Encouraging the Spirit of the Game
Pictured from left to right: Todd Johnson, Teresa Silvers and Kevin Stanton.
Photo by Jon Keeling
When imagining the perfect warm spring or summer day, nothing comes to mind faster for many than a golf course. For Todd Johnson, it’s not only a hobby, but his entire career.
“I’ve been with the Greater Cincinnati Golf Association (GCGA) for 16 years,” says Johnson, GCGA Executive Director. “The GCGA has been around since 1905. We conduct amateur competitions here locally, and qualifiers for the USGA (United States Golf Association). We also have the 1905 Junior Tour that serves about 500 juniors throughout the summer months, starting in 2010. We’re revitalizing our foundation, which will give back to juniors through initiatives in area schools...that will help increase exposure to the game of golf.”
The GCGA not only runs competitions and provides rules education, but also administers the USGA Handicap System across all of its member facilities that enables casual golfers on local courses or hardened competitors traveling to engage in equitable competition worldwide.
“We have administered the GHIN (Golf Handicap and Information Network) through all of the clubs in our association throughout the Greater Cincinnati area, which includes Northern Kentucky, southeastern Indiana, and the Cincinnati area itself,” says Johnson. “We provide member clubs with USGA Course and Slope Ratings, which helps players’ establish USGA Handicaps. This helps the golfer determine what their handicap is when they go to other venues, whether that be in Cincinnati, or somewhere else around the world.”
With so many different programs and initiatives, one might think that the GCGA is a large organization. Johnson, however, points out that, including himself, the Association is staffed by only three full-time employees, with the assistance of two interns provided by the USGA’s P.J. Boatwright Jr.
“Kevin Stanton, our Director of Rules & Competitions, handles the tournament program and runs our education programming,” explains Johnson. “Teresa Silvers has been with the association for 23 years and is the Director of Member Services, so she’s in charge of overseeing the handicap and course rating system at all of the clubs and helps in recruiting new members or trying to find avenues that we can use to encourage more people to join the Association.”
But the GCGA isn’t just a club. They’re a non-profit, community-focused organization involved in area initiatives and school systems.
“My job deals a lot in community involvement – reaching out; trying to find new avenues to engage golfers; partnerships that make sense for us and trying to, through junior programs, either at our clubs or in school systems, create a pipeline of future golfers,” says Johnson.
The GCGA’s 1905 Junior Tour is for 7- to 18-year-olds beginning in early April, and takes place on weekends until school is out. They are then held on weekdays in June and July. These junior programs are important to Johnson, who says that tournament golf should never be something that kids should be afraid to be involved in.
“We hope that by partnering with the First Tee programs of Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky First Tee and Miami Valley First Tee, we can work together to promote their programming within the school system, and they can, in turn, endorse our junior program to their kids when they’re ready to start playing tournament golf,” says Johnson.
Helping golfers across the Greater Cincinnati area while encouraging kids to not be afraid to
Sounds like a hole-in-one.
The GCGA is located at 9200 Montgomery Road, 24B, Cincinnati, OH 45242. For more information, call 513.522.4444 or visit www.gcga.org