Missouri Golf Association Logo

All in the Family

Categories: Features, Headlines, Top Story | Posted: August 2, 2012 | 2 Comments »

Pictured from L to R

Buddy Godwin, Ben Godwin and Bobby Godwin.

All in the Family

The Godwins are golf royalty in Missouri

 The Godwins make it a point to play in the annual Missouri Father-Son Championship.

But Buddy Godwin has two sons, Bobby and Ben, so who gets to play with dad? Do they fight for it?

“Yes, we do,” Bobby said Tuesday after the completion of the two-day event at Porto Cima. “And I lost.”

Bobby, of course, said it with a laugh.

“That’s really not true,” he said. “Ben bought a new building and he’s moving his business, so he was busy. I had a couple of days off, so it all worked out.”

The Godwins aren’t your run-of-the-mill golf family. With most fathers and sons, if you break 90, you are a winner. Unless it’s mini-golf, where 89 probably won’t win.

Buddy, 75, and Ben, 42, are the only father-son combination in state history to win the Missouri State Amateur, the state’s marquee event. Ben has won two, in 2003 and 2006; Buddy won in 1973 at Jefferson City Country Club.

And Bobby, who will turn 48 on Thursday, won one of Missouri’s other “majors,” capturing the Stroke Play Championship in 1999.

This family, which hales from Poplar Bluff, is Missouri golf royalty. No matching DNA has done it better.

“We come from a small area and we were fortunate enough to win some state tournaments,” Bobby said. “But golf royalty? That’s awfully kind.”

As are the Godwins. They’re awfully kind, they’re awfully good, and they win with class.

This golf story dates back to 1953 when Buddy was courting his now-wife of 52 years, Mary, who is also an avid golfer.

“We’d walk 18 holes and carry our clubs every day at a little 9-hole course with sand greens,” Buddy said. “We went together seven years before we got married. She was a cheerleader, I played basketball; we’ve had a happy life.”

Then came the boys (Buddy and Mary also have a daughter, who’s not a big golfer).

“She took the boys when they were little and played with them,” Buddy said. “Our boys enjoyed playing and that’s the key to it, they wanted to.

“If I told them once, I told them 100 times: ‘If you want to go fishing, go fishing. Do what you want to do.’ They wanted to play golf.”

Then, once again talking about Mary, Buddy fought back tears.

“She raised the kids while I was working,” he said. “She’s always been upbeat and she never complains. She taught them to say ‘yes, sir and no, sir.’ She taught them the importance of education; she just did a great job of raising them.”

So did dad.

“Wherever I went to play golf, I took one of them with me,” he said. “We slept in the same room, we ate together and if they wanted to go to the movies, we’d go to the movies. Ben always wanted to go to fairs, so at night we’d end up looking at pigs and chickens.

“One time in Mississippi, Ben saw something in the paper and after 18 holes, we ended up looking at an 1,100-pound hog. But that’s okay, because we like the same things.”

Bobby and Buddy both credit caddying for their success, and they said it was the same for Ben.

“That’s where I learned to play and they did, too, caddying,” Buddy said. “That was very important. You see good players play, then you go to the range and mock them.”

They learned well, obviously.

“We’ve seen things and been all over the country, great places, and we would have never have been able to see those without golf,” Bobby said.

“And the people you meet … I’ve made some great friends through golf.”

Back to the Father Son Championship — Bobby teamed with Buddy to win the title in 2010; Ben and Buddy were second last year. This week, Bobby and Buddy finished sixth with a 36-hole total of 3-over par 147 (78-69).

This year, however, was as good as last year. And the year before.

“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you just try hard and it’s a pleasure,” Buddy said. “I probably don’t have many more years, so I’m enjoying this while I can.

“We just look forward to being together for two days.”

Story by Tom Loeffler, Sport Columnist for Connect Mid Missouri and KRCG 

2 Responses to “All in the Family”

  1. karen Says:

    What an awesome group of guys. I look forward to seeing you next year Buddy!! Dont forget my hat. HA

  2. Joe Thomas Says:

    I was lucky enough to know the Godwin’s while growning up in Southeast Mo. Kind, competitive and gracious are some of the words that can describe the whole group of them.
    On the lighter side, Maybe Bobby is a better golfer than basketball ref. :)
    Joe Thomas
    1993 grad from Portageville MO

Leave a Reply

Drury Hotel Ad