Bunkowsky wants to be ready for senior open
Barb Bunkowsky says she’s been thinking about it ever since the USGA made the announcement last year.
That’s when the United States Golf Association, the governing body for the sport south of the border, confirmed they were adding a U.S. Senior Women’s Open to their tournament schedule next year.
“I think the minimum age is going to be 50, and if so I’ll qualify because I’m 58,” said the former Burlington native who now calls Florida’s West Palm Beach home.
“I’m hoping I don’t have to qualify, but if I do, I will go and try to qualify.”
Bunkowsky says she is trying to get out and play, especially competitively, as often as she can.
“I’ve been working on my game and I’m going to keep playing in as many LPGA Legends Tournaments as I can because I play differently in tournaments. I have a lot more butterflies in tournaments.”
Bunkowsky played her amateur golf out of Burlington Springs Golf and Country Club, which her father Larry built and which is still operated by her brother and sister.
She won the Ontario Women’s Amateur in 1981, turned pro and joined the LPGA Tour in 1983, and captured the Chrysler-Plymouth Charity Classic the following year, coming from behind in the final round to beat Muffin Spencer-Devlin by four shots.
It would turn out to be her only win. She retired in 2000.
“I got married in 1995 and had my daughter, Alexa, in 1998,” says Bunkowsky. “I tried to bribe her into playing golf but I could never get her to go for it. She doesn’t play it. Instead, she played basketball.”
Bunkowsky was an agent for the American insurance giant Aflac for four years, but the urge to get back into the sport was too great.
“I’ve gone into golf full time as a teacher,” she says. “I give private lessons and I do golf schools and summer camps. I love teaching. I absolutely love it.
“I’ve been going to all the schools and trying to get to know their players, and I’m trying to set up a USGA/LPGA themes clinic every month and then grow it.”
Bunkowsky says she’d really love to find that one junior that she can teach and mentor right through to the LPGA Tour.
“That would be fun because I have a lot of experience to share.”
Bunkowsky would also love to hear from Canadians, men or women who head down to the West Palm Beach area over the winter and would like to have a lesson while they’re down there.
You can reach her through her website, bunky.vpweb.com, or by email at email@example.com.
Incidentally, it was just announced last week that Bunkowsky will be inducted into the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame. That ceremony will take place at the Burlington G&CC on May 30, and Bunkowsky has told organizers that she will attend.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased through Ron Lambert at 289-962-1254.
** * Whole-in-one: The final Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada Qschool is underway at Crown Isle Resort in Courtenay, B.C.
The Canadians in the field include Blair Hamilton and J.J. Regan, both from Burlington.
Golf courses that would like to see tournament results and holesin-one in this column should email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Garry McKay is a veteran, award-winning golf journalist and a former sportswriter with The Hamilton Spectator. email@example.com
Barb Bunkowsky is pictured in 1997, three years before she retired from the LPGA. Today, she teaches the game in Florida, where she lives.