Centennial Celebration Tourney puts a bow on CWGA’s 100th anniversary
by Gary Baines
There was a nice bit of centennial symmetry at work on Wednesday.
One hundred years ago this month — in September, 1916 — the CWGA held its first championship. Twenty-eight women competed at Colorado Springs Golf Club (now known as Patty Jewett Golf Course) in the debut of the event we now call the CWGA Match Play.
Almost exactly a century later, the CWGA put the other 100-year bookend in place on Wednesday by hosting a Centennial Celebration Tournament at Hiwan Golf Club Club in Evergreen.
The association capped off its yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary with, appropriately, a fun round of golf at a course that is about as Colorado as can be.
Eighty-eight players enjoyed the mountain setting — elk bugling and all — in the final major festivities marking the CWGA’s centennial.
“This was the culmination of our centennial,” said CWGA president Juliet Miner. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day, weather-wise; better turnout; better food; better hospitality. We’re so fortunate to have it here. And it gives us a chance to reflect what a good year it’s been and how grateful we are for the participation and volunteers. We’ve had great support.”
Among those participating in the golf and/or lunch that followed on Wednesday were past CWGA presidents Jan Ford, who chaired the association’s 75th-anniversary celebration, and Kathryn Davis; current president Miner; Colorado PGA president Leslie Core-Drevecky; CGA executive director Ed Mate; Colorado Open Golf Foundation board member Melissa Hubbard, mother of PGA Tour player Mark Hubbard; and a host of other CWGA supporters and volunteers and board members.
In other words, it was quite a cross section of the Colorado golf community, especially on the women’s side.
The CWGA started the year with three major centennial-related events on the agenda. In February at the CWGA annual meeting at The Inverness Hotel & Golf Club, exceptional players, volunteers and friends of the CWGA from over the years were recognized and a video history of the association was shown. Last month, Denver Country Club hosted the CWGA Stroke Play Championship, and a celebratory 100th anniversary luncheon and awards ceremony followed the final round. Then there was Wednesday’s Centennial Celebration Tournament in which CWGA tournament/flight winners, volunteers and board members from the last couple of years, among others, were invited for a fun round of golf and lunch.
“I think this is a really special day because this is the first time this year (non-tournament players) got to do what we love, which is play golf,” said Laura Robinson, executive director of the CWGA. “Every other time, we got to watch or celebrate with a luncheon, but this time we got everyone out there playing golf. It was a lot of fun.”
Robinson and CWGA vice president Kathy Malpass are both members at Hiwan Golf Club and helped facilitate this third leg of the centennial celebration. Malpass returned home to Evergreen just in time for the event as she has been on the road the last two weeks — first at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in Erie, Pa., as a member of the USGA Women’s Mid-Am Committee, then competing at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur in Wellesley, Mass., where she made match play and competed in the round of 64 on Monday.
But making it back for the Centennial Celebration Tournament was a priority for Malpass both because she’s a CWGA board member and as a member at Hiwan.
“This (event), I fought hard for it,” she said. “I think we need to give back to the people that spend countless hours trying to make things happen for us: the rules officials, the tournament people and the grinders — the ones that play in our events and they win their flight, but you don’t ever see their name in the headline. So I’m really pleased with how we’ve done that.”
Two women who made all the centennial-related events come together and run smoothly were CWGA board members Nancy Wilson and Phyllis Jensen (together at left), who have co-chaired the Centennial Committee. They also made sure the events complemented one another and drew a variety of “constituents”, if you will.
“What we (at the CWGA) tried to do, we were successful with, which was to involve and engage all of our members,” Malpass said. “The annual meeting (draws) a lot of presidents of clubs, some of whom don’t play in our events, and they don’t know a lot about us, so we reached out to them and got them involved. The Stroke Play, what a field! Oh my gosh. It gives me chills just thinking about caliber of player that was there. And for Jennifer (Kupcho, the 2015 and ’16 champion) to play so well and break the (Denver Country Club women’s course) record set eons ago by Babe (Zaharias) … that engages the younger player and the higher-caliber player. And then this.”
In essence, the centennial celebrations have been both a look back and to the future.
“I feel like this has been a really special year because we focused on how far we’ve come — on the history, on the amazing women who contributed to supporting golf in Colorado,” Robinson said. “We hope it continues just as successfully for another 100 years.”
Added Miner: “We don’t plan to rest on a laurels. We’re ready for the next 100 years.”
As part of Wednesday’s festivities, money was raised through merchandise sales and other means for the 2018 Girls Junior America’s Cup, which will be played at Hiwan Golf Club. For instance, for $20 (with Westerra Credit Union matching the donation), players could utilize one of the “long hitters” from the CWGA staff — Kate Moore (left) or Aaron Guereca, depending on the hole — to hit potentially imposing shots for them.
Meanwhile, since this was a tournament, there was a contest involved — in this case a variable best-ball, with each group counting one ball on par-5s, two balls on par-4s and three balls on par-3s.
Here are the top three finishers in the gross and net divisions:
Gross: 1. Jo Ann Higgins, Darlene Evans, Harlene Bowman and Constance Brodt 152; 2. Linda Loveland, Lucille Moreno-Peacock and Lourdes Swanson 153; 3. Marie Schriefer, Debbie Mills, Dana Rinderknecht and Hee Chung 153.
Net: 1. Janine Lowe, Katherine Rojas, Ellen Thomas and Mary Jo Turner 121; 2. Kirk Huggins, Jeanne Surbrugg, Jennifer Cassell and Melissa Hubbard 124; 3. Carol Iwata, Maureen Fujiki and Anne Mursch 125.