Unlike the club professionals she administrates for, Northeastern New York PGA executive director Tracie Warner was not a member of one of the largest sports organ-izations in the world.
Warner recently was awarded an honorary membership into the NENYPGA in recognition of her longtime service, outstanding performance and dedication to the membership.
It’s an honor that is certainly well deserved.
Warner, with plenty of help from her assistant and tourn-ament director, Doug Evans, is the backbone of golf in the Capital Region.
Not only does the local PGA section coordinate its own tournament schedule, but it also administers many local amateur events for the Capital Region Amateur Golf Association, as well as most of the top junior golf tournaments in the area.
Warner began her golf career as the assistant to executive director Dan Gyoerkoe in 2001. A year later, she became the executive director when Gyoerkoe left the business.
“Certainly, my role has changed over the years, in the same fashion as the professionals’ roles have changed,” Warner said. “We are all doing more.
“In terms of administrative and operational needs, our junior program has expanded dramatically, and we’re also trying to perform more and more services for our membership. We want to help our local, grass roots programs and increase the number of rounds at our members’ clubs. We also want to increase employment for our club professionals, and help them to do their jobs better.”
Warner said the local PGA section’s increased involvement with amateur golf occurred only recently.
“We never even thought about running amateur tournaments when I started 12 years ago,” she said. “But in the last six years or so, we started getting involved in CRAGA, and we’ve been running tournaments for that organization. I think that’s one of the things we do really well is tournament administration. Putting on succeessful tournaments for amateurs and giving them an opportunity to play where they maybe hadn’t played before is part of what we do now.”
Warner has always loved the game of golf, ever since her father got her started when she was 8 years old.
“I played on my high school team in Titusville, Pa., and I was the only girl on the guys team,” she said. “It was a good experience for me. Obviously, it has helped me in my current scenario, as I’m working with a lot of men. Golf has been a male-based industry for many years, but it’s changing. I’ve seen it change with our junior program, as our girls membership is up quite a bit. We’ve made a big initiative to get younger girls involved in our sport. We want to help get them started.”
After high school, Warner attended Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., but she didn’t pursue golf.
“I’ve always played a lot of sports, and I’ve always been pretty athletic,” she said. “My original goal was to be a phys-ical therapist. But then I went back to school to study sports management because I’m so sports-minded. I decided to bring the administrative side of sports into my career mode. I applied for some positions, and I was lucky to be interviewed for the assistant’s role here.”
Like the club professionals she works for, Warner wears many hats in the golf business, but she enjoys her communication roles the best.
“It’s the membership services side of the business I enjoy the most — communicating and being around the pros and the juniors. Customer service is my strength. If I can help people in golf in some fashion, that’s my ultimate goal.”
Bryan Bigley’s eight-under-par 64 in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Schuyler Meadows was the best individual performance I’ve ever seen in the more than 25 years I’ve been covering this event, which is always one of the highlights of the season for local golfers.
Bigley, 29, a two-time Gaz-ette County Amateur champion, put up some fantastic rounds during his amateur days at Siena College. He was the MAAC Player of the Year and also broke the course record twice at Wolferts Roost Country Club in the CRAGA Stroke Play Championship.
He’s won 10 times as a professional on various mini tours.
It would be really something if Bigley could finally break through the 36-hole sectionals next month and compete in the 114th U.S. Open June 12-15 at Pinehurst No. 2. His part-time home in Charleston is only two hours away. He’s already competed twice in the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow, but playing in the U.S. Open would definitely be the highlight of his career so far.
u Stadium Golf Club is running an eight-week summer golf league for junior boys and girls beginning June 30. There is a choice of Mondays at 12:45 p.m., Tuedays at 12:15 p.m. or Wednesdays at 1 p.m. Cost is $175 per player, and it includes greens fees, prizes, driving range punch card, golf towel and lunch the last week of play. Also included is an hour-long golf clinic on either July 12 or Aug. 2. Call 374-9104, ext. 1, for more information.
u Burden Lake Country Club hosts the next Eastern New York Golf Association event Wednesday.
u Leatherstocking Golf Club is hosting the New York State Golf Association’s Four-Ball Championship today and Monday.
u Local club pros compete in their fourth Pro-Classic of the season Monday.
u Division III PING Northeast All-Region honors have been awarded to RPI’s Brandon Mader and Michael Souliotis.
Dick Gilbert of Schenectady used an 8-iron to ace the 120-yard ninth hole at Briar Creek.
Also at Briar Creek, Jack Hawkey holed out with a pitching wedge on the 14th hole.
At Pinehaven Country Club, Eileen Hart celebrated Mother’s Day by recording her first hole-in-one on the 123-yard ninth hole. She was playing with her husband, Paul, and her two sons, Paul Hart Jr. and Brian Hart.
Rob Ely wielded an 8-iron for his hole-in-one on the 128-yard 17th hole at Saratoga Lake Golf Club.
Travis Koch holed out with a sand wedge for an eagle on the 292-yard, par-4 sixth hole at Airway Meadows.
Tim O’Brien eagled the second hole, and Carl Leo eagled the third hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.
Bill Janis chipped in for eagle on the 12th hole while competing in the Pinhead Susans league at Schenectady Municipal.
Also at Schenectady Municipal, Dan Cole sank a seven-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole.