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Gene Bernstein Named 2023 Distinguished Service Award Winner

Elmsford, N.Y. (November 14, 2023) – The Metropolitan Golf Association is pleased to announce Gene Bernstein as the recipient of its 2023 Distinguished Service Award. Bernstein, who served as the President of the MGA and Chair of the MGA Foundation, will be celebrated for his many contributions to the game at the MGA’s 126th Annual Meeting and Dinner, December 6 at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.

Bernstein is a longtime volunteer with the MGA, first joining the Board of Directors in 2002 before rising through the officer ranks to be elected president and chair of the MGA Foundation from 2011-12. He’s remained an active Board member with the MGA Foundation and has helped guide the MGA’s initiatives and services through his various leadership roles.

Related: Past MGA DSA Recipients

“Gene’s leadership and vision have made an indelible mark on not just the MGA, but on golf in the Met Area,” says Andy Stock, chair of the MGA’s DSA committee and former president. “We are thrilled that we can formally acknowledge his unwavering efforts and celebrate the great work that he’s done for such a long time.”

During his tenure as president of the MGA, he oversaw the launch of an updated MGA brand redesign that included a new logo and website, the launch of the My MGA app, and a 10,000-square-foot expansion of the MGA offices at Golf Central. While Bernstein was at the helm, the MGA welcomed its first woman, Beth Post, to the board and the leadership ranks.

As chair of the MGA Foundation, Bernstein played an active role in the continued development of the GOLFWORKS student intern program and the MGA’s youth initiatives. He has a remained a member of the MGA Foundation Board of Directors and actively continues to support MGA programs.

“Gene’s passion for the game and its charitable endeavors is evident through everything he does,” says Brian Mahoney, Executive Director of the MGA. “He’s been invaluable in guiding the MGA and its various initiatives, and has always been very genuine in his actions. Gene remains an integral part of our Met Golfer advisory committee, helping shape one of our most important and valued service vehicles.”

Bernstein (back row, right) as co-captain of the French-American Challenge Team in 2013. 

In addition to his roles with the MGA, Bernstein currently is the Chair of First Tee – Metropolitan New York, a role he’s held since 2021. After joining the board in the early 2000s, he’s now taken on a leadership role and has worked to develop a more formal board and committee structure, leading to more organization and productivity. Bernstein also dedicates his time to Meadow Brook Club in Jericho, N.Y., where he has been a member since the early 1990s. He joined the board in 2018 and served as the club’s treasurer through 2022.  

Golf in the Met Area has benefited so much from Bernstein’s contributions for more than three decades, and its all been a labor of love for Bernstein, who learned golf at a young age. “I fell in love with golf the moment I tried it,” says Bernstein. “The game has afforded me so much pleasure ranging from competition and playing with friends and family, to travel and more. It also embodies many of the values I hold dear. So being able to give back to the game in whatever capacity people think I can help is a labor of love, and receiving this award is incredibly meaningful, especially when I think of the company I am in.” 

Other recognitions he’s received for the work he’s done for golf in the Met Area include the Met PGA’s Sam Snead Award in 2022 and the 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Long Island Golf Association, another organization of which he’s been a longtime supporter and event participant. Bernstein recently became a director with the Evans Scholars Foundation, working to promote the tradition of youth caddieing. 


The MGA Distinguished Service Award, created in 1973, is presented annually to a candidate who has contributed “distinguished service to golf and its related activities, consistent with the valued standards and honorable traditions of the game.” Some of its earliest winners include Joe Dey, Harry Cooper, Robert Trent Jones, Sr., and P.J. Boatwright, while names such as Dave Anderson, David Fay, Jimmy Roberts, Suzy Whaley, Jay Mottola, Jim Nantz, Dan Hicks, Mike Davis, and Al Small have received the honor in recent years. The MGA is proud to honor Bernstein as the latest recipient of its Distinguished Service Award.