There are over 375 golf courses in Missouri — more than enough to keep a person busy for over a year, playing one course a day.
But playing on that many golf courses may seem like a ludicrous idea ... unless, of course, you’re a professional golfer, or Adam Sandler during the shooting of Happy Gilmore.
But one Missouri man has decided to undertake that very challenge.
“I like to set myself big objectives,” Mark Schupp, 62, told The Star this week. Retiring in 2014, Schupp has spent the last four years touring courses in the Show Me State, playing each before writing reviews on his website.
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Golf has always been a part of Schupp’s life. He has been playing since he was 10, growing up in Kansas City. He fell in love with the sport at a course that has since been purchased by William Jewell College and renamed Cardinal Hill Golf Course.
But a busy life in the advertising industry, including being a brand manager at Anheuser-Busch and owning his own agency in St. Louis, limited Schupp’s time.
He’d always wanted to retire early, so when the opportunity arose in 2014, he sold his business and looked for a new purpose in life.
“I sold the company, and most people when they retire, they travel and they play golf,” Schupp said. “And I decided to do it on steroids. So I decided to travel Missouri, hitting every nook and cranny.”
Enrolling in a seven-month website-programming and design course at Meramec College, Schupp created his website, mogolftour.com, and then set about his multi-year tour of Missouri golf courses.
The website offers information on all the courses Schupp has reviewed, as well as the courses he is still yet to play. He uses a five star rating system for each course, with five stars being equivalent to Augusta National.
“I try to position most courses in as positive a light as I can. Because I really want people to use it and play more golf,” Schupp said. “I’m very realistic on the rating, because I want to give active golfers a very realistic course strength.”
Schupp has completed approximately 310 courses so far on his tour. He is nearing the end of the mission. One of the many courses that has stood out to him is Porto Cima in the Ozarks. He gave the course 4.5 stars, putting it almost on par with Augusta National.
Once his tour is over and the website is finished, Schupp doesn’t think he’ll emulate his efforts in another state.
“The thing is, it’s such a grind. Golf is the easy and fun part, but that doesn’t take hardly any time at all,” Schupp said. “It is a three week process — set up the travel, contact all the courses, tell them I’m coming. Then to go and play the golf course next week, and then the following week is putting it in the computer and putting it on social media like Facebook. So I’m not enjoying the courses as much as I would like to.”
Instead, Schupp has been toying with the idea of simply touring some of the most famous courses in the world, or even just in the United States.
“I’m not making any money or anything,” he said. “There’s no financial component. I’m doing it just for fun and the love of golf.”