When she was about 13 years old, Karen Schull MacGee was hitting golf balls at Smiley’s driving range when Marian Gault invited her to join the Kansas City Girls Junior Golf Program.

“I joined and that became my first time being involved with an organized golf group,” MacGee recalled. “This led to my parents joining Blue Hills Country Club, which in turn led to my taking lessons from the legendary golf pro, Duke Gibson, there.”

Thanks to Gibson, MacGee went on to become one of the top amateur golfers in Kansas City – and then in the Show-Me State – and it’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct MacGee with the Class of 2023.

MacGee won seven Missouri Golf Association Women’s Amateurs, which covered the years 1960, 1962, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1973 and 1979.

She also was a four-time runner-up in that event (1957, 1959, 1974, 1976), and was a three-time medalist (1960, 1967, 1975). In fact, her record of 70-15 in the Missouri Amateur leads the second-place player by 18 wins.

Nationally, she reached the quarterfinals of the 1961 U.S. Women’s Amateur, finished as the runner-up in the 1961 Women’s Collegiate, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1963 and 1965 Trans-Miss Championship.

MacGee also was an eight-time champion of the Kansas City Women’s Match Play, and four-time Country Club District champion.

Overall, she enjoyed eight appearances in the USGA Women’s Amateur, five appearances in the Women’s Trans-Miss Championship and five appearances in the Women’s Western Amateur. She also was a match play qualifier for the USGA Girls Junior Championship and the Women’s Western Junior Championship in 1957.

She credits Gibson for much of her success.

“Duke once gave me a shag bag with 30-plus new balls in it, which made me feel special and inspired me to practice even more,” MacGee said. “Duke always stressed that I should spend the same amount of time on my short game as I did when practicing my long game. I loved to practice, but practice time was mainly limited to summers when school was out.”

MacGee certainly tore through the late 1950s and remained competitive until 1980.

Her 1960 Missouri Women’s Amateur win came after Gibson emphasized the need to “be ready to play from the first hole on” in the 36-hole finals. She won 9 & 8.

In 1962, she won it again, this time 2 & 1 after a wild 35th hole. Gault pulled a tee shot on the par 3 hole, but it hit an upright bunker rake and caromed only seven feet from the hole. MacGee then made an 18-foot putt, and Gault missed hers.

In 1964, MacGee was one-up entering the 36th hole at Twin Hills Country Club in Joplin. She managed a difficult up-and-down to make par after missing the green and halved the hole to win the match 1 up.

Her 1968 and 1972 victories came against Barbara Berkmeyer (MSHOF 2021). MacGee beat future LPGA golfer Cathy Reynolds (MSHOF 2015) in 1973 in a match where the lead changed hands six times before she won 2 & 1.

Her 1979 victory was among her most impressive. MacGee was down two after 10 holes, but birdied four of the next seven holes to take a 5-up lead after 18.

She credits her play in the 1957 Missouri Women’s Amateur for building her confidence. She was 17 at the time and, in her first time as a qualifier in the championship flight, MacGee beat the medalist of the tournament in the first round and later lost 2 & 1 in the 36-hole finals.

Two years later, she reached the Missouri Women’s Amateur semifinals and won that match on the 19th hole, after making a 42-foot putt on 18 at Hickory Hills Country Club in Springfield.

In the 1961 Women’s Collegiate, MacGee reached the finals after beating two Curtis Cup players, defending champion JoAnne Gunderson Carner and 1959 winner Judy Eller Street. MacGee reached the quarterfinals of the USGA Women’s National Amateur later that year.

Overall, what a run it was for MacGee, who also won five Kansas Amateurs.

“My advice (for young people) would be to follow your heart and do what you love,” MacGee said. “If that happens to be golf, give it everything you have, but always remember to keep things in perspective. Duke once told me, ‘You’re never as good as you think you are when you’re playing well, and you’re never as bad as you think you are when you’re playing poorly.’”