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NORTON, Massachusetts – During one of the most difficult seasons to date, Christine Veator remained steadfast in her dedication to being of service to amateur golf in Massachusetts as a volunteer leader and rules official. Mass Golf honors her commitment this season by naming Veator the 2020 Mass Golf Volunteer of the Year. She is the 10th individual to receive the Andrew J. Blau Volunteer of the Year award since its inception in 2012.
Veator, a member of Ferncroft Country Club for over 30 years, has served on the Mass Golf Board of Directors for 10 years and was instrumental in the merger between the MGA and the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts (WGAM). With a strong history of volunteerism in the sport, she gave her time and expertise as one of the most active rules officials, serving at 21 of Mass Golf’s competitive events in 2020.
Veator was the Official in Charge at the Women’s Amateur Championship held at Essex County Club as well as the Women’s Stroke Play Championship for the Baker Trophy held at The Club of New Seabury. Beyond Mass Golf events and initiatives, she volunteered for New England Golf Association (NEGA) events this season, including the New England Amateur at Concord Country Club and the New England Senior Amateur at Mt. Washington Resort Golf Course (NH).
“I was speechless when I had heard I received the award, which doesn’t happen often,” said Veator. “I just love what I do and want everyone to know how great working with Mass Golf is.”
At every event she attended, Veator was diligent in assisting the Bay State’s top amateur golfers and responding promptly and accurately to the questions and concerns of players, staff and fellow volunteers.
“Christine has been the ambassador we’ve needed to become Mass Golf and to elevate all Championships and events”, said Jesse Menachem, Mass Golf Executive Director/CEO. “She exudes incredible qualities of character and the ability to assist and develop players, staff, club personnel and her fellow volunteers. We are fortunate that her contributions will be felt for years to come as she was an active participant in the creation of Mass Golf’s strategic plan.”
Beyond volunteering for the association, Veator has enjoyed participating in many of Mass Golf’s events over the years including the Dolly Sullivan Tournament and the Mixed Four-Ball Championship for the Stone Cup. Veator and her playing partner Karen Tehan won the 2017 Allen Bowl Four-Ball, one of Mass Golf’s Tournament events.
“The ability to get out on the golf course and resume a small sense of normalcy after COVID-19 hit and changed our lives was such an important part of the year for me,” said Veator. “We were able to provide the players and volunteers with the opportunity to ‘escape’ even for a day which I think everyone was craving. I am lucky that I had golf as a outlet this year, but I am also lucky to have the Mass Golf family as my cohorts when volunteering. The enthusiasm I see from the staff is infectious and makes it easy for us to be effective volunteer leaders.”
“The last line of the award description sums up her year quite nicely,” said Catherine Carmignani, Director of Communications and Marketing. “It is meant to honor volunteers from Mass Golf who demonstrate outstanding service and who help guide, lead and develop other volunteers. We all recognize that she isn’t just an asset to our Amateur golfers but also a resource and leader to those who want to contribute to the betterment of golf in Massachusetts.”
What got you involved in volunteering and what’s kept you going each and every year?
After retiring I was looking for something to do that was completely different than what I had done during my career. My love of golf led me to the board of the WGAM, and volunteering. I was always interested in hearing about rules issues that arose and that interest eventually led me off to USGA rules school. The more I got into the rules, the more of a challenge it became which is what keeps me going each year.
What are some of your favorite memories from volunteering with Mass Golf this season?
One special event this year was the Women’s Amateur at Essex County Club. We had a very strong field, great weather, and the course has such a storied history of women’s golf it just seemed like a rather magical week.
How did your mindset or approach to being a Rules Official at events change this season with the pandemic? Do you feel as though you accomplished what you set out to do?
Our lives have changed completely since the pandemic; it makes you think about every aspect of your life. I think the mindset this year on the course was to make certain we did the best job we could while making the players feel they were in a safe environment. With a huge effort from Mass Golf, I think this was accomplished.
As a volunteer leader on our Board of Directors, what does wearing a different hat like that mean to you? What are your hopes for Mass Golf, and golf in general, into the future?
It’s certainly a privilege to be on the Board of Mass Golf. As a result of our recently completed long range planning, my hopes for Mass Golf and golf in general are to see more girls and women taking up the game and, hopefully, eventually enjoying competitive golf.
You not only volunteer your time to Mass Golf, but you also play in some of the events. Some people out there think that volunteering is for people who may not play anymore. What would you say to dispel those myths? And, what kind of balance do you hope to strike each season with playing and volunteering?
My thinking when I retired is that I could only play just so much golf, which led me to volunteering as it keeps me in the game so to speak. I have met so many great people as a result of my involvement with Mass Golf (and previously the WGAM). So I have the privilege of being able to play in events as well as work with others and constantly meet new people, both players and volunteers.
What is your message to everyone out there who may want to volunteer their time with Mass Golf? Why should they get involved in the volunteer program and what are some benefits of giving your time and efforts?
My advice would be to give it a try. There are so many different aspects of what Mass Golf has to offer that there is something for everyone from working with the First Tee program, to working our championships, doing course rating, working with our member services.
“Christine’s love and dedication to the game shines in all aspects — from long days out on the course as a rules official to promoting the game to any/all who may be interested — especially juniors and members of the BOD/Championship Committee. Her full support of our entire staff goes a long way and as a volunteer, it adds to the special relationship between staff and volunteers, allowing Mass Golf to be successful in all aspects of the association. Without volunteers such as Christine, much of what we do would be impossible to pull off.” – Kevin Eldridge, Director of Rules & Competitions, Mass Golf
“Christine has worked harder at learning the Rules of Golf than anyone I know and has become extremely knowledgeable. It has been a pleasure seeing her confidence and ability to run a championship blossom. As the Official In Charge for the Mass Golf Women’s Amateur this summer, she was decisive when a decision needed to be made and was attentive to her fellow volunteer rules officials answering their questions quickly and precisely. I am very happy my good friend is receiving this well-deserved award.” – Karen Ammerman, President of the NEGA
“Christine Veator is uncompromisingly generous with her time as an official. She has traveled south and west from her north shore ‘station’ to all points in the Commonwealth, bringing with her a genuine desire to assist the players with a fair, practical, and thoughtful application of the Rules and a knack for organization as the Official In Charge of an event. Well earned is this honor.” – Thomas R. Berkel, President of the Board of Directors, Mass Golf
“Christine is the epitome of a successful Mass Golf volunteer. Not only is she always willing to go above and beyond the requested duties, but she is a tremendous advocate for the game within the state with her fellow volunteers, club staff, and players of all ages. In a year that had so many challenges, many of the Mass Golf rules officials stepped up to support a robust, condensed event calendar, and nobody did that more than Christine.” – Greg Howell, Manager of NEGA Operations & USGA Qualifying
“It’s a good feeling when you can walk up to the first tee at an event and have Christine get you set up for the round. She takes her role very seriously and provides us with a level of service that competitive amateur golfers in the state appreciate.” – Sue Curtin, Massachusetts Amateur Golfer and Mass Golf Marketing and Development Committee Member
“Christine Veator is one of the most loyal Volunteers in the Mass Golf family. When we recruit future volunteers, we are looking for the Christine Veator’s of Massachusetts.” – Drew Rosen, Senior Manager of Championships, Mass Golf
“I think Christine’s passion for making the game of golf better for the female golfers in Massachusetts is very evident. Her pride and satisfaction in making our biggest event on the women’s calendar, the Mass Women’s Amateur, improve year over year is a great example of her dedication. We feel fortunate to have Christine representing and pushing the game forward for all amateur golfers here in the Commonwealth.” – Steven Yatrousis, Championship Coordinator, Mass Golf
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