By Mark Schmetzer
Renee Obial describes herself as a theme person, so it was natural for her to create one for her term as Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association president. Obial, who was installed officially as president on November 2, chose as her term’s theme “Memories of Golf.”
“We’re celebrating golf from the past and creating different memories of golf for the future,” she explained. “Some changes are coming and, as you know, changes for some people can be difficult.”
The Summit Country Day graduate, who plays out of Hyde Park Golf and Country Club, hopes to get more women involved in GCWGA tournaments and events and has ideas for making that happen. One is working with the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association on transforming the Metropolitan Women’s Amateur Championship – the Met – from a four-day event of one medal round followed by three days of match play to a two-day, 36-hole medal event. Normally held in June, this year’s tournament – the 104th – is scheduled for July 22-23 at Hyde Park.
“We sent out a survey last year,” Obial said. “The bottom line is participating. Women don’t have the availability to play four days in a row. Some of our tournaments aren’t as full as we’d like them to be, particularly the Women’s Met.
“The survey basically said the top three points were, No 1, venue, No. 2, they wanted it to be two days and not four, and No. 3 was match play. You can’t do match play in two days.”
Obial considers herself to be a classic example. As a full-time nurse practitioner specializing in cardio-thoracic surgery, her schedule is too loaded to take four days off to play golf.
“What do I tell the patient?” she wondered. “’Can we schedule your heart surgery for when I get back from golf?’ People said they would play if it was two days. The goal is to increase participation. We still want competition. Can it go back if it doesn’t work? Yes, but we’ve got to try.”
Obial, who had to handle a rules interpretation her first day on the job, reached out to 1990 GCWGA president Sue Detzel, last year’s tournament chair, to serve as vice president and help handle some of the president’s load.
“I said I’m not doing it unless Sue does it with me, especially with her experience,” Obial said. “Things aren’t the same for me because I work full-time.” Obial expects a lively delegates meeting on April 5 at the Cincinnati Country Club. “We also have new rules to deal with,” she said. “We have to get everybody updated on the new rules.”
Joining the GCWGA board for the first time are Patti Horne as assistant tournament chair, Trisha Reperowitz as spring team chair and Connie Seeskin as secretary. They are working with treasurer Lori Roberts, fall team chair Margie Paulsen, tournament chair Sue Brainer, publicity chair Melanie Stewart, and IT consultant Carol Moore.
Horne’s installment as assistant to Brainer was a natural outgrowth of her previous activities. “Tournament chair is one of the busier offices,” said the Wyoming resident, who plays out of Wyoming Golf Club. “Last year, I wasn’t technically on the board. I was more of a third wing. I didn’t have to go to board meetings, but I went to events to help out. I’ve been a delegate. I’ve worked on committees. I would characterize my part participation as more of a worker bee. “Now we have to come up with a third wing to help run tournaments better.”
Reperowitz actually was out of the country when she was named to her new position, but she’s happy to participate. “These positions are required to keep the organization running,” said Reperowitz, a Western Hills Country Club member. “We need these ladies to be on the board to keep activities running.”
While she sees her job as primarily maintaining the status quo, she also acknowledges that, like Obial with the Met and overall schedule, the spring team program needs a boost in participation.
“The biggest challenge is clubs are having a difficult time fielding spring teams,” she pointed out. “We’ll be trying to keep participation and enthusiasm up by creating ideas to make sure that we have players.”
Seeskin wears her love for golf on her email address – “itsgoodpikitup” – and license plates – “bogyfre.”
“I’m a late bloomer,” Seeskin, a part-time nurse practitioner specializing in orthopedics, says about having played golf for “only” 20 years. Her role as secretary is to keep meeting minutes, send out notifications of upcoming meetings and scheduling the space for the semi-annual delegates meetings, held for years at Cincinnati Country Club.
Seeskin, a Withrow High School graduate, is an O’Bannon Creek Golf Club member and president of the club’s 18-Hole Ladies League. “I’m a product of public schools,” she said. “I like to tell people that.”