As we count down the days until the golf season begins, the Kentucky Golf Association (“KGA”) is already carrying the banner for creating excitement and enthusiasm for golf in the Commonwealth.
In addition to the traditional championships one would expect from a state golf association, the KGA has added an amateur series at some fantastic and noteworthy venues across the state.
For a modest entry fee, amateur golfers of all ages will be able to compete in five different one day, 18-hole stroke play in flighted divisions. With an open championship division (gross only) and four age-based divisions (gross and net), there is no minimum handicap requirement to enter.
In addition to what are, hopefully, good-natured competitions, the KGA Amateur Series will provide opportunities for players to have access to a few of the state’s best golf courses that might otherwise not be available to the golfing public. At the conclusion of the five tournament season, there will even be a series championship.
In fact, the KGA has done a tremendous job of scheduling all of its tournaments at great courses for 2015. While several of the top public courses will be hosting tournaments and Kentucky Open and USGA Championship qualifiers, several tournaments, such as the state’s Mid-Amateur, Open, and Match Play tournaments, are at fairly exclusive golf or country clubs.
Plus, in each of the traditional state championships, there will be seven divisions in which players can compete in, from open and players divisions to masters and legends divisions for the more seasoned competitors.
I’ve lived in Kentucky my entire life, so I don’t have any experience with or exposure to how golf leagues and associations organize their tournaments and schedules. And frankly, I’ve only really been paying attention to golf at the state level for a few years.
Nonetheless, making golf available and inclusive for as many players as possible on some of the finest tracts in the state seems like a step in the right direction for growing and maintaining interest and enthusiasm for the game. And it is something that wouldn’t be possible without leadership from a statewide organization.
I don’t know anything about the leaders or internal politics at the KGA. I’m sure it has its eternal optimists, curmudgeons, naysayers, and power seekers just like virtually every organization of any size.
All I know is that they got it right this year. I freely admit that I’m genuinely giddy for the golf season to arrive and for the amateur events to begin.
Now if I could just play better golf. One of my closest friends recently reminded me, “but you suck at tournament golf.” He’s right, and it couldn’t matter any less to me right now.