Club golf professionals held their Midwest Region championship Monday at Lawrence Country Club, where a couple of the competitors could be overheard grousing about the ultra-slick speed of the greens. Winner Matt Seitz from Hutchinson, of course, was not among those griping.
“I don’t think there is any such thing as too fast,” Seitz said. “The faster the better. They’re great greens.”
Seitz was the only one of 15 of the area’s best senior pro golfers to shoot under par when he fired a 67 Monday on the par-70 layout during the second day of the two-day event that served as a qualifier for the national senior club pro championships in Palm Springs, Calif. Seitz’s two-day total of 141 put him two strokes ahead of Brian Maloney. Randy Towner of Alvamar Country Club (145) and Steve McDonald (146) also qualified.
Towner’s tall putter didn’t catch fire as it often does, but he still managed to shoot 71 the first day, 74 the next.
“The course was beautiful,” Towner said. “The greens were fast. If it was going downhill, it wasn’t going to stop until it stopped going downhill.”
Seitz marveled at how well the bent-grass fairways have held up in conditions not ideally suited for them this summer.
“My hat’s off to the superintendent,” Seitz said, meaning Bill Irving. “The course is in such good condition. And I really like the way it sets up to the eye. Beautiful. They did a great job with it.”
More than one golfer facing a downhill putt rolled it right off the green.
“You have to try to leave yourself an uphill putt,” Seitz said. “Easier said than done.”
The event amounted to a walk down memory lane for a pair of Lawrence High graduates, both of whom reminisced about their days as youths, caddying for the late philanthropic physician Penny Jones, after whom an annual charity golf tournament at Alvamar is named.
“I double-bagged it,” said Rick Glenn, retired after 20 years in the Army and now teaching golf at Shoal Creek in Kansas City, Mo. “Penny Jones’ bag on one shoulder, Al Hack’s on the other.”
Glenn, whose mother, Marge, still lives in Lawrence, graduated from Lawrence High in 1967. Ken Roper, a former pro at LCC, graduated from LHS in 1960. He now instructs at Emporia Municipal Golf Course, where he twice beat his age carrying his own bag the week he turned 68.
He has changed his mind on the decision to undergo a major renovation on the course, which re-opened in Sept. 2006.
“I’d love to have one dollar for every time I walked down that road,” Roper said. “This is the course I grew up on. At the time (of the renovation), I didn’t want them to screw up the old course. But they did a beautiful job with it. Tough course. It’s hard to shoot 70 on this course.”
Roper added: “The greens are as fast I’ve putted on all year. I mean, they are lightning.”
Said Glenn: “The greens are definitely different from when I grew up on them. The greens are much, much better now. If you’re a fan of bent-grass fairways, these are good, but zoysia is so much easier to take care of and easier to hit off.”
Variety, among other factors, makes Lawrence a great golf town.