(October 28, 2022) – It is early October on a cold, rainy, and wind-swept day at the Country Club of Waterbury. Tee times on the final day of the 77th Connecticut Senior Amateur began at 7:55 a.m. which means David Blakeslee has been at his post along the left side of the first fairway since roughly 10 minutes before the start of play. Every ten minutes when a new group begins their round Blakeslee emerges from his cart bundled in what more closely resembles a skiing outfit and lifts his binoculars to the sky to track the path of each incoming tee shot. Blakeslee does this for the next three hours. Once the final group passes through instead of heading for the warmth of the clubhouse Blakeslee pushes further out into the course to see where else he can be of assistance.
The sunlight is beginning to fade on day one of the Connecticut Junior Amateur and Connecticut Girls’ Junior at Watertown Golf Club. All day long Blakeslee has been scanning the skies for golf balls while enduring the hot July sun. Finally, the last group passes his spot on the eighth hole and Blakeslee begins to make his way toward the clubhouse. While on his way in he finds out that he is the only volunteer remaining on the course until the players reach the other side of the road that runs through Watertown GC. Without hesitation Blakeslee wheels his cart around to go rove Nos. 9-12 until the players cross the street.
Those are just two of the many instances that define the dedication and commitment of David Blakeslee the 2022 Connecticut State Golf Association’s Volunteer of the Year.
“I was shocked when my name was announced because each year prior to this the person who won the award had been here a long time,” Blakeslee said as he sat in his golf cart at the Tournament of Champions on a misty late October morning. “But it is quite an honor.”
However, Blakeslee shouldn’t have been shocked. Since joining the volunteer ranks of the CSGA in 2018 at the urging of fellow volunteer and New Haven Country Club member John Walsh, Blakeslee has increased his role each year to the point where he hardly misses an event.
“There is a running joke that after you win an award you stop doing events. But as a matter of fact, each year I am doing more and getting more involved,” Blakeslee said. “I think the CSGA is a great organization and I enjoy working with the people who are involved with it including the administration and the volunteers.”
For Blakeslee volunteering with the CSGA was a logical move for the retired landscaper of 30 years. He is a third-generation member of New Haven CC and golf has always played an important role in his life. His grandfather, M. Grant Blakeslee, served as the president of New Haven CC from 1948-1951 while his father, Miles Grant Blakeslee, Jr. served on numerous boards at the club most notably the Greens Committee.
In addition, New Haven CC still holds the Clarence Blakeslee Tournament each year while at Race Brook Country Club where his grandfather and father were members the annual member-member is named the Blakeslee Memorial.
“Golf has been in my family forever and I know my father would have been very happy for me to give back to the game. I don’t really play the game that well but I enjoy the game and every facet of it,” explained Blakeslee who also volunteers for New England Golf Association events.
It is that enjoyment at the end of the day that brings Blakeslee back to the course week after week throughout the CSGA season.
“When John Walsh got me involved in the CSGA he said David, ‘your parents might have passed away but you are being adopted by the CSGA. It is a brotherhood so don’t worry about a thing. You are going to have a lot of fun.’ I have found that to be definitely true.”
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.