2022 Golf Oklahoma June/July

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Official publication of the Oklahoma Golf Association


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TABLE OF CONTENTS JUNE/JULY 2022

VOLUME 12 ISSUE 3

The Goods 10 12 13 15

The Ryder Cup and how we finally got it right Ed Travis rates the latest golf gizmos The fitting process and what's important Chip Shots; Play Southern Hills, Andy Dillard reemerges with new book, Golf Trail seeks Commissioners

Features 16 20 22 24 25 28 30 34

A magnificent PGA Championship at Southern Hills has us wondering what comes next? OU, OSU, OCU miss on national championship bids, but next year looms Mark Felder announces his pending retirement from the OGA Lincoln Park is the first public course in Oklahoma to reach the century mark, and has been one of the best for the entire time. A hallmark of longevity, Lincoln Park had just three men at the helm for 99 of its first 100 years Huge renovation under way at Kickingbird Big improvements at John Conrad in Midwest City and Page Belcher in Tulsa Tom Doak good to his word at Dornick Hills in Ardmore

16 22

40

Competition 36 OGA Junior Boys and Girls Championship. 38 Boys High School roundup 39 Girls High School roundup

24 15

Destinations 40 Louisiana

Departments 6 8 9 44 45 46

Letter from the Publisher OGA ED Mark Felder Felde WOGA ED Laurie Campbell Instruction: Ryan Rody Instruction: Maggie Roller The Final Word: Pat Wheeler

20 On the cover

Lincoln Park in Oklahoma City turns 100 and will be celebrating in July. Photo by Mike Klemme.

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

GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

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June/July Issue 2022 FROM THE PUBLISHER KEN M AC LEOD

The allure of Saudi $$$

A

s more PGA Tour stars jump ship for Saudi sportswashing millions, it’s looking like poor choices ahead for golf fans. Watch watered down PGA Tour events or glorified exhibitions by guys with little incentive to train or play hard, knowing they are already raking in Saudi dollars.. Or maybe the PGA Tour concedes defeat and allows the Saudi defectors to play unfettered on both tours. The best of worlds for Greg Norman, who has always wanted to destroy the PGA Tour. It will be a frosty lockerroom between those who have already been paid $140 million or more and those who haven’t, especially if the ones who have not are the better players. A surprising amount of short-sighted people are cheering on a tour that exists outside of any business plan or structure that makes financial sense. With no network television, sponsors or other discernable income stream, the Saudis are paying hundreds of millions to players to use their names for one purpose regardless of whether they play well or poorly. Love the Tour or not, it has an income stream that can at least be defined, whether it’s television contracts, streaming rights, corporate sales, ticket sales, merchandise sales, concessions, etc. And it has expenses that can also be largely defined. If the players would like greater access to all the numbers or a greater percentage of actual income over expenses, those numbers can be debated by the Tour Policy Board and adjusted. LIV is completely untethered to any financial reality and would be out of business already if it was a business instead of a long-term PR endeavor. The vast pile of money has no relationship to any business plan and is not being doled out because the Saudis are a bunch of great guys. They want to use these golfers to sportswash their atrocities. It’s still a society where one ill-timed comment to a supposed friend can wind up with a visit in the night, torture and death. The funny thing is, they couldn’t have paid for more negative publicity than this 6

GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE OKLAHOMA GOLF ASSOCIATION Volume 12, Number 3

has generated. But there are also apparently millions cheering on their efforts with no compunctions at all. I have never and will never have to make a choice between earning several million by working hard all year or parlaying that to earning many millions for some hit and giggle events by a dubious benefactor. If the money was the only thing that was the deciding factor, that would be one thing. It’s where the money is coming from that should make all the difference . Rory McIlroy, perhaps the most thoughtful pro in the game today, stepped up and struck a huge blow for the PGA Tour by defending his title in an exciting finish against Justin Thomas and Tony Finau in the Canadian Open. That was followed by as compelling a U.S. Open as we’ve had in years. Two great weeks to be a golf fan. And that was followed by more defections, including Brooks Koepka and Abe Ancer. They can now spend all the time they want doing anything other than playing golf. And that benefits golf fans how? The advance money and the ridiculous tournament payouts do not equate to interest level for fans. The PGA Tour itself found this out with the FedEx Cup, all the extra cash meant nothing to fans who couldn’t even figure out who was winning. Only great players going head to head in the final weeks have saved it as a playoff format of interest. Phil Mickelson has been one of the most compelling figures in golf for more than 30 years. It’s sad he felt the need to lead this charge for financial reasons after reportedly squandering much of the hundreds of millions he’s earned on gambling. But for his fellow pros jumping ship, at least understand why you are being given millions with no performance standard required. Understand clearly that you are helping the Saudis attempt to paint a rosy picture of themselves as benevolent sportsmen without doing a thing to actually bring golf to their citizens or change their terrifying internal tactics.

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

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FACEBOOK.COM/ GOLFOKLAHOMAMAGAZINE

Oklahoma City Office 405-640-9996 Publisher Ken MacLeod ken@golfoklahoma.org

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COO/Marketing Director A.G. Meyers agm@golfoklahoma.org Reporter 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 Mark Felder mfelder@okgolf.org Director of Handicapping and Course Rating Jay Doudican jdoudican@okgolf.org Director of Junior Golf Morri Rose morose@okgolf.org Director of Rules Bob Phelps bphelps@okgolf.org Copyright 2022 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.

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MARK FELDER

OGA Executive Director

FROM THE OGA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Yes, we're starting to reminisce When the winner of the 2022 one, he made it to the finals in 2009 at The pionship returns to Perry Maxwell’s first OGA State Amateur Championship is Territory, but ran into just the perfect round layout, the historic Dornick Hills Country determined on July 29 at Oklahoma City of golf from Colton Staggs. Then Austin Club in Ardmore. We are grateful to arGolf & Country Club, yours truly is going Eckroat, would love to have his name on chitect Tom Doak for his volunteer work there, but he made it to the finals twice and to restore that classic back to its Maxwell to have to compose himself. roots and with the new greens Making the state amateur we know our field will enjoy the championship a class event to challenge of battling a classic showcase the incredibly talentcourse restored to its full glory. ed golfers throughout the state One of my great memories of has always been at the top of the Stroke Play Championship our agenda during my tenure at is the 2012 event at Jimmie Austhe OGA. This will be my final Yujeong Son Austin Eckroat Jordan Wilson Shaebug Scarberry tin OU Golf Club, when Talor time handing over the beautiful Gooch set the course record in state amateur trophy, at least as the final round with a 62, making executive director, as I have anbirdie on the final hole to shoot nounced my retirement at the 20-under for the week and win end of 2022. by 12 shots. Just an incredible So if the fountains need to performance and we will always be turned off, hopefully you’ll be in Talor’s corner wherever his understand why. Watching our Colton Staggs Hayden Wood Kaitlin Milligan future golf endeavors take him. Talor Gooch young golfers grow into state Speaking of incredible performances, champions and many on to the profession- lost to great rounds of golf from Hayden al ranks has been a particular joy of mine Wood at The Patriot in 2018 and Jordan one we have to mention is Yujeong Son. Wilson at Oak Tree National in 2019. And She won everything she entered, the state for the past 22 years. Some of the great names in our state’s we’re very happy to have Colton, Hayden junior (2017 and 2018), every OJGT event history adorn that trophy. You always re- and Jordan among our great champions. This year the OGA Stroke Play Cham- See OGA on page 9 gret a few that got away. Robert Streb is

4.5 Star Ranking by Golf Digest Beautiful Clubhouse Meticulously Maintained Golf Course

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GPS Golf Carts Premier Service Upscale Restaurant & Bar

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LAURIE CAMPBELL

President WOGA

WOMEN’S OKLAHOMA GOLF ASSOCIATION

Summer is here and golf is in full swing The WOGA tournament schedule began with the Stableford Championship at Lincoln Park and the Senior Championship held at Oakwood Country Club. The remaining championships are hosted by Cedar Ridge, Stillwater Country Club, Gaillardia, Shangri-La and Winter Creek. WOGA’s mission is to support, promote, and grow the game of golf for women and junior girls of Oklahoma. We accomplish this through these women’s championships, including the Junior Girls Championship and the Fundraiser Tournament benefiting scholarships and high school grants. WOGA’s 10th annual Fundraiser Tournament will be held on Monday, July 11 at Stillwater Country Club. The cost is $600 per four-person team and includes green fees, cart, range balls, breakfast and lunch. Registration is at 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. The event is open to all men, women and juniors. A silent auction, featuring rounds of golf at some of Oklahoma’s premier golf courses and additional golf-related items, memorabilia, and a casino getaway, are also offered. Four hole-in-

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one opportunities, including a Hilton Head vacation, are also being offered. Since 2013, more than $150,000 has been awarded to WOGA’s scholarship and grants programs. WOGA has awarded over 100 grants to underserved Oklahoma junior girls golf programs and the First Tee of Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Congratulations to this year's scholarship recipients: Grace Smith, Moriah Shropshire, Aubrey House and Baylee Wood.

Our Junior Girls tournament will follow the fundraiser at Stillwater Country Club on July 12-13. We welcome girls ages 8-18 in this event. For additional tournament and sponsorship information, please visit our website at 2022wogafundraiser.golfgenius.com or GGID: 2022WOGAFundraiser, or call the WOGA office at 918-760-4255. WOGA is a 501 c(3) charitable organization and all donations are tax deductible.

OGA cont. from page 8 she played in, every WOGA event she played during the only high school year she played. She was like a video machine, line her up here and turn it on. In our event she was winning matches 7 and 6 and she would be 7-under through 12 or 13 holes against very good players. There were very good players like Shaebug Scarberry and Kaitlin Milligan who would have won a lot more junior events, but Jujeong was hard to beat. We want to thank Cedar Ridge Country Club for hosting the OGA Four-Ball this spring, and all their great players for domi-

nating the event, including champions Rob Laird and Tyler Hunt and the senior duo of Ken Kee and Mike Alsup. And we want to thank Lincoln Park, which stepped up to host our Junior Amateur while traditional site Kickingbird is closed for renovations. Lincoln Park turns 100 this summer, the first public course in the state to reach the century mark, and for that entire time has shown the way for what a public facility should be in every respect. When you talk about Grow The Game, places like Lincoln Park set a daily example of exactly how to do that.

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The

BOOKSHELF

The Long (and Winding) Road to Whistling Straits by tom bedell

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in 18 competitions from 1935-77, with a break for the World War II years, the United States totally dominated what was then the Great Britain and Ireland teams, with a 16-1 edge with one tie (the U.S. retaining the Cup). It was so lopsided, that American players were becoming disinterested, and the GB&I contingent was in danger of not securing funding enough to field a team. That all changed in 1979, when the U.S. now had to face a team from Europe, and deal with its own complacency about the matches — a shortcoming that began piling up for U.S. captains with all too much regularity beginning in 1983. That year, Tony Jacklin’s European team almost won on American soil for the first time, falling but 1 1/2 points short. But Jacklin was captain again (and for four Cups consecutively) when he returned to pull off the feat in 1987 at the

’ve brazenly appropriated and amended the subtitle to Shane Ryan’s new book for my own above, since he does meander down a few detours before arriving at a recap of the 2021 match in “The Cup They Couldn’t Lose: America, The Ryder Cup, and the Long Road to Whistling Straits” (Hachette Books, $29). But no worries, the trip is worth every stop along the way. Ryan last showed up in our Oct.-Nov. 2015 issue for his “Slaying the Tiger,” an entertaining account of a year on the PGA Tour as a new crop of stars like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson were making their marks, with others emerging from the shadow of the colossus who had bestrode the tour before Jack Nicklaus Muirthem, Tiger Woods. He even had a villain for the book in Pat- field Village course, rick Reed, and Reed rears his troublesome against a team again head again in this variegated account of the captained by Nicklaus. The Atlantic tide 2021 Ryder Cup —mainly by not making had turned. Of the 17 the team. matches from 1985And while the current book certainly 2018, Europe concerns itself with the ‘21 team won 11 times members, this is more a tale of with one tie Ryder Cup captains through (retaining the the years, the ways they rose Cup). While or shrank from the challenge that certainly at hand, and the strategies they blew Ameriused to improve their teams’ ca’s complachances or, to be frank, those Shane Ryan cency out of they failed to implement while the water, the U.S. teams going down on the losing side. While there has been no lack of books continued to flounder. How and why Europe detailing Ryder Cup history, Ryan picks his spots well and weaves historical chapters maintained such dominance over three between those that propel the momentum decades, when American teams usually toward the 2021 competition in Wisconsin. looked stronger on paper, are the questions Ryan is going after. He trots out and often And he does it with points in mind. After the first four Cups (1927-1933) the discards some well-trodden theories: The series was tied at two wins apiece. But Americans simply needed to play better, 10

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the Europeans liked each other more, the Europeans wanted it more and so on. What it really came down to, Ryan suggests, was better leadership on the European side. Better preparation. When Jacklin agreed to the captaincy for the first time he insisted on conditions — and more captain’s picks — that would at least give his players the belief that they could win. Inspired leadership followed Jacklin in Seve Ballesteros, Sam Torrance, Bernhard Langer, José Maria Olazábal and Paul McGinley. American captains in the same period seemed to willingly forego any experiential lessons from match to match. Hal Sutton's 2004 disastrous pairing of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is perhaps cited as the most prominent blunder, but there were ample miscues to go around. Paul Azinger and his by-now infamous “pod” system came along in 2008 and worked like a charm. The mystery came in the subsequent matches when no one seemed to pay it any mind, leading to the 2014 drubbing of the U.S. team at Gleneagles. That was followed by what must have been one of the most uncomfortable press conferences ever, when Mickelson hung captain Tom Watson out to dry, unfavorably comparing his performance to Azinger’s. Enter the U.S. “task force,” to try and solve whatever the problems were. The very notion of such a think tank implicitly invests the Ryder Cup, in my mind, with laughably more importance than it deserves. This is just a sporting event, after all, not global warfare. Yet, as readers will discover, the task force came to rely on data gathered by former war game analysts. Ryan had done a splendid job in both his research and writing. He clearly had willing interview subjects in Jacklin, McGinley, Azinger and even the more reticent Steve Stricker, the 2021 U.S. captain. The narrative never flags and is entertaining throughout. Stricker emerges as a quiet hero, with his steady intelligence and reW W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


Rocky Patel A.L.R. 2nd edition

solve and, perhaps most of all, the ability to learn from the past. by mike crabtree

EVERYONE HERE We last met the Spencer brothers in Jeff Wallach’s novel “Mr. Wizard” in the JuneJuly 2020 issue. Wallach, who has also labored in the golf writing business for many a year, has produced a sequel, “Everyone Here Is From Somewhere Else” (Open Books, $19.95). Once again, it’s a stretch to call this a golf novel, though there is golf, there is Ireland, there is Guinness, and there’s ample good humor in continuing the tale of the two brothers who later in life discover they’re from different fathers. The first book posited a genealogical puzzle solved when Jeff Wallach Phillip traces his father to an American golf professional in Ireland. His brother, Spencer, then actually his half-brother, winds up marrying a daughter of that father, making her Phillip’s half-sister and sister-in-law, a neat trick. A trick, involving the purported Mr. Wizard, was at the heart of the first book, though Wallach never gave it away. All is revealed in the current volume. It’s not essential to read the first to enjoy the second, though probably more fun as characters from the first are more fully fleshed out in the sequel. (Indeed, the book manages to be both a sequel and a prequel, another neat trick.) If “Mr. Wizard” was about searching for a sense of self, “Everyone Here...” is about the search for a sense of place, of home. The inveterate New Yorkers are flung into the world, Spencer to Ireland, Phillip to Portland, Oregon, and both have to determine where it is they truly belong. And while the characters are working out that puzzle, there are more tricks from the mischievous Mr. Wallach. Readers can try and figure out what he was up to by embedding 41 cryptic chapter titles throughout. There is a relationship between the headings and the text that follows them and they’re sometimes obvious, but sometimes deeply buried, obscure, or downright impenetrable. Maybe he’ll reveal all when wrapping up a trilogy. Tom Bedell says his golf swing has been puzzling him for decades. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG

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t is refreshing when a cigar maker comes out and calls its cigar what in fact it is, “A.L.R.,” which stands for Aged, Limited and Rare. The Rocky Patel ALR 2nd Edition cigar is produced at the TAVICUSA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. As for the blend, it features a Mexican San Andres wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler, originating in fields owned and operated by Rocky Patel in Estelí and the Jalapa Valley region. During the tobacco’s aging and fermenting process, natural oils in the leaf are lost, thus giving this San Andres wrapper a lighter, earthy color. The Rocky Patel ALR 2nd Edition comes in three sizes, robusto, toro, gordo. The cool draw is nearly ideal

in terms of air flow, while the flavors come off as orange and caramel. On first light, the cigar is creamy and mellow with trace notes of cocoa and light pepper. The presence of sweet grains, nutmeg, cocoa and pepper transition into the meat of the cigar. The burn remains consistent, with a fair amount of smoke for the palate tasting. The final third of the cigar gives notes of cocoa, white pepper and oak with a light sweetness that one might find in cognac. The ALR maintains a sharp even burn line, good draw and plenty of smoke production to the end. The Rocky Patel ALR 2nd Edition’s technical performance is spot on. A slow cool draw, with a balance of flavor and complexity with an overall strength level falling between light medium to medium. A true cigar to enjoy after your day on the course or with friends while bring on the night.

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www.ztcigars.com (800) 340-3007 JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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EQUIPMENT

From lasers to monitors, here's the best of 2022

quent analysis. At $600, including a trial Garmin Golf app premium service and is compatible with E6 Connect for simulated play.

BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS tive up to 1,100 yards. A built-in slope fea- Bushnell Wingman by ed travis Many of us like to listen to our ture compensates for the terrain and can be olf Oklahoma turned off for competitive rounds. A magnet favorite tunes on the course and the Bushnell Wingman ($120) is spends a lot of in the case holds the device to the cart. a quality speaker which Bluetooth time keeping connects to a smartphone to play up-to-date on the myriad Precision Pro R1 Smart whatever suits your mood. But advancements in the tech- Rangefinder that’s not all because by pushing the butA combination of laser nology used in golf and wants to share with ton on the remote control it announces the readers the most noteworthy devices, espe- and GPS distance front/ cially those coming on the market this year. back/middle measurements, the R1 ($320) distance to the front, back and center of the Our list is not meant to be definitive, but also offers pairing with the Precision Pro green. Other nice touches include magnetic simply reflects our thoughts on the most sig- Golf smartphone app to provide yardages cart attachment and a USB port to charge nificant cutting-edge technology as applied personalized for your swing after user in- other devices. to golf. Many bring insight into your game, puts of launch monitor data. Weather data showing a pathway for improvement and is also part of the personal yardage calcula- Puma PopTop others help decide which club to use on the tion. Up or down slope adjustments with Bluetooth Speaker This PopTop Bluean on-off switch and target lock vibration next shot, plus a couple are just fun. tooth speaker ($130), powered by Speaqua are standard as is a magnetic cart mount. Sound Co., brings music to the range or the SWING DATA course all day with 10 hours of battery life Shot Scope Pro LX+ MEASUREMENT while recharging your phone at the same Some players like their Arccos Smart time. It’s rugged, the outside is made of distance for the next shot Sensors Gen3+ silicon, and has lots of well- thought-out from a laser rangefinder and The newest version of Smart features such as dual speaker pairing, a Sensors provides more accurate automatic some from a GPS device. shot tracking, capturing swing data with Shot Scope has something for both with the hook to attach to your bag and there’s even the now familiar sensors that screw into $350 Pro LX+. It has both their Pro LX laser a Puma ball marker on the bottom plus the the butt end of the grip. The $200 price cov- rangefinder with vibration and their H4 GPS metal ring doubles as a bottle opener. ers 13 sensors plus one for the putter and a Handheld showing yardage to front/back/ one-year Arccos Caddie membership; sub- middle of the green and hazards. Shot data GOLF WATCHES sequent years are $12.99 per month. Swing is also captured and analyzed using the cus- MGI AXS GPS Watch The AXS GPS Watch data is sent to a smartphone app with a GPS tom smartphone app. from MGI is a great distance readout of the hole being played. choice at $199 for GPS LAUNCH MONITORS distances. Control is acBushnell Launch Pro DISTANCE MEASUREMENT complished with easy-toPersonal Launch Monitor Blue Tees Series 3 Max use button controls, and it The Launch Pro ($3,000) may Rangefinder has a scratch resistant face. Yardage to the be used indoors or out and has Priced at $260 this laser front/back/middle of the green and disan extremely accurate threerangefinder falls in the lowtance to hazards is instantly available plus camera system to capture data er end of the price range of a built-in scorecard is standard. Battery life competitive models while offering features for each swing, including ball golfers want such as water resistance, quick speed, launch angle, carry distance, club- is 12 hours in Play Golf Mode, and it confocus and vibration feedback when the la- head path and smash factor. The basic nects to MGI’s Sureshot smartphone app ser locks on the flag. Slope compensation Foresight Sports software basic package is via Bluetooth. is standard and there’s an on/off switch to included for one year. Simulation software Voice Caddy comply with USGA regulations. The view is available with a bundle of 10 courses usT8 GPS Watch automatically adjusts for lighting conditions ing FSX2020. Priced at $350 this watch and it has a handy magnetic cart mount. with battery life good for 36 Garmin Approach R10 holes provides lots of inforLaunch Monitor MGI Sureshot Pinloc mation starting with front/ Here’s a lightweight portable 6000IPSM Rangefinder back/middle of the green and hazard GPS water-resistant launch monitor This $299 laser rangedistances displayed on the color touch screen. offering up to 10 hours usage finder will give yardages Slope calculation is built in as is a green map from the rechargeable battery. to the flag up to 390 yards to +/- 1-yard and to help with battery life it With sophisticated radar capturing more showing undulations plus user-defined pin shuts off after 15 seconds. Once locked on than a dozen metrics from each swing, the placement for even more accurate yardages. the target a vibration can be felt and the scan R10 pairs with your smartphone using the After each shot the T8 also displays the user’s mode, to help with other distances, is effec- Garmin Golf app with data stored for subse- swing tempo and shot distance.

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CLUB FITTING

“The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.” – Stella the saloonkeep,

Linda Hunt’s character in Silverado. by ken vanvechten

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ave some nefarious cloning experiment from a post-apocalyptical sci-fi thriller, we’re all unique. “Standard” abounds across consumer products, of course, including golf: standard length, standard lie, stock shaft, stock grip. Yet there are kajillions of permutations in the clubhead/shaft/grip/ length/lie matrix so standard can’t be all that normal. And everyone knows normal is boring. “Why do this?” asks Brandon Dickinson, rhetorically. “Why adjust the seat when buying a new car? Why not just buy W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG

a suit off the rack? for a skosh more forgiveness and Rogue Golfers are mak- ST Pro through gap wedge, Project X LS ing an investment 6.0, standard length and lie. The specified in golf clubs and clubs have less offset than my sticks and for a small invest- the shafts are swing-specific upgrades to ment of time and a the stock offerings. moderate fee (typically waived with Callaway (Swing Speed/Ball Speed/Spin Rate/Carry Yardage/Total Yardage – 7i) purchase) you get Current Apex: clubs built for you 81/112/7000/150/155 and massive perRouge ST Pro: formance gains.” 81/112/6400/159/168 Dickinson is a fitter and researchCobra (Swing Speed/Ball Speed/Spin and-development Rate/Carry Yardage/Total Yardage – 7i) technician with Current Apex: Cobra Puma Golf. 79.1/106.1/6000/147.5/152.8 (And he let me Forged Tec: hit a mockup of 83.9/112/5100/157.6/169.4 Bryson DeChambeau’s driver. I actually got it THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS: • Based on ball speed, which is a funcairborne with a draw. Its shaft is tion of swing speed and efficiency of a stave. The grip strike, the Rogue Pro ST outperformed seems as thick as the Forged Tec – more ball speed out of a freakin’ rolling less swing speed. Interesting but not critipin. Don’t try this cal other than there might be more gas left in the tank with the Cobra irons; faster at home.) I had the chance speed with improved strike capability this spring to visit equals greater yield. Interestingly, equal Cobra and Calla- club and ball speed with the Callaway way Golf at their clubs yielded significantly different yardproprietary fit- ages … shaft, can you dig it? • My spin rates with my clubs were far ting facilities in north San Diego higher when testing at Callaway than County. It was time to again at Cobra. Could that be a function kick the tires on new offerof time of day – 9a vs. 3p? Balls ings and look under the hood of – Chrome Soft X vs. Srixon what I’ve been playing for the Z-Star XV, respectively? past six years. A fitting session Calibration of the respecis straightforward, hitting my tive monitors and algocurrent irons – Callaway Apex rithms? Turf conditions? CF16, 4i-gap wedge, with (nonDespite disparate condistock) Project X PXi 6.0 shafts, tions, end results were standard length and lie angle – to Callaway similar, which goes to the establish a baseline and then goRouge ST Pro fact that a swing is a coning through various model and tract between clubhead, shaft combinations, varying lengths shaft and humans. and lie angles, until finding the op• Improved distance is obtimal match. If it’s been a few vious. What’s not highlightmodel cycles – and as our ed above is significant imbodies and swings change provement in dispersion. over time – odds are the In one testing session, new combination will distance from target line outperform what’s curwas on average 31 yards left rently in the bag. with my clubs – excessive Based on the numbers, draw spin – and that came Cobra directed me to its Callaway down to a miss-on-the-green, new Forged Tec irons, 4i-gap Apex CF16 maybe-the-fringe, not-in-thewedge, Dynamic Gold 120 S300, lake range of 7 yards for the standard length and 1° flat. Callaway sugRogue Pro ST and 12 yards for gested a mixed set: Apex 21 in 4i and 5i JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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CLUB FITTING the Forged Tec. With the physics of golf, less curve is more bomb. Both fitters put me in shafts that are slightly heavier with a lower-spinning profile than what I’m playing, with the Project X LS being more robust than the Dynamic Gold 120. With a number of launch parameters at hand and me not being a physicist, to illustrate the inherent problem Callaway’s John Degen keyed on spin, which with my gamers was on either side of 7,000 rpm, higher than the 6,000+ spin rate Callaway desired. Dickinson chose to isolate dynamic loft – the loft on the club at impact – which for me at 25+° is far outside the target range of 19-20°. The Forged Tech/Dynamic Gold combo got me down to 21°. However phrased, the shaft I play struggles to keep up with the forces imparted by my swing, releases too early and the ball launches too high with too much spin, vertically and rotationally (draw/hook), all costing me distance and accuracy. And it can be exacerbated by my in-to-out path that sometimes gets too out. Both configurations gave me the head-heavy feel I prefer (in terms of swingweight not absolute heft). For the record, I do not flip

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GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

at impact, registering a slightly downward attack angle of 1-2°. Rogue ST Pro lofts are minimally stronger than what I play – 0.5° comparing 7i-to-7i – and 1.5° stronger for the Forged Tec. “Your dispersion was better with the Rogue Pro. That was [also due to] the offset difference,” said Degen, manager of tour fitting at the Ely Callaway Performance Center. “Rogue Pro has less offset than Apex. New Apex and Rogue Pro spin a few hundred rpm less than the 2016 Apex. That helped with distance. In your particular case we found the 120g [Project X LS] shaft … was m o s t

Cobra Forged Tec

consistent as far as solid contact and dispersion.” Golf is a game of variables and adapting to them. That’s true for courses and course conditions, and

it’s true of us; golfer, know thyself. Based on static measurements, I “should” play irons at ½” longer than standard and 2° upright. It makes sense when just assessing my stature. In application, however, it’s counter-productive, and it always pans out that way. Golf might not be a contact sport, per se, but the action is fast and dynamic, and we do things in our swings before and at impact that often bely what a tape measure suggests. If you know yourself, you can lessen the time someone might want to spend chasing what the textbook says is your Holy Grail. Good fitters trust their eyes and their computers. They also want to know what you know about your swing, tendencies and preferences. Also, don’t automatically assume that because you’re x years older or lost some clubhead speed that you need feather-light and wispy senior-flex shafts. In both fittings, I was put into shafts that are more robust than what I’ve been playing. As True Temper touts, it’s not how fast a player swings as it is how he or she swings it fast – tempo. Even at 60+ and losing a few MPH, I still impart a lot of energy – with a less-than-full backswing – in a relative blink of an eye. I need a shaft to complement that.

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CHIP SHOTS

Six in a Row

News around the state Sponsored by

“Well, he birdied the first six holes starting out,” the young assistant pro said. Excuse me? The first six holes of the US Open? Oh my goodness, little Andy Dillard! by pat wheeler It is hard to believe that week is now n 1992, I was living in Georgia and 30 years in the rearview mirror but time traveling the Southeast for a mort- marches on and now little Andy Dillard is gage insurance company. Late one an older guy with grown children and instead of looking like the Michelin afternoon, I pulled into a nice golf man, he now looks more like Billy course for nine holes on the way Gibbons of ZZ Top. home to Atlanta. Dillard has a story to tell, the It was the Thursday of the US inner workings of a professional Open and I peeked at the televigolfer trying to salvage a career, sion screen as I was checking in at live out his dreams and paint his the golf shop. To my surprise, they Andy Dillard masterpiece at the most beautiful were showing my old friend from course in the world – Pebble Beach. Tyler, Texas, Andy Dillard on the tube. Just released in late May, Dillard’s book, Wow, I wonder why they are showing “Six In A Row,” is a must read for the avid Andy, I pondered aloud.

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Golf Trail seeks commissioners

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he Oklahoma Golf Trail bill presented by State Rep. Sheila Dills has passed the state legislature and been signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt. Next step is forming the nine-member commission that will solicit applications to be on the Trail and set up a structure for its operation and promotion. Those with a background in golf operations and marketing who wish to be part Lt. Gov. of the commission can send Matt Pinnell a resume detailing their golf and marketing backgrounds to the three government officials who will be selecting the commission. Those who send in a resume will then receive an official application form. When sending in a resume, copy each of the following:

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell: Matt.pinnell@ltgov. ok.gov Okla. Speaker of the House Charles McCall: Charles.McCall@okhouse.gov Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat: Greg.Treat@ oksenate.gov Pinnell will make five selections to the commission while McCall and Treat will have two selections each. State Rep. Once the commission Sheila Dills is established it will determine a criteria and selection process for which courses will be included and how best to market those courses. Commissioners are volunteer positions and can expect to meet at least quarterly and perhaps more often. Terms will be limited to six years.

Play Southern Hills in HOF Classic

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ateurs and bring your he Oklahoma Golf own professional, or Hall of Fame Clas$5,000 for a team of five sic, a fundraiser to supamateurs. Other levport the 501 C3 organiels of sponsorship are zation’s scholarship and available as follows: Everett Dobson Award Scholarship Sponsor programs, will be held Southern Hills CC $10,000 for one year Monday Oct, 24 at SouthScholarship sponsors help sponsor the two ern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, site of the 2022 PGA Championship and seven other $5,000 scholarships the Oklahoma Golf Hall of major championships. Sign up now for this Fame presents to high school golfers annually amazing event which will include great tee as well as the $5,000 Everett Dobson Award. Hole Sponsor - $1,000. Includes signage gifts, prizes, breakfast and lunch and many special guests, including members of the for your company on a particular hole and Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame and rofession- in the pre-tournament media. Visit www.oklahomagolfhof.org for enals from around the state. Entry fee is $4,000 per team of four am- try forms and more information. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG

golfer. And the subtitle, “What The U.S. Open Taught Me about Golf, Faith and Purpose,” speaks of his personal transformation from a golf hustler to committed Christian and family man. The only child of Don and Dixie Dillard, Andy grew up on the east side of Tyler and first noticed his gift for golf at the Putt-Putt course near his home. Later he was part of a dynamic junior golf program at the old Briarwood Country Club that was way ahead of its time. Probably a dozen of those junior golfers earned college scholarships in the late 1970s with Dillard, the Texas state junior champion at age 15, earning a full ride to Oklahoma State where he played on a national championship team with guys like Scott Verplank, Bob Tway and Willie Wood. It was Verplank who planted the seed for Dillard’s comeback in 1992 after playing the tour a couple of years in the late 1980s but losing his “card,” or playing privileges on the all exempt PGA Tour. Verplank told Dillard during some pre-season training in January of 1992, in Palm Springs, that Andy had the best eye-to-hand coordination he had ever seen and just to trust in his ability to hit it where you are looking. Sounds simple, and sometimes it can be that way in the strange world of competitive golf. Dillard’s book, released in time for the 2022 U.S. Open to be played at The Country Club near Boston, begins with the details of those six birdies in a row, still an Open record. Paired with fellow Texans Bob Estes and Tom Jenkins, Dillard left his birdie putt hanging on the lip of the cup on the iconic short par-3 7th hole to break his string that may never be repeated. “Heck, I thought he was going to birdie every hole,” Jenkins told me later. Dillard finished that first round with a 68 and in third place to first round leader Gil Morgan’s 66. After a second round 70, Dillard found himself in second place and in the final group with Morgan for Saturday’s third round. The remainder of the story I will leave to Dillard to tell as it is both riveting and revealing of the pressures of golf at the very highest level. The beauty of his book is Dillard’s transparency as he describes the highs and lows of pursuing his dreams as a professional golfer. Not to spoil it for you, I will simply say there is redemption and there is transformation. Six In A Row is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and other booksellers. JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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PGA WRAP UP

A PGA CHAMPIONSHIP TO SAVOR Years of planning have major payoff

Will Zalatoris prepares to hit his second shot on 18 in a playoff against Justin Thomas. by ken macleod

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eeks after Justin Thomas held off Will Zalatoris in an aggregate three-hole playoff to win the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Championship Director Bryan Karns was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Honestly, a lot of us are still waiting for the big negative and we haven’t found one,” Karns said of the post-tournament critique conducted by the PGA of America after each of its flagship events. While the city that was constructed at Southern Hills was being rapidly dismantled, the numbers, surveys and reviews coming in all indicated the tournament more than met

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GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

“I was just writing a note to Kerry about its goals in corporate sales, attendance, concession sales, television ratings, merchan- how much I enjoyed the last five years of planning and problem solving,” Myers said. dise sales and operational efficiency. Without releasing specific numbers, Karns “Being able to stand next to him for five said total attendance for the week was close years and discuss options and scenarios reto 200,000 with about 40,000 per day Thurs- lated to everything, it’s just such a logistical process and that’s what I day through Sunday. All really enjoy. Working with corporate tent availability Gil Hanse on every aspect was sold. Merchandise sales of the restoration. set records on three of four “My personal goal days. Since Southern Hills’ through all this was to contract is based on pershow that a classic venue centages of corporate sales like Southern Hills could as well as other sales, the challenge the best players club should come out well. in the world without narThe success extended to rowing fairways, having rehow the course presented ally deep rough or tricking itself and how it played. it up. We wanted to see if Thomas and Zalatoris were we could change the narra5-under through 72 holes tive that only second-shot of regulation play. After What a week for Nick players who hit great irons greens were not mowed FriSidorakis and Russ Myers. could compete here. We day morning due to Chief Championships Officer Kerry Haigh’s fear ended up with Rory McIlroy leading one of predicted gales Friday morning, several day, Zalatoris and Bubba Watson in conplayers shot low when winds died to noth- tention, not your typical target golfers. So ing Friday afternoon, including Bubba Wat- I think we were successful in that as well.” That is exactly what Hanse was looking son matching the course record with a 63. Otherwise the course played just as Haigh for throughout his restoration as well. “The best architecture is where the player and superintendent Russ Myers hoped and decides how they want to play it versus the prepared it to for years. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


Will Zalatoris

Rickie Fowler

architecture dictating to the player on how to play it,” Hanse said. “If there is that sort freedom and creativity within, then the architect has done their job as they present all kinds of options and opportunities to play the golf course versus saying no, this is the way you have to play the golf course. “I think you are hearing a little bit of that this week with commentary saying it will be someone who drives it straight and long, some days it’s a bunker player, some days it’s an iron player, someone who is creative around the greens. Nobody is focusing in on the only type of player who can win here is this. And I think that is a really good testament that we see a good mix on Sunday of

Jordan Spieth

people who are in contention. “ Protected by strong south winds on Thursday and north winds on Saturday and Sunday, the course played as difficult as it had in previous majors when it had 650 more trees and ankle deep rough. It was longer at near 7,500 yards each day, the exposed creeks gobbled up balls, including leader Mito Pereira’s fatal tee shot on the 18th hole. The greens painstakingly restored by Hanse offered a challenge not easily mastered by anyone in the field, despite green speeds that were never higher than 12 on the stimpmeter. The uphill par-4 18th hole was, as usual, the most difficult all week, averaging 4.367

Tiger Woods strokes. The 500-yard, par-4 second was right behind at 4.365. The easiest hole, despite a new tee box used on Thursday and Friday that pushed the yardage back to 622 yards, was the par-5 13th, playing under par at 4.74 and giving up eight eagles and 157 birdies, the most of any hole with the short par-4 17th second with 132 birdies and a 3.904 stroke average. The par-5 fifth hole also played under par for the week at 4.947. The average score for the week was 72.458, with par at 70. “It was a charmed week for sure,” said Director of Golf Cary Cozby. “We have a great champion, the course held up. I had 100 people out here tell me these kids were go-

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JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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Viktor Hovland

Scottie Scheffler

ing to tear this place up. I said, ‘they might, but no one ever has. So it’s not likely.’ Then 5-under wins with one day when we don’t mow the greens. “Today you had six or seven hours of near perfect weather with the best field in golf and 5-under wins. The feedback from players, agent, caddies, people in the media, was just off the charts.” “This has been a tremendous success,” Jeff Price, chief commercial officer for the PGA of America said during the tournament. “This

918.832.5544

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GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

Tracy Phillips and Cary Cozby

is a venue that is very high on our list and although there is no set date at the minute, I can certainly imagine that this is a great venue to host another PGA Championship,’” Oh yes, the success of the 2022 PGA Championship leads to natural speculation of what comes next for the club that has now hosted more (five) PGA Championships than any course in the country. The PGA Championship is booked out through 2029. Tulsa was to be the site in 2030 before it moved up eight years after the event was

www.jonesplan.com

Talor Gooch

pulled from Donald Trump’s Bedminster course. There is much speculation that Congressional, currently scheduled for 2031, will move up to 2030, leaving 2031, 2032 and 2033 open before it goes to new PGA headquarters in Frisco, Texas for a second time in 2034. A 10-year rotation would mean a return to Tulsa in 2032. It seems likely the PGA of America would commit to that after having some heartfelt discussions with various governmental agencies such as the city of Tulsa, Tulsa County and the State of Oklahoma to obtain a bit more cooperation in some areas such as parking before bringing another $143 million or more in economic impact back to the state. While it seems certain the club could host a sixth PGA Championship, there have also been discussions with the United States Golf Association about its flagship event, the U.S. Open. Southern Hills has hosted three previously (1958, 1977 and 2001) and in 2024 will host the U.S. Women’s Amateur, the club’s first USGA event since the 2009 U.S. Amateur. The hope at that time was that a fourth Open would be announced forthwith, but it never materialized. U.S Open dates not committed through 2035 include 2028 and 2031. Southern Hills president Scott Mabrey said the club was exploring both options. “Southern Hills has been an institution in the history of golf since 1936 and major championships since 1958,” Mabrey said. “Hosting majors is in our DNA and we are fortunate to have great relationships with both the PGA of America and the USGA, partnering to host multiple championships for both organizations.” “Our city, state and club had a great week with the PGA of America hosting the PGA Championship. I think because of the compliments by the players, the way the course W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


showed to the world, our history of hosting majors and certainly a historic finish to the 2022 PGA, people naturally wonder if and when Southern Hills will host its next major championship. We would welcome the opportunity to host another U.S. Open or PGA Championship, with Board of Governors approval, obviously.” Southern Hills certainly does not want to get caught in a situation as it did last time while waiting on the USGA. If not for the PGA of America stripping Bedminster, there would have been a gap of 23 years between majors. With Southern Hills General Manager Nick Sidorakis retiring at the end of 2023, it will be up to Mabrey, tournament chairman Jeff Smith and several other high-ranking members to take the lead on what comes next. In addition to all the on course success, a pair of concerts - one featuring country star Eric Church on the grounds and another with Pitbull at the Philbrook Museum raised approximately $1 million to be split equally among four charities - PGA Reach,

First Tee of Tulsa, The Tulsa Dream Center and the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless. From a live television standpoint, Southern Hills, Tulsa and Oklahoma received almost unimaginable positive publicity. There were over 250 hours of live television

Justin Thomas, the 2022 PGA champion. including ESPN, an alternate broadcast with Joe Buck and all of its streaming services, as well as CBS and Golf Channel. That compares to 48 hours in 2007. ESPN announced that

its second-round telecast was its highest since 2009 and 47 percent higher than the 2021 second round at Kiawah Island. ESPN reached an average of 2.1 million viewers, peaking at 2.6 million at 7:15 p.m. CBS had a 3.13 Nielsen overnight rating and 5.27 million viewer average for the final round, peaking at 9.3 million during the playoff. That number is down from Phil Mickelson’s victory in 2021 at Kiawah Island which averaged 6.58 million but above the ratings for Collin Morikawa’s victory in 2020 and Brooks Koepka’s win in 2019. One of the most amazing sights of the week was the spectators lining the first seven fairways 5-to-10 deep when Tiger Woods teed off at 1:36 p.m. in the second round Friday. There was no following Woods, you had your place and waited. Fans were worried that would be his final round in Tulsa, but he made a late charge to make the cut, then dropped out in pain after shooting 79 on Saturday, one of the worst rounds of his professional career.

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JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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COLLEGE ROUNDUP

Eugenio Chacarra

Logan McAllister

Ryan Hybl

Reagan Chaney

Full speed ahead National championships remains the goal for state teams by ken macleod

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ith first-team All-America seniors Chris Gotterup and Logan McAllister off to the professional ranks, at least two spots are up for grabs in the 2022-23 Oklahoma lineup. Those are two gaping voids, but national coach of the year Ryan Hybl does have talent coming in and waiting in the wings. Also who knows what collegiate stud will want to join via the transfer portal, as Gotterup did last year and Jonathan Brightwell did the year before. Two prime candidates from the existing roster to join Drew Goodman, Patrick Welch and Stephen Campbell Jr. in the lineup would be rising junior Ben Lorenz and sophomore Jaxon Dowell. “For both those guys, I would say it’s their time,” Hybl said. “Ben, it’s time for him to really establish himself. His game is ready. He just has to let his mind get there. For Jaxon, there’s a reason he traveled with us all over the place and was my sub at regionals. Just like Ben, it’s time for him to establish himself.” Ben’s older brother Blake Lorenz graduated and transferred to Wichita State to fulfill his eligibility. Incoming are three freshmen who could well factor in to the 20

GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

mix, including Jake Hopper of Norman, Jase Summy of Keller, Texas, and Matthew Troutman of Louisville, Ky. Summy is one of the higher-ranked juniors Hybl has landed, and could be pushing for playing time right away. What the Sooners will need, Hybl said, is for any of the newcomers or returning players to become as fearless about shooting low scores as McAllister and Gotterup were. McAllister leaves with the lowest scoring average in school history at 70.98 and four career victories. “Certain players are wired to shoot low scores and Logan was that way,” Hybl said. ‘They get comfortable when they are 5 or 6 under and just want to take it lower. We need some of our other guys to be comfortable shooting lower scores.” OU will certainly be back in contention and it seems the same over in Stillwater. First-team Oklahoma State All-American Eugenio Chacarra made the somewhat surprising announcement that he was forgoing his PGA Tour University status and coming back, meaning the Cowboys return every player on their roster except Aman Gupta – that’s why coach Alan Bratton signed only one player in the fall. John Wild of Glen Ellyn, Ill., is the new Cowboy, but will likely have to wait in a long line. Besides Chacarra, Bo Jin, Brian Stark and Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen, all started at the NCAA Championship. Looking for their own legacy will be veterans Jonas Baumgarter, Leo Oyo, Rayhan Thomas, Hazen Newman, Tiger Christensen and Jordan Wilson, who each have quality ex-

perience and will be hungry for more. “We had 12 guys on the roster last year but every one of them got to start in at least five tournaments,” Bratton said. “They know that we are going to surround each of them with really good players but invest in their development and build a schedule where they have a chance to move up. And they have some really big summers in front of them.” The abrupt end to the second-ranked Cowboys’ season was painful, but Bratton said that did not undo all that was accomplished in what was otherwise a very good year. “It is an abrupt end,” Bratton said. “Just like in other sports. You go through the 72 holes and then you start over again with high hopes of winning the national championship. You go into your match and several hours later, boom, your hope is gone. For both us and OU, we had really good seasons but we didn’t get it done. There was disappointment in the week, but not in the season.” THE STATE OF THINGS Like the Sooner and Cowboy men, the Oklahoma City University women’s team fully expected to win the national championship this spring. In finishing second to British Columbia, the Stars ran into another NAIA power that had not lost to a fellow NAIA member all season. But with fourtime All-America Natalie Gough returning to join the super duo of Maddi Kamas and Reagan Chaney, a national title should be well within their grasp in 2023. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


Also nearly reeling in a title was Oklahoma Christian in NCAA Division II. After having an only mildly successful regular season, OC raced to the men’s title match of the DII national championship before falling to Lee 4-1 in the match-play finals. The Oral Roberts men’s team improved when former Sooner Lane Wallace transferred in at the semester break, promptly won a tournament and was named Summit League Newcomer of the Year. He has another year of eligibility. Oklahoma State’s women’s team may have had the best chance to win a national title before leading scorers Isabella Fierro and Caley McGinty entered the transfer portal and were dismissed from the team. The Cowgirls still qualified for the NCAA Championship and coach Greg Robertson will regroup around Big 12 Golfer of the Year Maddison Hinson-Tolchard and Lianna Bailey. The University of Tulsa women’s program will get a huge boost in the fall from freshmen Jenni Roller of Tulsa, whose mother Maggie played on a national championship team there in 1989. She’ll join Lilly Thomas and Lovisa Gunnar in trying to raise that program back to national prominence.

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JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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OGA NEWS

Felder plans sunset ride after 21 years guiding OGA to new heights by ken macleod

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fter providing 21 years of stable leadership and growth, Mark Felder has announced he is retiring as executive director of the Oklahoma Golf Association effective next April. Felder, 63, has been a PGA professional in Oklahoma since starting his career at Kickingbird Golf Course in the late 1970s. After working as an assistant at John Conrad in Midwest City throughout most of the 1980s, he became the head professional at Twin Hills Country Club in Oklahoma City from 1989-92 before taking the job at the OGA. Under his leadership, the OGA worked to enhance and strengthen its GHIN handicap offerings and course ratings with member courses throughout the state. But Felder’s joy was in providing superior tournaments for competitive players from juniors through seniors. He had the OGA work closely with Morri Rose on the development of the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour, which has led to hundreds of college scholarship opportunities for Oklahoma youth. In his second year, he added a girls division to the OGA Junior Amateur and two years ago added a women’s stroke play event to give the college girls an additional summer tournament in which to compete. Under his leadership and working closely with his fellow PGA professionals, the OGA State Amateur Championship has traditionally been held at the finest ven22

GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

ues in the state, including Southern Hills, Oak Tree National, Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club, The Patriot, Cedar Ridge Country Club and others. “I need to thank everybody that has helped us – and me – along this journey, opening their doors and letting us bring the guys out,” Felder said. “Our pros have been very good at understanding the heritage that Oklahoma has with amateur golf and helping us build it.” Running OGA events and watching the juniors grow from tykes into world class players have been Felder’s passions. He usually awards the trophies at the major amateur events and the Oklahoma Open, but there are times it’s been difficult. “I remember when Cameron Meyers won the State Amateur at Meadowbrook (2011), I didn’t think I could get through it,” Felder said. “His dad (A.G. Meyers) used to walk him down on horseback to my house when he was just a few years old. Then when Max McGreevy won the Oklahoma Open and Cody Burrows was low amateur, I couldn’t get through it. I had to have Jay (Doudican), do it.” David Thompson, an advisory member of the OGA Board and former top rules official, is heading up the search committee and said a national search is being conducted for Felder’s replacement, with the ideal timing to have someone on board by this fall to work with Felder for several months. “Mark came to the OGA when we were in a tenuous financial situation and now

it is in a better place than it’s ever been,” Thompson said. “He has done a lot of things to improve the whole organization. Of late, bringing Bob Phelps on as tournament director has been a real boost for the organization.” Editor’s note: Felder was instrumental in the transition of this magazine from its original incarnation as South Central Golf, covering the South Central Section of the PGA of America, to Golf Oklahoma, the official publication of the Oklahoma Golf Association, a move that was certainly a life saver for the future of the publication and hopefully has benefitted golf in the state through our evolution with not only the magazine but the online coverage, newsletters, social media, radio shows and podcasts that have followed, as well as our work with the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame, of which he is also a supportive board member. Felder brought us together with A.G. Meyers, who was crucial in building the sales and business foundation for Golf Oklahoma. Felder has championed all of our efforts without fail and we can’t thank him enough for that. He has made our job covering OGA events in particular and golf in the state in general fun and certainly more interesting and he should be given great credit for helping push the state to where it is today, a national leader in junior, amateur and professional golf. We will miss him, but hopefully he will have a role at least in OGA tournaments for years to come. Thank you Mark Felder! W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


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JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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LINCOLN PARK

Celebrating a century!

Lincoln Park, state's oldest public course, turns 100 Lincoln Park is Oklahoma's oldest, and one of its best, public courses. by ken macleod

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hen Steve Carson retired in 2021 after 31 years as the head professional at Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City, he lowered the average tenure there of the head pro. For a century now, Lincoln Park has been led by just three men: founder and original designer Art Jackson (1922-52), the legendary U.C. Ferguson (1952-91) and Carson (1991-2021). Aaron Kristopeit, who replaced Carson, has a long way to go to get in the ballpark with those three gentlemen, whose steady and innovative guidance is one reason the 36-hole complex has not only the oldest public courses in Oklahoma but also is regarded as one of the finest in the country. Jackson, known as the “father of Oklahoma City public golf,” designed two solid layouts, much of which has survived to this day. The course was reworked by Floyd Farley in 1961when the clubhouse was moved, which brought Arnold Palmer to the course to help celebrate the reopening. There was no rerouting but much reimagining when Randy Heckenkemper redid the greens on the West Course in 1999. The East Course received a new irrigation system but is in need of new greens now. The West Course is the bellwether for 24

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public tournament play in Oklahoma. In May, it hosted the NAIA Women’s National Championship, one of several collegiate events there each spring and fall. It frequently hosts high school state championships and this year will host the OGA Junior Boys and Girls Amateur while Kickingbird in Edmond is shut down. Why? Because the city has long committed to maintaining conditions in which the ball can be played down, and a line of superintendents, notably Jim Woods who was there from 1998-2021, has executed that directive faithfully. In 2015, Oklahoma City opened a 32,000 square foot clubhouse at Lincoln Park. Former Mayor Mick Cornett, now a member of the golf commission, grew up playing across town at Lake Hefner, but also worked for Ferguson in the Golf Inc. Junior Program, and recognized what a staple Lincoln Park was in the community. “Everybody always acknowledges Lincoln Park as one of the best facilities in the state,” Cornett said. “It needed a clubhouse that reflected that. “This is where U.C. Ferguson worked, where Susie Maxwell Berning played, Mark Hayes, Doug Tewell, a lot of really

good golfers,” Cornett said. “And with U.C., it’s hard to overestimate his role and influence on public golf in Oklahoma City.” Ferguson made sure Lincoln Park had a strong junior program and Carson expanded it from there. Carson was the head pro at Trosper Park from 1976-90, so when he took over at Lincoln Park he was intimately familiar with Ferguson’s operation. He worked closely with the Eastern Golf Club and later the First Tee of Oklahoma City to expand access and lessons for minority golfers. Between the two courses, Lincoln Park was running close to or over 100,000 rounds annually until golf became overbuilt in the mid-1990s. Rounds fell off to

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U.C. Ferguson

Longevity has led to success Three men provide 99 years of leadership by john rohde

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n the 1960s, Steve Carson was a 15-year-old high school golfer at Midwest City. He was informed a highly respected former golf architect and club pro named Arthur Jackson often would visit Carson’s home track of Midwest City Municipal Golf Course, a nine-hole layout with six par-3s and three par-4s. “He was by himself and I said, ‘Mr. Jackson, do you mind if I play with you?’ He said, ‘Nah, come ahead,’ ” Carson recalled. “He helped me with my chipping that day. Knowing what I know now, I would have asked him a lot more questions.” A teen-aged Carson had no idea the significance of that day. Almost three decades later, Carson became director of golf at Lincoln Park Golf Course, the very same place Jackson designed and built 36 holes in the 1920s and 1930s. From the time Jackson designed the West Course (1922) and East Course (1932) and

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was in charge of all things in the Land of Lincoln, only two other men have served as the golf course’s head pro -- U.C. Ferguson Jr., who died in 1999, and Carson, who retired from the position last September. So, in a span of 99 years (1922-2021), a place long considered the state’s preeminent public golf facility has employed precisely three head pros (or directors of golf) – Jackson from 1922-52, Ferguson from 1952-1991 and Carson from 1991-2021. A century of golf has been triangulated at one venue among three dedicated club pros. Feel free to find another golf course, particularly a public one, where the average reign has been 33 years. Someone please explain why this happened. What is Lincoln’s allure? “It’s the place,” said Carson, now 70. “It’s the people. It’s the support you receive from the city leaders. It’s a combination of many things.” The Lincoln formula has remained constant. Their club pros have similar personality traits. Ferguson had the utmost respect

Steve Carson for Jackson and Carson had the same for Ferguson. “U.C. was just a dynamic person,” Carson said. “Everybody was U.C.’s friend. He was the constant to greet everyArt Jackson body. Make sure they know they’re welcome. And he wanted you to leave feeling good. He was great. He was the best.”

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LINCOLN PARK of what Art Jackson created in 1922 has stood up for the century. Yes, high school and college players can overwhelm it with their incredible length and shoot in the mid-60s, but that is true of just about every course. Public course golfers enjoy the challenge and the conditions, or it would not be pulling in over 90,000 rounds. Lincoln Park’s first The 15th hole at Lincoln Park West. nine holes opened on July 4, 1922. A second nine was built in 100 continued from page 24 1925 and the second 18 added in 1931. Then under 80,000, but in the Covid boom of known as the North and South courses, the 2021 rebounded to 93,652, the most since names changed when a new clubhouse was 1993, with 58 percent of those rounds built and several holes shifted in 1961. Jackson was a native of North Berwick, played on the West Course. From an architectural standpoint, much Scotland, and the stepbrother of pro Les-

Pros cont. from page 25 Ferguson’s admiration for Jackson was so strong, he considered him “a hero as far as I was concerned,” Fergie told Del Lemon, who authored The Story of Golf in Oklahoma. “He was real quiet, easy-going, serious and, most important of all, he wanted to see you succeed. He had talent to be a good player, but he seldom won. I’m quite certain it was because he hated to see anybody lose. He would rather get beat by you than beat you.” Fergie’s love for Lincoln Park was never questioned. He essentially was homeless at age 14 when he started working as a caddy at the course for Jackson in 1928. “U.C. had two sisters and his father said, ‘We can’t afford to maintain the size of this family,’ ” explained Michael, Ferguson’s grandson. “So U.C. basically had to fend for himself at 14. He started sleeping on the roof at Lincoln Park. The reason that place became so successful, I think, was because he treated it like his home every day. Lincoln Park was his salvation. It was his therapy. It was his passion. Junior golf was his passion and, man, what better stage than Lincoln Park to go out and expose people to the game. And he was great with people.” Ferguson was a 1996 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and a 2012 inductee into the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. As high as his achievements rose, Ferguson could have gone even higher. However, he feared acceptance among his peers would be difficult to obtain given his eighthgrade education. “My dad told me U.C. turned down po26

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tential offers to be the head pro at big-time places, including Southern Hills (in Tulsa) and other top clubs in the country,” Michael said. “The PGA of America wanted him to be in line to become president, but he was so embarrassed that all he had was an eighth-grade education. Grandpa said, ‘I didn’t want to go up there and embarrass myself in front of all these well-educated, successful people.’ But all the club pros said, ‘Hell, Fergie never embarrassed himself. In

U.C. Ferguson with his prize pupil, Susie Maxwell Berning, circa 1989. fact, he was the only one to get things done whenever there was a dispute.’ I’m very honored and proud to have him as a grandfather. He was amazing.” Ferguson’s undeniable popularity coincided with the growth of golf, for which he was a lifetime contributor. Fergie was a perpetual promoter of the game. He served as vice president of the PGA of America from 1955-57. In 1978, the association decided to present its first-ever national PGA

The new clubhouse honors U.C. Ferguson. lie Brownlee of Edinburgh, who designed some of the first courses in Oklahoma, including nine holes at Muskogee in 1903, four years before statehood. Jackson was a dedicated, though not a great player. After Jackson’s first 18 at Lincoln Park proved popular, the city appropriated $20,000 to build a second 18. The price tag on the new clubhouse in 2015 was close to $10 million.

Merchandiser of the Year. The award went to Ferguson. “He gave free lessons, free range balls, free rounds of golf,” Michael said. “In today’s world, that’s theft. You can’t treat people how you want to treat them because somebody sitting behind a big oak desk in corporate is saying, ‘U.C. you can’t give away golf.’ U.C. would say, ‘What do you mean I can’t give away golf? Are my numbers good? Is my budget? Is everybody happy? Well then don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.’ ” Perhaps the most telling example of Ferguson’s generosity and commitment to golf is Susie Maxwell Berning, who last March was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame during the same ceremony as Tiger Woods. A 1991 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and an inaugural inductee into the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame in 2005, Berning was an 11-time LPGA Tour winner and a four-time major champion. She captured the U.S. Women’s Open three times (1968, 1972 and 1973) and won the 1965 Western Open when it was considered a major championship. The LPGA later recognized Maxwell as one of its top-50 players and teachers of all-time. It was Ferguson who coaxed a 13-yearold Berning toward golf. At the time, Berning was living across the street from Lincoln Park when the colt she was caring for got spooked by a train whistle, broke free, dashed across the street and proceeded to run wild at Lincoln Park Golf Course, damaging a couple of greens on a summer W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


day in 1954. Ferguson asked Berning if perhaps she was interested in playing golf. “That silly game?” Berning responded. Berning took an interest when LPGA star Patty Berg came to OKC for a clinic. Berning attended, immediately was intrigued and Ferguson promptly provided plenty of bait to keep his new pupil drawn toward the game. “He was a gentleman and a half,” Berning has said of Ferguson. “As far as I’m concerned, Fergie made Lincoln Park what it is. It definitely was the start of my career at Lincoln Park and Fergie had 100 percent to do with it. He was such a wonderful person. So kind. He didn’t charge me for any golf lessons or charge me to play golf. He gave me golf clubs, which was probably against USGA rules [laughing], I don’t know. The young people who worked for Fergie, many became quite successful. He was a good mentor.” Berning captured three consecutive state high school titles while attending Northeast and three straight Oklahoma City Women’s Amateur Championships from 1959-61. She then received $500 a semester to attend Oklahoma City University, where she competed on the men’s

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golf team when the school had no women’s team. OCU legendary basketball coach/humorist Abe Lemons oversaw the golf team and listed her in the lineup as “S. Maxwell.” Berning said Lemons called her “Sam” at competitions. An open-arms approach that worked for Jackson also worked for Ferguson Arnold Palmer plays an exhibtion at Lincoln Park. then transferred to Carson. I asked an electrician to replace a light “Every day brings new people,” Carson said. “Every day, those faces change. fixture. He said, ‘Steve, if I open this up, That new face needs to feel just as wel- we’re going to have to rewire the entire come as the face you’ve seen 4-5 times a building because none of it meets the curweek. I made sure that happened. Try to rent code.’ There were days we couldn’t get it under 90 (degrees) in there.” know as many names as you can.” Carson paused and said, “But the Lincoln Park’s facilities grew under each man. Jackson was the founder and original cheeseburgers at Fergie’s Place always architect. The original clubhouse sat on a tasted so good. How was this possible?” Now holding the director of golf reins hill at what eventually became the par-3 second hole on the West. The second club- is Aaron Kristopeit, who served a decade house began being built in 1959 and some- under Carson. “I had the right person unhow survived until the current clubhouse derneath me,” Carson said of Kristopeit. – a 32,000 square foot, $10 million facility “He really is a great golf professional. I recommended him to the golf commis– was completed in 2015. Carson chuckles at all the challenges he sion, and fortunately they agreed with me. I just thought it was the right time for faced. “It was torture keeping the old club- me to leave. The timing was right.” In another 32 years or so, perhaps Krishouse going,” Carson said. “There was almost a daily failure. There was a time topeit might be ready to step aside.

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COURSE RENOVATION

Kickingbird takes shape 007 bent grass. The overall distance will increase or the impact that Kickingbird from 6,722 to just over 7,000 yards. Golf Course has had on golf in The fourth hole will be converted to Oklahoma, you have to look a 512-yard par-5, with the tee moved no further than the 2021 class inducted back by the green on the par-3 third. Proctor and E.C. Hafer built Kickinto the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. Architect Floyd Farley, whose de- ingbird’s junior program that averaged 250 kids each summer sign of Kickingbird was one and sometimes topped out of his finest, was inducted. at over 300. Mike McGraw Art Proctor, its first profesran it from 1979-97 while sional and founder of a junior coaching at Edmond Megolf program that has transmorial and Edmond North. formed Oklahoma golf, was “I was just part of the inducted, as were brothers machine that Art and E.C. David and Danny Edwards, who grew up in Edmond and Brian Soerensen started and is still going toplayed it frequently. David was one of day,” McGraw said. “Kickingbird has the original Proctor “range rats,” work- always been a great source of junior ing at the course in exchange for play- golf talent.” The course is scheduled to reopen ing and practicing privileges. Now just over 50 years old, the cur- in the spring of 2023 and should be rent renovation ongoing this summer able to host the OGA Junior Boys and at the course should make all those Girls Amateur next year. In 2024, it is scheduled to host an NCAA Division Hall of Famers proud. The breadth of the project shows II Super Regional and Edmond resithat Edmond officials understand dent Billy Mayfair, winner of the 1995 and value their unique history and Tour Championship at Southern Hills, impact. When complete, Kickingbird has been exploring bringing a Chamshould rank among the top complete pions Tour event to the course. The on-course improvements will public facilities in the country. Go to www.kickingbirdgolf.com to be dramatic but off the course the see up-to-date construction pictures changes will be stunning. At the of the new event center, clubhouse, west end is a new 6,670 square foot at-the-turn room, locker rooms, prac- events center able to seat over 145 tice facilities, high tech driving range, and ideal for tournaments as well as meetings, receptions and other comindoor learning center and more. The project will end up north of munity events. Underground will be $19 million and is quite an investment a 7,252 square foot cart barn. The new clubhouse will include a in public golf by the Edmond City sizeable pro shop, sit-down restauCouncil and government officials. “We’re very fortunate to have a city rant, locker room and at-the-turn that believes in golf,” said Director of bar and grill. In the former parking Golf Brian Soerensen. “The course is lot is a three-green practice putting just over 50 years old and this invest- and chipping area, while the driving range will now include the indoor ment is for the next 50.” On the course, a new triple row ir- learning center and an area with simrigation system is going in. Fairways ulators and technology to be similar are being converted from common to a Top Golf experience. The entire Bermuda to the new Tahoma Bermu- range will also be equipped with da, while greens have been cored out TrackMan technology that can be and rebuilt and will be seeded with accessed for a monthly service fee. by ken macleod

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The new clubhouse, event center and driving range bays under construction in May.

Fairways were stripped of common Bermuda for replanting with Tahoma.

Greens have been recontoured and will be seeded this fall with 007 bent grass.

Artist's rendering of the new lounge area complete with large bay windows. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


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CONSTRUCTION ROUNDUP

John Conrad ready, Page on mend by ken macleod

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hen John Conrad Golf Course that were previously flat now have in Midwest City reopens in gentle mounding and tilt to create more movement, particumid-July, golfers larly close to the greens. will have to learn their way But the big learning around again. The new greens at John Conrad in Midwest City were curve will come on the For one thing, the nines are reimagined completely by architect Conor Cummings. greens. Conor Cummings, transposed so golfers used to Cummings is hopeful golfers will embrace a design associate with Heckenplaying the tough opening hole kemper Golf, let his imagination and have fun with the greens as they learn dead into the prevailing wind soar in creating putting surfaces all the nuances. will now at least get loose before “How do you create an interesting and with a fairly dramatic amount of tackling what is now No. 10. fun golf course experience on a hole that slopes, rises and falls. The next thing apparent will Architect Conor Some have increased consid- has no bunkers?” Cummings said. “You do be considerably wider fairways Cummings has erably in size. Some are framed it with contour. Both internal (on the green) and the absence of hundreds of trees, many of which were added great inter- by mounding that will actually and external.” “The greens will be where your score is severely damaged in the freak est to the greens at assist the golfer if played corJohn Conrad. rectly. But once on the greens, made when we reopen,” said long-time 2021 ice storm and others which needed to be removed to reopen corridors it’s going to be a learning curve to figure head professional Larry Denney. “That’s and provide proper sunlight and air move- out the best landing areas, ways to ap- where all the action is.” The 007 bent grass greens will need to be proach and how all the myriad of putts one ment for healthy turfgrass. kept in the 8-11 range on the stimpmeter as In addition to the width, many fairways could face will break.

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CONSTRUCTION ROUNDUP committed to providing adequate waanything much higher than that could ter going forward, though a long-term get dicey with the contours. solution to the rates it pays to the The course should reopen in mostTulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority ly tremendous shape. Some areas that is still to be determined. were sprigged instead of sodded will Among the improvement priorineed another month or so of good ties for the committee going forward Bermuda growing weather to fully are significant improvements to the fill in, but that should be mostly acirrigation system at Mohawk Park, complished by opening day. Overall bunker renovations at both facilities, the course is on very attractive gently cart path repairs, further tree trimrolling property and, despite golfers ming and removal along with gradhaving to put up with rumblings from ing and sodding. planes landing at nearby Tinker Air The PGA of America pledged Force Base, it gets high marks on the $250,000 of the $1 million through walk-in-the-park scale. its new Place To Play program adThe course stretches to nearly ministered under its PGA Reach 7,000 yards from the tips, but has foundation. That came with the room for tees at intervals down to stipulation that the courses hire a 4,141 yards. It is not heavily bunkered PGA professional to begin instituteither in fairways or greenside, but ing programs to grow the game at those in use will give golfers pause both facilities. when cutting off doglegs or taking Beyond that, the committee is dead aim at flags. Many however, Above, the 18th hole at Stone Creek following tree hopeful clubhouse improvements create an optical illusion of sorts as removal, grading and sodding versus what greenside at Page Belcher and many more dethey are not as close to the greens as looked like below this spring before work began. ferred maintenance issues could be they appear from a distance. A great addressed in the next bond issue. example of that is on the par-3 third hole, Golfers will be asked to pay a bit more where a large bunker on the left that apfor green fees beginning in July to help keep pears to guard the green is yards short of it. the maintenance budgets where they need The $4 million renovation also includes to be and a discount card program offering a new practice area with a large putting heavily discounted rounds at both facilities green, a social lawn for events and two will be reevaluated. The major issue allowother greens that with a variety of tees can ing the courses to deteriorate in the past was be used as a four-hole short course or to maintenance budgets that were less than 1/2 settle bets coming off the 18th. Cummings of those of comparable facilities in Okklasaid he’s thrilled with the way that area homa City and elsewhere. turned out. For the long-term viability of Page Belcher, it remains crucial that a solution is found PAGE BELCHER, TULSA to the water issue. It uses city water but is Significant improvements were launched charged top rates by the Tulsa Metropolitan this spring at Page Belcher Golf Course, one Utility Authority, an arrangement in which of two 36-hole facilities owned by the City the authority (essentially the city) would be of Tulsa and now managed by Troon Golf. collecting up to $400,000 annually in water The city directed over $400,000 in earnbills from golfers if the courses were waings from the past two fiscal years into a tered properly. Instead, fairways have selprogram of tree removal, grading and soddom been watered at all for years, meaning ding that has made a significant difference The City of Tulsa also committed in its the city has been destroying its own courses in the look and playability at both the Stone Creek and Olde Page layouts which budget for fiscal year 2022-23 to increase rather than relent on water billing. Mohawk Park, by contrast, has access had deteriorated dramatically in the past the golf operations fund by $856,000, a 31 decade to the point of being unsuitable for percent increase. The maintenance budgets to free water but has been unable to adat both Page Belcher and Mohawk Park will equately water as well due to irrigation tournament golf. system issues. To generate further improvements at both be the primary beneficiaries. Oklahoma City charges its courses about The first area to receive significant imPage Belcher and Mohawk Park, a golf advisory committee (disclosure, this writer is a provement was the back nine of Stone 50 cents per round for water. Many other member) is seeking to raise a private match Creek, which was voted the best new 18 municipalities in the state provide water to of a $1 million grant of American Rescue Plan holes in the country by Golf Digest when their courses at greatly reduced rates. Options could be explored including Act funds put up by the Tulsa City Council it opened in 1986 but had deteriorated to and was approximately 1/2 way to its goal where many areas were just dirt, rocks and pumping from local creeks (a country club a as of this writing. Any individual, business or roots due to a lack of sunlight and water. mile away uses water from a creek and pays foundation that wishes to contribute to this Along with the outside work conducted by nothing for it) or using reclaimed water from Tulsa Tree Doc and JonesPlan, the city has a nearby waste water treatment facility. can go to https://tulsacf.org/golf/ 32

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CONSTRUCTION ROUNDUP

Widened fairways but sloping, testing greensites characterize the restoration at Dornick Hills.

Doak did it for Dornick Hills by ken macleod

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hen you are a world famous and in-demand golf architect, there are certain benefits to volunteering for a project. Not having to sit through committee meetings is one of them. “Because I made that comment about doing it for free, nobody could say boo to me about what we were doing,” Tom Doak said at the grand reopening party June 2 for Dornick Hills Country Club in Ardmore. “They let Tom Doak me do what I wanted to do without having to go through a bunch of committee BS.” And what Doak wanted to do was recreate 18 greens envisioning what Perry Maxwell would have done more than a century ago on the rolling course that launched his fabled career. Then he wanted to remove hundreds of trees to widen fairways, improve turf grass and bring back playing angles and sightlines, knowing his sloping greens and testy surrounds will be all the challenge required. 34

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Doak played a morning round with Jerome work provided by the course builders, in“Bruzzy” Westheimer and Joe Ward, two cluding Dundee Golf led by Blake Conant, members who were major financial backers whose company works closely with Doak, of the project. Ward was the one who called shaping most of his projects. Speeds on the new greens, seeded last fall Doak after seeing a comment in Golfclubatlast.com where Doak mentioned he would with 007 bent grass, were a bit conservative, volunteer his services if the opportunity ever according to Doak. “I think they can be a little faster and came up to improve Dornick Hills. Well it did and he was a man of his word. they’ll be fine,” Doak said. “I know they are And now Dornick Hills has 18 incredible new and Brent (superintendent Brent Waite) greens with the Maxwell rolls and Doak wants to be conservative and doesn’t want golfers to think they are too severe, but I hit touches. “They let me do what I thought we should do and I’m happy with the way they came out,” Doak said. “One of the reasons I don’t do a lot of consulting work anymore is because clubs really try to micromanage what you’re doing, and I don’t want to spend 10 days talking about something, I want to do something. This free thing really opens the door to that.” Of course not comp Hundreds of trees removed but plenty remain. was the tremendous W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


a lot of chips and putts out there from various angles and they’ll be fine. “I think what they have done looks great. No one looked for a ball all day. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy to get the ball close the hole and it’s not easy when you miss a green to make par.” Dornick Hills throughout its history has always had a rugged feel to it and this version is no exception. Waite was actually hoping his new fairway mower, another victim of supply chain issues, would show up soon, allowing him to get fairway heights tighter as the summer kicks in. A silent auction at the party raised over $100,000 that will go to maintenance. The course will get a good test from some of the state’s best players when the Oklahoma Golf Association State Stroke Play Championship is held there June 20-22. The timing for this restoration was perfect for Doak and Dornick Hills. Many proj-

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No longer a pond by the par-3 17th green. ects were on hold due to the pandemic and the golf boom had not really begun when they started. Now Doak has one more restoration project on his plate, at Crooked Stick, designed by his mentor Pete Dye. Then new courses are suddenly stacking up. Doak said he could be signing contracts to build as

many as 10 new courses in the coming years, eight of those in the United States, and not including two he is already working on at Sand Valley Resort in Wisconsin. Doak said the new projects are mostly golf-first projects, meaning they are not real-estate driven, and many were fueled by the numbers of wealthy families moving from California and New York to Texas and Florida during the pandemic and finding the golf options lacking. Notes: One touching moment at the party was when Dora Horn, the granddaughter of Perry Maxwell, presented Doak with a book of Alfred Lord Tennyson poetry from Maxwell’s personal library. Horn said she was thrilled with the work done by all. The final resting place of Perry Maxwell and other family members is in a grove above the 17th tee. Dora and her family paid a visit there in addition to touring the course.

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OGA J UN IOR

Parker Sands

Jenni Roller

Ben Lathrop

Roller, Sands shine in OGA Jr. by ken macleod

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t’s only natural the winners of the Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Boys and Girls Championship would be playing at a high level, having to grind through 27 holes (reduced from 36) of stroke play and four rounds of match play to emerge victorious against the state’s best juniors. Jenni Roller and Parker Sands were at a level no one else in the field could match this week. Roller poured in 27 birdies and Jenni Roller and Parker Sands were at a level no one else in the field could match this week. Roller poured in 27 birdies and an eagle and was 21 under for the week. She was 3-under through 12 holes in dispatching Jaci Hartman of Burneyville 7 and 6 in the championship match at Lincoln Park West Friday morning. Parker Sands, a rising junior at Edmond North, was equally relentless. He made just one bogey for the week and was 5-under through 14 holes in a 5 and 4 victory over Rhett Hughes, a senior at Edmond Santa Fe, in the championship match. Ben Lathrop of Oklahoma City won the boys 14-15 age division title with a 1 up victory over Samuel Bonaobra of Broken Arrow. Earlier in the week Lathrop made a hole-inone on the par-4, 323-yard 14th hole. Sands seems nearly fully recovered from a bout of ultracerative colitis in April that caused him to lose 20 pounds, lots of strength and miss several high school tournaments including regionals. He came back for the Class 36

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6A state championship and struggled to an 84 in the first round before recovering with 75-75 to finish. He said h will have to watch his diet and take medication going forward, as the condition is chronic. In the quarterfinals he was paired with 6A state champion Grant Gudgel and Sands poured in six birdies and an eagle in a 5 and 4 victory. In the semifinals against Sutton McMillian of Choctaw, a 30-foot birdie putt on the 13thhole was a key in a 1 up victory. Sands, who moved to Oklahoma from Minnesota two years ago, said his family settled in Edmond due to his friendship with Oklahoma commit Ryder Cowan, who plays for Oklahoma Christian School but also at Oak Tree National, where Sands is now a member. He has a big slate of junior events this summer and will likely be hearing from collegiate coaches beginning June 15 when they can begin contacting juniors. “This summer is really big for me and this is great way to start it off,” he said. Hughes, a tall, slim lefty who has signed with Nebraska, knocked off Oklahoma signee Jake Hopper in the quarterfinals then defeated Alex Bloxham of Broken Arrow 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals. He birdied the second hole to grab an early lead against Sands, but Sands evened the match on the third hole with a birdie, then Hughes made several bogeys to fall three holes down at the turn. “I just made a lot of little mistakes and put it in some bad places,” Hughes said. “I wish I would have had my best stuff, I think it would

have been a great match. But he played well.” Hughes also lost to Sands in match play in the 14-15 age division two years ago. Roller will be heading to the University of Tulsa this fall and TU coach Annie Young likely cant wait to get her in Blue and Gold after the spring she has had. She was dominant in winning her second consecutive OGA Junior crown, just as she was in winning the Class 3A state championship, where she opened with a 62 at Lake Murray, and the Southern Hills Junior Masters, where she shot a second-round 7-under 66. She has benefitted from some body rotation drills with Little Rock-based instructor Phillip Walters as well just playing and practicing more than she ever has. “I’ve been playing a lot more rounds and working on my putting especially,” said Roller, who played 33 holes of match play Thursday and 12 Friday bogey free. “Today was fun. Jaci is a really nice player and it’s fun to play with a really nice person.” Hartman, a rising junior at Turner High School who has helped lead her team to consecutive Class 2A state championships, struggled in the finals after playing well throughout the week. “I just hit it awful,” she said. “I couldn’t hit the driver in the fairway and didn’t putt well. But it’s okay. I’ve just got to keep working and getting better. I was thinking against Jenni I was going to have to make as many birdies as possible, but it didn’t happen. I’ve just got to be more consistent.” W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


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BOYS H IGH SCHOOL ROUN DU P

Gudgel stands tall in class 6A CLASS 6A While many of his competitors struggled, Stillwater sophomore Grant Gudgel shot rounds of 75-70-73 for a 2-over 218 and a three-shot victory over Norman North senior Leyton Kyle (71-76-74) in the Class 6A state championship at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course on May 9-10 in Norman. “It’s just really unbelievable,” Gudgel said. “I played in the Oklahoma Junior Masters at Southern Hills (May 7) and didn’t play well, then wasn’t hitting it well on the range yesterday and didn’t have much confidence. But I just said, `let’s just go play some golf and have some fun.’ I scored well, short game was really good and just to come out on top is really amazing.” Defending champion Ben Stoller of Owasso was third at 223 (75-75-73). Sam Morris of second-round leader Jenks was fourth at 224 (75-75-74) and Norman North’s Jake Hopper fifth at 225 (76-73-76). Behind the play of Kyle and Hopper, Norman North forged a tie in regulation with Edmond North, which was led by Carson Blaser (ninth at 229 after rounds of 72-77-80) and Bo Burton (tied for 10th at 231, 78-78-75). Blaser hit a beautiful second shot on the 18th to leave himself an uphill look for eagle from about 10 feet to win it, but missed. In the playoff, Norman North had birdies from Mack Moore, Hopper and Kyle on the 18th hole to finish at 2-under, one shot better than Edmond North. Norman North coach Ryan Rainer was emotional as he addressed what the victory meant to the players, the school and the coaching staff. “I really love these guys and proud of what they did,” said Rainer, whose team won eight of nine events this spring. “This team has had the talent and ability, but they really learned to stay in the fight and have the presence of mind to keep after it, shot by shot. Some people may have said we were the favorite coming in, but in my mind, until someone beats Edmond North, they are the favorite. We had to go earn it.” Norman North and Edmond North tied at 923 through 54 holes. Jenks, which had a two-shot lead entering the final round, had early trouble and finished third at 932, one shot ahead of Stillwater in fourth at 933. Norman was fifth at 940 and Broken Arrow rounded out the top five at 958. 38

GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

CLASS 5A Gunner Hamon of Altus shot a f i n a l-r ou n d Grant Gudgel Drew Mabrey 70 to win Gunner Hamon the Class 5A weren’t enough to dislodge Christian Heristate championship by four shots over Bay- tage Academy as the team champion, howlor Bostick of Duncan and Parker Payne of ever, as the Crusaders shot a final-round 301 for a 12-shot victory. Noble at Duncan Golf & Tennis Club. Christian Johnson led four players in the Duncan rolled to a 23-shot victory in the team championship, at 922 over Bishop 70s for Heritage with a final-round 72. Also Gavin Watson shot 76, Carter Nutt 76 and Kelley at 945 with Altus third at 967. Nolan Rankin 77. Johnson and Watson tied for third place at 220 with Collin Bond of CLASS 4A Holland Hall’s Drew Mabrey shot a Community Christian. First-year golf coach but longtime footfinal-round 69 for a four-shot victory over Cascia Hall’s Will Sides and Elk City’s Na- ball coach Rod Wolfard motivated his than Womack in the Class 4A state cham- squad after a tough start. “We got to around hole No. 6 and we pionship at Boiling Springs Golf Course in are just kind of all over the course at that Woodward. Mabrey shot rounds of 71-73-69 to finish time,” Wolfard said. “And I looked at Gavin at 213, while Sides shot 74-71-72 and Wom- Watson, our only senior, and I told him we are going to make 13 4s coming in, I don’t ack 75-74-68. Heritage Hall won the team title going care how, we are just going to do it. And away at 913, with Holland Hall a distant that seemed like a stretch at the time, but second at 973 and Perkins-Tryon third it got him refocused and while he had a at 976. Heritage Hall was led by Kyle birdie and a bogey in those last 13 holes, he McLaughlin, who closed with a 67 to fin- netted 13 pars coming in.” In the individual race between Cowan ish fourth at 221, followed by teammate Matthew Smith, fifth at 223 after rounds and Polhill, a double bogey by Polhill on the sixth hole gave Cowan breathing of 77-73-73. room. He made a birdie on the 13th hole to pull back within two shots but that was as CLASS 3A Ryder Cowan started close as it got. Cowan was steady down the stretch. the final round with a twoshot lead on Oklahoma On the par-5 14th hole, he bombed a drive, Christian teammate Bry- then hit a high draw with a 6-iron to 5 feet ant Polhill. Not always and made the putt for an eagle. Ryder Cowan On the drivable 15th hole that has water sure what Polhill was up to behind him, Cowan knew he had to con- left of the green, Cowan showed patience centrate on the task at hand in the Class by laying up off the tee, playing his sec3A state championship at Lakeview Golf ond shot right of the flag and making an easy par. On 17, he hit an amazing second Course in Ardmore. Polhill got off to a blazing start with shot over a 50-foot tall tree to 5 feet. He birdies on the first two holes to pull within converted that birdie as well to seal the vica shot. But Cowan, the University of Okla- tory. (You can watch the video of this shot homa commit as a junior, stayed steady on the 73rd hole Twitter account) “I knew that I had to do something spehimself, finishing with a final-round 68 to cial because I knew Bryant was behind finish five clear of his talented teammate. Cowan (70-65-68) finished at 10-under me and he was coming, he played good all 203, while Polhill was second at 5-under 208 (69-68-71). Their combined heroics See 6A on page 39 W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG


Roberts leads parade of girls champ CLASS 6A Shaking off a rain delay of nearly four hours followed by a shaky front nine that included a run of six consecutive bogeys, Edmond North sophomore Rylee Roberts rallied to shoot 1-over on the back nine and capture the Class 6A girls state championship. Roberts won by one stroke over Lily Stanton of Jenks and Mimi Hoang of Westmoore on May 5 at Oklahoma City’s Lincoln Park. Roberts’ late rally gave her rounds of 73-79 on the West Course for a 152 total. Stanton shot 73-76 and Hoang 75-78 to tie for second at 153. There was a great consolation prize for Stanton, as she led the Jenks girls to a 24-shot victory over defending champion Edmond North to take the team title, also ending a run of three state championship victories for Edmond North. The title capped an unbeaten season for the Trojans, winners of all 10 events in which they competed. “We came in very relaxed today and we really wanted to play this round,” said Jenks coach Vicky Hughes. “This is a very special group of girls. It’s hard to go undefeated but we just went 10-0 and it’s the best feeling. It’s all because of our jayvee girls pushing this group to get better and it’s just incredibly exciting.”

6A cont. from page 38 three rounds,” Cowan said. “I’ve played against Bryant since we were 9 years old and we’ve always had this competitive rivalry, but he’s always great to be around, a great teammate, and a great guy, it can’t get better.”

CLASS 2A Stroud’s Brice Wolff closed with a 75 and an eight-shot victory in the Class 2A state championship at Buffalo Rock Golf Club in Cushing. Conner Cryor of Tipton was second, finishing with a 72 for a 222 total, while Parker Pogue of Latta took third at 229 after a 79. Latta won the team title at 949, followed by Nowata at 1,014 and Turpin at 1,023. W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG

Hilldale won the team title by 18 shots over Ada. Addie Asmus and Karlie Kirkhart both finished in the top 10 for Hilldale.

CLASS 3A

Rylee Roberts

Natalie Blonien

Jenni Roller

Raychel Nelke

CLASS 5A Natalie Blonien of Altus closed with a 72 to edge defending champion Mikaela Karanja of Durant by a single shot to win the Class 5A girls state championship May 5 at Chickasaw Pointe in Kingston. Blonien, who opened with a 73, shot 145, while Karanja (72-74) came in at 146. Scarlet Sturch of Durant was another shot back at 147 (74-73) while Aubrey House of McAlester took fourth at 149 (71-78). Karanja and Sturch led Durant to the team title by 37 strokes over Bishop Kelley. Carl Albert was third and Duncan fourth.

CLASS 4A Fort Gibson’s Layne Ailshie shot a secondround 73 to win the raindelayed Class 4A girls state championship May 6 at Buffalo Rock Golf Layne Ailshie Club in Cushing. Ailshie finished two shots ahead of Ada’s Beans Factor (83-72) and 10 shots ahead of Catoosa’s Emily Vang.

Jenni Roller of Regent Prep fired a record 10-under 62 in the opening round and then concluded her high school career with a solid 72 for an 18-shot victory in the Class 3A state championship on May 5 at Lake Murray State Park Golf Course near Ardmore. Roller faced tougher conditions in the second round with 20-mph winds but cruised to victory. Brooklyn Benn finished second, shooting 72-80 and helping lead Oklahoma Christian School to the team title, winning by five shots over Marlow, 731 to 736. Lincoln Christian was third at 783. Gabby Hack of Marlow was third individually, shooting 78-83 to finish at 161, a shot ahead of Alex Peters of Oklahoma Christian (80-82). Allie Lathrop of Heritage Hall made a hole-in-one on the par-3 seventh hole from 100 yards out.. Roller, who won the Class 2A state championship in 2019 and 2021 and will play next year for the University of Tulsa, had the entire state buzzing with her 62, believed to be the lowest round shot by a female in any state golf championship in Oklahoma history. She made eight birdies and an eagle with no bogeys. Holland Hall coach Matt Campbell, who was watching one of his players in Roller’s group, called it “a near perfect round of golf. It was a 59 watch. Unreal.”

CLASS 2A Pocola’s Raychel Nelke followed up her opening 68 with a 78, good for a four-shot victory over Jaci Hartman of Turner (7476) in the Class 2A state tournament at the Aqua Canyon course on May 5 at Cimarron National in Guthrie. Hartman and Josey Cavitt, who finished third at 155 (73-82), led Turner in a romp to the team title. Turner finished at 679, while Christian Heritage shot 787 and Mooreland 788. JUNE/JULY 2022 • GOLF OKL AHOMA

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T R AV EL

FOR FUN GOLF AND GREAT FOOD BET ON LAKE CHARLES by ken mac leod

O

kay, so maybe there are no true beaches or mountains or even a decent hill. Instead you have bayous inland and oil derricks out in the Gulf. But what the Lake Charles, La., area lacks in stunning beauty it more than makes up for in charm. That, plus the world’s best food, some pretty fine golf courses and the classy L’auberge Casino Resort and you have the makings of a fun and filling golf venture. The plush rooms and the new Barstool Sports Bar, in which you can place a bet on just about any sporting activity imaginable

without leaving your seat while watching a screen the size of a small apartment complex, together make for a great base of operations. The chef at Barstool, one Lyle Broussard, prepared a never-ending series of dishes the first night, each better than the next, until we were reeling. From there, we packed in four rounds of golf and gained at least four pounds thanks to all the Cajun delights. Day 1, we played the home course at L’auberge. The resort is huge, with a 70,000- square foot casino, 754 rooms and suites, numerous casual and fine dining options, a great looking pool and lazy river. Of course, we seldom left the sports bar.

The golf course, Contraband Bayou, is named for the large bayou that wraps around it and was designed by Tom Fazio. The course has taken some hits from a sequence of hurricanes and somehow many of the greens wound up partly Bermuda and partly Paspalum, an aggressive seashore grass that has taken over in large swathes. It was a good warm-up round but the course has little of Fazio’s normal pizazz. The golf ad-

The Golden Nugget, below, and Bayou Contraband at L'auberge Casino Resort makes a good home base duo.

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MASTER YOUR SWING

ACE OUR GREENS

G E T R E A D Y F O R N O T H I N G B U T A G O O D T I M E AT W I N S TA R G O L F. C O M


T R AV EL

The Golf Club of Louisiana

Mallard Golf Club

of the cart. Mallard Golf Club. Architect Jeff Blume venture only got much better from there. The next day, grab a Po Boy from Dar- has a lot more going on with contours, Not far away from the resort is the Naslopes and slight elevation changes tional Golf Club of Louisiana, a than would appear from the first well-maintained, fun public course tee. Advertised as a “Scottish Links that plays firm and fast and will style” it is far from that, but it does test your shot-making skills while offer plenty of options to play the also providing plenty of birdie opground and aerial game. Tee boxes portunities. Don’t go here without are set at angles to canted fairways leaving time to sample the Cathat offer rewards to the bold, but jun fare in The Max Restaurant, leave plenty of room for all to enjoy where chef Michael Richard will the game. A must when in the area. overwhelm you with his crawfish Our final round was as pro-am stuffed baked potatoes, gumbo and participants for the Korn Ferry a smorgasbord of Cajun wonders. Two of the Cajun culinary delights we encountered. Tour’s Lake Charles Championship, Make sure you leave time after your round or you won’t be able to get out rell’s (exquisite) and drive out to the new which gave me a good opportunity to track down a few of Oklahoma’s strong contingent of KFT regulars. Our team played with two pros, one on each nine of our round at The Country Club at the Golden Nugget, located next door to Contraband Bayou but miles ahead of it in conditioning and interest. Our first pro, Erik Barnes, was so impressive in the strong winds we played in that I immediately went back to Barstool to bet on him that week. He didn’t win, but through early June he was in the top 10 on the points list and in strong position to earn his PGA Tour card for 2022-23. Keep an eye on him. Did I say it was windy? My best shot was a full 4-iron on a par-3 from 134 yards that stopped about 15 feet right of the hole. On one par-5, Barnes flubbed his drive and had to punch his second up the fairway. He hit his third from about 180 into that same breeze with a 5-iron to 10 feet and made birdie. That club normally goes about 230 for him. Sigh. Other fun experiences in the area were trips to Crying Eagle Brewing Company in Calcasieu Parish for some great local brews and a trip to Bayou Rum Company for a lesson on the history of making rum from Louisiana sugar cane and an eye-opening tasting of all their varieties. So good and so glad I was not driving the bus after. 42

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The way you prepare your body before your game could be the difference between a par and birdie. This summer, take hydration seriously to improve your game. Golf is a sport that requires your full mental and physical attention. It is common for people to be dehydrated without even knowing it. This affects not only your ability to think, but also your ability to perform physical activities. Staying hydrated is crucial to being able to play your best, especially in the hot summer temperatures. Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated to be at the top of your game: 1. Do not wait until you are thirsty. If you find yourself feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. 2. Prepare yourself for your game. 2 to 3 hours before you play by drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water. Then, about 20 to 30 minutes before your game, drink 8 ounces of water.¹ 3. Keep hydrating during your game. Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during the activity.¹ 4. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake as this can potentially dehydrate you. 5. For a more intense game, consider a sports drink. Electrolytes from sports drinks can help you to stay hydrated. However, choose your drink wisely to avoid added sugar.¹ 6. Monitor your body as you play. Watch for signs of dehydration such as cramping, fatigue, nausea, and loss of coordination. 7. Eat certain foods for hydration. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumbers, and strawberries are great snacks for staying hydrated before and during a game. 8. Dress for the occasion. In warm weather, wear breathable clothes. Choose lighter shades that do not absorb the heat from the sun. 9. Follow up. No more than half an hour after your game, drink 8 ounces of water. Stay healthy with proper hydration to make the most of your game. Prepare your body with fluids before you play, and watch out for signs of dehydration. Author: Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society. 1. https://familydoctor.org/athletes-the-importance-of-good-hydration/


I NST RUC T ION

Junior Golf Ryan Rody

How parents can really help

I

have been watching kids with their parents on the range, and during the season of the U.S. Kids junior golf tournaments. There has been a common theme of what I would call “poor advice” and I am here to help stop some of the madness. Here are some things you should say, and a few things not to say as they practice and play. 1) THE FULL SWING A. DON’T SAY KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN This will create “early extension” it makes them stand up too soon and will even cause them to top the ball. B. DO SAY – TURN TO THE TARGET This will allow them to rotate through the shot and keep

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good posture through impact. 2) PUTTING DON’T SAY DON’T HIT IT TOO HARD Most likely they will be tentative, putt with fear, and leave it way short. B. DO GIVE AFFIRMTIVE ADVICE An example of this would be putt to your picture. Tiger Woods still uses this feel that he learned from his dad when he was a kid. He will look at his target, then back to the ball, and putt to the entire picture he saw.

GOLF OKL AHOMA • JUNE/JULY 2022

1A

Putt to your picture.

4) TAKING LESSONS DON’T ADD ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AFTER THE LESSON Adding two or three more things will make them forget the entire golf lesson. DO ASK THE JUNIOR AND THE COACH WHAT THEY LEARNED / WORKED ON AND SPEAK THEIR SAME LANGUAGE This shows your junior and your coach that you trust both of them and want to be a part of the process. I love watching junior golfers improve and fall in love with the game. My boys have started playing in these U.S. Kids 3) CHIPPING AND junior golf tournaments, and I PITCHING have been on the bag for both A. DON’T SAY of them. I have certainly made WEIGHT ALL THE WAY LEFT AND HIT mistakes, and I am still learning. Kids are a little smarter BALL FIRST You will see a lot of than we think. So, next time poor contact and blad- they hit a putt way past the hole, let them recognize and ed shots. adjust. We do not need to tell B. DO SAY them it was too hard. I hope WEIGHT SLIGHTLY this helps you and your junior LEFT AND BRUSH golfer enjoy the game more and GR ASS THE BALL This will allow them keeps you both sane. to get the ball in the air Ryan Rody by using the “bounce” PGA Director of Instruction or the bottom part of Southern Hills Country Club the club.

1B

3A 3B

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I NST RUC T ION

Set ego aside to hit more greens W

of greens. Don’t be fooled. If they stuck it other hand, for down wind shot with a 10 close to a pin they slightly drew or pushed mph breeze at your back, subtract 10 yards the golf ball.” Keep this mindset, if the pin from your number. If it’s raining, use more club as wais tucked in the front of the green take the regulation? Think about your proper club to get to the back, aim for the ter and thicker air can reduce distance. most recent round of fattest parts of the green. Pin in front? For- Cold and heat affect the distance a golf ball travels too. Use more golf. How many times get about it and club up, you’ll club in the wintere, the ball did your approach thank yourself later. travels farther in the heat of shot to the green finMaggie Roller summer. ish past the flag? In- 3) Be aware of Your goal in playing golf conditions. cluding shots that missed the green? If is to shoot the lowest score Wind, rain, cold, and heat you’re like most amateurs, the number is possible, right? Whether you close to zero. According to data, amateurs all affect the golf ball difhit a 3w then a 5w into a par come up short of the pin 95 percent of the ferently. Conditions have 4 or your driver and a 6 iron time on long approach shots, yes 95 per- a dramatic effect on where in makes no difference. Last cent! Even with a wedge on shorter shots, your golf ball ends up. If time I checked on a round there is wind, throw grass it's 80 percent! with my daughter we wrote Try these three basic principles and see up to check direction, or you Scott Fawcett down the score not the club if you don’t hit more greens next time could use a compass, wind can change your yardage calculation by of choice. I encourage you to focus on you’re out. as much as 10, 20, 30 yards particularly in these three principles, hit more greens, Oklahoma. Get a new yardage depending and have more fun playing golf! 1) Leave your ego at home. Golfers come up short so often because on the wind, a whole new number. ExamMaggie Roller is the director of instruction at their ego gets the best of them. They’ll ple: If it is blowing into you 20 mph, add hit a shorter club either to impress their 20 more yards onto your number. On the Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow. buddies or thinking because they’ve hit a shot that far with that club before it will automatically work for them again. I have observed through the years of teaching that golfers choose the club that will get them to the flag, but not past it, if they strike the ball perfectly- which they rarely do. Heck, most professionals play 18 holes and often only hit 50 percent of their shots pure! A common theme is this, you hit 50 balls with your 9 iron on the range, and one is perfectly flush at 145 but most of the others are around 130-135, with poor centeredness of contact. Yet, on the course you think you’ll hit that perfect 9 iron that you hit ONCE in your practice session- it’s just not reality. So, next time you play a round try hitting one extra club with your approach shots and see what results you get, you might be surprised. ant to hit more greens in

2) Hit to the center of the greens, stop pin seeking! If you’re serious about breaking 80, 90, or 100, you should honestly never aim at a single pin. Go for the middle of every green and you’ll have a lot of 25-30 footers. Decade golf strategist Scott Fawcett teaches this mindset and it works. He’s been quoted “Tiger and Jack at their best, the whole of their careers, rarely went for pins. They consistently aimed to the center W W W.GOLFOKL AHOMA.ORG

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T he Fi na l Word

Southern Hills was worth the wait A

s a native ous night. We descended the giant grand- situated near Cedar Ridge Country Club Texan, it stand behind the 18th green and scurried at the house of Tim January’s sister-in-law pains me down to the 13th tee and 12th green. It was and had dinner at a nearby trendy grill. The greatly to say this, too crowded so I split from the others and food was delicious and there was a Brandel but I must. Our great found an unobstructed view of the 18th Chamblee sighting. On Sunday, we were at the course early state has many fine green and clubhouse from the low point of for a full day of immersing ourselves in golf courses but noth- the 18th fairway. I was mesmerized as I stared at the green Southern Hills and a riveting tournament, ing that compares to atop the giant hill fronting the clubhouse. aided greatly by breakfast, lunch and snacks Southern Hills CounPat Wheeler try Club. That admis- I felt as if I were in heaven or in a dream. in the clubhouse. Did I mention these were sion is mitigated by the thought that very Who, pray tell, could possibly hit a shot long very good tickets? So good were these tickets that twice enough and high enough to reach the green few states do. I found myself in places perhaps where I A week after seeing Southern Hills for hovering in the distant leaden sky? should not have the first time at the been. On Saturday, 2022 PGA ChamI inadvertently went pionship, I am still into the player’s a little gaga about locker room, not the course. But let knowing my locame explain. tion until I bumped For more than into Keegan Brad50 years, I have ley. Then Sunday, wanted to play or after breakfast, in see Southern Hills. an attempt to get I first became aware to the front nine, of the course in 1970 I walked past the while playing in the first tee announcer Te x a s - O k l a h o m a and the WanamakJunior tournament er Trophy sitting in Wichita Falls and prominently on a Arnold Palmer flew My first trip to legendary Southern Hills was one I will always appreciate. pedestal. in from Tulsa to Ultimately I saw every hole on the course Southern Hills – I had to pinch myself. conduct a clinic attended by some 5,000. It was on the eve of the PGA Championship. Designed by Oklahoma’s Perry Maxwell, and as I have pondered why Southern Hills Palmer was at the height of his popu- the course is much like Augusta National in is so challenging, I have concluded a big larity and desperately wanted to win the that TV does not do justice to the severity of part of its difficulty is there are no letup or only major to have eluded him. He fell just the slopes. But the hills of Augusta National pushover holes. We lingered at the conflushort to winner Dave Stockton and now, are more gradual than the big one at South- ence of the 5th green and 6th tee and then 52 years later, I was on my way to see the ern Hills that is akin to Mount Kilimanjaro. the 6th green and the 7th tee, both fun and That opinion did not change after two days interesting junctions. On the back nine, we 2022 tournament. spent a lot of time near the 13th green and The trip to Tulsa and the PGA was a gift and five trips up the precipice. Soon, Bubba Watson and Justin Thomas 17th tee. The 17th was pivotal in the playoff from a former winner, 92-year-old Don January of Dallas. His oldest son Tim, a good came past me with Bubba in the fairway but because it was driveable and Thomas found friend, invited me to join his son Sean and some 30 yards short of Thomas in the left the green while Zalatoris did not. There was one final climb at 18 and then friend John Murray for late Saturday and all rough. Watson hit a long iron into the stratoday Sunday. We quickly learned we were in sphere that shook me from my reverie and the drive back to Dallas. The reviews of though I could not see the ball on the green, Southern Hills have been universally good for a treat. It was about 3 in the afternoon Saturday the huge gallery assured me that it indeed and the PGA is sure to continue having its when we arrived. There was absolutely no had found the putting surface. Thomas did championship here in the future. Gil Hanse traffic to get to our parking place, a mere 50 not fare so well with his hybrid shot from has received deserved praise with one brilthe gnarly rough, finding one of the giant liant feature - the lack of defined tee boxes yards from the clubhouse. The tickets and the parking were courtesy bunkers left and short of the green. He bo- so that the markers can be placed according of the PGA of America because we were geyed 18 on Saturday but he showed brava- to purpose. With that in mind, it would be a dream guests of a former champion. The PGA do on Sunday with his clutch win in a threecome true for me to play this masterpiece hole playoff over Dallas’ Will Zalatoris. knows how to honor its winners. Saturday evening we enjoyed our drive one day - hopefully at about 5,500 yards. After parking, we were soon out onto the course in some overcast and blustery cool through beautiful Tulsa with its hills, trees Pat Wheeler is a long-time golf writer in Texas. weather that had just blown in the previ- and a meandering Arkansas River. We got 46

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