Far Hills, N.J. – In what is believed to be a first for a former USGA P.J. Boatwright Jr. intern, Brandon Neal has been named president of the Kentucky Golf Association.
At its Oct. 13 meeting, the Kentucky Golf Association (KGA) board of directors elected Neal to serve what is typically two one-year terms.
“It’s a little surreal,” said the 39-year-old Neal, who has been affiliated with the KGA since 1993, when he graduated from the University of Kentucky. Neal, who played golf for the Wildcats, began working as the KGA’s junior golf director two days after his last college exam. He continued in that role through 1998, when he joined the financial services industry. Neal stayed close to the KGA by serving as a Rules official and board member. None of the involvement would have been possible if not for the Boatwright internship, he said.
The Bowling Green, Ky., native was awarded the internship in the spring of 1993 after receiving a call from the KGA. Neal said the summer internship changed his life.
“No. 1, the internship taught me how to run an actual championship,” said Neal. “You learned how to set up a golf course and how to run it. No. 2, when I took my first Rules exam, I scored a 58. The second time I took it, I scored an 83. I definitely learned a lot in one year and it left me with a greater appreciation for the Rules. In addition, the networking I did through golf is absolutely priceless. I can’t tell you how many doors the sport has opened.”
Mark Hill, the executive director of the KGA, believes that the Boatwright internship has served and will continue to serve as a conduit for golf administration jobs.
“Brandon is the ultimate example of that,” said Hill. “Brandon has a long and varied record of service to golf in Kentucky. Since leaving our staff he has continued to support us as a Rules official at our competitions and still assists us in our junior program.”
Neal will work closely with Hill, who has developed a five-year plan for the KGA. As for the Boatwright program, Hill and Neal couldn’t say enough about it.
“I can never repay the USGA for that grant they gave me,” said Neal. “If that internship didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I have had.”
Ken Klavon is the USGA's Web Editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.