By Mark Schmetzer
The Greater Cincinnati Women’s Golf Association presidency traditionally is a one-year term, but Renee Obial got so much done last year and still has much she hopes to accomplish this year, so she agreed when asked to stick around for another year.
“It was challenging, but I think we came out wonderfully,” she said when asked to assess her first year in office. “That’s why they wanted me to stay. I wanted to get a better handle on things, and I was able to accomplish that, so now I have a better idea on how to move.”
Obial leads an Executive Board that’s been somewhat reshuffled. Trisha Reperowitz returns as Spring Team Chair, along with Margie Paulsen as Fall Team Chair, Lori Roberts as Treasurer and Carol Moore as IT Consultant, but Patti Horne has moved up to Tournament Chair from Assistant Tournament Chair with Kathy Brockman now filling Horne’s former slot. Also, last year’s Secretary, Connie Seeskin, has replaced Melanie Stewart as Publicity Chair and Sue Brainer has taken over as Secretary.
Obial’s first year as president included focusing on the GCWGA finances and helping implement new golf rules. In many ways, those will be part of her focus in Year Two. She hopes to implement more ways for the GCWGA to build funding for the Scholarship Foundation, such as raffling off at a tournament items hand-crafted by artists from all over the world and marketed by Ten Thousand Villages, a non-profit organization based in Akron, Pa.
“They’re going to display at one of our tournaments, perhaps the Crystal Bowl,” Obial said. “Ten percent of the revenue will be donated to scholarships. We may have something at other tournaments to purchase as an indirect way of contributing.”
She’s also facing the challenge of helping the GCWGA adjust to the new GHIN system – the Golf Handicap Information Network service offered by the United States Golf Association to golf associations around the world. The goal is to make standard handicapping for golfers all over the world
“It used to be every country had their own handicapping system,” explained Obial, who plays out of Hyde Park Golf and Country Club. “That meant that if we had some golfers move from, say, England to the states who wanted to play, they didn’t have a handicap and couldn’t play some tournaments. It used to be your handicaps would be updated before the 1st and 15th of every month, no matter how much you played. Now, they’ll be updated on a daily basis. There are a lot of challenges. Everybody is seeing what it means and how it’s going to affect tournaments. When you schedule tournaments, you have to figure out how to handle the handicaps.
“This year, for Spring Team play, we’re going to use the old way. It was supposed to start on January 1, but then it was delayed to January 7, so we decided to keep the Spring Team the old way. The pros aren’t all educated on it. It’s a big change. “Last year, the challenge was finance and some of the new rules of golf. This year, it’s the new world GHIN. It affects a lot.”
Also up in the air is the future of the annual Metropolitan tournament, scheduled this year for June 10-11 at Wetherington Golf and Country Club. Obial worked last year with the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association to transform the event from a four-day tournament mixing medal and match play to a two-day medal competition. The reviews were mixed.
“We wanted a survey,” she said. “We talked to people. The senior division of the Women’s Met, many we talked to who played in prior events liked the old way better. The younger people who work or have families liked the two-day event. The member clubs like the two-day.
“The new way changes a lot. I think we need to get another couple of years. I could see it alternating. My club alternates – one year stroke, one year medal. Not all of the clubs do that. “The attendance didn’t change,” she added. “Some of the players pulled out because it was pouring. I played the first day and it was like, ‘Holy cow.’ It poured. It was like, ‘Oh, my God.’