James and Nicholas Honored at 120th MGA Annual Meeting & Dinner
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (December 7, 2017) – The Metropolitan Golf Association held its 120th Annual Meeting and Dinner on Wednesday evening at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. The club has graciously hosted the event since 1981, but this year’s offered a special celebration as the club’s very own James Nicholas received the 2017 MGA Jerry Courville Player of the Year Award, while the MGA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, was presented to former Executive Director Robert C. James.
More than 200 club representatives, committee members, champions, volunteers, members of the press and representatives from local and national golf organizations attended the event.
James, who retired this year after 26 years at Westchester Country Club, accepted the MGA’s DSA during the evening’s closing presentation. James reflected on the more than 20 MGA Dinners he has attended through the years, noting how the respect he had for past DSA recipients has made him so gracious to accept this year’s honor.
Making the presentation even more special was the fact that James is the first-ever club management professional to be recognized with the award—a fitting honor due to James’ 40-plus year career in the Met Area which also included time at Stanwich and Sleepy Hollow.
“This has been an honor to serve this industry and I hope that there are more opportunities for me to continue to serve,” said James, who currently serves as president of the Club Managers Association of America and also teaches as an adjunct professor at Cornell, from where he graduated in 1971.
Prior to dinner, Westchester Country Club Director of Golf Ben Hoffhine, who gave Nicholas his first-ever driver, introduced the Player of the Year. Nicholas’ outstanding season—highlighted by a tie for low amateur honors and fifth-place at the Met Open, a run to the semifinals of the Met Amateur, and a tie for fifth in the Ike—led to his capturing the coveted honor.
Gracious to receive the award, Nicholas extended genuine thanks to the MGA for the opportunities for competitive golf and all those at Westchester who have helped him and his game along the way—including his lead coach Gary Weir.
“I am truly humbled to stand here and accept the MGA Jerry Courville Player of the Year Award,” said Nicholas. “This means so much to me and is the product of a lot of hard work and time spent with many people who have helped me get this far.”
Nicholas saved his most heartfelt thanks for his family. “It’s rare if I am in a tournament where I don’t have one of you guys following me, supporting me, and rooting me on.” The 20-year old delivered an emotional thanks to his mother and father, and shared insight to his entire family’s unwavering support, from his grandmother’s ability to check Twitter and Golfstat to follow his performance in events to the arguments among his brothers, girlfriend, and father on who caddies best.
During the meeting portion of the evening, department reports detailed another exciting and successful year for the MGA. President Michael J. Sullivan of Garden City Country Club now looks forward to another successful year in his position alongside Vice President Tod D. White of Apawamis and Secretary and Treasurer Andrew G. Stock of Baltusrol. The MGA’s 22-member Executive Committee welcomed two newly elected members in Bryan Pendrick of Mill River and Nathaniel Turner of Bayonne. The MGA Foundation Board of Directors also welcomed new at-large member Kevin McGlynn of Montclair.
Attendees also heard from MGA friend Pascal Grizot, President of the France Ryder Cup Committee, who shared insight on next year’s Ryder Cup and some of the behind-the-scenes action it took to bring the Ryder Cup to France.