2019 Volunteer and Club of the Year Awards

The 2019 Washington Golf (WA Golf) Volunteer and Club of the Year Award recipients were announced earlier this month at the 98th WA Golf Annual Meeting, hosted by Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.

The George Holland Award annually recognizes volunteers who have made extraordinary contributions to Washington Golf and the game of golf throughout the WA Golf territory of Washington and Northern Idaho. These dedicated individuals contribute many hours of time and effort, as well as resources, to our Association, simply for the satisfaction of knowing they are benefiting the game of golf. They are truly the “unsung heroes” of WA Golf. It is named the George Holland Award in honor of longtime volunteer, contributor, and two-time past president, George Holland.

Click here for a full history of the George Holland Award.

Richard Karstens

Championship Volunteer of the Year

Richard Karstens

Richard has been volunteering consistently at Washington Golf Championships and USGA Qualifiers for the past two seasons. He resides in Yakima and is faced with a long commute almost every time he volunteers. This year he volunteered multiple days in Walla Walla, Mill Creek, Pullman, and DuPont. He is a huge golf fan and loves playing any new course in the region as well as keeping up with the latest and greatest equipment. Richard has made an effort to recruit more volunteers from his area and always makes himself available if needed! Most importantly, he is kind and courteous to all and thoroughly enjoys being a part of Washington Golf!

Gary McLaughlin

Course Rater of the Year

Gary McLaughlin

Gary started with the WA Golf course rating team in 2014 and has been a dedicated member ever since. He has put in a tremendous amount of time and miles traveling from his home in Port Angeles to rate courses all over Washington and Northern Idaho. Gary has become well-versed in the Course Rating System and is quick to share his knowledge and experience with others. His dedication and reliability was shown in 2019 when he took part in 18 course ratings, covering all of WA Golf territory. Rarely a week went by between May and September where Gary did not take part in a rating. His dedication to the team and his commitment to learning the system has earned him the respect of his course rating peers.

Mary Lou Bunn

Handicap Chairperson of the Year

Mary Lou Bunn

The recipient for Handicap Chairperson of the year is Mary Lou Bunn from Twin Lakes Village. She was nominated by Kathy Brown, the PGA Head Professional from Twin Lakes, and being nominated by the head professional of her club shows what a good working relationship she has with the facility and the staff at Twin Lakes Village. She has been an active member of the Twin Lakes Village Women’s Club for more than 10 years, and for many of those years Mary Lou has served on the handicap committee. She is a respected authority on the handicapping system and works hard to share that knowledge by writing a monthly newsletter.

Noah Van Loen

Club Representative of the Year

Noah Van Loen

Noah has been the Club Representative for Seattle’s Interbay Golf Club for the last few years. He made an impression early on at a previous WA Golf Annual Meeting when he introduced himself as a new Rep and that he was looking for ways to get involved with the association. From the beginning, he has been interested and determined to bring new ideas to his club in an effort to constantly improve the membership at the Par-3 course and driving range center. He helped his own club adopt some of the programs that WA Golf is always trying to grow, such as the Online Join & Renew system. Noah is a kind, professional person who understands the qualities and benefits that a healthy and involved golf club can provide to those in and around it.

The WA Golf Club of the Year Award is new for 2019. The award recognizes the membership of a WA Golf Member Club for outstanding contributions to its community, the game of golf or the Association.

2019 Club of the Year
Steve Decoy and Frank Horton from the Gold Mountain Men’s Club accept the Club of the Year Award at the 98th WA Golf Annual Meeting.

Club of the Year

Gold Mountain Men’s Club

For years, Gold Mountain has been a club to recognize! They continue to sustain and grow their membership, as well as build up their events calendar.

As an example of their commitment to the game, on a busy morning this past summer they welcomed the WA Golf staff at their course, inviting the staff to talk with golfers. The club members then hung out at the driving range for several hours, talking about the benefits of being a member of their club, and specifically the value of being a member of WA Golf.

When visiting with the Gold Mountain Men’s Club Members, it is obvious that through their club communications they are very familiar with their state golf association. The Men’s Club is a tight knit group of 535 golfers, many of whom call each other friends. Through the hard work and dedication of the club leadership, fellowship is encouraged both through their club electronic communications as well as at events such as their Christmas Party, where they get a great turn out!

The membership retention at Golf Mountain from year to year is noteworthy. When speaking with administrators of the club, a common message is that they are simply hopeful to get more people to enjoy the game more!