The AJGA Board Room is not an intimidating environment when empty. Dozens of course flags decorate the walls, and big, comfortable chairs border the conference tables. Despite the inviting amenities, Player Representatives Brinson Paolini of Virginia Beach, Va., and Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., had a different first impression.
Before the meeting began, Paolini walked into a half-full Board Room and filled an empty seat, unsure of the proper protocol. Little did he know, he chose the seat right next to AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin.
“Next time I won’t be as intimidated,” Paolini said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute a little more, especially once the season begins.”
The 2008 Annual Meeting marked their first board meeting, which meant rubbing elbows and sharing ideas with the Board of Directors. Intimidation may have been a factor, but that’s not to say Paolini and Rah didn’t start contributing right away. Being the voice of the entire membership, they raised issues important to the players, including practice round pace of play and color preferences for hats and shirts.
“As players, we have more perspective on the tournaments themselves,” Rah said. “It means a lot because the Board Members really take time to listen to what we have to say.”
Prior to their first meeting, both Paolini and Rah prepared by talking to Gregor Main and Lila Barton, last year’s Player Representatives, about fulfilling the position.
“Gregor said to make sure to talk to the kids,” said Paolini, who has already had players approach him at the Houston Boys Invitational at Redstone presented by HP and Administaff. “Hopefully the players will continue to come up and tell me what they want changed.”
Rah prepared a list of ideas for her first meeting and was excited at the opportunity to share them with the Board.
“You really have to listen to what players have to say and make sure you say it,” Rah said. “It’s our opportunity to have them listen to us, and the people in the Board Room are the people that are going to make the change.”
With the summer tournament season fast approaching, Paolini and Rah have many more chances to brainstorm with players about ways to improve the AJGA. And with two board meetings remaining, Paolini has three more chances to sit next to Stephen Hamblin.