NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – After spending the week serving as a referee and roving rules official at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, Tom Meeks, who, by his own count, has worked an estimated 200 USGA championships, had a chance to share some of his observations just as Wednesday’s semifinal matches were about to begin.
I don’t ever remember a championship where we have had this many forecaddies, noted Meeks, a member of host club Harbour Trees Golf Club who spent 30 years working for the USGA. We may end up with eight forecaddies, so we’ll just figure out the most strategic places to put them. We had two on every hole here [Wednesday].
The conundrum was certainly a good one to have as far as championship administration goes, and few would be able to recognize that better than Meeks. When Harbour Trees was awarded the Women’s Mid-Amateur, its first USGA championship, it had the luxury of having a member with not only the expertise, but a passion for championship golf. The Illinois native retired from the Association in 2005 and was succeeded as the senior director of Rules and Competitions by current USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, but Meeks never stopped being involved with the game he loves. Meeks still helps conduct USGA championship qualifiers in the Indianapolis area, and also does occasional consulting work in the golf industry.
This Women’s Mid-Amateur is just one more way for him to be part of the game.
I said to [the club], you’re in for a real treat. I’ve tried to help wherever I could. I’ve been a source of information, I’ve attended all committee meetings, said Meeks, 74, who recalls working at the first playing of the championship, when it was held at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., in 1987. It’s been fun. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s amazing how much has changed since I started, and even since I retired. My first championship was the  Girls’ Junior out in California, and I was the only one there [from the USGA]. Nobody else to look over communications, nobody there to help me mark the golf course, I was it.
Meeks has certainly seen the game from all different angles, especially during his time in championship administration, from handling course setup and groupings and starting times for the U.S. Open to serving as the staff-in-charge for the first-ever U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship in 1978. He was the executive director of the Indiana Golf Association and Indiana PGA before arriving at the USGA in 1975, when he became a pioneer of sorts as its first-ever regional affairs director. The department now includes six directors, each responsible for one region of the country.
Somebody asked me, ‘What is your region?’ and I said, the whole United States, he recalled with a laugh. My job was to visit anywhere I could get invited; regional golf associations, USGA committee members, PGA sections, just anywhere.
While Meeks lived in New Jersey throughout his USGA tenure, he and his family never lost their Indiana newsContents. Tom and his wife, Susie, bought a house in Noblesville in 2004, right around the corner from Harbour Trees. While they were raised in the Garden State, Meeks’ children both attended Butler University in Indianapolis.
It has been a special week for Meeks and his club.
It really has brought back memories. I haven’t lost touch at all with the USGA, but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world, he said. I’m so proud of Harbour Trees and the job they’ve done.
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