Friendship, fellowship on the greens

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Susie Jacobs reacts to the approval of her playing partners after sinking a putt during Cassville Women's Golf League action this year. Jared Lankford/

Cassville Women's Golf League still having fun

For a half century, the Cassville Country Club has been home to one of the most vibrant women's golf leagues in southwest Missouri.

Every Thursday, morning from May to September at 8:30 a.m., as most people are settling into their desks at work, an extraordinary group of Cassville area women continue an organizational tradition unlike any other.

The Cassville's Women's Golf League, and its 20-plus members, take to the links to spend time in friendship, competition, fun and association.

For League President Debra York, the rounds give her a chance to spend needed time with her friends and fulfill a desire to be competitive.

"I like the camaraderie and the competition," York said. "For me, it's a fun, competitive and a social event all rolled into one."

The league formed when the course was just nine holes.

Carol Skarp, who serves as the defacto historian for the group and is the league's vice president, said the ladies would play their round and then head to the country club and play Bridge.

"It is important to keep the league advancing," Skarp said. "First, it keeps women's golf alive. We have a lot of women who use to play, because they didn't have to work."

Over the early years the league's membership grew steadily and maintained a membership between 25 to 35 members. Slowly, the roster is dwindling due to members passing away, moving, or simply being unable to participate.

"Beginning in the 2000s there was a shift," Skarp said. "More women and wives went back to work and our numbers began to drop."

Those obstacles however, have not dampened the playing zeal and fervor the members have developed for the game. Currently, the membership roll contains 24, down from a high of 40 in 2007.

For most of the members, golfing provides the social interaction that individuals need from time to time. Just like those who play checkers at the barbershops or assemble in local diners to drink coffee every morning.

While on the course, the members of the ladies league are just as comfortable discussing everyday life and its complexities, as they are the strategy of how to pitch out of the rough, chip up onto the green and hit a putt to save par.

"We welcome all level of players," York said. "We have members who are willing to work and play with beginners to improve their games. The main thing is that we have fun together."

Skarp said she used to play in the Monett Women's League, but switched to Cassville in 2002 because it had 18 holes at the time.

"This league offers me support, friendship and exercise," Skarp said. "I've met so many nice and wonderful people and it is thanks to this league."

For some people the sport of golf has the perception of being a "men's only club."

"Come out and play with the ladies and find out," York said. "We have our forward tee boxes and we can hold our own."

Currently, the Cassville Women's League host a guest day where they invite other women's leagues to attend. They also participate in a guys and gals event with the Cassville Men's Golf League and they host a fall tournament.

The league's annual dues are $20, plus green fees and any woman, regardless of age is welcome to join.

For more information, people may call York at 417-342-5020

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