Monday, December 22, 2008

Prayers answered with an Evans Scholarship for caddies

By Gene Wojciechowski

You don't know Kawthar Rkein. Neither did I until the 17-year-old caddie walked into a packed ballroom, stepped behind a wooden podium and, as her legs shook uncontrollably, began a 12-minute interview session that one way or another would literally change her life.

Not much was at stake. Only an academic scholarship to such high-priced universities as Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin or, in Rkein's case, Marquette. Maybe that's why Sandra Rkein, a single mom who supports her two daughters and her own mother on a cleaning woman's wages, has been praying to St. Jude so much.

St. Jude -- patron saint of the hopeless.

So on the morning of Dec. 11, Kawthar Rkein, her knees knocking, stood in front of more than 100 Evans Scholars selection committee members at a suburban Chicago country club and told her story. She talked about the three ethnic youth clubs she joined at high school, just so she could meet different kinds of people ... about the money she saved from caddying that she used to pay for school books ... about the honors courses she loved ... about her lifelong dream to go to college. Nobody had time to ask her about her work as a soup kitchen volunteer.

Rkein's tiny but confident voice only cracked once -- when she talked about her mom.

"My mom," she said, taking a deep breath, "is amazing."

So was Rkein and the other 19 finalists who took turns speaking to that selection committee earlier this month on a bitterly cold day at River Forest Country Club in Elmhurst, Ill.
Think about it: You're what, 17, and you're summoned to a room full of adults, many of them wearing the green blazers of the Western Golf Association, which oversees the largest privately funded college scholarship program in the country? There's a waiting area and then, when it's your turn, a WGA rep leads you through a pair of glass doors, to the front of the ballroom, where you shake hands with the WGA big hitters. Then you're directed to the podium, where 100 committee members -- all allowed to ask pointed questions about your academic record, caddying experiences, life aspirations, etc. -- are assembled in front of you. These are the people who will vote yes or no on your scholarship after you leave the room.

Nerve-wracking? One finalist's face turned a splotchy red by the end of the interview. Another finalist kept wringing her hands every eight seconds. Another finalist could have used a beach towel to soak up the forehead flop sweat.

Nearly 600 caddies nationwide applied to the Evans Scholars program this year. It's a breeze: All you need is club sponsorship, a sparkling academic record, a history of community service and/or meaningful extracurricular activities, leadership skills and serious financial need (parents' tax returns are required). Gandhi would have had a hard time winning one of these things.

The finalists appear in front of the state selection committees, like this one. And they tell their stories.

Read more compelling here

Until I see you on the first tee,


Friday, December 19, 2008

The Changing of the Game

As I sat at my desk last week, looking at the walls, trying to find something to do to past the time since I was without my life support, aka “computer”, which crashed. I realized that we as a society have turned all our needs to technology, not only in the working world but also in the game of golf.

I kind of feel like Judge Smails wife in the great movie Caddyshack when she ask Rodney Dangerfield “I cannot believe that you do not have a device that just allows you to sit in the club house and not have to play.”

Think about it for a second, we as golfers get fitted just right for every piece of equipment that we use in our bag. Over 90% of companies now days want you to be hooked up to some sort of a launch monitor to get just the right fit for your swing. Now you can even be fitted to find the right ball you should be playing. The game of golf has been taken over by the robotic world. Players are all trying to have the same mechanics, they want to be able to swing as hard as they can and hit it is far as they can. I see more golfers standing on the range and just waling on range ball after range ball trying to see how hard and far they hit the ball instead of working on how to shape shots and control distance of the ball. So the true art of working the golf ball and hitting different shot has been lost in this golf phase.

So that is why I am so glad to see that the USGA has stepped in to change the groove patterns on the clubs. It has been stated by many touring pros that on golf holes that are tight and narrow and should really reward the player for hitting the fairway, the players right now are just hitting driver of the tee to get as close the green as possible because they know that the short iron they hit for the next shot will stop the ball on the green. In my eyes that has really hurt the game and the great mental side of it. Golf played the correct way is a game that you must think through each shot that you hit, and always be thinking about where you want the ball to go. Right now golf is being played by a bunch of guys that are big and strong and just try to muscle the golf course. That is fine, but with the upcoming changes to the clubs it will not work as well. It evens the field out for all sizes to play; now the guy that might not hit it as far but never misses a fairway is back in the game.

I will tell you what, other than Tiger who is just a freak of nature, I bet next year when the tour players must have the correct grooves in play you will start to see the smaller and not as long hitters back at the top. I like this new wave or I guess you could call it the old school way coming back. However it all comes down to one factor and always will. Whoever is putting the ball the best will win!!

Until I see you on the first tee!


Bigger and Better!!

I am proud to be able to announce the 2009 MGA Championship Schedule. As you will see, the Championships are being held at some outstanding Member Clubs. Also, you will notice that we have added a couple of new things. For the first time we are going to have Girls compete in the Missouri Junior Amateur. We are also opening the ever popular Father-Son Championship up to a Professional Division and adding another course. This year each team will play a round at Porto Cima and one round at the Lodge’s signature course Witch’s Cove. This will allow for more teams to compete and enjoy the great event. One final new twist is that we have added 2 more senior series events from 14 to 16.

I can not be more pleased with the quality of courses our Championship events will be held at in 2009. It just goes to show how great our member clubs love to support and promote Amateur golf in Missouri. I am looking forward to the upcoming season and cannot wait for it to start!

Check out the 2009 Schedule Now!!

Have a wonderful and safe Holiday Season,

Until I see you on the first tee,


Monday, November 24, 2008

Don Bliss is named Senior Player of the Year by the Missouri Golf Association

Don Bliss, one of the most decorative amateur golfers in the history of Missouri golf, has been named the MGA Senior Player of the year for the fourth time. Bliss who has won four Missouri Amateur Championship titles, had another strong golf season. Bliss got off to a fast start by winning the Senior Division of the Phil Cotton event in early June. He then went on to qualify for match play in the Missouri Amateur and proceeded to make the round of 16. Bliss then qualified for the United States Senior Amateur and made it into the match play portion of the event before being knocked out of the first round. Bliss finished the year by finishing in a tie for 6th in the Missouri Mid Am Championship at the historic Kansas City Country Club. Congratulations Don!!

For all the years results you can check them out

Skip Berkmeyer of St. Louis has been named the Missouri Golf Association’s Player of the year for 2008

Skip Berkmeyer had an outstanding year, not only in the state of Missouri but on the national scene as well. In Missouri, Berkmeyer won the Phil Cotton in early June in Columbia, and was the Runner-Up at the 101st Missouri Amateur Championship at WingHaven Country Club in O’Fallon. He also finished in a tie for 4th at the Stroke Play Championship held at Meadow lake Acres Country in New Bloomfield. On the national level, Skip qualified for the US Amateur Championship held at Pinehurst Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina, qualifying for match play and advancing to the round of 32. Then Berkmeyer qualified for the US Mid Amateur Championship in Milwaukee. While there Berkmeyer was the medalist for the two qualifying rounds and was the number one seed and advanced to the round of 32. Skip was one of two players that qualified for match play in both the US Amateur and US Mid Amateur.

“Skip had a solid year from start to finish and has proven that he is one of the top Mid Am players in the US” Scott Hovis, Executive Director of MGA.

This is the third time that Berkmeyer has been named the Missouri Golf Association Player of the Year. Congratulations Skip!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2009 Senior Series

People always ask the question “why do you change something even when it’s working just fine?” My answer is “how do you know it can’t be better?” That is where we are at with the MGA Senior Series. With the exception of a few bumps in the road, this series has been a great success so far, which is why we want to make the 2009 season that much better. We’ve had players comment to us that the course is either too short or too long, so we have come up with a way for players to chose where they play from. Before the event, players will specify what flight they want to play, this will allow the players to choose how challenging they want to make it for themselves. This will be a better fit for everyone, and will allow the same amount of players a chance to win something as well.

2009 Senior Series

64 and Under - Open Flight - 6500 Yards

64 and Under - Net Flight - 6250 Yards

65 and Over - Open Flight - 6250 Yards

65 and Over - Net Flight - 6000 Yards

Gift certificates will be given to the top finishers in each flight. Points will also be given to the top finishers in each flight for the year end Tour Championship.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Missouri Wins!

Last week at Hickory Hills Country Club in Springfield, members of the Missouri Senior Series team beat members of the Kansas Senior Series in a Ryder cup style of matches. In the Association matches, which consist of 6 players over the age of 65, Missouri won by the score of 12 to 1. In the Ozark Cup Matches which consist of 12 players from the ages of 50 to 64 Missouri won again by the score of 13.5 to 10.5

These matches are between the two golf associations that happen on the annual basis. Below you will see the team members, great job guys!!!

Ozark Challenge
Russ Woodbury, Aurora
Jerry Waitulavich, St. Louis
Darrel Huisinga, Fenton
Rocky Walther, St. Louis
Karl Elbrecht, St. Louis
Mike Dallmeyer, Jefferson City
Parker Morgan, Springfield
Tom McHenry, Jefferson City
Denny Payne, St. Louis
Jim Ruck, St. Louis
David Hohler, Cape Girardeau
Steve Slaughter, Jefferson City

Association Cup
Don Dupske, St. Louis
Carl Benbrook, Chesterfield
Bob Martin, Columbia
Jerry Kirksey, Bolivar
Norton Balber, St. Louis
Bob Igelhart, Columbia

Until I see you on the first tee!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Final Destination

After wrapping up another successful championship and making sure that we were done in time for ballroom dancing night at KCCC, it was off to Cape Girardeau and the wonderful Dalhousie Golf Club for the end of the year Cup Matches. The top players from the East side of the state compete against the top players from the West side of the state. With the West side winning the event last year at Porto Cima the East was out for a little revenge. The players were treated to some wonderful weather and some fantastic food along with a golf course that was in unbelievable condition. Each time I visit Dalhousie I leave there loving it more. The East came out on top this year with winning 15 and a half points to the 12 and a half by the West squad. A lot of great golf was played by both sides.

So, Sunday afternoon after the Cup Matches came to an end I hopped back in the car and headed down the road again, however this time I got to head home and a chance to get a good nights sleep in my own bed. Yes it might have been a lot of miles driven, (over 1,200) and many nights away from home (12 to be exact) I would have not changed it for anything. What a lucky guy I am to get to visit such wonderful golf courses and be around such great people.

I am the LUCKY ONE!!

Until I see you on the first tee


Still on the Road

The next stop on the circuit was Kansas City Country Club for the Missouri Mid Amateur Championship September 29th thru October 1st. Kansas City Country Club is another old historic club that just oozes tradition. You can just feel how special KCCC is once you step onto the property and look around. On Monday morning, while we were out setting the course up for the event, Tom Watson was on property looking at the course that he calls home to see what changes might need to be made for upcoming years. I will tell you one thing, after being there for three days I did not see anything that needs to be changed!! What a classic and wonderful golf course that proved you don't need 7,000 yards or more to make a golf course tough. Just ask the players who competed what a great challenge a course less than 6800 yards can be. I had one player make the comment to me that he could play Kansas City Country Club every day for the rest of his life and never get tired of it. As for the event it self, it turned into a St. Joseph, MO Championship with the top three players all coming from St. Joe. In the end Brian Haskell prevailed on the first playoff hole to defeat Brad Nurski.

Congrats to Brain for his success at the Missouri Mid-Am

Until I see you on the first tee.



The past two weeks I have lived every Missouri golfers dream! Yes, it might have required a lot of travel and hard work, however, I would not have traded it with anyone.

It all started the week of September 22nd through 24th at the historic Old Warson Country Club with the Senior Amateur Championship. Old Warson, which hosted the 1971 Ryder Cup and is one of the premier country clubs of the Midwest, presented a great challenge for the players. Scott Thomas of St. Louis played 36 holes of solid golf to capture his first Senior Amateur Championship. Once we got the event wrapped up, it was off to Columbia and the Missouri Open the 25th through 27th.

With the Missouri Open having been off the schedule for over 10 years, it was great to have it back and back at a wonderful venue like The Club at Old Hawthorn. What a great opportunity for the top professionals and amateur golfers from Missouri to compete and see who comes out on top. Again with perfect weather and a golf course in great shape the players had a wonderful time. Peter Malanti, a member of the University of Missouri’s golf team, played two spectacular rounds and shot 12 under par to win by four over PGA tour member Jay Delsing.

Congratulations to both Scott and Peter on their victories!

Until I see you on the first tee,


Monday, September 8, 2008

Making a Statement

Skip Berkmeyer Takes Medalist Honors At The U.S. Mid-Amateur
Total of 4 Missiourians make Match Play

River Hills, Wis. – Skip Berkmeyer, 34, of St. Louis, Mo., shot a 1-over-par 71 Sunday to earn stroke-play medalist honors with a 36-hole total of 2-under-par 138 at the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Milwaukee Country Club and Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
Berkmeyer, who played his round at the 7,004-yard, par-70 Milwaukee CC, edged Tim Mickelson, 31, of San Diego, Calif., by a stroke. Mickelson, the younger brother of PGA Tour pro Phil Mickelson, bogeyed his last two holes at Milwaukee CC to finish with an even-par 70 and a two-round total of 139.
“It’s great,” said Berkmeyer of being medalist. “To be the lowest guy in this big field is a pretty neat thing.”
The lowest 64 scorers advanced to match play Monday at Milwaukee CC. The championship is scheduled to run through Thursday, with the winner receiving a likely invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament.
Also making Match play from Missouri are Brian Haskell of St. Joseph who is the 34th seed shooting a two day total of 145. The 18th seed also from St. Joseph is Brad Nurski, and the final player from Missouri to move on to match play is Ted Moloney of St. Louis and he is the 42nd seed.
Berkmeyer, who is playing in his fifth Mid-Amateur, has advanced further in match play with each succeeding year. His best finish was a third-round loss in last year’s Mid-Amateur at Bandon Dunes Resort in Bandon, Ore. He lost in the second round in 2006 and the first round in 2004. He also has played in seven U.S. Amateurs.
There are signs that Berkmeyer has what it takes to last longer this week than in the past. He was one of only six mid-amateurs to reach match play at last month’s U.S. Amateur. He also was runner-up at the 2008 Missouri State Amateur, an event he won in 1999.
“I’ve played well all summer, and I’m pretty pleased,” said Berkmeyer, who owns a trophy and awards shop with his father, Rick. “My game has gotten better as I’ve gotten older. Hopefully, it will get better this week.
“I feel now like I belong and I’m more comfortable out here,” Berkmeyer continued. “This is my favorite event. This is what I play for.”
His mother has enjoyed even more success at USGA championships to this point. Barbara, 64, was runner-up at the 2002 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Coming to an End

This Tuesday and Wednesday is the last two Senior Series events before the Tour Championship in October. Tuesday afternoon we are heading to Osage National and Wednesday morning at Old Kinderhook. Both of these events are sold out and should be two great events on two wonderful golf courses. This Senior Series has really become bigger than I thought it would. We get more and more compliments on these events each time and it all comes from getting the opportunity to play top notch golf courses. Just last week the Seniors got to play Branson Creek and John Daly’s Murder Rock in Branson. Both courses were in fabulous condition and were great test for the players.

After these last two Senior Series events are over on Wednesday, then we will add up the points and see which top 16 players from each age division will move on to the Tour Championships at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club October 7th and 8th.

I would like to take this time now and Thank all the players that participated in the Senior Series this year and look forward to seeing you all again for the 2009 season.

Until I see you on the first tee


Friday, August 29, 2008

Doing the Double Dip

Justin Bardgett teamed up with 2008 Missouri Stroke Play Champion, Darren Lundgren to win the only other major championship that both of them could compete in, the 2008Missouri Four Ball Championship. Bardgett won the Match Play at WingHaven Country Club in June with a convincing final match performance against Skip Berkmeyer. Lundgren followed that up with an equally dominating performance, winning the Stroke Play at Meadow Lake Acres by three strokes over an impressive field.

I knew going into the event with the way the rough was up and the speed of the greens that teams were not going to go very deep the first day. But, after players have a couple rounds under their belts, on a course they can start feeling comfortable on, they’ll start shooting lower scores. However, with the hole locations that I had set for day two I did not expect this low of scores. So, my hats off to the boys for golfing that well.

After the first round, it looked like the magic was gone for the two major champs as they fired a lack luster 69 which put them three strokes off the lead, but more importantly behind more than a dozen teams at 66, 67 and 68. "We thought 62 was the number we needed to win going into the final round," said Bardgett after the tournament. Well they came up one shot short of their goal firing a low round of the championship 63 getting them to 12-under for the tournament with quite a few teams on the course. Early reports were that defending champions Travis Mitchell and Tyler Stalker were again playing well and playing directly behind Bardgett and Lundgren so they would be aware of exactly what they had to do.

With Lundgren and Bardgett waiting for more scores to come in to see how their 12-under total matched up, Mitchell and Stalker knew they had to make birdie on 18 to tie and Mitchell drained a clutch 50 foot birdie on the final green to match the leaders and join the waiting game. I was standing next to the 18th green at the time, and about 10 feet out from the hole he new that he made it. The ball was moving at a pretty good clip when it hit the hole and was dead center.

After all the teams completed play it was just Lundgren/Bardgett and Mitchell/Stalker teams still standing. So it was off to the first hole for a playoff. However only after one hole the playoff was over with the Bardgett and Lundgren team holding the Championship hardware for 2008.
It was a great week on a wonderful course in Blue Hills Country Club. The course could not have been in any better shape. So thank you to the great staff and membership of Blue Hills for allowing us to host the event.

Until I see you on the first tee.


It's Getting Closer!

Next week is the BMW Championship in St. Louis at Bellerive Country Club. Yes, I know that Tiger is not going to be there, but the rest of the top players in the world will. These guys are competing in the year end Fed Ex Cup Playoff’s for some big money. So if you can, make the trip out to the event to see how the big boys tackle the new design of the Bellerive Course. I am planning on getting out there over the weekend to see some great golf. It is not very often we have the best in our home state, so take advantage of this.

Ticket information here:

Until I see you on the first tee!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

It was a Quieter Day at the MGA

It is a lot quieter around the MGA office today. Yesterday was the interns, Julia and CeAnne’s, last day. They were great!! They did many great things for the Association this summer and there are not enough words to say how much they will be missed around here. Well, let’s take one thing back; we won’t miss that rap music they made us listen too. That is the only thing that will not be missed!!

CeAnne and Julia head back to school now and get ready for their upcoming golf seasons this fall. CeAnne goes to William Woods and Julia goes to the University of Missouri. We here at the MGA thank them for the wonderful job they did this summer and wish only the best to them.

Until I see you on the first tee,


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Time of Her Life!

I am proud to report that our 2008 USGA Intern Julia Potter is having some great success at this weeks US Women's Am. She made match play and then won her first match yesterday 3 & 2 and play's her second round match today starting at 10:00 a.m. west coast time. Enjoy this great article about her that was on the front page of the USGA website Wednesday morning. I am super proud of her and wishing her only the best the rest of the week. We are cheering hard for her.

Until See you on the first tee!!


USGA Boatwright Intern Potter Making Most Of Vacation Time

By David Shefter, USGA

Eugene, Ore. – Julia Potter didn’t need to persuade her boss for a break to compete in this week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur at Eugene Country Club.

Not when your summer occupation involves golf.

The 20-year-old from Granger, Ind., and a junior-to-be at the University of Missouri is one of many USGA-supported P.J. Boatwright interns serving various golf associations and organizations. In 1991, the USGA established the P.J. Boatwright Internship Program to give experience to individuals interested in pursuing a career in golf administration, while assisting state/regional golf associations, as well as other non-profit organizations dedicated to the promotion of amateur golf, on a short-term, entry-level basis.

Potter has spent the last few months with the Missouri Golf Association learning all aspects of golf administration, from conducting championships to understanding how to accurately rate a course.

But when she qualified for the Women’s Amateur, she needed to ask MGA Executive Director Scott Hovis for time off. Hovis, a former Boatwright intern himself at the MGA (1994) who spent five seasons on various professional circuits before getting his amateur status back in 2001, understood the situation. An elite player, Hovis qualified for his first USGA event five years ago (U.S. Mid-Amateur) at Sea Island Golf Club, but did not make the match-play cut.

“We’ve managed to work around her playing schedule,” said Hovis by phone in Kansas City where he was playing in an event.

Potter recently worked the Missouri State Amateur, an eye-opening experience where she assisted Hovis in all aspects of the competition, including the selection of hole locations.

“I think what I’ve learned with the job has actually helped me prepare better for golf tournaments,” said Potter after carding a 2-under-par 70 Tuesday and finishing stroke-play qualifying at 1-under 143, easily within the match-play cut. “I’m really lucky to have a boss who not only understands my golf schedule, but is also there encouraging me.”

During Potter’s sophomore season, Hovis sent an e-mail to the University of Missouri coaches seeking an intern for the summer. Potter had already decided to spend the summer in Columbia, so she applied and landed the position.

“As a player, we don’t really understand all the time and effort that’s put in by not only the [staff] but the volunteers,” said Potter. “Learning how to run tournaments and what it is to work in an office … has been a great experience and I don’t regret a second of it.”

But while she’s received an education in tournament administration, the internship hasn’t solved one major phobia. Potter still hates to fly. The situation has improved since her freshman season when she had several panic attacks. En route to Oregon, she flew with Missouri teammate and fellow Women’s Amateur qualifier Lindsey Haupt of St. Louis, which eased the tension.

Good conversation kept Potter’s mind occupied enough to avoid any harrowing situations.

“It was really nice to have a teammate and somebody I know on the plane with me,” said Potter, who captured her second consecutive Indiana State Amateur title earlier this summer.

Her anxieties apparently didn’t carry over to the golf course, where she was competing in her first USGA championship after six years of trying. Potter came up short in sectional qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open in June, but finally broke through at her Women’s Amateur qualifier in Indianapolis, garnering the last spot via a playoff after carding a 76.

Now the left-hander is into match play, where she’s had previous success. Potter won the 2004 and ’05 Indiana Girls’ Junior title and has competed in the Women’s Western Amateur.

“If I play like today, I’ll feel really confident in my game,” said Potter, hoping to become the first female southpaw to raise a USGA trophy (four males have done so). “Match play is just completely different. It’s just head to head. Anything can happen.”

The fact that Potter is competing at all is remarkable. Four years ago, doctors inserted a metal rod in her back to stabilize a back condition known as scoliosis, which is where a person’s spine is curved from side to side, and may also be rotated. The abnormality can make the spine look like an ‘S’ or a ‘C’ instead of a straight line.

Stacy Lewis, a member of the 2008 USA Curtis Cup team, suffered from the same condition and surgery five years ago helped her continue playing at a high level. She nearly won the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open in her professional debut.

Potter has been to play pain free, but doctors at Missouri have recommended she undergo the same procedure as Lewis. It’s something she will consider after her eligibility expires or as long as she can play without pain.

After Tuesday’s 70, there was no reason to grimace.

David Shefter is a USGA New Media staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at

Friday, August 1, 2008

Great Week

Another fun week for all the Fathers & Sons that competed this week at the wonderful Porto Cima Golf Club at the Lake of Ozarks!!! Although we had a quick rain shower Monday morning and then hot weather on Tuesday it was fun for all. This event has turned into one of the favorites on the MGA schedule. It is a great time for Fathers & Sons to bond and enjoy some great quality time. I have been fortunate to play in the event all three years with my dad and it is a great time. I enjoy the event because with my hectic schedule during the summer months I never get the chance to play golf with my dad but this event allows me to. Plus it does not hurt that we are playing one of the premiere courses in the state as well.

Monday night, Mike Kelly “The Voice of the Tigers” was our guest speaker at dinner and he was great. He told some great stories about MU Athletics and also about some of the great personal opportunities that he has had in broadcasting. He even reflected on how he could tell that this event was a great thing even though he was not participating and what a great time for Fathers & Sons to bond.

The oldest Player in the Field was Charles Talley at the ripe young age of 88 and he was great. The man played every hole and hit every shot as if he was leading the U.S. Open. That is what makes the event that much more special for everyone involved. Make sure that you do not miss out on this event next year. More info about the 2009 Father-Son Championship will be soon to follow. So stayed tuned. Here is a picture of Skip and Charlie Talley, they were the oldest team in the field with a combined age of 148!

Until I see you on the First Tee!!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Captain Named!!

Mike White, President of the Missouri Golf Association, has been named the 2008 Captain of the Missouri team against Kansas in the Ozark Challenge Cup. The event will take place October 21st-23rd at Hickory Hills Country Club. The teams are made up of 16 players from both association’s Senior Series. Last year was the first year Missouri and Kansas competed in this great event. I am looking forward to another great competition this year and hopefully we can defend our title!

Until I see you on the first tee!!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Time to Play!!

Well the time has come again for the top golfers in Missouri to compete in the Missouri Stroke Play Championship. The event is being held right outside Jefferson City at Meadow Lake Acres Country Club. This will be the first major event held at the course and the top players in the state will compete. For me it is kind of exciting to see how the guys will score. I grew up on this golf course and have seen it come a long way from the days of non water fairways to now having zoshia fairways and irrigation systems through out the course. The staff at Meadow Lake has done a wonderful job with the course and has it looking great for the event.

Today is the practice round day, Wednesday and Thursday the players will play 18 holes each day. Then we will make a cut to the top 50 scores and ties for the final day which is a 36 hole shoot out. So stay in touch with what is going on with the action by watching the live scoring at this week.

Until I see you on the first tee!


Voice of Tigers to be Guest Speaker

Mike Kelly the Voice of the Missouri Tigers is going to be the guest speaker at this years Father-Son Championship being held July 28th and 29th at The Club at Porto Cima. Kelly will speak after the first round of play at the yacht Club at Porto Cima around 7:30 p.m. The Father-Son is going on its third year and is become the players favorite event each year. If you are interested in joining us for dinner please call the MGA office at 573-636-8994.

Mike Kelly has broadcast almost 700 Mizzou Football and Basketball games. The Dupo, Illinois native started his affiliation with the University of Missouri in 1989, when he was named the host of “Tiger Talk” the radio show that features Mizzou’s Football and Basketball coaches. After serving as the color analyst for Mizzou Basketball during the 1990-1991 season, Kelly took over the play-by-play duties the next season. In 1994, Kelly was named as “The Voice of the Tigers” taking over the reigns for Mizzou Football.

A 1984 graduate of SIU-Carbondale, Kelly has broadcast NFL Football and NCAA basketball for CBS Radio. He has also broadcast games for the St. Louis Cardinals.

In addition to broadcasting games, Kelly is employed by The Insurance Group, and independent insurance agency located in Columbia, MO.

Kelly and his wife Laurie will celebrated their 20th anniversary in August. They
are the parents of 17-year old twin daughters Shannon & Shaun. Their youngest child
Megan is 12.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On the Run

I first off want to apologize for not being very prompt with my blogs lately, I have been pretty busy and just have not gotten around to them. However, I hate excuses so I will stop there.

As I type this out I am in North Kansas City at our 25th Missouri Junior Amateur Championship being held at Paradise Pointe Golf Club. This complex has 36 holes here, one course called the Outlaw and the Other named The Possey. Both courses are in wonderful shape and we have over 180 players competing these two days. This mornings weather was great however this afternoon a storm is brewing west of here and has kicked the winds up and that will kick the scores up as well.

From here I will be making the a short drive to Cape Girardeau which will only take me about 6 hours from the spot I am in now. Nothing like going from Northwest Missouri to Southeast Missouri! Thursday and Friday we are having another Senior Series event at Cape Girardeau Country Club and Dalhousie. There are over 80 players competing at both spots. The players are in for a great treat with these two courses for sure. The rest of the Senior Series Events are sold out for the year. So if you want to participate next year make sure to get your applications in early.

Well time to help bring the kids in off the golf course, we just had lightning in the area and had to blow the horn to halt play.

So until I see you on the first tee.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Congratulations Missouri Amateur Champion - Justin Bardgett

One year ago at Old Warson Country Club, a young Justin Bardgett found himself in the finals of the Metropolitan Amateur Match Play Championship against Player of the Year, Skip Berkmeyer. On this day, Bardgett looked to defeat the number one seeded Berkmeyer holding a 2up lead with 2 holes to play. But the veteran Berkmeyer found a way to square the match as he has a knack to do, ultimately winning in extra holes and sweeping away the championship from Bardgett.

Turn the clock forward a year and a more experienced Bardgett again was on the cuff of winning a major amateur championship, this time the 101st Missouri Amateur Championship. And again, in his way was none other than Skip Berkmeyer. Both graduates of Chaminade High School, Bardgett has played in the shadow of Skip Berkmeyer for most of his young adult life. A Missouri High School Champion, Bardgett has captured his share of major golf tournaments, but never a Men's major championship like he again had the opportunity to win on Sunday at WingHaven Country Club.

Throughout the week, Skip Berkmeyer had played what he called some of the best golf he's played competitively in his career. He had control over his golf ball, a great feel on the greens and an edge over many of the younger inexperienced competitors in the field. Breezing through his first five matches, you could sense Berkmeyer intimidated his opponents if not because of his reputation alone. But Bardgett had seen it before. He fully understood what Berkmeyer was capable of and also knew that he was one good shot away from defeating him a year ago. Watching the players warm up on Sunday morning, you could sense Bardgett wasn't going to spot Berkmeyer 2up on reputation alone.

As the players began their marathon 36 hole final match ominous clouds hovered over the Nicklaus Design Championship Golf Course and mother nature was evident with gusts of 10 to 15 mph. For most of the week the weather had been perfect with little wind to challenge the golfers.

If anyone had their doubts as to whether the younger and less experienced Bardgett would handle center stage, it took all of 15 minutes to answer that question. After an atypical wayward drive from Berkmeyer off the first tee, Bardgett neatly placed his tee shot on the left side of the fairway. It was Bardgett's second shot that served notice that he was ready for this challenge, as he stuck his approach to 4 feet of the hole. He would go on to make birdie and assume a 1up lead. After both players made birdie on the par 5, 2nd and pars on the 3rd, the players were called off the golf course for 45 minutes due to inclement weather with Bardgett maintaining the 1up lead...Read More

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Fight to Finish at Cotton

Berkmeyer edges Hovis by a stroke to win tourney.

By STEVE WALENTIK of the Tribune’s staff
Monday, June 9, 2008

Scott Hovis had played enough golf with Skip Berkmeyer to know all the traits that have made him arguably the top amateur golfer in the state of Missouri.

Anyone who watched Berkmeyer lock down his third Phil Cotton Invitational championship yesterday on the 18th hole at A.L. Gustin Golf Course knows now, too.

Berkmeyer was 5-under-par when he stepped onto the 18th tee clinging to a one-shot lead over Hovis, who rode along in the same cart as the St. Louisan in yesterday’s final group.

Against a lot of people, I’d probably hit iron off the tee and play it safe and make the guy make birdie," Berkmeyer said. "But Scott, I know his game, I figured he’d make birdie. I figured I needed to make birdie to win."
So Berkmeyer pulled out his driver and ripped his tee shot down the right side - right into trouble. The ball came to rest in the rough with two trees blocking his approach to the green. With Hovis sitting just about 70 yards out in the middle of the fairway, the prospect of the tournament being decided in a playoff for the third straight year looked more and more likely.

But Berkmeyer pitched the ball over the trees and landed it just about 3 feet off the green. When he chipped to within a foot, Hovis’ 8-foot birdie attempt suddenly became a must-make.
Hovis nearly did, sending his putt skirting barely an inch off the left edge.

"I thought I made it," he said. "I hit a good stroke, hit it right on my line. I putted it a little bit outside left edge. It was breaking, and then it straightened out."

Hovis threw his head back and let out a sigh that revealed his frustration and surprise.

But he wasn’t shocked at all to see Berkmeyer escape trouble with the tournament on the line.

"He knows exactly where he’s going to put it," Hovis said. "He knows his misses. He knows every shot. He’s very methodical, very smart. He knows where he’s going to hit it. He’s battle-tested, when you play the events that he does and at the high level. He’s got a very good mental game."

That served Berkmeyer well as he navigated through a stiff wind throughout yesterday’s final round. He played bogey-free on the back nine to card the day’s best round, a 3-under-par 67 that left him at 5-under for the 36-hole tournament. That was one shot better than Hovis and three in front of Chesterfield’s Darren Lundgren, the only other player in the 46-man championship division to finish below par.

The 34-year-old Berkmeyer, who won the Missouri Amateur in 1999 and the Phil Cotton Invitational in 2001 and 2002, began the day two shots behind first-round leader Nick Wilson and one back of Hovis. He’d lost ground to the latter after making bogey on the par-3 fifth.
At that point, the only man making a significant move was Lundgren, who birdied the first three holes to climb into the lead. He finished the front nine at 4-under-par 31.

It took Berkmeyer eight holes to collect his first birdie. He rolled in an 8-footer to get back to even-par for the round.

"I was just trying to be patient," Berkmeyer said. "With the wind, it’s uncomfortable. I knew I was just a couple good holes away."

He drove it into the bunker just right of the green on No. 9 and got up-and-down for another birdie to tie Hovis.

Lundgren and Wilson each faltered early on the back nine. Lundgren made bogeys on 10 and 11 and a double-bogey on 12 after losing a ball off the tee. Wilson, a recent Hickman graduate, made the turn at 2-over-par then bogeyed 11 and triple-bogeyed the par-5 12th after flying his third shot into the tall grass behind the green.

From then on, the competition for the title turned into a duel between the two cart partners. Berkmeyer had gained the upper hand after Hovis bogeyed the par-3 10th, but Hovis climbed back into a tie with a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 14. They remained that way until 16.

That’s about the time their friendly round of golf got serious.

"We both knew the last three holes, neither of us was going to back down," Hovis said. "One of us was going to have to make a birdie to win."

They hit their tee shots little more than 10 feet apart - and 30 yards from the green - on 16. Hovis flubbed his second, dooming him to a par. Berkmeyer, meanwhile, pitched his second to about 12 feet above the hole to set up what proved to be the decisive birdie putt.

"I’ve had that putt before," he said. "I knew it broke right. I was just trying to get the right speed, and lo and behold, it went in."

Hovis, the executive director of the Missouri Golf Association, still had two chances to pull even, but he couldn’t conjure a birdie on 17 or 18. He settled for second place for the second straight year.

The competition for the senior title wasn’t nearly as close. Chesterfield’s Don Bliss pulled away from the field with a 6-under 64 on Saturday, and he followed it up with a round of 73 to beat runner-up Karl Elbrecht by eight shots. It was Bliss’ second consecutive senior title. He also won the championship division in 1999.

Congrats Skip and Don!!

Until I see you on the first tee,


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Under Way

The 2008 Missouri Amateur Qualifying rounds are under way. So far we have four completed and two still to finish. The results from these qualifiers are on the MGA web site. The Missouri Am is the week of June 16th at Winghaven Country Club in O’Fallon. I am looking forward to a great week and some good golf. You can follow all the action on the MGA web site.

Until I see you on the first tee.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time Is Running Out!


Entry fee: $135
Entry fee includes: Qualifying round, Practice round on Monday, June 16 and the Championship rounds.

Cart fees are not included.

It’s in the Books!!

After some rain and then some more rain the first Missouri Golf Association Championship is over. Last week, at the beautiful Norwood Hills Country Club, Greg Doss and Chris Killian won the Championship Division on the second hole of a playoff.

It was a true challenge the first day for the Championship flight players. After getting off to a late start because of rain and lighting the players finally teed off around 3:30 p.m. However, the rain came back and at times it was pretty bad, but we kept on trucking along until we had to call play because of darkness. The next day the players came out at 1:30 to finish the first round of competition and then just kept rolling on and got the second 18 in as well. Doss and Killian tied the team of Mark Addington and Jim Seward with a two day score of 7 under par, which was really good considering the weather conditions. On the second playoff hole, Doss sank a three foot birdie putt for the victory.

The players in the Net flight played the first round in perfect weather and some teams took advantage of that. Bob Wilhite and Keith Morrisery got off to a fast start with a score of 11 under par 60, to lead the 50 to 59 age division. In the 60 plus age division we had a four way tie at the top. Ken Brown & Richard Gelner, Robert Galloway & John Finney, Bob Pohl & Gene Adams, Mike Steckler & Ron Janssen all shot a 10 under par 61. As soon as they all got in and turned there scorecards in, the rain came. With the rain in the afternoon and then all night the Net Flight was called after only 18 holes of play.

So we are off and running, I just hope that it will stop raining some day soon.

Until I see you on the first tee.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Check It Out!!

Check out the new Golfer's Network on the MGA website. Featuring videos that preview upcoming events. This will be an ongoing process throughout the season, so keep coming back for the updated vidoes!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Give Them Some Credit!!!

Who says that college golfers are not athletes? The public persona of college golf is that it is a walk in the park at wonderful golf courses in beautiful weather. Well, walking is part of it, but the major factor is endurance. The first day of a college event is usually 36 holes, which is 36 holes of walking and carrying your own clubs. The day will start by getting up around 530 or 6 so that you can be at the course no later than 7 to be on the driving range. Most events will be a shotgun start at 8 or so. After finishing the morning 18 holes most onlookers think that the players get to stop and have a nice lunch with china flat ware and sip on lemonade. Wrong! The coach will take your score card from you and hand you a nice, yummy boxed lunch. Inside will be a very tasty sandwich with chips, an apple and if you are real lucky a cookie. Oh and you eat this gourmet meal in between shots while playing the afternoon 18.

These days of nonstop concentration last until the sun goes down. Like each of you, that play the game of golf know, you must be totally committed to each shot that you play, mentally and physically or you will not be successful. If you are not in great physical and mental conditions then you’re not going to last long at the college level. I don’t think that college golfers get enough respect for what they have to do, just because they finish the 36 holes does not mean their day is over. The players then head to the range or practice green to work on things that might have not worked that day. Then it is off to dinner and then back to the hotel, by the time they get back to the hotel it is usually past 8 p.m. Then it’s time for school work and sleep, because they are back at it again the next morning for 18 more holes and then a flight or long van ride back home. Yes, they might get to see some wonderful places and play some great golf courses, but it is a lot of hard work and dedication. However, I would do it all over again if I could; it was the best time of my life!

Monday, April 21, 2008


Let me first apologize for not keeping up my part of the deal here and not blogging enough. As much as you think that you are ready for the season to start you really are not.

It all started for me April 7th & 8th with the UMB University of Missouri Men’s collegiate event at The Club at Old Hawthorne in Columbia. After the event was over I headed to St. Louis for our video shoot for the new golfers network and the preview of the Senior Four Ball Championship at Norwood Hills Country Club. This video will be up on the MGA website in the upcoming days so make sure to check this new feature out at It was then off to begin our second year of the ever popular Senior Series in Kansas City. The first day was at the Country Club of Blue Springs and the second day was at Adam’s Pointe in Blue Springs as well. It was nice to get out and have some sunshine for players to enjoy, even though the wind blew about 100 mph the series got off to a great start. So we are off to a fast start and it is not going to slow down until the middle of October. However that is ok, that is how we like it.

Make sure to get your entries in for all the 2008 MGA events they are beginning to fill up so don’t miss out on some great venues. I promise to give you some info in the upcoming days.

Until I see you on the first tee!!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bad Deal

As we all know, here in the state of Missouri we have been getting hammered with rain. Last week was terrible in the southern part of the state. Below you will see a picture of Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, and it is a shame. I hope that everything goes well for them and they can be back up and running. I hope everyone is doing well and is trying to stay dry. Don’t forget to get your entries in for this summer events at

Until I see you on the first tee.


Monday, March 24, 2008

It's Back!

2008 Missouri Open Championship

The Club at Old Hawthorne
Columbia, MO
September 25-27, 2008

Open to all amateurs with primary residence in the state of Missouri. The MGA, on behalf of the committee, will invite the top 24 amateurs based on their point list. There after, the amateur field of 54 will be filled based on the lowest handicap indexes at the time of closing of entries.

More information to follow on the MGA website and also on this Blog Page.

Until I see you on the first tee.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Let The Games Begin

I love this time of year with March Madness. I am a college basketball junkie and will be trying to watch all the games that I can. So I am going to give you my Final Four Picks, I hate to pick the favorites but I just see them going this year! So here you go. Out of the UCLA, North Carolina, Memphis, (As much as it kills me) Kansas. I have Memphis winning it all. They have something to prove. Let me know what your thoughts are on this as well. Tell me who you like and feel free to rip me for my picks. That is what makes this fun!

Also the rain has stopped falling on my head and we are going to get some nice weather the next two days. I hope some of you can get out to play some golf. Below is a photo that might help you with your swing.

Until I see you on the first tee!!


Monday, March 17, 2008

It is getting closer!!!

We are under a month now from the first Senior Series events for 2008. That’s right April 14th and 15th in Blue Springs is where we get the Series rolling. So if you have not entered yet, do not waste any more time and get this done. You do not want to be left out on some great golf, and a wonderful time. Just go to and click on Senior Series and enter on line.

I just wanted to give everyone a news flash if you did not already know, but Tiger is pretty good. Are you kidding me!!! That was just amazing yesterday; I was flipping back and forth between the basketball (which I love) and the golf. Right before he hit that putt the camera shot an up close picture of him reading the putt and I had this funny feeling it was going in. As soon as the ball got about 5 or so feet from the hole I new it was going in and so did he. I loved the shot they showed of Brad Bryant after it went in; he just turned around and shook his head. What can you say? The man is amazing; I am looking forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve next.

Until I see you on the first tee.


Monday, March 3, 2008

The Time is Here!!

Okay the time has finally come, starting at 9 a.m. Tomorrow morning you can go online and enter the MGA events for 2008. So don’t miss out on these great events so get your entries in early!!!

Oh by the way, have I told you that I hate this weather!!

Until I see you on the first tee, without snow


Friday, February 22, 2008

What It's All About

A few weeks ago in Houston, Texas was the USGA Annual meeting. I was unable to attend this years meeting and I am so sorry that I did. This year Former President Bush was honored with the Bobby Jones award. I would like for everyone to go to the USGA web site and watch the videos. Click here and first watch the George Bush Tribute Video to get a understanding for what a great ambassador that he and his family have been for the game of golf. After that video then click on and watch, George Bush Accepts Bob Jones Award and listen to passion that he speaks about the game and why it is the greatest game.

We who play this game and love it understand the meaning of his words. Golf is a great game and there is no other game like it. So thank you to everyone that makes this great game that much better. I hope each of you enjoy the video’s

Until I see you on the first tee.


Anytime Now

Okay, I don't know about you but this weather is getting old. I am tired of this white stuff falling from the sky. Bring on the warm weather. I think that it is kind of funny that last July when we were having those awfully hot days we were asking for some cold relief, now that we have it all of us are asking for that July weather again. Oh well, I keep telling myself that it will warm up soon.

Here at the MGA we are still plugging along getting ready for the season. Twelve more days before you can start entering the 08 events online, so make sure you have March 4th circled on your calendar. I am very excited about the upcoming year and I hope all of you are as well.

I have been studying everyday for the past month and half for the USGA Rules School that I have to go to the first week of March. This class is 4 days long with a test at the end. I took this class two years ago and the test was the hardest thing I have ever taken in my life. Going in I thought to myself this won't be too hard, boy was I WRONG, it was brutal. The test is 100 questions long, 50 questions are closed book and the last 50 are open book. However the open book questions are paragraph long questions that have all kind of different situations. When I left that test I was seeing stars and had trouble remembering my name. However this time I am more prepared (I think) to get after it, I hope.

So keep dreaming of the warm weather, Until I see you on the first tee.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Well I just got back from a trip to Florida with the family for a week. It was nice to get away for a few days and enjoy some time watching my little girls eyes light up every time she saw one of her favorite Disney characters. Plus it was a lot warmer than what we have here in Missouri now.

Also, while in Orlando I got the chance to head over to the PGA Merchandise show to check out the newest golf toys for 2008. This place was huge, there were over 1200 exhibitors at the show. You can not imagine all the new items I saw. For example, one of the craziest things I saw was the new product from Big Daddy golf. It is driver with an extra big head, however instead of hitting the ball with the club you open the head up and it turns into a weed eater. There are many crazy things like that, but also the club manufactures have their latest things out as well. Callaway and Nickent companies were showcasing the screw on head clubs. You find the right shaft for you then just screw the head on that shaft and away you go. However they are not cheap, the Callaway drivers MSRP is around $850. I guess the wave of the future is the interchangeable shafts. Before long I guess we will have two or three shafts in our bags and some club heads and just screw the head on the shaft you like best for that shot. It is getting pretty amazing with what manufactures are coming out with. The show was great for me and I saw some great things we can use for years to come.

Now that we are back, it is time to get ready for the 08 season. Before long it will be upon us. Make sure to mark your calendars for February 12th and 13th for the Educational Seminar. Information for this is on the web site.

Stay warm and I look forward to seeing you all soon on the first tee.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Here They Come!

Mark your calanders!! The biggest names in the world of golf, including Tiger, are heading our way. This September The BMW Championship is going to be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. The dates are September 1st thru 7th. To get ticket info go to the website This event rotates between Chicago, St. Louis, and Carmel Indiana. Tiger won the event last year in Chicago and I hope he plans on coming to St. Louis this year to repeat.

What a great way to see the worlds best go head to head in our back yard. I know that I will be there, so make sure you are too.

Until I see you on the first tee.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Here We Go

The 2008 golfing season is under way, after the Mercedes Championship last week in Hawaii. Wow! What a beautiful place, it would have been nice to have been there. Oh well, maybe someday. The event turned out to be pretty exciting at the end with the great playoff duel between Steve Stricker and the eventual champion Daniel Chopra. To be honest the tourney was pretty boring all week until the last three holes, thanks in part to the lack of the star power that did not play. In my opinion I think the Tour should step in and say "okay boys, you won a great event last year and made x amount of money from the win and endorsement deals that might have come your way. The least you can do is fly over for a week to Hawaii and play in a great event against the best in the world and oh by the way you get money for just playing, if not then there will be a fine coming your way." It would have been great to see the season get started with Tiger and Phil going at it right off the bat. However, I guess neither need the money or like the weather. It is a shame, in all reality it is only hurting the game. The more we see of the big boys go at it, the better the game and tour will benefit.

Things here at the MGA are getting started as well, before long we will see each of you on the first tee. So get up and get off the couch from watching all the bowl games, and get in the gym. Your body needs to get in shape before the season or you might be at risk of an injury and that could keep you from playing this summer. A little exercise will not hurt you each day.

Take care and I will give an update next week from Orlando at the PGA show to let you know all the cool things that are out there for 2008.

Until I see you on the first tee.