Stanton eager to launch his vision for Oklahoma Golf Association
By Ken MacLeod
New Oklahoma Golf Association Executive Director Kevin Stanton is eager to get out and about the state to meet all the major players in the Oklahoma golf community.
Meanwhile, he’s been getting settled in Edmond after his move here in January from his previous position as director of rules and competitions for the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association. Stanton replaces Mark Felder as executive director, Felder will stay on as president of the OGA Foundation.
Stanton is getting settled, but also getting going on many big plans he has for improving and enhancing the OGA.
From an improved social media presence to enhanced tournament conditions and new events, Stanton is ready to hit the ground running in his first year. Here’s a brief Q and A as we caught up with him Tuesday.
What were your first priorities upon starting in mid January?
The biggest thing was getting to know the operation, getting to know staff, how things have been done in the past. Then take those experiences that I’ve had at other organizations and build on what we’re doing here.
A lot of my background is tournament related, but also a lot of involvement with GHIN. We want to do online registration through GHIN, build that golf community.
The great thing that the USGA has done, handicap is now just one part of GHIN. Now we have GPS built into the app, games built into the app. Stats built into the app, all of that stuff makes it more a tool for your game, instead of just I’m a 5 and you’re a 3,. With that online presence we get to control the messageing. Here’s what we have, what we do.
You mentioned greater engagement with social media as a priority and an improved web site.
Yes, we’ll be looking to do more in that regard. We currently don’t have much of a presence We need to get out greater communication just to say hey, here’s what we got going on here. It can also be very beneficial from the sponsorship side.
What’s new with the Oklahoma Junior Golf Tour and the impending retirement of director Morri Rose?
Due to the popularity of the tour, we have been able to work with the courses and expand all our fields. We’ve gone up from 90 to 114 players at Lake Hefner, up to 138 players at Lincoln Park East, where it’s going to tie in with a qualifier for the Notah Begay Tournament, and Bailey Ranch is going up. We had a lot of good kids sitting on the wait list and we wanted to expand the opportunities and give them a chance to play.
“As for Morri, we’ve got a full year and then we hope he will stay involved and be around a lot. He’s an invaluable resource and knows everyone.”
What will golfers notice immediately about your emphasis on tournament play and what about future changes to the schedule?
The tournaments are an experience for everyone who plays there. We want to make it look and feel like a major event. If you qualify for the State Amateur or the Oklahoma Open, it’s a big deal. And you’re going to see that it’s a big deal. It’s going to look different when you show up on those sites. And whether it’s a junior tour or the State Amateur, the experience should look and feel similar and be special for all of our competitors.
On the schedule, our board has indicated they are okay with looking at some new events. Nothing is solidified yet, but we want to do something with handicap events. In Greater Cincinnati, we ran a two-man four-ball using 85 percent handicaps and it quickly turned into one of our biggest and most popular events. It filled out every year.
We’re going to bring back a Player of the Year race with hopefully some sort of team competition at the end. If you look at the OJGT, one of the biggest attractions has a lot to do with Dornick Hills and making the team for the end of the year Red River Challenge. We want to create the same type of excitement on the regular schedule.