Ocean State Golf — June 2009
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Ocean State Golf
Bruce Vittner

Seniors’ Golf Assn.

Doing Good Deeds

The Rhode Island State Seniors’ Golf Association, an organization founded back in the 1940s with the mission to promote golf and good fellowship among gentlemen age 55 and above who are members of Rhode Island golf clubs, is expanding its donations to Button Hole Learning Center and the Burke Fund.

“We are trying to be more supportive of golf in Rhode Island, and Button Hole and the Burke are two very worthy organizations,” said Wannamoisett’s Jack Nixon who is the current president of the Seniors’ group. “Golf has been very good to us and we want to see others get the benefit of this great game,” said board member Ted Coogan, also from Wannamoisett.

“We have been providing money to the Burke Fund since 1958 and four years ago we were able to give enough to have an endowed $2,000 per year scholarship for five years,” added Nixon. Edward Donahue of Warwick was the first recipient of the endowed scholarship from the group and is graduating from St. Anselms this year.

The seniors’ organization has a cap of 200 members and they are currently very close to capacity. The group usually holds two tournaments, one in the spring and the other in the fall that are open to all members. They usually get about 100-120 participants, and the dues and the money raised from these events are used to give to non-profit golf groups.

Other events each year include a team match against Connecticut seniors and another against Massachusetts’s seniors. “We have six, two-man teams and we play net best-ball,” said Nixon who says there is always competition to see who will play in these events.

A new event this year will be a Tri-State competition between Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts players to be held on August 25 at Wannamoisett in Rumford. The RI/MA event will be held at Rhode Island Country Club on September 24 And the RI/CT match will be held at Yale Golf Club in New Haven on September 28.

Button Hole Short Course and Learning Center became a recipient of Seniors’ Assn.

Funds about six years ago. “The money we receive from this group is much appreciated,” said David Hanna, executive director at Button Hole and a member of the Seniors’ group.

“We see our group doing much more than just giving money to Button Hole,” said Coogan who talked about a mentoring program and a Turkey Trot event held each year at Button Hole for members of Wannamoisett and Button Hole Kids.

Maury Davitt, executive director of the Burke Fund and also a member of the Seniors’ group, feels that the formalization of the endowment from the group matched by money from the Burke Fund will make it much easier to provide a specific scholarship to a worthy individual.

Ocean State Golf Is Now Online

As more and more people go online to get their news, we at Ocean State Golf figured that we should get to the 21st Century as well. Last month we put our 2009 Winter Issue online, and we’ve had nothing but very favorable comments.

Go online to www.oceanstategolfinc.com and take a look. The page-turning service is way above my head, but it works and offers readers the chance to read the paper, find specific stories, visit advertisers, check out golf courses on our Locator Map page and read archived stories. We are told that the archives along the top banner will be able to hold up to two years of issues, so this will be a big help for those who are looking for past articles or information.

As part of the website we have a newsletter sign up form. If you would like to have the publication sent right to your email address, please sign up for it on the website. It is a spamprotected program each way, so we can’t spam you and you can’t spam us, so you have to subscribe. You can unsubscribe at any time, but we hope not.

There are many things that we can’t fit into the paper because of space and cost constraints, so the online newsletter will also have other stories of interest to golfers in our area. We will keep you abreast of changes and happenings in the golf world around us, but trust me; we won’t be intrusive in your inbox.

Our website is interactive, so there is space for you to send in information like holes-in-one, charity events, or letters that we will publish in the paper if they provide newsworthy information.

Our goal is to have a review of every golf course on our Locator Map. You are certainly welcome to send in comments that we will post.

Facebook and Twitter and all those other things seem so foreign to this aging reporter, but at least we can say we have a good website. The goal is to make the website a place where everyone wants to go and hopefully where many advertisers want to post their messages.

How great is it that people around the world can now read Ocean State Golf? Let’s hope we put enough good stuff in the paper so that everyone wants to read it. Enjoy.

Burke Fund Continues to Grow

One of the oldest golf scholarship programs in the country is the John P. Burke Memorial Fund founded by eight men from the Rhode Island Golf Assn. In 1946. The mission of the fund is to assist deserving students who have worked for at least two years in the service of golf to reach their individual academic goals by providing need-based financial aid.

John P. Burke was an outstanding golfer from Newport who won the R.I. Junior Championship, four State Amateur titles, and the R.I. Open. He died in 1943 during World War II while serving in the North African campaign. It was fitting to name the Fund after him, and it has been more commonly called the Burke Fund.

When the Fund first began it was strictly for caddies, but as the game changed and the number of caddies got much smaller, the criteria became anyone who worked in “golf operations which included golf shop, range, carts, bag room, etc.” “It has now been expanded to also include those boys and girls who directly serve golfers in clubhouses,” said executive director Maury Davitt.

Bag tags sold by member clubs of the RIGA since the 1950s have been the single largest source of revenue for the Burke Fund, but the RIGA now runs two Burke Fund tournaments in the spring (gross and net) with much of the proceeds going to the Fund. “We are very grateful to Carnegie Abbey Club, Newport Country Club, Shelter Harbor and Wanumetonomy Golf and Country Club, for letting us use their marvelous courses each year and virtually guaranteeing a complete sellout of both the gross and net divisions,” added Davitt.

Scholarships range from $750-$3,000 per year and are renewable and reviewable for up to four years or eight semesters. The student must maintain a minimum of a

2. 0 Grade Point Average to continue receiving the scholarship.

Over $3.2 million in scholarships has been awarded to over 1,000 students since the program began. In 2008-2009 over $122,000 was committed.

Information and an application are available at the Fund’s website, www.burkefund.org. The student must be recommended by his/her school as well as having a recommendation from the member golf club where they work. Each student must have an interview with the scholarship interview committee.

Steve Napoli, director of golf at Carnegie Abbey is the current president of the Burke Fund. Horace Amaral is vice president, Leon Boghossian III is secretary and Jack Nixon is the treasurer. All are Burke Scholar Alumni.

The Burke Fund is a 501© (3), notfor- profit tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. You can find more information about receiving a scholarship or donating funds at www.burkefund.org.