b'LARRY KIRKlifelong volunteer,lifelong friend of the game BY BEAUX YENCHIK, IGA MANAGER OF MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONSTHERE HE WAS, sitting in his chair for only a year or two but has which happened to be next to mineatnow found himself 12 years the annual Course Rating training for thedeep, having spent five of Southwest District.those on the Course Rating Larry Kirk, having pen and paper inCommittee. He has strived hand, paid attention to the presenterto attend nearly every rating as if it was his first go-around. Hewith hopes of making the frequently contributed to the discussion,game of golf that much better occasionally turning to his friend andfor every golfer who sets foot fellow rater, Carl Adams, to chat abouton a course he rates. the class.Explaining how he started, I had met Kirk for the first time aKirk mentioned, In 2010, few days before our training whenRuss came down to Plantation he stopped by my office for a chat.[now called The River From that initial dialogue, throughClub} because the ladies our classroom training, and severalcomplained about the rating. discussions after, Ive been in awe of hisSo, he gave a little spiel. When passion for course rating and golf. Hehe asked for volunteers, IAlong with being a consistent IGA volunteer, is someone who loves this sport and allcalled him up later and said I would loveLarry completed the rare feat of playing all that it has to offer.to volunteer to be a rater. Thats what129 courses in Idaho, with the last round As the training neared its end, Russgot me started. being at, appropriately, Journeys End Golf Peterson, chairman of the Course RatingBorn in Oregon and later movingCourse. (Photo by Bruce Martini)Committee and former Board presidentwith his family to the Treasure Valley of the Idaho Golf Association, handedarea, Kirk didnt start playing the game the class a 10-question quiz. Each rateruntil he was in his mid-30s. Despitethen held onto for nearly 30 years. then used the remaining time to answerbeing athletiche played baseball andDuring this personal voyage to the provided problems.softball growing uphe was horrendousplay golf for the rest of his life, Kirk What caught my attention,at the start, but the game became moreaccomplished a feat that hardly any specifically during this exercise, wasnatural to him when he finally caught thegolfer in the state has ever doneplay Kirks determination to be the best hebug 10 to 15 years after his first day onevery golf course. (Folks, mind you, that could be at course rating and golf inthe links with his friends. is 129 of them.) general. He seemed to question nearlyAs you age, baseball and softballA couple decades ago, Kirk set out to every step in the processmaking surebecome harder and harder, Kirk said.tackle the daunting list. He knew that he understood each minute detail.Golf was a game you could play for thehed have some difficulty getting onto After going through the quiz as arest of your life. My friends and the factcourses like Gozzer Ranch Golf and Lake class, Kirk found himself stuck on onethat I could play and not hurt myself gotClub, but he went ahead with it anyway. question. Despite the efforts of thoseme interested.Kirk traveled several paths to tick at the table to clarify the solution, KirkKirk credits his progression to one ofevery box. He volunteered as a Course was still unable to grasp the answer.Idahos golfing legends, Scott Masingill. Rater and played golf as a weekend Yet, still determined to understand it,Finding himself at Quail Hollow Golfwarrior. His work trips were planned in Kirk took the quiz home to work throughCourse with Masingill and his father,areas with courses he had yet to check the question that had given him troubleKirk took advantage of the situationoff, and he used his vast network of until the correct answer made sense inby playing phenomenal golf that day,connections to play some of the most his mind.shooting a personal best, 76.private clubs in the state, with The Golf Kirks interest in course rating cameFor an 18-handicapper, a 76 wasClub at Black Rock being his favorite from his desire to understand the entireimpressive. Using that newfoundamongst Idaho courses. process when he thought some ratingsmomentum, Kirk worked extremely hard for a couple of local courses werentover the next couple of years to bring correct. He initially planned to volunteerthat 18 down to about a five, which heContinued on page 7JUNE 2022 |GOLF IDAHO3'