Unique golf tournaments scheduled for Winterstone Golf Course


APRIL 2015 – It is a tradition unlike any other…at least in the Kansas City area.

The “Winterstone Masters” takes place on the Sunday morning of The Masters, and is part of a unique tournament schedule for the Winterstone Golf Course in Independence. It will be a two-man scramble on different courses, with the more famous one being in Augusta, Georgia.

“We think it enhances the viewership,” head club pro Kane Chapman said. “If you weren’t already involved, you will be.”

The tournament is also part of a four-tournament series—the Winterstone Majors Series—that coincides with the four majors on the PGA Tour: The Masters, the U.S. Open, The British Open and the PGA Championship.

“The majors are the ones that get the most television viewership for the “average” golf fan, especially The Masters, which kind of kicks it off,” Chapman said. “We do these tournaments in the morning. They’ve watched the first three rounds and then play in our tournament. Then they hang around here to watch the tournament or go home to watch the final round. It enhances their interest in watching the final round of The Masters.”

Sponsor-GolfGolfers in the Winterstone Masters pair up their score with the professional of their choice. If you shoot a 72 and you choose Rory McElroy, who fires a 68, you get a 140.

It’s possible that the same professional could be the choice for every golfer in the Winterstone Masters, but it’s highly unlikely. Golfers’ strategies differ as much as their games, though there are two basic strategies for picking the pro to help you.

“It’s on the individual day’s score,” Chapman said. “It can be anyone who made the cut. It may be somebody who isn’t in the hunt for the championship but has a great round on Sunday. Last year, when he was playing well, Sergio Garcia was a very popular pick, because he does have the ability to go out and shoot a low number at any point. I would generally choose somebody more conservative than have a partner who might hurt me.”

If a professional goes into Sunday’s round with a five-stroke lead in Augusta, he’s not likely to be the pick for the risk-taker. That guy may choose someone who’s going to take chances that might pay off, like Phil Mickelson’s shot off the pine straw, behind a tree, on the 13th hole in the final round in 2010. He reached the green in two on a par 5, and ended up winning the tournament.

If you’re more conservative, like Chapman, he’s more likely to take the guy with the lead, because he’s going to be more conservative.

The other tournaments involve adding a professional’s score, but how the golfers get their own total differs from one tournament to the other.

After the Winterstone Masters, the next in the Majors Series is in conjunction with the U.S. Open in June. It uses a best-ball format, with two players at Winterstone playing the same hole. Whoever has the better score on a hole uses his score. The 18-round total is added to their professional’s.

In July, the tournament in conjunction with The Open uses a two-person “shamble,” which is a combination of best-ball and scramble. The two players at Winterstone both hit a tee shot and then pick the best location for the next shot. They both play in from there. Their total is then added to the professional’s score to form a 36-hole score. Whoever has the better score gets to record his score on the score sheet.

“The only one that isn’t played before the television coverage is The (British) Open, because they’re ahead of us in time,” Chapman said. “Our tournament is going on concurrently with that one.”

Finally, the PGA in August is paired with a three-man scramble at Winterstone.

The original idea came from a former club professional named Rick Schultz, but Chapman is happy to continue the tradition – even if it doesn’t involve a green jacket at the conclusion.

Course renovations

It is a renovation one might not notice, but Winterstone Golf Course has undergone some dramatic changes. Beginning last fall, the course rehabbed multiple bunkers, spreading a compound that helps keep the bunkers in pristine all season long, regardless of weather.

“We rehabbed 13 bunkers. It ended up being more than that because we separated some bunkers,” head pro Kane Chapman said. “We used a polymer that is put underneath the sand to hold the sand in place in the event of heavy rains. It helps the stability of the bunker.

“When you get heavy rains, bunkers have a tendency to wash out. Then your maintenance staff has to go out and remove the water from the bunkers, remove the silt that built up if they didn’t drain well, and then push the sand back up to the proper place in the bunker. That is an endless cycle in golf course maintenance. This product should eliminate that.

“Water in the bunker is what causes the issues. The silt gets mixed in with the sand, making dirty sand. In this geographic area, where we have so many heavy rains, the bunkers get washed down and clogged with silt. The polymer we used is actually sprayed on like paint. It’s a rubberized coating that holds the sand in place. We’re excited about what it will mean for our course.”

Chapman says the compound will not affect shot-making, other than to provide a consistent surface from which to make the shot.

“The only way it will affect the shot is to always allow a consistent amount of sand underneath your shot,” he said. “So the bunker will stay more consistent throughout the season. We haven’t had a big enough rain this season to see it work, but that’s what we anticipate.”

Article by David Smale

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