WARRENTON — To paraphrase the famous Johnny Cash song, Mark Schupp has “been everywhere, man.”
Schupp has been everywhere in Missouri that has a golf course to be more specific — from the fabulous fairways of Farmington to the glorious greens in Grant City.
He’s bogeyed in Ballwin and birdied in Bolivar. He’s made par in Plattsburg and hollered, “Fore!” in Forsyth.
He’s teed off at Tapawingo, whiffed once in West Plains and shanked a few shots in Sarcoxie. He’s not only racked up major mileage on his driver, but on his vehicle’s wheels as well.
“I think I’ve traveled on more Missouri highways than anyone in this state’s history,” Schupp said.
And Schupp hasn’t restricted his travels to the big cities and well-known burgs. He’s been willing to go off the beaten path and ply all the nooks and crannies to find the state’s rarest roughs and the toughest holes and hazards. He’s made great memories — and collected some strange anecdotes — while on his golf odyssey. Just ask him about his rendezvous at the Redneck Golf Club in Holden.
Through it all though, Schupp has simply wanted to show off all the Show-Me State has to offer when it comes to golf. He’s left no stone unturned, and he’s left no course unplayed.
Why has he been doing this?
Well, you’ve got to do something when you retire, according to Schupp. He took to the greens not long after selling his business at the end of 2014. His career was in advertising and marketing, representing clients like Red Lobster and Anheuser-Busch, before starting his own agency and adding the likes of Nestle Purina, the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues to his marketing business roster.
After putting his advertising career behind him, he refused to opt for a life confined to the couch with a trusty remote in hand. He did what a lot of retirees do. He started golfing more.
Schupp said his father taught him the game when he was 10 years old.
“From the time I first struck the ball until now, I’ve been very passionate about the sport,“ he said. “It’s something you can do with friends and by yourself. You can do it while you‘re doing business, but that‘s not the primary reason I golf. I just love it.”
Only Schupp shifted his hobby into hyperdrive. Realizing there was no singular go-to source that had definitively reviewed Missouri golf courses, he decided to put together a golf guide himself — a labor of love and a DIY pet project.
He took a college web programming and coding class to start the process and spent seven months designing MoGolfTour.com.
“Creating the website, keeping it up to date, contacting the courses, planning the schedule, coordinating travel, etc. keeps me busier than my job ever he did,” he said. “Playing the courses is the easy part. But, regrettably, the actual playing time only represents a small fraction of the total time I spend on the project.”
The time spent seems worthwhile though. Schupp makes sure website viewers get the most complete information possible on a particular course. He takes note of the quality-to-cost ratio, course yardage, walk-ability, slope rating, the type of fairway grass and rough grass, as well as the green type, along with a stimp-meter reading while also talking with management and groundskeepers. He gives each course a rating of one to five golf balls with five being the best.
There are approximately 375 golf courses in Missouri. Since he started in 2015, Schupp has over 350 reviews under his belt.
His goal is nearly complete and should be finished by the end of the summer.
He didn’t forget Warren County, but maybe he waited so long to try its three courses — Warrenton Golf Club, Country Lakes Golf Club and Innsbrook Golf Course — because he wanted to save the best for last.
Regardless, Schupp hit them all on Monday, logging nearly 50 holes of golf in just over six hours in his first actual visit to Warrenton. He concedes he has driven past the county courses hundreds of time as a Kansas City native who currently resides in Creve Coeur.
So how does the golf in Warrenton and at the fairways at Innsbrook stack up to the rest of the state?
His official review wasn’t posted before press time, but he had positive things to say immediately following his experiences.
“All of the course visits exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I felt a real sense of community with the Luecke family at the Warrenton Golf Course and they’re definitely doing something right. It was a fun course to play because there are a lot of doglegs and you have to move the ball and be able to move it right and left. And the course is in really good shape for being rural.
“Country Lake Golf Course was equally as nice and different in personality. I thought the back nine was a little more open and the grasses were a little better, but overall I enjoyed both courses quite a bit,” he noted.
“And Innsbrook… it’s a resort-style course that still needs a little bit of TLC, but it’s one of the best values in the state for what it charges for green fees. It’s not at 100 percent of what it could be, but it’s making great strides.”
Amazingly after all the time and dedication Schupp has devoted to golfing throughout the state, the game has yet to become a grind.
It’s still fun and he even gets withdrawals in the winter. He said his journies have given him a new perspective on the Show-Me State.
“I’m finding that playing every course in Missouri is about much more than just golf,” he said. “It’s becoming more about meeting and spending time with the great people of the state and hearing their stories.”