Missouri native Mark Schupp is on a quest to play and provide one informative source on every golf course in the state.
Missouri native and golf enthusiast Mark Schupp is on a mission.
After retiring from a career in marketing and advertising in 2014, Schupp wanted to explore “every nook and cranny” the state of Missouri had to offer.
Also being an avid golfer, he could not find a sufficiently detailed and informative single resource on every golf course in the state so he decided to combine both passions and set out to change that by playing and reviewing every one of its approximately 375 courses.
Thus, the website MoGolfTour.com was born.
“When traveling around the state, I noticed that there was no single resource for good information on each of the courses in Missouri. So, I decided to do it,” Schupp explained.
“I’m passionate about Missouri. I’ve lived here my whole life… and I like to explore. I’ll see a golf course on the side of a country road and I’ll play it just because I enjoy doing that,” he added.
The first step for Schupp was taking a semester-long class at Maramec Community College in St. Louis where he learned to design and write code for his website and he spent seven months creating a website that is evolving as he goes.
“I used to own an advertising agency and in advertising Photoshop and Adobe Suite (software programs) are very important and I knew nothing about it,” Schupp recalled with a smile. “I was the president of the agency and I was always asking creative guys to do stuff for me. I took a class and I’m always the oldest and slowest guy in the class. Everyone else has gone home for the day and I’m still there asking the teacher questions, but I enjoy doing it.”
On his website, Schupp seeks to provide up-to-date information on each course from a golfer’s perspective. He provides data such as the address, phone number, website, whether the course is private or public or semi-private, the number of holes it has and the par.
He also delves further into the details by providing information such as the quality versus cost ratio, the condition of the course and its difficulty, the type of grasses each course has, how quick the greens are, the walkability, the yardage and even the stimpmeter rating, which is a device used to measure the speed of a putting green. The website even features lists such as the best private and public courses and fun categories such as the best clubhouse, staff, longest course, most fun course and best overall course.
“The ultimate goal here is to provide a resource for golfers around the state and country who want to play golf in Missouri and provide them with all the information they would possibly need,” Schupp noted. “I tell them what I like and did not like about it and kind of expound it a little bit more. I have a little fun with it and I try to be fair to a course. If it is a really bad course I will tell you that.”
Fortunately for the links around the lake area, they appear to still be in his good graces as he visited each and every course around the lake near the end of June.
“I have vacationed at the Lake many times, but I have never had the time to play every course. The Lake area boasts some of the best courses in the country and is considered by many to be a golf destination,” Schupp remarked. “If you come to the Lake for vacation or just to play golf, you have a ton of courses from which to choose and a ton of good courses too.”
However, there is still much more work to be done as the Missouri golfer has played around half of the courses in the “Show-Me State,” according to a press release. As time-consuming as updating the website can be, planning and executing each trip keeps Schupp just as busy.
Schupp will pick a segment of the state he has yet to play and will map out what he wants to play and when he wants to play it. Then, he will contact all the courses and let them know when he will be there, make his travel plans figuring out how long it will take to get to each course that also includes booking hotels, and hit the road.
The golfer also has to consider how long he can be at each course which factors into how many holes he will play. Schupp can finish 18 holes in an hour-and-a-half, usually in the morning when he is completely unencumbered by other golfers. However, the goal is to play three courses a day so the number of holes ranges anywhere from eight to all 18 depending on the availability.
Schupp said he stays pretty busy, as opposed to some retirees, but it is a labor of love and he does not charge the courses for any of his services.
“It keeps me busier than my job ever did,” Schupp stated. “Playing the courses is the easy part. But, regrettably the actual playing time represents only a small fraction of the total time I spend on the project.”
Ultimately, Schupp plays about 20 courses in any given week, goes home and starts planning the next trip. It takes him two to three weeks to plan each week of the trip and he only plays April through October because another important aspect of the website is to feature photographs of each course when looking its best.
“I really want to bring the course to life and show how it really looks by featuring unique aspects of each course. I want to showcase each course and you need leaves on the trees to do that, I think,” he said. “As much as I love to play golf, I enjoy taking pictures that much more so I am doing everything I love to do. Playing golf, taking pictures and seeing the state of Missouri - you cannot beat it.”
Another aspect of this experience Schupp has enjoyed is meeting people all over the state.
“Everyone has a story and I could almost do a T.V. show. There are some really nice people in Missouri and golfers are generally very nice people,” he stated.
Although this endeavor has also allowed Schupp to spend some quality time on the road with his wife, Missouri State Senator Jill Schupp, as well.
“My wife is a state senator so I’m up to my eyes in Missouri politics and it is fun and interesting to drive to these parts that I hear about every day from her,” he noted. “In fact, last year when I did this, she ‘piggy-backed’ on the tour with a thing she called ’Senate Tour.’ When I went to play on the golf course, she would visit with the local senator in each community around Missouri and get to know businesses while I got to know the golf courses.”
Schupp was introduced to the game around the age of 10 when his father, a Sedalia native, took him to the sand greens of Elm Hills. Since then, he has found it difficult to not have a club in his hands. Still, Schupp humbly admits that his game could always use some improvement, even with more time to play after retirement.
“You would think as much as I’m playing that my game would be much improved, but everybody who plays golf knows it is not easy,” he said. “Just when you think you got it figured out and you are playing well, the bottom drops out and you cannot even hit the ball 20 feet.
“But I’m really not improving because I’m focused on playing the courses, taking pictures, writing the reviews and meeting people along the way.”
Indeed, Schupp seems determined to finish what he set out to accomplish and hopes to have the website complete by the end of 2018.
To check out the information and reviews of Missouri courses provided so far, visit http://mogolftour.com.