Sue Brainer recently took a job as a president, just like a certain guy in Washington, but unlike Joe Biden, she didn’t immediately flood her constituents with a wave of executive orders.
“I’m thinking about making Executive Order No. 1, ‘Have fun on the course,” the new Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association President said a few days after being inaug – er, installed.
Brainer, who plays out of Kenwood Country Club, replaces Renee Obial and becomes the GCWGA’s 44th president, including one year with co-presidents. This is her fourth year on the board, having served two years as tournament chair and one last year as vice president.
Joining the executive board this year are Holly Jones as Assistant Tournament Chair and Dori Cambruzzi as Fall Team Chair. Jones plays out of O’Bannon Creek Golf Club. Cambruzzi is a Cincinnati Country Club member.
“Thank God I wasn’t president last year,” Brainer said. “I would’ve been sitting there with all of those issues.”
Brainer, of course, was talking about the difficulties raised by dealing with COVID-19 protocols, but she was taking into her two-year term the “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger approach.”
“I feel really positive about last year,” said Brainer, an Upper St. Clair, Pa., native who lived with her family in Minneapolis before moving here in 2001. “We started out the year cancelling our delegate meeting, and we actually thought we might have to cancel the whole year, but we had all the tournaments. Everybody responded with a lot of social distancing options. I think folks felt really confident about last year. The problem is we don’t know what the future holds.”
That doesn’t mean Brainer feels hopeless. She has plans as the GCWGA dives in 2021.
“What is my vision?” she repeats. “I call my thing, ‘Moving Forward in 2021.’ My goal is provide a golf experience for members to allow them to challenge themselves – experience new courses, socialize and meet people in a safe environment.
“Last year, we had to adjust. Some lunches had to be box lunches. Some places allowed buffets. Our fall delegate meeting was a Zoom experience. We had a pretty good turnout. It turned out to be a great addition, because now other people can attend. We’re contemplating opening up delegate meetings to other members. It used to be just delegates. Our first board meeting this year was a combination in-person and Zoom meeting.
“We’re moving into 2021. The Spring Team is on. We’re moving forward. We’re putting together rosters now. When the Spring Team hit last year, we weren’t even sure we going to have tournaments. That particular time, a lot of clubs shut down.
“Regardless, we had record attendance at events and new people at our tournaments, which I find interesting. One of the only things people could do is go out and play golf. I actually hurt my back and I didn’t play any golf, and that gave me an opportunity to step back and watch from the other side. It was the only sport people could do.
“All of the tournaments are scheduled. The Met is scheduled. Though that’s a (Greater Cincinnati Golf Association) event, we sort of worked closely with them on that.”
Brainer grew up in what she describes as a “golfing family.”
“From the very beginning, our family of four people were a foursome,” said Brainer, who considers her most noteworthy on-course accomplishment to be winning three club championships when the family loved in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. “Once you got to be the right age, my parents wanted me to play. I played competitive golf in high school, but never past that.”
Family golf is a legacy Brainer and her husband, David, have passed on to their children – Laura, Dan and Andrew.
“We had mandatory Sunday golf – no matter what,” she recalled. “They complained a lot, just like I did when I was their age, but now they’re happy about it.”
Don’t think the next generation is going to escape. Grandson Brooks already has a swung a club at 2 years old. Grandson Beckham still is a little young at six months, but Sue and David want to see and participate in maintaining the family tradition.
“We keep talking about moving south, but now there are grandchildren,” Sue Brainer said.
By Mark Schmetzer