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Remembering Joe Donahue

Remembering Joe Donahue

Original article from mgagolf.org.

The LICSF is very sad to hear of the passing of Mr. Joseph A. Donahue, an integral part of Met Area golf for more than six decades.

Donahue served as president of the Long Island Golf Association from 1991-1992 and also led the Association in the Executive Director role. He served as the President of the Long Island Caddie Scholarship Fund, and was presented the LIGA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003 for his many contributions.

Joe Donahue was the recipient of the MGA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 1993. An article published at the time perfectly described Donahue and his commitment to the game, sentiments that remained true up until his passing: Joe Donahue began his service in the 1950s when he joined the MGA Tournament Committee. A quick smile and a warm nature were his trademarks, but it was his keen understanding of the game and his willingness to take a leadership role in promoting and protecting its traditions that eventually would take him to the highest levels of local amateur golf.

Joe was elected to the MGA Executive Committee in 1970 and served as Chairman of the Real Estate, Tax, and Handicap Committees during some of the most trying times in MGA history. He helped to spearhead a campaign to fight damaging new real estate tax legislation and was instrumental in ensuring that the MGA play a major role in establishing the USGA’s GHIN Service. It was also at Joe’s urging that the MGA became the first association to offer clubs in-house computerized handicapping.

Elected Vice President of the MGA in 1978 and President in 1980, Donahue oversaw the MGA’s relocation from New York City to Mamaroneck. He worked tirelessly to foster improved relations between the MGA and neighboring golf associations – probably Joe’s greatest legacy to area golf.

Few would argue that Joe Donahue helped to establish the MGA as a national leader among amateur golf organizations during his administration. He earned such enormous respect from the golf community and his peers that in 1981 he became one of only five people to ever be elected to a third term as MGA president. Throughout his career, Joe never lost sight of his love for the game. While serving the MGA, running a business and raising a family, he even found time to win the MGA Senior Amateur Championship in 1982.

“Joe’s impact on golf in the Met area remains unmatched,” said MGA Executive Director Brian R. Mahoney. “Joe’s devotion and passion for the MGA, LIGA, Long Island Caddie Scholarship Fund and his beloved home club, Garden City Golf Club, will forever be a part of the fabric of these institutions. Joe’s mark was indelible and he remains one of the most influential figures in our game’s history.”

During Donahue’s tenure as MGA President, he was responsible for hiring Jay Mottola, Gene Westmoreland, Jeanne McCooey, and Jerry Mahoney – all instrumental staff leaders who shaped the Association into what it is today. He remained active with the MGA and was a member of the Long Range Planning Committee and served on the Met PGA Advisory Board and USGA Sectional Affairs Committee.

He was a three-time club champion at the Cherry Valley Club, where he was a member for 22 years, and spent countless hours at his beloved Garden City Golf Club where he could be found every morning enjoying a coffee and reading the newspaper.

Joe will always hold a very special place in Met Area golf. In lieu of flowers, the Donahue family has indicated that donations to the Long Island Caddie Scholarship Fund would be greatly appreciated. 

Service arrangements are as follows:
Friday, May 27, 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Fairchild Sons Funeral Home
1201 Franklin Avenue, Garden City, NY

Saturday, May 28, 9:30 a.m.
Church of Saint Joseph
130 Fifth Street, Garden City, NY