Garden City resident Jackie Meli-Rizzo.
When it comes to golf, Jackie Meli-Rizzo, a 23-year resident of Garden City, believes that you simply cannot play too many rounds to better your game. That may be why for the past two years, she has devoted much of her free time to organizing golfing opportunities for women across Long Island on behalf of the Executive Women's Golf Association (EWGA).
As a board member of the EWGA's Long Island chapter, her enthusiasm and dedication has helped the chapter add and retain membership. Currently, the Long Island chapter is the EWGA's largest, surpassing more than 115 chapters across the United States and in Canada. The mission of EWGA is to provide opportunities for women to learn, play and enjoy the game of golf for business and for life.
Last spring, 525 of the organization's more than 600 members met weekly for league play at several courses in Nassau and Suffolk. They have Jackie to thank. Serving as league chair of EWGA, she has tirelessly negotiated with golf courses and golf professionals, and worked one-on-one to help fit golfers with leagues that give women of all levels of ability a chance to learn and play the game for business and for life. Since Jackie began her service in this role in 2004, participation in EWGA leagues has more than doubled.
"I believe in being proactive and in listening to what members have to say. Based on membership surveys and direct feedback at the courses, I know what they want. They want to golf. They need tee times and the tools to become accepted golfers in all business and recreational situations," she said.
In addition to weekly leagues, Jackie and her committee organize tournaments that challenge players to hone their skills for coveted awards at a year-end dinner. In addition, EWGA members are invited to participate in outings held at prestigious private clubs, educational clinics conducted throughout the year and seminars covering rules, etiquette, pace and handicaps.
She predicts that this year will be even more exciting. "I am very excited to announce that this year we will be offering nine leagues in Nassau and Suffolk counties. In addition to our regular leagues at Town of Oyster Bay, Eisenhower Park, Hamlet Windwatch, Peninsula, Harbor Links and Heartland, leagues have been added at Holbrook, Cherry Creek and we have introduced our first Travel League," she said. League registration begins at the upcoming March 20 "Tee Off Dinner" to be held at Crest Hollow Country Club and will continue well into the start of the season.
When she's not golfing in a "league of her own," Jackie works as director of finance and human resources for National Land Tenure, a full-service title agency, which has been recognized as a leading title insurance agent in the Metro New York area and nationally. She has two sons, Gregory, a sophomore who plays football for Garden City High School and is on a travel rugby team, and Thomas, a senior at SUNY New Paltz studying environmental anthropology.
Jackie has been featured in Long Island Golfer magazine and in interviews on WLIE Radio. She represents the EWGA as the 18th hole captain for the Commerce Bank Championship at Eisenhower Park.
For membership information or to learn more about EWGA events, visit http://www.ewgali.org or call membership chair Barbara Turner at 996-3971.