It is with heavy hearts that the Symetra Tour has had to postpone the Garden City Charity Classic until April 2021. And while that means that, sadly, Garden City will have to go without its flagship LPGA event, we want to take a look at the event as a whole. To remind us of all the good it does for our community and for Garden City golf.
We will all surely miss the Classic this year, but equally, we look forward excitedly for its return.
The Garden City Charity Classic was founded in 2014. It is held annually at Buffalo Dunes, one of the most beautiful municipal golf courses in the county. It is presented by the Mariah Fund, a 501(c)3 charity which offers grant money to cultural, historical, and tourism projects in twenty two counties across southwestern Kansas.
The Symetra Tour was previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour, designed to showcase and highlight talented, young, female golfers. Aside from the official LPGA Tour, the Symetra Tour is THE premier women’s golf tour in the country. So it only makes sense they would want to play in Garden City. Last year’s purse was $175,000, and went to Mexican phenom Alejandra Llaneza, though she was chased valiantly by Thai golfer Mind Muangkhumsakul.
Since its inception, the event has raised over $100,000 for various Kansas charities. Proceeds from the 2019 event helped fund high school girls’ golf programs in twenty-two counties.
Why Buffalo Dunes?
Ask anyone who’s played Buffalo Dunes and they will tell you, the course offers more than meets the eye. Many newcomers, who haven’t golfed in Kansas, come expecting open fairways tucked between hillocks of waving prairie grass.
And while there is a degree of that, Buffalo Dunes prides itself on having a more Scottish links like feel than many courses golfers on this side of the pond are used to playing. For those who aren’t in the know, a Scottish style course refers to the undulating surface of play, a harder surface (Buffalo Dunes features Kansas bluegrass) which allows the ball more room to run, and cleverly employed dunes and bunkers, which can lead to some sticky, sandy situations.
The course provides a hearty challenge to those shooting from the competition tees (there are also yellow tees which allow for a more casual game), and keeps golfers coming back for years.
It should also be noted that Buffalo Dunes often scores high marks for the beauty and quality of the course itself, the well-tended greens and beautiful fairways notched into a gorgeous setting of sun and prairie grass. It is the stuff a golfer’s dreams are made of, and makes a fine addition to the schedule of events for the Symetra Tour.
The Impact on Garden City
The top-quality golf on display during the Garden City Charity Classic is enough to render anyone awestruck, that’s why thousands of golf fans descend upon the city, to catch a glimpse of the magic.
This leads to all the fringe benefits you might expect, restaurants fill up, as do the hotels and amenities that make Garden City the most hospitable city in Southwestern Kansas.
Many hotels offer discounts for golf fans. Restaurants feature special items. The nightlife rachets up, somehow, it seems like even the pools fill up!
It’s a whole lot of fun and NOT to be missed if you’re a golf fan, or even just a fan of having a good time.
While we’re truly going to miss our legions of golf fans, this gives us time to really pull out all the stops for the 2021 tour. What is that going to look like? Food specials sure, drink specials obviously, but so much more than that. The lack of this year’s event gives us a wider appreciation for next year’s, and we will be sure to have all the best and brightest parts of Garden City on display and polished up, a whole city dressed to impress.