PRO GOLFER AND INSTRUCTOR
“If anyone gets the short game, it’s Utley.”
—Travel and Leisure Golf
“The hottest instructor in golf.”
Southern Missouri is known for a lot of things, but professional golf isn’t one of the things you normally think of, but golfer Stan Utley changed that perception, becoming one of the top PGA Tour veterans and one of the best teachers of the game.
THE EARLY YEARS
Stan Utley was born on January 16, 1962, and grew up in the small town of Thayer, near the Arkansas border in south-central Missouri. He won the 1980 Missouri Junior Championship before taking his skills to the University of Missouri–Columbia. While at Mizzou, he was a three-time All-Big 8 Conference selection. He also achieved the rank of All American twice. He graduated in 1984, and instead of going out and looking for a “day” job, he decided to try his luck in professional golf.
RISE TO FAME
Utley turned pro the same year he graduated from Mizzou, but it took a few years before he joined the PGA Tour. He won a number of tournaments while climbing the incredibly difficult ranks of professional golf, but his career wasn’t providing a lot of money yet. His first professional win came in 1985 in Jackson, Missouri. His next was at the 1986 Kansas Open. Utley followed up those early titles with back-to-back victories in the 1988 and 1989 Missouri Open championships.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
Stan joined the PGA Tour by way of a victory at the 1989 Chattanooga Classic thanks to a sponsor’s exemption. During the 1990s, he split time between the PGA and Nationwide Tours winning the 1993 Cleveland Open en route to finishing third on the Nationwide Tour money list. Utley finished twelfth on the 1995 Nationwide Tour money list after winning the Louisiana Open and Miami Valley Open by carding rounds of 62 in each of those victories.
Stan set a PGA Tour record that stands today and will likely never be broken. During the 2002 Air Canada Championships, he only putted six times during a nine-hole stretch. The previous record stood for more than fifty years, but Utley’s amazing string of holes set a record that most players cannot imagine ever being broken.
Utley continues to be a presence in professional golf, despite rarely playing in events these days. He is widely considered one to the top golf instructors in the country, with people from around the world coming to him for golf lessons. In fact, a large number of touring pros credit him for changing their short game. He may not be racking up wins on tour these days, but he continues to prove that he is still a man to be reckoned with in professional golf.
*Utley hosts the annual “Go for the Gold” skins game in mid-Missouri to benefit Rainbow House charity.