Newly formed Kaw Valley Junior Golf Foundation to host inaugural event Monday
photo by: Richard Gwin
A nonprofit organization that aims to support the growth of youth golf in the Douglas County area will host its first major event Monday at Lawrence Country Club.
The Kaw Valley Junior Golf Foundation, which was born from the vision of area golf course operator Jeff Burey, is still in the infant stages of its existence. But Monday’s tournament — an 18-hole challenge for ages 16-18 and a 9-hole event for ages 13-15 — had attracted 36 participants as of Thursday.
The event will begin at 11 a.m., and an even younger crew — ages 6-14 — will be at Burey’s Twin Oaks Golf Complex in Eudora, participating in various games, competitions and skills clinics.
KVJGF President Greg Capps, who also coaches golf at Baldwin High, said Burey’s passion for golf and teaching the game to young people inspired the foundation’s creation.
“He is kind of a hidden gem in the area,” Capps said of Burey. “If you go back through his entire resume, he was the director of golf at Pinehurst (in North Carolina). He was at Wolf Creek here, locally, for a number of years, and he was the general manager at Prairie Dunes down in Hutchinson.”
Today, Burey calls Twin Oaks home, and teaching the game he loves to young people has become his most recent passion.
“It’s a pay-it-forward deal for me,” Burey said. “My whole life has been golf, and I’ve been very blessed to be in the game and get so much from it.”
Burey, who considers himself “a golf missionary,” has friends who have started similar foundations in other states, and he is excited about bringing their vision and success in the game to Kansas.
“Golf is a gift for life,” Burey said. “And this is something that was really needed. I think the mission is clear – we want to introduce the game to as many people as possible and grow the game in our area.”
Capps said the foundation already has developed relationships with most of the local golf courses and many members of other golf organizations in and around the area.
The Kaw Valley Junior Golf Foundation’s main focus is to work in tandem with those people and organizations to expose golf to as many young people as possible, while making it affordable to play at the same time.
“We really want to identify programming that either already exists that we can help support or find ways we can partner with people to organize events and grow the game in the area,” Capps said.
He added that golf’s appeal to athletes of all ages, skill levels and sizes had him optimistic about the future of the KVJGF and golf in the area.
“You don’t have to be super big or super fast or strong to play the game,” Capps said. “Anybody can play and it teaches so many lessons as far as values and healthy habits.”