by Leia Schwartz (LPGA T&CP 2016 Summer Intern)
Paula Wagasky has been selected to receive the 2016 Midwest Section Service Award for her all of her contributions through the Goldie Bateson Junior Pro-Am, Goldie Bateson Scholarship Fund, and service in the Midwest section.
Goldie Bateson was considered a pioneer in the field of women’s golf instruction and became the first female head golf professional in the state of Wisconsin. In recognition of her accomplishments, she was honored as LPGA Teacher of the Year and received LPGA’s Ellen Griffin Rolex Award, the National Golf Foundation’s (NGF) Outstanding Service Award, named Honorary Golf Consultant with the NGF, and inducted into the Wisconsin State Hall of Fame.
Paula Wagasky met Goldie Bateson through the Goldie Bateson Junior-Pro Am in the 1980s. At that time, the tournament was tied in with a Midwest Section event in Wisconsin.
“Goldie had always wanted to tie in the tournament with LPGA professionals,” said Paula, “so she would have the professionals come and compete in the Pro-Am. . . . It just got to the point where she was running out of homes up there to do it, and since she wanted to keep it involved with the LPGA, I offered to move it down to my area.”
That began a legacy 31 years and counting. Since that first year in 1986, Paula has served as the tournament coordinator of the Goldie Bateson Junior Pro-Am at the Arboretum Club of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The Goldie Bateson Scholarship evolved out of Goldie’s dream to support junior golf, and the Junior Pro-Am now helps to benefit that initiative of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) Midwest Section membership. Today, the scholarship is awarded to junior golfers between the ages of 7 and 17 who have an interest in learning and playing the game of golf. Ten $250 scholarships will be awarded in 2016.
Paula Wagasky has been a T&CP member since 1978. For Paula, golf was “always in the family, always in [her] blood.” She began playing when she was about eight years old, going on to Maryland to get her degree. Combining her passion for golf and the knowledge that she never really wanted to teach in the school system, Paula turned professional, joined the teaching division, and began working at Pinehurst. She went on to play the WPGT mini-tour for five years before landing at Buffalo Grove in 1981, where she has been ever since. She currently serves as Assistant Director of Golf at Village of Buffalo Grove. She has been an active Class A member of the LPGA for almost 40 years. Throughout her career, Paula has been recognized with the LPGA Professional of the Year Award, Goldie Bateson Service Award, LPGA Midwest Junior Golf Leader Award.
On being awarded this recognition, Paula Wagasky said, “It was surprise. Running the tournament now is like second-hand nature. You got to respect your elders and their wishes, and she [Goldie Bateson] wanted somebody to carry it on, and I said, ‘Well Goldie, I’ll do it for you.’ If you knew Goldie, you’d understand. She loved golf, she loved being around it, and she cared about juniors. It’s just an honor to have known her, to do what her life’s work was all about, and keep it going. I remember following the founding members when they were little. When you saw what they did, helping out Goldie wasn’t a big deal.”