Highland Springs celebrates 30 years of PGA competition

Sports

SPRINGFIELD, Mo–Sports on location at Highland Springs Country Club, and it’s golf week in the Ozarks.

The Price Cutter Charity Championship will tee off it’s 30th year Thursday morning.

This PGA event is one of only two on this tour that’s been played on the same golf course for all three decades.

KOLR 10’s Matt Vereen looks back at what has changed here at Highland Springs in three decades.

Matt Vereen: “Three decades is a long time by an measurement. But to measure the change here at Highland Springs, you just need to look back.”

From inaugural champion Jeff Cook’s playoff win, to reigning champion Martin Trainer, to Ronald McDonald handing out checks, The Price Cutter Charity Championship has come a long way since 1989.

Tournament Director Jerald Andrews: “Everywhere you look things have changed, people have changed, the tour has changed. When I got involved 24 years ago, I can remember professionals driving in here and sleeping in their cars.”

But one element that hasn’t changed is the location.

Highland Springs Director of Golf Brian Maloney: “It’s pretty special. There’s only a few events that have hosted all 30 years and I think only two of us that have been at the same sight.”

But that doesn’t mean the course itself hasn’t evolved with the game over the years.

“Golfers of today look like they could be starting linebackers in the NFL. They are strong and they are fit.”

As a result, Highland added some length with new tee boxes on holes like the 5th and 12th to keep pace with the times.

They also upped the challenge on the greens by swapping out the grass for a faster style.

Though the Missouri Summers also had something to do with digging up the original putting surfaces.

“Even though it was one of the best, it had its problems. It didn’t stand extreme heat and pressures that we see in the summers here.”

Now the course features higher speeds around the pin, adding to the drama.

But in the grand scheme, these are minor changes, and Highland itself is practically identical to the original design.

“That’s a testament to the original design. This is a great golf course. It’s a great spectator golf course for the people that are going to come out to watch the pros this week. And it’s a fun golf course for the pros, although they shoot low scores out here.”

And as anyone who’s attended the tournament before knows, those low scores along with the beauty of Highland are exactly what makes this tournament so exciting.

In Springfield, Matt Vereen – Ozarks First.

Some tournament notes about the Charity Championship:

This level of PGA competition is now the Korn Ferry Tour, you’ll see that name all around the golf course.

The purse is $700,000 dollars with the winner on Sunday taking home $126,000 dollars.

The first round tees off Thursday morning with the championship on Sunday.

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