulk pricing or to order. www. SCSPGAGOLFPASS .com ORDER YOURS TODAY AT: We accept all major credit cards ONLY $4995

We so often forget that kids love to be included in what we are doing. Golf is an excellent sport for youngsters to begin early and play for a lifetime. Speaking of lifetime - John Vance Auto Group provides a no-cost lifetime guarantee on all new vehicles sold and most pre-owned cars and trucks. See one of our friendly sales associates for details.

Woodward, OK


Start’em early
Guthrie, OK Vance Buick and GMC 5212 S. Division St. (405) 293-4216 Vance Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram
S. Division Street (405) 293-2334 Vance Country Ford
S. Division Street (405) 369-9135 Miami, OK Vance Chevrolet, Buick and GMC 1640 N. Main St. (918) 919-4342
Vance Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram 3606 Highway 10 East (918) 928-3220
Vance Ford, Lincoln 510 N. Main St. (918) 238-8690
Vance Chevrolet, Buck and GMC 3425 Willams Ave. (580) 256-7474
Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram 3425 Willams Ave. (580) 256-7474

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