Participation numbers up as Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships tee off under new leadership


The Pepsi Little People's Golf Championships are taking place this week at Westview Golf Course and Spring Lake Country Club. | Shane Hulsey photo

QUINCY — The Quincy Service Club has embraced the task of running the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships with gusto.

“It’s stressful, but it’s exciting,” tournament director Mark Christensen said.

This week’s 51st edition of the junior golf tournament will feature 284 golfers — a signifcant rise in participation from recent years when the field hovered around 220 golfers — as the organizers put a emphasis on attracting local golfers.

“I’m very happy with the turnout,” Christensen said. “We’ve grown the field, which is good. We’ve got a lot of kids from the tri-state area, which is even better.”

Some logistical issues, though, have been a challenge. Ongoing construction at the Knights of Columbus golf facility has shut down the driving range and par-3 course, so golfers 7 and under who typically played at the K of C in the past will play the third nine at Westview Golf Course this year.

“The little kids really like that K of C course,” tournament chairman Mike McLaughlin said. “It’s set up well for them being a shorter par-3 course.”

A drainage project on the third nine at Westview has forced some creative thinking on the service club’s part. They have set up a makeshift 55-yard 27th hole that runs parallel to the practice green.

“We got lemons, so we turned it into lemonade,” Christensen said. 

The service club put its stamp on that hole as well.

“We’ve got an amphitheater of (American) flags around it,” Christensen said. “We’re proud of it. It’d be nice if somebody made a hole in one.”

The club set up more flags around the property, putting its patriotic values on display in addition to fulfilling its mission of helping children.

“The Quincy Service Club is about kids and Americanism,” Christensen said. “The whole community is really embracing the Quincy Service Club as the people who are running this now. The money raised from this event is going to help so many places in the community. We’re going to do some really, really good things as a result of our ability to run this event and show off Quincy.”

To ensure the tournament’s smooth operation, Christensen and McLaughlin have summoned the help of more than 40 volunteers, about 70 percent of whom have volunteered at this tournament in the past.

“I’m appreciative of the fact that they’re back and can show our club members the ropes of how to do things,” McLaughlin said.

With forecasted high temperatures in the 90s, McLaughlin said he and his crew have taken extra precautions.

“It’s all gone really smoothly, but our biggest concern is how hot it’s going to be this weekend,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve loaded up on ice and water to make sure everyone is safe and healthy.”

The club has introduced a new live scoring system using the CGA Golf app, which McLaughlin said has provided another learning curve.

“The kids are all used to that. We’ve got some of us senior people in there trying to figure out how to use an app,” McLaughlin said. “We’re learning things from the kids.”

Westview and Spring Lake Country Club hosted practice rounds on Monday, setting the stage for the two-round tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday. McLaughlin is excited to see the likes of Hannibal’s Quinn Thomas , who won the Class 4 state championship, and Canton’s Trevor Biggerstaff, a four-time state qualifier, light up the course.

“If you want to see some golfers you’ll probably see on TV in about 10 years, come on out and enjoy,” McLaughlin said.

Miss Clipping Out Stories to Save for Later?

Click the Purchase Story button below to order a print of this story. We will print it for you on matte photo paper to keep forever.

Related Articles