Presents All Around

Let’s celebrate the season with gift wishes, Colorado golf-style

By Gary Baines – 12/23/2021

This time of year, the days are short but the sense of anticipation is big, especially for the young among us — or young at heart.

That’s due in no small part to the tradition of giving and receiving gifts — and sharing time with family and friends — during the holiday season.

With that in mind, we’ll continue our late-December tradition of extending holiday wishes Colorado golf-style.

And away we go. On Dasher, on Dancer …

To: Colorado golf operators. Gift Wish: Business going gangbusters in 2022, just as it has for the last 20-plus months.

But …

To: Overworked folks on the front line of the golf business. Gift Wish: A well-earned break — or at least more reasonable hours — over the winter.

To: Colorado golf course superintendents. Gift Wish: Some much-need rain or snow for the moisture-deprived courses.

To: Colorado native Jennifer Kupcho. Gift Wish: Not only your breakthrough win on the LPGA Tour, but two or three in 2022 to make up for the near misses in the past 2 1/2 years.

To: Drive, Chip & Putt National Finalists from Colorado Matai Naqica, Sophia Capua, Anthony Chen and Judd Nikkel. Gift Wish: That one of you win a national DCP title at Augusta National in the spring — a first for a Coloradan.

To: Friends and family of two nonagenarian Colorado Golf Hall of Famers who passed away since mid-September, Dan Hogan and Kaye Kessler. Gift Wish: The joy of long having been close to two remarkable men who made life a little brighter for all those around them.

To: Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Kim Eaton. Gift Wish: After so many close calls in recent years, a record 26th CGA/CWGA championship in 2022.

To: Fort Collins resident Craig Chester, who shot his age for the 1,000th time on June 30. Gift Wish: Do we hear 1,500?

To: The CGA. Gift Wish: To sail past 70,000 members and take aim at 75,000 in 2022.

To: The Colorado Open championships and the TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes. Gift Wish: Long-term title sponsors.

And while we’re at it …

To: TPC Colorado Championship. Gift Wish: After named being Korn Ferry Tour Tournament of the Year for 2021, full-blown national TV coverage of the event in 2023 when such things are decided next year.

To: Volunteers in Colorado golf. Gift Wish: A full heart in knowing the invaluable role you all play in the industry.

To: Coloradans David Duval and Justin Leonard. Gift Wish: Being in contention right away on PGA Tour Champions in 2022. (Duval turned 50 on Nov. 9; Leonard will on June 15.)

To: Youth on Course and the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy. Gift Wish: Full-throated support from golf’s major ruling bodies so that even more kids can benefit from such worthy programs.

To: The parents of Michael Lee, a former CGA Match Play champion and Colorado School of Mines golfer who passed away a year ago at age 28 after contracting Covid-19. Gift Wish: The peace of mind from knowing how many lives he touched in his lifetime.

To: The five new NCAA Division I golf head coaches in Colorado. Gift Wish: An encouraging spring season in your new jobs. 

To: Organizers of the 2022 Trans-Miss Amateur Championship at Denver Country Club. Gift Wish: Demonstrating that a relatively short — by modern-day standards — course (about 7,050 yards) can be a formidable, but fair, test for some of the game’s best amateur players.

To: Coloradan Jim Knous. Gift Wish: After narrowly earning conditional status on the PGA Tour after recovering from a wrist injury, a berth in the FedExCup Playoffs in 2022.

To: The caddies on the Evans Scholarship at the University of Colorado. Gift Wish: A true appreciation for how pivotal the scholarship might be in your life.

To: Colorado Academy graduate Mark Hubbard. Gift Wish: A return to fully-exempt status on the PGA Tour thanks to victory No. 1 on that circuit.

To: Robert Polk (age 66) and Chris Thayer (age 41). Gift Wish: More of that serum that allowed the CGA Senior Player of the Year and Les Fowler Player of the Year, respectively, to defy their age and stand out among their peers in 2021.

To: The Colorado Golf Expo. Gift Wish: May a tweaked name (formerly the Denver Golf Expo) and a new location (the Colorado Convention Center) make for success going forward, starting with the 2022 show Feb. 25-27.

To: Kent Moore. Gift Wish: For the CGA president to win another CGA championship during his tenure, following this year’s triumph at the Super-Senior Match Play.

To: Hadley Ashton of Erie. Gift Wish: That your career in golf live up to the promise you’ve demonstrated so far. (Ashton won the JGAC Tour Championship, a junior major, in October at age 14.)

To: Castle Pines Golf Club. Gift Wish: May the announcement be coming soon from the PGA Tour that a BMW Championship or two is on the way to the course that hosted a Tour event (The International) from 1986-2006. 

To: Anna Zanusso. Gift Wish: May the University of Denver golfer, who posted a ninth-place finish in this year’s Women’s NCAA National Championships, record another top-10 in the premier event in women’s college golf.

To: Kyle Heyen, the longtime PGA head professional at Hiwan Golf Club. Gift Wish: Fulfillment at being so highly respected among your peers that you were inducted into the national PGA of America Hall of Fame last month.

To: The Colorado Golf Hall of Fame. Gift Wish: That the move of its museum to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs — expected to be completed in early 2023 — be a success worthy of a five-star location.

To: Twin brothers Yannik and Jeremy Paul, both former University of Colorado golfers. Gift Wish: More parallel career success, even if it comes half a world apart, with Yannik a rookie on the European-based DP World Tour and Jeremy a rookie on the Korn Ferry circuit.

To: Colorado native Wyndham Clark. Gift Wish: May all the potential you’ve shown over the years translate into your first PGA Tour victory.

To: Hunter Swanson of Denver and Matthew Wilkinson of Centennial, the top two players in the JGAC Boys Tour points standings in 2021. Gift Wish: May you waste no time in making an impression on your respective Colorado-based college golf programs as freshmen in the fall of 2022 — Swanson at CU and Wilkinson at CSU.

To: Former University of Denver golfer Tonje Daffinrud, who announced her retirement from professional golf on Sept. 1. Gift Wish: A successful post-professional golf career after competing on the Ladies European Tour and in the 2021 Olympics for Norway.

To: RainDance National in Windsor, which is expected to be the longest course in North America. Gift Wish: A rousing debut season in 2022 — and a spot as a PGA Tour Champions host site in the near future.

All in all, here’s wishing a happy and festive holiday season to everyone in the Colorado golf community.