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Nassau Country Club - The Ultimate Supporter

ELMSFORD, N.Y. (June 17, 2024) - Through the generosity of its member clubs, the MGA can host championships at some of the oldest and storied courses in the country. One of those clubs, Nassau Country Club, will be hosting a pair of championships in back-to-back weeks this year.

The club will host the Women's Met Amateur on June 18. The following week, one of the MGA's three majors, the Ike Stroke Play Championship, will be played June 25 and 26. It will be the first time Nassau has hosted the women's amateur and the third time the club has hosted the Ike. Ken MacDonald claimed his first of back-to-back titles in 2000 when Nassau first hosted the Ike. Nine years later, Mike Ballo Jr. won his first of back-to-back Ikes at Nassau. 

Sofia Nogalo looks to defend her title in the women's amateur after taking home the title at Essex County Country Club in 2023. Melan Dhaubhadel is the defending champion of the Ike. The senior at the University of Louisiana at Monroe defeated Christian Cavaliere in a playoff last year and is exempt into the field this year. 

Nassau Country Club was one of 26 founding members of the MGA in 1897. It is no stranger to hosting top amateur events, having hosted the Met Amateur eight times, most recently in 1996, three Long Island Open Championships, last in 2018, the 1903 U.S. Amateur, the 1913 Women's Met Amateur, 1914 and 2014 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the 1967 New York State Amateur, and the 1965 Long Island Amateur. 

"It's a point of pride for all of us,” said Nassau’s general manager Meg O’Connor. “To be able to have the top players in the area come and contest a championship on your course and find it challenging. And you know, we have quite a history, whether it's the USGA, Bobby Jones, or the Nassau Bet. So, it just adds to the golf history that we have here and we take great pride in." 

It is a unique challenge and opportunity for a club to host two events in back-to-back weeks. The set-up of the events is different: the Women's Met Amateur is a one-day 18-hole event, while the Ike is 54 holes over two days. 

“The golf course has held up over the years through all the events we have hosted,” said Scott Blough, Nassau’s superintendent. “You have to be precise on every shot. Driving and keeping the ball in the fairway will set you up nicely. There are bunkers out there that are true half-shot penalty. The player who got hot with the putter has prevailed.” 

In addition to opening its doors to championships, the club has supported the MGA Foundation's GOLFWORKS student intern program for 16 years and has always supported the tradition of youth caddieing on Long Island. 

O'Connor and Nassau have seen the benefits the GOLFWORKS program has brought to the students over the years. Hardworking local kids come to work at the club through the program, and they are exposed to people and a world they may not have without being part of GOLFWORKS. Throughout the years, 33 interns have worked at the club in various capacities. 

"The people they meet at a private club can help them later in life. I've seen that happen quite a bit. Whether it's caddies here who have just been here for years and, you know, it's time for them to go to college, and they'll help them out," mentioned O'Connor. 

"I think particularly for the outside and golf operations; it's great to either get local kids who are on the high school golf teams and come in and get exposed to what country club life is versus what touring pros do, and kind of just give them a better idea of what being in the golf business is all about. It's not all playing," she said. 

Darren Wetzel is a product of the caddie program at Nassau and now is the club’s caddie manager. Wetzel, who started caddieing at the club in 1983, took over as caddie manager when he was 21 and has been at the club for 35 years.  

"The best way to say it is almost like school," notes Wetzel on growing youth caddieing at the club. "You start in kindergarten; you finish up in high school." 

"We had a kid last year, Ryan. He beat cancer at a young age, and he started caddieing for us,” said Wetzel. “When he started, we just knew, like, wow, this kid is amazing. [He] cared about the round and wanted to go out again." 

Nassau’s caddie program is robust, and nearly 300 young men and women have caddied at the club in high school and college. Currently there are four Long Island Caddie Scholars from Nassau Country Club. Over the last 20 years, there have been 13 caddie scholars from the club. “I’m still friends with many of the former caddies, and many of my friends in life have come from this golf course,” said Wetzel.

Nassau Country Club continues to grow the game of golf locally with the GOLFWORKS program and its support of youth caddieing. The club is excited to welcome the best amateurs in the area in June for both championships.  

Founded in 1994, the MGA Foundations' GOLFWORKS program gives high school students exposure to career opportunities within the golf industry. The young adults who participate in GOLFWORKS complete an internship in a golf environment, learning the lessons of honor, integrity, and tradition as well as an activity that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. In addition, GOLFWORKS provides real-world work experiences, networking opportunities, and a way for interns to learn the skills necessary to pursue their career interests. To learn more, contact Lou Cutolo at

About the Long Island Caddie Scholarship Fund - The Long Island Caddie Scholarship Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides financial need-based scholarships to caddies and others who work in service to golf at local participating golf and country on Long Island. The LICSF was founded in 1962 by George Sands, a longtime member of North Shore Country Club. In its 62-year history, the LICSF has awarded 937 young men and women who caddie and work in service to golf more than $4.9 million. For more information, visit