MetLife Success Story: Domonique Wilcher
ELMSFORD, N.Y. - (June 26, 2014) Now in its 20th year, the MGA Foundation’s flagship junior program, GOLFWORKS, provides meaningful summer employment to over 200 deserving high school students at Met Area golf and country clubs each year. Through summer internships, GOLFWORKS participants learn how to manage their time and develop a set of skills that will help pave their desired career paths, like Domonique Wilcher, who started as a GOLFWORKS intern in 2009 and is now pursuing a career in golf administration as the USGA P.J. Boatwright Intern for the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association.
Wilcher, 21, grew up in Irvington, N.J., and is a recent graduate of Albright College in Reading, PA, where she double majored in biology and business and was a member of the women’s varsity golf team, playing a sport she knew very little about just eight years ago. Domonique was first exposed to golf when she was in the eighth grade, and little did she know that she would be opened up to a sport that would change her life in so many positive ways. “It was a whole different world getting introduced to golf,” she said. “It was a lot of learning but it was great because it was things I can take out of golf and apply it to real life.”
Wilcher cites always showing up early to events and appointments a key principle she’s picked up through playing golf.
“One of my coaches told me ‘if you’re on time, you’re late,’” she joked. “That was one thing I carried from high school into college and still remembered even in my jobs when I was introducing myself to new people. I always was early instead of just on time.”
Participating at The First Tee of Metropolitan New York’s (TFTMNY) Weequahic Park facility in Newark, N.J., was the initial spark of Wilcher’s love of the game. “The First Tee program was amazing,” she said. “I met a lot of great people, and playing in the team matches at Nassau County and Fairchild Wheeler was a lot of fun. I would never change those times and those experiences I had.”
Wilcher went through The First Tee’s curriculum and began to volunteer with the organization. Then she was offered an opportunity to work a paid position for The First Tee of Essex County through GOLFWORKS.
“[The First Tee] told me about GOLFWORKS, where kids work at country clubs to get experience in the golf industry,” recalls Wilcher. “I thought to myself, ‘I love helping out so why not.’ It was a really great experience because I got to be an administrator and saw what goes on in the background of fundraisers and tournaments. I met a lot of other people that were in GOLFWORKS and they all loved it, so thank you to the MGA Foundation for running that program.”
Wilcher learned to manage her time and responsibilities thanks to GOLFWORKS and credits the program for improving her communication skills. This went a long way during her studies at Albright and will continue to serve her well as the WMGA’s Boatwright intern. A recipient of the WMGA Foundation's scholarship, Wilcher is excited to fulfill her responsibilities for the nation’s second oldest women’s golf association.
“I’m in charge of making sure that all the points from each tournament are added up and put on the website,” she said. “I’ll also make sure notices go out to all players before each event as well as general tournament information. As the year goes on, I’ll be doing more course setups, and will participate in a seminar on handicapping. I’ll be doing a little bit of everything and I’m ready to learn and intrigued to absorb more.”
Executive Director of TFTMNY Barry McLaughlin is not surprised by Wilcher’s progress from a First Tee participant, to GOLFWORKS intern and now a USGA P.J. Boatwright intern for the WMGA.
“Domonique has grown into a terrific and inspiring young woman. Since I first met her at Weequahic Park I know there was something special her” said McLaughin, who Wilcher considers a mentor. “I am proud of Domonique's accomplishments and expect to hear many more great stories about her in the future.”
Wilcher is enthusiastic about having a career in the golf industry down the road, and knows her current role can only help her going forward. This path would have never been paved without her exposure to golf through The First Tee and her introduction to careers in golf through GOLFWORKS.
“I’ve been in golf for more than eight years,” said Wilcher.” I love golf. It’s definitely something I can see myself in, and I would love to pursue something more in golf in the future.”
To learn more about the GOLFWORKS program, click here.
-By David Hodges & Adam Zweig
Founded in 1994, the MGA Foundation’s GOLFWORKS program is designed to give its participants—high school aged students—exposure to the many career opportunities within the golf industry by providing meaningful summer work experiences. The young adults who participate in GOLFWORKS complete an internship in an environment that revolves around golf, which in itself can teach the lessons of honor, integrity and tradition and provides an activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. In addition, GOLFWORKS provides a good salary as well as networking opportunities to its interns, and a way for interns to learn the skills necessary to pursue their career interests.