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Carol Ann Matsuura: Giving back after receiving much

 

By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern

 

Mahatma Gandhi – who needs no introduction – once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

In society, even a global one at that, humanity has begun to develop the mind set of “what’s in it for me?” The idea of selfless service has started to become an ancient ritual. An individual’s intention is solely based on who they see in the mirror and will do only what will benefit that reflection. Yet, scattered among the majority of the people are those select few, like Carol Ann Matsuura, who care more for the wellbeing and happiness of others than themselves.

Matsuura, a current Utah Golf Association volunteer, believes it is important to give back to the community that has so richly blessed her life. Following her mother’s example, Matsuura has found ways, even beyond the UGA, to help those who need service (i.e. volunteering for her chiropractor who works with hospice patients).

“I think volunteering is really, really important because there’s not too many that are willing to give of themselves,” Matsuura said.

However, still subjectively new to the game of golf (8 years), Matsuura attributes some of her latest happiness in life to that of a game she believed to be silly growing up – thus the dedication to her position as a starter and check-point specialist for the UGA.

It was four years ago that Matsuura began taking the rules classes offered by the UGA – her way in the door to volunteer at tournaments and a chance for her to recognize and understand when someone is cheating. Her dear friend, and fellow UGA volunteer, Ron Clark, was the one who had suggested she take the classes after she first started playing the sport.

Tagging along with Clark to UGA events, Matsuura started her volunteer service by running scorecards from nine and 18 greens up to the scoreboard area. Recognizing this wasn’t necessarily exactly what she had in mind, she continued plugging along until she would find her sweet spot.

“Volunteering for the UGA gives me a lot of pleasure,” Matsuura said.

When play was slow, Matsuura would venture onto the course to help Jacob Miller, the Director of Rules and Competition at the time, spot golf balls on difficult holes. It wasn’t much, but Matsuura was happy because she kept herself busy as she served the golfers.

Over time, she earned her stripes, Matsuura wanted more responsibility and more opportunities to interact with those in whom she was giving her time and effort to serve. But, she didn’t necessarily like the idea of being a rules official.

“I never wanted to go out there and pick on people,” Matsuura said. “If they need help, I’d get them help. But, I don’t’ like to go out and say, ‘you did that wrong, so you need to remember to give yourself a penalty stroke.”  

Yet, all thanks to Leanne Wilcox and Clark for helping, Matsuura was trained as a starter – the very role that enabled her to maximize her skills.

Now, four years later, one will find Matsuura at nearly every UGA Championship, diligently managing the helm as she greets and sends off each group with a smile – enjoying every chance she gets to have a conversation with those she sees.  

“I like starting the golfers because each and every one of them are so different and their personalities are so neat,” Matsuura stated. “I like working with them at that point.”

Of all the things Matsuura could have volunteered for, why golf? The only thing golf-related she did growing up in Salt Lake City was mini-golf. She lovied things like reading, camping and hiking.

After graduating from Granite High School, Matsuura attended cosmetology school – her mother’s dream for her. She would then go on to work for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Gem Insurance Co. (the place where she met her Clark). After the Morgan Stanley split, Matsuura then worked for Discover Financial Services where she spent most of her time in the legal department.

Then, on top of her various careers and cosmetology school, Matsuura attended Westminster College twice – once for a duel bachelor’s degree in business management & marketing and the second time in its Legal Assistant Certification Program (LACP).

Matsuura’s life was busy with work, two kids and volunteering at various places. Yet, she couldn’t figure out why someone would want to do such a thing like golf. Yet, eventually she caved and began playing the game with Clark, who was quite the avid golfer himself.

As time moved forward, Matsuura finally grasped on to the sport and started developing a love for the game. It offered her a chance to exercise and was a game that provided a fun challenge of getting the ball to the green and then attempting to make it in the hole. But, most of all, it had become a social opportunity.

Because golf was offering all these things to Matsuura, she wanted to return the favor by volunteering and helping where she could.

Matsuura said there are a lot of neat things out there in the world that one would miss if they fail to be out there in the world.

Carol Ann, we here at the UGA want to thank you for the countless hours of service you have rendered to us and those UGA members who participate in our golf tournaments. Your influence and help never go unnoticed. Please keep being a wonderful example to all of us.