The highlight of the Stowe golfing season comes in June when Stowe Country Club hosts the annual Joe Kirkwood [Memorial] Tournament started by Joe in 1967. The event was organized by Stu Baraw, Sr., Peter Dresser and Bob Swanson. The original member-guest concept grew to a gala for golfers from across the country for an extended golf event. The tournament accepts up to 90 two-man teams competing for four days to earn a place in Stowe golf history. Stu Baraw, Jr. and Bill Kelk currently organize the tournament, with Gloria Paine and Sherry Wilson doing all the work. In 2006, Stu played in his 39 event, the remaining player to be in every one. The field has a multi-generation following with many father/son teams listed on the score sheets each year.
Bill Kelk recalls that Joe set the format in 1968 that has continued to be played throughout the years. The first (qualifying) round on Thursday is a best ball medal score for each two-man team. This score establishes the team flighting. Friday and Saturday consists of match play within each flight. Sunday is championship day. Consolation matches and a handicapped medal play tournament are set up for those players who desire another round.
In addition to championship and flight trophies, the Stan Marc Wright Trophy is awarded for low net in the qualifying round and the Hadley Trophy is awarded for the Low Gross Medalist. Wright and Hadley had prominent roles in the years they spent at the Club. Wright was a founder of the original club and a former club champion. Jeff Hadley was the Stowe CC head professional for eleven years.
Sherry Wilson has kept the daily score sheets each year since 1986. Sherry’s calligraphy spells out the winners and losers scores, tracking the progress of the daily competitions. The teams include a dozen father/son or brother combinations out of the 78 teams entered. The Baraw and Buonanno teams are third generation players.
Clubhouse plaques display the winners throughout the many years of this event. The Stowe Golf Association maintains the plaques through the good service provided by Tracy and Dave at Couch Signs, Inc in Stowe.