Briarwood Country Club member Phyllis Melvey sponsored a grand party for friends and lady golfers.
The 9-hole event was played from the forward Melvey tees with no scorecards used, but lots of smiles and birdies made as golfers were closer to reaching the greens in regulation than they normally are able to do.
The Melvey tees, as well as the forward gold tees, were created when Melvey, now 95 years young, realized she had the skill, but no longer the distance to reach the greens in regulation. She and fellow Briarwood members, Cindy Bryniarski assisting with gold tees and Kari Kinkead assisting with Melvey tees, went to the USGA and got the tees sanctioned to be sloped and rated. Both sets of tees now appear on scorecards and can be posted by players.
Currently, the gold tees are so popular that almost half of the players in the 18-hole Briarwood, 20800 N. 135th Ave., Sun City West ladies organization play from the gold, which has helped increase everyone’s enjoyment of the game.
Melvey and her husband, Glenn, joined Briarwood in 1997. He has since died, but her life continued to be filled with family and dozens of friends from the Briarwood club community. Melvey’s daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Bob Perdaems, live nearby and are also members of Briarwood. Melvey grew up in Minnesota, but later moved to North Dakota where she raised her four children and taught physical education for seven years.
In their lifetimes, Melvey and her husband were quite the athletes. She played in the North Dakota State Championship. At one point, she had the opportunity to play golf with professional women’s golfer, Patty Burg. They became friends and exchanged Christmas cards during Burg’s lifetime. Melvey competed successfully in a variety of sports. In 1953, she was the North Dakota State Tennis Champion. Her husband was nationally ranked racquetball.
This year’s Melvey Tee Party was filled with humorous anecdotes from Melvey’s past that had her guests rolling in the isles with laughter. Without giving away too many details, stories ranged from the time Melvey tried to tend bar, to her card playing on a cruise ship, to misidentifying a mouse in her closet, to moving into then back out of a senior living facility because, according to Melvey, “They treat me like I’m old!”
Winter visitor and baby boomer long-time friend, Kari Kinkead, said, “She’s my Arizona Mom and an inspiration.” Kinkead, who carries a 2 handicap, enjoyed playing golf regularly through the years with Melvey, as the two have had occasion to share “birdie juice” together.
Melvey and her family were instrumental in building the sense of community at Briarwood, a place where friends can share a game of golf, a handshake or a hug, and personal stories with love and laughter.
Contact Membership Director Robert Bubon at 623-556-8807 or visit Briarwood.