SM Northwest teammates make history as first co-recipients of Kenneth Smith Golf Award

Christian Ghilardi (left) and Joe Bultman received their Kenneth Smith Golf Awards from Patrick McMahon of the Kenneth and Eva Smith Charitable Foundation. Photo credits SMNW Athletics.

For the first time in the award’s nearly two-decade history, two golfers have earned the most prestigious honor in the metro for the sport in the same year.

And they both happen to represent SM Northwest.

Friends, family and teammates gathered at the school Thursday for a ceremony honoring Cougars Joe Bultman and Christian Ghilardi with the Kenneth Smith Golf Award.

Bultman, an incoming senior, and Ghilardi, who graduated in May, are the first co-winners since the award was first given in 2000.

The Kenneth Smith Awards, which are managed by the Kenneth and Eva Smith Charitable Foundation, honor the top male and female high school golfers in the Kansas City area each year. The foundation is the legacy of Kenneth Smith Golf, a famous bespoke-club manufacturer that starting in the 1930s operated out of a manufacturing facility not far from SM Northwest in Shawnee in the vicinity of 71st Street and Quivira. Smith’s company made clubs for dignitary golfers including Billy Graham, Richard Nixon and Errol Flynn. The company officially closed in 2004, but the foundation keeps the founder’s legacy alive with the awards.

Ghilardi is headed to the University of Kansas this fall, where he will play for the Jayhawks golf team. He won nine tournaments during his high school career with SM Northwest and 54 medals.

Bultman was this year’s Sunflower League Champion, besting Ghilardi in a tie-breaker for the honor. He also had the lowest scoring average among all Kansas 6A golfers with 72.6.