This year’s Women’s Annual Meeting begins a new era. After CGA-CWGA unification, more resources being brought to bear
by Gary Baines
In some respects, next weekend’s Women’s Annual Meeting will look a lot like it has for many, many years.
As is typical, a couple of hundred people — primarily women — will gather to attend golf workshops, learn about upcoming events conducted by their state golf association and the benefits of membership, socialize a little bit, have brunch and raise money for a worthy cause.
And it will all happen at the usual site, the newly renamed Hilton Denver Inverness in Englewood — on Saturday, March 3.
Still, there will be changes from years past — some noticeable and others fairly subtle.
First, there’s a tweak of the name — from CWGA Annual Meeting to CGA Women’s Annual Meeting.
And the staff on hand running the show will be quite a bit larger than normal.
It’s all a byproduct of the CGA and CWGA joining forces and becoming one USGA-recognized Allied Golf Association, under the CGA banner. The unification process was in the works much of last year and officially went into effect a couple of months ago.
One upshot is that the two associations merged staffs — and board of directors — with most of them expected to be on hand at the Women’s Annual Meeting. Indeed, a CGA board meeting is scheduled at Inverness right after the conclusion of the women’s annual festivities.
“We’re excited about introducing people to the whole CGA,” said Laura Robinson, the former CWGA executive director who now serves as the managing director of membership and integration for the CGA and who continues to organize the Women’s Annual Meeting.
With the changes that have taken place with the CGA and CWGA since last year’s Annual Meeting, part of the agenda — during brunch — will be a panel discussion featuring CGA co-presidents Juliet Miner and Joe McCleary, moderated by CGA executive director Ed Mate.
Miner was the president of the CWGA in 2016 and ’17 before taking on the CGA co-presidency. And McCleary was the CGA’s president in 2016 and ’17 before becoming co-president with Miner this year.
“It’ll be possible for people to ask questions about the integration (of the two associations),” Robinson said. “We have done an enormous amount of communication with member clubs (over the last year-plus). The first of the month we have have sent emails to all the member clubs. I hope that all the communication that we’ve done has answered a lot of questions.”
Robinson said one of the benefits of the integration of the two associations is more resources for events like the Women’s Annual Meeting. That’s apparent in the case of the silent auction benefiting junior golf that’s traditionally been held in conjunction with the event. Now that auction includes close to 100 items, many of them rounds of golf (including foursomes at Ballyneal and Frost Creek, each valued at $1,000), golf accessories and memorabilia, plus a smattering of non-golf items.
In a departure from the past, 21 of the items are up for auction for a couple of weeks leading up to the Women’s Annual Meeting — along with up until 11:45 a.m. on March 3, both online and in person. As of Friday, more than $4,100 had been bid online. Suffice it to say that it’s very likely more will be raised for junior golf through the auction than last year (just under $7,000). (CLICK HERE for the online auction.)
Four different hour-long workshops are scheduled as part of the Women’s Annual Meeting: Discover How You Play Your Best Golf (led by Elena King, a highly-regarded instructor at CGA-owned CommonGround Golf Course); Rules of Golf: Oh, What a Relief It Is! (led by rules officials Karla Harding and Sandy Schnitzer); Tournament Management (led by Aaron Guereca from the CGA staff and Rory Luck from Golf Genius Software); and Handicapping (led by longtime CGA director of handicapping and course rating Gerry Brown).
Also on March 3, several awards will be given out. The women’s Club of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year will be announced at the meeting. And three players who earned awards for their 2017 play will be recognized: Jennifer Kupcho (President’s Award), Mary Weinstein (Player of the Year) and Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Kim Eaton (Senior Player of the Year for the eighth time in nine years). Kupcho (Wake Forest) and Weinstein (University of Denver) are in the midst of the spring portion of their college schedules.
And, in another first at the Women’s Annual Meeting, CGA bag tags will be distributed.
It’s only appropriate given the CGA tagline of “Celebrating the Future of Golf Together”.