Joplin Sports Hall of Fame member Joan Thomas once said of our inductee: “She’s a gifted golfer. She doesn’t practice as much as other women. If she did…”
For a golfer who didn’t practice much, Gingy Laas accomplished much during the years she played competitively.
The daughter of Dr. Virgil and Virginia Jeans, Gingy married Fredrick Laas in 1963 and they had three son, Andrew, Matthew, and Gilbert. As a wife and mother, her family came first.
Gingy told Clair Goodwin, golf columnist for the Joplin Globe, that her father started her playing junior golf at age eight. But it wasn’t until the early 1970s that her career in competitive amateur golf took wings.
She reached the quarterfinals in the Missouri Amateur in 1979 with an even-par 72. That same year, she won Second Flight in the prestigious Trans-Mississippi Amateur in Tulsa and played in the Western Amateur in Kansas City.
During the 1979 state tournament, Gingy was elected president of the Missouri Women’s Golf Association and her home course, Twin Hills Golf and Country Club, hosted the 1980 state tournament.
Gingy and her playing partner, Karen MacGee of Overland Park, KS., won four of the first five Jenny Classics, a best-ball tournament, at Twin Hills.
Other highlights of her career included playing in the Horton Smith Cup matches against Springfield (she was co-captain one year), competing in the LPGA Southgate Open in Kansas City and being named to the Joplin Golf Foundation Hall of Fame.
Currently a professor of History at Missouri Southern State Univeristy, Mrs. Laas is a published author with four historical novels and other articles on women in history.
In addition to raising a family, teaching, writing, and playing competitive golf, Gingy found time for community service. She was president of the Spiva Art Board at one time.