Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's too darn hot...

It's hard to imagine how hot it was over the summer at some of our events. Now that it is freezing, we have put away our summer clothes, and the sun sets at about 4 in the afternoon these days, lets reminisce on the top 5 hottest days of the 2013 MGA Championship Season (of course, this is all in jest, we love what we do, even when the weather makes it challenging!):

5. Monday, June 24 - Member day at Meadow Brook Golf Club & Junior Amateur qualifying at Agawam Municipal Golf Course
Boy, was it hot out that day. Lots of going inside to the clubhouse where the very nice bartender kept refilling pitchers of ice water. And later, sitting under the scoring tent near the 18th green getting attacked by bugs - I guess the bugs were cranky about the heat too. Meanwhile, across the state at Meadow Brook, Kevin was sitting on a porch sweating to death.

4. Wednesday, September 11 - Day 2 of the Senior Amateur Championship
After a stretch of really nice, seasonable weather, Mother Nature threw us a curveball, with temperatures soaring to 97 degrees at Haverhill Country Club. We made the agonizing decision to move the scoring area indoors...yeah that was a tough decision.

This guy's got the right idea...

3. Monday, June 17 - US Pub Links qualifying at Maplegate Country Club & Mass Amateur qualifying at Plymouth Country Club
Not only hot, but humid and rainy as well! The trifecta! I often judge the weather by the way my hair is behaving, and it was quite the sight that day. Kevin was at Plymouth Country Club, and his only memory of the day was "Well, I remember chugging a lot of water that day." #hydrate

2. Monday, July 15 - US Amateur qualifying at Weston Golf Club & New England Amateur at Green Mountain National Golf Course
Oh man. This day haunts my dreams sometimes. SO HOT. So sweaty. No breeze. Meanwhile, up on a mountain in was hot too.

drum roll please...

1. Sunday, July 7 - Mass Amateur course setup at Longmeadow Country Club
Well, Jesse, Kevin and I had completely sweat through our clothes by the time we got to the 2nd hole. I don't even know what to say about this day... We did have some delicious burgers at Max Burger in Longmeadow later that evening (thanks to Tim Quirk, club pro at Longmeadow CC!), so I guess it wasn't such a terrible day.

Of course, it goes without saying that the grounds crew at these courses (and all our member courses, for that matter) kicked butt this past summer. Working in some really difficult conditions, they helped us continually run successful championships, qualifiers, and member days. And I can't forget to thank our officials - who volunteer their time - for helping us make these events possible. They are out on the course no matter what the weather is doing, making sure everything is running smoothly.

Monday, December 16, 2013

There is no coffee-fetching in this internship...there is, however, a lot of coffee drinking.

Ahh, the off season...not quite.
If you can believe it, December is actually a bit of a crazy time of year here at the MGA. We are already busy prepping for next season. Event registration goes live in February, and before that we have meetings, our Salute to Champions Dinner, and busy days making sure the system is up and ready to go. A golf association never rests, even though we are looking out our windows at snow blanketing the 9th fairway at TPC Boston.

Another very important task that we undertake during the 'off' season is hiring a new PJ Boatwright Intern. This internship runs for 6-months (usually from April to September) and the intern serves as a major support staff during our absolutely crazy championship season. This internship, which is paid and benefits-eligible through a grant by the USGA, gives an aspiring golf administrator or sports professional exposure to the inner workings of a state or regional golf association at the entry-level.

PJ Boatwright on the job at a USGA Championship
Here at the MGA we have done a really good job turning Boatwrights into golf industry professionals! Our most notable example is Jesse Menachem, who was a Boatwright intern for three years and is now our executive director. Kevin Eldridge served two internship terms and was just named our newest director of rules and competitions. Danielle Pourbaix was a Boatwright and now works for the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund. And I am a former Boatwright turned MGA staff member myself!

I'm not going to beat around the bush - there is some serious hard work and long hours involved. But it was legitimately the most interesting and rewarding job I have ever done. It showed me that I want to develop my career in the golf industry and was an important first step in that journey (as is the case for Jesse, Kevin, and Danielle too). And every single person you work with - from MGA staff to our amazing and dedicated volunteer officials - are hardworking, supportive, and great to work with. The Boatwright intern gets to travel to USGA headquarters in May for a 3-day orientation, which includes meeting the other Boatwright interns from every state golf association, touring the USGA museum (so cool!) and equipment testing facility (even cooler!), and attending seminars that will help prepare the intern for what lies ahead. All in all, it's a pretty great gig for someone who has aspirations of working in golf or sports in general.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this position, tell them to send their resume to Kevin Eldridge. We are accepting applications through Friday, January 3. Here is the official job posting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celebrities in our midst!

The other day while watching that wild finish of the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, we noticed a couple of familiar faces in a Titleist commercial. Charles River Country Club's Jim O'Mara, and Old Sandwich Golf Club's Jay Wick made their Hollywood cameos! Check it out:

Nicely done, guys!

Friday, December 6, 2013

MGA Links: the year in review!

Some of you may not know that the MGA owns and operates an 18-hole par-3 golf course in Norton. MGA Links at Mamantapett is the headquarters of The First Tee of Massachusetts and a hub for junior golf in southeastern Massachusetts! Each summer, we invite many different youth groups and service organizations down to the Links for clinics and a fun day on the course. Membership at the Links is affordable and offers kids (and parents!) a no-stress way to get into the game of golf. Here are some highlights from our program year:

Carroll School for the Blind Clinic
Clinics at MGA Links: This year, we had some really great groups come down to Norton for clinics. Beacon Academy spent a day here over the summer, as did the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester, among many other organizations - too many to list! One really special day was when the Carroll School for the Blind made their annual trip to MGA Links. All of the students - who are either visually impaired or physically disabled - enjoyed the day thoroughly, but I think the instructors enjoyed it even more. Bob Beach volunteered as an instructor (of course he did!) as well as TFTM executive director Joe McCabe, MGA Links Head Pro Pete Walsh, TFTM volunteer Tom Bernier, and many others. These people work so hard to give young people meaningful experiences on the golf course.

Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester visits MGA Links

MGA Links Club Championship: Two perfect summer days! Jeremiah Sullivan won the boys 36-hole division, and Allison Hunt took the girls title. Kyzer Joshi won the 9-hole division.

Anna Haynes (right)

Proud of our members!: Three MGA Links junior members were honored with invitations to national events: Evan Ryan - Hank Haney IJGA Academy, The First Tee Scholar, Ouimet Scholar; Cora Bernier - The First Tee PLAYer Advanced Academy; Anna Haynes - Auntie Anne's Leaders & Entrepreneurs Forum. Not too shabby! Plus, Evan and Cora are now excelling in collegiate golf programs, and Anna will enter college next fall. It is fantastic to see these MGA Links success stories.

Evan Ryan, now a freshman at Nichols College
Cora Bernier, now a freshman at Univ. of Hartford

Power Mom: Kim Ryan, who is the mother of two MGA Links members (Evan & Aidan) was the grand prize winner in the Ouimet Fund Golf Essay contest. Her essay really shows how important and useful a tool golf can be in youth development. Super inspiring. You should really read her submission - it's awesome.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Coming full circle

"Best thing I ever read!" -S. Whitcomb

We just released the final issue of MassGolfer for the year, and if you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely check it out. It really pulls everything together nicely and showcases how big the theme of giving back through golf has been this year. And since it is #givingtuesday (didn't even know that was a I alone here?), think about donating to The First Tee of Massachusetts. Every donation gets entered into a drawing to win a set of Titleist irons! Not bad...imagine surprising someone at Christmas with that?!

A big thank you goes out to Titleist, one of our Patrons of golf, for donating the clubs.