AJGA honors Tulsa Junior, Roller with 2019 hospitality award

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The American Junior Golf Association has recognized the Gateway First Bank Tulsa Junior hosted by Bo Van Pelt with its 2019 Hospitality Award.

Each year, the AJGA presents awards to the tournaments with the best individual hospitality, Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament, charitable giving and volunteer base. Awards are also given to the events with engaged media and social media participation. Finally, the AJGA recognizes the year’s most outstanding golf professional, superintendent and golf course executive, as well as the most game changing event, best new event, best AJGA Preview Series tournament, best AJGA Junior All-Star Series tournament, best Invitational and overall tournament of the year. Tournament awards for the 2019 season will be presented on-site at the 2020 tournament.

“I’m so honored and grateful we won this award,” said Tournament Chair Maggie Roller. It makes me more thankful for the amazing people on my committee and at Oaks Country Club who made it all happen.”

Growing up Roller played in AJGA, USGA and other junior events and she credits these experiences with teaching her what makes an event truly special for a player. Throughout her collegiate career and as a professional, she learned to appreciate the well-run events she played in.

“I think all of my past experiences motivated me to make this a top event,” said Roller. “My golf coach at the University of Tulsa, Dale McNamara, taught me long ago how important hospitality and gratitude are. I couldn’t run an event without those two things being top priorities.”

As part of the event, players and parents were provided lunch after each round and players were treated to ice cream after the first round. In addition to tournament gifts, players were also gifted a portable wireless charger. The hospitality didn’t stop at gifts, however. The “Acorn Challenge”, a one-of-a-kind social activity on a par-3 course at Oaks Country Club, was well-attended and loved by participants at the event. They players were even able to take part in a junior vs. AJGA staff basketball game at a local high school.

“The hospitality made the tournament feel more professional,” said tournament participant James Roller. “The golf is always fun, and we experience that at every AJGA tournament, but the hospitality made it feel like a bigger tournament. From the volunteers to the gifts we received, the hospitality showed how vital of a role golf plays in the Tulsa area.”

All of these couldn’t have been possible without the support of Gateway First Bank and everyone at Oaks Country Club according to Maggie Roller. She hopes to continue growing the event and make it one of the most recognized on the AJGA schedule.

“The players know we want them here at our event and this makes us special, said Maggie Roller. “I’d love our hospitality to be known to all the great juniors in the country so they’ll say, ‘man I hope I can get into that Gateway event.’ I want our event to be a top one in the country.”

The third Gateway First Bank Tulsa Junior hosted by Bo Van Pelt was held at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, August 3-6, 2020.

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Ken MacLeod

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