Cassie Stein is a native Lewistonian who grew up steeped in the traditions of the Porter Cup. Currently working as an editor for the Global Golf Post, Stein took on one of the tournament director roles when Steve Denn stepped down as tournament coordinator last year. The entire atmosphere of amateur golf is changing and Stein’s familiarity with the top amateurs will be invaluable as the Porter Cup embraces the new normal of amateur golf. To start off Porter Cup week, Cassie Stein took some time to answer a spate of our questions.
1. Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your history/life in golf.
My name is Cassie Stein and I have been in love with golf for a long time, especially the Porter Cup. I never really played golf until I was a sophomore in high school thanks to Buffalo Golfer, but I have always loved the game because of the Porter Cup. In high school at the Nichols School, I played on the varsity golf team for three years. I went on to play in college at Robert Morris University. But from there, I knew I wanted to stay in the sport. I went on to have internships with the American Junior Golf Association and the United States Golf Association before landing a dream job at Golfweek Magazine. At the beginning of 2016, I switched magazines and started working for Global Golf Post — the best golf magazine in the business.
2. You grew up with the Porter Cup. Tell us about those early years and what it was like to house and get to know these top amateur golfers.
Housing is one of, if not the best thing, about the Porter Cup. Getting to know these players each year is something I will never, ever forget. I’ve met so many players that I stay in touch with today and on a day-to-day basis no less. I have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky to be involved with something like that. We’ve had Tim Mickelson (Phil’s brother) stay at our house for several years, Spencer Levin stayed at my house when he won in 2004, Cameron Tringale stayed with us — its just one of the best things to experience. You get to meet these guys and then just become friends with them for years and you get to follow their careers. And the cool thing is that they remember you, too. Whenever you say the words Porter Cup, they talk to you. It’s pretty awesome.
3. You’ve returned to western New York and are now actively involved on the Porter Cup committee. Tell us about your role and how you came by it.
Yeah, so I’ve been doing private housing since 2007 and then this past year my role got a little bit more important. With former Tournament Director Steve Denn stepping down, there was kind of a vacancy in that top role of sending invitations and recruiting players, and last fall I was lucky enough to be asked by the Tournament Committee to be elevated into that role. So now I am an Assistant Tournament Director for the Porter Cup. It’s been an amazing first year. I love what I do so this is awesome!
4. Can you tell us a bit about the USGA officials that come in and stay at Niagara Falls country club? What are their responsibilities?
We have USGA officials come in every year, a day or two early, to take a look at the course and make sure everything is ready for the start of the tournament. Mike McDonald, our head official, is actually a member at NFCC so we’re very excited about that. But they come in and mark the course, they take care of pace of play for us. They are a huge help to us.
5. Tell us how you expect the course to be set up. Length is finite, so what will the superintendent do to enhance the challenge for these fine golfers?
It’s gonna be playing firm and fast with the lack of rain in the area. I think putting hole locations in difficult areas of the green will definitely challenge these golfers. Looked for some tucked pin hole locations and then also maybe some tees moved up or moved back for some risk-reward holes.
6. Play the role of first-time Porter Cup visitor. You cross the street near the 10th green. Where do you go first? What shouldn’t you miss?
I think you absolutely go to the first tee, especially on Friday and Saturday because the atmosphere is so cool there. You get to see these guys bomb it off the tee And then later in the day make your way to 15 green, 16 tee/green and 17 tee. That’s where the leaders are made or broken down the stretch heading to the par-3 18th. It makes for some really fun drama down the stretch.
7. Have there been any changes to the course in recent years, like bunkers or expanded putting surfaces, that will add to this year’s event?
So over the last few months, as we have over the last few years, we have redone some greens. This year, players will be playing new greens on Nos. 5, 7 and 8. No. 7 was done in the fall, while Nos. 5 and 8 were done this spring. We also have a billy bunker on No. 5. These players are getting to play on the best of the best now a days, so we have to make sure this course is up to par too. And with some greens being done every so often, it’s really enhancing the course.
Stein interview on WGRZ
Porter Cup contestant list