Mike Damman GolfTales RJSmiley

Mike Damman

As the MGA golf season is drawing to a close, we all need to remember the volunteers who make the events go smoothly. Mike Damman is one of the very best. The story is several years old but Mike still works many MGA events.

Mike Damman was once an avid golfer who played to a 5 handicap. He changed his focus from aspiring golfer to MGA volunteer extraordinaire.  

Mike graduated from the University of Minnesota 38 years ago and was frantically searching for a job when a friend recommended him for the position of assistant stage manager at Northrup Auditorium at the U of M.  Mike has never changed jobs.  The flexible work schedule at Northrup allowed Mike to earn a Masters Degree in Education and Parks and Recreation.  He also had ample time to enjoy his two children and work on his game.  

For 16 years Mike was a member of Bunker Hills men’s club where he kept his handicap in the single digits.  Somewhere along the line Mike got interested in working with the Minnesota Golf Association, MGA, as a tournament volunteer.  He volunteered as a ball spotter at the many amateur championships conducted by the MGA each summer.  As the years have passed and his experience has increased, Mike’s time commitment to the MGA has increased.  Mike works about 30 days per season primarily as a starter on the first tee or rules official out on the course.  Mike likes the job of starter because he gets to meet every golfer in the field.  As a rules official, Mike likes to say that he is there to help the players make the correct decisions concerning the, black and white, rules of golf and not be a cop.  “I really enjoy getting to know all the players. I have watched many players like Mike Fermoyle and Steve Johnson mature through their amateur golf careers from State Champions to quality senior players.  At the same time I get to know the kids, you know the up and comers.”  Mike said that he really enjoys traveling to the MGA championships out of the Twin Cities area.  He has the opportunity to stay over night and spend time with all the various people who make the event happen from the players to the golf pros, to the superintendents and the other volunteers. 

In addition to his work at MGA tournaments Mike is the chairman of the MGA’s Government Relations Committee.  Mike is especially proud of the job that he and other volunteers and staff of the MGA did with the completion of the study of the Economic Impact of Golf in the state of Minnesota.   The Study completed in 2007, gave the local and state governments the true picture of the millions of dollars that ripple through the economy from the golf industry.  “Golf has a much bigger affect on the local economy than any of us realized when we started the study”, Mike states.   

Mike and his wife Linda have lived in Edina for many years where he always wanted to be a member of the Braemer men’s club.  It took him a long time to work his way up the waiting list and finally become a member of the men’s club.  Mike jokes that two years later he was kicked out of the men’s club for not playing the mandatory 15 rounds per season.  “That is what being a volunteer can cost you.”  Mike just completed his nine year term as a member of Edina Park Board.  With the golf experience gained as a MGA volunteer and Master’s Degree in Park and Recreation, Mike was a valued member of the Board.  Now, with all that extra time he has on his hands, Mike is co-chairman of the parade help each year in Edina on the 4th of July.

In August the PGA Championship comes back to Hazeltine.  With Tiger Woods and the strongest field ever assembled for a golf championship expected, Journal (program) sales will be very important.  Guess who is co-chairman of the Journal sales committee.  That’s right, Mike.  He smiles when he says, “We have two tents that will be manned with 42 volunteers who will work 84 shifts”.  When asked how much time he plans to spend at the Tournament, Mike says, “Oh I have taken the whole week off.  I expect I will be there twelve hours each day.”

Mike has one more claim to fame; he is the godfather of USGA Women’s Open Champion, Hilary Lunke.  Her dad, Bill Homeyer, and Mike have been great friends for the past 35 years.            

In 2003 Mike was given the Volunteer of the Year Award by the MGA.  Many feel that he should get an award each year!

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