The Early Years
Scott Masingill honed his interest in golf in 1963 when he was 12 years old. He and a cousin, Brad Masingill, took their first golf swings at the then newly-built Payette Golf Course. From that innocent beginning, the Treasure Valley native developed into one of Idaho's finest-ever amateur golfers, amassing an impressive list of victories over the next three decades.
Masingill's initial success in golf came in 1967 when he won his first of three straight Payette Golf Course junior championships. Incredibly, Masingill would go on to win at least one golf title – somewhere and of some significance – every year from 1967 through 1998. Those vanquished along his title-strewn path had some outstanding credentials. For example, among the future PGA Tour players Masingill beat en route to the 1971 Pacific-8 championship were Tom Watson (Stanford University), Peter Jacobsen (University of Oregon) and Craig Stadler (USC).
Masingill led Payette High School to two state golf championships in 1967 and 1968, winning the individual title both years. For his scholastic accomplishments, he was later elected to the Payette High School Hall of Fame. After entering Oregon State University on a golf scholarship, Masingill became the Pacific-8 Conference champion in 1971, earning Third Team All-American honors that year and being named an Honorable Mention All-American in 1973. (While Scott excelled at OSU, cousin Brad won the Big Sky Conference title at Weber State University.)
In 1972 Scott began showing his remarkable flair for winning Idaho State championships. He won stroke-play titles that year as well as in 1978, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1993 and 1996. Masingill also won the Idaho State Match Play Championship in 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995 and 1998. Underscoring this consistency are the 21 men's club championships Masingill won between 1973 and 1994 as a member of the public Scotch Pines Golf Course in Payette. He also won five Southwest Idaho Amateurs, and three consecutive China Trust Cup championships from 1987-1989 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Masingill ventured onto the national scene several times. In 1980 he competed in the U.S. Amateur at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. The following year he played in the U.S. Open at the fabled Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. As a member of Idaho's three-man team in the USGA's 1995 U.S. Men's State Team Championship, Masingill was fourth in the individual category. In this event at Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, Idaho's team finished tied for 27th with Oregon, California and Nebraska.
Finally – A Chance to Play in the PNGA
Due to family and work commitments over the years, Scott Masingill rarely ventured out of Idaho to compete in regional events. Also, since the IGA and all of its member clubs didn't join the PNGA until 1995, he wasn't eligible to play in PNGA events unless he received a presidential invitation. In 1997 Masingill was able to show his skills in a PNGA championship. He headed to Moses Lake Golf & Country Club in central Washington to take a shot at the Men's Master-40 title, his first-ever PNGA event. Masingill's venture westward was a big success, as he defeated Terry DeLeo of Newcastle, Washington, in the final.
The 1997 PNGA Men's Master-40 was, paradoxically, both stressful and relaxing for Masingill. Back home in Idaho, he and his wife of 24 years, Debbie, had separated and Scott had just moved to another residence. He recalls this turbulent time well. "Golf, as it turned out, was wonderful therapy. I was amazed I could focus so well."
In qualifying, Masingill made a nine on Moses Lake's par-five 10th hole, and missed medalist honors – earned by Dr. Kirk Smith of Everett, Washington – by one stroke. In his semifinal match against Bellingham's Fred Urquhart, Masingill's putter caught fire and turned the table on the 1995 PNGA Master-40 champion. The sudden change in momentum was palpable. After the match, Masingill talked to a few people who reported that Urquhart was "stunned." Masingill said later, "There was no thought he could lose and I didn't think I had a chance. I got every break in the world."
Masingill, who said the championship that year "started very bizarre and ended that way," was 1-down to Urquhart going into the back nine. Over the remaining holes he had five putts for par that were outside Urquhart's birdie putts. Scott made them all, while Urquhart missed. Then Masingill birdied the 17th to close out the match, 2 & 1. On 17, Masingill almost chipped in from under a tree for eagle. He said, "It was truly one of the most interesting matches I've ever played. I just putted like crazy." That was no small achievement on Moses Lake's lightning-fast greens which, according to Masingill, were "12.5 or 13 on the stimpmeter. They were probably the fastest greens I've ever played." Against DeLeo in the final, Masingill's hot putting streak continued, propelling him to victory by a 4 & 2 margin.
Masingill was unable to defend his PNGA Men's Master-40 title in 1998, as his position in sales for a trucking company, Prime, Inc., prevented him from entering. "My work has me traveling a lot," he said. "I play golf with a lot of customers, but can't get away for tournaments. I hope to play in more PNGA events in the future. The only PNGA event I entered was one of the most fascinating tournaments and one of the most fun I've ever played."
Masingill's Conservative Approach to Competitive Golf
In a 1998 interview with reporter Donovan Brink in Ontario, Oregon's Daily Argus Observer, Masingill discussed his conservative but effective style of play. "The more you play, the more you understand that there is going to be a bad stretch every round. The good players are able to make the proper adjustment to get things back upright; the poor players make the wrong adjustment, because they don't know what they're trying to fix and get worse."
Masingill's remarkable record in match play owes to his pragmatic but effective approach. "I'm a very patient golfer, and I don't take many gambles or try to make up strokes with distance. These kids [today] are hitting the ball 40 yards past me off the tee, but I'm hitting my irons usually right at the hole. That puts the pressure on them when I'm on the green first, because they're always seeing my ball on before their's. I just hit the ball in play, get it on the green and keep the pressure on the other guy, force him to beat me. You have to beat me, because, to use a basketball analogy, I'm not going to turn the ball over."
Idahoan Keeps State-Title Streak Alive
Masingill's string of annual victories almost ended in 1998, but he managed to pull off his fifth win in the Idaho Golf Association Match-Play Championship at SpurWing Country Club in Meridian. Masingill admitted in his interview with Brink that he experienced some problems before the tournament because of overconfidence. "I've been playing well this summer, but I think the problem has been that I had taken for granted that I would play well in tournaments. That overconfidence has caused some of my bad play."
In 1998 after his win in the Idaho Golf Association Match-Play Championship, the then 47-year-old Masingill expressed to Brink a wish to play on the Senior PGA Tour in three years. "That tour really has some appeal to me," Masingill said. "I'm going to take every step as if that's what I'm going to do when I'm 50. I'm taking care of myself physically, and really working to make my game better in the long run. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it." Masingill said he was lifting weights and exercising in preparation for the Senior Tour. "If I don't make it, all that work is still beneficial."
Masingill attributes his enduring success on the golf course to good all-round play. "I think the biggest strength of my game is that I have no real weakness," he told the Daily Argus Observer. "I'm pretty good all the way through my bag, and I'm an extremely good putter. And, at the level where I compete, if you can't make putts, you're not going to win many tournaments."
Masingill talked about his attitude toward the sport he's played most of his life. "Golf is just hitting fairways and greens, and hoping the hole gets in the way when you putt."
If that's what it takes to become Idaho's most decorated amateur golfer, many holes have gotten in the way of Masingill putts over the years.