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Mark Harman

Belling Back in Winner's Circle

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A definite trend has developed the past few years at the United States Golf Teachers Cup: If you want to win the overall title, you must be Canadian and 50 or over. No others need apply, or if you do, you better find a way to knock off the older crowd from north of the border.

First, it was 71-year-old Bill Hardwick from Aurora, Ontario, a seasoned competitor who still drives the ball in the 270-yard range, who took home the title in 2012. Then, it was 50-year-old Grant Gulych from Port Stanley, Ontario, who outlasted the field in difficult conditions in 2013.

Dave Belling continued that trend as the Canadian, a newly-minted senior golfer at the age of 50, shot a US Cup record 8-under par 136 to win the 2014 edition of the USGTF’s national championship tournament October 22-23 at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada. The win made Belling the third multiple winner of the US Cup along with James Douris and Mark Harman, as he previously captured the championship in 2004 at Carter Plantation in Louisiana. Belling also won $3,000 for his efforts, and the tournament featured a purse of $18,000.

For Belling, it marked a return to the top of the USGTF heap for the longtime competitor. He has played in every US Cup since 2003, absent only last year in Tunica after taking a new position as general manager of Fountain of the Sun Country Club in Mesa, Arizona. Being settled in for a year allowed Belling to arrange his schedule so he could play once again.

Turning 50 seemed to energize the Canadian, who said, “I had high expectations for the week; I came to win.” And win he did: Belling won by five shots, the second largest margin of victory in US Cup history. Jerry Moore in 2008 won by a record seven shots at Sandia Golf Course in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A field of 106 players teed it up on Wednesday, October 22. Past champions in the field besides Belling included Hardwick, Moore, Gulych, Harman and Christopher Richards, making this the strongest field in US Cup history. In addition, Jim Perez, Cole Golden, Bruce Sims, and defending two-time Open division winner Matt Smith posed formidable threats. Others champions in the field included 2010 Canadian Golf Teachers Cup titleholder Bob Richardson, former USGTF Central Region winner Nate Deakin, and current USGTF Northwest Region champion Ryan Ortega. It was a daunting task to pick a favorite before the start of the tournament.

Belling set the tone in the first round, firing a stellar 3-under 69 on the El Dorado and Coyote Run nines at Boulder Creek. Although, it wasn’t as easy at it seemed.

“The El Dorado nine doesn’t set up well for me,” said Belling. “It doesn’t fit my eye. I bogeyed both of the par-5s, and was 1-over after my first nine.”

Everything fell into place on the back nine as Belling ripped off a 32 to take a two-shot lead into the final round. Nipping at his heels at 71 were Vito Cisternino, Ricky Orsborn, and Kirtis Tyler. Golden was another shot back at 72, followed at 73 by Hardwick, Harman, Richards, Moore, and Mark Startup. With so many former champions and fine players within striking distance, Belling figured he had to up his game if he wanted to win.

“I knew I had a lot of firepower ahead of me,” Belling remarked about playing in the final group on the final day. “I had great respect for the players in front of me. I knew someone would come at me with a 68 or 69, so I knew I had to be at 70 or better to win.”

Belling got off to a slow start as he three-putted the first hole during the final round for a bogey. Tyler, also playing in the final group, struck the ball well but wasn’t able to sink the putts he needed. Nevertheless, he cut the deficit to one shot heading into the back nine as he was -2 to Belling’s -3. Cisternino shot 39 and Orsborn shot 40 to fall out of contention. Hardwick, playing two groups in front of Belling, posted a 34 to make the turn at -1 for the championship. It looked to be a three-man race on the final nine.

Except, Belling had other ideas. Starting on the 11th hole, the Canadian birdied four of the next five holes to seal the deal. A closing 67 gave Belling his record score and comfortable margin of victory.

What did the win mean to Belling?

“I get my badge back,” he joked, referring to a story in the Winter 2005 edition of Golf Teaching Pro that described him as the “new sheriff in town” when it came to WGTF events. “It was nice to play well and be competitive. Being a little more solidified in business and in my personal life helped. I also have a great team at the club surrounding me.”

The Open division championship was settled for the second consecutive year with a sudden-death playoff. Richards, Startup, and Golden all tied at 2-under 142, necessitating extra holes. After Golden hit his approach to four feet to set up a sure birdie on the first playoff hole, Richards nailed a 25-foot birdie putt to stay alive. Startup was eliminated after failing to also birdie the hole. Richards then won on the second playoff hole when his 14-foot par putt found the bottom of the cup, and Golden’s own effort from 13 feet went astray. It was Richards’ second Open division title.

The Ladies division was won by Florencia De Rolz from Guatemala, who was the runner-up in that division in 2006 at the same course. She fired rounds of 84-82 – 166 to win the title over runner-up Sharon Bagdasarian.

Hardwick won the Super Senior division for the second year in a row, finishing with scores of 73-68 – 141. Cisternino was the runner-up at 71-77 – 148.

The Legends division was won for the second consecutive year by Walt Abraham, who fired scores of 80-76 – 156, to win by three shots over first-round leader Versie Adams, who finished with 78-81 – 159. Belling also took the Senior division title, defeating runner-up Mark Shimamura, who turned in scores of 74-70 – 144.


Final scores from the 19th annual United States Golf Teachers Cup, played October 22-23, Boulder City Golf Club, Boulder City, Nevada

David Belling 69-67 - 136

Bill Hardwick 73-68 - 141

Cole Golden 72-70 - 142

Christopher Richards 73-69 - 142

Mark Startup 73-69 - 142

Ricky Orsborn 71-73 - 144

Mark Shimamura 74-70 - 144

Grant Gulych 74-71 - 145

Mark Harman 73-73 - 146

Kirtis Tyler 71-75 - 146

Robert Green 78-70 - 148

Vito Cisternino 71-77 - 148

Ryan Ortega 75-74 - 149

Matt Smith 76-73 - 149

John McGaugh 74-75 - 149

Jerry Moore 73-76 - 149

Andy Wills 79-71 - 150

Timothy P. Schmidt 78-72 - 150

Yasuhiro Yobiko 78-73 - 151

Jim Grow 75-76 - 151

Ken Butler 78-74 - 152

James Krnc 75-77 - 152

Brent Davies 75-78 - 153

Jim Perez 74-79 - 153

Steven Elsner 78-75 - 153

Nate Deakin 81-73 - 154

Scott Enger 78-76 - 154

Bob Richardson 77-77 - 154

Donnie Bjorhus 77-78 - 155

Tony Keeton 74-81 - 155

Daniel S. Lee 81-74 - 155

Brian Su 79-76 - 155

Tommy Tam 80-75 - 155

Anthony Benny 81-74 - 155

Jeffery Keefer 76-80 - 156

Ron Platz 75-81 - 156

Walt Abraham 80-76 - 156

Johnny Jeong 80-77 - 157

Jeff Keating 79-78 - 157

Scott G. Petersen 81-76 - 157

Derek Ary 77-81 - 158

Andrew Pierson 77-81 - 158

Ruben Ramirez 82-76 - 158

Carlos De Barros 76-82 - 158

Gary Louie 78-80 - 158

Dan Meyers 78-80 - 158

Versie Adams 78-81 - 159

D.B. Merrill 77-83 - 160

James Mita 78-82 - 160

Robert Vitti 79-81 - 160

Michel Fortier 84-77 - 161

Faraid Mehmood 75-86 - 161

Michael Sorel 80-81 - 161

Sachin Prasad Bhattarai 80-82 - 162

Larry Davis 86-76 - 162

Kern Doucet 83-79 - 162

Steven R. Pezzino 79-83 - 162

Brian Powers 81-83 - 164

Feliciano Zamudio 84-80 - 164

Kenny Choi 85-79 - 164

Bert Jones 81-83 - 164

Bruce Sims 84-80 - 164

Hector Avila 87-78 - 165

Paul Powers 81-84 - 165

Thomas Harrison Jr. 85-80 - 165

Joe Stewart 84-81 - 165

Geoff Bryant 85-80 - 165

Frank Mitchell 82-84 - 166

Ken Hanley 79-87 - 166

Florencia De Rolz 84-82 - 166

Hiroyuki Tanaka 85-82 - 167

Ralph Mattox 83-84 - 167

Ray Holder 83-85 - 168

Robert Jaffe 85-85 - 170

Brandon Lee 85-88 - 173

Bruce Master 84-89 - 173

Trevor McGill 86-88 - 174

Bob Rainer 85-89 - 174

Dale Hicks 82-93 - 175

Peter Louis 85-90 - 175

Terhsiu Chen 90-86 - 176

John Linton 89-87 - 176

Newell Ficker 89-88 - 177

Christopher Warner 85-92 - 177

Booth Kates 80-98 - 178

Charlie Whitney 87-91 - 178

Nelson King 87-92 - 179

Bill Standley 88-91 - 179

Sharon Bagdasarian 85-95 - 180

Andy Rosales 84-97 - 181

Don Borrmann 98-85 - 183

Ray Savoy 93-90 - 183

Cesare Sisti 89-96 - 185

David Grant 88-98 - 186

Salem Shahin 91-97 - 188

William Herbert 100-88 - 188

Mark Broussard 93-96 - 189

John Youngberg 95-95 - 190

Robert Whitley 97-100 - 197

Hiromitsu Yokoi 98-99 - 197

Glenn Mason 99-99 - 198

Emily Ding 110-118 – 228

Lee Coster 96-WD

Chrstopher McMillan WD

J.D. Winkle WD

Jess Jattan WD


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Hi Jim,


Belling won $3,000 as overall champion.




Christopher Richards $1,600

Cole Golden 850

Mark Startup 850

Ricky Orsborn 600

Mark Harman 500




Mark Shimamura $1,300

Grant Gulych 800

Kirtis Tyler 600

Ken Butler 500


Super Senior


Bill Hardwick $1,600

Vito Cisternino 1,000

Jerry Moore 700

John McGaugh 600

Timothy Schmidt 500




Walt Abraham $1,000

Versie Adams 700

Ray Holder 500




Florencia De Rolz $800

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I am a new USGTF Member. Where are the lady pro teachers? Why aren't they playing in the tournaments and are there any discussions about them? see any conversations about the ladies playing. I want to focus my teaching on executives, primarily female executives, because I already do executive coaching and consulting.

I am also certified level III this year (thanks John Savage) and would like to hear about other USGTF lady golfers who are teaching & playing well.

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Hi Shar,


Nice to see you joined the board. We are also puzzled by the lack of female participation the last few years at the US Cup. We used to regularly draw about 10-15 women but no more.

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In my area there are 3 female golf teachers and probably over 100 male teachers. The clubs and golf shops have male pro teachers and in my experience have little interest in allowing room for a female pro teacher. I have so many opportunities to teach women privately and could build a great program at any club, but there continues to be "no room at the Inn" for a woman pro teacher. Maybe it's just Lancaster County? But it's not a shortage of clients who want a female teacher. Any thoughts on how USGTF women teachers have been received? I am a par golfer consistently on most courses and a very good teacher.

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I am not aware that USGTF women members have been poorly received. I know Kathy Hester, Alice Brown, Gayle James, and Jill Finlan-Scally, among others, have places to teach and are successful.


Go to the facility owner or GM (don't go to the director of golf or the head pro - they have no interest in the facility revenue, but the owners and GMs most certainly do) and let them know how you can help their bottom line.

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