When Gary Huber played Twin Hills Golf and Country Club last November, it became love at first site.

“I play a lot of golf, don’t remember a lot of courses,” he said Thursday afternoon. “I remember that one. I really enjoyed it. I played it from the tips and thought it definitely would be a fair challenge for these kids. We have some really good players at the national level, and they will have a good experience.

“The uniqueness of the holes … they have the course so well prepared, the tee boxes, the greens. On 18 with the railroad tracks going across (in front of the back tee), I thought that was neat.”

Huber, a vice chair of the NJCAA Division II men’s golf committee, also toured the city during his visit and liked what he saw.

As a result, Twin Hills has been chosen as the site for the 2020 Division II junior college men’s golf championships.

After practice rounds on May 17-18, the 72-hole tournament will be played May 19-22. The tournament field will have approximately 20 five-player teams plus 20-30 individual entries, Huber said

Craig Hull, director of the Joplin Sports Authority, and Doug Adams, general manager and golf professional at Twin Hills, made the announcement Thursday afternoon at Twin Hills.

“In May 2017 the NJCAA issued requests for proposals for their championship events, including men’s golf,” Hull said. “We discussed it with Doug, and Doug discussed it with his board, and we began the process of putting a bid proposal together.

“In our proposal we did not request any one particular year, 2019, ‘20 or ‘21. We threw our hat in the ring, hoping to get one of the three years. And we were fortunate to land 2020.”

“This is a great honor for the area, for Twin Hills,” Adams said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the bid. It speaks well they chose Twin Hills because I know they are looking for a high-caliber golf course. It also speaks well for our entire facility. They need the banquet center, too, places for the coaches to go and the press, parking and all of that. Our facility fit their profile.

“They are looking for a place to house parents and players who come to town to handle their needs. Joplin fit that profile perfect also.”

“The group that brought us in did a fantastic job,” said Huber, also the men’s golf coach and athletics director at Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois. “They did a great job representing your area and your town. They were very hospitable. You can tell they’ve been there for a while. They put on a good presentation. I know they will do an outstanding job, and I know the kids will love it. We’re happy to be there, too.”

Twin Hills measures 6,842 yards from the gold tees, well above the 6,700-yard minimum required by the golf committee.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the caliber is,” Adams said. “I’m sure it’s going to be very high. I know the golf course will be in grand condition that time of the year. The only stumbling block this year was it was so cold and it’s still cold, the bermuda (grass) is still semi-dormant. Hopefully by the end of May it will be in prime condition.”

This will be the first junior college national championship staged in Joplin, but it’s not the first connection between Joplin and the juco golf championship.

Robert Russell, a Joplin High School graduate and member of the Joplin Golf Foundation Hall of Fame, capped his career at Kansas City Kansas Community College by winning the Division I national title in 1995 in Scottsdale, Arizona. In an ending fit for Hollywood, Russell eagled the par-5 72nd hole to win the title by one stroke.

Source: The Joplin Globe |