Lee Kathryn DeCosta joined the Rhode Island Golf Association as director of women’s golf and member services in early January. She is responsible for member recruitment, scheduling, and management of RIGA’s women’s golf services and tournaments. DeCosta worked in the golf industry for 18 of the past 20 years, most recently as buyer and office assistant at Wanumetonomy Golf and Country Club in Middletown. Women’s golf services are now available at the Rhode Island Golf Association as a result of the association’s recent merger with the Rhode Island Women’s Golf Association.
PBN: You have just joined the Rhode Island Golf Association. In your role as director of Women's Golf and Member Services, what do you see as your main mission?
DECOSTA: I am very excited about my new position as the Director of Women’s Golf and Member Services for the [association]. This season will be a historic one as both women’s and men’s golf associations have merged under one umbrella. My main mission this year will be to help facilitate this change and insure that communication to all of our new members is open, tournaments are run efficiently and everyone has fun. Golf is not only a competitive sport, but one that many participate in simply to meet people and build new friendships. My goal is make sure that both levels of play are met.
PBN: The Rhode Island Golf Association and Rhode Island Women's Golf Association merged on Jan. 1. What are the implications for women golfers?
DECOSTA: Following the merger, our goal was to give equal access to all women of [association] member clubs, public or private. This goal is now happening and forging this commitment will only strengthen Rhode Island’s golf. Opening participation from all [association] courses will allow women’s golf to grow within our association.
To date, the RIGA has been known for their professionalism and has delivered a consistent excellence in their services to their participants. Working in conjunction with the United States Golf Association, the RIGA has acted as the facilitator of course rating, handicapping, tournament recruitment and delivered an exceptional level of member service to their members. Using their knowledge and direction and being open to the former RIWGA will allow a greater level of play and service to our Rhode Island women.
PBN: And what about the men?
DECOSTA: I believe that the men understand, respect and welcome the merger. Men golfers want to see Rhode Island golf continue to grow and supporting this merger is a giant step in that direction. As far as men’s championships, the merger will have no effect at all.
PBN: How have opportunities for women advanced in this state compared with others?
DECOSTA: It is becoming commonplace throughout the country that men’s and women’s golf associations are merging. Rhode Island is the first state in New England to complete the merger.
PBN: What are the prospects for recruiting more members, male and female, in 2014 and beyond?
DECOSTA: Acting as one association will show unity and commitment to the love of the game. The [the association’s] mission is to promote the game of golf in Rhode Island, which this merger will allow us to do so in a greater capacity. The ability to support The Burke Fund, Button Hole & RIWGA Junior Scholarship Program shows our commitment to the future of the game of golf. Now that public and private courses are equally included, encouragement to join and participate in all tournaments is highly encouraged and I hope to be able to recruit many new faces to our tournaments, so our family can grow.
Director of women’s golf and member services at the Rhode Island Golf Association talks about the organization’s inclusion efforts.