At the 96th Annual Meeting of the Washington State Golf Association, Doug Rohner of Fircrest, Wash. was elected the association’s president. The meeting was held October 28, 2017 at Bear Creek Country Club in Woodinville, Wash.
In 2005, Doug became a WSGA Club Representative for Tacoma, and in 2010 was asked to serve on the WSGA Board of Directors. In 2013, Doug became a vice president on the WSGA Executive Committee.
“Doug has been a very active and dedicated WSGA Board member,” said WSGA CEO/Executive Director Troy Andrew. “As a VP of Business Banking, Doug has been a tremendous asset to our Finance Committee and was also a major contributor to our recent Bylaw changes. He is a great leader for our association and I look forward to working closer with him.”
It was three years ago that Troy first approached Doug to ask about his interest in being president of the WSGA, a position that typically entails two consecutive one-year terms. “But I didn’t feel the timing was right,” Doug says.
In early September of this year, Troy approached Doug again. “I told him I’d sleep on it for a couple days,” Doug said. “And after a few days I told him I’d be happy to be president.”
Doug will follow in the footsteps of Immediate Past President Barb Tracy, who had served three years as president. With the restructuring of the relationship between the USGA and the Allied Golf Associations (of which the WSGA is one) in solidifying the partnership among the golf associations and the services they provide to the golfer, Tracy had served an additional one-year term to see it through. It will now be Doug who will work to fulfill some of the initiatives set forth.
When asked about some of the goals for his term, Doug didn’t hesitate. “The number one item on my radar is to move forward with the creation of Golf House at The Home Course.” The course, located in DuPont, Wash., opened in 2007 and is co-operatively owned and operated by the WSGA and Pacific Northwest Golf Association. The plan has always been to have it be the physical home of the region’s allied associations, such as the WSGA, PNGA, Pacific Northwest Section PGA, and others.
“During my term, I want to see some movement on it,” he continued. “It’s what everyone wants, and if it is our stated mission to support each other in the game’s spirit of evolving collaboration, then let’s do it. I’d like to be able to at least see the financing in place, to have a framework of a concrete plan going forward.”
The other item on Doug’s agenda is to continue to find ways to engage and support the average golfer. “There are so many golfers in our region who don’t know about the WSGA, and maybe aren’t really interested in all of our services,” he says. “The casual golfer, who plays maybe four or five times a year, and doesn’t have any interest in competing or belonging to a ‘club.’ We want to be relevant to those people as well. I know we have some initiatives we’ll be implementing in 2018, and the hope is we’ll reach these people.”
Doug grew up in Lakewood, Wash. His parents were longtime members at Tacoma Country and Golf Club, and that is where Doug learned the game. “I was probably 11 or so, and started caddying for my dad,” he said.
He attended Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, where he competed on the track team. “Golf and track were both held in the spring, so I had to choose one over the other.”
Despite not playing on the high school golf team, Doug did compete in the WSGA Men’s Amateur in 1976, his senior year. “That was probably the first time I became aware of the WSGA,” he says. “I thought ‘Oh, so this is what they do.’”
He attended Gonzaga University, playing one year on the men’s golf team. “My best competitive round was in the first round of the 1978 Big Sky Championship. I broke 70 for the first time, but that was it,” he says with a laugh. “I fell apart after that.”
After graduating from Gonzaga, Doug got into the commercial banking business and now works as a commercial banker servicing loans for companies to build houses.
Now a member at Tacoma as well, Doug has served as the chairman of the club’s golf committee for five separate one-year terms. “We would decide the rules for the club for the year,” he said. “And also decide which outside events the club would host that year.”
In 1994, Tacoma was the site of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. “That was my first volunteer experience,” Doug said. “And from then on, anything that came along in our area, I wanted to be involved in.”
In the early 2000s, the USGA was looking for a venue to hold the 2007 U.S. Girls’ Junior. “That was one of the years I was serving as chairman of Tacoma’s golf committee,” Doug says. “John Bodenhamer, who was then the executive director of the WSGA, approached us about hosting the Girls’ Junior. And then he looks at me and suggests that maybe I should be the local co-chair of that national championship.”
And so Doug co-chaired that event, and has since volunteered for several U.S. Open Sectional Qualifiers, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links held at The Home Course, and the 2015 U.S. Open.
Doug also is on the board of The First Tee of South Puget Sound, and served as co-chair of the chapter’s 2017 Harbottle Golf Classic fundraiser, which raised over $114,000 for the program’s initiatives.
“Doug has given a great deal of volunteer time to USGA national championships that have been held in our area, leading the efforts of committees needed to administer those championships,” Troy said.
“I love golf,” Doug says. “I love being around the game. I was not really good enough to continue to compete competitively, so volunteering in the various capacities over the years is my way of being able to be part of it. It is something I really enjoy doing.”