For more than 100 years, both the Kansas Golf Association and Kansas Women’s Golf Association have been the administering groups for amateur golf in Kansas.
Friday, the two organizations announced that they would be merging, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
The KGA was founded in 1908 while the KWGA was organized in 1915.
The announcement came in a press release Friday morning, with Garden City’s Sean Thayer, the newly-elected KGA President, Kim Richey, KGA’s executive director, and Jayne Clark, the KWGA’s current president, all commenting on the upcoming merger.
“All golfers of Kansas will benefit from the simplicity of one golf organization in our state,” Thayer said in the release. “And while it will take several years to fully realize the synergies of this merger, there will be an immediate positive impact from the central administration of both men’s and women’s golf events statewide.”
Clark, of Hays, will also become the KGA’s new treasurer as six members of the KWGA board of directors will become KGA board members.
“The future of golf for women and girls in Kansas is a bright one, and a much stronger one with this merger of the KWGA and the KGA,” Clarke said in the release. “The decision to merge was not made lightly by the KWGA membership, but made in the best interest of the individual golfer and volunteer. Our membership is ecited about all the possibilities that will come with a combined staff-supported golf association.”
Richey, who has served the KGA as its executive director since 1993, also indicated there would be many positives from the merger.
“Now with this historic merger, the KGA will reach all amateur golfers in Kansas and the opportunities will be great for everyone,” Richey said in the release.
The KGA has had its executive offices in Lawrence since the fall of 1984, and will welcome the members and volunteers of the KWGA into a joint effort to bring professionally-administered golf programs, serves and events to all amateur Kansas golfers of any age or ability.
Some of the principal services provided by both organizations have included championship tournaments, issuance of USGA Handicaps and oversight of the USGA Course Rating System.
With the merger, the newly-formed KGA will have more than 12,500 individual golfing members and approximately 160 member clubs.
The KGA’s schedule of championships has included 18 multi-day tournaments, along with an extensive series of events for both juniors and seniors. The KWGA, too, has conducted tournaments for golfers of all ranges of ability and ages. With the addition of the KWGA events, there will be approximately 170 days of competition in 2018, up from135.
The merger also will provide more volunteer opportunities to “give back to the game,” provide efficiency of administration and staffing, and bring communication with the membership into a central source and eventually one website.
Plans are in place for the KGA to soon move its executive offices to Eagle Bend Golf Course, just east of Lawrence. Throughout the history of the two organizations, they have been the driving force of amateur golf in Kansas.
The KGA for many years was served by a part-time executive secretary until 1984 when the organization hired its first full-time executive director. Since then, the staff and summer interns has grown, thus allowing the organization to expand its services and tournament schedule.