Golfers in Shenandoah and Clarinda refused to let the COVID-19 pandemic keep them from their annual Ryder Cup event.
Golfers from the two communities came together for the event Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 with Shenandoah winning for the fourth consecutive year. The final score was 18-11.
Shenandoah organizer Andy Dinges said the 2020 Ryder Cup looked quite a bit different from the past three years, and took more work to make it happen, but they got it in.
“We usually do a big qualifying event, but didn’t feel we could do that this year,” said Dinges. “We didn’t want to advertise we were doing it because we didn’t know if or when it would happen. We had to communicate with Clarinda on a weekend that worked for both of us.”
Dinges said in the past everyone comes together before and after the event, which begins with a shotgun start. This year, they decided to schedule tee times for each match to limit group sizes.
“We felt we could maintain social distancing in the smaller groups,” said Dinges, “and we just announced the winners at the end. There were no team photos. We spread out the tee times and stayed separate on the course.”
Dinges said one of the bigger changes was making sure there were enough carts available, and both teams were good at making sure several member carts were available at their home course.
The action started with seven two-on-two matches Saturday in Shenandoah. The teams played nine holes of best ball, and then nine holes of alternate shot on the back nine with each nine-hole session worth a team point.
Shenandoah won six of the seven best ball matches and halved the other for a 6 ½ to ½ lead. Both teams won three alternate shot matches with another match halved to make the score 10-4 after Saturday.
The tournament then shifted to Clarinda Sunday for 18-hole one-on-one singles matches with a point on the line in each. Shenandoah won eight of the 15 matches to slightly increase the final margin.
“Clarinda put forth the best team they ever have,” said Dinges, “and on paper I thought they would be favored in a lot of matches. They had the home course advantage on Sunday for singles, which is big because they play their course very well, but Shenandoah pulled it out.”
Dinges said it’s the favorite event of the year for a lot of the golfers and all were glad to get this year’s event in.
“We have a good relationship with Clarinda,” said Dinges. “It’s our most competitive event with them, but is still friendly. We hope to keep a good, friendly rivalry and good competition going with them for a long time.”
Shenandoah team members were: Chris Barton, Trent Blackman, Darrin Bouray, Andy Dinges, Tom Foutch, Randy Hilker, Derek Howard, Scott Mann, Joe Martin, Steven Martin, Tom Ross, Cory Scamman, Jay Soderberg, Mike Weber and Jon Weinrich.
Clarinda team members were: Severino Alvarez, Dick Auffert, Kyle Auffert, Shane Baumgart, Luke Berning, Mark Brown, Gordy Buch, Brett Geer, Casey Hill, Jordan Moses, Jacob Muller, Colby Pederson, Logan Peterson, Greg Samuelson, Steve Slough, Quentin Sturm and Mike Wilson.