Kansas Golf Foundation Kansas Golf Hall of Fame - 2018
Golf Course Superintendent
A native of Missouri, Anderson was raised on a farm in an area between the towns of St. Joseph and Savannah, where zoysiagrass was abundant. “That is when I got attached to it,” says Anderson, who, as a caddie at St. Joseph Country Club, once carried a bag for a group that included legends Ben Hogan, Jug McSpaden and Byron Nelson who stopped by for a round of golf after having played in the Kansas City area.
Anderson served in the U.S. Marines in the Korean War and opted to enter agronomy upon his return, studying at the University of Missouri. After his education was completed, Anderson came home to St. Joseph and became an assistant superintendent at St. Joseph CC. He left in 1961 to become the superintendent at Lawrence Country Club.
Mel Anderson was very much an innovator. He began to dabble again in zoysiagrass, stripping the stolons from the zoysiagrass with the goal of making the stolons grow. His method of stolonizing zoysia was revolutionary, and is still in practice today. Anderson's enthusiasm for innovation and pride in course conditions gave him the reputation of bringing "country club conditions to public golf."
While at Lawrence Country club, Anderson formed a friendship with Bob Billings, a Lawrence community leader and developer and, together, they started Alvamar Golf Club (now the Jayhawk Club) Anderson convinced Billings that he could build a course "with zoysia fairways and Cohansey (bentgrass) greens. He made good on his promise when Alvamar's first 18 holes opened. The Jayhawk and Quail Creek nines are thought to be the first 18-hole golf course in the US built with zoysia fairways.
Mel's career at Alvamar didn't stop with there. He designed and built Alvamar's Hidden Valley (1973) and Sunflower (1978) nines and in 1979 designed and built the Alvamar Orchards executive nine. Following his retirement from Alvamar in 1982, Mel became a sought-after golf turfgrass, design and construction expert, consulting for numerous golf projects in the Midwest.
Randy Syring, a life-long resident of Salina, became the 45th member of the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame with his induction in October 2018 and is the eighth golf professional to be so honored. He started as a part time club washer at the age of 15 (which no doubt gave him the chance to play and practice) and after college studies and golf team participation at both Marymount College (Salina) and Friends University (Wichita) he graduated in 1980 and started his first full time job as an assistance golf professional at SCC under the legendary Wally Beets, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.
Kansas Golf Hall of Fame inductee Bill Knox, a longtime member of Salina Country Club and past president of the Kansas Golf Association and the Kansas Golf Foundation, has known Randy Syring throughout his Hall of Fame career. He describes Randy as “lifting up the game of golf in Kansas his entire life. He is a steward for the foundations of the game – honesty, integrity, passion, perseverance – and an ambassador for making the game accessible to all. Randy believes in the ability of golf to effect change in people’s lives, and it is through this belief that he has changed the game for his community.”
In 1988 at a youthful 31 years Randy Syring became the head golf professional at Salina Country Club upon the retirement of Beets. He served in that capacity for 29 years, a role reflective of not only the membership’s love of the man but his commitment to the community, the club and to all golfers in Salina.
The First Tee of Salina, the first chapter to be established in Kansas, was assured of its formation in 1999 with Syring’s assistance. He helped with organization and initial fund-raising. He also recruited local community leaders and professionals to serve on the organization’s governing board.
One sure sign of the quality of club golf professional is the reputation he has with his fellow golf professionals throughout the state of Kansas. Randy Syring was a leader among his golf professional colleagues. The Midwest Section PGA was the beneficiary of Syring’s thoughtful approach to the golf profession and willingness to serve. In 1996 he was elected President of the Section for a two-year term having served the prior six years as an officer. He also received Section awards for Club Fitter of the Year, Teacher of the Year (1997, 2002) and Golf Professional of the Year (2004). In 20017 he received the ultimate recognition from his peers by being inducted into the Midwest Section PGA Hall of Fame.
Kansas Golf Hall of Fame member Bill Knox, a longtime member of Salina Country Club and past president of the Kansas Golf Association and the Kansas Golf Foundation, has known Randy Syring throughout his Hall of Fame career. He describes Randy as “lifting up the game of golf in Kansas his entire life. He is a steward for the foundations of the game – honesty, integrity, passion, perseverance – and an ambassador for making the game accessible to all. Randy believes in the ability of golf to effect change in people’s lives, and it is through this belief that he has changed the game for his community.”