Ted Stark, 1930-2023
January 13, 2023 | 2 min.
ByWarren P Ryan
Theodore E. “Ted” Stark, Jr., of Edina, Minn., passed away Jan. 4 in Phoenix, Ariz. Stark, 92, was a highly skilled golfer and a longtime member of the Minnesota Golf Association’s Board of Directors. He served as the MGA’s Tournament and Rules Committee chair in the early 1970s, and was elected president, serving a two-year term in 1983 and 1984. As president, Stark took a stand against handicap manipulation, and extolled the value of an MGA Associate Membership, describing it as far more important than a nominal handicap charge, but rather as a vital revenue stream which collectively did “a mighty amount for the game of golf in Minnesota.”
During Stark’s tenure, the association visited and rated more than 280 member golf courses to lay the groundwork for the new USGA Slope Handicap System, which was rolled out nationwide in 1984. The slope system provided the bogey golfer a more realistic playing handicap.
An accomplished player, Stark very nearly disrupted one of the most iconic endeavors in Minnesota golf history. In 1962 at Hillcrest Country Club, Stark went 38 holes in the quarterfinals of the State Amateur Championship against Gene Hansen, the defending amateur champion. Hansen would win the match on the second extra hole and eventually win the amateur championship, and the State Open and the State Public Links – Minnesota golf’s triple crown, for the second consecutive year.
Three years later, Stark would advance to semifinals of the State Amateur at Hazeltine National Golf Club, before losing, 4 and 2, to the eventual winner Jim Archer. After the amateur championship switched formats, from match play to 72 holes of stroke play, Stark would finish in the top 10 twice, with a 6th place and 10th place, respectively, at the 1968 and 1971 amateurs, the latter at his home club Edina Country Club (ECC), where he was a life-long member.
Stark served as ECC club president in 1979, and would amass five club championships over a span of four decades. Last year, ECC renamed the men’s club championship in his honor. He is survived by his wife, Pat, and three children, Ted III, Karen and Peter.