By Marc Hardin
Thirty-two golfers descended on Cincinnati Country Club for September’s inaugural Nati Cup, the GCWGA schedule closer. The first annual match-play event, with 16 on each side, was the last of 10 scheduled entries this season.
But it was much more than a numbers game.
Celebrating volunteerism, the new tournament put the spotlight on those who have been the most giving of their time this year. Only those who accrued the most points at the Nati Cup Tracker were invited.
Naturally, the combatants gave each other all they had, but the Red Team came out on top in an event where everybody was a winner.
The format was Solheim Cup (Ryder Cup) with teams of two women playing one better ball against a team with similar ability.
The idea was dreamed up by the GCWGA Long-Range Planning Committee, a group at the time that included Betsy Coith, Georgianne Koch, Lynn Thompson and the late Jane DeGroff under the leadership of former GCWGA board president Gloria Landry. With a big assist by Diana Oberschmidt and Tournament Chair Sue Detzel, the dream became a reality Sept. 16.
It’s inception has created a lot of excitement.
“We haven’t added a new tournament in a long time,” Landry said of the committee that formulated the event’s unique concept. “We’ve been working on it.”
The group wanted to come up with an idea that initiated, celebrated and perpetuated giving within the association, which relies on the availability and hard work of volunteers.
The Nati Cup, the GCWGA’s first newly created tournament in more than a decade, was the answer.
Prizes were not awarded but there were plenty of bragging rights. The maiden event included a Nati Cup bag tag, warm camaraderie, and dinner. The event concluded a power-packed schedule that began with the 102nd Metropolitan Amateur Championship at Terrace Park Country Club in June.
Association members compiling the most participation and volunteer points qualified for the 32-player field. Players built point totals during the season by participating in GCWGA member club events, championships, invitationals, SHE Tournament qualifiers, and GCWGA events including The Met, Senior Women’s Met and the Kent and Crystal Bowl Tournaments. Points awarded are tied to event participation not event placings.
Points also are awarded for volunteering for GCWGA leadership positions such as delegate, nominating committee member, team play captain, team play division chair and league chair at member clubs, to name a few. Participating individual members self-recorded their points with the Points Tracker form.
“Our hope,” said Landry, “is that we can add volunteers and improve participation and have a tournament for women who are reluctant to play some of the more competitive tournaments.”