Coming Full Circle: Steve Lee’s Journey to Becoming an NJSGA Volunteer

Coming Full Circle: Steve Lee’s Journey to Becoming an NJSGA Volunteer

This story appeared in the Spring 2024 Issue of New Jersey Golf. To read more from this issue click here.


Steve Lee’s involvement with the NJSGA has officially come full circle. From teacher to caddie to tournament volunteer, Lee’s love of family has shone through in all aspects of the game. Most summers, Lee can be found on the golf course with his sons, Jonathan and Jason, both of whom he introduced to the game at a young age. With a driving range just minutes from their original childhood home, Lee realized the natural potential in his sons’ respective games early.

“I got them into competition very early, when they were five or six years old,” Lee said. “They started playing US Kids events and eventually progressed on to some NJSGA tournaments."

"That is when I would start to caddie for them. There's nothing better than watching your kids play, and then to be part of it with them is just an added bonus.”

It was at these NJSGA events that Lee took notice of the tournament volunteers roaming the grounds in their uniform white shirts and green hats. Lee was especially struck by how friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating the volunteers were to each player.

“They were always very nice and very helpful. They're out there giving their time to help with pace of play or to help with rules,” Lee recalled. “One time I said to myself, ‘When I retire, this should be something I do. Watching good golf is a great job and a great way to spend the day on the golf course.’” Fast forward a few years and a newly retired Lee was ready to give back to the game that had given his family so much. In just his first year as a volunteer, Lee dove in headfirst, quickly becoming one of the most active volunteers during the summer tournament season.

“On the golf course, it feels very rewarding that you can be there to help out players and give back to the game. When I was caddying for my sons, we got a lot of help from volunteers, so it’s nice to return the favor,” said Lee. “I feel that if I can help out just one golfer — whether it’s giving a ruling, helping spot a ball or just returning a smile — it’s really rewarding.”

The camaraderie amongst this group of roughly a hundred people, many of whom bring the same friendly face to each event, is something that Lee has grown to appreciate already.

“Everyone is really friendly and looking to help out any way they can. The veteran volunteers are always ready and willing to help out some of the less-experienced volunteers, and I just love that,” said Lee. “As I get more experienced, I’m hoping to pass down my knowledge to help answer questions for the newer volunteers and continue that flow on down. It’s the people that make you want to come back next year and do it all over again.”

For now, Lee looks forward to continuing to learn more about the game by attending Tournament Committee meetings and rules trainings at NJSGA headquarters. With his younger son Jason playing at the collegiate level at Babson College in Massachusetts, a return to the bag is not out of the question, either. As long as it involves golf and family, it’s a match made in heaven for Lee.

“It's been probably the biggest joy of my life to be able to be with my sons on the golf course. As a dad, watching your kids progress from plastic clubs and the range to watching them become competitive golfers and being able to caddie for them…it’s been a dream,” he said.

One thing’s for sure, the next time Lee is on the bag, he’ll have a greater knowledge of the Rules and appreciation for the tournament officials he exchanges a smile with along the way.

This story appeared in the Spring 2024 Issue of New Jersey Golf. To read more from this issue click here.

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