Check out what has been happening in Utah Golf.
Out With the Old and Bring It On Again
We do not know what is ahead for 2011, but the past is always a good forecaster of the future and that gives good reason to review the past year.
Some of the top stories of 2010 will be precursors of the top stories of 2011.
For instance, Daniel Summerhays earned his PGA Tour Card last year and that will undoubtedly make him one of the top newsmakers in 2011. Utahns will have a greater interest in the PGA Tour and will be watching results weekly with a close eye on how Daniel is performing. Daniel knows that all of Utah will be cheering for him every week.
Thomas Pagel, after a short two years as UGA Executive Director, accepted a significant position with the USGA as Director of Rules. In his new position he will be in the national golf limelight and Utahns will be watching his progress and taking some pride in it. His departure also will bring another new executive director to the Utah Golf Association. The selection process hasn’t concluded and that will be one of the big stories of 2011.
The Utah State Amateur was won this past year in fairy tale fashion by Joe Parkinson, and while he won’t be repeating because he is serving an LDS Mission, the oldest continuously held tournament in the world will be back as usual with the winner being one of the biggest stories of 2011. Who will it be? The tournament will be held at Soldier Hollow.
Last year Dan Forsman, Mike Reid, and Jay Don Blake kept us all interested in the Champions Tour. All three Utahns performed very well and prospects for a repeat in 2011 are likely. They were the top performing Utahns on tour, along with Daniel Summerhays on the Nationwide Tour. Utah pros performing well on any of the major tours is always top news.
The father-son duo of Jimmy and Zac Blair were top news stories in 2010 and we will certainly be hearing more from them in the coming years. Zac was last year’s UGA Player of the Year, for the second year in a row, and why not make it three? Because it hasn’t ever been done! Again, past is prologue. Jimmy finished second in the PGA Senior at the end of last year and if he can get a chance to concentrate on his golf game rather than his golf business he could make some headlines in 2011 as well.
On the women’s side Natalie Stone won her second straight Women’s State Amateur title and will be seeking a third. With women’s golf on the increase in Utah she will not have a cakewalk, and that will make for a good story in 2011.
Last year Utah squared the Arizona-Utah Shootout series at 10-10 and this year the matches will be held in Utah. Utah’s top amateurs consider making the team a significant achievement and that quest is a major focus for most of them. The goal this year is to take a lead in the series.
In past years new golf courses have been newsmakers in Utah, but this past year the only new course was Kokopelli, near Hurricane. It is a marvelous course with what many consider a fragile future. How will it survive? Perhaps it will survive by Utahns rushing to the course on a daily basis to play it before it has to close for lack of play! If every Utah golfer made a commitment to play one round there in 2011 it would pretty much guarantee survival. Anyone for a New Year’s Resolution say AYE.
And, of course, Kokopelli isn’t the only course in need of play. Utah’s golf future is in the hands and pockets of Utah’s golfers. Go Golf!
For junior golfers the highlight of the year is playing on either the Boys or Girls Junior Americas Cup team. Last year Devon Purser shot a 64 in the Boys Junior Americas Cup.
College golf is always a newsmaker and we will be following all the teams in Utah, particularly the burgeoning college women’s programs.
At the end of each year there are always awards to pass out in many categories. The most important is the UGA Gold Club and this past year the honor went to Sherm Hatfield.
As time marches on we always lose some of our friends to the Hereafter Golf Course, and we all have dreams of the beautiful architecture of that course. Karl Tucker and George Schneiter, Jr. were two of our favorites who left us this past year and are playing that course and we are still waiting for reports. The only message we are receiving is that you have to see it to believe it.