Boatwright Interns:
Doing The Good Work Of Golf

Since 1992, this USGA-funded program has allowed hundreds of men and women to get their start in golf administration - and help the game thrive at the grass-roots level

January 21, 2009

By John Steinbreder

Though P. J. Boatwright, Jr. passed away 18 years ago, his name lives on at the United States Golf Association - as the gentleman who served as executive director of the organization from 1969 to 1980, and who endures as perhaps its greatest authority on the rules of the game.

Boatwright also retains a prominent presence as a result of the paid internships the USGA has been awarding in his honor since 1992, the year after he died of bone cancer at the age of 63. And given the success of that program, it arguably stands as his greatest legacy within the association - and one that should endure for years to come.

P.J. Boatwright's legacy continues through an internship program that assists state/regional golf associations. (USGA Museum)

Each year, the USGA helps fund more than 100 P. J. Boatwright internships to men and women interested in pursuing a career in golf administration. The internships, at state and regional golf associations throughout the country, generally run from three months to a year, with the USGA stipend averaging about $1,550 a month. (Golf associations that participate in the Boatwright program are responsible for the recruitment, compensation and supervision of interns; click here for a list of 2009 internship opportunities by state.)

In their positions, the interns perform a wide variety of tasks, from sorting tournament entries and running competitions to rating courses and answering phones. And in the end, they gain valuable experience and make important contacts in the game as they also provide critical assistance to groups that are otherwise under-funded and understaffed.

There is no denying the Boatwright program has been a boon to those men and women who want to work in golf, as well as those organizations that so desperately need their assistance. For example, the USGA has allocated some $18 million since 1992 to fund roughly 1,400 P. J. Boatwright interns. Half of those have remained in the sport, and 30 currently hold the title of either executive director or assistant exective director of a state or regional golf association. An additional 56 employees are either directors or managers at these associations.

"The Boatwright internship is among the most important things we do as an association," says USGA President Jim Vernon, whose knows first-hand how well the program works - his administrative assistant is an alumna. "It is also one of our most successful."

The Boatwright program took shape in 1992. "There was some concern within the game in the mid-1980s about where the next generation of golf administrators was coming from," says internship administrator Dorothy Mastromonaco. "And when P. J. died, there was a feeling at the USGA that we could pay tribute to him by establishing these internships as we also addressed the concern for grooming that next generation."

But grooming was only part of the initial mission. "It was also hoped the program could serve as an eye-opener and show the interns what golf administration entailed as it also trained them for a career there," says Donna Mummert, who interned with the Carolina Golf Association for six months in 1997 and is now assistant director of Amateur Status and the Rules of Golf for the USGA. (For Mummert's account of her internship, including the week-long Boatwright Orientation that the USGA hosts each spring at its headquarters in Far Hills, N.J., click here. )

In addition, the Boatwright program has allowed the dozens of state and regional golf associations that do so much for the game to benefit from an infusion of paid help, both in the office and on the course. "That has always been part of the mission as well, to help those associations provide the highest quality level of assistance to their members and all of amateur golf," adds Mastromonaco.

Carr McCalla, the executive director of the Louisiana Golf Association, knows first-hand what a Boatwright intern can mean to an aspiring golf administrator.

LGA Executive Director Carr McCalla was part of the first class of P.J. Boatwright interns. (USGA Museum)

"I was part of the very first Boatwright class, working in the summer of 1992 for the Tennessee Golf Association," he recalls. "And it was a huge part of my breaking into the golf industry four years later. I learned a lot during my time in Tennessee, and I made a number of very important contacts. In fact, two of the people I met there, Executive Director Dick Horton and USGA Regional Manager Roger Harvie, were important parts of my being offered the position I hold today."

In McCalla's role as the executive director, he has also come to appreciate what the Boatwright program can mean to a group like his. "For my first six years with the LGA, I was the only full-time staff person," he says. "The USGA has provided us with Boatwright interns each of the 13 years I've worked here. The first six years, interns served as exactly half of our staff and were critical components in our growth as an organization."

McCalla did get some additional help in 2001, when his board approved the hiring of a second, full-time staffer. And to demonstrate just how much he thinks about the value of the program, each of the three people he has placed in that position over the years has been - you guessed it - a former Boatwright intern.

Now a senior writer at Golfweek magazine, Beth Ann Baldry worked a decade ago as a Boatwright intern for the Florida Women's State Golf Association during her freshman and sophomore years at Florida Southern. "Most of it took place in the summers during those years, though I would go into the association office once a week or so during school," she recalls. "I worked closely with the executive director, and like a lot of interns, I spent time helping to do everything from rating courses to running tournaments. I met a lot of good people and got a sense of how things operated behind the scenes at a golf association. I also wrote a lot of articles for the association's newsletter, and my internship was a time when I discovered how much I liked to write, and to write about golf. In many ways, it's why I am doing what I am today."

Bill Moore, executive director of the New York State Golf Association, also found his two stints as a Boatwright intern to be springboards to a career in golf. "I did it right after I graduated from college in 1996," he recalls. "I wanted to get into the golf business in some capacity, but just wasn't sure how to do it. I talked to the executive director of the New York State Golf Association at the time, Pat Keenan, and he suggested I apply."

Moore was able to secure an internship at the organization he runs today, and he well remembers what his job was all about. "We barely used computers in those days," he says. "Most of the work was done in paper and at the championship site itself. In those days, the only staffer was a part-time executive director and I. So, we did most of the work. We set up the golf course a day or two before the event, with the help of a handful of volunteers. We set up the players' banquet and made up the scorecards. We even wrote the press releases and sent out the results to the local and regional news outlets."

As far as Moore is concerned, the benefits of a Boatwright internship - then and now - are huge. "The program has given a lot of young people the opportunity to see what the world of golf administration is all about," he says. "And it has brought a lot of talented people into the game, and into these associations."

Like David Donnelly, a St. Louis resident who parlayed his Boatwright internship first into a job in the Rules and Competitions department of the USGA and later into a gig with the PGA Tour, as a rules official with the Nationwide circuit. "I started in the program the summer I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri, and it was instrumental in my developing a career in golf," he says. "The Boatwright enabled me to get my foot in the door with the USGA, which hired me a few years after I completed the internship. And from there, I was able to make my way to the Tour."

In short, Donnelly concludes, he would not be where he is in the game were it not for the Boatwright program. Plenty of intern alumni can say the same thing, and the associations that have been able to employ those young men and women as a result echo their sentiments about the value of the program and the opportunities it presents.

Sums up Judy Bell, USGA president from 1996-97 and consulting director of the USGA Grants and Fellowship Programs: "It really has been a win-win for all involved."

John Steinbreder is a freelance golf writer based in Connecticut.

For more information about Boatwright intern positions available for 2009,click on this link.






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