From our President-2023 Gail Sykes Memorial Event – Better Ball of Two

I had not played Columbia Golf & Country Club in several years, but as we competed yesterday in NEWGA’s The Gail Sykes Memorial (Better Ball of Partners) Tournament (see below for event history) it was just as beautiful and challenging as I recalled. The lively field, comprised of thirty-three 2-person teams, played the 5193 yard tract from the green tees in record time and in dry conditions!

Shout out to NEWGA Club Rep Caroline Merritt, Director of Golf Evan Silkworth and his staff and the amazing restaurant crew for a providing a great day of golf, fun and food for our group! So much goes into the planning and preparation for these events and we so appreciate the cooperation and enthusiasm of our Member Clubs in hosting our events each season!

The day belonged to four of our 66 women in particular, the Overall Low Gross Champion Team of Anne Van Buren and Laurie McBain (Pinehaven) (73) and the Overall Low Net Team from Burden Lake, Sandy Morley and Donna Heskett (61). Incredible scoring from both teams as well as several other notable performances from teams in all 4 flights! Congratulations to all the flight winners and thank you to everyone who participated!

Debbie DiMaggio NEWGA President


The Gail Sykes Better Ball of Two Tournament is named after Gail Sykes (Gail Sykes Clayton). Gail played her golf as a member of Ballston Spa Golf Club. In August of 1965, at age seventeen, she was the USGA Junior Girls Champion played at Hiwan Country Club in Colorado. In June of 1968, playing for Odessa (Texas) College, she won the NCAA Division I Collegiate Tournament at Duke University. She also was a quarter finalist in the North/South Tournament in 1964. Sykes won the New York State Golf Association Junior Girl’s Tournament in 1964, the second year it was held, and was runner-up in the 1970 State Women’s Amateur. In addition, she won the Ohio State Amateur in 1975 at Toledo Country Club and defended her title at Youngstown Country Club the following year (6 ½ months pregnant!!) After Gail Sykes won the USGA Junior Girls Championship, NEWGA President Betty Blatner added a two-ball tournament to the NEWGA schedule in honor of Gail’s achievements entitled the “Gail Sykes Better Ball of Two”.