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Headline: Longtime Rules Official Carolyn O'Donnell Named Recipient of the 2016 Andrew J. Blau MGA Volunteer of the Year Award
For Immediate Release: November 17, 2016
Norton, MA — After a season in which she assisted in the operation of more than 60 events across the MGA, WGAM, USGA and MIAA platforms, Carolyn O’Donnell had been named the 2016 recipient of the Andrew J. Blau Volunteer of the Year Award.
She will be officially honored at the Salute to Champions Dinner at Wellesley Country Club on January 12, 2017.
The announcement was made by MGA Executive Director Jesse Menachem after the MGA Executive Committee voted unanimously at their most recent meeting in early November.
“We are excited to honor Carolyn O’Donnell with the Andrew J. Blau Award” said Jesse Menachem. “She, like all of our MGA volunteers, has been a tremendous asset in ensuring the success of the Massachusetts Golf Association’s 12 Championships Proper and their respective qualifiers held from early May through late September. We thank her for the service she has provided to golf here in the Bay State.”
O’Donnell joins Peter Costello, Tom Bernier, Dick Osborn and Arthur Phillips as recipients of the Andrew J. Blau Volunteer of the Year Award. Blau, a lontime member at Pittsfield Country Club, was an MGA volunteer for nearly 30 years. He embodied the very spirit of the MGA, volunteering for nearly every department of the organization including championships, course rating, handicapping, junior golf and communications.
His dedication, enthusiasm, attention to detail and unmatched spirit and commitment to the MGA is celebrated with this award. O’Donnell’s work as a volunteer matches the principles for which the award was created.
The award was created to honor Blau following his death in 2010.
“I knew Andy Blau and he was a wonderful man and to receive an award bearing his name is a very nice honor,” said O’Donnell. “It is such a surprise. There are so many volunteers that give their time and talent to volunteering and to be singled out is just a shock. Particularly the MGA I have loved because the other officials have been welcoming to me and it’s my pleasure to be included in that group. Doing rules for any of these organizations has become a passion of mine.”
As someone who is puts in upwards of 10 to 12 hours at a time volunteering each day, O’Donnell states that there are many things that stick out as to her reason for always wanting to come back again.
“My favorite part is when a player says, 'Could you help me with this drop?’ or ‘Was this the proper way to handle that situation?’ It’s not like other sports where you are catching people out. That isn’t golf. You’re there being helpful, and I think that is the best part.’”
In addition to her work with the MGA, which started in 2009, O’Donnell has been a volunteer in the golf community for more than 20 years, beginning with her service at the 1995 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, held at The Country Club, for which she oversaw the work of volunteers.
In that time, O’Donnell has served as a volunteer for the WGAM and the MIAA Girl’s Championship and also twice served on the WGAM Board, in addition to her two years of service as Chairman of Rules for the WGAM from 2007-08. In just the last few years, she has volunteered as a guest official at the U.S. Amateur Championship, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, and boththe men’s and women’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championships.
“The other officials and staff were so welcoming from the very beginning and continue to be great friends,” said O’Donnell. “The professionalism exhibited by other volunteers and staff continues to improve. I love the high level competition and when I am invited to work any of the MGA Amateur Championships or the MGA Open, it feels like a great gift.”
In addition to her work as a volunteer, O’Donnell enjoyed a successful career as a player in the Bay State, having competed in several WGAM events beginning in the early 1990s. A two-time winner of the net prize in the WGAM Senior Championship, O’Donnell’s playing resume also includes victories in club championships at The Country Club and the Hyannisport Club. She says her top moment as a player was competing in the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, a feat that occurred in both 1998 and 2000.
O’Donnell and her husband Tom live in Wellesley and are active golfers at both The Country Club and the Hyannisport Club. Her two sons, Tad and Hugh O’Donnell, and her six grandchildren are also active golfers.
She will officially be honored with the 2016 Andrew J. Blau Volunteer of the Year Award at the 22nd Annual MGA Salute to Champions Dinner on January 12, 2017 at Wellesley Country Club.