'Giving Back' a Theme for CGA Governors
Irwin, Gysin, Albrecht among newcomers to CGA's all-volunteer board
by Gary Baines
The last year or so has been full of golf "firsts" for Steve Irwin. In June 2011 the Arvada resident competed in his first U.S. Open, a tournament his dad, Hale, won three times. In August, he played in his first U.S. Amateur. And this year, he's expanded his role on the administrative side of golf, joining the all-volunteer CGA Board of Governors for the first time.
"I'm very familiar with the inner workings of the CGA," noted Irwin, who has served on the association's tournament committee for the last seven or eight years. "So this is another area to get involved with to help give back to the game."
That "giving back to the game" is a common theme among the Board of Governors, the big-picture guiding body of the 97-year-old non-profit CGA. The board consists of 30 members -- including former USGA president Will Nicholson Jr. -- who serve renewable three-year terms, plus legal counsel Ed Timmins. (A meeting of a past board is pictured, with current CGA president Tom Lawrence sitting at far left.)
Irwin, vice president of Hale Irwin Golf Services and winner of five CGA championships, is among three newcomers to the board. Joining him are Tom Gysin -- a Lakewood Country Club member (like Irwin), lifelong Coloradan and an owner of Homestead Title -- and Gary Albrecht, a lawyer who plays out of CommonGround Golf Course, which is owned and operated by the CGA and CWGA.
"It's often said that all great non-profits are run by volunteers, and the CGA is certainly included in that," executive director Ed Mate said. The Board of Governors "is one of the things that makes the CGA a great organization. Some governors are from public courses, some are from private clubs, some are scratch players, some have high handicaps. But all the board members have one thing in common: They all love golf. They're passionate about the game and want to give back."
The board and the CGA's paid staff meet four times a year, with the primary business meetings held in conjunction with the Colorado Golf Awards Brunch in November and the Season Tee-Off Luncheon at the Denver Golf Expo in February.
"The board isn't going to tell the staff how to run tournaments or how to rate courses," Mate said. "They're involved in mission-statement stuff, big decisions.
"The staff is the 'how' and the board is responsible for the 'what'."
For example, the biggest single decision the CGA and CWGA boards made and reaffirmed in recent decades was purchasing the golf course at the former Lowry Air Force Base, and constructing and running the new CommonGround Golf Course.
In addition to attending the quarterly board meetings, governors serve on various committees that also meet regularly. For example, because he's a regular at CommonGround and is a big advocate for youngsters, Albrecht will play a major role in overseeing the new Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy at CommonGround.
The Board of Governors' nominating committee is always on the lookout for talented people to eventually add to the board, and the governors try to strike a balance among board members based on geography (where governors resides in the state), the type of clubs they represent (public, private, resort, etc.) and other factors.
But the bottom line is all governors have to be committed to the CGA's mission -- to represent, promote, and serve the best interests of golf in the state of Colorado -- and to the association's many developmental programs and "for the good of the game" initiatives.
In other words, as Mate said, they have to be passionate about golf and about giving back to the game.
For a list of all the CGA governors, including brief biographies, CLICK HERE.