SELLERSBURG – A local couple’s shared love for golf takes them to Ireland to represent the United States next week.
Henryville residents David Ellis Conyers and Dr Jill Kostick will play for the United States team in the International King’s Cup, which takes place at Glasson Golf Club in Ireland. The couple leave on Saturday.
âThe most important thing for me is not the fact, ‘Oh, I can go to Ireland.’ The most important factor for me is representing the United States team, âsaid Conyers, 54, Thursday afternoon before he and Kostick played in an event at Covered Bridge Golf Club. never, ever, in my wildest dreams, thought I would be part of a national team. “
âI am thrilled beyond words. I can’t even describe how excited and thrilled I am, âadded Kostick, 59.
It will be a historic appearance for Kostick, who will be the first woman to participate in the event which was previously called a “two-man competition”.
âTo me being the first woman in history is like ‘Wow!’â Said Kostick, doctor at Ascension St. Vincent in Salem, with a smile.
The International King’s Cup is a team competition held annually between an Irish national team and an American national team. The King’s Cup is played in honor of Arnold Palmer, whose “honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and commitment to excellence represent the ideals for which golf is known,” according to his website Internet.
In 2019, the King’s Cup was played in the United States, for the first time, on one of Palmer’s courses, the Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
Conyers and Kostrick qualified for the King’s Cup in 2019 and were supposed to take part in the event last year before COVID-19 hit. It was rescheduled in May of this year before being postponed, again by COVID, until next week.
“We weren’t sure if that would ever happen, but Ireland has finally opened up and we will be participating in the competition,” Kostick said.
Kostick and Conyers are two of the 16 members of Team USA. Eight will play among the four flights of the Open division while eight more will participate in the four flights of the Senior division. The couple will represent the United States in the C Flight of the Open division.
âEspecially since it’s an Olympic year, we really feel that vibe,â said Conyers.
Conyers and Kostick were golf latecomers.
Conyers said he didn’t start playing seriously until he was “24 or 25” after leaving the Air Force. Kostick, meanwhile, was even later.
âI never really played until my forties were over,â she said.
The couple met – surprise – while playing golf, at the Wildcat Creek Golf Course in their hometown of Kokomo about 10 years ago. However, they didn’t bond romantically until four or five years ago.
They started to play in tournaments together.
âThe first time I went out to play in a competition I scored 122,â Kostick said. âSo I took classes for a few years and improved dramatically and got up in the flights. I did really well. I feel like I’m going to get better. It’s my state of mind.
Kostick, who Conyers says has around 18 disabled players, recently had a 13-month stretch in which she recorded four holes in one.
âThe problem is, with Jill and I, we both love golf with a passion,â said Conyers, who has an 11-year-old handicap. âI don’t know anyone I have played with as a teammate who has been so competitive. It is as competitive as it gets. There is no surrender in her. If you have a teammate, this is what you want. You would play with them any day of the week. The first time we played a two-man tournament, we came in second.
âI played with her at home, but when I played with her at an event, I was like, ‘Who is that?’ Because this thing is happening here [snapping his fingers next to his head] and she becomes that bulldog. I thought, I like it, because that’s how I am.
âDavid and I like to play competitive golf and we like to play together in partnership,â added Kostick. “We’re doing really well.”
The couple won a regional qualifier in Maryland in 2019 before winning the national championship in Myrtle Beach, SC
âEven to qualify for the national championships, we were so excited,â said Kostick.
The couple, who live on the Champions Pointe Golf Club course, will play practice rounds Sunday and Monday in Ireland before the three-day competition begins on Tuesday. During these three days, they will play three different formats: best ball, modified alternative shot and singles matches.
âWe are playing against two Irish people of the same level as us. They both have the same last name, I know that so far. So they’re either brothers or it could be a father and a son, I don’t know, âConyers said.
âWe have Kentucky bourbon that we’re bringing in, so hopefully we’ll make some friends,â Kostick added.
No matter how they do it, Conyers and Kostick will be something they will love to do together.
âAll of our time, effort and energy is spent on golf,â said Kostick. âThere’s nowhere we’d rather be. There is nothing we prefer to do.