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Knowing the Rules of Golf can take a person many places. Oftentimes, getting involved with the Rules is a decision that’s made to give something back to the game so many of us love. There are times where the rules do more than give back, they take volunteers to places they never even thought possible.
Roberta Bolduc got involved to give back, but she also wanted to helped expand Mass Golf further into Western Massachusetts. Now, years later, she’s more than achieved her goals as a rules official and volunteer and she has experienced some incredible moments due to her dedication.
Bolduc, a resident of Longmeadow, graduated from Marymount College of Kansas in 1965. Her resume in golf and as a rules official is outstanding. As a player, Bolduc was a member at Longmeadow Country Club where she won 14 club championships. Beyond local competition, she also competed in 10 USGA Championships.
Bolduc’s involvement with the Rules led her to become a Volunteer and Chairman of the USGA’s Women’s Committee for the USGA. In September 2019, she traveled to Nagano, Japan, to serve as a USGA rules official for the Women’s World Amateur Team Championships.
In what’s been a full and fulfilling career, Bolduc’s involvement with Rules officiating has brought her to five different continents.
The following interview was condensed for clarity and brevity.
Mass Golf: How did you get into volunteering with MassGolf?
Roberta Bolduc: I love to play the game, but I have always had a sense that you have to give as much as you take. I felt that I should try to contribute to the game in some way. There were almost no clubs in Western Mass that were members of what was then the Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts [WGAM], so after playing in the Women’s Amateur Championship back in the 1980s, I connected with some of the board members, and we brought a couple of Western Mass clubs into the fold. I went on the board as Chair of Spring Teams and Course Rating. I loved the administrative part as much as competing. There was always something new to learn and wonderful people to work with. I made some great friends who I remember fondly to this day. Other opportunities came along, and I just had more and more fun and challenges. I eventually decided that I really wanted to learn the Rules. That led to even more adventures and my time with the USGA.
MG: What is your most memorable golf shot?
RB: I suppose that might be my first hole-in-one, which I made 50 years after I started playing. Three friends and I were playing at the newly opened Machrihanish Dunes [in Scotland]. I hit a shot that seemed to come to rest on a bank in front of the green. We walked off the tee into a little depression and then up to the green. The ball was nowhere to be found. The caddie suggested we look in the cup. There it was! FIFTY YEARS! I was the first woman and first American to make a hole-in-one on that course.
MG: What is your favorite course in Massachusetts?
RB: I have always said that I am never disappointed to come home to Longmeadow Country Club. I love it, but I love some others too. It is difficult to choose, but I would add The Country Club, The Kittansett Club, and Myopia Hunt Club. I have special memories of all of those.
MG What is your dream foursome?
RB: Again, that question could have several answers. Or perhaps, I don’t have a dream foursome. The happy times have been with my daughter, my grandson, and my brother.
MG What club has the best lunch in Massachusetts?
RB: I am not getting too many clubs these days, but I do remember that Brae Burn had a great lunch and awesome chocolate chip cookies.
MG: What keeps you coming back? Why would you encourage someone to volunteer for MassGolf?
RB: It’s because of the game and the friends you make along the way. Golf really is the greatest game. It’s a game of honor and integrity, and that makes it incredibly special. And the people you meet while playing it and working for it are the BEST friends. Another thing that really keeps me coming back is the fun I have with the “Western Mass Tribal Council,” a group of incredibly dedicated Rules Officials who invited me to join their ranks many years ago. They are so committed to making every experience better for the players. It is a treat to be a part of that group.