October 2011 (Archive)
Since this is my first opportunity to address, you, our Members, in this forum, I thought I would both introduce myself as well as provide you with a brief sense of what I will be focused on during my tenure. For those who have faithfully read the letters of the two previous occupants, you may notice a different style. Dan Burton
[two Presidents removed and now a USGA Vice-President] often wrote about the history and traditions of the game and the growth we were experiencing at the time. Rich Meehan, the Immediate Past President, personalized his message with stories about his love for the game and the friendships developed through golf. My approach may be slightly different, as I view this column more like the “bully pulpit” of Theodore Roosevelt. I will use this area to express my opinions regarding events affecting the game of golf.
First, I am honored to be asked to serve as the Association’s President. This is the third time I have been selected to be the President of an organization. Previously, I was the Pennsylvania Golf Association President (2004) and before that I was President of my fraternity at the University of Virginia. My time with the Pennsylvania Golf Association prepared me for this task but I will admit I have a lot of great memories from my days in Charlottesville, Va. Like many husbands and fathers, I am frequently known as “Kerry’s husband” or “Alex and Katie’s dad,” labels I wear with pride. In golf circles the “Kerry’s husband” label is primarily because of the wonderful accomplishments she has had in amateur golf.
| I was recently watching a news and opinion show and the subject of the number of rounds of golf played by President Obama came up. It was clear that the commentators were equating a round of golf with being inattentive to Presidential duties. Sorry, but I don’t agree. What I especially disagreed with was the talking heads attempt to associate a round of golf with all of the ills they wished the President should be fixing. I am certain that if he had attended a football game there would have been no anguish although the time spent in the stadium would probably have exceeded the time spent on the course. The tone of their assessment was clear though, golf is time wasted.|
Let’s not forget that golf is a recreational game for most of us, the President included. While there are some lingering issues of access, the availability has broadened greatly over the past quarter century. We want to continue to encourage everyone, especially young people in this country to experience all that this great game has to offer and to enjoy the time spent playing it.
At our Annual Meeting recently, we honored John MacDonald who runs the First Tee of Philadelphia and has dedicated himself to improving the lives of inner-city youths. I would have loved having that same panel of television commentators listen to John’s speech and see his passion for his life’s work and then tell us that golf is a waste of time.
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