Are you an average golfer? Here are some statistics from the National Golf Foundation. The one caveat is that the following figures vary greatly depending on the age and gender of the golfer, as well as the region of the country in which they live.
Here are some recent statistics to help you gauge whether you are average; the average golfer plays eight rounds a year. According to the United States Golf Association, the average handicap for men in the United States in 2021 was 14. This is slightly lower than 14.2 reported in 2020. The average handicap index among women in 2021 was 27.7. While men’s golfers saw a slight drop in their scores year to year, women’s indexes were slightly higher than the 27.5 reported in 2020.
According to the USGA and the Royal & Ancient reports for 2019, the average driving distance for amateur male golfers was around 216 yards. Golfers with a +21 handicap showed an average driving distance of 177. For women, the average distance was 148; high handicappers (+29) averaged only 120 yards. Are you average?
The Meadowlark Country Club in Melrose held its annual four-person scramble on Sept. 10 and here the gross and net flight winners: Gross champions with a score of 56 were Kevin Reller, Steve Peterka, RG Schulte, and Bruce Miller. Net winners with a score of 48.6 were Mike West, Brad Wiehoff, Cary Wiehoff and Aaron Worms. The Meadowlark course was a pleasure to play and this nine-hole niche course serves the Melrose area well.
Koronis Hills GC in Paynesville held its 6-6-6 tournament on Sept. 11 and here are the flight winners: Keith Erickson & Dick Vineski (69), Championship Flight; Blake & Brian Kiel (70), First Flight. Dan & John Hovel (83), Second Flight.
The Wapicada Member-Guest was played Sept. 16-17 and the winners of the two-day event were the duo of Mitch Staley and Gary Jost. The duo had 151 quota points to prevail by five points. The event lured 48 two-man teams and, according to assistant tournament manager Andrew Benson, the turnout was one of the largest ever for the event. Next year’s event will be played Sept. 15-16.
One of the last area clubs to host its club championship was the Kimball Golf Club Sept. 17-18. Many area players make the 20 mile drive from St. Cloud and are treated to a scenic layout that, in my mind, has one of the toughest by threes in the area to hit in regulation; it’s the long (210-yard) by three 6th.
Here are the three club championship winners supplied by Neil Helgeson, Kimball Golf Club GM: Luke Ashbrook, Men’s Champion; Nicole Vossen, Women’s Champion; Jim Stelten, Men’s Senior Champion.
The following St. Cloud area seniors have played well all summer and as their reward they will be invited by the Minnesota Golf Association’s Tour Championship to compete for more accolades at Rush Creek GC in Maple Grove on Monday. Making this elite field are the following North Section seniors: Phil Link, Terry Kurash, Mike Quinn, Scott Sieben, Joe Bell, Jeff Wiltse, Wayne Caughey, Curt Howard, Terry McGee, Mike Wayrynen, Glen Hasselberg, Jim Zierden, Greg Mattson, Tim Maaske, Tom Peterka and John Hagge. Mike Cleland qualified from the Metro Section. Kudos!
Last week I was invited to play the Edina Country Club by Gregg Wong, who was a long-time sports writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Wong has been the starter at ECC for nearly 20 years and retired last year as one of the three official scorers for the Minnesota Twins after a 15-year stint. He and his wife Donna are heading to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in October to check on an historic score sheet he signed. Here his interesting story:
“As for Cooperstown: Mark Buehrle of the White Sox pitched a perfect game in Chicago against Tampa Bay on July 21, 2009. I was at the game with some buddies on one of our baseball trips. In his next start against the Twins at Target Field several days later, he retired every batter through 5-plus innings, giving him the longest streak in MLB history as far as I know.”
He added, “I was the official scorer for the game in Minneapolis so the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown wanted my scoresheet to add to his previous start. My scoresheet was a mess and I thought about sending them a nice copy but it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. … For sending that to the Hall of Fame they sent me a lifetime pass.”
As this is the final column for 2022, here’s a quote from a book I relished reading by New York Times Bestselling author Tom Coyne entitled “A Course Called America: Fifty States, Five Thousand fairways, And The Search for The Great American Golf Course. ”
“A great course to me is a course you walk. Where you can find your golf ball. Where you can go to the pro shop and take out your wallet and get on the first tee. Those would be my first three requirements. A golf course that’s welcoming. If it has grass, that’s nice, but it’s not the most important thing. …As the old Scots say, ‘If you’ve got wind, well, then your day is made.’ Then you really are in heaven.”
— This is the opinion of Times golf columnist John Lieser. Contact him at Jgl1943@gmail.com.