Lessons Learned from Junior Golf…

June 24, 2014 by

After a little over a month here with the GSGA, I’ve helped conduct a total of five junior competitions. These competitions have included the Georgia Junior Championship, a U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier, and a few Junior Sectional events in the Northeast and East regions of the state.

As a player, I never realized how much work goes into each and every one of these tournaments on a weekly basis. Now being on the administrative side, I have a greater respect for each of the sectional chairmen, the golf course staff, and each person before me who has worked hard to make sure these events go as smoothly as possible. The employees of The Creek at Hard Labor, Monroe Golf & Country Club, Forest Hills Golf Club, Brunswick Country Club, and UGA Golf Course deserve recognition in making my job easier while I was on site for the various junior events held at these locations.

Conducting Junior Sectional events in the Northeast region certainly brings back some good memories from my time as a junior golfer. I grew up playing in the Northeast region throughout middle school and high school, so it’s great to see these events still being played at some of the same courses and all of the players of various age groups out enjoying the game.

There are certain lessons we all can learn from the game of golf. I certainly learned my fair share from being exposed to and playing the game at a young age. Some of these lessons stuck with me and have translated well for me throughout various situations in my life.

Golf taught me to respect my fellow competitors, which in turn led me to become more respectful of those all around me on a daily basis. Golf taught me to be punctual; five minutes early is on-time. Golf taught me to concentrate; each shot in golf is as important to your round as the next and each shot demands your full attention. Golf taught me to do my work early; studying the course layout and noticing all problems you could face during play help you succeed during tournament time. Golf taught me to adapt; hundreds of times things have happened to me on a golf course that were beyond my control. Golf taught me to never stop learning; you can always become a better golfer if you’re open to learning from those who are more experienced. Finally, and most importantly, golf taught me to always have fun; regardless of how poor your round is going, you can count it as a stepping stone towards your ultimate goal.

Traveling to these junior events across the state has been both a learning experience and a lot of fun. It’s very exciting to see the talent level that we have here in the state of Georgia, but I also hope that these players are learning important lessons from the game. I still put the lessons I learned to use every day.

Colton Dean
P.J. Boatwright Intern


Curtis Cup Tidbits

June 7, 2014 by

St. Louis weather is hot, but not as hot as the American Team!

Day one of the Curtis Cup is in the books and Team USA leads Great Britain and Ireland, 5-1, and much of that success came from the good play of our two Georgia players. All the golf was good, but the very best golf was in the first four-ball match, pairing Georgian Mariah Stackhouse and her partner, Emma Talley, against the Ireland’s all-star Stephanie Meadow and England’s Georgia Hall. I have seen a lot of matches, but never one with as many good shots as were witnessed today. The end score shows the American Team wining 2&1, but what you need to know is that the Americans were 8-under-par and the GB&I were 6-under when the match ended.

Amazing golf by all four players!

This afternoon, I watched Ashlan Ramsey’s foursomes match where she partnered with Allison Lee against the same tough team that Mariah had faced in the morning. This match was also well-played, and our American team made a great birdie putt on #18 to return the match to all square and earn a half point for the American side! So… Congrats to both of our GA girls on some outstanding golf on day one. We have an impressive lead, but there are still a total of 14 points to play for so our girls need to come back tomorrow and play hard once again.

The galleries have been great, and we have good GA representation. Both Mariah and Ashlan have a lot of support from family and friends here, and GSGA is well represented too. Belinda and Don Marsh walked most of 36 holes today, as did Laura Coble and Merilee Giddings! Former Curtis Cup player Courtney Swaim Trimble is here… She is now the women’s golf coach at the University of Louisville.

Saturday’s action will be on TV… Check out the schedule for the Golf Channel and you will enjoy some great golf!

Martha Kirouac
Executive Director

Curtis Cup Tidbits…

June 6, 2014 by

The Curtis Cup Match begins this morning with Georgia’s own Mariah Stackhouse in the first group to play at 8:00 a.m. Her partner is Emma Talley. The flag-raising ceremony last night was very emotional and inspiring… Dr. Condoleezza Rice is the honorary chairman for the event and her speech was directed at the players, focusing on the mission of the Curtis Cup.

As evidenced by the number of past players in attendance, that goal “to foster friendly rivalry among women golfers of many lands” will be part of what all of us experience this week!

GSGA is proud of both Mariah and Ashlan Ramsey for making this team. I look forward to watching some great golf this weekend and know that our Georgia girls will play hard!

2014 Curtis Cup Team Practice Session

Check back for updates, and take a look at the Curtis Cup website for some great pictures and stories!

Martha Kirouac
Executive Director

Hi, I’m Colton…

June 2, 2014 by

On May 18, I departed for Golf House at the headquarters of the USGA for P.J. Boatwright, Jr. Internship Orientation in Far Hills, NJ. I was not alone in my travels – on the plane to Newark, NJ, I met three other interns who had connecting flights out of Atlanta. Two of whom were from the Mississippi Golf Association and one from the Nebraska Golf Association. In all, over 80 interns from around the continental United States, Hawaii, and even Mexico made their way to Golf House to learn more about the USGA and its several departments which govern the game of golf and help preserve its rich traditions.

Throughout the orientation, I was able to snap several photos much like last year’s intern, Tripp Pendergast, who now works in the Course Rating department here at the GSGA. I’ve posted some of my favorites here in this blog entry with short descriptions following each one:


It was a full house on the first day (and first session) of orientation! Pictured is Emily von Doehren, USGA Senior Director, Regional Affairs. Emily is a former Boatwright Intern; a prevailing theme with many of our speakers was that they got their start through this internship.

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While at Golf House, the medals and trophies for both the U.S. Open Men’s and Women’s Championships were present and being readied to be sent to Pinehurst No.2. Top left is me holding the U.S. Open trophy, which was a cool feeling itself, so I can only imagine what it must feel like as a player to have earned it after a week of golf against the best players in the world. The middle image is the Jack Nicklaus Medal. The medal itself dates to 1895 when it was presented to the U.S. Open Champion, Horace Rawlins. The medal was named in honor of four-time U.S. Open Champion Jack Nicklaus on the eve of the 112th U.S. Open in 2012. Finally, on the right image you have the U.S. Open Men’s trophy alongside the U.S. Open Women’s trophy.

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On our last day at Golf House, we had the privilege of visiting the USGA Research & Test Center and the USGA Museum. In these photos, you can see Carter Rich, Director, Equipment Rules and Conformance, Equipment Standards explaining the processes that he and his team go through when testing clubs and balls.

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The USGA Museum was one of the most memorable parts of the orientation program. I love golf history and seeing all of these famous items and hearing their stories told by USGA Historians was something I won’t forget. Pictured on the left are plaques on the Wall of Champions from one of my favorite players, Tiger Woods, and his unrivaled run amateur run throughout the early 1990s. During this run, he captured the U.S. Junior Amateur three times in-a-row and the U.S. Amateur three times in-a-row. On the right is his image after tying Steve Scott on the 35th hole of the 1996 U.S. Amateur which hangs in the hallway of the Museum. The original “Tiger Pump.”


My favorite part of the Museum was the section dedicated to legendary golfer and native Georgian, Robert Tyre (Bobby) Jones, Jr. Bobby Jones is my all-time favorite golfer, so seeing some of these items, such as Calamity Jane II, was an awesome experience for me! Calamity Jane II was Jones’s putter which he used to win 10 of his 13 national championships, including the Grand Slam in 1930, which at the time was the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open, British Amateur, and British Open.

I learned a lot over these few days at Golf House, which will prepare me well for my next 6-months here at the GSGA. This experience to learn from USGA employees and also to network with other Boatwright Interns from around the country is one I’m truly grateful for!

Colton Dean
P.J. Boatwright Intern

Passing of the torch…

May 13, 2014 by

Just over a year ago, I moved back down to Atlanta and began a six-month PJ Boatwright, Jr., Internship with the GSGA.  The internship, funded and supported by the USGA, is designed to give the intern experience in the golf association that will hopefully lead to a career in golf.  Fortunately for me, I was able to continue my career with the GSGA when a position opened up on staff.

Now that it is May again, we will have a couple new faces around the office for the next six months.  You will see them around at tournaments, member play days, junior sectional events as well as other GSGA functions.  They will even make a few appearances here at GSGA’s 19th Hole blog!

I got a sneak peak at their calendar, and they will be jumping right in with assisting the Rules and Competitions Department at championships and qualifiers right off the bat!  While they will spend a bulk of their time and at events, we will make sure they get a taste of other areas as well.  I know that Jason will have some projects in Communications and Marketing, Kim will have them helping with the Foundation, and I will get them out to rate a course or two.

It’s been quite a year since I walked in the door last May as an intern, and I am sure it will be a great year for our two newbies as well.

Enjoy the beautiful weather, and we hope to see you on the course this summer!

Tripp Pendergast
Director, Course Rating

Online Registration FAQs…

May 1, 2014 by

If you haven’t heard yet, there is less than one week remaining to sign up for the 93rd Georgia Amateur Championship.  This year Idle Hour Club in Macon will host the Amateur for the ­­­8th time.  The Championship is just over two months away, and we can’t wait to get there.

Our phone lines are as busy this week as any during the year with people trying to sign up for an Amateur qualifier.  We’re here from 8:30 to 5:00, Monday-Friday to help if you have registration questions, but I’ll try to answer some of the most common questions here.

  • There are 10 qualifiers for the Amateur this year spread across the state.  Players can sign up for any of those qualifiers, not necessarily the one closest to where they live, but they can only play in one qualifier.
  • When you go to www.gsga.org you will see the blue box on the right that says “My GSGA Member Login”.  This is a new and helpful function of our website, but you won’t be able to register for tournaments by logging in there.  Click the yellow link above it that says “Click Here to Enter Events”, then select the 2014 Amateur Championship on July 10-13 and click the blue “Click Here to Register” button on the event information page.
  • After logging in to the Tournament and Event Registration page, a check box should appear next to the Amateur Championship.  If there is no box, your GHIN number is probably not saved to your profile.  Click “edit profile” in the top right of the page to save your GHIN number.
  • If you are signing up for one of the Amateur qualifiers, you will only be charged $140.  You will only be charged an additional $100 if you qualify for the championship.
  • We won’t know how many qualifying spots each site has until after the close of entries.  It is determined by the total number of entries we receive, and each qualifying site will have the same percentage of qualifying spots.
  • Players are accepted into qualifiers on a first come, first served basis.  Once there are 100 players registered, the qualifier is closed.  There won’t be waiting lists for full qualifiers, so don’t wait to sign up if there is one particular qualifier you want to play in.

I hope this helps answer some of the questions we get during the week.  We don’t want anyone to miss out on this great event, so sign up today and we hope to see you in Macon on the second weekend in July!

Richard Adams
Manager, Rules and Competitions

Golf made more fun… and faster, too!

April 29, 2014 by

There is a lot of talk in the golf world right now about how to grow the game.  We need more people to play and stay with the game!  Obstacles?  Sure – time and money are an issue, but both can be overcome if the game is simply more fun to more people.

The truth is that golf is very difficult to learn.  Technology has increased the options in equipment, but it has done little to make the successful playing of the game easier.  We still have to make contact with that little ball, and we eventually have to get that little dimpled darling into a ridiculously small hole!

Can the game be made more fun by one simple change?  Enter a new concept… what happens if that ridiculously small hole were changed to be a whopping 15-inch hole?!?!?!  Headlines would read “The end of the three-putt forever!”  Chip-ins could be routine and the excitement of an eagle is something even the average player could experience!  Endless possibilities… making the game more fun!

Would I want a steady diet of golf played with a 15-inch hole?  Absolutely not!  But would I like to try it out?  You bet.  It is kind of like playing a scramble – there is no more fun format in the world when the putts are falling for a foursome of good friends.  I would hate to play scramble every week, but I look forward to the occasional event when I don’t have to worry about every three foot putt.  Maybe there is reason to look at different ways that, on occasion, we could play a more fun version of our game.

Right after The Masters, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose played a round of golf at Reynolds Plantation, using the 15-inch holes on every green.  Following is the link to the story behind this idea:


Read the article and give it some thought – would more folks get hooked on the game if they could experience some immediate success?  And, for those of us who have played all of our lives, would we enjoy an occasional fun round where holing out could happen on virtually any shot?  Having fun is never out of style, and being open to some new ideas for our game is probably a good thing.

Let us know your thoughts – I would love to hear from our members and welcome your comments.  Our game is a social one and it needs to be fun; GSGA has events that are fun for everyone.  I hope you will invite a friend and consider signing up for a GSGA Member Play Day – we can’t promise you 15-inch holes, but we can assure you that it will be a great day!

Click here to view the Member Play Day schedule and sign up now!


Martha Kirouac
Executive Director

A Penalty Score…

April 25, 2014 by

What option does a Handicap Committee have if a score is not posted as soon as it is practicable?

A common error made by Handicap Committees is posting par for a penalty score. In actuality, if a player fails to post an acceptable score as soon as practicable after completion of their round, the Handicap Committee has three options:

1)      Post the actual score made by the player

2)      Post a penalty score equal to the lowest/highest Handicap Differential in the scoring record;

3)      Post the actual score and a penalty score.

The Handicap Committee is not required to notify the player prior to posting a penalty score.

A player should post their score immediately after their round at the course where the round was played. This must be done whenever possible. The club should make it convenient to post, and the procedure of how and where to post is generally the responsibility of the Handicap Committee. The scores posted for the day must also be available immediately to all members for peer review. The Handicap Committee also has the responsibility of making certain that each player has a Handicap Index reflecting potential ability. The Handicap Committee has the ultimate authority to adjust a Handicap Index under any circumstances. Before a modification becomes effective, the Handicap Committee must give the player an opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the proposed adjustment, either in writing or by appearing before the Committee. When a modification does go into effect, it must be identified with the letter M, reflecting that the Handicap Committee has modified the Handicap Index (e.g., 4.9M).

The Handicap Committee may set a reasonable limit within which scores must be posted, taking into account extenuating circumstances.

To avoid a penalty score appearing on your scoring record, post your score as soon as possible.  And remember that the score cannot be subject to peer review by others until it has been posted.

Linda Sommers
Senior Director, Handicapping

The Coveted Masters Tickets…

April 22, 2014 by

The GSGA is fortunate to be in the position of having a pair of tickets to the professional tournament of the year every year – The Masters.  A lot of people assume that as an employee of the state golf association that I would have easy access to these tickets – that couldn’t be further from the truth!  We conduct our own lottery every year giving everyone a chance to win tickets for one of the tournament days.  Just like everyone else in the office, I submit my name for the lottery every year.

So here’s how it works.  We use a great system of putting our names in a brass urn and then we pull the lucky names.  We earn one chance per year for each year we haven’t won the tickets.  Well, there’s only one person on staff who has more chances to win than I do, and I still can’t win!  One of my co-workers has won the tickets 4 times in 9 years…next year I’ll see if Jeff can share any pointers on how to win this draw.

The drawing is conducted during one of our staff meetings.  Unfortunately, the highlight of this staff meeting, for me, has not been hearing my name as a lucky recipient, but the Chunky Monkey ice cream that is served to the poor losers….I mean, those of us who do not win the draw.  The good news is I can get a good seat in my living room watching the Masters on TV and don’t have to try to look over all the taller folks in front of me.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Masters 2015.

Jerri Smith
Senior Director, Member Services

Another Successful Georgia Cup…

April 21, 2014 by

April 1 – 2, I attended 17th Annual Georgia Cup events at The Golf Club of Georgia. The club does a great job with these events and I enjoy my time out there every year. The GSGA Foundation is one of the charitable beneficiaries of the events.

On Tuesday, I arrived at The Golf Club of Georgia and helped work the registration table for the Sponsor Classic being held that day. After golf, everyone gathered for the cocktail reception and auction. The beverages were flowing, the bids were growing and Kevin Dawson was amazing everyone with his magic tricks…especially the two champions – U.S. Amateur Champion Matt Fitzpatrick and British Amateur Champion Garrick Porteous.

Everyone had a great time and the GSGAF is thankful to all who had a part in making the event such a great success. The Georgia Cup Match was held the next day and Garrick Porteous defeated Matt Fitzpatrick, 3 and 2. Larry Nelson was the honorary captain this year. Great match between two great golfers.


Nelson Fitzpatrick Porteous


Kim Cox
Director, GSGA Foundation