By Clair Goodwin
The Joplin Globe
Putting together the Joplin area golf calendar in most years requires a careful balancing act coupled with a bit of give-and-take juggling with dates.
This year was an exception.
Area club professionals and club officials, meeting at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club in early December, managed to sweep through the calendar and set dates for 90-plus events within 2 1/2 hours.
If that’s not a record, it has to be close.
This schedule is a starting point, not an end. More tournaments will be coming in the spring, summer and fall as organizations put together fund-raisers and courses add club tournaments here and there.
As usual, the first big tournament open to anyone who is willing to plop down an entry fee is the Green ’N Golf scramble at Briarbrook Golf Club. That will be played on April 6, followed quickly by the Baxter Springs Country Club’s member-guest and the Joplin Golf Hall of Fame event on April 20-21. The field for the Hall of Fame tourney will be divided both days at Briarbrook and Twin Hills Golf and Country Club.
A highly anticipated date will be March 26. That’s when Peoria Ridge Golf Club in Miami, Okla., kicks off its popular 2-man senior scramble series. The seniors will play the last Tuesday of every month through into the early fall.
Qualifying tournaments for the Joplin Globe City Championship, an individual and team event, are scheduled at Briarbrook and by the Joplin Golf Club at Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course on April 27-28. The city will be played at Briarbrook on May 4, at Twin Hills on May 5 and at Schifferdecker on May 11.
The annual Horton Smith-Ky Laffoon Cup matches between Joplin and Springfield will be played Aug. 10-11 in Springfield. The sites of the singles and doubles matches will be announced later. Qualifying for the two Joplin teams is scheduled Aug. 3-4 at Twin Hills and Briarbrook.
Here’s a quick look at some other highlights of the calendar:
• Ladies Nutcracker on May 21 at Briarbrook; Joan Thomas Women’s Invitational on June 11 at Twin Hills; Carthage Ladies Maple Leaf event, May 14, Carthage; Ladies Nutcracker on May 21 at Briarbrook; Joan Thomas Women’s Invitational on June 11 at Twin Hills; and Ladies Invitational on Aug. 15 at Schifferdecker.
• Men’s majors include the Briarbrook Invitational on June 7-9; Crestwood Country Club Invitational, Pittsburg, Kan., June 15-16; Baxter Springs Invitational, June 22-23; Ozark Amateur, Schifferdecker, July 13-14; and Twin Hills Invitational, July 26-28.
• Among the many early fund-raising tournaments are the Webb City Project Graduation scramble at Schifferdecker on March 20, Community Clinic at Twin Hills on May 2; Kiwanis J.T. Prigmore Seniors at Carthage on May 2, Children’s Miracle Network at Peoria Ridge on May 10; YMCA Corporate Challenge at Twin Hills on May 31; Marshall Dean Keller Memorial, May 31, Carthage; Dick Mansfield Memorial, June 14, Carthage; and Mercy-McCune Brooks fund-raiser, June 28, Carthage; and Ditto-Sapp Pro-Am, Twin Hills, Sept. 11.
• Couples tournaments include the Beauty and Beast four-person scramble on July 20-21 at Briarbrook; Bonnie and Clyde Couples on Aug. 2-4 at Crestwood Country Club in Pittsburg; Route 66 Couples, Aug. 17-18, Carthage; and Harvest Moon Couples, Sept. 28-29, Twin Hills.
You might want to go through the accompanying calendar of events and mark the dates of tournaments in which you want to participate. But keep in mind that additional tournaments are on the way as the days get longer and warmer and there may be a shift or two in those already assigned dates.
David Skinns of Lincoln England and Jeff Corr of Longwood, Fla., competed in the last Hooters/NGA Tour stop at Peoria Ridge Golf Course. That was in 2011 just before Hooters separated from the tour.
Now they are considered among the top NGA stars and virtual shoo-ins for secured places on the Web.com Tour in 2013.
Skinns won three times last year, matching his previous best year in 2008. Corr finished 9 th or better in his first three NGA starts and then moved to the Web.com Tour where he had three top 25 finishes in in 18 starts.
Good luck, guys!